Sunday, 12 December 2010

We All Have Our Price

We All Have Our Price..

I was browsing the Topman website last night and came across the Antony Price Priceless collection (his fourth limited edition collection for the high street chain). The collaboration had been on my radar for a few seasons but it was this AW10 collection that really piqued my interest. At first glance, the stark and edgy campaign imagery could be vintage Hedi Slimane era Dior Homme. The campaign star, Polish model Tomek Szczukiecki (signed to FM model agency in London), already has a host of major designer campaigns under his belt, including Dior Homme, Versace and Paul Smith. His cool rock-androgyny demeanour, coupled with the minimal set, styling and black and white photography, combine to make the collection look more haute couture than high street.

Photographic wizardry and international male models aside, I think you could have shot these garments flat on the pavement and it still would have looked like Lenny Kravitz had just walked by and inadvertently dropped his jacket. But then you'd expect nothing less from Antony Price, the man that could be justly credited as THE defining rock n' roll stylist of the century.

In the 60's we had Britain's Tommy Nutter, who was arguably the most influential tailor of that decade. Twiggy, Mick and Bianca Jagger and Elton John were all fans, as were The Beatles. Nutter was famous for dressing three out of the four Beatles for the cover of their seminal Abbey Road album in 1969. Though George Harrison opted to wear jeans, John, Paul and Ringo were suited and booted Nutter-style.

But there's no question that the 70's and 80's belonged to Price. His client list reads like the rock n' roll hall of fame. He dressed the Rolling Stones for their 1969 American tour and went on to collaborate with Lou Reed on his Transformer album. Price designed the super-tight "Arse" trousers, the crotch of which had been photographed (in close proximity) for the album's back cover artwork. The risque shot showcased what appeared to be Lou Reed's sizeable erection but it was in fact a model, with a cucumber shoved down his trousers for visual effect. Whoever came up with the concept was certainly adept at marketing, as the homoerotic image was bound to get people talking. A little public scandal and outrage has never had an adverse effect on record sales - just look at Madonna or The Sex Pistols.

So successful were Price's "Arse" trousers, that when Vivienne Westwood's clients complained to her about the comparably unflattering fit of the drop crotch trousers from her Pirate collection, she is alleged to have retorted "well go to Antony Price then". He went on to work with David Bowie, Jerry Hall, Steve Strange and Duran Duran. However, it was his work with Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music that really cemented his status as a cult designer and stylist. The album cover artwork of Roxy Music's first eight albums were all Price collaborations. The most iconic was probably their 1975 Siren album, featuring a smoking-hot Jerry Hall, her pneumatic body encased in an Antony Price Couture mermaid dress.

Despite my initial desire to shop for myself, rather ironically, I ended up purchasing a Christmas gift for my partner instead. He'd been wanting to replace his navy Hugo Boss peacoat for a while, so I showed him The Black Wool Military Peacoat (pictured above) and it was fashion lust at first sight. Though I'm yet to see the garment in real life, from the photo it appears that the fabric, fit and finish are not only beautiful but executed to a high standard. I suppose the proof will be in the pudding when he opens up his presents on Christmas Day. My partner has a broad torso and shoulders so the clever positioning of the seams and inverted triangle shape created by the metal crested buttons will really work to emphasise the breadth of his shoulders, nipping him in at the waist to create that highly sought after v-shaped chest.

The Grey Wool Long Military Trench (pictured above), was one of the initial pieces that caught my eye, as I've been wearing my elaborately embroidered John Rocha coat to death and I fear for its future and condition if I don't start rotating it with another winter option soon. Being slim, I love how a little military tailoring can bulk you out, padding out your shoulders ever so slightly to create a strong, clothes hanger style silhouette for the torso. I'd imagine its the male equivalent of the 80's power shoulder, though unlike its 80's equivalent, its origins probably owe more to Napoleon's military uniform than it does to Joan Collins and Dynasty. Alas, I bottled out of purchasing it. Being a devotee of black, I was concerned that a grey trench would look more like casual weekend wear than kick ass work attire.

The Black Shine Crop Padded Jacket (pictured above) was sadly another miss. Though my heart screamed "buy me, buy me", my head said "go anywhere near a bonfire and you'll be a walking human torch". Though I opted not to buy, the fusion of a padded tech fabric (black nylon) and sculptural tailoring is a real winner, to me it looks super high end. The second-skin shape is very Rik Owens, while the futuristic fabrication reminds me of the clothing collaboration between PUMA and Mihara Yasuhiro, or Markus Lupfer's designs for Armand Basi. The thing I love most about this piece is that on closer inspection, it's quite possible that Price has re-invented none other than the classic black leather biker jacket. Squint a little at the photo and you'll agree that the shape bares an uncanny resemblance to the iconic leather jacket Marlon Brando rocked in 'The Wild One". Perhaps he borrowed a little from Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld with the quilting? Anyone remember the cult reversible black quilted nylon Cocoon bag from the Lily Allen campaign?

The Black Wool Cowl Neck Peacoat (pictured above) was the final piece from the collection that I took a shine to. Shooting the jacket from the side was a clever touch as it showcases how an exceptional tailor can virtually re-shape a person's body. The seams places on the sides of the abdomen contour the stomach, creating a streamlined "washboard" effect. What man (or woman), wouldn't want a piece of clothing that was not only functional but also hinted at the possibility of gym abs underneath (even if in reality it's more a case of jelly belly than gym bunny).

Black Wool Military Peacoat - £120

Grey Long Wool Military Trench - £150

Black Shine Crop Padded Jacket - £100

Black Wool Cowl Neck Peacoat - £120

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A Touch Of Frost

A Touch Of Frost..

Here's a lovely snap of childhood friends Jemima French (left) and Sadie Frost (right), aka design duo FrostFrench, on the red carpet at the British Fashion Awards 2010. Tuesday evening's glittering event at The Savoy was the perfect opportunity for Sadie to show off her Beatrix Ong black patent Glare shoes. The dainty straps add a naive doll-like charm to her kooky ensemble. Teamed with elegant sheer black tights, they set off her high-waisted navy and black pencil skirt, sheer black blouse and bustier to perfection (PS - how hot do Jemima's legs look?).

If you are in London, you can snap up Beatrix Ong shoes at Harrods, Liberty and select Jaeger stores (if you live further afield, check out her website for a complete stockist list). For the full Beatrix Ong experience, take time to browse her men's and women's shoe, accessory and luggage collections at the new Beatrix Ong concept store at 188 Pavilion Road, London SW3 2BF.

Beatrix Ong Glare - £188

0845 430 8880 /

A Close Shave

A Close Shave..

I've been sent many a shaving product over the years to test for reviews. Being mixed race, my hair is naturally curly, leaving me prone to painful ingrown hairs. Having sensitive skin, with fast-growing hair and coarse stubble, I often find the shaving process uncomfortable (I have to shave daily to avoid looking like Joaquin Phoenix, pictured below during his rapper phase). With this in mind, I'm especially picky when it comes to my shaving products.

When I was contacted by Oliveology, an American shaving brand, to ask if I'd consider reviewing their natural Shave Gel, I thought sure, send it over and I'll see how it compares to the premium natural products I already use. Olive Oil is the core ingredient in this product. In Greek mythology, when Athena, goddess of wisdom, was challenged by Poseidon, god of the sea, to create a divine gift for the Greeks, she created the olive tree. Athena's gift turned out to be a little more useful to modern man. While horses are generally kept for sport and agriculture in the Western world (with the notable exception of France where they like to consume them on occasion), the olive (and olive oil) is a staple of Mediterranean and increasingly Western diets. It's no wonder then that Mediterraneans are famed for their longevity, supple skin, healthy hair and nails.
Olive oil is known not only for its culinary cholesterol-reducing properties but also for its efficacy as a skin cleanser and moisturiser. A rich source of Vitamin E gives the olive antioxidant properties, valuable protection against cellular damage from free radicals and environmental aggressors. In short, Vitamin E gives olive oil anti-ageing properties, making it particularly effective in skincare.

I can guarantee that the majority of modern working men and women would rather have one excellent shaving product, than have to rely on a host of products to achieve the same super-smooth result. I certainly don't have time to massage a pre-shave oil into my skin, followed by a shave gel/foam and post-shave balm - it's just too fiddly and time-consuming. This is why I already use multi-purpose natural shaving products and why Oliveology Shave Gel has earned a place in my bathroom.

If I had to single out the most outstanding point of difference between this products and its rivals, it would be the slippy texture of the gel. I'm yet to find another product that lubricates my razor blade as effectively, without the build up of stubble on the blade. All you have to do is look at the water in your basin as you shave, you'll see hairs everywhere and it's all because there's none on the razor. It's also worth mentioning that a little bit of product gives a lot of great shave.

The odourless formulation will be appreciated by those with sensitive skin (and others like myself who prefer their face not to smell like a cheap generic men's deodorant). Additional natural ingredients such as skin-soothing aloe and sangre de grado extract (a tree resin also known as dragon's blood), known for its skin-healing properties, ensure this product ticks all the boxes from efficacy to added benefits. The travel-size bottle is especially handy for those on-the-go (in my experience, airport security have a fondness for seizing your essential toiletries at the least convenient times - so it's safer to downsize).

Oliveology House Bottle, 8oz - $12.00
Oliveology Travel Bottle, 2oz - $5.00

Friday, 17 September 2010

Lip Service

Lip Service...

In beauty history, 2010 will undoubtedly be remembered as "The Year of The Lip". Lipstick has experienced a fierce revival with major launches (and re-launches) from brands as diverse as Tom Ford, Dolce&Gabbana, Giorgio Armani, Dior, Chanel, YSL and Clarins. Most of these brands have released moisturising formulas with a satin finish.

For Fall 2010, NARS releases their Pure Matte Lipstick collection. The collection comprises of six "essential" shades for the modern woman, forming the perfect wardrobe of matte lipstick shades. The payoff from these densely pigmented lipsticks ensures a "colour true" finish, while the matte texture delivers long wear with minimal risk of feathering. Priced at just £18, this product offers incredible value given its fusion of slick design and excellent formulation.

The campaign image (shown above) features the doll-like porcelain perfection of model Heather Marks. She wears one of my favourite of the six shades, Vesuvio, a powerful and vibrant red. The lipsticks featured in the image (left to right) are:


A vampy berry hue is a go-to colour every Fall and a "must have" for any vintage glamour girls.


A bold and vibrant red, this shade evokes both the Hollywood glamour of Marilyn Monroe and the New Wave rock chic of Debbie Harry. This shade looks fabulous on all skin tones but is truly electric on fair and dark skins.


This rosy pink is the perfect everyday colour option for those with fair skin.

Terre de Feu

The intense depth of this deep berry red shade reminds me of the cochineal shades worn by 20's icons such as Louise Brooks. Carmine, the pigment that gives cochineal its colour, is derived from crushed female cochineal beetles (or dactylopius coccus). This tiny insect inhabits cactus plants, particularly the prickly pair variety native to Central and South America.


This brick shade definitely veers towards the natural end of the spectrum and is a great option for redheads and brunettes.


My favourite pale shade from the collection, this peachy nude will enhance the pout of blondes, redheads and brunettes.

To get the best from this product, I advise gently buffing the lips with a textured cotton pad soaked with a little NARS Freshening Lotion. Apply a NARS Pure Sheer SPF Lip Treatment in a complimentary shade to your chosen Pure Matte Lipstick. Finish with an application of the lipstick. Blot once, then re-apply for a professional finish that lasts.

Above is an image from the launch of the NARS Pure Matte Lipstick collection on the third floor of Selfridges, London. NARS Pro and National Make-Up Artists were on hand to help pre-booked fans and bloggers find their ideal colour matches from the collection. They were also treated to a complimentary mini nail shape, with an application of a Nars Nail Varnish to compliment their chosen lipstick. The lucky lipstick-buying ladies all trotted off with treats, including a NARS Lipgloss Duo and NARS Nail File.

NARS Pure Matte Lipstick is priced at £18 and is available exclusively from Selfridges, London throughout September 2010.

Below is the exclusive NARS Pure Matte: Infinite Reflections video featuring the campaign star Heather Marks.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)

Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)..

Most of us have got to grips with the concept of safe sex. We've the NHS (and perhaps Madonna) to thank for that. Anyone who recalls her Blonde Ambition Tour's infamous "hey boys don't be silly, put a condom on your willy" will know what I mean. So it's rather odd that the regular practice of safe and responsible sun care still eludes many people. The UK is particularly bad when it comes to shunning sun cream in pursuit of a fast, deep (and peeling) tan.

We've overtaken Australia with the number of confirmed cases of malignant melanoma. Today, one in ten UK citizens are diagnosed with skin cancer. When caught in its infancy, the success rate of treatment is high. But like all cancer, when diagnosed in its advanced stages, it can (and often is) fatal.

Tanned skin in its many shades, has been championed by cultural icons as diverse (and at times comical) as Coco Chanel, George Hamilton, Farrah Fawcett, Jennifer Anniston and Donatella Versace. At its best it speaks of glowing health, athleticism, jet-setting and a love of the outdoors. At its worst it is orange-tinged and attributed to Z-List celebrities. But good or bad, a tan isn't worth dying for. Ever.

The Australians are immensely clued-up when it comes to being safe in the sun. They've led active campaigns to ensure their citizens are aware of the dangers of unprotected sun exposure. Specifically its direct links to malignant melanomas and skin cancer. Strolling along Bondi Beach, bottles of sun cream are as prevalent an accessory as the surf boards. The difference being that a surf board won't save your life while you're out in the sun.

What's so awful about enjoying the sunshine you might ask? Well, if you are remotely vain, the sun's rays (specifically UVA rays) break down the elastin in your skin. In layman's terms, if you don't wear sunscreen, in time you are guaranteed to look like a prune. A prune that accessorises with plenty of liver spots (and potentially skin cancer). So if you want to look more Daisy Duke than Driving Miss Daisy, get with the program and starting learning about (and using) a product with the proper SPF for your skin.

Five Top Tips

1. Try to stay indoors or in the shade between the hours of 12pm and 4pm, this is when sun exposure is particularly dangerous as the sun's rays are very strong.

3. Covering up is a great way to avoid sun burn and skin damage. Joan Collins, an icon of a certain age, is as striking and well preserved today as she was at the peak of her success in the 80's. When in the sun she's rarely (if ever) seen without a sun hat. No wonder then that her complexion and skin tone are as milky and line-free as they are. Kaftans are a great cover up for the girls, while longer board shorts, drawstring cotton or linen trousers and a shirt or t-shirt are ideal for the chaps.

4. Pick the right sunscreen for your skin type. As a general rule of thumb, those with fair skin should opt for a product with an SPF between 30 - 50. Those with olive to dark skin shouldn't wear an SPF lower than 20. If you are unsure where to start, head to Boots and invest in Soltan products - they carry a five star rating for protection against UVA rays.

5. The sea, swimming pools (and unfortunately sweating) all diminish a product's SPF so be sure to re-apply liberally in each instance to maintain sufficient sun protection.

Top Sun Care Products

The snap of me at the top of this blog is from my June holiday in Barbados. I built up a gorgeous, safe tan using these standout products:

1. Liz Earle Mineral Sun Cream SPF 20, 150ml - £18.50

New to the market, the first thing that grabs you about this mineral sun cream from Liz Earle is its delicious aroma and luxuriously creamy texture. Scented with antioxidant Green Tea Extract and Orange Flower Water, it is part Kyoto tea house and part Moroccan spa in olfactory impact. Some experts question the safety of sun creams that absorb the sun's rays. There is research that suggests a long-term health risk due to the skin's increased exposure to radiation. When solar radiation is absorbed on to the surface of the skin, there is an argument that suggests that the radiation would then pose an immediate risk to the skin itself. This product is brilliant because its active minerals, Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide, reflect radiation away from the skin, limiting the risk of long term sun damage. Holistic junkies like me will be delighted to hear that together with Green Tea, it also boasts the antioxidants Beta-carotene, Pomegranate Extract and Vitamin E. Skin-conditioning comes with the aid of Glycerin, D-panthenol and Shea Butter.

Jurlique Sun Lotion SPF 30, 100ml - £39.00

I fell in love with this product. Its scent takes me back to a very special family holiday in the south of France, in particular the heady aroma of the lavender fields in Grasse, France. So many sun creams make me break out but this light-as-a-feather lotion absorbed spectacularly well, leaving not a trace of oily residue on my skin. Naturally, this superstar is from Jurlique, which together with Kylie Minogue, is one of Australia's most legendary exports.

3. Caudalie Soleil Divin Body Sunscreen SPF 20, 100ml - £21.50

Grape-seed polyphenols are mighty antioxidant free radical busters and central to the Caudalie range of skin care. Known for their age-defying properties, grapes have been culturally significant since the Greeks and Romans, with grape seed extract and grape seed oil now featuring in a variety of naturally inspired skin care products. The French are renowned for their savoir faire when it comes to beauty. Gallic stars such as the actress Eva Green are testament to that. It's no wonder then that Caudalie is the go-to brand for those in pursuit of a skin care regimen that is both indulgent and effective. This sun cream for the body had a subtly sweet aroma, pleasingly light texture and didn't irritate my sensitive skin.

To find out more about Fake Bake products, go to:

Below is a recent interview I filmed with James Read, the UK's leading authority on self tan and go-to man for a stream of A-List lovelies including pop star Lady GaGa, Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan and Victoria's Secret model Rosie Huntington Whitely. The video also features the CEO of Fake Bake, Sandra McClumpha, who talked about her collaborations with high street fashion giant New Look and music video mega-channel, MTV:

And some of you may remember this funny music video from Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann:

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Make Mine A Guinness

Make Mine A Guinness..

Throughout his illustrious career, NARS Founder and Creative Director

François Nars has been inspired by iconic beauties whom, he says, “are

larger than life, unforgettable and posses an elegance that’s timeless.”

Whether avant-garde or A-list, the NARS woman is simply irresistible.

Perhaps no one fits that description better than Daphne Guinness, Nars’

mesmerizing muse and inspiration for the NARS Fall 2010 campaign. Sexy,

sultry, daring and decadent, Daphne “is the ideal icon to capture Fall 2010's

old-Hollywood meets futuristic look,”says François.

It was only fitting that Nars chose to name an eyeshadow after his muse,

Daphne, a colour that is as bold and beautiful as the woman for whom it

was named.

To magnify the arresting impact of the magnificent Ms. Guinness, Nars

designed and photographed her in a kaleidoscope of mirrors, creating a

virtual funhouse of reflective images. The result: A whirl of alabaster skin,

hypnotic violet eyes, dazzling diamonds and Clara Bow lips.

Daphne Guinness NARS Makeup Look:

When it comes to describing fashionista Daphne Guinness, François Nars’ passion knows no boundaries. And when it came to designing and photographing this futuristic makeup look for Fall 2010, François created a look worthy of his leading lady.

Central to this ultra-sophisticated, ethereal look: A canvas of impeccably, smooth skin. Under Nars’ direction, Makeup Artist Kabuki primed the skin with line-erasing Skin Smoothing Face Prep, followed by a base of Siberia Sheer Matte Foundation and finally a light application of Snow Loose Powder. To contour Daphne’s complexion, he dusted Douceur Blush to the cheeks and blended it with the Yachiyo Brush.

To create scintillatingly dramatic eyes, Kabuki applied a coat of Smudge-Proof Eyeshadow Base, followed by a wash of Daphne Single Eyeshadow. Using the Wide Contour Brush, he built color and intensity along the outer eye. For brightness in the inner eye, he applied Mangrove Single Eyeshadow and lightly lined the top and bottom lashes with Nuits Blanches Eyeliner Stylo. Brows were defined with Ipanema Eyebrow Pencil. The look was finished off with two coats of Larger Than Life Volumizing Mascara to both the top and bottom lashes.

The pièce de résistance: Daphne’s lips, stained with Rouge Basque Lipstick and highlighted with Scandal Lip Gloss for ultimate shine and fullness.

Douceur Blush: For the first time ever, this soft pink-brown hue is etched with the NARS logo. Douceur. Fr.: Sweet, gentle, delicate. NARS Douceur Blush: A soft pink-brown hue that lightly imparts a honeyed brown kiss of innocence on cheeks. Use to contour from the apple of the cheek upward; warm forehead, jaw line and nose.

Daphne Eyeshadow: Named after Daphne Guinness herself, this eyeshadow is a hypnotizing matte, deep-violet hue.

Mangrove Eyeshadow: A soft mellow yellow laced with lime, inspired by the tropical Mangrove tree.

Coconut Grove Eyeshadow: A dark chocolate-cum-taupe named for Miami’s magical neighborhood on Biscayne Bay.

Rouge Basque Lipstick: Inspired by the inside cover of a book from the famed French countryside, François Nars envisioned the quintessential red from the Basque region.

Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss: Imagine juicy, mouthwatering strawberries, just picked. Then delight in the serious, yet sexy shine of this bright pink confection.

Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil: This sparkling turquoise soft touch shadow pencil rocks with all the vibrancy and sex appeal of its namesake NYC hotspot.

Rajasthan Duo Eyeshadow: An exotic pair of shadows playing glazed almond against cool charcoal.

Tzarine Duo Eyeshadow: Platinum gold infused with silver is paired with a bold, steel grey in this duo.


Why did you cast Daphne Guinness in the Fall 2010 campaign?

I loved working with Daphne Guinness on the 15X15 Project and wanted to work with her again. She is very creative, elegant and so high society. So very decadent with a British background. She is THE NARS woman—we even named an eyeshadow after her this season!

Why did you name an eyeshadow after Daphne?

When I saw her wearing the bright purple hue at the campaign shoot, I immediately knew it should be named after her. The eyeshadow looked like it was made for her—so mesmerizing and regal, like Daphne herself. I’m always inspired by so many different things when it comes to naming products—art, people, fashion, travel, music and nature.

Why did you build a set of mirrors to photograph Daphne?

Daphne herself was the inspiration for the campaign. She is so amazing to look at that we thought, why not have more of her! So we used the mirrors to multiple her image 5, 10 times.

What did you want to achieve with this collection?

I wanted a collection that was Old Hollywood meets futuristic, which is also very much Daphne’s style. I love the bold hues—the deep red in Rouge Basque, the intense brown in Coconut Grove, and of course the regal purple in Daphne.

How should women update their makeup look for the Fall?

I hope women aren’t confined to trends and take the change of seasons as a chance to experiment! This season, there are so many great bold hues for women to try—vibrant reds, deep brown, fresh blues. Mix the shades and textures and don’t forget to have fun!


Douceur Blush - £19.50

Rouge Basque Lipstick (Limited Edition) - £17.00

Strawberry Fields Lip Gloss (Limited Edition) - £17.00

Daphne Eyeshadow - £16.00

Coconut Grove Eyeshadow - £16.00

Mangrove Eyeshadow (Limited Edition) - £16.00

Tzarine Eyeshadow Duo - £23.00

Rajasthan Eyeshadow Duo (Limited Edition) - £23.00

Palladium Soft Touch Shadow Pencil (Limited Edition) - £15.00

NARS Fall 2010 Collection is available from: