Monthly Archives: January 2011

Style on Film: Breakfast at Tiffany’s

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most stylish films in Hollywood history: Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The anniversary may not be until October, but a sparkling new print of the film which consolidated Audrey Hepburn’s position as a style icon is doing the rounds right now so it’s the perfect time to celebrate the wardrobe of beautiful Givenchy clothes which she wears throughout the film, starting with the most famous of all – the evening gown she wears in the opening shots when we first meet Holly Golightly as she arrives at the window of Tiffany’s.

Givenchy made two versions of this exquisite gown: one which was completely straight and was for Hepburn to wear as she stood still outside Tiffany’s, and one which had a slit so she could walk in it. She’s glimpsed wearing the same dress again a few scenes later… Indeed, one of the surprises about Breakfast at Tiffany’s is that there aren’t that many different dresses – the same ones pop up more than once, but with different accessories. We first see the other iconic black dress, the knee-length cocktail dress with the deep ruffle round the hem, when Holly gets dressed for a morning visit to Sing Sing prison. Her casual approach to elegance is highlighted by the way she throws herself together in five minutes (including the time spent searching for missing alligator shoes and careful eyelash combing) …

Mind you, if you simply alternate a couple of frocks and vary the accessories, then it is possible to throw your chic outfit together super-fast… Just a few scenes after its debut (pictured above), the little black cocktail dress is back – this time for Holly’s crazy party, probably the zaniest party in Hollywood movies. Having greeted her early arrivals while wearing her bedsheet – albeit very stylishly – Holly disappears into her bedroom and emerges in the LBD, teamed with a stunning bib necklace, statement earrings and the cigarette holder that’s familiar from the publicity shots.

And the cocktail dress makes its third appearance for another Sing Sing trip a little later – yet another example of how this movie is essentially a masterclass in accessorizing…

With the arrival of Doc, the blast from her hick past that Holly has done her damnedest to leave behind, there’s a shift in the Golightly wardrobe from round-the-clock evening wear to more practical, everyday gear. But it’s still Givenchy so it’s still terribly chic. Here’s Holly drowning her sorrows in a strip joint and still looking impossibly Left Bank..

Charade is the Hepburn movie to watch for inspirational outerwear: in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, she has only one winter coat. But it’s a stunner: bright orange and funnel-necked, teamed with a fur hat, for Holly and Paul’s day of doing things they’ve never done before..

After Holly’s gone cold on Paul and has taken up with the dashing Brazilian Jose, she is briefly seen in a beautiful hot pink gown (teamed with matching tiara!) which is a departure from her earlier slinky black dresses. Ironically, however, she’s wearing the pink – and not the black – when she learns of her beloved brother’s untimely death. And, as gorgeous as the pink dress may be, it’s not one that people remember from the film.

Holly ends the film in a fabulously simple ensemble which is almost a throw-back to Hepburn’s gamine days of the 1950s. Popping out for a farewell stroll through her beloved Manhattan, she exudes casual chic in a simple beige cowl-necked sweater, black cigarette pants and loafers, and a black patent bag with chain straps.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is undoubtedly the film which cemented Audrey Hepburn’s status as a style icon and linked her forever more in the fashion-conscious public’s mind with the great French couturier Hubert de Givenchy, who had previously dressed her for Sabrina and Funny Face. Givenchy was only responsible for Hepburn’s wardrobe in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; the other female character, the older woman played by Patricia Neal, wore designs by a New York house, Pauline Trigere.

And if all these pictures haven’t got you in the mood for the film – or sent you scuttling to your wardrobe to dig out your black dresses – here’s the original trailer that audiences saw in 1961.

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

On Monday I was still experimenting with the new spring colours from Chanel, having worn them out for the first time on Saturday night – with great success. Les Perles de Chanel (available from January 28) is the name of the collection and it’s a very classic French look with a modern twist. Just look at the ad photo (right): the model’s make-up is a sort of muted, elegant take on the late 1980s and early 1990s, the period when I fell in love with French style. With the soft grey eyes, subtle lips and radiant complexion, it conjures up the look of the Parisian girls I knew when I worked over there nearly 20 years ago. And one of the lessons I learned back then (I worked in an upmarket costume jewellery shop) was about how flattering a jewel the simple pearl could be.

The stand-out item in the new collection for me is the gorgeous, limited edition, Ombres Perlees de Chanel (£39) which are a welcome alternative to the usual Les 4 Ombres (£35.50), the hard texture of which I’ve never taken to. I found the new Ombres Perlees easier to use. The colour glided on and blended beautifully, and there are any number of ways of mixing them to create different effects, from the smoky eye I sported on Saturday, to the more discreet and dainty day look I adopted on Monday for a day of meetings. The pearlised finish makes it really fresh and flattering.

Les Perles de Chanel is a big collection with some lovely colours for the lips – well worth checking out if you go for pink and rose shades.

And, of course, the nail varnishes – Chanel Le Vernis in Black Pearl and Pearl Drop (£17 each), in particular – are instant classics, and a lovely antidote to some of the dull matte shades around this season.

TUESDAY

I spent Tuesday afternoon watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s on DVD, in preparation for a discussion on BBC Radio Scotland’s Movie Cafe about the film’s

enduring appeal. What struck me on this viewing was the scene in which we see Holly (played, of course, by Audrey Hepburn) getting groomed and ready in a hurry. It’s always fascinating watching other people’s beauty routines – even if they’re fictional – and Holly’s involves getting her beauty sleep under a lavish eye mask.

Realising that she’s due on a train in 45 minutes, she flies into action. “I’ve got to do something about the way I look!” she exclaims to her new neighbour as she dashes to her dressing table and loosely pins up her hair. Then, the most fascinating part of her routine.. All the party girl who never took off her make-up from the previous night has to do is tend to her brows and lashes. She elegantly pencils and combs her eyebrows then brushes both upper and lower eyelashes, before disappearing into the

bathroom to slip into her little black dress and pin up some loose tendrels of hair.

When she emerges a matter of seconds later, a vision of cool sophistication in a wide-brimmed hat, she smugly asks: “How do I look?”.  But there’s still one last step: a stop at her mail box where, using a mirror she has stuck to the inside of the box’s flap, she applies her lipstick, before scooshing herself with perfume which she stashes in the mail box! A lesson in time-efficient beauty to us all…

WEDNESDAY


Where to hang my  trio of limited edition prints by Daisy de Villeneuve was the main dilemma on Wednesday.. These funky, felt-tipped designs are being sold as part of Clinique’s Kiss it Better campaign which, every year, raises money to fund research into the causes and treatment of childhood cancer. Each set of prints is signed by de Villeneuve and costs £100 – and all of the money from their sale will go to the Kiss It Better appeal, which is part of Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity. Visit www.clinique.co.uk or www.gosh.org/shop in February to buy your own set..

THURSDAY

I haven’t had as busy a day as Thursday in a long time. Not only was I juggling work commitments in Edinburgh during the day, but I had two evening events to attend – almost simultaneously – in Glasgow: Estee Lauder’s dinner to introduce the latest Pure Color collection from Tom Pecheux and the launch party for Glasgow’s latest upmarket hotel, the Grand Central.

With only a quick stop-over at base camp, I just about had time to change my outfit and freshen up my make-up – but it was a ten-minute session with an eye mask that really set me up for the night ahead.

Holly Golightly doesn’t have a monopoly on the old eye masks – and they’re not only for sleeping beauties: I swear by a fantastic eye mask which has, very disappointingly and bafflingly, been discontinued. Chanel Precision Eye Patch Total is its name and, thankfully, I still have quite a few. I used one on Thursday and not only did it refresh me but it also smoothed away the fine lines round my eyes and plumped up the skin. A similar effect can be achieved with Guerlain Super Aqua-Eye Anti-Puffiness Smoothing Eye Patches (£68, above), but they’re not quite as hydrating and soothing as the old Chanel ones. Anyone else fancy lobbying Chanel to bring them back?

FRIDAY

A follow-up emergency application of the Guerlain eye patches was just what the beauty doctor ordered on Friday morning – to counter the effects of a champagne-fuelled late night on Thursday, and render me fit for a morning meeting in town with jazz contacts. The patch certainly made me feel brighter but something else was required to give my complexion a lift: and it was Guerlain to the rescue once more, in the form of its terrific radiance-boosting concealer.

Guerlain Precious Light Rejuvenating Illuminator (£28), as its name pretty much suggests, is everything you need to perk up tired and old-looking skin. I dabbed it under my eyes to counter dark circles and give myself a shot at looking more wide-awake. And it did the job.. So much so that I’ll be laying in extra supplies next time I go away for a jazz weekend..

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Doing the 3-Step With Clinique

The Clinique 3-Step system is the most famous and easily recognisable skincare in the world – even if you’ve never used it, you can’t have helped but notice the eye-catchingly simple images of the distinctive bottles in department stores and magazines. And no wonder it’s so well known: it has been going strong since it was launched, along with brand new beauty company Clinique, in 1969. Now, as it enters its fifth decade, the iconic system has been given a bit of a face lift.

One person who knows the 3-Step better than just about anybody else is the dermatologist whose father, Dr Norman Orentreich, co-created Clinique along with US Vogue editor Carol Phillips. Dr David Orentreich was in London recently to introduce the newest member of the 3-Step family – the New Dermatologist Reformulated Clarifying Lotion, which is an update of the second step of the system.

Does Dr David feel he grew up with Clinique, since he was a child at the time of its launch? “Absolutely! My dad would talk about it with us round the dinner table on the weekends – which is when he had time to eat with us. I remember when things were just in development. As you know, the allergy testing is a very important component, and when he was working that out, my little sister Sari volunteered to be a test subject. She’d have these little patches on her back where ingredients and products were tested. I was very jealous because she was given 50 cents for doing it.”

In 1969, Clinique was a revolution in skincare. “Before it, there was no standard approach to skincare. Some people said you should wash your face 25 times a day; others said you should never wash your face. There were all manner of ideas that were not scientifically founded.” And that’s undoubtedly why Carol Phillips interviewed Dr David’s dad for her article “Can Great Skin Be Created?”. His explanation to her of how a routine of twice-daily cleansing, exfoliation and moisturising could benefit all skin types inspired the birth of Clinique.

As Dr David says, “the 3-Step was a system which derived from understanding the way skin works rather than someone coming up with a notion and then trying to make it fit into many people’s lives;  people who have all different diverse types of skin conditions.”

Both Dr David and his older sister, Catherine, ended up following in their dad’s footsteps – and both serve as guiding dermatologists for Clinique. Did he feel they were destined to go into the family business? “My dad was very open about his work but he never tried to force us into it. He just talked about how enthusiastic he was and how interesting it was to him, and that, in a very subliminal or sophisticated way, got me interested without making me feel that I was being railroaded.”

Dr David and Dr Catherine have gone on to specialise in different areas from their father, although some of their work overlaps. Dr David says: “We do many things that my dad innovated and there have been many new things too. In my practice, I do a lot of the more complicated, aesthetic issues that people have – such as reconstructive problems – and I also do some of the more invasive-type surgeries, like lyposcution and hair transplants, which my father invented many years ago.”

All sorts of people with all sorts of skin concerns pass through Dr David’s office and, regardless of their individual problems, he says the main advice he would give is: “to never lose sight of the benefits of basic skincare”. He explains: “If you can do nothing else, wash your face, apply an exfoliator and moisturise twice a day. It’s a simple message but if you don’t do that, you can spend a lot of money not only on dermatological treatments and expensive products that you think will solve all your problems, but, if you’re not doing those basic steps, you’re putting these things on to a canvas that’s not  prepared for that product or that treatment and it’s not going to look so good. It’s simple but it’s borne out time and time again when I see patients who either can’t afford or aren’t interested in these new medical treatments – botox , fillers etc – and yet they look really good because they’re paying attention to their basic skin health.”

* Clinique Clarifying Lotion is priced from £14-£23 and is available at stores nationwide and at www.clinique.co.uk

 

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Lilac is in the air – shades of lavender, violet and purple run through many of the new spring collections. My favourite is the gorgeous Ultra Lavande range by Aaron De Mey for Lancome.

Taking its inspiration from 1970s disco glamour, it’s a beautiful – and extensive – collection and I worked my way through it last week, starting on Monday with the eye palette I’d been sent – Lancome Ombre Absolue Minerale in Ultra-Lavande Warm Harmony (£32.50; www.lancome.co.uk), which contains a pearly white, a shimmering lilac, a warm violet and a sparkling purple. It may sound like it has “evening wear” written all over it but wearing just the lilac and violet shades, with a browny shade for emphasis, it provided a lovely day look. With the eyes a subtle variation on the lilac theme, I went for the Lancome French Touch Absolu in Berry Rose (£23.50), a gorgeous, intense bright pink on the lips. My new favourite!

TUESDAY


I’ve always been a fan of Estee Lauder DayWear – I love the refreshing cucumbery fragrance, the equally refreshing feel of the eau-de-nil coloured cream and the way it leaves the skin smooth to the touch and well-moisturised.

So I was thrilled, on Tuesday, to renew my acquaintance with the range – via the new Estee Lauder DayWear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Creme SPF 15 (£35; www.esteelauder.co.uk), an updated version of the original cream which was ahead of its time in terms of protecting the skin from environmental damage.

It’s everything I remember from using DayWear in its earlier incarnations, and, although it’s got sun protection, it says you should use it at night too.

WEDNESDAY

Now that the snow and ice has gone, the beauty PRs are starting to make their way up to Glasgow for meetings to fill us beauty writers in on their companies’ latest offerings.

On Wednesday, it was the turn of Creme de la Mer – but what the two Charlottes who look after this range were particularly keen to remind the media about was the original Creme de la Mer Moisturizing Cream (£94 for 30ml or  £167 for 60ml; www.cremedelamer.co.uk) which has now been on sale in the UK for a decade and which was originally created by aerospace physicist Dr Max Huber as a treatment for the chemical burns he sustained during a horrific explosion in his lab. A side effect of the soothing and moisturising qualities of the cream was its ability to smooth fine lines. It may have a hefty price tag, but it seems like it’s going to take more than a recession to shake CDLM customers off their favourite cream.

THURSDAY

I’ve gone off using pressed powder in recent years, preferring to use a really good primer and foundation, plus a little bit of loose powder if necessary. I found that pressed powder often made my make-up look cakey.

But the new Guerlain Meteorites Compact (£34) just demanded to have an outing on Thursday. It’s so pretty and elegant .. Anyway, it turns out it lives up to its claim of being both “illuminating and mattifying” – phew, just the excuses I needed to pose with it!

FRIDAY

Friday was my night out with the girls for the birthday dinner which was postponed by snow, ice and frozen pipes in December.

Lizzy and I obviously had too much time on our hands as we got ready because we were both on Facebook and as we swapped snippets of info about what we were planning to wear, we evolved a glam dress code. So, Lizzy turned up at the taxi a vision of black and red, with a flower in her hair, and I decided to do the full make-up monty with the new Lancome colours. Which meant using the darkest purple shade in the afore-mentioned Lancome Ombre Absolue Minerale in Ultra-Lavande Warm Harmony for a smoky purple eye, and adding the vibrant violet Lancome Ombre Magnetique in Ultra-Lavande (£23.50) into the equation for a dab of the disco look.

Wearing such strong eye look gave me the perfect opportunity to try out one of the other new lipsticks – the pale rose pink shade of Lancome French Touch Absolu in Daisy Rose (£23.50) – for a real 1960s effect.  I’ve got a feeling this will be my default party make-up for the next few months…


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The Wisdom of Pearls

Pearls are big news this season in the beauty world, with Chanel and Guerlain both paying tribute to that most flattering of jewels in their spring make-up collections.  How better to complement a pearl-inspired make-up than with the real thing? Here, then, is a selection of stylish ladies who knew how to work their strings of pearls. Josephine Baker (sometimes nicknamed the Black Pearl),  knew how to get mileage out of her beads – both offstage (above) and on (below). Given that she made her name on the Paris stage, there’s a good chance that some of these pearls came from the boutique owned by one Mademoiselle Chanel ..

Silent movie icon Louise Brooks got in on the pearl trend when she played Lulu in Pandora’s Box in 1928.

By the 1940s, multi-strand necklaces which sat at the collarbone had become the “in” way to wear pearls, and, as screen siren Hedy Lamarr demonstrates here, it was particularly effective with a black chiffon. Anything else would have been too heavy-looking..

In the 1950s, a single strand worn high at the neck was a favourite way of wearing pearls, especially if you wanted to achieve a demure, ladylike look – which is clearly what a certain Miss Monroe was going for in this next photo.

And Elizabeth Taylor (almost) managed to deflect attention away from her low-cut dress with her ladylike single strand of pearls..

Of course, the reason for pearls becoming so strongly associated with a ladylike look was the fact that they were – along with white gloves – a key component of the signature style of Grace Kelly, the Hollywood star who became a real-life princess. Here she is in one of her beautiful Edith Head gowns from Rear Window (1954), a film in which her character’s chic wardrobe was designed to reflect the star’s own.

Jacqueline Kennedy was another American aristocrat who was known for her penchant for pearls – simple jewellery to complement the unfussy lines of her much-admired clothes.

Just when pearls were at risk of becoming too conservative a style choice, along came Sophia Loren – whose bib-like multi-strand was clearly a favourite, as she was often photographed wearing it.. If anyone could inject some va-va-voom into the art of wearing pearls, she could..

These days, anything goes – pearl-wise. Heaping them on to create a mess of pearls has become a statement-making way of of wearing them. Sarah Jessica Parker worked this look in Sex and the City but I don’t think it’s been done better in recent times than by the singer Rihanna whose pearls were the talking point of the Inglorious Basterds premiere in 2009.


But the pearly queen of them all – the woman who stayed true to the jewel throughout her life and who is still teaching us how to wear it- was Coco Chanel (pictured below with Serge Lifar in 1937) who was layering real and faux pearls of different sizes from early in her career. Vive les perles!

(c) Lipnitzki / Roger-Viollet


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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

I did a double-take on Monday when I read the press release that accompanies the Spring 2011 cosmetics collection from Guerlain. Why? Because it name-checked one of my favourite underrated actresses of the 1940s – the luminously beautiful Gene Tierney, who, for some reason, is not remembered much these days despite her timeless gorgeousness and a film legacy which includes the exquisitely haunting romantic-fantasy The Ghost and Mrs Muir and one of the seminal film noirs, Laura…

According to Guerlain’s creative director Olivier Echaudemaison, Gene Tierney was “a very classic star”, and this new collection is all about creating a very classic Hollywood look. Subtly enhanced eyes are complemented by statement
lips, with fuschia pink the key shade – it even features in the lovely and extremely easy-to-wear new Guerlain L’Ecrin in Rue de Rivoli (£52.50; pictured above), six slightly pearlised eye shades of beige, pale mauve and auberginey brown.

I think that Natalia Vodianova (right), the model who is the face of Guerlain make-up, looks less like Tierney – and even less like Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, who are also name-checked in the press release – and more like the contemporary American actress Elizabeth McGovern in her Ragtime days (early 1980s) but I can see the influence of what Echaudemaison describes as Tierney and co’s “fire under ice” sex appeal …

TUESDAY

Of course, a classic movie star look requires classically long, luscious lashes – and by Tuesday I was a convert to a mascara which achieves those with minimum effort – Estee Lauder Sumptuous Extreme Mascara (£22; www.esteelauder.co.uk).

A new variation on the original Sumptuous Mascara, it has an almost triangular brush which contains two types of bristles that create a false lash effect when they comb and coat the hairs with the three-fibre formula mascara.

I’m hooked on the Extreme Black shade, but am looking forward to trying Extreme Indigo, Extreme Violet (both limited editions) and Extreme Brown…

WEDNESDAY

I turned 39 just before Christmas – and, suddenly, it feels as if 40 is looming. So when I went along for my regular Clarins TriActive Facial on Wednesday, I told Lindsay, the therapist, that ageing was now a concern.

After the super-relaxing treatment  – it really is the most pampering facial I’ve come across in recent years – Lindsay delivered her verdict and I was chuffed to hear that she wouldn’t prescribe any anti-ageing creams for me just yet. Keeping the skin moisturised is really the key to getting the most mileage out of its youthfulness, so I intend to continue with the Clarins HydraQuench range, which I’m alternating with Chanel’s Hydramax, and from which I recently began using Clarins HydraQuench Cream (£32.68; www.clarins.co.uk) at night to counter the effects of the cold weather.

By the way, I noticed that the Clarins Spa (0141 221 3880, ext 2023) in Frasers, Glasgow is offering 25% off treatments if they’re booked before January 15 and taken before the end of February.  Not a bargain to be sniffed at!

THURSDAY

Skincare is not the only reason for my complexion looking better than usual at the moment: the latest foundation from Chanel – Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (£31;  020-7493 3836), which goes on sale on Friday, has played its part too.

This lovely, sheer and moisturising foundation feels fresh and makes the skin look fresh and healthy. It’s very runny, and the consistency takes a bit of getting used to but I found it a treat to use a foundation that gave decent coverage to my less-than-flawless skin but wasn’t cakey or heavy-feeling.

I haven’t tried wearing it for a full day yet – or, for that matter, for a night-out (when a glass or two of wine might ordinarily trigger an attack of shine), so I’ll report back once it’s been through these tests. But so far, so good.

FRIDAY

Over Christmas my hair behaved very strangely indeed. No amount of conditioner could stop the ends from being infuriatingly tangled after washing and matted within a few hours of drying it.

I had had my hair coloured with Aveda highlights before Christmas, and so had been using the Aveda Pure Abundance shampoo and conditioner. I didn’t know whether it could be the colour that was causing the problems – or the products. By the end of the holidays, however, I was noticing lots of split ends and breakages so I sent out an SOS to Aveda.

The lovely Cemo, who looks after us beauty journalists, said: “Pure Abundance is designed for fine hair to give it volume. However, it contains Acacia Gum which gives the hair root a lift. It’s a sticky ingredient so it’s probably the reason for the difficulties you’re having combing your hair.”

Cemo immediately sent me Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Shampoo (£18; www.aveda.co.uk) and Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturising Conditioner (£19.50). She explained her choices: “Dry Remedy is enriched with Buriti Oil so it will inject moisture into the hair. Since it’s an oil, it can weigh fine hair down so focus the treatment on the ends of your hair and not the roots.”  On Friday I followed her advice – and there was an instant improvement which lasted all day – my hair looked healthier and stayed completely un-matted and smooth. Hopefully, this means I won’t have to have it all chopped off next month after all…

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