The Forgotten Genius of Club Libby Lu
And How To Revive Her Spirit in 2020
It's 2007. Your best friend calls you on the landline to let you know her mom will be picking you up in their mini van and taking you guys to the mall to get makeovers at Club Libby Lu. You make your own sparkly lip gloss and buy some Hannah Montana merch with birthday money from your grandma. Life is good.
Although Club Libby Lu locations closed nationwide in 2009, her memory lives on in my heart today. Think of a place where the exploration of cuteness was first celebrated in your life, where there were no stupid 5th grade crushes or elementary school drama other than deciding what synthetic dye to put in your customizable lotion. Think of a place where fairies granted your every wish at the door and dumped buckets of non-biodegrable loose glitter on you for your entire 45 minute stay. There isn't a better haven of creativity and sparkles and pink. She's unmatched. To this day.
But even as a grown woman with a better sense of style than like, Ashley Tisdale circa 2006, I still pine for the security and love from Libby Lu. Don't get me wrong, I love the concept of your mall Sephora, or other beauty bar. I love an environment where creativity and education is persued through beauty and self care. I love a locally owned salon and spa where your hard earned coin directly supports makeup artists and cosmetologists whose whole career is making the public confident and beautiful. But something's missing in all of these avenues.
An aspect of celebration.
Also, the color fuchsia.
I mean, when was the last time we delved into our love for sequins and autotuned pop music and perfume so sweet and fake it smells like a half eaten Jolly Rancher? And when we do indulge, why can it feel so guilty and unsophisticated? Don't get me wrong, I don't think there's anything wrong with a Hello Kitty obsession or like, Viva la Juicy being your signature scent even if you're 25. That's not my business. But I simply can't wrap my mind around why here, in the year two thousand and twenty, celebrating these things in a public medium is a thing of the past.
Don't think I'm shaming the Milk Makeup stans or the Zara girlies for a SECOND! That is exactly why I will always advocate for a space for the Sanrio soldiers and the Shein dolls alike. The only way my life will be fufilled is when a haven for all forms of self love and expression comes into fruition. I'm talking Club Libby Lu for the 2020s, and yes, it will be roaring. I want Charli XCX on blast and then Angel Olsen depression tracks on that radio back to back. I want sponsorships with LOONA and fka Twigs and Megan Thee Stallion. I want a perfume and makeup bar with all vegan and biodegradable products. I'm talking the Libby Lu Style Studio rethought and flourishing. I want a safe, judgement free environment for trans people, queer people, people of color, disabled people -- I want an environment for anyone to be able to explore creativity and self expression. I want it to be accessible, sustainable, low prices. I want it to be the co-op of the century. I want it to be Club Libby Lu on poppers and with a moutful of pink Starburst.
I feel like it's not a lot to ask, personally.
But for now, how do we encorporate the values of Club Libby Lu in our everyday lives? I mean, firstly, it's expensive now to love yourself. Expensive both financially and in time. It seems like such a constant hustle with work and classes and somehow still pursuing that initial dream that keeps you waking up in the first place. I'm not a licensed mental health professional in any way, but I have been going to therapy for 8 years now and let me tell you, babes. No material item can cure that mental exhaustion. Not even the safest of spaces can cure that emotional fatigue. It takes years of hard work to get to that headspace. And not everyone has years to just set aside trying.
I think the spirit of Club Libby Lu is an important one to keep burying back in the brain cells, somewhere. To not feel guilty for self indulgence. To not judge ourselves for satiating our desires for the kitsch, or the cute, or the raunchy, or the splurges. The earth is dying at an alarming rate, who cares what anyone thinks? That Ulta cashier does not care that you're buying a useless $12 rosewater face mist just because the packaging was cute. Your Instagram followers definitely won't judge you for purchasing a ridiculously flamboyant marabou feather night gown. Ok, well maybe that was a lie. Instagram is for judging. But the point remains! Let the ghost of Libby Lu speak for you when your psyche feels crushed or confused. Smother it with body glitter and overpriced Depop items. What is life if it's not drenched in a thick layer of sweet enthusiasm for the material.