Tuesday, September 16, 2014
The modern concept of jewelry is changing. Designers are challenging conventional ideas of jewelry with different areas of the body to embellish while they reinvent those types of jewelry in astonishingly beautiful and unexpected ways.
These changes are coming from exotic places…toe rings and pierced noses, from India…hand jewelry and body harnesses, from the Middle East, crowns and headdresses, from all throughout history. And the list goes on.
I am so excited to introduce you to a friend of mine, Marianna Harutunian, who is at the forefront of jewelry design. Marianna, a cherry-haired visionary, pictured below, designs and executes pieces that can define an entire wardrobe. As jeweler to celebrities like Cher, Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj, pictured above wearing a jeweled glove from the Marianna Harutunian Collection, Marianna has a pretty impressive resumé…but she’s also really down-to-earth. Her accessories, however, are not.
This woman creates the most outrageous jewels…jewels that look like they came from another world, another time, or both. Sometimes her work is feminine, sometimes it’s dark–really, really dark–but it’s always mind-bogglingly unique, very interesting, bizarre, and completely surprising, and I love it all…from her dagger-sharp rings to her fingernail armor. From her intricately filigreed harnesses to her heavily-jeweled masks, which, I must say, I cannot decide whether they disturb me or have seduced me. I think it’s a bit of both.
Marianna’s pieces have been featured in Vogue Japan and on the runways of London’s Fashion Week…plus, she counts a formidable force in fashion, Italian-Japanese fashion director Nicola Formichetti, as one of her Facebook followers! He’s the former art director at the French fashion house, Mugler. Now that is impressive.
You scarcely see a repeat idea; and when you do, its execution is so different that it renders it completely unique. Marianna just never runs out of ideas.
And so I am so excited to have commissioned Marianna to work on a piece for me: a dress for Halloween, fashioned entirely out of jewelry! The back will be a spider’s web…But that’s another article for another time. For now, I am delighted to show you some of her most captivating creations.
This elaborate bodice is actually encrusted with hematite and smoky grey pearls. Just look at the detail invested in this piece. This is ART!
The left sleeve of the bodice redefines the impact of jewelry. Wear it over a flesh-toned bodysuit…or a corset, if you’re daring!
My current obsession with gold meets an intricate structure that’s crazy-beautiful. Check out those huge, shoulder-dusting earrings! And I’m way into the claw the model is wearing on her index finger. Keep your eyes open for claws. They’re going to be a new ‘thing’ for the youth.
Nicki Minaj is already a huge fan, as seen with one of Marianna’s claws on every finger in the photo above.
Green gem-encrusted sunglasses? Why not. Snoop (yes, the only Snoop) utilized Marianna’s talents in a recent video with his females decked out in bejeweled sunglasses, taking eyewear couture to new heights.
A glistening mask of tiny black jewels makes a dramatic and most memorable entrance…I don’t know where, but that’s up to you to figure out…
I do think it would look quite spectacular with the body chains above. It just doesn’t get any better than this!
This is as ordinary as Marianna will go: a bold gold bib, ornate with filigree, and a bracelet, heavy with pearls, transform a simple black pantsuit.
Facial jewelry is a new development in fashion, and this delicately-draped, lace-like creation couldn’t look any more current. Wear it to the clubs.
Sparkling crystals compose an entire dress! And just look at that headpiece!
Lady Gaga shines in a pale display of Swarovski crystals, set in shimmering silver.
Loving this harness, this fabulous bracelet, and the enormous hinged knuckle ring. The detail is outstanding. And that ring is a must for many a woman’s wardrobe.
Check out the detail studio shot above of a near-identical bracelet, if you choose to call it that, in different lighting, just so you can marvel its workmanship, the design, the details…Isn’t it complex and gorgeous and unexpected? It’s positively arm candy in Marianna’s skilled hands, where pieces are ‘more is more.’
And speaking of arm candy, this obscenely huge, gem-encrusted bangle is taken to such an extreme as to be indescribable. The scale of the piece is almost ridiculous…Isn’t it great?!? I love the drama. Don’t you just adore Marianna?!?
Another arrestingly beautiful mask/headdress is sure to leave everyone speechless, including the person who is wearing it.
This shoulder piece is both bold yet feminine. Wear it over something, or wear it under something. Just wear it.
Marianna’s version of a “simple” necklace is one that plunges practically to the waist. It’s anything but average.
Too gorgeous for words, this gold-and-pearl set is positively spellbinding!
Now I know what some of you are thinking: “Where would I wear any of these designs? They might be beautiful, but they’re a little ‘out-there’ for me. Too weird.” Personally, I think any woman would look fab wearing one of Marianna’s oversized rings or a giant cuff bracelet. If you’re a little more daring, go for a bold statement necklace, or a combination of the aforementioned. You can wear her things casually with jeans and an off-shoulder sweater, for example, or with couture, for that matter. Loosen up and get creative.
And if you really, seriously cannot bring yourself to fall in love with these most edgy, iconic jewels, then stick with something elegant and simple, like this gold necklace that speaks of sophistication. You can’t go wrong wearing this creation to the opera with a plunging neckline, or as-is over a black cashmere turtleneck during the day and into the night for dinner and drinks with friends.
My advice is to go to Marianna’s Shopping & Retail Page on Facebook, and poke around. Make sure you ‘follow’ her on FB. She sometimes has big sales with slashed prices that make owning a Marianna Harutunian an irresistible bargain.
Also check out the Marianna Harutunian Etsy storefront. There are 375 items in that store. You may find a few you like. I’m currently lusting after her adjustable knuckle rings with matching fingernail armor, $125, above. I need these in my life, lol! I want a set for both hands…Now how dramatic would that be?!?! You must admit, it’s a tad more sophisticated than nail art!
I’m also coveting the black grapevine-style cuff made with hematite Swarovski crystals and plated in black metal, $375; the diamond cluster choker made with lime green Swarovski crystals, plated in 24 karat gold, $278; the triple-stone ring made with vitrail medium Swarovski crystals and gold-plated with adjustable band, $85; the Medieval arrow ring, with hematite Swarovski crystals, $55; the antique silver hematite cluster ring made with Swarovski crystals, $65; the emerald beauty necklace, $195; the fairy ear cover, $38; the Queen Bee ring made with light peach Swarovski crystals and gold-plated with adjustable band, $55; the couture body armor, $3,500; the large cocktail ring, $98; and the crystal flower cuff, $145.
Marianna’s pieces are certainly more interesting than what you’ll find at the mall. And it’s not even that expensive to walk away looking hip and cool and completely unique. Get a piece of Marianna before she’s too costly for us mere mortals; she is Cher’s go-to jeweler, remember?
You’ll be seeing Marianna’s pieces on the celebs, of course, and these types of creations on the street as they infiltrate urban fashions. But you’re not merely wearing Marianna’s pieces. Let them become a part of who you are. Someone once said that when you buy something made by a person, there is something special there, and you do feel it. The consciousness with which a thing is made is often more important than the thing itself. And trust me, you’ll look amazing, darlings! Ciao.
It is better to arrive late than ugly. However, it is best to be punctual and look banging.
Award-winning makeup artist Rae Morris has worked on many a famous face–from Miranda Kerr to Naomi Campbell–and she knows all too well that makeup application and shopping for cosmetics can be both time-consuming and confusing.
But it need not be. Rae is author of five outstanding reference books on the art of making up, and now she is preparing to give birth to a new baby: The Ultimate Beauty Guide, her sixth tome on looking lovely. Just check out her work from the forthcoming book, below, on model Lana Zacocela, shot by photographer Gavin O’Neill…It’s nothing short of awe-inspiring! This is a sneak peek into her new project, not even available in stores yet!!! Just look at those eyes!
I have collected every book from Rae’s illustrious 20+ year career in makeup, and I find them to be invaluable references. They are chock-full of low-maintenance tips for high-maintenance girls.
Here are the rest of Rae’s incredible books. You’ll want to buy them all!
Makeup, the Ultimate Guide was Rae’s first attempt in publishing back in 2008, and this book is brilliant! “I wanted to create a book that would bring high-end fashion makeup into the realm of everyday life,” Rae said. “Every single look–even the most glamorous ones–was broken down into a simple step-by-step photo guide with clear and concise instructions, so that no matter your experience, you could teach yourself.” She continued, “This is the format that I have stuck with ever since. The response was amazing and the book became an instant best-seller.”
As a quick aside, Rae managed to get Catherine McNeil for the front cover and Miranda Kerr for the back cover. Not bad for book number one.
Rae changed focus with book number two, Express Makeup. “I have spent a lot of time in my career working back stage at fashion shows where everything has to be done quickly,” Rae stated. The tricks that she has learned in the trenches of fashion were the inspiration for this book.
“Whether you have fifteen minutes to spare or just five, there are express fixes perfect for women who may be put off by how long it takes them to do their makeup,” she said. This book is all about real women with real-world time frames, about tricks like using sticky tape to do eyeliner and the most efficient sequence in which to do your makeup. “Express Makeup is about making makeup livable,” she added.
Timeless Makeup was Rae’s third book in 2011. “It was really a culmination of several things for me,” she said. “I’d just turned 40 and having been a professional makeup artist for almost 20 years my appreciation of beauty at all ages had really evolved.”
Fascinated with the difference makeup could make in reducing the signs of aging and, when applied with age appropriateness, how makeup could actually create a timeless beauty as we age, Rae belted out another winner with Timeless Makeup.
“Rather than working on 15-year-old supermodels, I found I actually often preferred older models where a simple technique could literally takes years off apparent age,” she said.
This book focuses on women over 30 where the signs of aging are starting to show, and the average model age in Timeless Makeup was 56.
Along the way two other books emerged as extracts: Beautiful Eyes, being the eye section of Makeup, the Ultimate Guide, and Quick Looks, below, Rae’s latest release, which is derived from Express Makeup.
“My books are now published in eight languages and are used as the curriculum text for makeup academies around the world.”
She continued, “I’m particularly proud of this because I’m dyslexic,” she stated, adding, “I’m just more passionate than I am dyslexic!”
You can find all of Rae’s books on her website, and while you’re at it, you just have to check out her awesome collection of magnetic brushes…Yes! Magnetic!
“The magnet in the base of the handle means the brushes can securely stand upright,” as opposed to just lying down, Rae explained. “This takes up less space, makes them extremely easy to organize and find, and is great from a hygiene perspective because the brush heads don’t have to be in contact with anything. In combination with our storage system, the magnets secure the brushes in transit, this protects the heads so that you don’t open your kit on arrival to find bent brush bristles everywhere,” making them perfect for travel!
Another nice trick is that when you clean your brushes you can hang them upside down (using a metal surface) and they drip dry!
But the most important aspect to Rae’s brushes is the intelligence with which they are shaped–the artistic keen knowledge that’s applied to each and every brush.
“Over time I became more passionate about brushes than anything else in my kit–over years I tested different designs and textures and in the process, almost without realizing it, I came up with my own range of brushes. My brushes are the secret behind many of my most famous creations.”
“To me, makeup is all about the brushes. You can do more with minimal product and an incredible brush range than you can with cotton buds and drawers full of makeup.”
Thanks, Rae, for sharing! You are an inspiration to women everywhere who want to look great but don’t have hours and hours to primp. We love you!
I sometimes think that life without fashion would be a mistake. There is an infinity of art and craftsmanship wrapped up in a fine wardrobe.
Currently, I am absolutely seized by the magnificence of Dubai-based Filipino fashion designer Michael Cinco, above.
Throughout history every once in a while a few flashing jewels will sparkle so brilliantly bright, influencing fashion and art with unignorable magnitude. Right now those jewels are sitting squarely in Dubai with the peerless Cinco at its helm. Cinco is bringing back luxury haute couture, the avant-garde, the fashion eccentric…and all in exciting ways that most of us could not conceive. I find his work to be some of the most beautiful art in fashion that I have ever seen.
Cinco’s unmatched creativity, uncompromising attention to detail, boundless understanding of materials and obsession with perfect tailoring have catapulted this quiet creature into internationally-famous circles, dressing both Hollywood stars and Middle East royals alike.
He has secured himself well with the Red Carpet crowd worldwide, having dressed both Rihanna, as seen above for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, and Beyoncé for her video, Haunted, below.
An indisputable genius and fashion visionary, Cinco looks at the world through a compound eye like that of a fly, perhaps a result of his giant dark eyes which must see so much–eyes that he perpetually conceals behind enormous black shades–eyes which see things differently than the rest of us.
Here are some of Cinco’s most memorable in bridal attire and haute couture. By deconstructing the typical for atypical results, Cinco yields gown after epic gown so gloriously grande that they astonish, defying description.
Above is Cinco’s favorite shot from America’s Next Top Model Cycle 16, Hippie Hannah wearing a recycled Michael Cinco gown.
Cinco pays tribute to Valentine’s Day with this crystal-encrusted concoction that is steeped in Asian undertones.
Elle China features Michael Cinco bridal 2013.
Another Cinco couture favorite, from L.A. Fashion Week.
The Russian Czarinas, above, from Dubai Fashion Forward.
“One of my biggest dreams in fashion is to see my couture dress on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York,” Cinco stated. And his wish was realized when British singer Paloma Faith wore his creation at the most prestigious event in fashion: The Met Gala, in 2013.
Supermodel Ria Bolivar spins on the catwalk in a spectacular Cinco creation.
Supermodel Rodina Luspo, above, as the Black Swan.
‘The Impalpable Dream of India,’ above and below, was Cinco’s first solo show in Philippine Fashion Week 2009. Inspired by the Maharajas of India, the dresses are fashioned almost entirely from gems.
His headpieces are works of art in their own right.
And yet more from the ‘Impalpable India’ collection, above.
More wedding couture, from 2013.
Detail from the cover of Ara Magazine in Dubai.
A Cinco creation from a 2008 Wedding Collection, above, was shown at Philippine Fashion Week.
Here are some breathtaking couture details of a Swarovski dress inspired by the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella.
The dress pictured above Cinco describes as suitable for Dracula’s Bride.
The back is equally riveting.
This gown and headpiece would make any bride blush.
And Cinco takes fashion into sci-fi with a glow-in-the-dark bridal beauty that fascinates. This dress could define an entire wedding theme, starting with a dark entrance of the bride followed by nuptials in a spotlight and ending with lights up for a full celebratory scenic moment. What genius!
We are gathered here today to celebrate a love of the most unique and the most iconic in bridal attire. Check out these outstanding options for the nuptial-bound, photographed by Anthony Maule for V Magazine.
Stylist Patti Wilson ups the ante on the avant-garde by combining an utterly unique headdress and bold, chunky pearls with fingerless gloves…for a look that makes being an accessory to matrimony utterly divine!
A Victorian ruff round the neck is the only thing that’s classic about this wedding ensemble. A white and pale grey houndstooth checked micro-kilt, patterned stockings and pig-tail braids speak of schoolgirl.
Tons of tulle and layers of lace are the dramatic backdrop for this bridal look. Love the stockings and the unconventional veil.
Here comes the bride in a lace pantsuit, bound at the waist with a satin sash. Gorgeous!
This ivory laser-cut lace gown is utterly beguiling!
A plunging neckline and complicated mix of crocheted textures reveal a rebel bridal gown if ever there was one. Roses round the neck and delicate flowers framing the face complete the look.
Makeup artist Frankie Boyd adheres silver gems with lash glue beneath the eyes for the unconventional bride. Worn with a lace capelet, the look is undeniably unique.
This blushing bride is beyond beautiful wearing an asymmetrical veil and lace smock with bell sleeves.
Year-round sun protection is the wise choice for a lifetime of beautiful skin. It’s a good idea to have in your wardrobe a hat or two to shield your face, because honestly, reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is not the most convenient process; in fact, it’s beyond high maintenance, and if you wear foundation, it’s going to ruin your canvas.
I have a deep appreciation for beautiful things, and couture hats are no exception. There will always be an occasion for a fashionable hat, but the most important thing that you want to invest in first is a very practical, collapsable sun hat that you can fold neatly in your purse so you are always prepared.
Preparedness is essential to sun protection, because you never know when you might get trapped in traffic while the sun is beating down on your face and chest. And for the sporty at heart, you will value a hat that you can just throw in your gym bag and rest assured that you will always be, literally, covered!
Solumbra garments, made by the ingenious people over at Sun Precautions, guarantee 100% SPF which is built into their fabric due to its special weave. I wrote an article on Sun Precautions here on BSSTW, and I really believe in their company. They have a wide, wide variety of intelligently-designed clothing and smart accessories (such as fingerless driving gloves, hand and face guards, parasols, and of course, their crushable, soft cloth hats.)
At reasonable prices and in endless colors and styles, you are sure to find a great hat for your needs and preferences. Remember, this is your go-to hat for protection, so don’t worry if it’s not entirely chic. This sun hat is strictly utilitarian and will become invaluable when you’re trapped in the heat.
With regard to fashion hats, you really must try them on before you purchase because everyone’s face is unique and you need to evaluate how a color and style will look with your hairstyle, skin tone and features.
This is also true with your shades. There are so many tempting sunglass styles out there available via online only. But the fit of the glasses is critical, as well as the frame size and shape and the lens color, so make sure that if you shop online, the return policy is fair and convenient.
Because the fit and comfort are so important, evaluate carefully. When you are evaluating the fit, be sure to notice whether or not the glasses are going to leave marks on the bridge of your nose or on your cheekbones. This is not a flattering look, so when investing in quality frames, take your time.
Shop high-end brands, it is so worth it. Cheap flimsy sunglasses are easily identifiable even from afar. They will never look chic. Plus they aren’t usually equipped with proper UV protection and they fall apart easily.
Some of the better brands are Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples, Oliver Goldsmith, Cutler & Gross of London, Colors in Optics, Miu Miu, Balenciaga, Matsuda, Chrome Hearts, Versace and Persol. I love Persol sunglasses on men, and they are the choice of both Jack Nicholson, who most certainly knows a thing or two about luxury, as well as the dashing Pierce Brosnan: James Bond, 007.
Personally, I have been searching and searching for a pair of unique fashion sunglasses with a heart-shaped frame, and another pair with a lot of gold, preferably gold frames and a gold mirror lens, but gold aviators look too severe on my face. And as for the heart-shaped frames, well, they always ended up looking cheap or less than glamorous. You must be very discriminating because a trend can go from flashy to tacky in the blink of an eye, all based on the details and the overall execution.
I was absolutely thrilled to find these giant heart-shaped beauties, below, made by Wildfox Sunwear, which combine everything I want in one gorgeous gilded frame.
They are the Lolita Deluxe Frame, $196, from The Trend Boutique, an online retail source for in-the-know fashionistas and countless celebrities, like Kim and Chloe Kardashian, Rihanna, Beyoncé, Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, and models Cara Delevingne and Kylie Jenner.
Victoria’s Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio wore the Lolita Deluxe Frame to the 2014 Coachella Music Festival. They are handmade from Italian acetate with a flash mirror lens, and look as cool with a nouveau Bohemian outfit as they do with couture.
Two hundred may seem like a lot to invest, but honestly, it is difficult to find anything in the department stores that’s both functional and fashionable for a lesser price tag…That’s why I am so delighted to share with you my new favorite source: The Trend Boutique. I adore this website, a great place for clothes and accessories with Hollywood glam, and at reasonable prices.
It’s run by three perpetually-hip chicks in L.A. These women know where it’s at in the world of fashion, they ship internationally, and they stand behind their merchandise with a friendly return policy. The Trend Boutique carries the coolest stuff–like unique body jewelry, sexy swimwear, and stuff you just cannot find anywhere else. That’s why I love shopping there.
Here are some more of my favorite sunglasses from The Trend Boutique.
Wildfox Sunwear Crybaby Deluxe Frame, $196. A celebrity favorite, this handmade metal cat-eye is a regular in Beyoncé’s summer stash. A glamorous, optical-grade gradient lens looks cool in the heat, and all while providing complete UVA and UVB protection. Now that is smart.
Quay Eyeware 1521 Sunglasses in Blue, $39. Australian-made Quay [pronounced: ‘key’] offers up a delicious daiquiri-blue translucent frame with a recessed red lens. Gwen Stefani, above, clearly covets them, and we are fond of them as well, thank you very much. Worn with a bold red lip, you’re good to go. And this low low price makes sun protection both chic and affordable, too. Love.
Quay Eyeware’s Yibrow Sunglasses in Gold, $43. A perfect circle ensures round-the-clock protection in these Beyoncé beauties, which have their own little golden-gilded hood that protects the lid and the top of the eye especially well. Those sneaky harmful rays that slide right through in other lesser designs will be blocked faster than a Facebook stalker.
Wildfox Sunwear Starstruck Frame in Silver, $174.99, marked down from $249, is a hip answer to stopping squinting. As seen on Selena Gomez, above, the oversized John Lennon-style lenses are embedded with a star design. Smoking hot!
Wildfox Sunwear Le Femme Frame in Black, $169. An exaggerated cat-eye looks fierce on Beyoncé, above. Whether you’re lounging poolside or running errands all day long in the sweltering heat, your orbs will be fully protected, because, like all Wildfox sunglasses, these retro beauties are designed using optical grade lenses that offer 100% UVA and UVB protection. Plus, they look fab on! Oh, the drama!
Wildfox Sunwear Winona Circle Frame Sunglasses in Silver/Black, $149. Miley Cyrus knows what’s up in these prominent rounded frames. Normally priced at $199, this sale makes these specs a steal!
And last but definitely not least are these tiger tortoiseshell shades favored by Gwen Stefani. They are Quay Eyeware’s Kitti Sunglasses, $43. Honestly, The Trend Boutique has some of the best deals going for hip, quality sunglasses at great prices. Compared to your Tom Fords, they are radically lower-priced, plus, and here’s the best part….You won’t go out of the house looking anything less than a celebrity! That’s one perk that’s hard to beat.
I recommend that you peruse The Trend Boutique in their sunglasses section to see what some of your favorite stars are sporting for specs. Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Nicole Richie, Kelly Osbourne and Vanessa Hudgens are all photographed in this gallery, and all while wearing their cool shades from The Trend Boutique.
While you’re at it, you can pick up a breezy lace dress or a cool ring to freshen up your wardrobe. Now that you know about this online hidden gem, easy summer dressing is just a mouse-click away! Gotta run darlings, my agent is calling. Ciao.
If you’re suiting up for summer, craving the hottest in handbags and the most stellar of sundries, you’ve just hit paydirt. Here is a list of musts for those easy days by the beach and the pool: the best bags and totes, and what to put in them.
What To Put In Them
Let’s start with the inside…because we all know that’s where true beauty begins in the first place! Summer is a great time to loosen up and lighten up–with regard to your hair and your makeup. Ironically, this can mean even more products in your handbag due to the harsh elements that will otherwise wreak havoc on your skin and hair.
I try to always pack a giant floppy collapsable hat; my shades (equipped with proper UV protection); sunscreen and mineral makeup; and of course some clips and pins for hot-weather hair. Usually I pull my hair off the face into a high pony or a tousled or braided bun for summertime. For hair, as you know by now, I love my Philip B. haircare products. The four-step hair and scalp treatment kit below, $94, contains a few of my favorite things in one travel-size bag.
Within this convenient set you can find Philip B.‘s cult-status Rejuvenating Oil, the delicious Peppermint and Avocado Volumizing and Clarifying Shampoo, his Light-Weight Deep Conditioning Creme Rinse, and the very necessary pH Restorative Detangling Toning Mist. These botanical-rich products will keep your hair shiny and manageable all through the sweltering summer months.
For skin, I make sure to have my Rodan + Fields Redefine Peptide Eye Wipes, $30, for quick clean-ups on my face and around the eye area. These things are a peptide-rich Godsend! They are the softest pre-soaked cloths…perfect on hot days, whether you’re sweaty from a game of beach volleyball or running errands in the heat. If you need a quick fix to take off your makeup at the end of the day before reapplying a fresh face for an evening out, or, if you’re just too exhausted to run the water before collapsing into bed at night, these wipes are the shiznit. They’re great for your man, too. Pack them in his gym bag and his complexion will thank you. They are so rich in peptides that you will notice a tangible difference in your skin right away. If you’re taking a day trip, stash these wipes in the cooler that is holding the food and drinks. They feel so refreshing on a hot summer day.
And speaking about refreshments…I love Susan Ciminelli’s Marine Lotion, $125. It’s a light serum that you can spray on to freshen and moisturize the skin, and it’s spiked with algae oil, one of nature’s most nourishing clock-stoppers, and other essential oils, such as calming cypress, aromatherapeutic marjoram, anti-inflammatory juniper, and antibacterial vetiver. A quick spritz or two leaves skin dewey and comfortably moisturized. This is a can’t-live-without product for too many celebrities to name…I’m absolutely addicted! You will notice from the first use how transformative this serum is. It really gives a great glow, and you can use it over the full body after you shower, under your moisturizer. Bliss!
As a quick aside, Susan produces some of the most delectable skincare products you can find, high praise from a licensed aesthetician, myself. I love her detoxifying products and masks, and you’ll get to know Susan later, when I discuss her products more in-depth. In the meantime, she has a great blog that discusses cleansing and purifying foods, complete with recipes for the skin-conscious! I recommend that everyone subscribe to her informative newsletter, complete with great recipes and helpful skin tips. You will love it.
Rodan + Fields make a wonderful collection of sunscreens for every skin type. I use their Triple Defense Treatment, $80, a sunscreen that sinks into the skin in the most luxurious way. This is part of their anti-aging skin care line, which employs the ultimate ingredients and technology for mature skin. I love the radiance it gives me, while protecting from those harmful UV rays and free-radicals.
I also pack my mineral makeup for touch-ups which will provide extra SPF all the day long. The Rodan + Fields mineral makeup, $29, is the best mineral powder in the cosmetic industry, period. The lightweight fluffy powder, developed by the two Stanford-trained dermatologists Katie Rodan and Kathy Fields, reduces redness with anti-inflammatory peptides that build collagen, and it physically blocks the sun with titanium dioxide and micronized zinc.
This powder provides a physical sunscreen block similar to the kind you used to see in the old days–the cliché lifeguard with the white strip of zinc on the nose. But this stuff buffs on beautifully and the shades are incredibly versatile and natural looking. The powder is water– and sweat-resistant, too, meaning its longevity outlasts a liquid or cream foundation. But don’t forget to touch up…Your skin will eat up the peptides, and it’s a fact that if I skip a few days of my mineral makeup, I notice less vibrancy and a little less skin density and firmness. This is a treatment product, as well as a sunscreen and a cosmetic.
The mineral makeup comes with a retractable antimicrobial brush, $37. The dense, soft, fluffy bristles are treated to repel bacteria. Isn’t that smart?
And when you are protecting your skin from the sun, do not neglect your hands. They are a dead giveaway as to your age, so take care and use a sunscreen. I am in love with the Rodan + Fields Shield Hand Balm, $43, which comes in a solid stick form and can be applied to the back of the hands only. Genius.
And that’s the dirt on what I put in my bag. Now, let’s look at the bags themselves, shall we?
The Best Beach Bags & Totes
I’m retiring my red pony hair Dior and my fabulously tactile stingray purse for something that looks lighter for summer. This gives my expensive purses a break and extends their lifespan.
It is not necessary to spend a lot on a summer bag. Invest in your skincare and haircare first, they should be your top priority. Here are some fab bags at all price points.
This is Marc Jacobs’s answer to easy summer dressing–a structured natural and black circular raffia basket bag , $198, that you can carry cross body over the shoulder or handheld. It’s chic either way.
The texture screams summer, and the smart water-resistant raffia material make this tote both pretty and practical.
Another raffia beauty, the Tory Burch Molly Crossbody Tote , $195, is a playful take on the beach bag. With whimsical fringe and adorned with puka shells and beads, this carryall speaks of far-flung chic. Exotic.
Platia’s straw bag is a steal at only $34.50. The natural color and rugged texture make this carryall a great, practical investment for easy summer dressing.
The Rugby Stripe Straw Beach Tote above, on sale for $38.99 at CWonder.com, is a roomy bucket bag that will stash everything stylishly.
I love everything by Lanvin, and this beautiful woven straw tote, $360, is trimmed with a leather snake print double handle and grosgrain ribbon.
YesStyle offers up a chic on the cheap Striped Straw Tote in Coffee, above, for a mere $14! Now that’s a bargain!
Check out the fabulous wooden beads and the braided organic texture, below.
And finally, a blizzard of butterflies makes the beautiful backdrop on Valentino’s Butterfly Camouflage Tote Bag, $3,995, available at Neiman Marcus by pre-order only.
This bag already sold out at Saks Fifth Avenue online, but if you happen to have four grand lying around…plus tax…this bag could be all yours. You better hurry though, cuz it will sell out again. Trust me.
I love the vivid colors, the richly textured mix of canvas and napa leather, and the raised laser-cut butterflies which have been painstakingly stitched on for a 3-D effect. This bag is a real beauty, even more striking in person.
Valentino has captured the essence of one of fashion’s hottest trends (and one of nature’s most complex creatures) in this spacious and most coveted square tote with winged sides. You can take this bag to the boardwalk or to the boardroom without boredom. It’s just that versatile, completely appropriate for any venture, and oh so striking. Plus the craftsmanship is unparalleled. It’s Valentino, after all. The wearability, the quality of materials and workmanship, and the versatility and utter gorgeousness is what you get when you shell out four racks for a luxury couture handbag such as this.
Next up? Hats and shades. I hope you’ll join me. See you soon.
Summer is in full swing, and that means the beach will be bustling. How to look great for a day at the beach or pool? Here’s our definitive guide, with fashionable beach essentials from suits to coverups to the best beach statement jewelry, all perfectly poised for the warm days ahead.
Swimsuits & Coverups
There are a few exciting features of modern swimwear that make a day at the beach or pool effortlessly glamorous. Check out these stylish stand-outs.
Zeugari makes some of the hottest suits around, and this white scorcher, the Snakebite Monokini, is no exception. I love the sophisticated brushed gold snake hardware, studded with crystals for extra sparkle in the sun.
Creative jewelry is going to be a powerful force in the future of fashion. I’m totally into facial and body jewelry, and you’re going to be seeing a lot of it. Adding a feminine pearl headdress and Zeugari’s sexy Sol Tunic, above, will take the Snakebite Monokini into evening with ease. All of Zeugari’s kaftans, btw, are made of the softest silk chiffon, hand-embroidered, and painstakingly crafted to meet the highest standards of luxury.
The Cutout Skimpy One-Piece Swimsuit from Beach Bunny, above, is a slightly sportier version of the monokini. With a dramatic goldtone zip front, you can decide just how much cleavage to show when you show off in this beautifully-designed suit. Hot.
And the Fishnet Sexy Strappy One-Piece from Beach Bunny, above, is a dangerously seductive solution to summer beach and poolside glam. With gold rivets across the top and a flesh-toned lining, you’re sure to turn some heads. Try wearing it with a diaphanous black sarong and some metallic gold flat sandals…Bliss.
Lace & Crochet
I love lace and crochet accents in the summer time, especially by the beach and the pool. The weave of the yarn reveals a pattern of peekaboo flesh that is nothing short of tantalizing, and the texture adds visual interest.
The turquoise number above, The Marley One Piece from Indah Clothing, combines the best of today’s current trends: it’s completely hand-crocheted and in the color blue, with a monokini silhouette and a flurry of fringe. Eye-catching, to say the least. This sizzling suit was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. I love it.
Another crocheted cutie is the Koh Samui lavender and pink Brazilian-bottomed bikini, also from Indah and also featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
I love the intricate macrame, mix of baby pastels, high-cut thong and long trailing fringe at the racer back. In other words: Everything! Flawless. Now that is one sexy bikini! Ooh la la.
A vivid crocheted kaftan, like the one above, is a great option for a sexy coverup. Worn over a bright bikini or a cami and shorts, it’s perfection in pink.
The bright coral neoprene Sazerac One Piece from Indah, above, is a sporty yet seductive take on the cut-out trend.
With creative cutouts, you can reveal just a lot…or just a little. It’s entirely up to you. The strapless Grasshopper Coverup from Indah features a macrame web around the midriff.
And cutouts on the side of this slinky dress sculpt the waist and slim the torso in a clingy beautiful black.
Jeweled Accents and Glistening Hardware
Let’s face it: there’s not much real estate on any swimsuit, so you must make the most of it. Jeweled accents and glistening hardware are a chic way to amp up the drama.
I am obsessed with the shimmering suit above–the Sequin Beaded Triangle Top and Tie Side Bottom from Beach Bunny, that features teeny golden sequins and gorgeous beaded straps. Add an armful of bangles and you’re good to go.
The style of this bikini is purely provocative. Check out the front, above….
….And the sexy shirring in back.
The aptly-named Unbridled monokini is striking in jet black. It looks so current with a brushed gold belt. Designed by Sports Illustrated swimsuit model Irina Shayk for Beach Bunny, it is, quite simply, a show-stopper!
The hardware on this bikini renders jewelry unnecessary. But if you so desire, you may add a beaded Zeugari tunic, below, and bold gold earrings, teamed with a wide cuff bracelet, for evening.
I love unique jewelry, and fashion is addressing my passion with a new breed of accessories.
The jewelry might be freestanding, in elaborate crowns and tiaras (think Dolce Gabbana), foot bracelets, toe rings, jeweled gloves, fingernail armor, and of course belly chains, as seen above on Behati Prinsloo in the new Seafolly campaign. I will be discussing the changing face of jewelry in an upcoming article, so if you’re not quite sure what jeweled gloves and fingernail armor are, you will find out soon enough, and you will love it!!!
Or the jewelry may, in fact, be part of the garment, built right into it–from swimsuits with hardware and beading, to headdresses ornate with facial jewelry, or gowns and kaftans with heavily-jeweled detail work, like this one by Zeugari. It’s the Madras Moroccan Tunic. Just look at the detail on this filmy silk wonder with dramatic, butterfly sleeves.
Everything is perfectly in place…from the opulent hand embroidery to the delicate beading and bronze flowers that adorn this 100% silk chiffon beauty. Love is in the details.
As with all of Zeugari’s garments, the craftsmanship in this kaftan is unbelievable. Zeugari use the finest materials and their designs and attention to detail is unmatched! With a coverup like this, you don’t need a single accessory; just slip into a sarong or a pair of capri pants and you can wear the elegant ensemble practically anywhere! To die for!
There are endless dramatic looks you can create with accessories in the summertime, but body jewelry is my new thing. Here are some unorthodox ways to embellish your bod. Beach Bunny’s Pretty Edgy gold-plated body chain, above, is only $28 and is a modern, seductive accessory that transforms an ordinary suit into sweet.
I am especially fond of the Jeweled Body Chain above, also $28, which features hot-pink beading and a gold charm. Looks great with the neon swimsuit below.
Wear it with beachy waves, giant gold hoop earrings, and a tan. You could also throw on Zeugari’s Laetus Tunic with some denim shorts, while letting your swimsuit and body jewelry peek out seductively from one shoulder.
Foot jewelry is yet another creative trend in accessories, and Zeugari sells foot bracelets by the pair for only $15.
Decorate just one foot when you’re barefoot on the beach, or glam up simple sandals with the pair for an exotic beach chic on-the-cheap. The jade one above would look great with black or white, adding a necessary pop of color.
Or make it monochrome with Zeugari’s Snakebite Triangle bikini, which features the same gold snake jewelry as the Snakebite Monokini.
The foot jewelry comes in nine other brilliant colors….Match them with your pedicure.
More & More Statement Jewelry
More is more in jewelry right now. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model Irina Shayk, above, sports giant brass rope necklaces and wide cuff bracelets. Don’t be shy; go bold and brave and wear your pieces, both small and large, with unapologetic glamour. Stack an arm full of wooden bangles, for example, as seen below.
Mix and match large pieces with lesser ones. Slim bangles occupy the same arm as the nautical Starfish Cuff, $25, below. I love this bracelet, and it’s a great price for that kind of realistic workmanship. The detail is just gorgeous, and it’s so appropriate for the beach and easy summer dressing.
Now all you need is a giant floppy hat, a beach tote and some hip shades. Well, you’re in luck. We’ll get to all of that next. See you at the beach.