My week got off to a glamorous start, with a trip to the cinema to ogle Burt Lancaster, Montgomery Clift, Frank Sinatra and the beautiful Deborah Kerr (left, and sadly no relation) in the 1953 melodrama From Here to Eternity.
Despite being a fellow Scot – she was born just outside Glasgow – Deborah Kerr has never been one of my favourite actresses, probably because she often played prudish characters. Let’s face it, the collection of governesses’ dresses and nuns’ habits that made up her movie wardrobe were hardly likely to rank amongst my top choices of stylish films.
Anyway, I was struck by how sexy, indeed vampish, La Kerr looked in FHTE, playing the rather promiscuous army wife who becomes romantically entangled – most memorably on a Hawaiian beach – with Burt Lancaster. It’s not just the long legs which are shown off in shorts that could have been borrowed from The Postman Always Rings Twice’s Lana Turner; it’s the loose, and rather wild blonde hair, the scarlet lipstick and, especially, the long, long eyelashes which turned in their own Oscar-nominated performance.
Only vamps need apply for the new limited edition Tom Ford Black Orchid Collection (£100; Harvey Nichols stores and Frasers, Glasgow) – of solid perfume, lipstick and nail varnish – which is coming out for Christmas.
At an elegant dinner in Glasgow on Monday, beauty writers were given a sneak preview of this lovely Christmas gift as well as the latest Tom Ford Private Blend fragrance, the gorgeous Azure Lime (£115).
I know we’ve got a few months to go but given that everyone at the dinner was dressed in little black numbers (even our favourite male beauty writer was a vision in noir) with sparkly jewellery (and, in a couple of cases, nails), it definitely had the feel of the first Christmas night-out of 2010!
Tuesday evening was spent in the cosy yet chic surroundings of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh where the journalist and author Justine Picardie was giving a talk on the subject of her latest biography – Coco Chanel – The Legend and the Life. This seemed like as good an occasion as any to road-test one of the latest nail colours from the Parisian beauty company, so it was with Chanel Nail Colour in Jade Rose (£16.50) adorning my talons that I watched Justine’s fascinating slide show and listened to her stories of Mademoiselle’s adventures in bonnie Scotland.
Jade Rose is a lovely, delicate variation on the nude theme – not as readily identifiable as last year’s Jade or this season’s Paradoxal, but undoubtedly a future classic nonetheless. A bit like Justine’s book – which I’ll be writing more about shortly.
I was starting to feel unwell by Wednesday, thanks to some bug that was presumably brought home by one – or both – of my six-year-old sons. So I let my pal Lizzy do the talking when we had a chat about beauty products which I’d asked her to try out for me.
A couple of months ago, I shared a batch of hair masks out amongst my friends and Lizzy bagged the Jo Hansford Intensive Masque for Fine Hair (£25; www.johansford.com). It certainly got a good review from her, despite a “weird” texture which was “a cross between putty and chewing gum”. Lizzy said it had a lovely scent, reminiscent of pink grapefruit, and that, once she had got over the texture and worked it in her hands for a few seconds, it was softer and very easy to apply. And the results? “Softer, glossier hair which smells really fresh after it’s dried.”
I was determined to ignore my burgeoning bug on Thursday as I had a meeting at Glasgow’s newest old hotel – the Grand Central. As the name suggests, this is a station hotel and now, as in its heyday (when it was merely the Central Hotel), it is somewhere you would want to see and be seen in … (In the interim decades, it had been somewhere you wouldn’t set foot in!)
Anyway, to get myself in the mood for the hotel where vampy comedienne Mae West stayed for two memorable weeks (in 1947, since you ask), I upped the eyeliner ante by swapping my usual semi-subtle chocolate brown liner for the forthcoming Benefit Magic Ink Jet-Black Liquid Eyeliner (£14.50; www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk from October 31).
The verdict? Very sexy, very femme fatale – the ideal liner for creating a feline flick and the sort of come-hither eyes that Deborah Kerr works so memorably in From Here to Eternity ..