Sunday, July 20, 2014

Wedding Attire for Rebel Brides: 8 Iconic Looks

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.

Bride 1

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!

Bride 2

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.

Bride 3

Tons of tulle and lay­ers of lace are the dra­matic back­drop for this bridal look. Love the stock­ings and the uncon­ven­tional veil.

Bride 4

Here comes the bride in a lace pantsuit, bound at the waist with a satin sash. Gorgeous!

Bride 5

This ivory laser-cut lace gown is utterly beguiling!

Bride 6

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.

Bride 7

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.

Bride 8

This blush­ing bride is beyond beau­ti­ful wear­ing an asym­met­ri­cal veil and lace smock with bell sleeves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Beauty & The Beach: Hats & Shades For Warm-Weather Days

Beach beauty

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.

Sundappled model in hat

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.

White summer dress cool shades

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.

Heart sunglasses

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.

Lolita frames

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.

2

Beyonce 2

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.

3

Gwen stefani 3

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.

1

Beyonce 1

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.

5

Model 5

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!

6

Beyonce black horn rimmed 1

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!

Miley

Miley 7

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!

Gwen

Gwen 4

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.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Easy Summer Living: The Best Beach Bags & Totes & What To Put In Them

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.

Philip b travel kit

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.

R and F eye wipes

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!

Marine lotion

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.

Triple defense

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.

Mineral makeup and brush

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?

Hand shield

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.

Marc jacobs tote

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.

Marc jacobs detail

The tex­ture screams sum­mer, and the smart water-resistant raf­fia mate­r­ial make this tote both pretty and practical.

Tory burch molly tote

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 straw bag

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.

Rugby tote

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.

Lanvin

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 coffee striped tote

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.

Coffee striped tote detail

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.

Valentino butterfly tote scaled

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.

Valentino butterfly tote

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.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Beach Chic: Sexy Suits, Coverups and Statement Jewelry for Summer

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.

White monokini

The Monokini

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.

White tunic

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.

Black and white monokini

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.

Black fishnet monokini

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

Teal crochet monokini 2

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.

Pink crochet suit front

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.

Pink crochet suit back

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.

Hot pink crochet kaftan

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.

Cre­ative Cutouts

Orange neoprene

The bright coral neo­prene Saz­erac One Piece from Indah, above, is a sporty yet seduc­tive take on the cut-out trend.

Grasshopper coverup

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.

Black cutout dress

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.

Lead shot

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.

Gold sequined swimsuit front

The style of this bikini is purely provoca­tive. Check out the front, above….

Gold sequined suit back

….And the sexy shirring in back.

Gold belted black monokini

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!

Black bikini gold hardware

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.

Black tunic

State­ment Jewelry

Belly chain

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!!!

Moroccan kaftan

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.

Moroccan detail 2

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!

Body chain 2

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.

Body chain 1

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.

Body chain 3

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.

Gold off shoulder with shorts

Foot jew­elry is yet another cre­ative trend in acces­sories, and Zeu­gari sells foot bracelets by the pair for only $15.

Foot jewelry

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.

Mint green bikini

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

Irina shayk in cuff brass bracelets

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.

Bright sun hat

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.

Starfish cuff

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.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Scrimping & Splurging on Cosmetics: Powders & Creams, Eyeliner & Mascara

As I dis­cussed in our first arti­cle in this series, there is a time to scrimp and a time to splurge on beauty sup­plies. It is a fact that higher-quality brands cost more for good rea­son, and that not all cos­met­ics are cre­ated equal. But in this age, hav­ing the best of every­thing can be impos­si­ble, or it can really strain your bud­get at the very least. In the first arti­cle, we have estab­lished that invest­ing in great skin care and a high-quality, treatment-based foun­da­tion and/or min­eral pow­der is the way to go. Now, here are some more prod­ucts that you can scrimp or splurge on: Pow­ders & Creams, Eye­liner & Mascara.

Guerlain shadow palette

Blush­ers, eye­shad­ows and high­light­ing pow­ders from the expen­sive brands are more finely-milled than drug­store brands, mean­ing eas­ier blend­abil­ity and a satiny appli­ca­tion. You can also get by with using less prod­uct, so you save money by invest­ing in the bet­ter brands, but some­times it’s hard to jus­tify spend­ing $90 on a Guer­lain eye­shadow palette, above, despite its lux­ury for­mula and stun­ning packaging.

In addi­tion to the pow­der being more finely milled, the col­ors of expen­sive brands are often much bet­ter as well. Cheaper cos­metic com­pa­nies do not cap­ture the essence of nuanced tones. Col­ors are often more obvi­ous and ama­teur­ishly exe­cuted, and metallics can look foiled instead of lumi­nous. There­fore, when bar­gain shop­ping for color you must go forth with a very dis­crim­i­nat­ing taste.

Blush need not be costly. My num­ber one tip is regard­ing color, and my num­ber two tip is regard­ing appli­ca­tion, and my num­ber three tip is regard­ing the for­mula. First, you must choose a sub­tle color, not a gar­ish one, and use spar­ingly across the apple of the cheek from directly under the pupil swept toward the ear. Be judi­cious. Noth­ing looks more des­per­ate and crazy than a girl all dolled up with too much blush, or with mis­placed blush, which can widen the face and make it look fat. Finally, pow­ders always go on last, and it is often best to use the same for­mula that you last left on your face when deal­ing with pow­ders and creams–ie.–if you put on a cream-based foun­da­tion, you can use a cream blush, unless you pow­dered it down. In that case, use a pow­der blush. And did I say be judicious?

Sonia kashuk blush

Makeup artist Sonia Kashuk makes great pow­der and cream blush­ers for Tar­get, $9.79. These blush­ers are a bar­gain com­pared to MAC blush­ers, which cost more than dou­ble that price, or Tom Ford blush­ers, which sell for $56. It is just not nec­es­sary to spend that kind of money on blush. Sonia’s col­ors are excel­lent and you will use a small amount.

It really is nice to work with eye­shad­ows that are finely milled with the con­sis­tency of confectioner’s sugar. But these eye­shad­ows can break the bank. If you can afford Dior and Guer­lain, go for it…Those are two of my favorite brands.

Sonia kashuk eye quad

But if you’re work­ing on a restricted bud­get, choose to invest in your skin first and fore­most, because Sonia Kashuk also makes great eye­shad­ows, $13-$20, in lovely palettes above and below, that resem­ble Urban Decay’s Naked col­lec­tion you’ll find at Sephora.

Sonia kashuk eye palette

My favorite eye­shad­ows actu­ally come from a cos­metic and brow bou­tique in South­ern Cal. It’s the ever-fabulous Senna Cos­met­ics, founded by cos­metic giant, Euge­nia Weston. Because I am not a work­ing makeup artist, I am com­pletely con­tent buy­ing sin­gle eye­shad­ows in lieu of a palette of shades. Eugenia’s eye­shad­ows come in never-ending fin­ishes and the hippest col­ors. The sin­gles are $18 each. Invest in two or three and you should be good to go. If the price point is still too high, you can always get a palette by the afore­men­tioned Sonia Kashuk.

Eye m glam model

The high­light­ing pow­der you use on your cheek­bones and eyes should be a shim­mer­ing flesh tone, and it’s great to have a bright white high­light­ing pow­der as well. These are good basic prod­ucts to have that will give you a highly-dramatic glam look, as seen above or, a casual dewy beach glow all year round. You are using an infin­i­tes­i­mal amount, remem­ber, but the sub­tlety of the color is every­thing. The shim­mer should be rich and warm, the tex­ture, silky smooth so that your skin looks radi­ant and flaw­less. Darker skinned women and the fair-complected can both go for the cus­tom blended pig­ments by Giella. You will need the peachy-pink, golden-coppery hue, Eye M Glam, below right, and the bril­liant white B-Dazzle, left. I’ve shown swatches below.

B dazzle and eye m glam

I loooove the Eye M Glam–Giella’s cus­tom blended high­lighter, cre­ated by one of my absolute favorite makeup artists–Kim Kardahshian’s makeup artist, Mario Dedi­vanovic. It’s $35, and it is awe­some! Worth every cent.

Kim and mario

Do you see the radi­ance of Kim’s skin in the photo above, where she is pic­tured with Dedi­vanovic? Look at the high­light on her brow bone and cheeks. That’s Mario’s Eye M Glam at work. It’s not too frosty or too metal­lic. And it is so fine that it prac­ti­cally melts into the skin. Gor­geous. If you pre­fer a cream high­lighter, you absolutely must try Sene­Gence International’s liq­uid Pearl­izer. A bot­tle of this stuff should last you, lit­er­ally, at least two years. I’m not even exag­ger­at­ing. You just need a teeny bead of prod­uct and it gives the same effect as the Eye M Glam, but in a lus­cious cream for­mula. Read my review about the Pearl­izer here.

These high­light­ing prod­ucts are nec­es­sary splurges, and the prod­uct will last hella long so it’s worth the investment.

Maybelline liquid black eyeliner

It is best to have a col­lec­tion of both kohl and crayon pen­cils and one liq­uid liner at the least. Pen­cils can be from the drug­store. May­belline Ultra Liner water­proof liq­uid liner in black is a must-have. It’s six bucks at Tar­get. And I also like the felt-tip pen liq­uid lin­ers made by MAC and Senna Cos­met­ics. With these prod­ucts you should be able to cre­ate any desired out­come on the eyes.

Sisley mascara

Mas­cara is worth invest­ing extra money if you have it. Sisley’s mas­caras are awe­some, and the wand for their So Intense mas­cara, above, is very spe­cific, mean­ing it traps every sin­gle hair, and it comes in a cool assort­ment of col­ors. I like the blue one. It’s a really great for­mula, and I love it, but it’s $66. Ellis Fass makes a very nice mas­cara, although it is hard to find in Amer­ica. I believe you can only get it at Net-A-Porter. I get most of my makeup free from the cos­metic com­pa­nies, but I some­times have to buy mas­cara because it’s that one thing that goes bad rather quickly, and should be replaced reg­u­larly before it dries out.

L oreal mascara

If you don’t want to spend a ton on mas­cara, L’Oreal makes good ones. I like their Volu­mi­nous Mas­cara. It’s a good choice.

This con­cludes our sec­ond seg­ment on scrimp­ing and splurg­ing. Next stop: Lips. I will sum­ma­rize the best in beauty at pleas­ing price points. Until next time…Peace. Love. Beauty.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Cosmetics: When to Scrimp, When to Splurge, How to Apply, and The Products That I Buy and Use

George washington and kissScrimp or Splurge?

Well, I just got fin­ished tak­ing one of those dumb, mind-numbing sur­veys that you find online….and by ‘one of those sur­veys’ I mean it was a quiz regard­ing beauty prod­ucts. Test your knowl­edge, they said, and take this valu­able quiz: can you nav­i­gate the makeup aisle? Are you a savvy shop­per? Okay, so here goes. I’m going to share with you a cou­ple of the ques­tions and then we’re going to set the record straight on how you really shop for skin care and cosmetics…When do you scrimp, when do you splurge, and what do I, a beauty edi­tor and licensed aes­theti­cian, buy and use on a reg­u­lar basis?

True or False: You can use a tinted lip balm or lip­stick as a creamy blush sub­sti­tute. Duu­u­uuh! True.

Then, the cre­ators of said quiz feel com­pelled to fur­ther clar­ify the mat­ter: “Good news: If you’re short on cash, creamy lip­sticks and tinted lip balms also func­tion as cream blushes. To cre­ate a rosy glow or a roman­tic flush, apply these makeup multi-taskers to the apples of your cheeks with your fin­ger­tips.” Oh geesh. Ele­men­tary, am I right? Blush is one prod­uct that you can scrimp on, as long as you know how to apply it cor­rectly. But that’s another sub­ject for another article.

Next ques­tion. True or False: Expen­sive makeup prod­ucts work bet­ter than cheaper drug­store brands.

Here is a tricky one. They said the answer is false. “The amount of money you spend on makeup,” the sur­vey advises, “has lit­tle to do with the unique­ness of the for­mu­la­tion, the qual­ity of the prod­uct or even its effec­tive­ness. In fact, many drug­store brands offer sim­i­lar or bet­ter results com­pared with the pricey potions sold in depart­ment stores.”

Wrong! That is com­pletely and unequiv­o­cally false. It’s an igno­rant state­ment, and I can assure you with­out a sliver of doubt that there is a time to scrimp, but there’s also a time to splurge on qual­ity prod­ucts that can make a siz­able dif­fer­ence in your appear­ance, your extrin­sic aging and your lifestyle.

Washing face

Skin care: Splurge.

It is best to invest in qual­ity skin care your entire life. When you are in your teens and twen­ties, you need make less of an invest­ment, but sun­screen is always manda­tory, and you’d bet­ter make it a good one.

As you age you will need to begin incor­po­rat­ing vit­a­min C, cer­tain acids, pep­tides and retinol. These ingre­di­ents are costly, but it is impor­tant to note that you will use much less prod­uct if the ingre­di­ents are potent and active, and for­mu­lated intel­li­gently, ie–expensive. With high qual­ity skin care, you need such an infin­i­tes­i­mal amount–a frac­tion of the amount you would use with a drug store brand.

Qual­ity skin care is more expen­sive for many rea­sons and you’re not just pay­ing for sexy mar­ket­ing and gor­geous, gold-tipped jars with exotic names. On the con­trary, some of the best skin care that I have ever used does not come in fancy pack­ag­ing at all…The smart cos­metic com­pany will invest in what is inside the bot­tle, not the pack­ag­ing itself.

Potency is always an issue. Cheap skin care com­pa­nies do not have the same lev­els of active ingre­di­ents that you will find in expen­sive skin care. Ingre­di­ents like pep­tides and vit­a­min C are costly and must be thought­fully deter­mined by the chemist so that you get sig­nif­i­cant results. Vit­a­min C, for exam­ple, must be han­dled a cer­tain way for it to main­tain its sta­bil­ity, while pep­tides must be of very high qual­ity and used generously.

Because all this is expen­sive, most cos­metic com­pa­nies are guilty of ‘sprin­kling.’ This is a term used when they add just enough of a ben­e­fi­cial ingredient–such as peptides–into their prod­uct so they can make impressive-sounding claims, but not enough to show any effi­cacy. Or, the qual­ity of the pep­tides used might be of a low vari­ety. Just because the bot­tle says it has a cer­tain ingre­di­ent in it, doesn’t mean your skin will see the ben­e­fit from that ingre­di­ent. It could be the com­bi­na­tion of ingre­di­ents, and how they work syn­er­gis­ti­cally. You must invest in a qual­ity regime for the cur­rent needs in your life cycle, and one that is backed by sci­ence and sta­tis­tics. The com­pany should have a rep­u­ta­tion of com­plete and utter integrity. I can­not urge you enough to do your research on the com­pany you are supporting.

Applying foundation

Foun­da­tion: Splurge.

Noth­ing looks worse on the skin than bad foundation…Whether it’s too orange-y or too chalky, whether it set­tles in lines and pores or melts under pres­sure. You must start with a good base. Trou­bled skin is one mat­ter: see a great der­ma­tol­o­gist. A cheap or ill-matched foundation–even on young healthy skin–just looks awful. It’s unpro­fes­sional and dis­tract­ing. A good foun­da­tion will blend right into your face and you should be able to apply only to spot areas when needed with­out demarcation.

If you have truly flaw­less skin you are either the result of supe­rior genet­ics, or you’ve had a deep peel recently. I love Jess­ner peels. Ask your skin doc if it’s right for you. A deep peel from a qual­i­fied doc­tor or aes­theti­cian can trans­form your com­plex­ion rad­i­cally, and they’re not even that expensive.

Aces of bases

Aces of Bases

So, you may not need foun­da­tion, but it’s always nice to have the option of a lit­tle more cov­er­age. Laura Mercier’s tinted mois­tur­izer is a good solid prod­uct. Per­son­ally, I use Amore Pacific’s Mois­ture Bound Tinted Treat­ment Mois­tur­izer, $70, from Neiman Mar­cus, and it is noth­ing short of divine.

Amore pacific

It’s oil-free, with a vel­vety con­sis­tency that is extremely work­able due to its fine tex­ture. The cov­er­age is per­fect, the col­ors are very nat­ural look­ing, and it smells amaz­ing, and all with an SPF 15.

The best news, how­ever, is that it’s great for your skin. This is the dif­fer­ence between cos­met­ics of today ver­sus cos­met­ics just five years ago–they treat and con­di­tion in addi­tion to perfecting…It’s a new age in cos­met­ics and you may have heard the term ‘cos­me­ceu­ti­cals.’ That’s because many, many prod­ucts are attack­ing skin con­cerns while pro­vid­ing excel­lent, appro­pri­ate coverage.

Amore Pacific har­vests bam­boo from Jeju Island, off the coast of Korea. The island is known for its vol­canic mineral-rich soil and the bam­boo sap extracted from the plant is super hydrat­ing. Amore Pacific clev­erly uses bam­boo sap in lieu of water, so the prod­uct becomes richer, not watered down. The sap sup­ports the pro­duc­tion of hyaluronic acid, which binds mois­ture to the skin. In addi­tion, it’s a pow­er­ful antiox­i­dant, 200 times stronger than vit­a­min C. The amino acid-rich sap offers instant and long-term hydra­tion, improves skin’s self-defense with essen­tial min­er­als, and increases cel­lu­lar regen­er­a­tion to pro­vide radi­ance and a youth­ful skin den­sity, and like I said, it’s oil-free. This is an amaz­ing product!

You will not find this type of research or these ingre­di­ents in any cheap drug store prod­uct. Mod­ern qual­ity cos­met­ics treat, repair and pro­tect the skin while you are mak­ing up.

A good tinted mois­tur­izer is a nice way to get a sheer bit of cov­er­age. It is impor­tant to remem­ber, how­ever, that tinted mois­tur­iz­ers, although they usu­ally do con­tain a sun­screen, do not offer enough sun pro­tec­tion and you should use a daily SPF underneath.

I have seen some seri­ous skin prob­lems from not wear­ing ade­quate pro­tec­tion. Pig­men­ta­tion is a for­mi­da­ble enemy of per­fect skin. It’s always best to pre­vent dam­age, instead of try­ing to undo it. Melasma, or pig­men­ta­tion, is a stub­born, stub­born con­di­tion and requires the kind of dili­gence that is, no joke, life-changing…in a highly-inconvenient way! Just ask any girl strug­gling with melasma, they will tell you. It means, sun­screen, 24–7, even indoors, and you must seri­ously limit your sun expo­sure, even then. One lit­tle excep­tion to the rules–one quick drive down to the cor­ner store sans sunscreen–can be a set­back that can mean months if not longer of intensely work­ing to reverse and repair, and all while try­ing to pre­vent new pig­ment from pop­ping up.

I don’t wear my Amore Pacific Mois­ture Bound every day. In some cir­cum­stances I will wear sun­screen, only, on a bare skin, or, con­versely, I may want more cov­er­age than my tinted mois­tur­izer can pro­vide. If cov­er­age is what you crave, top your tinted mois­tur­izer with a good min­eral makeup, or go for one of these foun­da­tions: Guerlain’s Lin­gerie de Peau; Gior­gio Armani’s Mae­stro Foun­da­tion; Ellis Faas; Eve Pearl Com­pact Foun­da­tion; or Shiseido’s Mois­ture Mist Beauty Cake Foun­da­tion (made in New Zealand). The last is a rec­om­men­da­tion from my bril­liant friend Susan Markovic, a makeup artist in Aus­tralia, who swears by this prod­uct. She deems it the best in the biz, yet, she tells me, very lit­tle is heard about it.

If you have a lit­tle prob­lem area here or there that needs some extra cov­er­age, try build­ing your cov­er­age by tap­ping a bit more prod­uct on the trou­bled areas. Then, build your cov­er­age fur­ther with a high qual­ity min­eral makeup dusted on top. Or tag team the area with con­cealer fol­lowed by min­eral makeup.

Rodan and fields mineral makeup

I often forgo any liq­uid base entirely in lieu of my Rodan + Fields min­eral makeup, which is truly remark­able. This stuff is packed with pep­tides, and there­fore is also a skin treat­ment. In addi­tion to the pow­er­ful pep­tides, the min­eral makeup cre­ates an occlu­sive bar­rier between the skin and the sun–a chemical-free SPF that you can touch up through­out the day, and every time you do it, you are drench­ing your skin in valu­able pep­tides. Bril­liant. The brush that they sell is densely packed with the soft­est, fluffi­est antimi­cro­bial syn­thetic bris­tles. Antimi­cro­bial? Rodan and Fields, these docs, I swear, they think of every­thing. They are genius.

Eve pearl concealer

If you choose to use a con­cealer, the best ones are Eve Pearl’s Dual Salmon Con­cealer, above, (moist) and Obses­sive Com­pul­sive Cos­met­ics (dry).

Occ conceal

Use a dry con­cealer for acne and oily areas on the face; use a moist con­cealer under the eyes where the skin is more del­i­cate, dehy­drated and prone to wrinkling.

That sums up the begin­ning of our series on scrimp­ing and splurg­ing. Stay tuned for the next install­ment. You’ll thank me later. Love you.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Where It’s At: The Beguiling Butterfly

One of the favorite mem­o­ries of my life was the time my fam­ily and boyfriend went to Los Ange­les on a sum­mer vaca­tion and vis­ited a wild ani­mal park where there was a but­ter­fly sanc­tu­ary. I could not believe the bevy of but­ter­flies, all sizes and shapes and col­ors, some of which glis­tened of vivid metallics, com­pletely defy­ing descrip­tion. It was overwhelming.

Butterflies all over

It just so hap­pened that I had drenched my body in a per­fumed cream that morn­ing, and the but­ter­flies took a lik­ing to it. Within min­utes, my legs and arms were cov­ered with but­ter­flies, lin­ger­ing on my limbs in the most glo­ri­ous way. They were try­ing to extract nec­tar from the scent. Soon, chil­dren, in utter awe, clus­tered around me with out­stretched fin­gers and won­der in their eyes, beg­ging to touch the exquis­ite float­ing gems and look­ing at me as though I was some kind of mir­a­cle. It was a mag­i­cal moment and one I will never forget.

Gaultier butterflies

I’ve never seen so many but­ter­flies in all my life…until now. Ever since we wit­nessed Jean Paul Gaultier’s trib­ute to the breath­tak­ing but­ter­fly at Paris Fash­ion Week, above, we’ve seen many a but­ter­fly flut­ter by. Here are some of my favorite fash­ion­able inter­pre­ta­tions of these won­ders with wings.

Butterly heel by sergio rossi

Ser­gio Rossi’s fil­i­gree but­ter­fly laser-cut leather & satin san­dal, $1,150 at Saks Fifth Avenue, fea­ture a 4.5-inch metal-detailed heel! Super sexy.

Butterly heel 2

Giussepina june 6

Giusep­pina mag­a­zine is only slightly obsessed…check out their two cov­ers in a row fea­tur­ing the fab­u­lous butterfly…

Mag cover

…A sparkling crown adorned with but­ter­flies, above, graces the cover of the magazine.

Gilded butterflies

But­ter­flies can be worn embell­ish­ing the hair, as seen inside Giusep­pina. Could these gilded but­ter­flies be the ones William Shake­speare wrote of in King Lear? Per­haps.

Red butterfly

Cou­ture milliners are churn­ing out high-fashion hats adorned with the pretty lit­tle things, and head­dresses and fas­ci­na­tors are a recently-emerging trend amongst the avant-garde. I love them so much that I got one for myself, designed by New York milliner Anya Caliendo and fea­tured in Vogue Italia.

Dark butterflies

The but­ter­fly takes a decid­edly dark turn, above, when you choose a deeper color paired with a dra­matic black lip. Fab!

Butterflies on face

You can buy fake but­ter­flies at craft stores and use eye­lash glue to attach the del­i­cate crea­tures to your face, neck, arms and decol­leté. It makes a mem­o­rable pre­sen­ta­tion for spe­cial events and nights out in the city. Check out our story on but­ter­flies fea­tur­ing Jean Paul Gaultier and fab­u­lous but­ter­fly makeup tips.

Is it pos­si­ble to become friends with a but­ter­fly? “It is if you first become a part of nature,” writes Japan­ese author Haruki Murakami in his intri­cate, dream-like fic­tion novel, 1Q84. “You sup­press your pres­ence as a human being, stay very still, and con­vince your­self that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the but­ter­fly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally.”

I come here every day, say hello to the but­ter­flies, and talk about things with them,” Murakami con­tin­ues. “When the time comes, though, they just qui­etly go off and dis­ap­pear. I’m sure it means they’ve died, but I can never find their bod­ies. They don’t leave any trace behind. It’s like they’ve been absorbed by the air. They’re dainty lit­tle crea­tures that hardly exist at all: they come out of nowhere, search qui­etly for a few, lim­ited things, and dis­ap­pear into noth­ing­ness again, per­haps to some other world.”

The last butterfly

Ethe­real and oth­er­worldly in nature and also in beauty, fash­ion and fic­tion, tak­ing cen­ter stage is the beau­ti­ful, beguil­ing butterfly.