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making faces :: the second world

the eastern front
have you ever wondered what the second world was? you hear a lot about first and third world countries, so what's the second? no one ever talks about them. i know i wondered. i know that dom wondered, because he asked me about it recently and momentarily allowed me to feel very clever. i liked that feeling.

you see where this is going, right?

the model of the three worlds actually dates from the cold war, when political machinations meant that much of the world was divided between nations affiliated with nato and those affiliated with the warsaw pact. the remainder were the "non-aligned states", many newly formed and/ or emerging from the spectre of colonialism, who remained independent of both groups [for as long as they could]. french demographer alfred sauvy compared the three political divisions to the three estates in revolutionary france, nato being the nobility, the warsaw pact the clergy [ironic, given government views on religion] and non-aligned states representing the people.

so the second world- insofar as the term was ever used- referred to those countries, largely those in eastern europe, who fell under the soviet sphere of influence after world war ii.

for decades, those countries were mysteries to those of us comfortably ensconced in the first world. but in the late eighties and early nineties, the doors were flung open and those on both sides of the iron curtain saw each other, in many ways, for the first time. the modern accoutrements of the west flooded in, making eastern europe and fascinating hybrid of the hyper-modern and the historic.

for those who wanted to see europe, the east provided a surprisingly cheap alternative to traditional destinations like france or spain, which allowed younger people to experience what these countries have had to offer. and while costs in places like prague have skyrocketed with their new-found popularity, much of the east is still a pretty cost-effective option for those looking to travel or live in europe.

of course, poverty, crime, corruption and unstable economies have continued to be problems for many countries [then again, those have been problems for western europe of late]. but eastern europe has an undeniable allure. just ask the people behind nail polish brand opi.

this spring, central/ eastern europe is their focus- the czech republic, hungary, romania and poland- and the collection really is a nice mix of the classic and the contemporary in terms of colours. i find that opi's geographically themed collections are hit-and-miss in terms of how well-matched they seem, but there really is something appropriate about the selection this time. it's a remarkably broad collection with metallics, glitter, nude, vampy and a lot of blues, that has some unconventional choices for spring alongside some seasonal classics.

i picked up three of the shades and i thought i'd share them with you. i'll just warn you now that if you haven't been exposed to opi's horribly punny names before, be prepared to groan...

a woman's prage-ative :: a bright sparkly copper with an almost holographic effect. it reminds me of the shade of my mother's copper kettle when it was freshly polished. it's a very warm shade [a lot of gold in the sparkle] and remains luminous for days. i always find shades with dense sparkle like this to be extremely forgiving in application and this one is no exception.

prague
you're such a buda-pest :: this is a much more "standard" spring shade, but a very cool one. it's bluer than most typical lilac shades, but not quite as blue as what you'd call "periwinkle". for a pastel, it has a definite presence; it doesn't look soft at all, but very fresh and modern. pastels are often trickier to work with and while this one was a little more difficult to get even than the others, it was easier than many cream-finish pastels. in fact, while i'd call this one a cream, there is a very fine silvery-white shimmer visible in the bottle, but on the nail, i really can't see it.

budapest

eur-so euro :: a real blockbuster. it's a deepened royal blue that's so intense it almost seems to glow. it was nearly opaque in one coat, although you'll want two to make it perfectly even. cream shades can be tricky, but this one is just a wonder. it applies like magic even for those of us who are all thumbs. it also lasts very well, even on me [and i normally have noticeable tip wear within a day].  i apologise that, even by the standard of mobile phone pictures, this isn't great, but keeping in mind that it was taken in fairly low light, i think it does give a hint of the intensity of this shade.

euro
i haven't featured a lot of posts on nails here on more like space, because i completely clumsy in my application and there are people who are really excellent at taking polish pics around the internet, and because i'm not very adept at taking photos of my nails, even when i do get the application right.

but i figured that, while i'm waiting for the plague of boils to heal and i can go back to making faces, you might at least enjoy a little "making manis".

opi is available from a variety of locations, particularly beauty supply stores [but not sephora, for whom they do an exclusive collection, or at shoppers drug mart, who carry their budget line] and generally runs about $10cad. this collection, from the shades i've tried, certainly seems to be an example of them at their best: fun, easy-to-wear shades that apply well, wear well and offer a fresh take on the season.

the image at the top of this post comes from here and shows the beautiful city of budapest.

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