Editors note - I decided that it would be fun to interview all the various people that write here on Shrimpton Couture's Curate and also work behind the scenes to bring you all the amazing content and Vintage Couture that you see posted daily on our sites. I asked Maria to set up interviews with everyone (and then I will turn the tables on her at some point). We decided to break each interview into two sets of questions - the first set is a more focused and in-depth look at each member of our team and then the second set quick round that will be asked of everyone. Today we meet Reem ....
In the age of Botox and Photoshop, the trajectory of beauty as an art form seems to have taken a sharp turn. It is an abrupt evolution that is at once promising and worrisome. After all, what are we really losing if we completely abandon the past? And how can a generation bred on digital manipulation relate to the traditional notions of beauty and grooming? The answer lies in the nuanced efforts of young women like Reem Jazar. Who else but a vintage loving millennial can so seamlessly bridge the past and present to remind us that the essence of beauty is transformation, that external metamorphosis can lead to internal poise and conviction. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.”
Where was your love for vintage born?
I was an avid collector of magazines as a kid. I especially loved Teen Vogue. I loved reading features in the magazines about vintage shops in New York where “It Girls” found vintage Chanel bags and shoes. I was hooked on the idea that shopping in these glamorous SOHO shops could be a hunt and the prize was a reasonably priced Chanel. I grew up in a suburb outside Toronto so whenever we could, my friend and I would go to what our fourteen year old selves considered “vintage” stores on Queen Street West like Tribal Rhythms and Black Market. Much to my mother’s confusion, I wore a bright red, cord letterman jacket I found there all throughout my high school years. It’s funny looking back, but those Queen West shopping trips felt very cultured at the time.
Since you are Shrimpton Couture’s resident beauty expert, I wanted to switch to that topic for a minute. What draws you to beauty?
Beauty has the power to alter the way a person is perceived and the way we internalize it. There are a lot of generalizations about beauty and people who follow it, some justified, but I really believe that we can all feel beautiful according to our own standards. Self-care and beauty rituals can do a lot for your overall happiness and self-confidence. Cosmetics and beauty have been notoriously alienating for decades but I think that through the recent popularity of online beauty gurus, we’re finally exposed to beauty in all shapes, sizes and colours. This new platform has given way to a much-needed shift to make beauty more inclusive. I also love that makeup application is a quantifiable skill that you can develop and see direct results from if you’re bold enough to play with your look and try new things.
Who are your beauty icons?
Elizabeth Taylor – I love her sass and the power she held in those delicate features. Sophia Loren because she’s an exotic beauty in a time where there were few and remains gorgeous to this day. I love her trademark cat eye makeup and glowing skin. Young Priscilla Presley –I’m convinced she is one of the most beautiful brides to ever live. I’m obsessed with her teased ‘60s bouffant hairdos. I would rock that every day if I could. Recently, I’ve been inspired by Norma Kamali because she is 69 and looks like she’s in her 30s! She only uses natural beauty products and toiletries, eats healthy and makes self-care a priority. I think she’s a testament to how positivity and conviction can bring you the best of life.
What makeup artists do you admire?
The first makeup artist I ever admired was Kevin Aucoin. I got his book, Making Faces from one of my aunts as a kid and I would pour over his stories and celebrity friends he made up to look like vintage icons. Like Megan wrote about in one of her beauty posts, his anecdotes were the best. It was the first time I really saw the transformative power of makeup, the artistry and industriousness involved. I like Charlotte Tilbury because her work is consistently elegant and refined no matter how subdued or colourful the look.. I’m really eager to try her new cosmetic line. She’s also great to follow on Instagram! Recently, like many of us at Curate, I have been obsessed with Lisa Eldridge she brings so much substance, context, and skill to her videos. I admire her knowledge of beauty history and artistry and her genuine passion for the craft.
How do you feel about makeup on men?
I love it! From David Bowie to Marilyn Manson, glam rock to goth subcultures. Makeup on men has a deep-rooted history. It started off as an extreme counterculture and now is becoming a more normalized part of grooming. Now, cosmetic companies are coming out with men’s lines and Sephora has a men’s makeup section. I’m very interested to see how mainstream men’s makeup becomes in the coming years.
Beauty customs and ads from the past always feel remarkably archaic, often more so than clothes. Why do you think that its? What do you think is temporally specific? What do you think is eternal?
I think women should look back at the past as a time where we didn’t have equal rights and were marginalized in society and that is something we should not forget because we then run the risk of losing that progress when we forget how far we’ve come. Like what Gloria Steinem refers to as the “Madmen Effect,” we become so enraptured with the nostalgia that we tolerate and even romanticize less progressive aspects of the culture. So they seem archaic because they were. Some people associate makeup with covering up flaws and appealing to society’s standard of beauty. That is not what it should be used for. To me, makeup is about enhancement and expression. I think there will always be the issue of equality as it relates to beauty and women’s role in society. That said, there is something about owning your beauty and femininity on your own terms that is empowering. I like to think that when I decide to wear red lipstick on a date it is reflective of how I feel and I would like to look, and it’s nice if my company enjoys it too but it’s about me. I think there will always be that’s side to beauty where people seek validation and to please others, but with confidence your outward appearance is just another extension of the story you’d like to tell the world and that is progress.
Photo by Bailey Northcott.
Where are you from?
Born and raised in Mississauga, Ontario.
What’s the story of your name?
My dad wanted to name me Hanna when I was first born but I cried throughout the night. My mom liked the name Lena and one of my uncles suggested they name me Reem, which means gazelle in Arabic. My mother said if I slept through the night my name would be Reem and if I cried, they’d go with Lena. Needless to say, I slept soundly that night.
What is your favorite color?
A toss up between pink and red – I’m pretty girly.
What is your favorite flower?
Forest green oxfords I purchased in California that a coworker unkindly dubbed my “grandma shoes.”
Favorite artist or art style?
My absolute favorite painting is Salome by Henri Regnault. I also really enjoy Gustav Klimt.
Hawaii getaway, everything about Hawaii feels like a fantasyland.
What is your favorite thing in your house?
Do my sisters count?
What would you wear to your last meal?
Hmm… Something Alexander Wang.
Fashion is a medium that relies quite heavily on inspiration, collaboration and an open exchange of ideas. Who would be your dream collaboration – living or dead? What inspires you about their work?
I’d love to see what a real Andy Warhol for Dior collection would look like. Raf Simons heavily referenced Warhol in his A/W 2013 collection and I absolutely loved the looks, especially the accessories. A literal collaboration would be incredible… Raf Simons inspires me because he is an innovator and a true fashion artist and Warhol because he was a brilliant observer. He channeled the essence of what made something or someone captivating or interesting and documented it, he was one of the pioneers of our current social climate.
What appeals to you about vintage?
I’m fascinated with the way our past informs the present, how people repurpose ideas and inspiration and make it new again. I think that is an art form in itself. We have the luxury of looking back with nostalgia and really curating our tastes from the best of what was offered in generations past and it’s incredible to learn about how fashion, art, music and culture has developed over the years.
What is your favorite beauty moment?
If you couldn’t tell from all my beauty posts 1960s!
If you could be on the cover of any fashion magazine, past or present, what would it be?
I want a ‘90s supermodel moment on the cover of Sports Illustrated!
Best trick taught to you by the person who made you love fashion?
Cher Horowitz made me love fashion. As a devotee of the movie and the television series she really taught me the power of accessorizing.
What is your favorite material?
Silk because it’s soft, airy and barely there.
If you could attend one event of the past, what would it be?
Please pick three items from Shrimpton that you love and tell us why.
1. 1990s Valentino silk lingerie inspired dress. I love the stunning color and cut. I have a weakness for lingerie inspired pieces!
2. 1980s Yves Saint Laurent Safari Dress. I adore the coat/dress look of it. It’s like having an YSL trench and dress in one. I also absolutely love the yellow tunic dress, which sold, so good on you to whoever snagged that stunner!
3. 1990s Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Jacket. The cut is so sexy, I love that collar, I love that it’s belted. It’s a very elegant piece I could see myself wearing often.
And finally … Karl or Yves?