Monday, June 4, 2018

Amber Valletta's Love Letter To Miniskirts - British Vogue

With hemlines on the up and up, Amber Valletta explains how she found the confidence to go short.

"Kate Moss has skinny jeans and Meghan Markle rules in a belted coat. Every woman needs to find the one signature piece that defines her. Mine is the miniskirt – but it wasn’t always that way.

When I started modelling, the super with the best legs of all was Naomi. Linda Evangelista and Shalom Harlow had killer legs, too. As for me? For a long time, I didn’t really like my legs and rarely showed them off, but in the last 15 years my attitude has changed completely. Now, at 44, I wear more short skirts than I did at 24.

I’ve put a lot of time and energy into working out – hiking, spinning, lifting weights, cardio, yoga and dancing. I wasn’t doing this to intentionally improve my legs, but as a by-product they look so much better. I have definition now and I didn’t before. My aunt saw me in shorts one day and told me that she regretted not wearing more short skirts. “You should show your legs while you have them. Use it!” she said. I thought, I’ve done all this work, I might as well enjoy it.
High Rise: Who Is Wearing Miniskirts Now?

I tend to go short at night. I like the simple physical freedom of having my legs out. It feels sexy without trying to be. I love the way Saint Laurent does the mini. The clothes are so empowering, yet feminine and chic. They just feel like me. When you put something on, no matter how short, you want to feel comfortable and confident. Someone told me recently about a school of thought that says women over a certain age shouldn’t wear miniskirts. I haven’t ever heard that and, clearly, I am not listening."

From British Vogue, April 2018

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Great 'Everyday Face' tutorial from Georgia Fowler

I'm not one to look at makeup vids (waaay too many to keep up with and I'm too time poor!) but a make-up artist friend showed me THIS, and it's a goodie. I love Kiwi model Georgia Fowler and this vid is a really easy guide to a fresh, 'every day' face, shot for Harpers Bazaar. Basically, it is moisturise, conceal, bit of highlighter, lip balm on lips and lids. And you're good to go! Love the simplicity.
I'm fairly limited by budget for my products so can't use the likes of La Mer, as Georgia does, but the foundation of good skin definitely begins with a good moisturizer. She also recommends French cult brand Embryolisse, which is a lot more affordable. I think a great highlighter like YSL's Touche Éclat that she uses is a worthwhile investment, but I use 2 cheaper concealers - Revlon's Radiant Youth FX Fill & Blur Concealer (if you have those annoying fine lines) and Nude by Nature's velvety smooth Flawless Concealer which is cruelty free and made from natural ingredients - bonus. Georgia uses Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Palette for a blush/contour and highlighting. I use a cheaper option, Nude by Nature's Highlight Palette - the champagne on brow, cheek bones and Cupid's Bow (as Georgia recommends), bronze as a contour and the rose-gold as blush. Or if I'm in a rush I just whack on a bit of the Nude by Nature Touch of Glow in Champagne, the highlight stick version. Then you just need some nice natural lips.
Nude by Nature Flawless Concealer and Touch of Glow stick
Georgia mixes up her picks with some drugstore buys however, such as Maybelline Great Lash. I'm not a fan of Great Lash as it seems quite thin in consistency and I can't seem to get a decent layer of thickness. I am a Maybelline mascara fan though - love the Colossal Lash range and The Falsies. I haven't seen Anastasia Beverley Hills's pomade brows here in NZ - try Revlon's Colourstay Brow Crayon. So easy it goes on as a wax and turns to powder. Georgia uses Nuxe Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm or Jillian Dempsey Lid Tint in Dew/Rosee. I can't go past Benefit's Benetint lip tint and I love the new Revlon Kiss Balms, in coconut or cherry. And of course as Georgia uses, Pawpaw ointment/balm is a cheaper alternative to Nuxe and great for everything - lips, dry spots, lid gloss. It's a great product!
"My beauty routine is pretty simple. I have a new serum which I really like; it penetrates a little deeper into your skin. Embryolissse Moisturizer goes under makeup really well, and you can apply it really thick, like more of a mask, or just use a thin layer. A lot of makeup artists use it, too, which makes me think it's pretty good! The minute you put on dry foundation it makes you look a lot older and dull; I like being dewy and young. I love the Nuxe lip balm, another French brand. Pawpaw for if there's anything particularly dry. I love also using it as a makeup tool. I'll put some at the top of my cheekbones or on my eyelids for a bit of glow, and if your hands or your elbows or anything are dry, too, it's like an all in one. So generally I'll just put some concealer under my eyes, around my nose and then on any spot that I might have. I'll use a bronzer as a slight contour and also put it on my eyelids as a light shadow. Then just Boy Brow: I always try to brush my eyebrows up and fill them out a little bit. Then mascara and maybe a little bit of highlighter on your cupids bow. People forget about that spot, but it can really pop your lips out." A Day in the Life, Harper's Bazaar

Sunday, March 18, 2018

What would Kate Moss do?

Kate dancing to Bowie in her bedroom, by Nikolai von Bismarck

Advice on love, life and fashion from the iconic model, from British Vogue, December 2017.

How do you get ready in five minutes? 

Brush my teeth, brush my hair, curl my eyelashes, put a lip on and a spritz of scent. 

Block heels or spikes? 

If there was a gun to my head, spikes. 

What do you do if someone's late? 

It's unusual for someone to be later than me... except Naomi. 

What book should I read over the holidays? 

Full Service by Scotty Bowers. 

Do you share your wardrobe with your daughter? 

I'm saving a lot of my clothes for her. She said she would actually cry if she doesn't fit my shoes. 

How do you avoid the bores at a party? 
I don't gravitate to bores, and they don't gravitate to me. 

What should I wear with my LBD this season? 

Bondage boots. 

What's the best way to get the dancing started?

 Never Too Much" by Luther Vandross. 

How should I keep my cool when meeting a celebrity? 

Never ask for a selfie. 

What's a brilliant hangover cure? 

Oysters and a glass of chilled sauvignon blanc. 

How do you make the perfect cheese on toast? 

White toast, cheese thinly sliced on top, salt, pepper and a dash of Worcester sauce or Tabasco. 

How do I stay friends with my ex? 

You don't always want to stay friends with an ex. 

How do I let them down gently? 

Change the locks and block their number. 

Is it OK to sleep with someone on the first date? 

I believe in love at first sight. 

What would you do if you had E1 million and one day to spend it? 

Half to charity, then hit Bond Street with friends.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Poppy Delevingne's Love Letter to Britain


Love Letter to Britain, 

by Poppy Delevingne for British Vogue

Love this. It so sums up the London I remember... 

 wake to a misty morning, faint fog rolling over the hills of West Sussex, my bones filled with cold and sleep.I can hear the crackle of bacon, the bubbling of eggs on the stove, and I'm up. I check the weather on my iPhone, because that's what we Brits do, it's a national obsession of ours, and an ideal conversation starter over a PG Tips with full-fat milk. I'm heading down to London today, but not before I reel out a quick thank-you letter to Aunt Di for having us for Sunday roast last weekend. Yorkshire puddings the size of my head and drowned in gravy surely warrant some words on paper. But not just any paper. Personalised stationery with my name in bold British racing green at the top. The train is late. Once I'm on board, I sit on my frozen fingers to warm them and lean my head against the damp, dirty window. I zoom past a blur of burnt-orange and sunflower- yellow leaves, neglected playgrounds, moss-ridden fences. I listen to Oasis the Verve and Pink Floyd as I go. Once I arrive at Waterloo, the first thing I notice is the sounds, the whistles, the smell of wet pavements. I jump into a cab; within seconds, the driver and I are discussing the rain, traffic, politics and how much we love sausage rolls soaked in ketchup. A young girl crossing the road is wearing glitter on her eyes and a Molly Goddard dress: I want to jump out and put her in my pocket. We pull up to the house and, as I climb I apologise for absolutely no reason other than because I am British, and that is what My house is cosy, Four Weddings and a Funeral is on in the background as I peel off the day and slip into bed. The Queen is on the news, so I wish her good night, ready to dream of pints and crumpets and the city that I call home...

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Waking up in Vegas

"Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes, now

That's what you get for waking up in Vegas"(Katy Perry)
It's been a while between posts but I'm obsessed with this shoot by the brilliant Dan Ahwa for Viva Magazine. Viva is a supplement that comes out every Wednesday here in Auckland with the paper and has the best fashion editorials!
Photographer: Rebecca Zephyr Thomas. Fashion editor: Dan Ahwa. Model: Maia Cotton from 62 Models. Elvis: Brendon Chase. Hair and makeup: Shirley Simpson using M.A.C Cosmetics. Photographer’s assistant: Sarah Downs. Fashion assistant: Olivia Renouf.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Lonely Lingerie

Sarra, Melbourne wears the Billie set
Just before Christmas and finding myself with a rare child-free day, I finally ventured to the new Lonely lingerie store in Newmarket, Auckland. I've been a fan of Lonely for years and as an avid fan of beautiful underwear, I've been thrilled to follow the success of this local label as they have developed their Lonely Hearts range from clothing staples to include swimwear and lingerie. The Lonely store front is quite innocuous - no display, no mannequins, just a wall - sleek and simple, save for a Christmas decoration in the window - a single pine branch with a red bow.
Upon opening the door, I'm faced with a musk pink passage. It feels very private and exclusive. I walk to the end and turn a corner into a beautiful little cloistered room, again in a beautiful pale musk pink with warm gold fittings. It feels like you've gone through C.S Lewis's magic wardrobe to be transported from the bustling street to your own private girly salon. Something that makes me feel uncomfortable is public lingerie departments, where other shoppers (or loitering partners) sometimes watch what you are choosing - so the fact that this beautiful little store is "hidden" away from prying eyes is a relief and a breath of fresh air. It's almost womb-like when you reach the end of the hallway and come to this small rounded space, with matching round chairs in deep blue velvet, a circular gold desk and round shelving. I also noticed the cool quirky choice of music - 'Mammas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys', the Willie Nelson version I think (makes a change from Norah Jones or Buble) - and delicious Maison Louis Marie enveloping the air and beautifully displayed on a huge round gold shelf.
My images
Of the layout, the designer responsible (Rufus Knight) explains. "Privacy, intimacy, softness, beauty, curiosity, simplicity … these were all words we used to describe not only the feelings that we wanted to evoke, but also the material and colour palette. Our brief was all about providing a beautiful customer experience - a journey that was thoughtfully designed to ensure the customer really felt special and cared for our way.” They've nailed it.
There's no counter, just a round desk where staff use an iPad and wireless Eftpos machine to process your orders which are then carefully swathed in white tissue and put into an elegantly subtle white paper bag. As founder Steve says “We’ve always been ones to go against the status quo.” I took my talented artist and design teacher friend Nikki Dee to the store. "The fit-out and colour scheme of the interior is a nod to the new Feminine Brutalist style that has been coming through strongly from Europe. The rugged raw concrete of traditional Brutalism has been softened by dusky rose walls and gold metallic trims. The heavy blue velvet ottomans bring in a luxurious touch drama. It's a stunning backdrop for the delicate fabrics and laces of the Lonely collection". 
Founded with Wellingtonian Helene Morris, Aucklander Steve Ferguson met Helene in Aspen where he was competing as a pro snowboarder and working as a designer for New Zealand brand Huffer. Helene's background is in graphic design. Her friend was photographing Steve.
In 2003 Helene and Steve started their fashion label Lonely Hearts Club together in Wellington, producing bags and printed tees. They moved to Auckland 3 years later and rapidly developed a cult following here and in Oz.
In 2010, Lonely Lingerie was launched. “For women who wear lingerie as a love letter to themselves” says Helene Morris. They felt that underwear imagery was all photoshopped and showing unrealistic bodies, or sleazy and un-relatable to most women, who still want to feel sexy no matter what their age or size. Following their rebellious ethos, they launched Lonely, gorgeous delicate beautiful underwear to fit all shapes and sizes.  Their aesthetic is simple, yet sexy. "No padding, no push-ups, no G-strings." Their pattern-maker Ella Sarjant had worked on Stella McCartney at Bendon (the brilliant New Zealand lingerie label). Ella approached them during their second year, bringing her considerable talent to the range. The quality is evident in each piece which is delicate and pretty, yet feels well-made and long lasting. The bra I bought has velvet straps and exquisite lace. I feel like a rock star and a supermodel when I wear it - even if I'm in my sweats, ugg boots, food smeared hoodie and have two kids hanging off me. That is the joy of beautiful underwear.
Black Lulu soft cup bra and Winona underwire bra in Amethyst
Long-time collaborator New York based ex-pat, super stylist/photographer Zara Mirkin shot 2016 campaign. The range during a road trip through California with no glam squad in tow, and the intimate vibe of the shoot is reflected in the photos. 
"We want to empower women, make them realise that they don’t have to be a certain way to feel beautiful. Lonely Girls come in all shapes, sizes, ethnicities, ages and backgrounds, and they are all magnificent." Helen Morris, Viva
The Lonely Girls Project was launched soon after the label, which Zara Mirkin began. It showcases photographs of real women in candid shots in natural environments such as at home or the beach wearing Lonely lingerie, embracing "real" bodies of all sizes, ages and ethnicities. "It's really hard to remember the exact conversation that started it" says Zara, "But I want to say it was almost five years ago, and it was something that Helene (co-owner of Lonely), Keya (a long term Lonely staff member) and myself came up with. I guess we saw it as a really refreshing way to make content for their lingerie - that wasn't stereotypical advertising, and could include every kind of women no matter what age, body shape, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender fluid you are." 
“We’re trying to show women as they are and not trying to change them. We want to celebrate our flaws and see the beauty in our differences. It’s so important and empowering for women to celebrate their shape.” says Helene"Each of the women who participate in this project is empowered because they are not objectified; they are part of a conversation that disrupts paradigms around the way lingerie is typically presented. Giving a glimpse into their worlds, we hope, amplifies this conversation and makes us all feel a little more liberated and comfortable in our own underwear...It was a reaction to traditional lingerie imagery. We want to empower women, make them realise that they don't have to be a certain way to feel beautiful." Helene Morris.
When Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke appeared in the project in August, the Lonely website crashed.
Lena wears Penny Mist and Winona Oxblood. 
Jemima wears Bonnie Powder Blue and Gigi Underwire. 
 "Love my @lonelylingerie and I think I will wear it to dinner with some boots and a smile because we are all very lucky to be free" Lena Dunham Instagram
Lena Dunham in Lonely Alma Swimsuit, Nylon Magazine February 2017
Jemima Kirke in Lulu bra for StyleULike's What's Underneath project, January 2017
(for Calvin Harris video for 'How Deep Is Your Love')
Lonely's flagship stores are in Wellington and Ponsonby Auckland, with a third retail store now in Newmarket in Auckland.


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