And now for a very different sort of Valentine’s Day manicure! Years ago I was completely enamored with a video game called Alice: Madness Returns. It was a very NSFW, possibly NSFL (Not Safe For Life), retelling of Alice in Wonderland, if Lewis Carroll’s beloved tale were chockablock with mutant baby dolls, Victorian era sanitariums and monsters who look like they were pulled apart and stitched back together again with pieces of other monsters.
My favourite thing about the game was Alice’s wardrobe, which leaned heavily towards the Gothic Lolita and was wonderfully, blessedly free of the all-tits-and-ass style favoured by other video game heroines. Alice had something like 12 different costumes, including six downloadable-only outfits that gave her special powers, as all great outfits do. Perk-wise, my favourite was the Caterpillar dress, which enabled Alice to shrink down to itty bitty insect size to creep through tiny keyholes. But for my visual money, I always chose the original meat dress, Alice’s Fleshmaiden costume, an outfit that really looked like those inside-out monsters I was mentioning earlier. Power-wise, the Fleshmaiden costume (ugh, that name, though) enabled Alice to slip effortlessly into Hysteria mode, a kind of abstract, black and white (and red) world that looked like that metallic taste you get in your mouth when you’re so angry, you kind of lose your hearing. If the DLC items could be said to belong to any given level, the Fleshmaiden costume was the domain of Queensland, a meat and tendon and blood-soaked hellscape ruled by the Queen of Hearts.
My for-a-time obsession with Madness Returns happened to coincide with the earliest days of my all-the-time obsession with nail art, and indeed, I launched this very blog with those initial hesitant attempts. So it felt quite fitting to revisit one of those designs for this Then and Now post that really puts the “anti” in anti-Valentine’s Day. Anyhow, happy day to you, friends, no matter how you choose to acknowledge the day (although hopefully it doesn’t involve wearing your enemy’s heart on your lapel like a brooch.)