I am still obsessed with Mariah Carey for these three reasons:
1. All I Want For Christmas. The huskies, the sled, the red velvet cape that was cute and winsome and in no way suggestive of a festive prostitute doing a photo shoot for a December special offer.
2. Cribs. Tommy Mottola era Mariah’s shoe room was a totem of excess and irresponsibility. Her fondness for black velvet and lucite made 16 year old me fall straight down the stairs of Bournemouth’s Bar Med while wearing what I believed to be an homage to her glamorous sex worker style. I tripped in some bad shoes and then I walked with a limp. It made my subsequent post GCSE summer kinda lame. Hers were Gucci, mine cost £17 from an establishment called the Shoe Shed, and I later learned they were enormously popular among the transvestite community of the South West.
And finally, 3. The cover of Rainbow. The thighs. I would give up all my worldly goods (a three year old MacBook and some Roja candles) to rent those thighs for half an hour. If ever I see a picture of Beyonce in a maxi skirt, I think she’s been Google image searching 1999 pop culture for a bit, seen Mariah and thought “Huh, I give up.” I challenge any human being, whatever their gender and sexuality, not to look at those thighs and long to lick them for a solid calendar month. And not February, either.
Obviously the thighs have been honed and toned with some sort of strenuous exercise routine. (Which begs the question, which one? What did people do after Jane Fonda and before Tracy Anderson? Even Davina didn’t really exist as an exercise guru in 1999 – I think she was still wearing pleather with a split fringe.) Also, I’m sure the image is “digitally assisted” – not because I’m a horrid jealous bitch (well, I am) but back then she was Columbia’s show pony, and the lady artists of the era were all Photoshopped to look like sex cartoons, unless they were with MCA.
But the thighs are immortal because of their gleam. They glisten like the azure sea on the brochure of the sort of high end resort that gives guests actual Veuve, not prosecco, at the breakfast buffet. They shimmer with the ferocity of a thousand 99p Spangle nail polish bottles. They’re so milled and smooth and golden and impossible that they must have a threadcount. You long to throw yourself at them, not knowing whether they’ll yield like lobster butter, or bounce like the most expensive mattress on the John Lewis website. I will never have thighs as magical as Mariah’s, but I have rounded up the most fabulous oils, butters, exfoliants and lotions so that we can all have thighs that feel* like Mariah’s. (*thanks to a cease and desist order filed in 2002, I have been advised by my lawyers to state that I have not actually felt Mariah’s actual thighs.)
Noble Isle Summer Rising Cornish Hedgerow body lotion and bath and shower gel, £38 for the set
Noble Isle is my swaggiest discovery of the summer. Even if it made your skin drier than AA Gill believes himself to be, I would recommend it because of the painfully subtle sexy scent, which evokes 5pm on a 28 degree day in a deserted garden with a cool camomile lawn. If you’re anxious about oil and you like to wash and go, the lotion absorbs into your skin in seconds and locks in the heavenly fragrance of the shower gel. But your legs, arms, and anywhere else you care to apply it will feel like satin all day long.
Jardin D’Eden Detox Heavenly Butter, £30, and Detox Body and Bath Oil, £20
If you fancy filling your bathroom with the sort of products that will trick visitors into thinking you’ve got a ludicrously high end spa in your house (and if you don’t, there’s nothing for you here and I’m not entirely sure why you’re still reading) Jardin D’Eden is the brand for you. The scent is clean but heavy with geranium, which undercuts the rose and keeps it feminine but not too girly. The body butter contains Hawaiian Kukui, which is new to me, and I suspect it’s the ambergris of the smoothing community. (WHAT? That’s a thing.) The grapefruit in the oil is energising and reviving – a potenially life saving property for all you bath nappers.
Elemis Japanese Camellia Body Oil Blend, £29.50, and Fragipani Monoi Salt Glow, £36.50
If you put nothing else on your body all year, including clothes, you’re going to need Camellia oil. Slather it. Beslicken yourself with it. Pretend Joe Francis is pointing a camera at you, and it’s his birthday. (Well, don’t, because The Patriarchy, but it seemed as appropriately nineties a reference as any.) The oil will turn your skin into something formed from petals. You will feel and smell so much like a flower that you might want to avoid garden centres, for safety. Camellia is the scent of courtesans, famous for making people want to have sex with people who wear it. Be warned. The only thing sexier than you, oiled, is you scrubbed and oiled. A little Salt Glow in the shower, before the oiling, will make you forget Maria’s thighs, because you will be so enraptured with your own.