Sunday, July 30, 2017

Meeting Majella: BSSTW Travels to Ireland to Unearth More Divine Millinery Crevations

I’ve deemed hats and headware the most relevant current fashion trend right now, and if you follow my work you know that I have always been mad for hats. I’m also a fan of faux hair and wigs, and as part of my “Hats Heard Round the World” Project, I am featuring milliners from all over the globe who have thrown in their hats for this exciting challenge, plus today were are including tips on how to incorporate synthetic hairpieces and faux buns into the mix.

Last time, we visited Italy to see the beautiful work of Steven’s Hats and I included some makeup styling tips, but now we jaunt over to the U.K. to chat with Galway, Ireland’s very own Majella Lennon Dalton, and in the spirit of Ireland we have two Shannons to model her delightful wares, and both are wearing synthetic hairpieces with the hats we’re modeling!

Ireland boasts a bounty of talented milliners, but Majella’s offerings are quite dramatic and eye-catching, and just in time for the races we are going to examine her unique crevations. “Crevations” is a hybrid word that Majella coined from Creativity and Innovation, and that’s where you can find her on www.facebook.com/CrevationDesigns. Check out her designs, inspired by the millinery fashions of the 1920s through the 1960s, which are available for rental as well as purchase. This is a great idea if you want to look particularly fetching but don’t want to invest big bucks in a piece that you may only wear once or twice.

Above, Shannon #1 (that’s me!) models a piece by Majella in this shot by the talented Austin Heppler at Meets the Eye Studios in The LightGrid of San Carlos, California. There’s something very mysterious about this hat; the way it covers half the face is so dramatic, flattering and memorable. Makeup artist Lauren Warner chose to do a smoldering eye and a classic red lip. And although you cannot see it in this photo, she also attached a synthetic bun to the nape so that the hair looks as beautifully appropriate as does the hat!

I love Majella’s penchant for drama, and in the top shot you see exactly what I mean. Scale is exaggerated, the silhouette is so flattering, and this saturated rouge saucer of a hat is embellished with more than one giant rose, both on top and, as a beautiful surprise, in the underbelly. I really appreciate how this hat looks ravishing from all angles due to the flourish of flowers. Majella contemplates how her client is going to look from every side, and that’s a sign of a truly great designer.

Majella has an engineering degree from the National University of Ireland Galway and coming from that background, she loves to mix materials and textures–from silks to feathers to thermoplastics. And the trademark of Majella on this stately crown is the thermoplastic ribbon, here in gold, which has become a bit of a signature in her pieces.

“I was aware of thermoplastic through my engineering work but rediscovered their use in millinery during a course with Carole Maher from Sydney, Australia,” Majella stated. Most milliners use the thermoplastic to cover the hat base or shape “but I prefer to use it structurally,” she said. “I just love the freedom and individuality of each design.”

 

Above, Shannon #2, actress and model Shannon Rebekah, steps in to model another piece by Majella. This hat is perfectly on-trend for the races or a summer wedding or fete, and looks great with black, white or a combination of the two. I love how fresh and frankly feminine this creation is. What a head-turning hat! This hat looks gorgeous from all angles, as a true couture hat should.

Makeup artist Miles Berdache Lynk attached a faux ponytail to Shannon’s hair at the nape of her neck and wrapped it into an elegant chignon. This gives Shannon the length and volume that cannot be achieved with ordinary hair, unless of course you are seriously endowed with a massive mane, in which case, we all hate you! Jajaja!

Remember that you should never let your hair go unattended just because it is mostly covered by a beautiful hat. In fact, the hat will demand that you take the extra time to style your hair so that you look couture, not crazy. There’s something about an unstyled coif that is particularly out of place and inappropriate with a hat, and these clip-on pieces you can find at any local wig shop for as cheap as $10 to $20, or online from voguewigs.com and other sources. They make your entire ensemble look classier and more elegant, more polished, and at such low cost and ease of use. Every girl should have a wardrobe of these things! They ensure that you will look as beautiful coming as you do going.

Thanks Majella, for your stunning wares…..And G’day Galway!

 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Spinning Straw Into Gold: Steven’s Hats of Italy…Plus a Prelude on Styling a Hat

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This is what you’ve all been waiting for…We are beginning our “Hats Heard Round the World” Tour! Beauty Shall Save the World will be featuring every artist who has contributed to this challenge, and today I’m so excited to present the first milliner in our project.

We are traveling to Cosenza, Italy, where we discover the wares of Stefano Costabile at his atelier, “Steven’s Hats.”

When you enter the lab of Stefano, aka Steven, it’s akin to getting to Alice’s Wonderland, free from time boundaries, in order to express oneself through fantasy. Madness becomes genius and hats become wearable art objects.

Steven, who opened his shop in 2006 from a deep passion for hats, learned felt art from an old craftsman and he inherited what he now defines as alchemy: the mixture of natural and chemical treatments give to felt the distinctive softness that make his hats of prime quality. Steven can make any kind of hat, for men or for women and his hats can be personalized, made to measure with textiles made in Italy from leather to cashmere; or straws such as panama to paper straw, from parasisol to sinamay. But it is his sinamay straw sculpted masterpieces for ladies, featured exclusively in this article, that utterly beguile me.

With this kind of straw Steven has created fascinators covered with silk, satin, lace and macramé. In addition, “sinamay is forged in a personal way and it gives life to real sculptures,” he stated.

In the top photo, I am wearing one of the hats that traveled all the way from Steven’s atelier in Italy to our BSSTW headquarters here in California…..this black-and-white sinamay straw wonder, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn, that frames the face so very beautifully with a twisted, bustled bow in the back. I absolutely love this hat by Steven. It’s ripe with coquetry and drama…and its scale is undeniably profound. This hat is a real show-stopper!

When I was styling this hat for the photo above, taken by John Kiepke of A Special Touch Photography, I knew I wanted a 1960s black-and-white, elongated Sophia Loren cat-eye, and my makeup artist, Miles Berdache Lynk, was down for the challenge. Just look at Miles’s workmanship, which took him only approximately 45 minutes. If you are a seasoned makeup artist or merely talented in makeup application like a lot of today’s youth, you may be able to stylize your cosmetics to complement the lead garment or accessory, in this case, this stunning hat by Steven. A little black sheath dress with a lethal side slit or an ebony fur shrug is all you need.

The value and versatility of a hat like this cannot be overstated. It is so elegant and timeless, at once ethereal, yet iconic. Perfect for the races, a wedding, a gala or, in this case, a photoshoot!

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The piece above, on model Evelyn Lewis and photographed by An La, is yet another example of Steven’s mastery of sinamay straw, in tantalizing turquoise. Yet again, Steven employs the use of impressive scale and in this case an almost liquidic movement due to the voluminous, gathered ruffles he’s finessed from the straw.

Just look at the elements of this photograph, styled by my Australian friend, Lynette Pater and her assistant Anna Capiga. Lynette is a tremendous talent in styling and this is a really beautiful example of how you don’t need much, other than a fabulous hat, to capture the attention of everyone in the room. A romantic, dotted tulle shawl in seafoam by Judith Penak and a chunky pearl necklace from Carole Beros Le Dain Designs complete the breathtaking look. Hair is kept minimal so the hat can shine, and makeup artist Mishel Vounatsos Bratsos focuses on a smokey eye with a ripe melon lip.

Do not allow your hair and makeup to compete with the hat. Instead, they should complement one another, but a couture hat such as this always takes center stage. And remember that the milliner has slaved for countless hours to create a wearable work of art for you, so it must be placed artistically on the head, not merely plonked down thoughtlessly without a care regarding the rest of your ensemble.

You will get more tips from stellar stylist Lynette Pater on BSSTW as we further examine how to properly style a hat, and you will also see another hat from Steven’s Hats when I reveal the second masterpiece he sent me for the “Hats Heard Round the World” Tour, so stay tuned for more mad hattery on the way! And to get in touch with Steven for a custom creation, he can be reached at:

Cappelleria Artigianale Steven’s Hats
Via Panebianco, 350
87100 Cosenza, Italy
Tel: 3381178574
Info: @stevenshats.com

Peace. Love. Beauty.

~ SHAN

Sunday, March 26, 2017

How to Style Your Hair When Wearing a Hat

As part of the “Hats Heard Round the World” Project, today we are getting some advice from experts on how to style your hair when wearing a hat! And as a quick aside, I would like to thank all the brilliant milliners who have sent their gorgeous hats so far…..including Maria Curcic and Trish Hirschkorn of Canada; Hania Bulczyńska of Poland; Denis Gulyaev of Russia; Yael Cohen of Israel; Steven’s Hats of Italy; Chris Van de Velde and Naomi Wuyts of Belgium; Majella Lennon of Ireland; and Ana Pribylova and Wendy Scully of Australia. You’ll be reading more about these gifted artists soon on BSSTW, so stay tuned!

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The big question when wearing a hat is how to style one’s hair. This can make or break your look, but oddly, the solution can be very simple. Remember that the hat is taking center stage, so a low bun or chic chignon, with little or no visible hair showing, is almost always a correct option. However, with the headwear craze in full force, I want to examine some other, more creative alternatives for you today.

When donning a hat, remember that you should always show the line of your face, according to Michigan’s Gena Conti of Gena Conti Millinery. “The hat should enhance you, blend with you, become an extension of you,” she says, “as a flattering hairstyle does.”

Just look at this striking hat custom designed by Gena for her favorite client and muse, co-owner of Hair Lab Detroit, Lauren Moser, below, pictured here with her fiancé Rodrick Samuels.

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First of all, this is simply an exquisite hat. Furthermore, the structure of the face is clearly visible, enhancing Lauren’s killer cheekbones, and although Lauren is an award-winning hairstylist herself, and can enviably do most anything with the hair that you can imagine, she has opted with her coif for a simple updo. Pure elegance. You cannot go wrong. This is utter perfection.

Remember: simplicity is the key to brilliance. And for a low-down on how to create this look with utmost simplicity, we turn to stellar stylist Edward Tricomi of the perpetually-chic Warren Tricomi Salons.

Please note that you do not have to be an accomplished hairstylist like Lauren or Edward to create this effect. “Pull the hair back into a low ponytail with an elastic rubberband. Braid, twist into a bun and pin with discretion” so that your pins are not visible, Edward advises. Be sure to check the back of your coif in the mirror by holding a hand mirror to head level, while facing away from your full-length mirror. Use your hands to feel that there are no stray bobby pins. Smooth strands gently with a bit of hairspray misted onto your palm. Spraying directly onto the bun may result in an unattractive, lacquered effect.

The Short End of It

If you have short hair, a bun or chignon is not always possible. In these cases, sleek and simple always works. Remember, the hat is the focus. Neatly slick the hair back off the face for a tidy couture look.

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For a medium bob, pull hair back behind the ears if it’s attractive on you, in order to see the line of your jaw and your face, Gena recommends. A short Sassoon cut, like the one below, naturally enhances the bone structure and works fab with a hat, but the bangs can seem problematic until you play with them.

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Sometimes the client loves her bangs and must show them,” Gena states. In this case the hat should be either perched a bit back on the head as seen above, or pulled down low allowing the fringe to circle the face, she says. You can also wear the bangs sideswept, as seen below.

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It’s a Long Story

If you want to wear your hair loose and long, it all depends on the texture and your desired outcome. Curls and waves are more feminine and romantic; straight hair equals severe drama or it can look perfectly casual, and there’s even room for frizz, if done correctly. Let’s take a look.

Curly Cues

Curls or waves can add a distinctly coquettish slant to millinery, especially a summer sundress worn with a floppy semi-translucent hat or a feminine, oversized, floral-embellished straw creation on Easter, for example.

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Above however, the model is sporting soft curls with a masculine fedora, which is a great dichotomy and really works in this case. Very stylish. I love this classic look. It’s sexy as hell. Upon closer inspection it is clear that the model’s hair has been set for these rounded, barrel-style waves.

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The curls above appear to be natural. Millinery, in my opinion, looks better with a light setting. Natural curls often benefit from heat curling, if you have the time and inclination. It might seem odd, redundant and counter-intuitive to curl curly hair, but the outcome is often quite glorious and worth the bother. Your curl pattern and bounce are going to look different than freshly-washed natural curls. They’ll be more polished than a natural curl, which can appear sometimes straggly or fuzzy when topped with a hat, something you might not notice when you’re wearing more casual attire. A hat is usually going to elevate an outfit into a more couture moment. At that point, you will abruptly see that casual curls–aka your normal “street hair”–no longer seems quite appropriate, unless you are wearing a knit cap, baseball hat, or other similarly sporty creation.

Making Waves

Use a bit of heat to set the curl, then let the standing curls cool, after which you gently brush them out section by section with a boar bristle Mason Pearson for incredible shine and a polished look. And always remember, the smaller the set, the tighter the curl obviously.

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Setting the hair in standing pincurls with a setting lotion or lightweight gel mixed with water, spritzed onto the hair for hold, will create picture-perfect waves that look slightly more sophisticated than an untamed mane of feral curls.

Frizz Factor

Sometimes feral works for you, but I must admit this is a hit-or-miss, Grace Coddington-kind of moment that often looks better in a fashion editorial than it does in real life.

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If you’re going to put the forté on the frizz, be sure you style your ensemble appropriately and adjust your makeup so that it looks deliberate, and not like you ran out of product and got caught in a windstorm on the way to the party. It can be tricky to pull off this look, even with a mane like Nicole Kidman’s, below.

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Let’s Get Things Perfectly Straight

When opting for long and straight, it’s important that the hair is perfectly smooth and sleek, not flyaway or straggly or uneven at the ends.

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If your ends are not blunt enough with a sufficient weightline, ie.–if they tend to look a little bit ‘see-through,’ this can be an unattractive menace and you might want to compensate with a synthetic ponytail or 3/4 wig beneath the hat for extra weight and volume, which can result in a truly spectacular, perfect look. There’s plenty of fake hair out there to go around so consult your local wig shop.

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The Power of The Pony

Personally, I adore a chic, low pony, wrapped in its own hair, as seen below with this uber-cool seamless sculpted cap by milliner Yael Cohen. You’ll be seeing more from Yael in our “Hats Heard Round the World” Project by the way, so stay tuned for more about her.

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I happen to have this very cap, a cherished gift sent to me from Yael, owner and chief designer at Justine Hats in Tel Aviv, Israel. I wear this constantly–very similar to the model above–with a low pony.

A high, more perky ponytail is also another style to consider but only if the hat rides high on the back of the head. So be sure to experiment, consult your milliner if necessary and ask his or her opinion. Research great-looking shots of chic headwear in the magazines and online. Examine the hairstyles selected for the looks and practice them on yourself. You may even want to take a few selfies to perfect your look when wearing a complicated piece, in particular if you are going to be photographed or it’s a special occasion. In fact, I highly recommend this process, for realistic self-evaluation.

It’s a No-Show

Sometimes the best solution to a hair issue is to ignore it completely. Yes, slick it back or pile it up under the hat for a “No-Show.” You can almost never go wrong.

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Note these examples, where no news is good news, and the hair quietly takes second seat to the hat that adorns it.

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Above, the hair is tucked into the belly of the hat for a dramatic effect. And below, sleek and smooth, the hair again is practically a non-entity with this spotted topper.

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Pass the Accessories, Please…

Finally, you may want to combine accessories when wearing a hat. Use discretion. Below, all the hair is a “No-Show” concealed beneath a stylish scarf worn under that hat.

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And a rakish top hat takes on a dramatic yet feminine appearance when the model’s hair is slicked back and packed inside a snood at Dior. So timeless, so femme fatale!

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No matter your hair length or texture, there’s always a chic solution for every hat you may encounter, and now you know the industry secrets on how to style your hair when wearing a hat. Hats off to you!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The “Hats Heard Round the World” Challenge is Here!

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Today’s modern couture hats are without a doubt the purest-existing expression of wearable art, ornaments for the head that are often part jewelry, part sculpture, and are usually one-of-a-kind, painstakingly handmade with love by an actual person or team of people who sit squarely on the wall between artist and artisan. I am so happy to announce that hats are surging back into fashion. For many a true hat enthusiast, hats never went *out* of fashion, but fashion did not seem to agree for a few decades there, starting around 1970 or so.

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Nowadays I feel like there is always an occasion for a spectacular hat on every outfit I see in the mags and the shops and on television, a bold statement, but here comes an even bolder one: Society seems just a bit less civilized without the hat as a fixture on women’s heads, as couture hats these days defy and transcend every expectation society once defined for the hat, thanks to trend-setting master milliners who have pushed the couture envelope.

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New milliners are popping up worldwide, and millinery classes from old-school milliners are on the rise with feverish demand where the art of the hat is both revealed and discovered.

As part of this blog, I am launching a “Hats Heard Round the World” Challenge to milliners globally for a unique and exciting fashion opportunity. Its goal? To spread the love and enthusiasm and adoration for chic hats and headwear worldwide and reiterate the message that hats are universal in every culture.

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Hats selected for the challenge will be featured in the “Hats Heard Round the World” fashion editorial, styled and shot in top couture, and published on the blog. For milliners interested in participating, please email beautyshallsavetheworld@gmail.com for details.

For you, my readers, you’ll meet countless milliners from all over the planet—world-class, award-winning, utterly fabulous milliners, as well as aspiring milliners who are self-taught and have never taken a single class—but all of them have one thread in common: talent. And all of them prove without a doubt that hat-making, or millinery, as it’s known, is not a dying art. In fact for many of these artists, millinery is their entire life and their devotion and passion.

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We will travel to Canada to visit with an award-winning milliner and felting expert, Trish Hirschkorn, and see her breathtaking hat made from clay (yes, clay!) that will dazzle you with its utter spectacular-ness! On the opposite side of Canada we’ll stop at the atelier of the versatile artist Maria Curcic, whose love for classic couture and valuable vintage surfaces in her incredible heirloom creations. Maria has one hat in particular that I’m absolutely obsessed with, a topper that would make Scarlet O’Hara green with envy!

We will jet across the world to the Eastern Bloc to Poland, and on to Russia, to meet the gifted milliners Hania Bulczyńska and Svetlana Gulyaeva, respectively, both of whom studied under one of my favorite milliners, a spectacular genius in hats, the great Anya Caliendo. And we will dash off to Israel for two milliners whose couture hats are as different as day and night, and their hats could not be any more so as well! Each milliner’s process is a unique one, and results in unique pieces of wearable art, the anti-thesis of disposable fashion.

Yes, we are taking a virtual tour around the world on the brim of a hat! Australia, Ireland, England, Asia, Italy, France, Belgium and of course the United States are also all on deck! Isn’t it exciting?!?!

Every milliner featured in the Hats Heard Round the World editorial will be interviewed and an article written about him or her. You will examine the designer’s unique creative process, read about their materials, hear about their influences and influencers, and discover perhaps just a bit of what it is that makes them tick.

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As part of this series I’ll also teach you how to wear a hat—that is, how to position a hat properly on your head—as well as how to choose the perfect hats for you and your image and your age and face. My good friend from Australia, stellar stylist Lynette Pater will be chiming in on that. Lynette will give some helpful tips on wardrobe styling, accessorizing, and overall execution of a “look” when wearing various styles of hats and headwear, and we will also discuss how to style your makeup and hair with all kinds of various hats, with advice from my friend and celebrity hairstylist, the fashionable Edward Tricomi of the perpetually-chic Warren Tricomi Salon in NYC. And of course I’ll be throwing in my two cents as usual. So stay tuned!

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He who works with his hands is a laborer.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.

He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.

~ St. Francis of Assisi

 

Ciao for now, from your favorite fashionista!

Peace. Love. Beauty.

SHAN

xxx

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sequoia Emmanuelle Photography: Have Art, Will Travel

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Hi guys! If you’re in my hood this week, meaning the San Francisco Bay Area, there’s an incredible treat waiting here for you! Sequoia Emmanuelle is in the house! Specifically, she’ll be at Beats Antique’s ShadowBox storefront Tuesday in Berkeley–her first appearance here in two years.

It’s a celebration of her newest, color-drenched masterpieces, and as a special gift she will also be available for book signing of her long-awaited, highly-anticipated tome titled “Duende,” a visually-juicy anthology of her illustrious career in fashion photography.

Sequoia began her career in the year 2000, after studying photography at Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and has since lived in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where she’s currently based. She unites her talents in fashion, set design, painting and graphic design in her beautifully bizarre portraits steeped in surrealism.

Inspired by and having worked with many of the unique talents of the West coast underground music, fashion, art and dance scene, her avant-garde captures have surfaced as album art and have been published in many a magazine, such as Italian Vogue, Dark Beauty, Giuseppina Magazine, and The Dapifer, pictured top.

If you have the loot, you can even book a shoot with Sequoia while she’s in town for a limited time, as spaces are filling up rapidly. Now take a look at some of my favorite works by Sequoia Emmanuelle.

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Ashley Joy Beck, above, looks divine in deVour Magazine, resplendent in nothing more than a massive Asian headdress by Bubbles and Frown Haberdashery Shoppe.

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The portraits above and below, of the visionary Hollywood stylist and costume designer Bea Akerlund, are hauntingly beautiful.

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The dynamic pairing of Sequoia and Bea yields some pretty impressive captures, darkly-themed and deliciously noir, during Bea’s film shoot “In the Closet” for Fuse TV.

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I love the shot above, where Sequoia uses dramatic color and striking composition for maximum effect. It’s interesting, the way she integrates a playful sensuality into downright dangerous themes. Just look at that capture!

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A myriad of sepia stone sets the backdrop for the shot above, Sequoia’s stark study in exoticism, with a raven-haired beauty wearing dramatic facial jewelry.

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This photo takes glitter to a whole new level of glamour, with makeup by Debra Macki. Alive with brilliant color and texture, it’s simply flawless!

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Facial jewelry has never been so right. It’s amazing how Sequoia can make the bizarre look beautiful.

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Even a simple floral headdress looks sultry on this model. It’s innocence-with-an-edge.

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The impeccable beauty, music artist Ivy Levan, looks authoritative and powerful sitting regally in a grand metallic chair in front of the lens of Sequoia Emmanuelle. So much mood in one defiant capture. I love the drama!

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This model looks oddly vulnerable in Sequoia’s ‘Wildchild’ series. Glamorously punctuated with sparkling gems and dotted with body makeup, she is a fantastical vision. There’s something about the contrast in this piece that makes it rivetingly unique, and I love the playful lighting.

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Overt in opulent orange, this shot speaks of decadent alienation.

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Sequoia’s piece for Kat Von D Beauty is awash in beautiful blues, featuring a deep indigo lip on the feline-faced Ivy Levan.

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‘Blue Velvet,’ above, is another spectacular vision in cyan. Loving the avant-garde hand jewelry and the dramatic turquoise topper! Moody lighting and slivers of shine make this photo more than memorable.

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I just love the risks Sequoia takes in her styling. As if vivid slashes of teal eyeshadow and a poppy-red mouth are not enough drama, Sequoia sees to it that the model above is adorned flirtatiously with a constellation of gilded freckles.

This is a show not to be missed! Hope I see you Tuesday…Ciao for now, from your favorite fashionista!

Peace. Love. Beauty.

xxx

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Fashion Takes a Bow……Or Two

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There’s a new/old decorative element of style that has me positively obsessed these days–its origin is antique and it conjures fantasies of unwrapping a precious gift for its recipient.

Bows date back in fashion history longer than any of us have existed, and for bloody good reason: they’re feminine, stylish and lovely to look at, and can be worn in infinite ways.

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Lately I’ve been going a bit bow-crazy, scouring the shops for a bevy of bows. I love the way they can look elegant, classy and sweet; or dramatic, whimsical and coquettish. I also love the way they can take center stage as an enormous ornament or simply work as an adornment for an accessory, or even become the accessory itself.

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John Galliano ties one on for his Maison Margiela fall 2016 collection, and this giant bow, in rich gorgeous chocolate, is the fabulous focal point for the entire ensemble. I love the proportions of this thoroughly-modern bow! Amazingly, the exaggerated scale looks appropriate for chic day drama in an earthy urban palette, as Galliano brilliantly redefines the bow.

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Formally, Zoe Kravitz was fit to be tied at the Met Gala this year in dark and dreamy Valentino. Valentino loves the bow almost as much as I do, and has used bows in many a garment over the years, as seen in the little red day dress below, worn by the perpetually-chic Alexa Chung. It looks so sweet and current. What a difference a bow can make!

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This elegant sleeve from Chloe in 2009, below, undoubtedly shows that you can never have too many bows! Just look at the timelessness of the detail and tell me what I already know: it’s all in the bow!

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Notice how the bow can dominate or embellish, it’s entirely up to you! I also appreciate the fact that you can dress the bow up or down, and wear it sexy, schoolgirl or couture.

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For spring, summer or winter, fall for the bow and you won’t go wrong. This grey tweed bow by Christian Dior, shot by Paolo Roversi for Vogue Italia, proves that bows smartly travel through all seasons and can be worn on any occasion.

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Above is more Dior, a pumpkin gown punctuated with a beaded bow.

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But the humble bow can also remain modern and minimalist, as seen in this Yves Saint Laurent summer dress photographed by Martin Lidell for L’Officiel Russia back in 2010. This design looks as current to me today as it did six years ago, which speaks volumes about the bow!

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Christian Lacroix used the bountiful bow for Schiaparelli Haute Couture in the bustled beauty above. I love the whimsy of his powder pink plaid. Stunning!

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Victorio & Lucchino embellish a model’s assets in a sleek silver sheath adorned with a dramatic Asian-textile bow.

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Bows are ideal in bridal, as seen in the wide geisha-style wrap above, but they can also surface simply as a delicate accent on a garment or worn in the hair for flirtatious effect.

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This shoulder ribbon, in an editorial for Harper’s Bazaar shot by Solve Sundsbo, proves that the bow need not look bold to create a maximum impact.

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Just a bit of ribbon tied in a loose pony can elevate bedroom hair to a couture coif in seconds! I love the sweet simplicity of it. It’s so effortless looking and incredibly sexy!

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And speaking of sexy, I’m currently crushing on the hair-as-sculpture bows, pioneered by Valentino in 2006 and worn famously by both Paris Hilton and Lady Gaga.

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They look just as cool with couture as they do with a casual, fresh summer dress, and now you can find clip-on hairbows at the wig stores and beauty supply and in a variety of colors, so you don’t have to have mad skills to look charmingly coy if you decide to jump on the bow bandwagon!

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The bow is a glamorous, chic and feminine element which has remained timeless in the history of fashion. I now invite you all to take a bow!

Peace. Love. Beauty. xxx

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Meaning of Life and The Purpose of Life and Issie Blow

issie sublime in red

One of my earliest memories from childhood is a cold day at the beach in San Francisco, my sister and I walking with my mother and my father. I don’t remember how old I was, but I must have been very young because my dad was still around, and the ocean was a new experience for me.

As I walked the shore with my father at my side and my mother and sister trailing behind us, I collected treasures from the briny, surf-soaked sands. There was a multitude of shells, pieces of glass and driftwood, and a plentitude of pebbles, each a tiny work of art from nature, and each a masterpiece in its own right.

I would gather my souvenirs from the sea and contemplate their perfection, or lack thereof, in my tiny hands as we walked. None of the treasures were without flaw. Perhaps a gnarl in a shell or a blemish on a stone rendered them, in my mind, inadequate. So upon reflection I would inevitably discard each treasure that I discovered by simply dropping it along the walk until we came back to the car to leave, at which point I saw that I had nothing.

My sister, however, had the most intriguing collection of beautiful little things as we came to the end of our walk. In her findings were darling shells and colorful stones with character and wonderful, memorable relics that I examined in awe. I remember telling my mother with incredulity how lovely each item was, and asking how my sister found these beguiling mementos on our walk when I had seen only imperfect specimens.

My mother simply smiled for the longest time as I fawned over the glorious treasures. How could my sister have found such wondrous art, I asked, when I found nothing? My mother finally replied, “Shannon, she picked up the things that you discarded.”

The story reminds me of a quote by Pablo Picasso: “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

The story also reminds me that imperfection is interesting, flaws equate uniqueness, and nothing in life should be taken for granted. Beauty is everywhere, and when you seek beauty in all things and all people, you not only find it, you become it.

This thinking brings to mind one woman so mesmerizingly unique that, despite her flaws, she remains radiant, beautiful and memorable long after she was discarded as an imperfect specimen in an industry obsessed with perfection. I’m referring to Isabella Blow, the British stylist and fashion editor whose suicide death in 2007 left a bittersweet legacy, as well as an imperfect wardrobe–a diary in clothing, if you will–which is now on display until 28 August at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia.

issie and philip

“Isabella Blow: A Fashionable Life,” provides the opportunity to examine more than 45 of Issie’s outfits, as well as rare photographs of her in her finery. In addition, you can see some of her favorite jewelry and shoes, and of course the signature hats that made both her, and her protégé, milliner friend Philip Treacy, pictured above with Isabella, famous.

The remarkable thing about Isabella, to me, was her unwavering authenticity in an inauthentic world. Like any artistic community, the fashion industry is filled with superficial people–talentless clingers scented with insincerity and insecurity–who really couldn’t give a fuck about anyone else. Issie, on the other hand, she cared. She cared about talent and vision and genius, fostering countless “unknown” artists and promoting their growth and flourish. She was the real deal, and she had heart.

issie with alexander

Issie discovered the meaning of life when she sought beauty, and fulfilled her purpose in life when she gave it away. She unearthed the curious, the interesting, the magnificent, when she brought us Philip Treacy, Alexander McQueen, pictured above with Isabella, and many more. Thank you Issie. You are neither gone nor forgotten.