The 31 Day Challenge is starting at the beginning of the rainbow this year (and every year, as I’m discovering – the challenge prompts have not changed in at least three cycles) with the colour red. I went for a more thematic approach to day one’s prompt, eschewing the actual colour (there’s quite a bit of green in these supposedly red nails) in favour of an idea, specifically that of the Queen of Hearts’ preference for blood red roses, whether natural or of the painted variety. And matted, of course, because matte florals always look like gorgeous, vintage wallpaper, which is precisely the look I was going for.
Given the rash of Alice: Madness Returns-inspired nails I did last year and a couple of other Alice-centric designs kicking around my archives, you might reasonably assume that I love Alice in Wonderland. And yet, I don’t. For me it’s the literary equivalent of fresh marshmallows and things involving roasted garlic – I far prefer the idea of it as opposed to, you know, IT. And while there have been innumerable interpretations of Lewis Carroll’s acid trip of a master work, ensuring that fans of the concept can always find a Wonderland to suit their tastes, the source material from which they derive is so distractingly scattershot and unformed, I have a hard time wading through the crazy. It’s like listening to a pervy junkie reminisce about the good old days when you could keep the private company of seven-year-old girls without their parents getting all uptight about it (until, you know, their parents get all uptight about it; as I learned in a children’s lit class I took in university, Carroll’s friendship with a very young Alice Liddell, the real life inspiration for our heroine in Wonderland, ended rather abruptly after her parents became concerned that his intentions towards their daughter were not entirely honourable. And if you’re thinking, “Well, yeah, nothing about this situation sounds remotely honourable or on the level,” keep in mind that at the time – the mid-1860s – grown men keeping the company of children as friends was not entirely uncommon, nor was it regarded as all that weird. Until, like I said, someone went and made it weird.)
It has been left to literary history to decide whether Carroll behaved inappropriately with Alice, but what can’t be debated is the final outcome after her parents removed her from his life, which is of course the book itself, a kind of fever dream ode to one man’s descent into drug-induced insanity after his favourite playmate was taken away. It’s not even particularly well written. But giant, hookah-smoking caterpillars! And, um, backwards-talking drug addicts all hopped up on caffeine and hat glue. It’s, like, seriously, dude, PUT. DOWN. THE. OPIUM.
All that to say these nails are based on yet another interpretation of Alice in Wonderland, this time the animated Disney movie of 1951 and its decapitation-loving Queen of Hearts.