Friday, August 15, 2014

KEEP SUMMER GLOWING: ETERNAL SUNSHINE MAKEUP


Just like the super moon, summer is starting to wane, and I’m beginning to feel a little wistful about everything al fresco. We all look our best in summer, the net result of eating farmer’s market fresh produce, being outdoors and feeling refreshed. But while we can’t stop the earth from turning, we can keep summer alive all year by keeping the glow going into fall. The key is to not go too orange---you don’t want to look like a contestant from Dancing with the Stars! I’ve spent years perfecting a timeless summer look with bronzers and luminous liquid makeup for my high profile clients and here are all my secrets. 


Sisley's Eye Concealer
Energized Eyes: The key to fight tired looking eyes is concealer in peachy yellow tones. My favorite one is Sisley’s Phyto-Cernes Éclat Eye Concealer in shades #1, #2 and #3. This magic potion is an eyelift in a tube, and is worth every penny. If you are more budget-conscious, try MAC Mineralize Concealer in #20 or #30, depending on your skin tone (don’t go too light. That’s how you get raccoon eyes.) For extra oomph, I speckle luminizing foundation into the inside corner of the eyes to brighten and separate the eyes and on top of the cheekbones, blended into the foundation. My key product is Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation #3, but if this is too tricky, you can use YSL’s iconic highlighter pen, Touche Éclat.


Go Deep: The steps for a summer glow is to hydrate the skin then go slightly darker with your skin tone. For good hydration, I have found that nothing feeds summer-parched skin better than argan oil. Layered under foundation, it emulsifies the makeup, allowing it to become sheer, like a veil. My must have foundation is Guerlain’s Lingerie de Peau, and its name says it all…it’s like a chemise for the skin. If you are still oil-aversive, try Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer in a tone slightly darker than your own which incorporates these two steps in one. Whatever route you choose, blend, blend, blend with your fingers, fanning out towards the ears and down the neck. The warmth of your hand will help the liquid melt into your skin flawlessly. It’s important that it looks sheer---like the light is coming through the complexion. 


Tom Ford's Bronzing Powder
A Touch of Sun: I love to use a mélange of colors that imitates how the sun hits you, reddish on your forehead, under cheekbones and down along the jawline and a little pinkish color applied on the apples and across the bridge of your nose. Best all around bronzer: Can we talk about Tom Ford’s Bronzing Powder in Gold Dust? Amazing! It’s in such high demand that Saks has issued a moratorium on the amount you can order in a month! This is a great one for lighter skin tones, or it can be used on all skin tones as an illuminator. For medium tones, try Tom Ford’s bronzer in Terra or I love Nars Bronzing Powder in Laguna. Darkest skin tones can use the Brunette mosaic from Guerlain’s Terracotta bronzing powder collection. To apply: use a kabuki shaped dome brush (I use Becca’s retractable one.) The flat surface loads just the right amount of powder, and you can sweep and blend this easily across your cheeks, jaw line, forehead and the bridge of your nose then towards your ears and neck. Then, I use Nars Super Orgasm cream blush on the apples of the cheeks to imitate the warm, pinky glow. 


Young Brooke Shields
Belle de Jour by Nars
Finishing Touches: To avoid Kardashian level makeup overload, keep the rest of your face chic and understated. For lips, I mix a pale pink with a pale coral lipstick to create a perfect fleshy, kissable tone; the perfect Belle de Jour (and if you are not a mixologist, Nars has a lipstick called Belle de Jour!) For lashes, Givenchy’s Phenomen’ Eyes Mascara has a ball tip that allows you to load the top lashes evenly, and stroke the under lashes clean. Then, brows, brows, brows baby. If these are full and well groomed, you don’t need much else. Don’t over pluck! If you’re plucked, you’re f….far too old looking. Think Brooke Shields in her Calvins with those amazing eagle wing brows. Never wax---this thins the skin around the eyes, making it crepy. Pluck or thread sparingly, then fill in brow shape with feathery strokes from a good brow pencil (Kevin Aucoin makes the best). If done well, you won’t even need eyeliner or eye shadow. 

Then, go out! Makeup is great for self-esteem but going outdoors is food for the soul! No matter what the weather, air and exercise feed the skin and spirit and your mind is always en soleil!

Monday, July 28, 2014

SCANNING FOR STYLE: STRIKE A POSE



Sometimes it’s good to look back in order to move forward, so I’m turning the disco ball back on for more style time traveling.  Cue the theme song from The Valley of the Dolls:   Gotta get off, got to get off this merry-go-round….
  

Jane Fonda: Barbarella & Klute

It’s the 1960’s, the beginning of the sexual revolution, and hair was going BIG and HIGH, like on sex kittens Sharon Tate and the inimitable Brigitte Bardot.  But just like in all revolutions, there’s counter revolution in the streets, which happened one day in a salon in London when Vidal Sassoon took a pair of shears to Twiggy’s long hair, and the structural cut was born.  

Jane Fonda transformed her space nymph Barbarella bouffant into the iconic Klute shag in 1971, the model of cut and structure.   Hair became flatter to the head, and we were blow drying at home, not going to the salon for sets anymore.  


Patty Hanson, Rosie Vela

The poster child of 70’s hair was, of course, Farrah Fawcett.  Her hair cut was such a phenomenon that it got its own zip code!  EVERYBODY wanted those loose, easy breezy waves.  It was the definitive, All American style.  Back when I began working at a salon in Montreal, everyone came in wanting Charlie’s Angels hair!   In the 80’s, hair became inflated again, just like our economy, getting as big and poufy as a LaCroix skirt or Nancy Reagan’s party budget.  Super models were not rolling out of bed for less than ten grand, and the Cosmo cover was the benchmark of beauty…think Way Bandy makeup and the super-sized hair of such perfect creatures as Rene Russo and Rosie Vela.   Hair was a cascade of curls, or an iteration of the shag, with lots and lots of layers that were “juzuged”…. blown under with lots of height at the top. 

Of course the 90’s was all about Jennifer Aniston’s “Rachel”, her face-framing layered cut for her TV character.  It was fun, down to earth and Friendly, which was what everybody needed to calm their 1999 jitters.   Then Madonna ushered in the new millennium with the age of the chameleon, the person who uses all the looks from the past and combines it with the power of new technology to transform themselves every day----hello Lady Gaga!  She is Madonna on steroids.    


When I think about how far we’ve come since 1920 with what we can do, from hair extensions to Brazilian straightening to at-home hair color, the sky is the limit, and that’s what we’ve been seeing.  Think of Beyonce, transforming herself for every performance and persona.  Of course, there’s always the hold-out, the person who changes and inspires by not changing at all, and today that would be the Duchess of Cambridge, the former Kate Middleton.  



So when someone asks me what their next hair style should be, I ask who do you want to be? Take a look at all the timeless beauties and transform yourself and your style.  “Beauty is where you find it!”

YOUR NEW STYLE: IT’S ABOUT TIME


My job as a hair stylist is to help women find the perfect hair for their lifestyle.  One of the ways I do this, almost without thinking, is to put everything in perspective from the standpoint of time.  Before I can determine where we are going with a style, I have to think about where we have been.   So for this, I’d like to switch on the disco ball time machine and quickly travel back through the hair revolution of the past 100 years.  If you want, dial up Vogue by Madonna on your iPod for a bit of inspiration:  Greta Garbo and Monroe, Deitrich and DiMaggio….


Louise Brooks
For centuries, women were consigned to having long, heavy tresses, but from 1920 onward, women have freed themselves from this burden, to the point where women now can do anything they want with their hair, as long as they are happy with it.   The first milestone was the bob in the 1920’s.  It was the flapper era, a time when the attitude was “the devil may care,” and Louise Brooks was its “It Girl.” Her iconic cut still is worn today by heavy-hitter influencers like American Vogue Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour, and not only because it is short, straight and edgy, but because it is also androgynous, empowering women to feel strong and take charge of their own lives.


Greta Garbo
Then came the Crash of 1929, leading into the Great Depression of the 1930’s.  This was when the old adage, “the harder the times, the softer the hair,” really came to fruition.   Women started to escape the difficulties in their own lives by taking sanctuary in the cinema, where screen sirens such as Greta Garbo and Jean Harlow prowled, growing out their bobs into soft, face-framing curls.   

Veronica Lake
Lauren Bacall
From the frying pan into the fire, we then went into the 1940’s and World War II.  Women didn’t have time or money to go to the salon, so their hair began to grow, but goddesses like Rita Hayworth in Gilda and Veronica Lake kept it soft and sultry with heartbreaker waves, a trend that enabled the transformations of Norma Jean into Marilyn and Betty Joan Perske into Lauren Bacall.  By the 50’s, women were back in business and back to the salon, cutting their hair again, but for a sexy, seductress effect.   Think Elizabeth Taylor in Butterfield 8 (Only Liz could play a prostitute and still look like a million!) and the brick house bombshells that were Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida.
  
Liz Taylor, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren

They came on so strong that no man could resist!   All of these women had so much influence on those who came after them, and still do today, so we will continue our journey, then come back to the future in my next blog. For now, fade out Madonna:  They had style, they had grace, Rita Hayworth gave good face.  Lauren, Katherine, Lana too, Bette Davis, we love you!

Katharine Hepburn, Rita Hayward, Bette Davis


Friday, July 25, 2014

Fashion Is Not Beauty: You Are Who You See



We all look around to find style inspiration.  One of my peeves is when I see a woman wearing makeup and nail polish that is in fashion, but that isn’t flattering to her skin type and tone.  It’s so important to remember that fashion is not beauty.  You take fashion on and off, but a great haircut and makeup style is your signature, and should always suit your lifestyle.  It’s fun to follow fashion, but what you see coming down the catwalk isn’t necessarily right for the sidewalk.  
Take Kim Kardashian for example.  She’s a gorgeous woman, but generally she’s gone too far for real life. She’s always in full throttle runway fashion and makeup, which would be okay if she was doing a cover shoot, but mostly she’s at home with her sisters.   There’s nothing about her that looks right for every day.  
You have to take your inspiration and translate it for real life, and for that, you have to think modern classic.  Some women who have nailed this would be Charlize Theron, one of my all-time favorites.  She’s always got her hair and makeup just right for the occasion, and it’s always age appropriate.  Another is Jennifer Lawrence, a young girl who isn’t afraid to try new things, such as with her new short haircut, but always looks pretty, and pretty goes a long way. 

You are who you watch: if you fill your mind with images from crass reality shows, it sinks into your DNA, and your style suffers for it.   You should fill your style diet with better inspirations, such Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn.  They don’t fit into the classic equation of beauty, but they created a style for themselves that was both beautiful and stylish.  Marilyn did it with illusion, by becoming what I call a fabulous fake, and her legacy still inspires us today.  Audrey Hepburn, on the other hand, became beautiful with instinct and grace.  She focused on her strengths, such as her amazing brows and bone structure, and always kept herself demure, with low heels and just the right fit of clothes.  She called it attainable beauty, but I say she invented the word style.  






That’s because she knew that beauty was balance and harmony; that what makes someone beautiful emanates from the inside as well.  Her beauty and style was informed by her life. She was a woman who survived World War II then devoted herself to giving back by becoming an ambassador for the U.N. to bring relief to drought-ridden Ethiopia. 

So before you gawk at the celebrities with purple hair and tattoos that look like a bar code from the supermarket, remember that what you take in gets mirrored out from your eyes to create your own persona.  You are who you see! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

The “I” Has to Travel: Style Inspiration from the South of France

This past week I was fortunate enough to attend the destination wedding of my godson (Felix) in a gorgeously restored 16th century chateau in the South of France.  While the journey there and back had its ups and downs, the actual event, and some side excursions, certainly was food for my soul.  Here’s three takeaways I brought back with me.



1:  It’s Great to Glam Up Every Now and Then:  Everything about the wedding was perfection: the impeccable chateau, the grounds and gardens.  There were about 100 guests, all in black tie and full length gowns.  The bride and groom were flawless---just look at the bride’s chic and understated hair and gown!  A red carpet stretched across the lawns to the ceremony and then reception was held in the garden, with champagne flowing all night.  I was honored to be seated next to one of my all-time heroes, the legendary hairstylist Jean Louis David!  We whiled away the night talking about all the iconic photographers and editors at Vogue.   There is so much to learn from this man’s life and philosophy, which I hope to share one day.





2:  Aspire, Inspire:  While I was seduced by all the trappings of wealth, I realized that much of what I saw, from the architecture and designs to the clothing and furniture, could all be acquired for less money with a little ingenuity.   From the chic restaurants and hotels in Saint Tropez and all along the Cote d’Azur, where Brigitte Bardot and Alain Delon used to hobnob, to the inspiration of the colors and vibrancy on the streets, you don’t have to spend a fortune to look like a billionaire.   I like to call it “trickle up effect.”  You use your impressions and inspirations to aspire higher, but without breaking the bank.  



3.  The Best Things in Life Are Free:  Traveling on to Nice was so inspiring.  It gives you a new perspective after spending time in such luxury to pass through the fields of lavender and visit grottos of wild rosemary, to see the tall cedars lining the vineyards.  The sights and the smells were so soothing to the soul and a reminder that we cannot take anything for granted.  I mean, Nice is nice, but you become very sensitive to the real community, the workers who serve all those who are passing through.  





After all, that’s what we all are doing as we travel to our destinations, just traveling on a road to a higher consciousness while serving our fellow travelers.  Just please let me walk the road in Louboutins! 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

THE SHAPE SHIFTERS: THE NEW GAMINE CUTS BRING SEXY BACK

We all dream of having a haircut that can change from moment to moment, that can be sleek and chic for day, then tousled and deconstructed for night, letting us shift from one vibe to another, depending on the occasion or mood.   That’s why my favorite new cuts are the new long gamines we are seeing on the red carpet. I like to call them shape shifters, because when they are cut correctly, they can affect your entire presence, and that is when a haircut is most empowering.  

The best example?  Jennifer Lawrence’s latest cut, which can go from sleek, chic, slicked-back hair to messy, tousled tomboy bangs the next.   It’s really a new iteration of the Jean Seberg and Audrey Hepburn pixie that is short and tapered to the nape but leaves the front long and sexy.  I think the gamine look gets its allure from the dichotomy between the masculine and feminine in the cut, drawing on the strengths of both sexes.  


Some other examples of great cuts would be Charlize Theron, Julianne Hough, and Robin Penn Wright, all attractive women who have broken out of the mold of standard sex symbolism.  Their looks are both powerful and seductive.  And because the new short cut is androgynous, it’s a style that men can wear as well, to get a more poetic look, with hair long in the front and tapered to the nape. 


I know it can be counter-intuitive to think that it’s sexier to have short hair in the back.  One of the biggest mistakes is when a woman tells me I can cut the front short, but  leave the length in the back.   I mean, hello mullet!    The front of the hair is where the real action is.  A good stylist will know just where to cut to accentuate the jawline, the cheekbones, the brows and the eyes.  And a longer length up front will give you lots of play room, to wear it with more volume, or sleek or higher up top, even peekabooing behind the ears just enough to give the illusion of length. 

But here’s the real secret:  shorter hair at the nape reveals some of the most potent yet discreet erogenous zones: the back of the neck, the ears and the collarbones.  The geisha have known this for centuries.  They considers the nape the most erotic area of the body.  Now that’s really bringing sexy back.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

THE MET BALL’S EYE HAS TO TRAVEL



Charles James dress
Charles James dress
I’ve been looking at all the red carpet images of the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute Ball this week, taking in all the amazing dresses, hair and makeup.  It was brilliant of the Metropolitan to pay homage to Charles James, America’s first couturier.  Yet, the dresses that the celebrities wore in homage to Mr. James, while beautiful, paled in comparison to his genius at construction, something we may never see again.  And it’s the same with the incomparable Diana Vreeland. I think the next Met Ball theme should pay homage to her, America’s first true fashion editor, and the woman who single-handedly revolutionized fashion, art and the Met Ball itself.  There will never be anyone like her. 

Everything she did was groundbreaking.   She recognized that it was the woman who made the clothes.  “A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere.  It’s the life you live in the dress.” She put Cher and Barbra Streisand on the cover of Vogue because they were unusual.  “The strong face comes not only from bone structure but from inner thinking,” she said.  She discovered Lauren Bacall and Veruschka.  She shot a model in the first bikini.  When her editors were afraid to print the photographs she told them “An attitude like that will hold fashion back for a thousand years”.  It’s still remarkable how ahead of the curve she was…I think we still haven’t caught up with her ideas.

Her genius, I believe, rested in the fact that she worked purely by instinct, not by education or research. For example, I love the story about the creation of the Marie Antoinette mannequin for her French Renaissance exhibit in the amazing film, The Eye Has To Travel.   At first, the artist making the installation made the wig huge, but to scale.  Vreeland wasn’t happy.  She said it was “very expected.”  He went back, and made the wig rise up to the ceiling.  “Mmmmmm!” she said happily.  “Now she is ready for the guillotine!”  She insisted that the reactions to her images or exhibits be visceral.  She wanted them to be wondered over like a child.    “You're not supposed to give the people what they want,” she once said.  “Give them what they don't know they want yet.”
 
That came from really having a mission.  Her vision came from a pure place.   She saw authenticity and beauty came from the core, not the surface, an idea that has resonated with me my whole life. And she took risks.  No one takes risks in fashion or media today like she did, and she proved that you have to push the envelope to move forward and grow.   You can’t be so afraid of failure that you don’t aim high.

So I think the next Metropolitan Museum Costume Institute exhibit should pay homage to woman who created it, to fully express the nuances of her life and the scope of her influence in fashion and culture.  It would be a guidebook on how to live a joyful, fulfilled life by taking chances.   “You have to create the life you want to live,” she once said to Truman Capote, and I couldn’t agree more.   Why shoot for the moon when you can have the stars?