Fashion & Beauty

Fashion & Beauty

Little Grey Dress

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Fendi | Haute Couture Fall Winter 2016/2017 Full Show | Exclusive


SNEAKY FREAKY!!

Guiseppe Zanotti - metallic Hi-Top sneakersYeah baby!! – sneakers have come such a lo-o-ong way from the original simple canvas lace-ups!!  Over the last few years they’ve been radically up-scaled to cult-status fashion must-haves – off the court and on to the catwalk!

This “new” breed of footwear isloud and proud with edgy style and chutzpah!  Fabulous new-wave high-top sneakers allow great scope for complex design detail – studs, straps, buckles, big tongues, clever colour and fabric mixes, prints, snakeskin, metallics, chunky soles, hidden wedge heels – wow!!

Isabel Marant Hi-top Wedge SneakersThey have evolved to the point where the line between sneaker and boot is blurred and whilst the big, chunky high-tops are not necessarily feminine – they are definitely appealing in a sexy, androgynous way.

We call them sneakers, and they are comfortable, but the high-end designs are more for strutting than loafing.  From Converse, Nike and Reebok through to Marant, Louboutin, Zanotti, Michalsky et al, the sneaker has been completely redefined.

How to Rock the Super Sneaker

First – take a good pair of legs.  Really!!  This footwear is designed to grab attention and pulls the focus to your lower body.  (If you have heavy or short legs may I suggest you opt for the less bulky lower-cut options – there are loads of fun styles to choose from).

Bensimon - Floral Tennis sneakersHigh-top fashion sneakers are the new alternative to the ankle boot and can be worn in much the same way – though remember, they are statement shoes, designed to be fully-exposed.  So – leggings or solid tights with a miniskirt or short dress (a great look when combined with a cropped leather jacket) or skinny jeans/printed stretch pants.  Basically the leg length and shape need to be emphasised to carry off this look – the impact is somewhat lost with bare legs.Christian Louboutin - Louis high-top sneakers

If you are after a more traditional cut, the standard lace-up “tennis” sneaker has been re-invented as a hot fashion item in gorgeous canvas florals that any woman can wear – Bensimon has a lovely range featuring Liberty prints.  These funky sneakers are ultimately more practical as walking/casual shoes and are a much better option if you want to go bare-legged – great with shorts, cropped pants, jeans and summery dresses.


Vidal SassoonSASSOON – A CUT ABOVE

Surrounded by his family, Vidal Sassoon passed away at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles on May 9, 2012.  He was 84.

Arguably the greatest “celebrity hairdresser”, Sassoon was a visionary, an artiste and an entrepreneur, in the right place at the right time.

His philosophy was to allow women to enjoy their hair without time-consuming maintenance.  It was all about the cut!  He boldly pioneered the severe styling of the “geometric” look, which became so fashionable in the “swinging sixties”.

London was at the epicentre of a fashion and social revolution – Sassoon quickly found himself the stylist to the stars, courted by models, actors and society doyennes.  He was young, handsome and urbane – and he understood women and what was relevant – success was inevitable…

Mary QuantUK fashion designer Mary Quant (creator of theminiskirt), British model Jean Shrimpton (The Shrimp), model (and now US Vogue editor) Grace Coddington American model and actress Suzy Parker – all sported his signature creations.  Sassoon wanted his clients to enjoy their hair – he placed great emphasis on customising the shape to enhance their individual facial structure, delivering an eminently flattering style that was easy care, easy wear.   His illustrious client list quickly expanded to include socialites and celebrities on both sides of the Atlantic – the Duchess of Bedford, Mia Farrow, Nancy Kwan, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Joan Collins, Elizabeth Taylor and Lee Radziwill, to name but a few.

Humble Beginnings:  Born to Jewish immigrant parents in London, Sassoon’s childhood was anything but easy.  His philandering father walked out when Vidal was a small child, leaving the family in a precarious position.  Sassoon even endured time in an orphanage.

Vidal SassoonAt 14 he started a hairdressing apprenticeship – his ambition – to open his own salon.  He trained under the renowned Raymond Bessone in Mayfair and in 1954 set up his own business in Bond Street, London.  This was the foundation of a global empire encompassing dozens of salons and styling schools across the UK, Europe and the US, as well as a line of high-end beauty and hair care products which still command a huge market presence today.

A generous philanthropist and a human rights activist (combatting anti-Semitism), Vidal Sassoon was awarded a CBE in 2009 for his services to charity and his huge contribution to British hairdressing.

Sassoon, who was married four times, had been battling leukaemia since 2009.   He is survived by his wife of 20 years, Ronnie, three of his four children and several grandchildren.


GUCCI GIRL

Charlotte Casiraghi

With the launch of its “Forever Now” advertising campaign, the House of Gucci has introduced the lovely Charlotte Casiraghi as its new “face”. Fourth in line to the throne of the Principality of Monaco, the stunning 25 year old is the daughter of Princess Caroline and the late Italian industrialist, Stefano Casiraghi.  She is also granddaughter to the late Princess Grace and Prince Rainier of Monaco.

Charlotte, who bears a striking resemblance to her glamorous mother, has also inherited an innate sense of style.  Charlotte Casiraghi styleA front row regular at major fashion events, she has long been courted by Europe’s leading designers and is frequently photographed stepping out in Chanel, Dior, YSL, Versace, Valli, Balmain, Miu Miu and of course, Gucci.

Blessed with great genes and natural poise, Charlotte Casiraghi represents a savvy choice on behalf of the iconic fashion house, embodying youth, beauty and a modern sophistication.  An accomplished equestrian, writer and publisher, her appointment lends valuable cachet to a classic brand in a competitive market.


THE LOVELY GIRL’S BEDSIDE ESSENTIALS

Elegant Bedsife TableLife is lovelier when we feel lovely ourselves and a little bit of preparedness goes a long way.  A few lotions, potions and other accoutrements to loveliness kept within easy reach will help you look and feel your best whatever the hour!

Lighting – Make sure your bedside lamp is fitted with a warm as opposed to a “bright white” bulb – this creates a more flattering light whilst still adequate to read by.  Keep a light scarf in your drawer to drape over the lamp for a more intimate effect!  If you’re feeling more adventurous, swap the bulb for a coloured one – red and orange create interesting low-light effects for a sensuous rendezvous.  Dimmers for overhead lighting are desirable too.

Fresh as a Daisy – I always have a couple of favourite perfumes on hand – a little basket of fragrance “miniatures” is also a good option.  A scented body spray is a nice alternative and wafts around the room. Moisturisers are of course essential – as well as lip balm.  A packet of unscented baby wipes is useful for discreet short-notice freshen-ups.

Face First – Keep a duplicate make-up kit of your essential cosmetics and a magnifying mirror in your drawer for quick fixes so you’re always looking gorgeous.  Don’t forget a hairbrush, hairbands, clips and whatever else you need to avoid morning bed-hair!  With practice one can discreetly achieve an awful lot of beautifying without leaving ones bed!

Manicure Basics – Emery boards/nail file and scissors for emergency repairs.

Tissues – Absolute must have!!  Preferably in a decorative box…

Hydration – Always take a generous glass of water to bed at night – we lose a significant amount of water overnight to respiration and need to replenish those fluids for healthy skin and body.

Phone – Essential – mobile or otherwise – nothing worse than having to leap out of bed to take a call!  Most good fixed-line phones are available with extra (small-footprint) hand sets – ideal for bedside.

Reading and Writing Materials – A pad and pen (or IPad) for taking messages or recording inspired ideas and of course a good book, magazine to relax with.  Keep these under control though – they can multiply into an unsightly pile!  

Scented Candle/s or Diffusers – create a lovely romantic, indulgentatmosphere.  Choose somethingdecorative to complement your bedroom décor!

Photos and Flowers – if you have room on your bedside cabinet/nightstandadda small vase of flowers and complete the vignette with a framed photo ofyour beloved – don’t over-clutter though or you will be knocking things over inthe dark!


Lady Dior Handbag

HANDBAG HEAVEN

You guessed it – I have a handbag fetish!  What red-blooded female doesn’t!!  Perhaps they hold the same psycho-sexual appeal for women as do shoes – and I guarantee most of us have far too many of those as well.

Whilst I don’t fully understand our obsession with the bag, I am nonetheless seduced.  The handbag is much, much more than functional.  More so now than ever it is our everyday status symbol – a potent statement of personal style.  We are literally wearing our hearts on our sleeves!

Despite style trends changing at a phenomenal pace, many designer bags remain classics – just as desirable today as when first launched.  We see familiar motifs and embellishments referenced in the new product.  I love my vintage Chanel and Hermes bags – eminently desirable – some of my best are from my mother’s collection.

Having a fondness for fine leather – my mantra these days is “life’s too short for vinyl”.  I also appreciate bags at the other end of the spectrum – all those lovely totes and casuals in canvas and woven materials –  properly co-ordinated they are every bit as fashionable as their exclusive leather counterparts and much more affordable!  These are often ridiculously discounted at end-of-season sales and, well-chosen, also make lovely gifts!

Handbag Care

Store your handbags in a cool, dry place, away from dust.  I recommend a dedicated cupboard (or shelves) if possible.  My dressing rooms are fitted with special compartments and drawers for my collections – arranged by type and colour for easy access.

Vuitton Ixia embroidered leather bagDo not store leather in direct contact with vinyl – they can stick together with disastrous results!  Good leather handbags often come with their own soft storage bag.  A small pillowcase makes a good substitute.

To maintain the shape of your bag, always store it (upright) with a filler – either the tissue stuffing it came with or create your own with a dense bundle of disposable shopping bags or other clean soft material.  It is a good idea to include a sachet or two of dessicant (moisture inhibitor) to ward off mould.

Leather bags require occasional nourishment with a quality conditioning cream (available from department stores and good accessory stores) – I would suggest at least twice a year – more if the bag is used very regularly.  This treatment will also enhance its water-resistance.

Sometimes the straps of shoulder bags become distorted when stored for long periods.  This can be remedied by suspending the bag on a rail and adding a little more weight than usual (evenly dispersed).  Hang the weighted bag for a week or so to restore the strap to shape.

Treat your handbag as you would a good pair of shoes – avoid scuffing and exposure to moisture and dust.  Take care with rings, bracelets and watches – it’s easy to accidently scratch your leather bag or snag the beads and fabric of a delicate evening purse.  And finally, do not over-load the bag – it may become distorted, or worse – suffer a zip or strap failure.

Vintage Bags

Hermes vintage crocodile BirkinVintage designer bags are never out of fashion and sourcing and collecting them can be both fun and rewarding.  Mint-condition pieces are available through reputable on-line dealers and auction houses (see Christies).  You may also find the odd treasure at high-end re-cycling boutiques. The genuine article should have perfectstitching, shape and finish, high quality hardware and lining, brand hallmarks and origin stamps (and sometimes “proof of provenance”).  Of course real leather will have its signature smell and texture. Consult an expert if in doubt – today’s replicas are very convincing.


WATCH STOP

This timepiece is very eye-catching without being over-the-top. With a bracelet and body of stainless steel, the watch is set with black pyramid-cut sapphire crystals and 349 diamonds (2.74 carats) and is sophisticated enough to wear day or evening. The design is bold and beautiful – very much echoing the glamour of the Art Deco era. I wear a lot of black and white so this makes a welcome addition to my accessories collection (and I do have a bit of a watch fetish).  Being a dramatic piece, I would not be inclined to team it with bracelets or bangles unless it was something slender and understated (silver?) worn on the other wrist.  Such a lovely piece of jewellery in itself, the Dior Christal really doesn’t need much company or competition.  Complementary earrings in black, silver or diamond would be enough to consolidate the look beautifully.  Remember – “less is more!”

N.B. If you are interested, the model number is CD113513M001.


LIP SERVICE

Lip ServiceOur mouth and lips are such expressive and focal features of our face that they demand special attention and yet we often overlook them in our general beauty routine.  The critical thing is to avoid dryness – this will make your mouth look pinched and complicate lipstick application. When applying moisturiser to your face, include the lips – if you’re about to apply cosmetics this gives a much smoother base for your lipstick.  I always use a lipstick brush because I’m very particular about highlighting my mouth shape and a brush enables one to get the edge just right.  A brush is also essential when blending one layer of lipstick over another to create a unique colour. Tip – a slightly lighter shade applied over the first layer, but finished just within the edges of your lips, will give more definition to the shape of your mouth without the harsh outline of lip pencil. Add a subtle touch of gloss to the fullest part of your lips – particularly the lower, to make your mouth even more kissable!

Another thing I do (despite a cabinet bursting with expensive lotions and potions!) is apply a generous smear of Vaseline over my lips before I go to sleep. This prevents the natural drying-out that occurs overnight and helps stave off those fine lines around the mouth.

If you have a thin mouth, which can make you look harder and older, you could explore treatment options with dermal fillers, but please, do exercise restraint, we are after a lovely, subtle improvement here – not a tribute to Mick Jagger!


ARRIVAL –  23/11/2010.

British fashion designer Stella McCartney gave birth to a daughter, Reiley (8lbs) at London’s Portland Hospital on Tuesday, 23rd November.  Reiley is her fourth child (and second daughter) with husband Alasdhair Willis.  Ex Beatle, Sir Paul McCartney, is now a proud grandfather of seven.

Stella recently launched her Stella McCartney for Kids range of clothing in the UK, Ireland, France, Japan, USA and Canada.


Fashion Week: 100 YEARS / STYLE / EAST LONDON

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Lovely Lifestyles 2016