Thursday, 26 November 2009

Gold Rush

Gold Rush..

Why not treat yourself to a 24 karat Christmas by indulging in some super-luxe cosmetics from the Dolce&Gabbana make-up collection? Not only is the packaging of each product gold plated, there are some key hero products that have been getting the beauty press into a real tizzy. The Sunday Times Style magazine featured the shimmering Lipgloss in Gold and Nail Lacquer in Desert last Sunday in their list of the most sought-after gifts for Christmas. My current favourite from the Nail Lacquer collection is Stromboli, a deep olive flecked with gold. It works especially well on shorter nails and is the perfect shade to channel this season's of-the-moment Deco Grunge look. They say that all that glitters ain't gold - I guess they were wrong! Stylist magazine featured Dolce&Gabbana's Rose The One Shimmering Powder yesterday in The Style List for the festive season. All the products can be snapped up at the Dolce&Gabbana Make-Up counter in Selfridges, London. / 0800 123 400

Gold Dust Woman

Gold Dust Woman..

Those of you who have been following my blog will know that I'm an ardent fan of Illamasqua cosmetics. Maybe it's the kaleidoscope of colours on offer, the densely pigmented products, the hi-tech formulations or the brand's ethos of "makeup for your alter ego" - whatever "it" is, it's addictive! Illamasqua's Creative Director, the international and highly sought-after make-up artist Alex Box, headed up the creative team for the House of Blue Eyes Spring / Summer 2010 catwalk show at London Fashion Week. Picking up on the trend for metallics (it just won't die!), she and the Illamasqua team treated the models to a liberal dash of gold dust, all be it via the art of make-up. Alex Box cited Cleopatra as her inspiration and gave the iconic Egyptian queen's signature make-up look a 21st Century spin for the show. The models were reminiscent of Jill Masterson, the girlfriend of Goldfinger in the eponymous Bond film. The actress Shirley Eaton played Jill Masterson and her body became an iconic image of the 60's when she was photographed covered in gold body make-up for the cover of Life magazine in 1964. Jill died a golden death in the movie when Goldfinger ordered her death and had her covered in gold paint.

Get the look with Illamasqua's bestselling Liquid Metal in Solstice. It's priced at £16 and is available to purchase via the Illamasqua website:

Due South

Due South..

Last Friday my two page Christmas style feature was published in The South London Press. It was accompanied by a mini profile piece on me. The publication's circulation is 20,000 so naturally I'm thrilled. They've asked me to do another style feature for Spring 2010 and wanted to know if I was interested in doing a regular column for them - result! I'm also thrilled to be working on the next issue of Blackhair Magazine. I'll be working on a style feature for them but the nature of the feature is top secret - you'll have to buy it to see what it's all about! They would like to collaborate with me on future issues of the publication, so watch this space! I'll keep you all posted via my blog and my Facebook and Twitter updates, so you'll always be the first to hear my news. The link to my Christmas style feature in the South London Press is below. I've also copied a link to Blackhair Magazine so you can get a subscription and see what all the fuss is about!

Sophie's Choice

Sophie's Choice..

On the 11th August 2007, 20 year-old Sophie Lancaster and her boyfriend Robert Maltby were kicked, stamped on and left unconscious - for nothing more than looking different. Sophie later died from her injuries.

Illamasqua is a cosmetics brand that prides itself on promoting the right to experiment and self-express through the way you look. It is also committed to changing attitudes towards subcultures.

In tribute to Sophie, Illamasqua has commissioned "Dark Angel" - a short film by award-winning French Director, Fursy Teyssier. It is a haunting rendition of Sophie's story, featuring the music of iconic British band, Portishead.

The aim of the film is to raise awareness of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and generate £500,000 to help educate young people about tolerance. Since Sophie's death, the foundation has been working with behavioural experts Huthwaite International, to put together an interactive youth workshop that does just that.

But this essential education programme can only be delivered with YOUR help.

Please, please show your support and watch the film - it's embedded below.
We're hoping to reach over 1,000,000 hits, so forward the links below and help us spread the message. If you have your own website, blog, Facebook, MySpace or You Tube page, or a Twitter profile, please display a link to the film. For added impact, download a specifically designed web banner from Illamasqua's website - the link is copied below.

As well as being available to view online, the film will also be running on MTV from the 26th November (today) - Sophie's birthday.

Stand up for Sophie - act now and buy an Illamasqua S.O.P.H.I.E. pencil and wrist band. Or make a donation. £3 from each S.O.P.H.I.E. pencil purchased and all proceeds from the wrist band sales go directly to the foundation.

Together, we'll help to stamp out prejudice, hatred and intolerance everywhere.

This cause is especially close to my heart. As a mixed race and gay man, I suffered immense cruelty throughout my youth and adolescence. Having moved from Oman in the Middle East to rural Newcastle at the age of 5 in the mid 80's, it took me a long time to gain the acceptance of other children in my town. I was called a Paki (even though I'm in fact half Scottish and half Ethiopian). I was beaten up and it was a long while before other children would allow me to play with them. Things took a turn for the worse when I was sent to Croftinloan, a Scottish boarding school in the tiny town of Pitlochry, Perthshire at the age of 9. I recall my first day at that school as if it were only yesterday. On my first night, another boy in my dormitory called me a nigger and told me to go back home to my own country. I tried in vain to explain that the United Kingdom was my country - I was a British citizen after all.

Things went from bad to worse - my entire school experience was about as close to living hell as you could get. Croftinloan had a tradition of celebrating Bonfire Night. Kids would take turns to stand up by the bonfire and tell jokes to the rest of the school who remained seated on the ground. A series of children stood up and told hideous jokes about Ethiopians. Favoured jokes included "what do you call two Ethiopians in a body bag? - A KitKat" and "how do you get a thousand Ethiopians to jump off a cliff? - throw a can of baked beans over it". I was horrified by these jokes. These kids knew that my mother was Ethiopian and yet they relished the opportunity to humiliate me in front of the entire school and all the teachers. I remember complaining to my headmaster about the jokes and I'll never forget the way he callously explained that it would be no different if I were fat or had red hair. I was mortified by the injustice of it all. In my mind it wasn't right - these jibes hurt me so badly and they definitely wouldn't have been appropriate if aimed at people with red hair or weight issues for that matter.

You'd have thought that after a while, the jibes would have subsided - but they carried on at Loretto, my boarding school in Musselburgh, East Lothian. Every single day of my three years at that school included some form of hatred and harassment. I can say hand on heart, there wasn't a day where I didn't have to suffer at least one pupil calling me a puff, gay boy, faggot, nigger, wog or bender. I recall one particularly gruesome incident involving the most popular girl in my year group, a girl called Lucy Holt (who incidentally is now a successful model and actress on the books of Models 1). Lucy and I shared a few classes and in one French class, she thought it would be hilarious to stand on a table in the middle of a French lesson, in front of my entire class, and lead a shouted rendition of "he's gay, he's bent, his arse is up for rent, he's Ian Brown". I ran out of the class in tears and not one person considered coming after me to see if I was ok.

Other incidents included students shouting SNP at me - it was considered cool to support the Scottish National Party. On another occasion, a star player in the school's rugby team cornered me with a mob of boys, got me in a head lock and wrestled me to the ground. I told the school's headmaster about it and I'll never forget the incident because my headmaster said to me "what would you like us to do?" I felt so alone, so totally helpless. How wrong is society when a defenceless pupil is beaten up and then is asked "what do you want us to do about it?" by the headmaster of his own school?

Needless to say, I left that school after my GCSE's. I'll never forget a stream of kids coming up to me on my last day and asking "why are you leaving?". These were the same children who had called me names each and every day of my school life and who had moved up along the benches of tables in our dining hall so that I couldn't sit with them. I remember more than once, having to sit at an empty table that could seat roughly 12 students in a dining hall filled with approximately 1000 children and teachers, simply because my peers didn't consider me good enough to sit with them. No-one ever batted an eyelid. Not the teachers, nor the students. To make matters worse, I'd then have to endure them coming up to me after the meal and asking "why were you sitting by yourself Ian?".

The same pattern of bullying and abuse continued at Dulwich College in London, which I attended for my A-Levels. I ended up having to study from home in my final year because I was so scared of going to school. I ended up not sitting some of my A-Levels - the kids had basically succeeded in destroying not only my self confidence but also my education. The headmaster at Dulwich had wanted me to study English Literature at Cambridge. I had the potential to do so but any hope of an academic future had been destroyed by my tormentors.

I developed anorexia and bulimia as a direct result of my experiences - and later dabbled in drugs as a means of escaping my emotional pain. I have had to fight tooth and nail to reclaim my career potential and indeed my self worth. It's been a long, bumpy road. But with the help of my closest friends, my family and my fiancee, I'm now a happy young man who is flourishing in every respect. I am enjoying success in my life and it's all the more dear to me because there was such a long period when all I ever wanted was to die.

So now you've heard a little bit about my own personal story - I urge each and every one of you to do your bit to support Sophie's cause.

To find out more, please visit

Follow the Sophie Lancaster Foundation on Twitter for daily updates on the Charity's work at

The S.O.P.H.I.E. pencil is priced at £12, the S.O.P.H.I.E. wrist band is priced at £2 and both can be purchased online via Illamasqua's website:

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes..

After a joyous six months as a Colour Coach for The Body Shop, I've moved on to pastures new. As of Monday 16th November 2009 I will be the new Business Manager for Dolce&Gabbana Cosmetics in Selfridges, London. To celebrate the lovely team of people I'll be leaving behind, I've put together one last Body Shop make-up tutorial. The Body Shop is currently riding the wave of the 80's revival. For a limited time, the hero products that the late Dame Anita Roddick favoured back in the 80's are available to purchase in store. Better yet, they're available to purchase for a very modest £3.99 - the price they were in the 80's.

To celebrate the limited re-release of "Anita's Favourites", all Body Shop stores held 80's themed parties. Staff dressed in 80's clothing and sported 80's make-up. A special compilation CD of 80's music was played in all stores and the rest as they say is history! So good was the music in fact that I discovered "Misfit" by Curiosity Killed The Cat - a truly genius track and one that certainly got me in the full 80's swing.

Never being one to miss the opportunity to dress up, I opted for a fusion of New Romantic and Punk - though tempered with a little Noughties subtlety. So on went the leather biker jacket, together with some fierce smokey eyes, nude lips, contoured bronzed cheekbones and a hint of punky fuschia blusher blended high across the cheeks into the hairline.

Smokey eyes never go out of fashion and were the look of choice at the Dsquared2 and Marc Jacobs AW09 shows. I've always been partial to a little glitter, so softened my smokey eye look by blending a glittery emerald green shadow with a peacock green and black shadow for my own personal take on the look.

To create the look, I first primed my skin with the Skin Primer. Blend a pea sized amount over the face and neck to create a flawless canvas for your foundation. Next, blend the Oil Free Foundation SPF 15 (I used Shade 07) over the face and neck with your finger tips. One pump is more than enough to give you perfect coverage. Next, blend a little concealer (I used Shade 05 in the Crayon Concealer) onto any remaining blemishes or imperfections to create a truly flawless matte base - it's the perfect contrast for the metallic eyes. It's worth blending a little concealer over the eye socket up to the brow bone and beneath the lower lashes - it will act as a great primer for your eye make-up, ensuring it lasts well into the evening. Define eyebrows with the Rich Brown Eye Definer (ensure it's sharpened), use short feathery strokes, following the direction of your hair growth for a strong brow - it will frame your eyes perfectly and give a feeling of 80's authenticity.

Using the Black Eye Definer, fill in the eye lid from the lash line to the crease and define the inner rim of the eye and below the lower lashes. Gently smudge with the Line Softener. Using the Eye Shadow Blender Brush, sweep the Soft Black eye shadow over the lids from lash to crease and beneath the lower lashes. Repeat with the Peacock Green shadow and finally with the Velvet Green shadow. Using the Brilliant Blue Metallic Eye Definer, gently draw a little line from the inner corner of the lower lashes to where the lashes start - you want to stop the line just before the middle of the lower lashes, it's just a subtle accent to make the eyes "pop". Finish by curling lashes with the Eye Lash Curler and apply two coats of Black Super Volume Mascara.

Using the Bronzing Brush, sweep the Nature's Minerals Bronzer in Bronzed Ochre beneath the cheekbones up towards the ears. If it helps, look in a mirror and suck your cheeks in - you want to sweep the bronzer along the hollow part of your cheeks for a sculpted effect. Blend a little bronzer across the temples, down the nose, under the chin and beneath the jaw line for an even finish. A little fall out beneath the eyes from eye shadow is normal when using powder eye shadows. To tidy up the under eye area, brush a little Lightening Touch concealer (I used Shade 04) in the inner corner of the eyes and blend beneath the eyes and up towards the hair line. Dab your finger onto the Magenta Glow Colourglide Lipstick and blend in a circular motion high on the cheekbones and blend up into the hair line. Repeat if necessary for greater colour intensity. Lastly, finish by dabbing a dot of the Party Pink Hi-Shine Lip Treatment onto the centre of lips, press lips together and "voila" - you have a sultry, sexy, 80's make-up look with a Noughties twist.

The Make-Up

Skin Primer Matte It - £9.50
Oil Free Foundation SPF 15 (Shade 07) - £11.70
Crayon Concealer (Shade 05) - £8.30
Lightening Touch £11.70
Rich Brown Eye Definer - £7.30
Brow & Lash Gel - £8.80
Black Eye Definer - £7.30
Eye Colour (Soft Black) - £7.80
Eye Colour (Peacock Green) - £7.80
Eye Colour (Velvet Green) - £7.80
Metallic Eye Definer (Brilliant Blue) - £6.00
Super Volume Mascara (Black) - £9.75
Hi-Shine Lip Treatment (Party Pink) - £9.25
Nature's Minerals Bronzer (Bronzed Ochre) - £14.65
Colourglide Lip Colour (Magenta Glow) - £8.00Concealer (Shade 05) - £8.30

The Tools

Line Softener - £7.30
Eyeshadow Blender Brush - £8.30
Eye Lash Curler - £4.85
Bronzing Brush - £14.00

Back To Black

Back To Black..

November has arrived and you need look no further than Amy Winehouse for inspiration. I’m not suggesting you tie a scarf around your head and invite Pete Doherty over for a booze up. You should however, consider going back to black. If the prospect of wearing black head-to-toe brings you out in a cold sweat, fear not. It may indeed be the preferred colour of undertakers, nuns, goths and Halloween enthusiasts but it can also look incredibly dapper when approached in the right way. There’s a reason historical designers such as Coco Chanel, Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent often featured black in their collections. It’s the same reason A-List stars such as George Clooney, Daniel Craig and Brad Pitt opt for a black tux when they want to create a paparazzi storm on the red carpet. When cut, fabric, silhouette and texture are considered, a black ensemble can go from being sombre and dull to sexy and powerful. Unlike wearing colour, it’s a failsafe option. To make an impact, go for a unique design detail and razor-sharp tailoring. Mix textures to create visual interest. Combining different textiles such as wool, brushed cotton, cotton jersey and patent leather will add depth to a look.

I’ve hand-picked five key pieces from that will have you reveling in your dark side:

1.McQ Alexander McQueen Black Asymmetrical Zip Wool Blouson - £390

This edgy jacket is proof that men’s fashion can be just as interesting as women’s. A future wardrobe classic, the asymmetrical zip creates a Winter-friendly funnel neck. When unzipped, the lapel falls on one side for a more casual take.

2. B-Store Black Jersey Collarless Balham Shirt - £95

Cotton jersey is superb for Winter layering. Thin enough to be worn under a snug jumper and jacket, it’s also breathable and soft on the skin. Layer a white vest or T-Shirt under this shirt and unbutton the top two-to-three buttons for a look that’s pure Johnny Depp.

3. Day Birger et Mikkelsen Tapered Brushed Cotton Chino - £89

These trousers are so fashion forward that they’ll earn you instant style credentials. The low-rise waist band and tapered leg are the rocker approach to dressing for dinner. Less width in your trouser hem means more of your shoes will be on show so it’s a great chance to flash your footwear.

4. D&G Dolce&Gabbana Black Patent Leather Lace-Up Shoe - £270

There’s smart shoes and then there’s smart black shoes that are so suave that they’ll make your feet the talking point of any party. It’s often said that one of the first things women notice about men are their shoes (or appalling choice of). These beauties will earn you bonus points with the ladies - guaranteed.

5. Vivienne Westwood Black Abstract Orb Scarf - £80

Inject a little anarchy into your attire with this graphic print scarf. Well-chosen accessories can elevate your look from simple to superb in seconds.