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Ms. Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems, a wildly successful computer networking company, is also the
brains behind Urban Decay,
a new line of makeup that sets
this week's standard for formulaic Gen X anti-marketing:
lipsticks with names like Asphyxia, Smog, and Plague;
nail polish that comes in shades of Uzi, Bruise, Roach,
Mildew, and Ozone. These appellations alone are enough
to gull grrls into surplus multi-purchases and the requisite
emphatic endorsements--"Neato! Neato! Neato! Now I can
REALLY scare those little preppy bitches at school!"--but
true connoisseurs of anti-marketing will get the biggest
kick out of Urban Decay's introductory manifesto and press release.
There you will find retail-performance-art koans such as these these:
"We refuse to accept the decay as negative--instead, we see it as a chance to have fun, and be one with the rusting fire escapes and the smog within our cities."
Finally, the '90s gets the nail polish it deserves!
The sentiments that Lerner and her edgy band of art-guerillas express are even more provocative in the blithely contradictory light of biography: the slum-trolling millionairess lives not in some gritty urban wasteland, but rather, genteel Los Altos, a sleepy suburban enclave populated by old-style California gentry and the Silicon Valley tech-nouveau riche. If the place even has a homeless person, he probably dresses in Steve Jobs' cast-off Brooks Brothers shirts. And if the press clippings that Lerner has garnered in the years since leaving Cisco offer an accurate picture of her leisure hours, she seems to spend more time "being one" with the Stanford Equestrian Center than the mean streets of the city.