The Eyes Have “It” — Or Do The Lips?

What do Lena Dunham and Katy Perry have in common besides the fact that they’re both young celebs who support Hilary for President?  Political leanings aside they are currently twinning in print media — putting their sweaters where their mouths are. Although this trend will come in handy during cold and flu season that is not the real reason they are concealing the lower halves of their faces. As you’re probably aware, Dunham appears on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar’s November “Daring” issue, and stay tuned for the imminent debut of Perry on the ubiquitous H&M holiday billboards.

Katy Perry Ad for H&M

Are these two high profile moue maskers just a coincidence of happenstance? Or is something more sinister happening in the symbolism at play here? ;Are they subtly or not so subtly being asked to shut up? Crazier yet, is the all important oral moratorium self imposed? The idea that either of these two women, one an outspoken TV and film writer, personality and actress, the other a prolific singer who filmed a documentary about herself on tour, could easily be silenced is laughable. If the intent is for them to look coy, cheeky, teasing or even to hint at mystery, that would also be ironic. These two very public figures probably have very little privacy in their daily lives so perhaps they’re playing with that concept. This could also serve as a rare comment that, due to their strong social media presence and a feeling of overexposure, they and/the photographer may wish to secrete themselves or shield themselves a bit.

Freshness Burger Liberation Wrapper

Hiding the mouth traditionally is thought to connote lying or holding back the truth from coming out. One covers one’s mouth when one is embarrassed, yawning or, in today’s world when one hasn’t had time to get lip injections. The trend now towards huge overinflated lips is actually the opposite of what is polite in the Asian world where women are taught never to have a large open mouth known as Ochobo. (See article on, I happened to find a video from 2013 of a Japanese hamburger restaurant that supplies women with face masks to be worn when “chowing down” on one of their large burgers allowing them to maintain their dignity. Here in American we don’t seem to have a problem with women eating large burgers as witnessed by the Carl’s Jr. commercials featuring Paris Hilton a few years back. Of course, when one’s mouth is covered, eyes become the focal point and truly the windows to the soul, or at least, props for some dramatic makeup. In fact, most makeup artists will tell you not to wear bold lips when you’re wearing a smoky cat-eye, and to go for a nude lip instead.

Sia on SNL

The converse can also be found today in stars such as Sia, the singer who wears eye obscuring wigs as part of her stage act. In her recent appearance last weekend on Saturday Night Live she performed with painted “manga” type eyes on the lower part of her cheek as well as a huge blue hair bow. While you could see her mouth, it was not exactly the focal point of her look as there were distractions everywhere. Sia has said that she does not want to become instantly recognizable to the public and therefore guards her image closely.

Nars lipstick ad

Similar to the makeup artists’ wish to spotlight only one feature, advertising is wise to this phenomenon as well. This Nars lipstick ad is a classic example of that type of positioning. While a fairly well known and identifiable model, in this case, Daria Stroukous, is used, she is not really recognizable by her lips alone yet it is a striking and memorable image for the product itself.

Adele on cover of i-D magazine

Another example of a specific facial pose being used is found on I-D Magazine. This is a publication that uses a one-eye open, one-eye shut pose as in a wink, for each of its cover subjects. I’m sure some would relate it to the one-eyed pyramid of the Illuminati, if you follow that sort of thing. Perhaps Ben Carson would be the “go to” guy for the answer?

Tamron Hall Catches Prince’s Eye

I’m also deeply confused and a little mystified regarding the Today Show’s Tamron Hall’s ( video) confession that she is the cover model for Prince’s new album “If Eye Could Get Your Attention” and that she sends him a friendly “solicited” selfie of her OOTD for approval before leaving for work to which he makes suggestions such as those regarding her makeup and hair. “Eye” guess the photo he ended up using is one that definitely got his attention!

– Laurel Marcus

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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