Wednesday, 14 December 2011

How Fame Met Fortune

How Fame Met Fortune..

I'm currently dying over LA-based comedienne Fortune Feimster. Unashamedly Rubenesque, and an open and happy lesbian (go Fortune!), it's marvellous that such a talented and merrily self-deprecating woman is getting prime time exposure on a hit comedy show like Chelsea Lately. Having already gained a cult following with her hilarious stand up shows, she has created two comedic characters that are of special note; Darlene Witherspoon, a deliciously grotesque Hooters waitress with some "special" talents (see the video below for details of her full repertpoire), who boasts of often being asked if she is related to A-List actress Reese (love it):

Lastly we have Katina the Pole Dance Instructor "y'all know how Katina roll. What!"

Not only did she help her man Snoop Dog to write the lyrics to "Drop It Like It's Hot", she's also something of a rising fashion star, just check out that "Von Douche" bag:

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Some Like It Haute

Some Like It Haute..

Back in September, I was booked to do a shoot for the fabulous Yoanna Hanchard, Founder and Director of High Fashion Society, a cult online fashion portal and multi-tiered virtual club that sells (and sources) a treasure trove of pre-loved designer clothing and accessories, in addition to offering a variety of styling services.

The theme was "vintage glamour with a twist", with an emphasis on "moody eyes" and "perfect lips".

I'll do a separate post with my memories of the shoot, behind-the-scenes pics and info on the make-up I used to create the two key looks.

For now, here are the pics, I hope you like (just click on them to view the image full size).

The Aquascutum check skirt and yellow quilted Chanel 2.55 purse have been sold..

Louboutin's sell like hot cakes on the website..

This paisley print silk maxi dress from Etro is so Florence Welch (it is available to purchase together with the blue Galliano shoes)..

This vintage Chanel silk scarf and black quilted clutch are currently available..

This black Hermes Birkin bag is no longer available..

This black Celine alligator clutch is still available, together with the blue/black Herve Leger bandage dress..

This Temperley London gown is still available..

This red boucle tweed jacket from Chanel is still available..

Photographer - Kelly Mitchell
Assistant Photographer - Doug

Model - Georgie Hobday @ Profile Model Management

Stylist - Yoanna Hanchard
Assistant Stylist - Zara Hovelsas

Hair - Joel Benjamin
Make-Up - Sebastian Brown

The team shot at Hotel Verta, Battersea, London

Join High Fashion Society to gain access to a highly covetable array of the finest designer merchandise

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Absolutely Fabulous

Absolutely Fabulous..

I have to admit, I'm one of those people who is terrible at remembering names, but it's rare that I forget a face. So it was with some surprise, that when reading a press release about a splendid new tome entitled Fashion Fabulous London 2012, that I instantly recognised the "sartorial uniqueness" of milliner Tracy Rose.

I often used to see Tracy (pictured above), a tabloid picture editor's dream, adorned with one of her own, larger-than-life, attention-grabbing creations on the London Fashion Week circuit. All I can say, is that this lady makes Donatella Versace look understated.

But, and this is a BIG but, what I, and indeed most people love about London's fashion scene, is that it's a bit bonkers. Tracy, and indeed anybody else, could quite as easily look at my style of dress on any given day and like, or dislike what they see. One of the privileges of living in this uniquely tolerant, omni-cultural and fashion-forward city, is that to an extent, you can wear what you like without most people batting an eye lid.

I may not like Tracy's outfits, but I do see how much Press coverage she has accrued over the years at horse racing events, and boy is she a smart cookie. It's a brave woman who has obscenely-long acrylic nail extensions painted to match the various colours in her outfit. Talons so long they'd give Freddy Krueger size envy.

To be fair, what fun would the races be without all the champagne-sipping, people-watching and outfit scoring?? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have all adopted ultra-zany ensembles as part and parcel of their cartoonish Pop personae, and they're sitting front row at the couture shows while I type alone in my bedroom. Clearly, someone is having the last laugh, and FYI, it's not me.

Hats off to Tracy, and her husband / co-writer and journalist Russell Rose (pictured above), for their new tome, Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is an accomplished and comprehensive guide to London style. Encompassing everything from the best of the city's markets, quirky independent urban retailers, and high street chains, to the heady glamour of Bond Street's boutiques, the book even advises on the most modish cafes and restaurants. Addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses are all provided. The couple devised a list of their Top 200 destinations, with an additional key serving as an indicator of "wow factor", choice, service and price.

As a fellow fashion insider, I was keen to see whether some of the less obvious shopping destinations I frequent had been documented. Indeed they had been, Aquascutum, Aspinal of London, B Store, Beyond The Valley, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Harry's of London, Jaeger, Kokon to Zai, Liberty, Maison Martin Margiela, River Island, Selfridges, Stephen Webster, Topman, Turnbull & Asser, Unconditional and Zara were all present, not to mention markets such as Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Portobello, Greenwich, East Street and Camden. Even some of my favourite dining spots and watering holes made it into print, with classic haunts such as The Ivy, Claridges, Nobu and the Wolseley all receiving a well-deserved name check.

An Amanda Wakely catwalk shot from the back cover.

A Jil Sander boutique shot from the back cover.

Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is priced at £12.99, available at Waterstone's, Harrods, Selfridges, Oliver Bonas and all major bookstores.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Swagger Jagger

Swagger Jagger..

Sir Mick Jagger, The Rolling Bones front man (Rolling Stones) and uber icon of music and style has inspired one of my favourite tracks right now.

"Moves Like Jagger" is a definite departure for Maroon 5, with the band's front man Adam Levine admitting the new sound was a commercial risk (but given the amount of air play the song's getting, it's fair to assume the risk paid off).

A genre-defying blend of funk, R&B, pop, rock and dance, the track's music video concept and direction was left in the more than capable hands of Jonas Akerlund.Akerlund's previous music video credits include the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" and Madonna's "Ray of Light", making him the go-to man for cutting edge and progressive visual imagery.

The track features a Ruben-esque Christina Aguilera, who brings her mega-lung, little-lady-big-sound to the mix. The video itself is a riot to watch, with various Jagger imitators taking to a large stage to strut, prance and rock-out in various 70's style outfits. Levine channels Jagger in a pair of hip-hugging uber skinny black trousers (bare chested naturally), while Aguilera's styling seems to reference Rolling Stones babes Bianca Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in a Biba-esque / Ossie Clark ensemble accessorised with a wide rimmed floppy black felt hat. It's worth mentioning that the majority of the extras look like they escaped from a) Woodstock, b) a 70's Fleetwood Mac concert or c) Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (one of my all time favourite films). The styling in the latter is superb, with Kate Hudson the epitome of bohemian chic in a series of diaphanous chiffon outfits, punctuated with shag-tastic fur trimmed Afghan coats (Yeah Baby Yeah).

Adam and the artist formerly known as X-Tina doin' their thang

Now, a look at Jagger and friends over the decades:

Marianne Faithful and Mick circa the 60's

Mick and Bianca circa the 70's

Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards circa the 70's

Andy Warhol and Mick circa the 70's

A Warhol print of Mick circa the 70's

Mick and Jerry Hall circa the late 70's / early 80's

Mick flanked by Keith Richards (who seems to be spoofing his signature posturing and pout)

The iconic Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo

The Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo immortalised in this equally iconic piece of bijoux from uber-jeweller Solange Azagury Partridge (sigh).

The making of Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund

The official music video of Maroon 5's Move Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Sweet Like Chocolate

Sweet Like Chocolate..

There are Easter Eggs and then there are Prestat Easter Eggs. Founded by Antoine Dufour, who created the first truffle in 1895, the uber-luxe traditional confectioner have hatched five fabulously exquisite eggs in time for Easter.

The Easter Parade Collection has been packaged in the most beautiful array of boxes, with illustrations by renowned artist Kitty Arden. The brand's trademark gold and bright pink swirls dominate, with each ribbon wrapped, gold-foiled egg nestling on a luxurious bed of fuchsia tissue.

Cadbury's this is not! And at a mere £25 per egg, this delectable offering effortlessly fuses high style, exceptional quality and, in my opinion, value for money. It's worth purchasing the eggs for the boxes alone, which double as a fabulously chic vessel in which one may house jewellery, trinkets, personal letters and the like. For the collectors amongst you, I'd recommend purchasing all five flavours as an investment (if you can resist indulging in the contents that is).

Pictured at the top, is the Rose & Violet Creme egg. Crafted from the finest dark chocolate (71%) and filled with Prestat's legendary Rose & Violet Cremes (beloved of both my father and my late grandmother), which it has been producing for more than a 100 years.

Billy Tallon, the late Queen Mother's steward, intimated that Her Majesty was a lifelong ardent fan of these particular delights: "They travelled everywhere with her, even aboard the Royal Yacht". It was this very fondness that led Her Majesty to award Prestat her Royal Warrant.

I've tested the Milk Chocolate egg (in the name of journalism naturally), and I have to say it got me through a recent case of bronchitis. House bound for five days, I was feeling terribly under the weather, and this gem was the source of immense gastronomic pleasure. More than just a feast for the palate, the very act of unwrapping the egg, which in the manner of a Russian doll, revealed treasure after treasure, was in fact a complete sensory treat.

Opening the vividly patterned box, revealed a gold foiled egg, wrapped in the prettiest turquoise grosgrain ribbon seen outside of VV Rouleaux. While the exquisitely stylised packaging is a delight in itself, the egg housed two assortments of Ganache truffles, white chocolate and milk chocolate, the final surprise in this chocolate treasure trove.

The Dark Chocolate egg also houses an assortment of Ganache truffles, ideal for ardent fans of traditional rich chocolate. I'd say this is the perfect option for the chocolate purist.

For the modern chocolate fans, the Sea Salt Caramel egg provides something a little bit different, along the lines of Montezuma's and Lindt's chilli chocolate or Lindt's and Green & Black's ginger chocolate.

A new recipe taking chocolate fans by storm, the softest sweet caramel infused with a hint of sea salt fills the finest dark chocolate (71%).

If you prefer your chocolate especially grand (and with an added kick), the Marc de Champagne egg should be your go-to option. Crafted from velvety milk chocolate and packed with Marc de Champagne truffles, this is, without doubt, the perfect option for the man or woman who appears to have it all. Among the most popular truffles sold in Britain, the are ubiquitous at state banquets and first nights, where they are served to monarchs, dignitaries and stars of stage and screen.

All five eggs are crafted from a selection of cocoa beans from Sao Thome, Tanzania and Ghana, all of which are part of Prestat's Trading Fairly ESOKO initiative.

The Prestat Easter Parade Collection eggs are priced at £25 each, available from:

Monday, 18 April 2011

Menage A Trois

Menage a trois..

Good things come in threes, so the old adage goes. This is certainly the case with Lait Sensoriel Aux 3 Fleurs (Sensory Lotion With 3 Flowers) from Lierac Paris. I've always been a die hard fan of French beauty brands. Darphin, Decleor, Carita, Nuxe and Yon-Ka are all regulars in my bathroom cabinet (now joined happily by Lierac).

For me, moisturising is less of a beauty habit and more of a necessity. Together with regular exfoliation, it is the key to maintaining supple, hydrated skin. Through winter, I tend to favour richer body butters and oils, which I like to massage into my skin after a shower or bath to seal in essential moisture. But through spring and summer, as the weather gets warmer, I tend to swap my richer body and face products for lighter formulations.

I've been using the Lierac Sensory Lotion with 3 Flowers for a few weeks now, and I have to say, its light, easily absorbed and non-greasy texture (together with its heavenly scent), make it an absolute joy to use. London can be terribly humid in the warmer weather, and there's nothing worse than the clingy feeling of one's shirt sticking to one's back after slathering one's self in too rich a body cream. Thankfully, this wonder doesn't leave a greasy film or residue on the skin, it just does what it promises, ie provide lasting hydration.

This is definitely a product I'd recommend, and would be ideal for holidays. The hypnotic exotic floral aroma leaves skin sensually scented, delighting the olfactory senses. On the design front, the product's tube is an aesthetic dream, chic and pleasingly minimalist in design, sporting a floral motif that Gabrielle Chanel no doubt would have approved of. A welcome addition to any bathroom / handbag / suitcase.

The Active Ingredients

Moroccan Argan Oil, rich in Essential Fatty Acids, anti-oxidant Vitamin E, polyphenols and carotenes, conditions the skin and protects against environmental aggressors.

Grapeseed Oil is a potent anti-oxidant, protecting against environmental aggressors. Rich in Essential Fatty Acids, it has a conditioning and restorative effect on the skin. Its lightweight texture makes it a popular carrier oil in aromatherapy massage formulations, as it penetrates easily into the skin.

Sweet Almond Oil is especially rich in Essential Fatty Acids. Another favourite for aromatherapy and facial oil blends, it has a softening and hydrating effect on the skin, while anti-oxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin E protect from environmental damage.

Hazelnut Oil is packed with a host of skin-friendly vitamins, including anti-oxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Highly nutritive, there's nothing like it for soothing and softening the skin.

Gardenias were a favourite with Jazz icon Billie Holliday, she adorned her hair with them, and they became as iconic as her voice. A key note in many a classic perfume, gardenias hale from the tropical forests of southern Japan and are noted for their subtle fragrance and toning and relaxing properties.

The camellia was Gabrielle Chanel's signature flower, and remain as much a Chanel icon as their tweed boucle jackets, quilted leather 2.55 bag, gilt chains and pearls. Originating from China, its Essential Fatty Acid rich oil makes it superbly nourishing, soothing, softening and protecting for the skin. Dual-purpose, it also restores shine, softness and vitality to the hair.

Another staple fragrance note, Jasmine is native to the Indies and Egypt. Rich in anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory flavonols, Jasmine Absolute is a key ingredient in many anti-ageing skin preparations. Delightfully fragrant, it has a relaxing and harmonising effect on the mind and body, while also strengthening and beautifying the hair.

Lierac Sensory Lotion With 3 Flowers - £19.00

020 7620 1771

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Strictly Confidential

Strictly Confidential..

Last week I had the immense pleasure of meeting Lisa Eldridge, one of my biggest beauty heroines, at a Chanel make-up and fashion preview. Even more alluring in person (if that's possible) than she is on camera in her oh-so-fabulous make-up tutorials, meeting her literally made my day. If you're not already familiar with her fabulous website/blog, then I highly recommend checking it out (

The big buzz on the Chanel beauty front is the launch of their fabulous new Chanel Make-Up Confidential website (

Solely dedicated to Chanel make-up, this online multi-media destination has been created to satiate our appetites for every aspect of Chanel beauty. From interviews with Peter Philips, Creative Director of Chanel Make-Up, to fabulous tutorials from Lisa Eldridge. The content will change regularly, to showcase the very latest launches and news from the brand, ensuring we all have our fingers on the pulse.

I wasn't sure what to wear, it being my maiden voyage into the hallowed corridors above Chanel's New Bond Street boutique. Given the brand's Parisian origins, I thought I'd channel Gallic chic and opted for a vintage Lanvin dress shirt (acquired from my father - thanks dad), an Ungaro waistcoat (catwalk sample), Westwood harem trousers (catwalk sample), limited edition Lacoste shades (press gift) and some Zara plimsolls (picked up before my holiday in Barbados last Summer), accessorised with a chocolate suede Chris&Tibor bag (press gift).

Getting ready was a bit of a crisis, I felt like one of those flustered women in the movies who try on four outfits before settling on the perfect one for their big date (men have wardrobe issues too, even former stylists). So when I settled on the winning look, it was something of a relief. Having found my fashion mojo and with the sun shining gloriously in the sky, I was ready to pop my Chanel cherry.

I was thrilled to see Glamour magazine's Beauty Director Alessandra Steinherr when I arrived. Always brimming with warmth, she gave me a kiss when she saw me, and we had a quick catch up. On noticing my ensemble, she was quick to remark that she wished she'd made more of an effort, but quite frankly when you're as naturally beautiful and effervescent as she is, you could wear a bin bag and still steal peoples' hearts.

Alessandra and I have history, as we worked together in my first magazine role, back when I was a freelancer at Cosmopolitan magazine and she was the magazine's Beauty Director. I sat opposite her on the fashion/beauty desk, and we bonded one day when she asked me where she could source Venetian masks from and I solved her shoot crisis by sharing that Angels Fancy Dress on Shaftesbury Avenue was her go-to destination, and so a friendship was born. Ever since that conversation, we chatted about everything from make-up and skincare to Balenciaga, and it was clear we had much in common. In fact she, along with make-up artist Daniel Sandler, are the two people I credit for inspiring me to move into the beauty world and become a make-up artist, after a two year stint as the Style & Grooming Editor for GT Magazine.

History aside, once we'd caught up (and I'd recovered from super stylist Katie Grand tripping over my foot), I had the opportunity to briefly quiz Lisa about Chanel's Summer 2011 make-up collection, specifically what she loved most, together with application tips. But before we touch on that, she introduced me to the world of Chanel Make-Up Confidential and her genius make-up tutorials for the website (which are exclusive to the website and won't be appearing on her website or You Tube channels).

In one of the videos, she demonstrates how to apply the "better than skin" Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. This cult product is something I have used on many of my own clients, many of whom have gone on to snap it up, as it is so delightfully sheer in consistency, yet somehow manages to make the skin look flawless without feeling like you're wearing foundation at all. In the second video she creates a fabulous look using the exquisite Ombres Perlees De Chanel 5-colour eye shadow palette, together with other products from the Les Perles De Chanel Spring 2011 collection (including my other die hard favourite, the Black Pearl nail varnish).

Current uber-model Monika Jac Jagaciak, is the face of the Les Perles De Chanel Spring 2011 make-up collection. Peter Philips chose pearls as a theme as one of the things Mademoiselle Chanel loved most about pearls, was their power to really illuminate the face. All of the products in the collection have pearlescent qualities, in various hues and nuances reflecting the variety of natural pearls.

Chanel think of everything, notice the Chanel pearls, flanked by the Chanel Le Vernis in Black Pearl on the left (just seen) and Pearl Drop on the right (just seen). This was the backdrop to Lisa Eldridges' tutorial on how create the new season face using the Les Perles De Chanel Spring 2011 collection.

The three pearlescent nail shades from the Les Perles De Chanel collection, Black Pearl, Pearl Drop and Peche Nacree.

A model from the Chanel SS11 ready to wear show sporting the super chic and edgy Les Perles De Chanel smokey eye. Notice the eyeliner drawn down the hair parting - trend alert!

I'm obsessed with the Ombres Perlees De Chanel eye shadow palette, the creamy consistency of these shades is divine, experiment by layering the colours on top of each other to create multi-tonal, dimensional effects that truly illuminate the eyes like nothing else. The paler shades on the left double as fabulous highlighters for the cheekbones, brow bones, inner corners of the eyes and cupid's bow.

French national treasure and Chanel muse Vanessa Paradis is the face of the Rouge Coco Shine lipstick collection. She wears the Boy shade, a subtle nude pink that is an effortless everyday option. The cocoa butter in this lipstick makes is delightfully nourishing on the lips.

With so many shades to choose from, there really is something for everyone. My personal favourite is Rebelle, a fabulously punchy coral red that will look divine with a tan come summer. If you want to try red lipstick but are scared of a densely pigmented formulation, this is definitely one to try.

Forever innovative, Chanel debuted a photo booth service when launching the Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks. Having purchased the shade(s) of their choice, customers were treated to a fabulously fun photo booth experience. The machine took four shots, I've posted my favourite above. I liked the play on the word "Boy", above my head, which of course was the shade worn by Vanessa Paradis in the campaign, and sported by some of the models on the Chanel ready to wear SS11 runway.

I love that the theme music for the Rouge Coco Shine video on the Chanel Make-Up Confidential website is Boys and Girls by Blur. Again, referencing the Boy lipstick shade from the collection. Chanel are so rock n' roll.

A shot of the Chanel Make-Up Confidential opening page.

The divine Lisa Eldridge, rocking a Chanel cuff.

A shot of Lisa's "How To Do The New Season Face" video.

A shot of Peter Philips' inspired robot Chanel make-up video. Here it is in all its glory if you haven't already caught it on You Tube:

Lisa's Summer 2011 Favourites

Lisa waxed lyrical about the new blush/bronze compacts. She suggests using the three bronzer shades as a contour, blending the blush shade across the apples of the cheeks to enliven the complexion. The compact is available in two shades, one light, one dark.



The new nail colours in Beige Petale (nude pink), and Lisa's hot tip for summer, Magnolia (canary yellow).

Lisa was incredibly sweet and offered to model the Magnolia shade for me - what a lady!

The Morning Rose nail shade (candy pink), flanked by a new eye shadow duo (loving the metallic khaki green shade).

Register on the Chanel Make-Up Confidential website to be alerted of all Chanel Make-Up news. Just be careful, or like me, your Chanel addiction will spiral out of control. I blame Coco!