Monthly Archives: December 2012

Style Heroine: Doris Day

Doris Day, whose wonderfully diverse career is currently being celebrated with a month-long retrospective at London’s BFI Southbank Centre, was not only a terrific singer, actress, comedienne and dancer; she was also a bit of a style icon. And an underrated one at that. Just in time for Sunday’s screening of Pillow Talk (1959), arguably the first and best of Day’s run of chic rom-coms, here’s a tribute to her distinctive pared-down style which flourished in the early 1960s – starting with this Jean Louis-designed ensemble from Pillow Talk.Doris Day - Pillow Talk red hat cream coateditedAs the sassy, independent interior designer in Pillow Talk, Day works a fab wardrobe of simple, colourful suits, cocoon coats and natty hats. Sadly, decent photos of these outfits are rare on the internet – so on to the equally glorious Lover Come Back (1961), another “sex” comedy with Rock Hudson. Once more Day played a career gal (this time an ad exec) but this time it was Irene, one of the grande dames of Hollywood costume design, who kitted her out in such simple and elegant outfits as this:Doris Day - Lover Come Back b&w suit

White was very much the Doris Day signature colour – no doubt because of its wholeseome, virginal, connotations. She was often seen in white or cream or monochrome. Here’s the stand-out evening dress from Lover Come Back, a film which was clearly an inspiration for Mad Men both in terms of its Madison Avenue setting and its style .. Doris Day - Lover Come Back pearl eveningeditedIrene, who died not long afterwards – in 1962 – put pen to paper on only one other occasion for Doris Day: to design the generally impressive wardrobe for the Hitchockian thriller Midnight Lace (1960). Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be a decent picture available of the very-now black lace top which Day wears during one of her scarier scenes but there is a collection of publicity shots of other highlights of her Midnight Lace wardrobe available online, including this next slinky addition to the list of her memorable white evening gowns. She must have loved this dress: she wore it to the 1960 Academy Awards, when she was nominated as Best Actress for her performance in Pillow Talk.Midnight Lace - white evening gownPlaying  an American socialite living in London with her smooth-talking businessman husband (Rex Harrison), Day gets through quite an eclectic selection of kit in Midnight Lace – and is, unusually, seen in black twice in daytime scenes. There’s this streamlined, Jackie O-style, suit and pillbox hat comboMidnight Lace - black suit & pillbox hat

And this less formal outfit: Midnight Lace - black batwing suitAnd, finally, here’s Day looking more sophisticated than her character’s romantic naivete would suggest in That Touch of Mink (1962), alongside the most chic accessory a movie blonde in the early 1960s could have – Cary Grant..  This very DD evening outfit was designed by Rosemary Odell though she didn’t receive a credit.Doris Day - That Touch of Mink evening wear

And back to where the style heroism began – Pillow Talk. 


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Confessions of a Beauty Writer

Miriam Hopkins at dressing tableI always try the products I write about – but, although I love experimenting with new textures, formulations, scents and colours, it’s probably fair to say that only a handful of new skincare and make-up additions get absorbed into my personal beauty stash each year.

I’ll try each new liquid eyeliner that comes out, on the offchance that it out-performs Guerlain Eye-Liner (£24.50), the one that’s been my favourite since Clarins did away with the previous holder of the title. But if, after a couple of weeks or so I find that I’m still more inclined to go with the Guerlain, then it’s out with the new, and stock up on the old.

Recently, it’s been my collection of haircare that’s been swelling – to include Aveda Pure Abundance Style Prep (£19.50;,  a fantastic conditioning and styling spraywhich is great on long, easily tangled and fine hair like mine, and the nourishing, shine-boosting Ojon Rare Blend Oil (£29;, which I have been using on and off since the summer.

My stash of body creams and oils is not likely to ever be without Clarins Toning Body Balm (£29;, which I love as much for its geranium scent as for its gorgeous feel, and the Clarins Lotus Face Treatment Oil (£29), which I was recently advised – during a super-relaxing Clarins Energizing Back, Neck & Scalp Massage (£34) to try using on my spot-prone, but permanently dehydrated, back.  That’s part of the plan of campaign to tackle the problem skin there; the other is to treat it with regular sessions.

And of course, my morning routine has undergone a bit of an overhaul since I sampled a Clinique Full Service consultation (one of the variations on the As You Like It service that Clinique customers can enjoy after indicating – through coloured wristbands – whether they have time for a full consultation or an express one).

Val, at Frasers in Glasgow (one of five Clinique counters nationwide where the As You Like It wrist bands are available*), thoroughly analysed my skin and my concerns and sorted me out with skincare and foundation which looked and felt fabulous. Although I have tried Clinique Redness Solutions Make-up SPF 15 (£23;, I had not tried it over a complete programme of Clinique Redness Solutions skincare, plus  Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector (£39.50), and the results were not just impressive; they were dazzling. I was transformed.

* The service is available at Selfridges, Oxford Street; House of Fraser, Meadowhall; Frasers, Glasgow; Debenhams Leeds and Fenwick Newcastle.

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