Chanel, L’Oreal and Burberry Enamored with British Starlets

June 10th, 2010

The biggest names in fashion and cosmetics looked to England for their new spokeswomen. Chanel, L’Oreal, and Burberry picked up two big (and distinct) names from the British music scene and one young actress who is transitioning from child-star into adulthood.

Chanel

Singer Lily Allen is known for her angry yet playful male- and relationship-bashing lyrics. She’s also well-known for her very eclectic fashion choices, such as her dress-and-sneakers outfits:

Lily Allen is also an admitted fashion addict and has in the past spent plenty of time at Chanel’s Paris shows. In fact, it is through her constant presence at the shows that Karl Lagerfeld got to know her. Her wild-child personality apparently charmed him enough that he picked her to star in the ad campaign for the Coco Cocoon bags he designed for Chanel. In many ways this is a perfect pairing since Lagerfeld is known for having his own eclectic taste as well, whether it has to do with fashion, music, or in this case, choice of models.

The final shots for the Chanel campaign, which were also photographed by Lagerfeld, are in black and white and they feature Lily in Audrey Hepburn-inspired looks that show off a very different, and ultra feminine side of her independent personality:

The Coco Cocoon bags are a first for Chanel because they are reversible, puffy bags, made with nylon. The bags are also toned down and don’t feature the usual Chanel details like the chain-and-leather strap – but rest assured the (in)famous double C’s are still present. The Cocoon line also features wallets, toilet bags, and key pouches.

L’Oreal

After Beyonce, Eva Longoria, and Penelope Cruz, L’Oreal looked to singer Cheryl Cole to be their new spokeswoman. Cheryl already had success with her girl group Girls Aloud, and in 2009 she broke out as a solo artist, making it the perfect time for L’Oreal to team up with the well-established and very popular pop singer.

One look at Cheryl and it becomes obvious why she was chosen by L’Oreal: although she’s got a vavavoom figure and beauty that is definitely above average, she maintains a girl-next-door charm that any woman can appreciate and relate to. A good example is this image of Cheryl in which she manages to make an itsy-bitsy, short dress look wholesome by choosing a flare cut, a multi-colored print, and a cinched waist courtesy of a bright red ribbon belt:

No wonder Cheryl regularly tops the sexiest women lists (British FHM named her their #1 girl) and best-dressed lists (the UK’s Style Network named her the style icon of the decade ahead of the Obamas, and French first lady, Carla Bruni). Clearly the woman knows her stuff and this shot from her L’Oreal campaign shows why she’ll likely help the company sell a ton of shampoos!

Burberry

Not one to be left out of the spotlight, the gang at Burberry snapped up 19 year-old actress Emma Watson, made famous by the Harry Potter movies, to be the new face of the company. And what a face!

While the entire world has seen her grow up on-screen, off-screen this young starlet has managed to keep a steady head, while developing a keen sense of fashion. On the red carpet she pairs high-style with age-appropriate items, such as this chic yet fun dress with amazing detailing courtesy of beaded straps and a stunning brooch:

It’s only natural that this classy, young actress should be the new face of this classic British brand which has been around since 1856. According to Burberry’s creative director the goal of the campaign was to represent the history, modernity, and timelessness of the brand. With that goal in mind they felt Emma was a perfect choice because of her “classic beauty, great character, and modern edge”. Based on the final results, I’d say they achieved their goal and then some!

High-Waist Pants and Boleros aren’t just for Matadors

June 10th, 2010

The matador, an often romanticized character, generally regarded as a fearless fighter who is able to stare his enemy in the eye while maintaining incredible style and grace. No wonder the fashion industry always looks to these bullfighters for inspiration. A few months ago Giorgio Armani designed a bullfighting costume for one of Spain’s top matadors. And women’s fashion has benefited from the matadors too, most notably in the form of high-waist pants and boleros.

Though a lot of women shy away from these two items, they are actually quite versatile and can fit various body types. You just need to keep a few things in mind when you decide to include them in your fashion repertoire

  1. Although you don’t need to be nearly as fearless as a matador when wearing high-waist pants, you do need a good deal of confidence to pull it off. These pants show off the body (see item #2) so stand up straight and pair them with a great pair of heels (item #3)
  2. With high-waist pants, always tuck in your tops. I know it’s 2010 and tucking in is for squares, but in this case it’s an absolute must. High-waist pants sit on your natural waist (not the low-rise-pants waist), which happens to be the narrowest part on your torso. So, unless you plan on wearing them with a very short top, don’t place your top over high-waist pants. This will only add bulk to the waist instead of showing off your figure
  3. High-waist pants elongate the legs so they look best with high heels. Pairing them with flats will make you look short and stubby instead. This is true of both skinny leg and wide-leg high-waist pants
  4. Wide-leg high waist pants generally work for everybody type. For those who are heavier on the bottom, the skinny-leg variety can be difficult to pull off. The wide-leg variety, however, can be quite flattering, as long as you can find a pair with a small enough waist AND enough leg room. If you’re heavier on the bottom, focus on finding a pair that fits (i.e. is loose enough) around the legs. Then take it to a tailor and have the waist taken in to match your measurements
  5. High-waist pants with pleats are not made for most body types because the pleats add bulk to the waist and hips. Unless you are on the very thin side or don’t have much in the way of curves, it’s best to avoid this particular species of high-waist pants
  6. Boleros can be used to dress-up an outfit or to simply make an outfit look more sophisticated and put-together. Take Michelle Obama’s grown-up but not-frumpy bolero. Combined with her classic A-line dress, the bolero further accentuates her figure while still adding an element of fun to this all-black ensemble. Had she worn a black cardigan with this outfit, it would have looked a lot more “mumsy”, as the Brits say.
  7. A funky bolero can be used to jazz up a little black dress. Check out this one-of-a-kind, gold bolero worn by Katie Holmes. This bolero has so much detailing and bling to it that there’s no need for any jewelry on this outfit. And the bolero frames her upper body, placing emphasis on her impeccable makeup and hairdo. It’s top-notch as is.
  8. On your wedding day, a bolero can be a fantastic multipurpose accessory – it can keep you warm (choose one with long sleeves, of course), add color to your outfit, or cover up bare arms (for churches where it’s a no-no)
  9. To get the best of both worlds, pair high-waist pants with a red bolero (reminiscent of the red cape used by matadors)

Brussels: Europe’s Next Fashion Capital?

June 10th, 2010

Ah, Europe. Full of history, great chocolate, and world renowned fashion capitals like London, Paris, Milan, Brussels…Brussels? Really? Yep. The same Belgian-chocolate-and-beer Brussels. It may not appear so from afar, but Brussels has established itself as one of Europe’s top destinations for unique and innovative fashion.

The Belgian capital boasts a host of designers from various parts of the world who are using their creations to express their unique perspectives of fashion, femininity, and how it all blends together. Even though you may not have access to these designs yet, there’s no stopping you from being inspired by them and adapting them for yourself.

Designer Yves Dooms has been dressing up Belgium’s elite for years with clothes that highlight femininity and luxury. This pale blue suit, for example, embodies his philosophy of showing off the woman’s silhouette, rather than tons of skin:

The gorgeous and perfectly tailored full skirt below is yet another embodiment of Dooms’ philosophy. The model’s cleavage isn’t falling out of her top, nor can we see up her skirt. But it’s clear that she’s all woman and has a killer figure which is hinted at by the great fit of the skirt around her waist.

Takeaways for you? You wardrobe should include a few key pieces that perfectly highlight one great feature of your body. Your clothes should leave ’em wanting more and wondering what lies underneath.

Similar to Yves Dooms, the duo at Sandrina Fasoli designs trendy outfits that emphasize femininity, but on a more subtle level. Their collections use very muted and understated colors to create soft silhouettes that seem to have been inspired by the 1920s and the world of lingerie.

Whether it’s tops, dresses, or pants, these designers use satin fabric in many cases to create their signature soft silhouettes:

Takeaways for you? Understated can still be very feminine and slimming because it creates a clean, streamlined look that is chic and classy. If you usually wear fitted t-shirts, try buying a soft, flowy one or even layering a couple of lighter ones. Once or twice a week trying switching up your skinny jeans for a pair of wide-leg trousers. Next time you buy a dress, go for one that is made with soft satin (or another soft, synthetic fabric). Enjoy how luxurious and feminine you feel having such delicate fabric against your skin.

For a burst of color and vavavoom style, nothing beats Louise Assomo’s creations. This designer, who hails from the West African country of Cameroon, takes inspiration from the intensely colorful designs of her native country and the curvaceous bodies of the native women (her sizes don’t go below size 6). Her creations have been hailed around the world, and earned her prizes from various fashion bodies. It’s no wonder her creations are available in Beirut, Israel, Paris, and countless other international cities (including Brussels, of course).

Here are a few examples of what the world is clamoring for:

Takeaways for you? Make a bold statement with the color choices and the cut of your clothes. Choose a winter coat in a deep color like the blue coat above to counter the dreary weather (and the often dreary cold-weather color choices). If you’ve got curves, don’t hide them in a black dress all the time. Get a flirty red dress with an empire waist and wow the crowd of onlookers. Dress up a pair of shorts with a frilly, colorful top like the yellow one above.

How to Make the Goth Look Work For You

June 10th, 2010

The popularity of TV shows and movies like True Blood and Twilight has increased interest in all things vampire-related, including the makeup. While the Goth look is often associated with rebellious, devil-worshipping teens and Marilyn Manson, I am going to show you a different side of this mysterious look that has nothing to do with witchcraft but does have a connection – amazingly enough – to Marilyn Manson.

Two women who are known for totally embracing the Goth look are Dita von Teese and Evan Rachel Wood.

Freakish how similar they look, isn’t it? Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact that Ditta is Marilyn Manson’s ex, while Evan is his present squeeze. Anyway, as you can see these ladies are at the forefront of what is termed Goth Chic. It stands out, and apart, from the dark makeup, pierced body parts, and unruly hair of the typical teen Goth look because it focuses on dark sensuality. The makeup and hair are geared towards playing up a woman’s femininity while still allowing room for an edgy and somewhat mysterious/dangerous vibe, thus paying homage to Gothic mythology.

To nail the makeup there are a few things you have to do:

Foundation: A pale face is an absolute requirement for a Goth look. To achieve it, use a foundation that is one or two shades lighter than your regular skin color. Once the foundation is in place, dust your face with white powder.

The Eyes: The other staple of Goth makeup is intensely dark and very visible eye makeup. For this you need black eye shadow, black eyeliner, and black mascara.

  • The eye shadow and eye liner must be applied in such a way that a cat-eye effect is created. This means that the eye liner has to extend up and out, past the outer edge of the eye (as if you were curving the line up towards the temples).
  • The eye liner should be applied to the top and lower lashes.
  • Use a liquid eyeliner to correctly trace the line necessary for the cat-eye. It glides over the skin with ease and allows you to trace the line in one go.

By following the 3 steps above you can achieve the look Dita’s picture. Alternatively, you can soften up the eye makeup slightly by using grey and green eye makeup. This will give you the softer look shown in Evan’s picture.

For Evan’s look, you need to grab a midnight green shade and a very dark grey. Apply the green to the lids and to the inner edge of the lower lash line. Apply the grey color everywhere else

To complete the eyes you’ll need buckets (and I mean buckets) of mascara. You really want to layer on the mascara in order to put the finishing touches on the eyes. The mascara will likely clump but don’t worry about it. Because the entire eye makeup is so dark the clumps won’t look out-of-place. Your goal is to define the lashes and get them as dark and as thick as possible

Lips: For the lips you can play things a couple of different ways. You can go the way of the rebellious teen Goth and do black lipstick. Or, you can go the Goth chic route and apply a very deep, blood red color. In either case, use a matching liner to contour the lips

With the makeup complete, don’t forget to work on your hair. The hair goes a long way towards placing emphasis on the face and completing your Princess of Darkness transformation. Whether you choose to go jet black like Dita or dark brunette like Evan, the key is to choose an intensely dark shade.

Dita and Evan both pay homage to the 1930’s with their incredibly glossy, wavy hair. But another option is to go for a sharp, modern bob cut like Kim Kardashian. In this case the hair plays the role of a frame, allowing the face and the striking makeup to be showcased:

Eva Green Daring Yet Stylish Looks

June 10th, 2010

French actress Eva Green made a name for herself early in her career by appearing in fairly controversial and sexually explicit films. She then hit it big as a Bond girl and the world took notice. Now this established screen siren gets attention for her acting skills and her willingness to experiment with her style.

Two of Eva’s signature looks are dark, smoky eyes and intensely bright red lips:

These are two strong looks that most of us don’t dare pair together. But ever the fashion risk-taker, Eva does on occasion pair the two together to stunningly beautiful results:

To duplicate her red lips, follow these pointers:

  • If you have warm (olive) undertones, go for a tomato red color
  • If you’re on the paler side (blue undertones) go for a raspberry red
  • If you’re dark skinned, then a deep, wine-colored red will suit you best
  • Once you’ve selected the right shade for your skin, get a matching lip liner which you’ll use to trace around your lips, preventing the lipstick from bleeding onto your skin

To duplicate Eva’s smoky eyes use a midnight black or dark grey eye shadow:

  • On the upper lash line draw two lines – the first line should be very close to the lash line and the second line should lie just on top of the first (use the first a guide)
  • Make sure to extend both lines past the outer corner of the eye so that it tapers at the end.
  • Smudge both lines so they blend together
  • Apply two to three coats of mascara to the upper lashes and you’re done.

With her bold makeup choices, it probably won’t come as a surprise to know that Eva is willing to push the limits with her clothing choices, at times looking very conservative and at other times looking like an exotic creature ready to hypnotize (or attack) us all with her fierce power.

One of Eva’s most talked about outfits is this open back, slinky red number. Her decision to wear a very big and messy, side updo with this dress, however, is what sets her apart. Rather than go with the predictable, her choice of a funky hairdo and strong makeup gives her a very untamed and sexy look. In addition, her hair has red undertones that match her dress, but not so much that the two clash.

On the flip side, she is also very capable of picking a muted dress like this one which envelopes her like a delicate flower. Notice that she tones down her lips and hair for this outfit, but not the eyes. She still gives off a mysterious vibe thanks to the dark, piercing eyes, which are a great contrast to this very sweet and ultra feminine dress.

With her penchant for the dark and mysterious look, it’s rare that she’s caught with a more natural look. However, when she does dare to go in that direction, she’s still as stunning, if not more: