You may have seen this photo before but it seems the ideal one to use to illustrate my trip to Edinburgh on Tuesday night for a sumptuous dinner hosted by Estee Lauder’s press team. The reason it’s the ideal pic is that I was wearing the same dress – and just about half the journalists at the table in the exquisite Number One restaurant at the Balmoral were sporting the nail varnish I’m wearing here - Estee Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in Teal Topaz (£14; www.esteelauder.co.uk).
The dinner was a 30th birthday celebration – not of a person, but of Lauder’s now-iconic serum, Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, now going by the name of Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex (£41 ) and reformulated to harness the latest research in genetic ageing while holding true to its original mission of reducing the appearance of past damage from environmental assaults and preventing future damage.
While the press girls had us under the spell of champagne and Michelin-starred food, they also gave us a preview of their summer make-up. Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess 2012 – The Capri Collection goes on sale at Jenners, in Edinburgh this month, before it hits counters everywhere else in May – and Edinburgh ladies who passed the beauty squad post-dinner will undoubtedly be forming an orderly queue… We all had a play with the products – and went into the night smelling divine, thanks to the Bronze Goddess Luminous Liquid Bronzer (£27) we were trying on our hands and forearms….
Eugh, I felt a wreck on Wednesday after a particularly disturbed sleep in a Holiday Inn
Express which had previously seemed very comfortable and quiet. I was awake every hour thanks to a combination of the racket coming from the room opposite, the noise of traffic on the stairs through the wall from me and my usual first-night restlessness when away from my own bed.
Anyway, the result was that despite having fused Kim Novak and Veronica Lake influences the night before, I looked more like Simone Signoret – at least in the heavy-lidded eye department – the morning after. Only one thing for it: Clarins Skin-Smoothing Eye Mask (£29.50; www.clarins.co.uk). This has turned out to be an absolute must-have for me lately as it seems to be the only way of waking up my eyes when the lids weigh heavy on them ..
I took the train to London on Thursday for a quick visit to interview the wonderful singer-songwriter – and fashion plate – Melody Gardot whose new CD, The Absence (Decca), comes out at the end of May. Since I last met her three years ago, Melody has visited more countries than I’ve probably managed in the last 15 years – and she has absorbed musical and style influences wherever she’s been.
When she opened the door of her hotel suite to me, she was a vision in a fringed Lanvin dress and Moroccan-style turban into which her still long (she assured me) locks were tucked. The turban and 1940s-style shades were very Gloria Swanson-in-Sunset Boulevard – and I told her so. Apparently, I was the second person in a day to compare the 27-year-old to the great Gloria (the other comparison had been a vocal one) – but she couldn’t visualise Swanson, so before I left, I had to help find a photo..
Anyway, Melody’s make-up – as ever – was exquisite (see the video below too); perfectly defined eyebrows sat above the retro specs, Hollywood red lips offset her newly nut-brown skin and her nails were painted a metallic sand shade which offset the camel colour of her turban and wrap. Having been on a train for five hours, I felt bedraggled by comparison but had at least made my own nod to glamour in the form of my Chanel’d nails (the April shade which has been my favourite for months now). I painted them on the train – a calculated risk, but worth taking since I had my handy Rituals Nail Varnish Corrector Pen (£6.90; from John Lewis and www.rituals.com) with me…
A girls’ night out for my friend Colette’s birthday and the occasion to wear a kaftan-style top I had exhumed from the depths of my wardrobe during a major spring clean gave me the perfect excuse to move on from April to, no not the May or June shades of Chanel nail polish – but one named Distraction.
Chanel Le Vernis in Distraction (£18) is part of Rose Ultimes de Chanel, a mini collection, coming out on May 11, of lip glosses and nail varnishes based around a pink theme. I have totally fallen for this gorgeous coral shade which is extremely pretty and very retro. And it went a treat with my top (shown below, in photo with my pal Lizzy) which has multi-coloured (including coral), Sergeant Pepper-style, frocking. With two coats, it’s perfect against pale skin like mine .. Goodbye April, hello Distraction!