Gossamer's Verena von Pfetten on the Ultimate Adolescent IDGAF Lipstick.
You know those people who run their own company, speak on super-important panels, vacation to exotic surfing locales, and still manage to be the most engaged person on the group chat? Our friend (and former coworker) Verena von Pfetten is one of those people. The digital publishing maven (whose resume includes stints as executive digital director for Lucky, and as a consultant for brands like Instagram and Glossier), parlayed her professional experience, knack for being ahead of the curve, and penchant for, well, weed into Gossamer, the cannabis lifestyle magazine and media platform she co-founded in 2017. Like Verena, the publication is playfully idiosyncratic, full of fascinating facts—about everything from egg slicers to edibles—and deeply, deeply cool. Here, Verena (or as we call her, VVP), reflects on life—and lipstick—before the digital era.
Tell us, what’s the item that stars in your Haystack Story?
MAC lipstick in “Lust.”
Do you still have it?
Can you describe it?
It was a sparkly, pale purple-meets-moody lilac lipstick that looked like something Chloë Sevigny would have worn during her post-Jane, pre-Kids, Downtown NYC club kid days. (Who am I kidding—she’d probably still wear it.)
What made it so perfect?
It’s a ridiculous color, totally unnecessary and I’m sure unflattering to almost every skin tone. But also it’s just so pretty. It’s a glittery pastel shade that somehow presents as anything but prim. Instead, it’s edgy and honestly a little uncomfortable to look at, but then again: sparkles!
What do you feel when you think about it?
Like I wish I could recapture some of my early teen adventurousness. I used to wear Lust paired with emerald green eyeshadow, a tiny yellow floral print crop top, and blue-black metallic nail polish—among other combos—and roll my eyes so hard at anyone who tried to tell me, gently, kindly, that this was maybe not my best look. There’s something exhilarating about that level of indifference to opinion and taste. Just thinking about the shade gives me a little thrill of excitement, of anticipation—the same feeling I had sitting cross-legged on my bedroom floor in front of my Clairol True To Light makeup mirror, painting it on, pressing my lips together after every stroke. It felt like I was on the cusp of something—what, I have no idea—just something.
If your lipstick could talk, what would it have said?
I dare you.
When did you get it?
Who did you have a crush on back then?
Who *didn’t* I have a crush on back then? According to my diary: Oscar, Andrew, Johnny, Noam, and a boy named Dave who I’d never even met. But mostly: Brad Renfro and Edward Furlong.
What did a typical Friday night look like?
Sleepovers with friends, three-way calling everyone we could think of and staying up hours into the night doing each other’s makeup and lamenting how very little we were understood by anybody and everybody around us.
If someone gave you $20 to spend, what would you have bought?
Another iridescent MAC eyeshadow to add to my palette.
What show did you rush home to watch?
My So-Called Life.
What was your favorite snack?
A thick swath of softened, salted butter on lightly toasted Wonder Bread and Gushers—that’s if I wasn’t deep in the throes of your classic 14-year-old-at-an-all-girl’s school sporadic flirtation with anorexia. (Which isn’t to belittle the seriousness of an eating disorder—only my own dalliances with them.)
How are you the same as you were back then, and how are you different?
I still love the ritual of getting ready—for the day, for a night out, for a lazy Sunday at home. But I’m much more comfortable in my own skin.
Illustration by Marisa Balmori