Saturday, 23 February 2008

Back to Black

Black is the ultimate style survivor. Other colours come and go but it remains a much loved staple. Worn top to toe it can either signal goth or glam there's no midle ground about it and that's what makes it so alluring. Giorgio Armani's signature look is black trousers worn with a black t-shirt and who are we to argue with one of the most lauded tastemkers of our time. Here are some other ladies who work it well.

Star Style

These ladies are trailblazing in the style stakes. A special mention has got to go to Katie Holmes when did she get so fashion savvy? Casual or glammed up she always looks immaculate - I'm taking notes!

Fast Fashion: Friend or Foe?

Budget shopping has come a long way from the days where the wares on offer were misshapen and faded but you bought them anyway thinking at those throwaway prices it would be a crime not too. In the last couple of years there's been a shift in the thinking of budget chains such as Matalan, Peacocks, Ethel Austin and Primark. Fierce competition from supermarkets and major high street chains has meant that they've had to up their game to stay in the game - think fashion Darwinism. As I browsed through the rails at Primark the other day I could literally not believe my eyes the clothes, shoes, belts, bags and even bedding were so cheap but herein lies the fantastic contridiction also chic - and I'm not talking Moschino cheap and chic more like lunch at McDonalds or a cute little patent clutch with a bow cheap and chic and I know which I'd go for. The turnover at these stores is super fast as they have to stay up to date with current trends in order to keep us traipsing through their doors. And when celebrities started proudly declaring that they shopped in these cut priced emporiums budget shopping went from an embarrasing secret to the nation's faourite pastime - in a look at us we're British and oh so thrifty way. There has been some discussion about the 'dark side' of fast fashion - kids working in sweat shops etc which obviously I don't condone and the retailers mentoned have spoken out saying that they adhere to the strictest working practices domestically and abroad. So I say as long as no one is getting hurt and it means we can all get a little fashion fix without breaking the bank what's the harm?

Shooting from the Lip.

Forget lipcolour a good lip texture is hard to find. I've been a gloss addict for as long as I can remember and know the best brands for me - Stila (Lip Glaze) and Lancome (Juicy Tubes)- in terms of giving good sheer coverage not too light not too gloopy and providing the staying power of a smudge proof liner. But like the intrepid fashionista that I am I've gotten bored bored bored of gloss and want change. Right so I did what I always do when I'm after something new list my options and test them out. Long long ago when I was just a little lady I looked up at my female teachers with lipstick on their teeth and spread messily across their mouths and decided it would never be for me. But for the sake of research I spent an afernoon in Selfridges beauty hall trying on the crem de la crem of lipsticks MAC, NARS, Bobbi Brown, Channel, Dior, Giorgio Armani you name it I smeared it on and you know what my 8 year old self was right. There are probably some women who look great in it but pour moi I've gotta give it nil points. It just made my already generous lips look extra inflated and dried out. Then I read an interview with Rachel Bilson you know one of those if you had 0.3 seconds to get ready what would you apply befoe leaving the house things. And she said mascara and ... lip stain. And I had a Homer 'doh!' moment right there of course lip stain. Not creamy or overpowering and the result a lovely looking natural flush. So I tried the one by Benetint and you knnow what I'm very impressed. It's like my natural lipcolour just more exaggerated but not full on scary looking. La Bilson mentioned Tarte's cheek stain, which she uses on her lips but as beauty democracy dicates I've displayed a few others above.

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Say no to skinnies

Staying with the floaty vibe that it seems will be dominating our spring summer wardrobes its clear that the focus is shifting from stomach supporting industrial leather wide belts to flimsy skinnies. Now I have come to love the sturdy feel of a good wide waist cincher and am not ready to give that up for a thin leather strip that will leave anyone who's not a Lily Donaldson type with unsightly bulges. So a good compromise while erring on the side of fashion caution? An in betweeny not thick not thin just right. Topshop do some great vintage and gladiator inspired styles to keep everything looking sleek and svelte.

Just because its the weekend

Thursday, 14 February 2008

The Perils of Womanhood

Its undeniable that a pair of stilettos instantly gives a woman a sexy swagger and air of confidence. But alas it also cannot be denied that wearing them makes you feel like you've got razor sharp toothpicks digging into the balls of your feet and after a couple of hours the sexy strut turns into an involuntary chicken dance. We have all been there at the end of a night out where we are faced with two choices discard the crippling footwear and risk stepping on glass or keep the stilettos on and risk early paralysis not good! The middle ground? A good sturdy wedge or chunky heels pretty and practical. Check out Kurt Geiger for art deco inspired styles.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Style Spy.

These fabulous ladies and gent (Tom Cruise) made it onto the SB radar by simply looking fabulous!

Style Bazaar Beauty: YSL Spring Line 2008

When it comes to make up brands you've got the trendies - MAC, Stila, Smashbox, Benefit - and the Oldies - Dior, Elizabeth Arden, Fashion Fair. For years YSL has fallen into the latter category. Apart from its touche eclat concealer and the odd mascara it didn't really have that much going for it...that is until now. It's 2008 spring line is a colour swirl of lollipop stick blushers, eyeshadow click pens encased in the signature gold dispensers, and soft blusher palettes. The overall effect is vibrant yet sweet think Cameron Diaz or Rachel Bilson. For a guilt free sweet treat look no further!

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Unpretty in Pink!

Tech companies just don't get women. My first indication of this was a couple of years ago when the motorola RAZAR phone came out it was the gadget du jour. So what did Motorola do to make them it female friendly - they made them in pink. Ok so maybe this caught Paris Hilton's eye but I for one was insulted. This kind of thinking was obviously generated by a man in a suit with a head for numbers but a lack of any style sensibility. Dolce & Gabbana nailed the brief when they came up with a limited edition metallic gold and black version of the phone that said it all; bling, bold and beautiful.

Now luxury goods seller Giovari have come up with a 'serendipity' collection of phones that's basically Nokia 8800 and N76 handsets encrusted with "vintage 1930s and 1940s intaglio Czech stones sprinkled with tiny specks of aventurine gold," according to Luxurylaunches that have sadly gravely misjudged it's target audience. Contrary to what misguided marketing executives believe women require more from their gadgets than simple good looks and pastel colours. And even if the phones were being judged on that limited criteria they'd fail abysmally as they are just gaudy.

So if you're on the lookout for a phone that does it all and has the right credentials though it's nothine new a trusty Blackberry is a phone a fashionista can sport with pride, sleek, functional and reliable it's no surprise that it earned the moniker 'crackberry' from its loyal fans. And what's more it doesn't come in pink so it gets my vote.

Star Style: NY Fashion Week 08

What would a fashion show be without a smattering of celebs in the audience to get the lightbulbs flashing? The stars turned out in force to support their favourite designers and in the process gave us a glimpse of what they're rocking at the moment. Style points go to America's Next Top Model judge Nigel Barker I'm loving his pink lined jacket, you've gotta applaud a guy not afraid to work fuschia.

Spotlight on: New York Fashion Week 08

New York fashion week is always a bustling cornucopia of high meets low. And brands as diverse as Carolina Herrera and Miss Sixty offer up their wares for a thorough inspecton from fashion editors, celebrities and fashion bloggers. Standout collections so far include the Oscar de la Renta Fall 2008 show, which showcased elegantly tailored dresses that looked like they'd been ripped off a victorian heroine - very proper and elegant yet brought bang up to date with glittering embellishments.
The Halson show was the subject of major hype and expectations were therefore very high. The designs sent down the runway were simple and made up of clean lines and fluid silhouettes but I felt although the pieces admittedly reeked of luxury and a cosseted sensuality they could have been taken from a 'Sportsmax' show as the designs just lacked that extra something that would have tipped them into the fabulous category.
My favourite show so far would have to undoubtedly be the BCBG Maz Azria collecction - very pretty and understated. The focus on cinched in waists and short tulip shaped skirts was nothing new as fashion has been courting the Dita Von Teese look for months but the twist was that though sexy the designs retained a sense of comfort and wearability. They're the kind of outfits that you could wear to the office and expect to be taken seriously in while attracting some serious sideglances.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Halston Rediscovered

Halston was THE luxury label of the 70s. Think slinky, think louche, think studio 54. It was founded by Roy Halston Frowick who could have been a poster boy for the American dream. He started off his career as a milliner but wanting to spread his creative wings established his own clothing label in 1966 with financial backing from Bergdorf Goodman and as they say a star was born. He rubbed shoulders with the elite of his day and the glitterati - Elizabeth Taylor, Anjelica Houston, Bianca Jagger - all partied in his sensual yet elegant designs. But his meteoric rise was to end in tragedy - he sold his business for 12 million dollars in 1973 and was sacked from the company he built from scratch in 1984. He died in the early 90s from AIDS. There have been several attempts to relaunch the label but they've all proved unsuccessful until now. Thirty years after the its inception a clique comprised of fashion and hollywood hotshots - Jimmy Choo founder Tamara Mellon, hollywood heavyweight Harvey Weinstein, uber stylist Rachel Zoe and Versace's Marco Zaniniare -are taking a stab at recapturing the ethos of the brand. So what can we expect? Well the show debued at New York Fashion week today and net-a-porter has inked an exclusive deal to show footage of the launch and sell two key pieces tomorrow. You can check it out at

Let the Battle Commence...

Let's face it since the end of Sex and the City in 2005 tv has been a big fashion free zone. I mean sure we've had America's Next Top Model, 24, Californication, 30 Rock and more recently Mistresses (a BBC produced SATC wannabe) the list goes on and on. And yeah they've all been entertaining yadda yadda yadda but the fact is none of them come close to spurring a fashion obsession or even a mild flicker of style lust. But now it seems that like buses, and shoes all good things do come in pairs as 'Cashmere Mafia' and 'Lipstick Jungle' both glossy sitcoms about feisty glamorous urbanites are set to hit UK screens any day now - lucky Americans have already seen a few episodes.

Wikipedia Blurbs:
Cashmere Mafia follows the lives of four ambitious and sexy women, who've been longtime best friends since their days at business school, as they try to balance their glamorous and demanding careers with their complex personal lives by creating their own "boys' club" (The Cashmere Mafia) to protect each other and discuss their personal ups and downs as they try to have it all in New York City.

The premise of Lipstick jungle appears to tread similar ground to Bushnell's famed Sex and the City, following the lives of three New York career women; a fashion designer called Victory Ford, magazine editor Nico O'Neilly, and Parador Pictures president Wendy Healy; however in this book the women are a little older, richer, and more powerful.

Both shows seem equally matched but I am leaning towards Cashmere Mafia fot two reasons; I'm a big Darren Star fan I mean we're talking about the man responsible for some of the most captivating telly of the last 10 years Melrose Place, Beverly Hils 90210, and of course SATC the man is a tv legend. Add the ever stylish and charismatic Lucy Liu into the mix and you've got a winning formula.

Lipstick jungle seems ok but just a bit blah. I've never been a big Brooke Shields fan and although Candace Bushnell came up with the original idea for SATC I could never get into her writing. So only a weekend in with ice cream and watching them back to back will tell but in the meantime there are the publicity shots to gaze at.