If ever there was a poster girl for stylish sunglasses it was Grace Kelly, whose fondness for slightly masculine tortoiseshell shades – which complemented her blonde hair and fair skin, and looked as if they had been borrowed from co-star Cary Grant – became a hallmark of her classic style in the 1950s. She wore variations on those throughout that decade, when she wasn’t sporting her normal prescription glasses, which she was often photographed wearing at events.What’s interesting about trawling the net for photos of Grace in her sunglasses is that she invariably teamed them with hats or turbans – not an easy thing to pull off with any degree of comfort as anyone who has tried to keep a straight sun hat while putting on sunglasses knows.
We may all love that classic Kelly sunglasses look, but she moved with the times and reflected changes in frame fashions, going on to experiment with variations on the cat’s eyes style which had been popular when she was honing her signature look.
I’m not sure if the next pair are sunglasses or not (or if they are the same ones as shown above!) but they are certainly worth including as they show yet again how beautifully Grace carried off her shades and hat combo.
During the 1970s, she was occasionally photographed wearing fashionably oversized frames but these weren’t always successful; in fact, some of them are, surprisingly, real howlers. Still, if you’re the queen of sunglasses, there’s only one way to go – down! Here she is, pre-princess, in her still-inspiring signature style.
If you fancy treating yourself to an instant summery update to your look, check out Rimmel’s “Kate Bright” SS15 collection of gorgeous shades of Salon Pro Nail Polish (£4.49 each) and Lasting Finish Lipstick (£5.49 each) designed by Kate Moss.
I love these bright lips and tropical nail colours – particularly the Lasting Finish Lipsticks in the vibrant coral of #37 (second down) and the pinky nude of #38 (the bottom one) along with the Salon Pro in Red Ginger (pictured top), a sultry tropical pink colour I’ve been using on my finger nails.
Pictured from top to bottom: Salon Pro in Hip Hop & Lasting Finish Lipstick #34; Salon Pro in Soul Session & Lasting Finish Lipstick #37; Salon Pro in Green Dragon & Lasting Finish Lipstick #35; Salon Pro in Angel Wing & Lasting Finish Lipstick #36 and Salon Pro in Red Ginger & Lasting Finish Lipstick #38.
Well, sadly, I don’t have much in common with Grace Kelly – pictured here in the wonderful 1955 Alfred Hitchcock movie To Catch a Thief – but one thing I have in common with the character she’s playing here is a belief that sun protection is essential. I may never have holidayed on the Riviera, but I have suffered dreadful sun burn – two years ago on the beach in St Andrews, here in Scotland. And that was with a factor 5o cream on! The thought of how chargrilled my shoulders would have been without it makes me shudder.
This year, I’m taking no chances and covering all bases in terms of my range of sun protection options. And, as usual, Clarins has everything I need to protect my skin and my children’s too. I’ve been trying to train my boys to use sun protection without having to be told, but previous creams and lotions have been off-putting for them because they have been thick and unwieldy (invariably the case with UVA/B50, which is my preferred level of sun protection for my fairer-skinned son and myself) so this summer we will be trying Clarins Sun Care Milk for Children UVA/B 50+ (£19.50) or Sun Care Milk-Lotion UVA/B 50 (£19.50), and also as back-up and for topping up purposes Sun Control Stick for Sun-Sensitive Areas UVA/B 30 (£17.50).
For my own exclusive use, I’ll be packing Clarins’ fab new UV Plus Day Screen Multi-Protection UVA/B 50 which is perfect for wearing under foundation. Well, if I’m trying to channel Grace Kelly, I can’t be expected to do it without full make-up!
Tis the season of festivals and late nights and travel, so the timing of three great new skincare products for men coulnd’t be more timely.. No7 got in there first with the launch of a men’s serum that allows the male of the species to get in on the Protect & Perfect action. No7 Men Protect & Prefect Intense Advanced Serum (£24.95; www.boots.com) targets deep lines and and wrinkles and is said to reveal younger-looking skin in just two weeks. I’ve sent one on the road with my personal tester so I don’t expect to recognise him when he returns!
Meanwhile, Elemis has also two new additions to its men’s range. The Anti-Fatigue Day Cream (£36; www.elemis.com) energises and moisturises, perking up the most tired-looking complexion – though my tester wasn’t too taken with the scent – while the Anti-Fatigue Eye Gel (£25) does a great job of waking up sleepy eyes with its refreshing, cooling and soothing formula. In fact, next time I see my tester, I may be swiping it from his toilet bag…
The Seven Year Itch (1955), which is playing at the BFI this week as part of its month-long Marilyn Monroe retrospective, is not one of my favourite Marilyn films but it is a very summery movie – and it features some of my favourite MM summer outfits, in particular the dotty, backless, halter neck dress (above) worn by “The Girl” when she makes her rather chaotic entrance in the brownstone where literary agent Richard Sherman (Tom Ewell) is living alone, having waved his wife and kids off on their vacation, during a sweltering Manhattan summer.As with six of her previous films – notably Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and How to Marry a Millionaire – Marilyn was dressed by costume designer (William) Travilla for The Seven Year Itch, which was set during a blistering heatwave. Trying to stay cool and slipping in and out of comfortable/uncomfortable clothing and is a recurring theme in the film and the pastel pink shirt and capri pants ensemble below (which always reminds me of one of Audrey Hepburn’s outfits in the fashion shoot sequence of Funny Face) was what The Girl changed into from her tight sundress. Of course, the most iconic dress of Marilyn’s film career is the “subway” dress, the white halter neck with pleated full skirt which The Girl wears for a wander round New York after dark. Pausing over a subway grill, she is blasted with a gust of air which makes her skirt billow and provides some welcome relief from the oppressive heat – as well as a prolonged flash of the Monroe thighs (and big pants!) for passers-by to ogle.
What you can’t see in the many stills that feature the Subway Dress is the fact that there is more to Travilla’s most famous frock than the bust-emphasising, drapy halter neck and the light, floaty pleated full skirt. There is a beautiful mid section which highlights the fact that this is a Grecian-style dress, with a distinctly 1950s twist. This photograph from a wardrobe test shows off the full effect. And although The Girl doesn’t go to any formal events in The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe’s wardrobe for the film did include a striking evening gown which is almost as memorable as such previous Travilla designs as the hot pink Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend number in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. The “Tiger” dress appears in a fantasy sequence, when she visits Richard’s apartment and falls under his spell when he plays Rachmaninov’s 2nd Piano Concerto for her.* The Seven Year Itch is showing at the BFI on Friday June 19 and Sunday 21. For more on the BFI’s Marilyn season, which runs till the end of June, click here
One of the best comedy moments in The Seven Year Itch, one of the Marilyn Monroe films playing in this month’s BFI retrospective, is when our wide-eyed heroine, known simply as “The Girl” reveals her embarrassment at having had to have a plumber come round while she was stuck in the bath. “There I was with a perfectly strange plumber,” she says, “and no polish on my toe nails!”
We’ve all been there .. Not naked with a plumber in the vicinity – but affronted by the sight of the naked toe nail. Personally, I can’t stand the sight of mine. And maybe Marilyn couldn’t bear to see hers sans varnish either, since the publicity photo for the film (above) features some well-dressed toes. It looks as if MM shared my preference for coral-coloured toe nails for summer, and if she was still around she would have plenty to choose from, from the pale Coral Crush shade of Gel-Look Shine Nail Colour by No7 (£7) to my long-time favourite, Revlon’s aptly named One Perfect Coral (£6.49), which is a vibrant, mood-enhancing shade of the classic colour.
This summer, however, anything goes for the toes – and the shades from Chanel’s Méditerranée collection (pictured below) encapsulate the range of options, since the quartet of new Le Vernis colours includes a must-have sea blue and a deep purple.
Variations on sea colours would probably be my choice too, if my toes were tanned. I’d plump for No7 Gel-Look Shine Nail Colour in the pale turquoise of Mint Treat or the gorgeously rich Persian Blue (£7), a bold blue which, like Chanel’s Lavanda shade (shown below) could look stunning on those of us who are pale – but maybe better for fingernails as on toe nails, it might look as if we have circulation problems! The last time my toe nails were bare for more than the amount of time it takes to repaint them was when having my babies by Caesarian – and I was told that nail polish was banned in surgery.. As Marilyn’s Seven Year Itch character might have said: “There I was, with a perfectly strange doctor – and no polish on my toe nails!”
Sometimes, to paraphrase The Dude, there’s a product – and it’s a product for its time and place. And last week, I was shown one such product. It’s Aveda Thickening Tonic Styling Spray (£19) and it is a must-try for anyone with fine flat hair. I had actually encountered this spray before – when I had my hair done last month – but last week, Bea Watson, an Aveda Global Educator and possessor of the best, and shiniest red bob since Geraldine McEwan played Lucia in the original TV adaptation of my favourite, Mapp & Lucia, novels, showed me how to use it – and what it could do for me.
This is not about creating volume (which one tends to do at the root); it’s about beefing up every single strand of hair for a fuller, thicker effect. A 97% naturally-derived, and lovely-smelling, formula, Thickening Tonic Styling Spray harnesses the power of various botanicals, notably Amla – an Ayurvedic herb used in India for centuries to keep hair healthy.
The key with this product is to use it properly, counsels Bea Watson. “Always shake it well before you use it,” she says. “Then apply it in sections from roots to ends before combing through. Applying in sections as you blow-dry – rather than to the whole head at the start – helps to avoid the product air-drying into the hair, which can lead to unwanted frizz and fluffiness.
“Always create the parting that you want before you start to blow-dry. Place your product around it to help the hair fall the way you want it to. Start blow-drying at the section where you want it to appear fullest – usually at the root/crown area – and start by lifting the hair up and directing the air-flow into the root and upwards along the hair shaft, using a nozzle. Opt for a high heat and low speed to control the air-flow and help avoid heat damage.”
And you don’t need to be wearing your hair down to benefit from Thickening Tonic’s magic effects, adds Bea. “It has a fantastic gritty texture that helps to stop the hair from slipping so it’s not only ideal for creating fuller, thicker-looking blow-dries – it’s also great for up-do’s such as the on-trend top knot, or a low ponytail with lift at the crown.”