Hey there Champagne Dreamers! I’ve been a little lazy with painting a new face every week (things have been busy with work, blah blah blah, all the usual stuff) and so for this week I decided to bring back something I did earlier in this series: I’m going to curate my “dream palette” for one of my favorite pieces of pop culture, the gothic soap opera Dark Shadows! Like Hollywood, I’m already thinking about a sequel – I can’t wait to put together something very vibrant and saturated that’s reminiscent of Tim Burton’s film version! – but for this palette I wanted to focus on the show that started it all!
I did this in an earlier post where I created some custom palettes based on iconic moments and looks from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, my favorite movie, using single shadows from Devinah. Rather than just picking colors that I wanted to have together, I liked the idea that if someone wanted to they could actually go and create the exact palette that I was putting together! For classic Dark Shadows and the colors that I was already thinking about, I knew that Give Me Glow Cosmetics would be an excellent choice. I love their singles, both the mattes and the shimmers/metallics, and I thought they would make an excellent choice for the classic version.
So let’s get to the palette, and then I’ll talk you through what inspired the choice of colors and the names!
For this palette, I decided to keep it simple with the shade names and name them after characters from the show. For the Tim Burton-inspired palette I have some other ideas but…that’s for another time! The tv show ran from 1966 to 1971, a daily 30 minute soap, so there are a lot of episodes – 1225 in total! I have the complete collection and I’m still working my way through them (about 200 to go!) but when I think about the show I think about their gorgeous interior sets: lots of beautiful woodwork with furniture covered in jeweled velvets. I decided to do a 12-pan palette, half matte and half shimmer like a lot of the Give Me Glow palettes, and most of the mattes have a coordinating shimmer except for the last pair on the end.
To keep with the look and feel of the show, I didn’t want black for deepening shades, but a deep brown and a deep eggplant purple. For the brown matteshade and the coordinating shimmer I went with the shades Dark As My Soul for matte and Buffy for the metallic shimmer. I named the matte shade Barnabas and the shimmer shade Quentin. These are the only male character names that I used in the palette, but they are probably the most important men in the series! When it first started airing, Dark Shadows was just a soap opera with a gothic vibe in a shadowy estate. The ratings were low and the show was in danger of being cancelled until they threw in a ghost, and the ratings bumped up. The show continued to flounder, however, and so Dan Curtis, the creator and producer, decided to just go full on supernatural and brought in Barnabas Collins in episode 211. Barnabas was an ancestor of the Collins family who had been turned into a vampire by a jealous witch. He was initially just supposed to have a short story arc, but audiences went wild, and Curtis very quickly shifted the focus of the show around Barnabas.
FUN FACT: I didn’t know until much later how many great queer actors were on Dark Shadows – including Jonathan Frid who played Barnabas!
Quentin was introduced a year or two later and though he is primarily known as a werewolf, he has also been a malevolent spirit haunting Collinwood (the Collins family estate) and his story includes a reference to Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray – he had a portrait made by a local artist that would keep him alive and young and also prevented him from turning into his werewolf form. He has been both friend and adversary to Barnabas, and he was another breakout star of the show. I love the metallic shimmer of Buffy and I thought the taupe brown color would be perfect for this sexy wolfman!
In terms of the rest of the colors, I named the shades after many of the great female characters on the show – and what a cast of characters they were! The show eventually played around with time travel and alternate realities, so all of the cast members got to play multiple roles! Green and orange were huge colors in the 60s for both fashion and decor, and I knew that I had to have a bright, electric lime matte and shimmer. I was able to find pictures of almost all of the main female characters in some version of this color! I also wanted some deeper more cool greens with a mossy, sagey look. I thought that orange shades would contrast nicely with the greens and work well with the other shades in the palette, plus there is the reference to Julia Hoffman’s trademark ginger hair (that changed quite a bit throughout the series and that Tim Burton highlighted and made almost comical on Helena Bonham Carter in the film version). For lighter shades, I wanted some pinks and a pastel blue: while day clothes tended to have more saturated colors, there were many scenes of women in pastel nightgowns walking with candles through shadowy corridors! I wanted to bring those in. Finally, I wanted an eggplant purple to give another option for deepening besides brown that would pair well with the olive, lime, and orange shades but also be able to pair with the pastel pink and blue.
For the pink shades, I used Nude Rose for the matte and Pink Champagne for the shimmer and I named them for two characters played by Kathryn Leigh Scott: Josette and Maggie. Maggie is a character on the series from very beginning, starting as a sassy waitress at the local diner but eventually becoming a governess at Collinwood. When Barnabas arrives, he is struck by how much Maggie looks like his tragic lost love Josette, and when the show played with time jumps, Scott also played Josette. Josette is beautiful and sweet, but ultimately falls victim to the evil schemes of Angelique, her personal servant who is secretly a witch and in love with Barnabas.
FUN FACT: One of Kathryn Leigh Scott’s other “roles” was as a bunny at a Playboy club! She wrote about the experience in her book The Bunny Years.
Nancy Barrett’s Carolyn Stoddard is the character that I most associate with the electric lime green fashions, and so I decided to name the lime matte, Give Me Glow’s Limeade, for her. Carolyn is young and impulsive, falling in and out of love with a series of men. She was initially on the show to help drive the romantic plots that define the soap genre, but as the series turned to the supernatural she also became a servant to vampire Barnabas, and the jumps in time allowed her to play other characters as well. Most of her characters were young and foolish (and in some cases, feeble-minded) but she also got to play the eccentric showgirl and psychic Pansy Faye, a character who had been introduced in earlier episodes and killed and whose spirit inhabited the body of the devout and churlish Millicent Trask. Give Me Glow’s Lemon Lime is a gorgeous bright green and a perfect complement to Limeade, so I named that shade for Barrett’s interpretation of Pansy Faye.
FUN FACT: The first actress to play Pansy Faye was a woman named Kay Frye who was the wife of Carl Collins in one of the time jump storylines and was killed by a vampire…though not by Barnabas Collins! It was a character named Dirk who had been turned into a vampire and killed Pansy Faye. When Nancy Barrett played the character it was the spirit of Pansy Faye possessing her, allowing Barrett to play opposite in the same story: an uptight minister’s daughter and a bawdy showgirl.
In addition to the lime green shades, I also wanted to include some deeper, cooler tone army greens. The shade Elizabeth, named for Elizabeth Collins Stoddard, is the matte shade Olive You from the GiveMeGlow line. It’s definitely more subdued and more blue-leaning, but I think you could still layer these two darker greens with the lime greens, and they would look lovely with the orange, purple, or brown shades as well.
The green shimmer shade, Joker, is named for Victoria Winters. It was her journey to Collinwood to become a governess to young David and hopefully learn the truth about her parentage (she was an orphan) that kicked off the series. There is some suggestion that had the show not gone in the supernatural direction, she might have learned that one of her parents was a member of the Collins family, but her lineage was never revealed on the show and the actress, Alexandra Moltke, eventually left to pursue other things. She is a well-respected documentary filmmaker and has expressed some criticism of her character’s storylines; she has stated that she left the show because she was tired of always being the victim of supernatural forces and the role lacked true depth.
FUN FACT: In a special feature from one of the DVDs, Alexandra Moltke was participating in a Dark Shadows event panel and talking about her role as Victoria Winters. She revealed that she had been approached by Dan Curtis to return to the show, and she said that she would consider it if she was able to have an evil twist to her character. They wanted Victoria to return to her familiar role, and the actress passed on the opportunity. During the panel, she mentions that the show brought on a Victoria Winters type character instead, and that she had talked with the actress some years later about how she felt about the character. That actress? None other than Kate Jackson in her first television role. She joined the cast late in the series’ run; most people will more likely recognize her as Sabrina from the original cast of Charlie’s Angels!
Next up, I selected two orange shades. I was torn between using a more mustard yellow kind of shade instead, more of the “avocado and harvest gold” aesthetic of the 60s, but I felt like light orange shades might better match with the deeper greens, the purple, and even the blue shimmer.
The matte orange, MOTD, is named for Dr. Julia Hoffman, played delightfully by Grayson Hall. She runs a sanitarium (natch) called Windcliff and she comes to stay at Collinwood while doing some research. She becomes a friend and confidante to Barnabas Collins, following him through time and trying to help him achieve his goals. She has an unrequited love for Barnabas (I mean, it was still a soap opera!) but he saw her as his most trusted advisor.
In one of the parallel time stories, Grayson Hall played a Romani character named Magda. Grayson was definitely one of the actors who contributed to the overall camp factor of the show, and the character of Magda allowed her to be even more expressive and dramatic, chewing the scenery in the best way possible. Hall is one of the things that I love most about this show! I almost named this shade Daphne, for Kate Jackson’s character, but I thought the bright playful orange shimmer shade Selfie deserved to be tied to a wilder character like Magda!
For the last two shades, I decided to break with the pattern of having a matching matte and shimmer. I knew that I wanted the deep purple shade for darkening, but instead of a purple shimmer I absolutely had to have a light sparkling blue shade: Jade. Angelique was the witch who cursed Barnabas, and the actress, Lara Parker, was known for having these huge, expressive, gorgeous blue eyes! I also thought it fit because of the gothic tone of the show: so many scenes and dream sequences were lit with a blue cast, women in mausoleums in blue nightgowns – it just had to be!
The purple shade, Salem, was also one that I considered naming Daphne – I’m a Kate Jackson fan and I really did try to get her into this! But instead I decided to name the shade Cassandra. After the first trip into the past, where the show played out Barnabas’ early life and how he became cursed by Angelique, Barnabas returned to the present. Unfortunately, he ended up brining the witch Angelique with him! She disguised herself as a woman named Cassandra and arrived at Collinwood as the mysterious wife of Elizabeth’s brother, Roger. The reason why I really wanted to include Cassandra in this palette isn’t necessarily because I felt that character was more important, but because it has some nostalgia: my mom and I used to watch Dark Shadows together on PBS when I was a kid. It was one of the things that really kicked off my early love of horror. It could be hard to follow, given that there were so many episodes and we didn’t watch it consistently, but I always remembered watching the episodes that featured Cassandra. I saw Cassandra before I ever saw Parker as Angelique!
And that is the palette! Let me know what you think of my interpretation of the show using Give me Glow shadows – especially if you are a fan of the show! Do you think these were a good choice, or is there something you would have done differently. I tried to balance choosing colors that really felt like the show to me with needing to have colors that would pair well and make beautiful eye looks! Who know, I might even do a little shopping on the Give Me Glow site one of these days and put this palette together!
And I’m not sure when it will happen, but there will be a sequel to this post where I show off what my Tim Burton Dark Shadows palette would look like!