Rebecca’s Joan Collins makeover or Can You Ever Wear Too Much Blusher?

(Answer: no)
Publish date:
July 20, 2012
fashion, dynasty, fabulousness, Joan Collins, Alexis Colby, dress the ed

For our second Saturday afternoon transformation, we decided to dress Rebecca up as the queen of glamour, Joan Collins. As Alexis Colby in Dynasty, she was the ultimate badass scheming TV bitch, always immaculate with her splendid coiffure, eyes glittering through lashings of mascara and kohl and scarlet mouth smiling evilly.

Would it be possible to turn our mild-mannered Editor into a Joan lookalike? But of course! You just need a good wig, some shoulder pads made of tea towels and lashings of blusher. And a fabulous ‘80s frock or two...

The frocks

As always, the makeover was in the capable hands of Charlotte, who started by applying a hefty layer of foundation and powder to achieve Joan’s pale complexion (the mattifying effect helped ‘age’ Rebecca too – sorry Joan!). Eyebrows were brushed up with ‘eyebrow mascara’ (by some dodgy anonymous brand) to resemble Joan’s spindly ‘80s ones.

Charlotte does Rebecca's make-up

For the eyes, Charlotte started with a light purple shadow to which she added a darker shade, building it up to create a smoky effect. She used Benefit eyebrow powder with a brush as a liner, and we decided to pile on the kohl to recreate Joan’s famously wicked Alexis glare. Lips were thickly coated in Benefit’s ‘Frenched’ lipstick which was topped with a truly nasty bronze pearlescent lipgloss – mmm, ‘80s!

On with the wig!

We wrestled with the wig for quite some time and eventually ended up piling it into a big heap on top of Rebecca’s head, jamming in loads of pins and pulling it down over one eye in a vampy manner.


I started taking photos of the Joanified Rebecca and had to keep urging her to “look mean! No, meaner!”

The lady herself: Joan Collins

When the transformation was complete, Charlotte and I agreed that Rebecca actually looked mega-foxy. Maybe a dye job and a perm are in order?

THIS is what an editor should look like

In a disturbingly short amount of time Rebecca became at one with her inner vamp, flouncing around like she owned the place and barking at me to refill her glass of fizz from her tiger-striped throne. Cow...

[I was going to weigh in here with something about how the mask of makeup had released my inner bitch, which has always been fighting to get out, but mainly I'm just mesmerised by my insane cheekbones. And Phoebe, now my inner bitch has been unleashed, I sense that it's very close to the surface. Just something to keep in mind... --Rebecca]

In real life Joan appears to be a glorious, unapologetic snob, as we saw a couple of years ago when she made a TV documentary called Joan Does Glamour, in which she transformed three generations of one family from tracksuited scruffs to glamorous mini-hers. The press release for the show explained: “Joan remembers a better Britain when everybody – regardless of personal circumstance – took care and pride in their appearance. She is a product of the time when no one left the house without looking their best and dressing properly. And she believes that if people made more effort, it would lift their self esteem and boost their self confidence.”

The End: holding a teatowel shoulder pad

Some people thought her ruthless critique of the unkempt women she saw shuffling round Sainsbury’s was cruel – I think that’s missing the point. Linda Grant confirms what I’ve always believed but never managed to articulate so elegantly: “Clothes matter: we care about what we wear, and not caring is usually a sign of depression, madness or the resignation to our imminent death.” So there: sneak out to the corner shop in your jammies will you? Impending death for you!

Picture Credit: Rex Features