Many people know me as a fashion analyst, but are not aware that I also have my aesthetician’s license, after completing intense study here in California. This knowledge broadens my capabilities as a writer–on many levels–and the experience, knowledge and training that I have accumulated enables me to very accurately and poignantly disclose to you my best in beauty products and cosmetics.
It goes without saying that I have a complicated, and sometimes dangerous affair with makeup. Nowadays, I get so much free product that I nearly never have to buy a single stitch of it myself.….until I pass the Sisley Paris cosmetics counter. Few things can make my heart race as fast as when approaching that counter, which for me is nestled inside the bright Saks Fifth Avenue in San Francisco’s Union Square. And my lovely long-term liaison with Sisley artist Richard Winser is a relationship that I have treasured for around 20 years now.
Above, Richard applies a new Sisley pencil to my eyes. I will tell you all about this great product, but first I just want to say that every change of season I pop in to say hi to Richard and see what Sisley is up to. I have Richard assess my face and we discuss any concerns that I may have with regard to skin condition or anything like that. But most importantly, I love it when Richard quickly applies a little makeup on top of what I’m already wearing, to give me a few ideas about the newest emerging trends and how my face has changed, or, remarkably, not. Time is a luxury for me, and Richard understand this. He is so deft with the powder brush that he can do his thing stat-quick, while making me feel special and pretty, and also giving me some ideas about application and fresh colors. Richard makes staying current a snap. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I think that everyone should have a Richard. So, the moral of the story is: Try to develop your own local relationship with a ‘Richard’ because it really is so invaluable! It’s great to have a skilled set of objective eyes that you can trust when evaluating your appearance.
And now I’m really happy to report to you on a few of my new Sisley finds during last weekend’s beauty binge. You will love them.
First up is this great chunky pencil for eyes. It’s the Phyto-Eye Twist, $50, a giant waterproof crayon that glides on silky smooth and deposits a nice opaque line, thick or thin, you choose. Buff it, smudge it, or leave the line crisp. I love this pencil, especially in colors Havana, a sparkling burgundy great for dark eyes, below.…
.…or Lagoon, below, a tantalizing turquoise, which is great used as your spring 2015 statement eyeliner.
Richard shaded my upper lash line and the crease of my eye, creating a V-shape on the lid, with this jumbo stick, in the photo. It adds depth for a sultry yet simple summer eye. I loved the result. These pencils are great—I want to collect them all—and the performance is stellar, truly impressive and waterproof. It’s almost all you need in a single pencil! The coverage is buildable, so you can easily give more depth to a tone, more opacity, with every swipe. The color twists up, so you need not sharpen. Just throw it in your beach bag or purse, and you’re set for a weekend away, no messy eyeshadow required. And did I mention that the brilliant people over at Sisley have incorporated yummy skin-care ingredients into this über stick?!?! They think of everything! I love their ‘treatment cosmetics,’ which nurture your skin while acting as a smart cosmetic! This powerhouse of a pencil is packed with Green Tea, White Lily and Camellia, all of which are potent anti-inflammatories and anti-oxidants that are going to treat your skin–actually protecting and repairing–while you’re making up. Brilliant.
Next up, for the white eyeliner trend that’s got me and countless other beauty aficionados all crazy this summer, you must, must, MUST try Sisley’s Phyto-Khol Perfect liner in Snow, $57. Wow. And it is so perfect! Perfectly firm, yet soft, so it buffs a pearly white pigment onto the lid, or the waterline, with an effortlessness that is both comfortable and welcome. No tugging, no tearing. And the luminous white is very flattering. I adore this pencil, and I love the way Richard applied it. Use the liner on the top lid only, and create a subtle cat eye with the white kohl. This will lift the corners and create an innocent yet sexy, provocative doe-eyed look! This is the ideal pearly white crayon liner for the white eyeliner trend. (Remember to further invest in a white liquid for a different and more haute look. See my story all about white eyeliner, featuring our favorite reader, the gorgeous model Cara Delevingne, here!)
Last up, you are going to need mascara, and Sisley’s is the best.….Specifically, their So Intense Mascara, $67, and this time you have to get it in black. I love Deep Blue, which is a rich, complex indigo that flatters all eye shades, from brown to cool-toned and kaleidoscope eyes. But with a white lid or line, you want to wear black mascara. It makes the contrast pop.
The brush in this mascara is bomb–perfect for alternately building and separating.….But the formula is also pretty dope, because it’s enriched with peptides and rice phyto-ceramides that are going to give you more beautiful lashes as a result of using it! Gotta love that! Thanks, Sisley.…I adore you! xxx
The stars shone so beautifully bright last evening at the 2015 annual Met Gala. This year’s theme celebrated the museum’s Costume Institute exhibition, “China: Through the Looking Glass.” And the stars did indeed twinkle, all with glistening lips and even shinier hair, sparkling jewels and brilliantly beaded gowns…but the North star of the night was indisputable. One word.….RIHANNA.
Actually, make that three words: Rihanna & Guo Pei.
Guo Pei is the brilliant Bejing-based female fashion designer, age 45, behind the opulent sunflower yellow confection worn by Rihanna, which easily renders one speechless when beholding its honeyed grandeur.
Yards upon yards of heavy golden silk satin, decadently embroidered and edged in matching fur, the gown is, quite easily, one of the most stunning visions we have seen on the Red Carpet in years, and I stand behind that statement. But such a breathtaking creation is really neither rare nor remarkable in the world of Guo Pei, whose art via couture routinely astonishes.
With this gown, worn with a gilded stiletto manicure and a lamé headpiece, Rihanna has redefined elegance and set a new standard for drama in the entertainment industry.
Now, for more fabulous designs by Chinese couture sensation, Guo Pei.….
Guo Pei’s distinctive, characteristic opulence almost always includes heavy embroidery, gems and beading, and of course the most luxe fabrics in brilliant jewel tones. Elaborate headdresses, haute couture hair and dramatic makeup are a foregone conclusion.
This beautiful gilded display is Guo Pei’s interpretation of a modern-day Marie Antoinette, married with the precocious designer’s Asian sensibilities, yielding an ensemble reserved for royalty.
Facial jewelry is one of my favorite emerging trends.….but Guo Pei has been embellishing the visage with jewelry for many years, as seen in this striking example from Hong Kong Fashion Week in 2010.
Here, the jewelry encompasses a large territory, and extends up into an exotic headdress which intrigues.
These designs, from the Hong Kong Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2010 Show, remind us of the visionary that is Guo Pei.
Rich, playful color combinations, breathtakingly unique silhouettes and lavish details are three Guo Pei trademarks. I adore the rose gold filigree hair fixture and delicate hand jewelry. This striking display is further enhanced with decadent beading, and painstakingly embroidered for a most regal yet avant garde end product.
Just look at the ornate, gold-encrusted pistachio pantsuit above, with cone-shaped pleating.
I’ve never seen anything remotely like this. Absolutely riveting.
The back is a study in texture, shape and color.
Weighted with long, thick fringed tassels, the billowing arms of this red-hot Chinese gown are further embellished with heavy golden embroidery. A geisha-esque headdress with red and gold beading heightens the drama.
This empress gown and matching cape must weigh a ton! Just look at the beautiful heavy workmanship, all of which is painstakingly hand-applied on a Guo Pei couture gown.
An abbreviated tangerine hemline is awash in gold jewelry.
The model is drenched in ornate gems and facial jewelry is, once again, of primary focus.
This wheat-colored gown defies description.
I simply love Guo Pei’s use of mixed materials in this pure white wonder, complete with fur-lined, floor-length kimono sleeves and beading galore. Stunning!
Drama runs high in a black cherry gown with a huge, elaborate headdress that is absolutely undefinable.
Guo Pei plays with proportions in this epic gown, which is crimped at the waistline.…
.….for an unusual aesthetic result.
A massive train leaves spectators in awe of its regal splendor.
I adore the concept of this ensemble, and its execution is flawless. Satin rosettes in cerise, hot pink and red compose the shell of this arresting gown. A coordinating robe is worn on top. The gilded headdress is the final, exalted couture element. Ravishing!
And now we have seen China, through the eyes of Miss Guo Pei.
Backstage at New York Fashion Week for Spring 2015, an interesting trend emerged: The White Manicure. Clean and neat and decidedly different than darks, white nail polish is making a comeback and looks great on any skin tone, nail length, and nail shape.
I personally love the look of opaque white nail polish tidily swept, simply, onto long, almond-shaped nails, above, as well as on the more dramatic stiletto manicure, sans any additional embellishment. Know that you can wear this look and remain perfectly on-trend. It’s clean and modern and luxe. However, here are some adaptations of the Great White, straight from the runways of New York Fashion Week.…..
Above, the model compliments her white eyeliner with a matching mani, although the slight derivation here on the nail here is merely a darker tip. You are going to be seeing this look a lot–the white eyeliner and matching mani will infiltrate fashion with powerful and enduring force.
If you have the patience for nail art–and I don’t–then here are some additional adaptations to play with. This sparse white mani is a fresh take on the natural nail and on white polish. Beautiful.
A silver French mani takes white to new height! Holly Falcone created it for the Alon Livne show.
With a look that is reminiscent of linen, this textured white mani was created by Rita Remark for Essie at Wes Gordon’s collection.
A single natural stripe down the center of the nail is left unpainted at Nonoo.
Prabal Gurung implemented a similar tactic.
At Kate Spade New York, models wore a blunt white mani with a single black strip.
Capitalizing on fashion’s new blue trend, this blue and white mani was designed by Ann Yee and created by Inni for Ann Yee.
I love the uniqueness of this mani for Kye’s spring 2015 collection. Bold, graphic, avant garde.
Great White Sightings.….
Aubrey Plaza wears a similarly graphic black and white mani on the cover of Nylon magazine.….a publication which clearly is a fan of the white mani!
Here, Alexa Chung models it with black graph lines.….
And Leighton Meester does the white mani straight up.….
.….as does Rihanna, looking haute for Elle.….
.….and Tyra, seeming as equally as urban.
J. Lo wears her stiletto nails white as snow, no doubt to match her pure white Cavalli couture.
Kylie Jenner likes them long, long, long.….
.….but Cara Delevingne keeps it short and sweet.….
.….just like Kim.
White nails look appropriate on executive women, above, and are spot-on for all-white fashions. They also work with couture, below.….
.….avant garde styling.….
.….as well as Boho chic! Could one nail varnish be any more versatile?
Oh, and don’t forget your toes. Wear a white pedi on the beach with foot jewelry.
Nonoo made matchy with fingers and toes at their spring 2015 show, below. See how great white polish looks with a tan??? Fresh and current.
And finally, as a quick aside, if you’re like me, and the thought of nail art is either just a little too cheesy, or simply mind-numbingly tiresome–or both!–check out the fingernail armor by my friend and jeweler, Marianna Harutunian, as shown here on a white mani on Scandinavian star Laleh in her video “Colors,” styled and directed by Bea Åkerlund. Hot! Just a tad more sophisticated than nail art, don’t you think?
For the hippest of hands (and feet!), buy a bottle of white and let your imagination run wild.….It looks great on everyone, and in any which way you choose. Worn with the new white eyeliner trend, the look is quite striking indeed.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
I love the unique jewelry and Boho style that the Coachella music festival birthed, but it can be hard to find all those awesome pieces, and definitely pricey! I am so happy that Brazilian-born supermodel and mother of two, Alessandra Ambrosio, has taken over Baublebar to provide some cool ornamental offerings for the modern woman.
And Alessandra positively nails it, with creative body jewelry and headdresses that are hip and gorgeous, as well as reasonably priced. I love what this girl has done! She’s making that Coachella rich hippie new bohemian look accessible to every girl.
Here are some of my favorites from her comprehensive collection.…
Every princess needs her crown, and my current obsession is the Princess Gem Headpiece, $48, that turns an ordinary look into an extraordinary one. Isn’t it just gorgeous??? I love the way all the stones are different shapes and sizes. A lot of thought went into the execution of this piece, and the price is right!
I adore snake imagery, and after all, doesn’t every girl deserve at least one phallic symbol? Alessandra captures that with her Crystal Constrictor Ring, $48, and it comes in both rose gold or smokey hematite.….Love this ring for Coachella or clubbing. It can look Boho chic, or go to a darker couture spot in a heartbeat. The perfect ring for almost any wardrobe change. Gotta have it!
There’s no denying that body chains are a hot ticket in fashion right now, and this one is irresistibly priced! It’s the Crystal Raja Body Chain, $22, with a criss-cross in the front for visual interest, and a haunting spine full of crystals in the back!
Or for a fancier version, check out the Celestial Body Chain, $28. Hot! Wear it with your bikini, or let it peek out from a one-shoulder top with denim shorts. Super sexy!
Every girl needs a hand chain, I think, and the Pavé Fishtail Hand Chain, $36, is glam with pretty pavé detail. And at this price, why not buy two, and reserve one for gifting.…Seriously, this is a great deal and it’s right on trend. Pair it with the Fishtail Chain Ring, $48, if you feel the urge to make a match.…
For an exotic influence, I am loving the Turquoise Capri Amulet, $65. The new Boho look is all about mixing ethnic influences with modern concepts, so a squash blossom turquoise necklace is mandatory! This one looks so authentic to Native American tribal jewelry, and at a fraction of the cost.
The Quartz Spoke Collar, $44, combines the healing quartz crystal with modern design sensibilities to create a statement necklace like no other! This is a rich hippie accessory if ever there was one, but its price makes it accessible to every girl. Check it out as worn by Alessandra herself, pictured top, at Coachella this year!
Now that Alessandra Ambrosio has distilled the essence of Boho chic jewelry into a single chic shopping destination with ále by Alessandra, she has simplified both my summer accessories shopping as well as my gift list. Kudos, Alessandra!
Well it’s been exactly one year since the shopping spree with my dear friend Holly Bridge and her gorgeous brood of children in San Francisco last summer where I test drove my first pair of carbon fiber heels designed by London architect, Julian Hakes. Because these unique metallic heels are crafted from carbon fiber—the same material used for constructing the bodies of luxury sports cars–I coined this shoe A Ferrari For Your Feet, and if you’ll recall, I opted to buy them in metallic Lamborghini blue, below, but I had no idea what I was going to wear with them, if they’d be comfortable after my foot surgery, practical in general, and how I really felt about incorporating this visual oddity into my wardrobe with so many unanswered questions! So what’s my final verdict, now a year later?!?! WELL, I ABSOLUTELY ADORE THEM!!!!!
I must admit, I rarely rack up a fashion faux pas these days…..credit it if you will to logging years of shopping experience, or perhaps it’s just in the fate of the fashion gods, but The Mojito, above, was a gamble on several different levels for me. I guess I got lucky.
And we all know my theory about luck, right? What’s that saying? I’d rather be lucky than good. In this case, I was so very lucky that I went back and bought another pair of Mojitos in dark chrome, above. I happily scored them at 50% off and wear them constantly with black leather leggings….they also look great with a short skirt and fishnets, too! Now to answer your questions about this enigmatic masterpiece—The Marvelous Mojito!
First, let’s address the comfort. Wow. Because the Mojito is fashioned from durable, stronger-than-steel-yet-malleable carbon fiber, the shoes ‘flex’ when you walk, and yield to pressure, so blisters are not an issue and neither are swollen feet! I can walk for days in these things! In addition, the carbon fiber material is waterproof…..and, as an added bonus—and get this—if you chip, scrape or scratch the brilliantly shiny finish, all you do is take your Mojitos into the auto body shop and have a technician match the paint of your shoes! How brilliant is that?!?! A quick, thin strip of touch-up paint will restore your Mojitos to like-new condition, and no one will be the wiser! Can you believe it??? They’re like a dream come true shoe!
The final issue was: What do I wear these crazy things with??? Well, for the dark chrome above, it’s a no-brainer—black, black, and more black! But they were my second acquisition. How’d I reconcile the first pair, in that captivating cobalt? Easy, darlings! Blue, in case you haven’t heard, is so au courant! And it’s hard to beat the charisma of that metallic Lambo blue! So here’s what I wore: a vintage cobalt blue fox coat circa 1950s that matches perfectly, and this fabulous, fascinating fascinator, below, by New York milliner, Anya Caliendo. It’s her tribute to the Blue Morpho Butterfly! The metallic sheen of the butterfly wings is so perfectly matched by my carbon fiber shoes.…and the melange of vintage, with the coat, mixed with the modern shoes, and the otherworldliness of a flurry of butterflies round my cabeza made a most memorable impression at the soirée I attended.
So as you can see, another shopping triumph in the life of a fashionista. And all is right in the world, if only for just a brief moment.
Peace. Love. Beauty.
There were many gorgeous themes going on regarding backstage beauty at Fashion Week, but the one that prevailed for me was bold statement eyeliner. I love the look, and I’ll be showing you my favorite picks from the shows later this week. Modern makeup artists are challenging black eyeliner and producing atypical and stunning results. At Saint Laurent, it was as bold as it gets….ditto for Cusnie et Ochs, and at Prada, too. But my favorite favorite *favorite* most fashionable makeup trend is one you won’t see on the pages of any magazine…..yet. And that’s because no one is doing it…..yet.
It is: White Eyeliner. I’m experimenting with all kinds of white eye makeup, in fact: white liners, powders, even white mascara. And I just love what white eyeliner does to the eyes and to the face, and come spring, it’s all you’ll see me sporting with a bright lip and a face full of freckles! There’s something about it that is so fresh, and it makes your eyes look huge and wide awake, even if you’re at the end of a four-day bender. With a white manicure? Are you kidding me? You’re stylin’!
I love white eyeliner on model Cara Delevingne, pictured above and top. It gives her an uncharacteristic innocence and an ethereal other-worldliness, while making her lashes look positively epic! ((Cara, incidentally, is a fan of Beauty Shall Save the World and she tells me she thinks this blog is “cool.” Ditto, Cara. We think you’re pretty cool, too. 😉 ))
But back to the white liners. Prestige or NYX or Rimmel London make great white eyeliner pencils which can be found at the drug store on-the-cheap, and since they don’t break the bank, you can also afford to pick up Stila’s wonderful white in a liquid, which is truly opaque and smudge-free. (Don’t you just love the way I can rationalize a purchase, btw?!?) Seriously though, it’s a good idea to have at least one of each, a pencil and a liquid, in your kit for the white eyeliner trend that hasn’t happened yet….but is sure to come. You might want to also buy a sparkly white powder if you don’t already have one. I love the custom blended powders by Giella. They’re blended by makeup artist extraordinaire, Mario Dedivanovic! Armed with an arsenal of summer whites, you will be able to cop any one of the many white-eyed looks shown here. I’m obsessed!
Makeup artist Pat McGrath used white eyeliner in the March 2015 issue of Teen Vogue to create a custom design on the eye that is perfect for easy summer days. What a dramatic, bold and whimsical statement to reveal as you remove your shades! This look is great for the beach, the poolside, or even a fancier affair, in my opinion, for those who have the moxie. I love the wit and the irreverence of it. If you’ve got the time and the talent, go for it! It’s a young and hip way to wear white lines!
Megan Fox knows what’s up. The tantalizing screen siren uses white lines herself. It may not be as outwardly overt as Pat McGrath’s Teen Vogue example, but if you examine her makeup very very closely…..you will see……
…..white lines in her waterline! Yes, to open the eye and really make her blue peepers pop, Megan knows that white eyeliner is the correct choice.
I love the look of the top lid lined in thick white, worn with bare skin and a nude lip. As seen above, it works with a tan, left, and also on paler skins.
White lines also read well with a dark-complected gal, and I love the way it rims her entire eye, including the waterline. White lines, when teamed with false lashes and a glossy coral lip equal undeniable glamour!
You can make the coveted cat-eye even more dramatic when you surround the black lines with the opposite counterpart—white lines.
Make it mod, as seen above……I adore that 1960s sensation……
……Or pencil in the inner corners only–follow the ‘V’-shape near the nose–to broaden the gap between your eyes and make them look wider-set and instantly, infinitely more alert! You can dot a bit of white sparkly powder over the V shape to add a bit of glamour and shine, if you choose. Just play with it, and see what happens.
I love white lines any which way. Even on a bare lid with just a hint of bright blush and a poppy-red lip……looks so outrageously French! Ooh la la.
White lines can look playful, trendy, or drop-dead sexy. Go thick or thin, it doesn’t matter. Smudge it or streak it, it’s up to you. Winged-out or waterlined, it’s all good. Just remember that white lines look great on all complexions and with any lip color. Now slick back that hair, shimmy into a Zeugari kaftan, and settle down for a relaxing day by the pool……Oh, who am I kidding??? Get back to work, Slackers!!!!
The Rise of The Avant Garde
Significant changes are brewing in the fashion world as we speak. Since the 2010 suicide death of the influential fashion designer Alexander McQueen, the fashion community has witnessed a landslide of his iconic ideas, tidily sweeping away the banal, and replacing it with brilliance. It’s The Rise of The Avant Garde….and it has yielded endless unique and exquisite ways to adorn yourself, coming from the grave of a visionary. I am especially fond of embellishing ‘from the neck up,’ ie.–the head and the face….whether it be with fabulous Face Lace or exotic facial jewelry, dramatic feathered lashes, or my favorite trend, the headwear craze….
Haute Couture Hair
But today we’re going to talk about hair. Your hairdo is critical and can make or break your look, as evidenced in the photos in this article. Here I will show you my top picks for some fabulous “Haute Couture Hair,” as I call it, and advise you on how to achieve it. Enjoy.
Desperately Seeking Drama
The first thing to aspire to, when trying to achieve memorable, haute couture hair, is…..Drama. High-fashion clothing needs to be matched with an equally epic hairstyle, and you’ll definitely want an exaggerated effect….how much depends on just how much chutzpah you have. Consider your event or the activity that you will be doing, and strategize for the clothing ensemble so the look is cohesive. After all, an updo can look very average…..dowdy and matronly, even….or it can stop people dead in their tracks, like the one above, a fanning, heart-shaped display with a dramatic white streak and thick blunt bangs. I adore this do! It is so unique and awe-inspiring….sexy, yes….a sublime confection that will definitely not go unnoticed!
Drama in your hairdo exists through many factors, including texture; length and volume; cut and proportions; the silhouette; and finally, color. It is important to remain realistic and realize that you will never be able to re-create some of these looks–even if you are a talented hairdresser–without the use of fake hair and other materials, so you might need to familiarize yourself with both a wig shop and an art supply. According to expert stylist Edward Tricomi of the prestigious Warren-Tricomi Salon in New York City, an art supply is a great place to score materials for creative hairstyles. “You can find pastel chalk to color the hair and all kinds of other interesting things, like aluminum wire. You can create updos with that,” he explained.
The giant hair bow above is a custom piece made with wire and synthetic hair. If we were to see the model’s head from the back, we would probably notice that her own hair was tucked into the center “bellybutton” of the bow, and this bow is a custom hairpiece created by a talented stylist or perruquier, also known as a wigmaker. So if you are dying to recreate this style, set forth to interview a few experts in the field to find out who is capable of creating a giant hair bow like this one, which would be engineered to easily slide on and off a high ponytail/bun with little gripping combs built into the structure of the hairpiece. It would probably also include a drawstring tie to anchor such weight securely on your head. I would make it a little smaller for the real world, but not by much. Keep it oversized. The size is exaggerated for the fashion editorial, but in real life, you would need to scale it down a bit. I think this look is elegant yet edgy, and that stark contrast makes it memorable—this is a true couture coif. And now let’s examine some other styles and discuss.
The beehive above is the result of a sleek blowout in the salon, after which the hair would be ironed straight with a flatiron, then anchored on the very top of the crown of the head in a high centered pony….and finally, it is alternately teased and then smoothed until it reaches new heights as a perfectly conical beehive….it’s created almost like the cotton candy you’d get at a carnival. The model is probably wearing a hairpiece for height and structure. The hairpiece is most likely a faux ponytail that was attached at the crown, and then mixed with her own hair to achieve that super high, narrow shape. The beehive was popular in the 1960s, a decade ripe with sexy hairstyles that require a lot of time and patience, and of course a lot of hairspray!!!
Here is another updo, a bit more casual than its ancestors. I would imagine that this model is using at least one hairpiece, maybe more, and probably a hair rat or two. You can find hair rats in your specific color on Amazon online. Note the fringy tendrils that were cut to frame the face for this particular look. An experienced stylist would be able to recreate this updo. But you should always book a trial appointment with your stylist to ensure that you will be satisfied with the end product. And for every trial with a hairstylist comes the bill. They are not going to give it to you free. This can really eat up both time and money, but there’s no greater buzzkill than to be entirely prepared for a lovely event or beautiful engagement, just to find out that your hairstylist is a newbie–green cosmetology graduate–or that they simply don’t know what the hell they’re doing, which is often the case. I’m not going to lie to you—finding a talented hairdresser is no easy feat. And when you do find one, you had better treasure that relationship. It was actress Joan Crawford who said, “I think that the most important thing a woman can have–next to talent, of course–is her hairdresser.” Touché, Joan. Touché!
I’m continually shocked by the lack of mastery that lurks in many a salon these days. So please, do your research. The best way to find an amazing hairstylist is by referral—that is, word of mouth….of course, however, you must be listening to the right mouth! So find the savviest fashionista in your circle, or ask a well-heeled woman whose look you admire. You can also do some detective work online and interview your prospective hairstylist prior to the appointment. Ask poignant questions, and it wouldn’t hurt to see a portfolio of their work, if they have one.
It is an empowering feeling to be armed with knowledge, and knowledge is something that no one can strip from you. So challenge yourself and do your homework! It will pay off in the end.
Another useful tip is to check out some books from the library on hair from different eras….For every time in history, there are different looks which reflect the society and its people. I love the hair from the 1960s, it is so sexy and big, and it’s making a comeback.
You can also look at cosmetology industry magazines–hair journals, that is–that focus on all kinds of different styles. Look online by doing a google search, and pick a hairstyle that is completely unique. It might even have step-by-step instructions on how to create the look.
And remember, even if there are instructions, you should still schedule at least one trial before the “big day,” whatever that may be—the wedding, a fundraiser, a gala, New Year’s, a special night out, or your ex-bf’s funeral. 😉
Another haute couture hair element is severe bangs. Bangs often signify youth and are very flattering on many face shapes, but they are extremely high-maintenance and if you have one ounce of natural curl, you are going to regret making the cut.
It really is best to work with Mother Nature, because, my darlings, she will always win. To maintain a perfectly straight, thick curtain of bangs like the ones on Cara Delevingne, above, you must have compliant and naturally straight hair.
This is the biggest mistake that I see women making in their beauty routines: don’t fight Mother Nature. Work with what you have, not against it. Besides, there are plenty of sources for clip-in synthetic bangs, or wigs with bangs, that would supply you with the look you are trying to achieve without the growing pains of a regrettable haircut.
When Short is Chic
The styles are always changing, and one year short hair my be in and the next year, it may be out. If you are hankering to make the cut, there are still many options for shorter haute couture hair. Remember that for your daily do, you want something that works with your natural texture, not against it…..something more low-maintenance. We all have too much to do in this complicated world than to worry about waging a war on our hair every day. Special occasions are different, but if you are not sure what you want, and are feeling undecided, I strongly urge you not to chop off your hair on a whim, because you will regret it.
Hair grows at an abysmal rate of a half-inch per month……that’s only six inches in a year! Talk about a long-term commitment. There is nothing more frustrating than those awkward stages of hair growth in between layers or bangs.
The drama in a short cut is usually attributed to its overall silhouette. I love the geometric lines of a Sassoon cut, above, but again, only those with naturally straight, smooth hair need apply. Don’t be fooled by how another woman’s hair may look. You have to work with your characteristics and lifestyle, not hers. So curly girls, this look is not for you. One drop of rain–or five minutes outside in humid air–will cause your curls to kink up and revolt against Vidal Sassoon, who would most certainly roll over in his grave, the poor man.
Such a Tease
Backcombing, or teasing, as it is affectionately called in the industry, is a great way to build volume and create a sexy silhouette like the photos above and below. It’s also a great way to break the hair and destroy the healthy smooth cuticle on your strands. For this reason, I do not recommend teasing your hair every day, or soon you will have very little hair to work with. For an elegant night out, however, I am so fond of these looks.
They’re both half-up, half-down hairstyles with a slightly disheveled look that I like to call “Bedroom Hair.” You want it to look like you just took a tumble with someone and almost got caught. A little dirty, yes, but that’s what makes it so drop-dead sexy!!! Live a little!
The look above is serious haute couture hair…..Notice the way the fashion stylist for this shoot put the model’s hair underneath the garment to peek out. I love this technique because it is very unusual. I’ve actually never seen another woman do it, other than myself. It’s kind of like you’re playing with the clothes and challenging traditional notions of how to dress oneself. I think it’s very creative. You can do this with jewelry in lieu of the fabric—especially if you have a gorgeous large statement necklace. It just looks so cool and unique to tuck the hair beneath the necklace or weave it in between the gems, something like that. Very avant garde.
And finally, the French twist above gets its own twist when you backcomb it for a bigger end result. I love the look of a French twist, and many women can do them on themselves, so give it a try and practice teasing the hair before you assemble. Check online for tutorials. They’re all over the internet.
Sometimes, the best solution for a problem is the opposite of what you might have expected. Such is the case with “Elegantly Wasted” hair. The contrast looks so hot, I think. It’s young and hip and modern. Just look at our striking model above. Her messy hair looks great when worn with sooty rockstar eyeliner and a shiny nude lip….pure seduction!
I also like “Elegantly Wasted” updos. They look great with couture.
Add an Accessory
Integrating hair accessories into your coif is a great way to make your style even more dramatic and memorable. I love the bevy of blooms in the “Elegantly Wasted” updo above. Hair accessories don’t have to cost a fortune, either. Synthetic flowers like the ones above are not costly, and neither are chopsticks, below.
I highly recommend getting a few hair accessories to jazz things up. Chopsticks look great in a simple topknot or back bun, and a flower behind the ear is always fresh and pretty in the summertime.
I also love a little ribbon from the fabric store. This type of trim is cheap, cheap, cheap, but as you can see, it looks so sweet and lovely above.
Hair gems and jeweled sticks are two more cool accessories that I love playing with, and as you can see, the sticks look downright elegant in a modern geisha updo.
Working With a Hat or Fascinator
The headwear craze is surging through fashion right now at a feverish pace, and I could not be any more thrilled. I’ve always loved hats, and the new creations, by so many talented milliners, are so creative, wildly imagined, and artistically executed. Headwear always elevates an ensemble to newer, more avant garde heights, but if you are not sure how to wear your headpiece, here are some tips.
When wearing a hat or fascinator, you usually cannot go wrong with a simple bun or elegant chignon at the nape of the neck. Sweep the rest of the hair back for a smooth look, and then put on your headpiece.
As you can see, the hat or headpiece takes center stage and a bad hair day is nullified.
You can also perch your headpiece atop a French twist…
…or wear it rakishly on one side with a high pony!
I love to see creativity in dressing. It makes the ultimate imago more memorable, so try integrating the hair with the headpiece, as shown above on the catwalk at Christian Lacroix.
And remember that you can combine elements for a really beautiful outcome. Wear a long synthetic ponytail with some ribbon or a flower, or both! Hair accessories integrate faux hair with your own hair seamlessly and make the partnership even more believable.
Keeping Track of Trends
Keeping track of trends insures that your hairstyle will look cool and current and cutting-edge. Fashion is forever changing. And if 2014 was the year of the braid, above, then 2015 is primed to promote the pony!!!
The runways at Fashion Week were positively permeated with the popular pony!!! Above, from left to right, the pony appeared, in different incarnations, at: Monique L’huillier, Herve Leger, Fendi, Carmen Marc Valvo, and Chanel!
The pony popped up at both Dior and Carolina Herrera as well. At Dior it was a sultry rendition by stylist Guido Palau, and at Herrera, Orlando Pita styled the pony low and sleek and wrapped with silver leather!!!
The Power of the Pony
I positively adore the look of a ponytail with couture. You’re challenging conventions and redefining elegance. Rules are meant to be broken. Trust me, life is way more interesting that way. So the next time you contemplate your hairstyle for an haute couture moment, consider a high pony like the one above. You can buy the synthetic ponytail at wig shops on the cheap, so they are an attractive option for Haute Couture Hair on a budget. In addition, they are easy-peezy to put in, and instantly transform hair from drab to drama! I like to use my own hair to wrap around the base of the ponytail for a similar effect to what we saw at Dior.
The color or colors of your coif will definitely factor into the final look. Bright colors and unusual colors are widely accepted nowadays, and I must admit, I think I have a crush on cherry red, above. If you can find a synthetic pony like the one above, there’s no need to even damage your own hair in the curious quest for color.
Do you see how the bright colors above work with couture? I think it looks unique and fabulous, but experiment and find your signature style.
Personallly, I’m slightly obsessed with the notion of opposites, and I’m digging this photo editorial above, sourced by my fashionable friend Lexee of Lexee Couture. The model is a witty nod to Cruella Deville. Love it. I’d like to try this in reverse: my black hair with a single, brilliant white skunk stripe! Talk about drama!!!
If All Else Fails….
If you’ve run out of money, time, or options, or if the hairdresser screws it up, simply slick your hair back in a tight bun, puncture it with a pair of chopsticks, and call it a day……a Bad Hair Day. See you around. xxx