Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Makeup: Lanvin hearts H&M



Today was unlike any other Tuesday in central London. A queue of 400 waited poised outside H&M on Regent St, each eagerly anticipating the launch of one of the most exciting collaborations in recent years. That’s right, ladies: we’re talking about the day that a bow-tied, bespectacled man with a flair for the romantic opened his world up to the masses. I can’t count the number of people I saw laden with bags as I walked to work, and after seeing the dresses in the window, I found myself wandering to the store at lunchtime, wondering whether I’d find anything more than shell-shocked sales assistants with the odd stiletto print on their chests after the earlier stampede...

So at lunchtime, I joined the queue in store and waited for the rope to be released for our allotted ten minutes of pawing the collection, looking in at the dresses and finding myself utterly underwhelmed at the spectacle of 50+ men and women clamouring to grab whatever they could. I’m not knocking the pieces, but seeing what looks like half of London fighting to get their hands on one of 20ish items in the collection makes me wonder how long it would be before I ran into one (or more likely, 100) women wearing exactly the same thing as me. There’s something about the whole experience that made it feel less desirable, less special, and that’s what stopped me buying any clothes today: it was less shopping, more ‘grab it before it goes’. I’m sure lots of people who bought today absolutely love their purchases, but it struck me that the apparent desire to get something which seems exclusive because of its designer provenance, but is anything but as soon as it appears on the rails of one of the biggest high street chains in the world, has overtaken the minds of many a sane fashionista. I guess herein lies one of those fashion mysteries that we’ll never solve: people who love fashion so often want to be known for their style, which you’d think would mean carving out their own niche, but invariably what’s desirable becomes ubiquitous, and soon we’re all dressed the same and wondering how it happened. I write this while looking at the Breton top on my ironing pile, so I am certainly not ruling myself out of that number!

Regular readers will know I’m not a big designer spender, so I’m certainly not opposed to the concept of high street and designer collaborations, but I love putting outfits together that reflect my personal style, and I’m not quite sure how I’d do that with a fashion piece so striking, so distinctive, that it’s instantly recognisable. Maybe I don’t have the vision, or maybe I just don’t have enough accessories. Anyway, that’s just my thoughts on the whole thing: I’m not judging those who bought one of the dresses, but it was my first experience of a collaboration launch day, and it got me thinking about fashion and style, and how you work a hot pink, off the shoulder ruffle dress in your own way when there are 10 other people in the room wearing the same thing! If any of you have bought from the collection, I’d love to know what you got and your take on the whole concept.

All that said, I’d be a very bad beauty blogger if I went in there, saw there were lipsticks in the collection and left empty handed, so after discovering that the only shade left was red (other shades were plum and a rose pink), I grabbed the adorable package and made my way to the till. The box is super cute, but the lipstick case is not quite as chic as I’d expected. Red, boxy and with a little ‘Lanvin hearts H&M’ logo, it’s getting a ‘could do better’ rating from me. The lipstick itself, however, is super pigmented and a gorgeous Russian red, so definitely a lovely, chic winter shade and great quality for the price (£7.99). For those of you who’d like a little piece of the collection but don’t have a spare £100, or like me, don’t want to look like everyone else, I’d say bag a lipstick and sleep soundly, safe in the knowledge that you’ve reduced your odds of turning up at the Christmas party wearing the same dress as every other woman in the room
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Friday, 19 November 2010

Confessions of a beauty addict...

I'm over on the brilliant Modesty Brown today confessing all my deepest, darkest beauty sins. If you're not familiar with Jane's blog, get over there now as it's a fabulous read, and the Friday Confessional is always a good chuckle!

If you're curious to know my biggest beauty disaster, and why my boyfriend always gets scared when the rain clouds gather at the weekend, hop over there to find out!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Beauty: The Beauty Hall's Big Foundation Survey!


Ladies, it's time for a rant. It's not often that I feel like having a good moan, but tonight is one of those nights, and it's one thing in particular that's getting on my nerves: foundation shades, and notably, how hard it is to find one that matches my skintone.

So, let me give you the back story. Firstly, my skin is pale. It's the kind of pale that often renders me a glowing white shape under flash photography; the kind of tone that would make Snow White look like she'd spent a healthy summer on a yacht in St Tropez. Yep, that pale! Over the past two months, I've been stealthily swatching and sampling various brands, both high and low end, and the results are dire.

Looking at the vast majority of 'designer' brands, even the lightest shades are too warm for my skin tone, with NARS and Illamasqua supplying the only shades that vaguely match. And popping into my local branch of Boots to grab at bottle for under £10? Forget about it. I knew I wouldn't be the only one, so I spoke to friends to find out about their experiences. The results confirmed my suspicions, and each of the girls I asked had a similar story to tell: pale girls, Asian girls, black girls whose various skin tones never seemed to be the ones replicated in those pretty beauty counter bottles. They came to the unanimous conclusion that chemist/drugstore brands just didn't carry anything suitable, and many - including me - couldn't even find a close match with brands that sell foundations for upwards of £25. I know we can't all expect to find a perfect match with every company, but how can it be that, in this day and age, many of us don't see our beauty represented on the counters across the world?

We shared stories about how the palest amongst us have been matched with warm beige shades, told by the MUA that 'this will warm your skin tone', when the rest of our bodies are lily white and we didn't ask for our skin tone to be changed. Darker skinned friends had been offered shades that were too light, or had the wrong undertone, which left them feeling annoyed that they hadn't been listened to, and frustrated that so many brands were still getting it wrong.

I've very recently had a great experience with NARS, buying their two palest shades after the MUA showed me the quantities to mix to preserve my naturally pink undertone, whilst keeping the shade as light as possible. Much better than the Chanel MUA who said, 'you should conceal the pink tone to your skin so you have a neutral base to work with.' Judging by her orange face, she wasn't really an advocate of natural beauty, but it's not the greatest strategy for making your potential customers feel good.

So, I've created a little survey as I want to know what your experience is. It would be fantastic if you would take five minutes to complete the survey by clicking through to the link at the end of the page. Please invite as many people as you can to complete this, as I think it's so important that the beauty world understands the needs of so many of its customers. We want to spend our money, but you've got to supply us with the right products!

To complete the survey, click on the following link http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/GG7VM56

Image courtesy of sheknows.com

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Long time, no post!




Hi everyone!

Firstly, I am SO sorry for not having posted lately. I started my new job three weeks ago and it's going brilliantly, but keeping me very, very busy. I've found myself leaving the office at 6.30pm, arriving home an hour later armed with a Thai takeaway and then been fast asleep by 10pm! Oh the glamour! Anyway, I've started to feel a bit more human this weekend, so I'm just hoping you haven't all forgotten about me.

So, over the next few weeks, we've got Christmas gifts, skincare, shopping and plenty of gorgeous things to lust over. Normal service has resumed!

Also, I'm having a bit of a sale and have got a few bits on ebay, including the dresses above and some Lancome and Giorgio Armani foundations (about half used). Click through here if you fancy a bargain!

x

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