28 February 2011

Chanel Makeup Confidential: Inside the Makeup Studio

I recently shared Chanel's adorably quirky little video, the brainchild of Peter Philips, who has been Global Makeup Creative Director since 2008.

In his time at the helm, I think Philips has been really successful in subtly moving the brand forward, introducing new and updated products, textures and formulas, while injecting just the right amount of edginess to keep Madame Chanel, controlling perfectionist that she was, from turning in her grave. Though with those temporary tattoos, she may have come close...

Now he's gone one step further with the creation of Chanel Makeup Confidential: Inside the Makeup Studio, a digital platform dedicated to showcasing Philips' latest creations. With its daring dancing animations, the site has such a lovely, playful and thoroughly modern feel - reflecting Philips' innovation and creativity, while remaining true to the essence of this hugely iconic luxury brand.

Yep, you could say I'm a fan.

I've just enjoyed exploring the content (and the soundtrack!) on the site and was wowed by this look, created in minutes by makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, using products from this Spring's Les Perles Des Chanel collection.

I'm off to stick on a bit of Black Pearl, currently the only piece of the collection in my possession. I say currently...

(Yet another) review of Boots No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara...

Boots No 7 invested heavily in online marketing to promote their latest mascara offering, Exquisite Curl. I found some of the activities, like the (now closed) Best Wink competition on Facebook, a little cheesy; like the Pantene Swish campaign, I just don’t get it -  but I’m probably at least a decade older than their target audience, so I’m not meant to.

However, some of the brand's marketing activities have come in for more serious criticism, which you can read about here if you’re so inclined.

Boots also sent out a hell of a lot of samples to beauty bloggers for review, and fluff and fripperies was no exception; the blogosphere was nigh on flooded with 'em.

Now, while I’m generally a No 7 fan, I wasn’t blown away by this product so I wasn’t going to write about it - it’s fine, but not my favourite offering from the brand by a long shot. But I realised that, in the host of great reviews for what I deem to be a fairly average mascara, what is my favourite offering from the brand was getting seriously overlooked. So I decided to do a little comparison post with No 7’s previous mascara launch, Exceptional Definition, which I really liked. A lot.

After all, they say a picture speaks a thousand words…

Curved wand of Exquisite Curl on the left; Exceptional Definition wand on the right.

Exquisite Curl on the top; Exceptional Definition on the bottom; and a nice shot of my latest purchase, also from Boots - No 17 Lasting Fix nail polish in lemon sherbet. Spring is in the air...

No mascara on either eye...

Exquisite Curl on the left, Exceptional Definition on the right. One coat of each, and you can see that Exceptional Definition does a much better job on my particular eye shape and lashes. It really grabs the lashes on the inner and outer corners, which makes a big difference.  My lashes also look a lot longer with Exceptional Definition than they do with Exquisite Curl.

But I do have a use for Exquisite Curl...here, on the left, I've layered Exceptional Definitition OVER Exquisite Curl and the result is a fuller, more volumised lash look than either mascara on their own.

So to sum up, while it works nicely for layering, the only thing I really prefer about Exquisite Curl is the pretty lilac packaging. And while I received it as a review product (along with about a million other beauty bloggers), I bought and paid for Exceptional Definition with my own cash money. And my advice, for what it’s worth, is that you do the same.

25 February 2011

Love the look: Daisy Lowe for Biba at House of Fraser

I can normally take or leave model Daisy Lowe, but I think this shot of her from Biba’s second collection at House of Fraser is absolutely stunning.  Is it just me or is there a touch of La Moss about Daisy's features in this particular image?

The new campaign was shot by photographer Ellen Von Unwerth and features six images which will appear across the label’s marketing materials from this month. You can check out the others on the fluff and fripperies facebook page.

Embracing Biba’s heritage and reflecting fashion’s current love affair with the 1970s, the spring summer collection features bold prints, long sleeved dresses and blouses, high-waisted, flared jeans, printed jumpsuits, maxi dresses and skirts, and slouchy metallic knits.

I’m pleasantly surprised at the price points, too. With accessories from €36 and a pair of indigo high waisted jeans coming in at €102, it ain't cheap but it won't break the bank, either.

Cream jacquard cardigan £75/€90, Grey high waist herringbone trousers £115/€138, Gold logo cuff £130/€156, Gold butterfly pendant £60/€72. Photography by Ellen Von Unwerth.

Under the needle: would you?

Treatment room at The Hospital Group, Kildare Street
Last night was possibly one of the most bizarre evenings I’ve had in a long time.
Glass of wine in hand, I stood in a group of about 40 women in a doctor’s surgery, goggling as a 47-year-old woman underwent a series of facial filler injections and lost about 10 years, instantaneously, right in front of our eyes.
The procedures took place in the plush headquarters of The Hospital Group on Kildare Street, who provide a whole host of cosmetic surgery, obesity surgery and non-surgical treatments.
Because there’s no requirement for a general anaesthetic, injectable fillers, cheek augmentation and chin enhancement procedures all fall into the latter category  - meaning every starlet with a face full of filler can honestly claim to have never even considered the prospect of cosmetic surgery.
The demonstration marked the launch of The Hospital Group’s latest procedure; Facial Volume Enhancement Treatments.  The procedure is designed to replace volume loss incurred over the years - typically seen over the chin and cheek areas. It promises a younger and fresher appearance and is billed as ‘a minimally invasive surgical procedure done under local anesthesia’.
I have to confess, before yesterday evening I would never even have considered a treatment of this type. But it seems I’m in the minority, as there are clinics like this springing up all over Ireland and the death of the Celtic Tiger doesn’t seem to be putting them off.
For the record, I would prefer that we didn’t live in a world where there is increasing pressure on women to look younger for longer. I wish more people genuinely believed in growing old gracefully and that beauty gets better with age.
But five minutes into the demo and I was wondering what I could pawn, where I should sign and if they’d accept part payment in change tickets from Dublin Bus.
Surgeon Shunil Roy, working with the brand Restylane (hyaluronic acid), administered a total of 6 injections into his willing patient’s forehead, cheeks, lips and chin, and the results were both immediate and dramatic. Her skin looked younger, fresher and smoother in an instant, without it being obvious in any way that she’d ‘had something done’.

I asked the vulgar question about the total cost of the procedures we’d witnessed. The damage? Around €1600 - though most people wouldn’t do it all in a oner, opting instead for a series of gradual enhancements. We were told that the filler would be gradually metabolised by the body, and that the results would last between 6 months to a year.

At this stage, they were preaching to the converted.

We turned to the gorgeous TV presenter who was standing beside us and asked, “Are you tempted?” She roared laughing before answering, “Are you serious? Oh God yeah!" And in that moment, I’m pretty sure that she spoke for us all.

But what about you? Would you? Could you? Have you? How far would you go in the pursuit of younger looking skin?

23 February 2011

Punk's not dead...

…it’s just grown up and wrapped itself in this gorgeously elegant Louise Kennedy cashmere skull scarf.
If I only had a spare €895 for a shawl , you’d catch me hanging out in Terminal 2 looking sharp and tailored with a punk rock twist, too…

But in the meantime, you're more likely to catch me on the boardwalk with some bucky - living the dream, man, living the dream...
Navy and cream cashmere skull scarf (€895) worn with ivory wool crepe ‘Coco’ jacket (€595) and navy wool crepe ‘Crista’ trousers (€275)

Ivory wool crepe ‘Coco’ jacket (€595) worn with ivory silk georgette ‘Justina’ blouse (€595) and navy wool crepe ‘Crista’ trousers (€275)

22 February 2011

Can You Feel My Love Buzz?

On our way back from a birthday curry-and-punk-film-fest in Glasgow that naturally progressed into an all night disco party – a regular occurrence when my little sister is around – I was met this morning, in Glasgow Prestwick airport, with a very sobering sight. For people of my vintage, there are few things that will make one feel every day of one’s thirty-*cough* years like the cover of the latest Mojo magazine, which threw me into a maelstrom of emotions with this little factoid…

…Nirvana’s Nevermind is twenty years old, this year.

My mind did a little bit of boggling - well, it was just before 6 am – before it could take this in. Can 1991 really be all of 20 years ago? And to put it bluntly, are we - am I - really this fucking old?

I’ve just spent longer than I care to confess working out that I was 13 years old on 24th September 1991, when Nevermind was released by a subsidiary label of Geffen Records. And by that time I was already a fan, having been slipped a copy of Bleach earlier that year by a friend of my Dad’s, who produced a radio show and had the biggest record collection I’d ever seen – he also introduced me to Dinosaur Jr, Mudhoney and The Pixies.

I love Nevermind but on the whole, prefer Bleach: for all its rough production quality and incoherent lyrics the raw energy of the album shines through, and Love Buzz is my all time favourite Nirvana track.

It makes me very sad to think I’ll never again fall for a band like I fell for the bands of my youth. Music wasn’t as widely available so if you bought or borrowed or taped an album, you probably listened to it hundreds of times, from start to finish, because that was the way the band intended it to be played. You knew the music intimately. You bought the albums, wore the t-shirts, knew the lyrics and hunted down the rarities and b-sides. It was love.

My favourite music – back then, mostly grunge and pop punk – was fast and loud and exciting, and it made me feel alive in a way I never had before, and probably never will again. I was besotted, enthralled, obsessed, as only a teenager with vast, previously untapped reserves of emotion can possibly be.

These days I appreciate lots of different bands and music types but it’s rare for me to find a sound that really, genuinely excites me (though thankfully, it still happens sometimes).

I was 16 years old when Kurt Cobain died. His birthday was on Sunday, the day after mine, and I am already, staggeringly, six years older than he was when he died.

So on the plane this morning, somewhere between Glasgow and Dublin, I shed another few tears for Kurt. He was beautiful and talented and tortured. As for me, well, I was tired and emotional... and for once, that isn't just a euphemism.

14 February 2011

Fluffy little V-Day giveaway: "I'm everything I am because you loved me"*

With the day that’s in it, I’d like to show my love and appreciation for readers of this blog by running my first ever blog giveaway. Up for grabs is this Pacifica Natural Gift Set in Avalon Juniper, containing travel sized goodies with a woody aromatic fragrance, featuring juniper berries, grapefruit and heliotrope. All Pacifica products are free of parabens and are vegan and cruelty free.

The set contains:

Avalon Juniper Solid Perfume 10g (unisex) 

Pacifica's solid perfumes are made with organic soy and coconut wax and Pacifica's signature perfume blends with essential and natural oils. Portable and perfect for layering. This one is described as 'a play between light and dark, fire and ice', with the woody juniper tempered with bright grapefruit and the watery notes of heliotrope.

Avalon Juniper Body Butter 56.7g 

With mango and shea butter for intensive moisture, along with Pacifica's signature perfume blends with essential and natural oils.
Avalon Juniper Soy Wax Candle 85g
Hand-poured with lead-free wick for a clean burn. Burn time: Up to 30 hours. Matches included.
You can read a little review of the candle, here.
If you fancy getting your hands on all of the above, just become a fan of the fluff and fripperies facebook page and leave me a comment, below. The winner will be picked at random, and the competition is open in Ireland and the UK.

Edit: I'll pick the winner on Tuesday 22nd February so will accept entries till then.  

*Post title: lyric from Celine Dion, 'Because you loved me'

12 February 2011

It's primer Jim, but not as we know it: new Sleek i-Divine Primer Palette

I've never tried any products from Sleek but I hear amazing things, particularly about their shadow palettes, so I’ve been thinking of making a purchase. And now my order is going to be that little bit bigger because I cannot wait get my hands on their latest offering, this gorgeous, multi-coloured eye primer palette. Look at it! Fabulous!!

Just imagine the short work this little piece of kit would make of achieving the perfect smokey eye. As soon as I heard about this, the words of the Guardian's beauty columnist, Sali Hughes, started ringing in my ears: in this video, she tells us that the secret to a smokey eye is a mix of consistencies, so to always use either a powder base with a cream shadow, or a cream base with a powder shadow. TADAAAAAAAAAAA!

So this is billed as the ‘first professional primer palette’ and is designed for use with the Sleek i-Divine shadow palettes – I’ve just spent about twenty minutes drooling over the selection on their website – though you could, of course, use them under any shadow in your collection.

The primers promise to take your eyeshadow to new levels of intensity, ensuring the perfect base for amazing colour that will last all day long. Apparently, the highly pigmented, long lasting formula is what sets this apart – that, and the selection of 12 creamy shades, ranging from bold brights to neutral classics in both warm and cool shades.

You apply it with the brush provided, sweeping your chosen shade over the eyelid and immediately following with shadow. The super smooth texture promises to glide on effortlessly without creasing, making it the perfect base for your favorite shade.

The i-Divine Primer Palette will be available from Superdrug in the UK from February 16th and I’ve emailed the brand to find out if the same applies in Ireland. I’ll update this post when I have more information, but in the meantime, from next Wednesday you can get your hands on it from the Sleek website, where before delivery it'll be priced at a very reasonable sounding £6.99.

Have you tried anything from the brand and what were your impressions? Are you as excited about this little beauty as I am?!

08 February 2011

French Connection SS11: You are Woman?

I really like the vibe of these shots from French Connection’s latest campaign, ‘You are Woman?’. Apparently, the campaign – alongside the corresponding ‘You are Man?’ – is intended to ‘question what it means to be a Man or a Woman’. I don’t know about that, but I do know that these playful, cheeky shots are gorgeous to look at, set as they are against the mediterranean backdrop of the island of Gozo.

Look at his tongue!

She's getting her legs shaved BY THE BARBER!

The collection itself is inspired by the ‘effortlessly chic French Riviera and the glamour of Studio 54 in the ‘70s’, featuring breezy sundresses, tailored shorts, wide legged trousers and retro jumpsuits alongside a collection of quite lovely accessories. I’ve posted a selection over on the fluff and fripperies facebook page.

Ok, this one isn't really all that funny, Pretty, though, no?

07 February 2011

Tabea's first campaign with A|wear

I'm loving these shots of Tabea, winner of RTE's The Model Scouts, in her very first campaign. She looks great in the bold prints and gorgeous earthy colour palette of A|wear's latest collection, 'Chic Safari', for Spring 2011. And my wallet is also loving these price points: my favourite piece, that little peach pleat skirt in the final image, is a snip at just €30.

More pics (and prices) can be found on the fluff and fripperies facebook page and you can shop the collection now, on awear.com.

The Dictators - Stay with Me

Because we all need a little bit of cheering up on a Monday morning, why not give this little beauty a whirl. Surprisingly few people have heard of The Dictators, an early punk band from New York City that was formed in 1973 and heavily influenced some of my all-time favourite bands, like The Ramones. In this interview with guitarist Scott Kempner, Vanity Fair said: "Kempner’s music is impossible to not like: He’s the rare master at making three-chord rock ‘n’ roll - inspired by the 1950s and ‘60s - sound fresh and vital, simultaneously urban and twangy, heartfelt, political and personal." Kempner himself described the band as "Punk before there was Punk, and Rock'n'Roll long after almost everyone else had given up the ghost."

I love their sound, and I especially love this song. What do you reckon?

04 February 2011

Tigi Bed Head Spoil Me review: What’s the story, crowning glory?

My hair has been a bit unhappy recently. It’s long, thick and naturally wavy so it has a tendency to frizz and, since I started to lighten it before Christmas, it’s been feeling dry and looking a bit lifeless. My usual hair care products just aren’t doing the business anymore so I’ve been seduced into buying pretty much anything with a moisturising, smoothing or defrizzing claim. And sadly, some of my new purchases just haven’t been coming up with the goods...   
A recent disappointment has been this spray product from Tigi called, and wait for it, Bed Head Spoil Me Defrizzer Smoother & Instant Restyler. Bit of a mouthful, eh?

It comes in a giant (300 ml), bright green aerosol can which cost me €20 in the salon. You spray it all over damp or dry hair, a fuss free approach which sounded very attractive to me, as did its claims to be excellent as a second day re-styler.

The spray itself is quite strongly scented. It claims to be citrusy but to me, it smelled similar to Benefit’s Bathina…sort of powdery and distinctive, but not unpleasant.
Here’s what the product claims:

Indulge yourself with this smoothing anti-static defrizzer that gives light, moveable hold. Be spoiled…it’s about smooth, soft, sexy hair.
  • Helps repair and moisturise
  • Light hold
  • Prevents static
Maybe my hair presented too much of a challenge for it. Maybe hair that’s a bit healthier to start with would fare better with this product. But on my unruly mop, this spray has had no effect at all.  
On damp hair, it dried frizzier than ever, as if I hadn't applied any product  whatsoever. On dry hair, as a second day-restyler, it temporarily tamed the frizz by dampening down my hair a little -- but I may as well have misted it with water, because the effect didn’t last.  In terms of hold and prevention of static, I've had far better results from a bottle of Elnett. And moisturising? Yeah, not so much of that, either.
But what do you think, have you tried this? How did you get on?  Am I missing something?
And if you like it, leave me a comment -- you can have mine.

'Shape Up Your Lifestyle' event at Arnotts tomorrow, Saturday 5th Feb 2011

Stylist Marietta Doran
If you're about town tomorrow why not check out the ‘Shape Up Your Lifestyle’ event from 12-5pm at Arnotts, in association with Unislim. The event promises everything you need to makeover yourself and your lifestyle, with stylist Marietta Doran, celebrity make-up artist Leonard Daly and Zumba expert, Heather Gordon all on hand to share their secrets, insider tips and industry experiences.

Apparently Marietta will be focusing on SS11 trends and how to take them from the catwalk to your closet, no matter what your body shape. Leonard will talk about interpreting catwalk beauty trends, while Heather will show us how Zumba can help to burn an alleged 500-600 calories an hour. Finally Unislim chef Sharon Hearne-Smith will host a series of healthy cooking demonstrations in Arnotts Home department on the lower ground floor.

And if that little lot isn't enough to entice you, Arnotts will also be running a competition to win a €1000 gift card to help you to ‘Shape Up Your Lifestyle’.

Might see you there!

02 February 2011

Contouring: A fab how to from Pixiwoo!

Himself has been bemoaning the fact that it takes me forever these days to get ready in the morning. 

This is because, thanks to the nifty little box of gorgeousness that is Benefit 10 (mini review here), I have discovered the joys of contouring -- and rediscovered my cheekbones, in the process.

Thanks to this wonderfully informative step-by-step tutorial from UK sisters and make-up artists, Sam and Nic Chapman -- collectively known as Pixiwoo -- you too can lose 10 minutes every morning; a small price to pay for looking fabulous when you do, eventually, emerge from the bathroom…

01 February 2011

Love the look: Drew Barrymore in Going the Distance

It might be a (shudder) rom-com, but both himself and myself quite enjoyed Going the Distance when we watched it this weekend. Ok, so the script falls a bit flat in places, but the September 2010 release has lots going for it to set it apart from the usual dross offered up in this genre: a  realistic, recession-era storyline, some laugh-out- loud comedy moments, a good supporting cast and, most of all, two really likeable main characters. Justin Long is good as Garrett, but it was Drew Barrymore as Erin who was the real star of the show. I loved her character, a witty, boozy, sweary 31-year-old, who’d be great craic down the pub. And even in the weaker moments of the film (of which there were a few, mostly involving Garrett’s two best friends) I had plenty to keep me interested -- Drew’s wardrobe, hair and make-up, for a start.

For most of the movie, she rocked a silvery taupe eyeshadow with varying degrees of liner and mascara, and often paired with a neutral lip. Like so:

Occasionally she upped the ante with brighter or stronger lips, like the pink below or, in one scene, a lovely bold orange.

I know I said I don’t really emulate people’s make-up looks but in this case, Drew has inspired me to dig out my own silvery taupe eyeshadow from Boots (Stay Perfect in #60, Mink) which, with a coat or two of mascara and a nude lip (and a flash of  Rimmel's Dancing Queen on the nails), makes for a perfect quick and easy work look.  And with these shadows coming in at just under a tenner, they're the perfect price for my own recession-era storyline, too...

Boots No 7 Stay Perfect Eyeshadow in Mink