Category Archives: Chanel

Festive Noir

Chanel Rouge Noir model shotThis year’s Christmas collection from Chanel is as glamorous as ever but it has a dark twist. The Rouge Noir Absolument collection has been inspired by the classic, vampy Rouge Noir nail varnish, which celebrated its 20th birthday recently and was one of the biggest beauty stories of its era. I remember vividly writing a story for The Herald about it when news broke that this dinky little bottle of inky, blackish-red polish had a waiting list in the UK. I only got my hands on mine because I went on a press trip to Copenhagen where there were still a few bottles left!

Rouge Noir was originally inspired by a colour mentioned as a favourite of Coco Chanel in a 1926 magazine article, and this new collection puts the deep Chanel Rouge Noir Signe Particuliergarnet shade centre stage, with a number of roses, pinks and golds in supporting roles so you can release the inner vamp or temper her with softer, prettier shades. Highlights of the collection include the Signé Particulier Exclusive Creation (£44), an eyeshadow quartet which revolves around the matte Rouge Noir shade; a beautiful highlighting powder, Joues Contraste Lumiere 12 Coups de Minuit (£31), in a pearlised rose-gold shade, and of course the gorgeous new trio of nail varnishes  (£18 each) – the original Rouge Noir shade, plus brand new Le Top Coat Lamé Rouge Noir, a transparent top coat with gold flecks, and the delicate Rose Fusion shade.

I popped along to the Chanel counter in Fraser, in Glasgow, last week for a Rouge Noir makeover (scroll down to see my pix from the day). Late morning is probably not the best time of day to go noir, but it was worth doing as my make-up artist, Megan, gave me some great idea about how to wear the Rouge Noir collection. I particularly loved the eye palette, which was enhanced by the new Rouge Noir shades of the Ombre d’Illusion cream eye colour (£25 ) and Le Volume Mascara (£25).

  • For stockists call 020 7493 3836Chanel Rouge Noir nails

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A 1950s Christmas Carol

Carol 2Yesterday I was at a press screening of the most gorgeous-looking film I’ve seen this year. Carol is its title, and it was directed by Todd Haynes – who also directed the similarly ravishing-looking Far From Heaven back in 2002. To be honest, I wasn’t really convinced by the characters or gripped by the plot but I was utterly seduced by the autumnal palette, slightly grainy film and – most of all – the  way the two central characters, socialite Carol (Cate Blanchett) and young department store clerk Therese (Rooney Mara), looked. (Scroll to the end of this post for more images plus trailer.) Anyone who loves and appreciates 1950s style and beauty, as I do, will not be able to take their eyes off the screen!

The plot centred on the love affair between these two women – and it was a bit like watching Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn (in Sabrina – pre-Paris transformation) getting together. They both look amazing in clothes designed by costume designing legend Sandy Powell: Blanchett sports chic suits or fitted dresses with silk scarves and elegant jewellery, tidy little hats and a ubiquitous mink, while Mara wears simpler, gamine gear. (Indeed, the pinafore-turtle neck combo she sports for Christmas in the country is a direct lift from Sabrina.)

In an interview earlier this year, Blanchett said: “The mink was old and it kept falling apart. Between takes, Sandy Powell  the costume designer, would sew it back together by hand. I considered changing coats, but when you find the right thing, you know immediately. That coat was the one to tell Carol’s story. It was perfect.”Carol 6

Just as perfect and every bit as striking was the make-up look created for Blanchett by her regular movie make-up artist Morag Ross, who told the MakeUp411 website: “The character of Carol Aird was a sophisticated, wealthy woman, so the make-up and hair had to reflect that. As was the norm of the period, she was always made-up and lipsticked, always put-together and elegant when in public. When the two women go on their road trip the look became more relaxed and free.

“Cate’s look really came together with the immaculate and stunning hairdressing by Kay Georgiou. We took our inspiration from period photos of Grace Kelly who, of course, always seemed effortlessly elegant and beautiful, and we made our aim to channel that kind of look and feeling.” Carol’s coral-red lips, says Ross, were painted with Chanel’s Rouge Allure Lipsticks in Coromandel and Incandescente (used on the middle of the lower lip), while her nails, throughout the film, sport the Lilis shade of Chanel Le Vernis.

And Blanchett’s verdict on her make-up also referred back to Chanel. She said: “I had to pluck my eyebrows nearly every day to achieve that very stern look. I just hated it. I much prefer a natural approach to beauty. You know, Coco Chanel always said to take one thing off before you leave the house, and I think that also applies to makeup.”

Carol is in cinemas from November 27Carol 4

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Chanel Me Beautiful

Chanel makeover 15As the sister-less mother of two boys, and a self-employed writer who works at home and doesn’t see enough of even her closest female pals, an afternoon of girly chat at Frasers in Glasgow was a real treat yesterday. The fact that it was a Chanel-themed chat, while my skin and make-up were being treated to mini-facial and makeover, was a delightful bonus. No wonder I looked happy at the end (above). Here’s how I looked once Megan had applied my base, tidied my brows and applied lip balm.Chanel makeover 1The reason for my visit to Chanel in Frasers was to experience their complimentary “Wear It Your Way” makeover promotion which runs nationwide until October 9. The concept behind Wear It Your Way is the idea that style is all about being individual, and the house of Chanel reckons that in make-up terms that means enhancing your natural beauty, specifically through your choice of foundation finish – whether dewy and fresh or subtly sculpted. Mine was natural but with good coverage especially for my cheeks, which are prone to redness, and my T-zone which gets shiny. (Scroll down for details of all products used.)Chanel makeover 2You shouldn’t waste any time you’re lucky to have with a good professional make-up artist, and Megan is definitely one whose advice is worth listening to – in fact, she is one of Chanel’s top 20 make-up artists in the UK. She showed me how to create a very subtle but flattering look for the eyes using the the limited edition Exclusive Creation Entrelacs palette from the autumn colour collection. Chanel makeover 6When I explained my aversion to eyeliner crayon or pencils and my love of liquid eyeliner (usually the only kind I can trust to stay put), Megan showed me a foolproof method of applying liquid liner – by first pencilling in the line with the Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10, a waterproof crayon. She then took a fine brush and “borrowed” a bit of colour from the tip of the waterproof liner, and used it to extend the line in to the inner corner of each eye – the bit that’s tricky to reach. Finally, the liquid eyeliner Ligne Graphique  – the black, no10, shade – was drawn on. Chanel makeover 7We opted for the new Ecorces shade of the wonderful Le Volume mascara, before choosing a delicate coral shade, Pensive, of the newly reformulated (it is now much better for dry lips) Rouge Allure lipstick, topped with a slick of transparent Gloss Volume. There was no debate about which perfume Megan was going to spritz me with: it had to be my very favourite Chanel fragrance, 31 rue Cambon.Chanel makeover 8My makeover was preceded by a mini facial from Nicola (below) , who – along with the new Ultra Correction Lift Express Firming Mask (£56) – deserves credit for how great my skin looked and felt. Chanel makeover 9Megan finished the makeover by showing me how to intensify the eye make-up, by using the darkest shade of the Entrelacs palette, for more of an evening look. Shame I was only going home to feed the children and watch Corrie!Chanel makeover 10I was delighted with the results which completely fulfilled my remit for the makeover which involved not overloading the eyes which I felt already looked heavy-lidded due to tiredness, and keeping the look natural but lasting. I’m going back for a masterclass in the Christmas colours in November. I hear the new collection is based around the iconic Rouge Noir nail varnish, so I’d better get myself into full femme fatale mode for that appointment – and make sure I am going to a cocktail bar or somewhere suitably noir-ish afterwards!Chanel makeover 14 or 1To see all the new season make-up on proper models, and for tutorials on how to do it yourself, visit For stockists and to find your nearest store for a Wear It Your Way makeover, call 020 7493 3836.

Make-up used:

Complexion: Le Blanc de Chanel primer (£33) to even out skin tone and illuminate the complexion; Perfection Lumiere foundation in Beige Rose (£36) applied with the new 2-in-1 Foundation Brush (£38); the highlighting concealer Perfection Lumiere (no12) under the eyes to brighten the skin and hide lines;  Poudre Universelle no.130 (£36) plus Les Beiges Healthy Glow no30 (£39) added a very subtle hint of sun-kissed colour; Les Beiges Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick no21 (£32).

Eyes: Exclusive Creation Entrelacs (£46), Stylo Yeux Waterproof no10 (£19); Ligne Graphique (£26); Le Volume in Ecorces (£25); Le Sourcil de Chanel (£43)

Lips: Rouge Coco Baume (£25), Le Crayon Levres in Natural, no34 (£17.50); Rouge Allure in Pensive, no162 (£26); Gloss Volume (£26)



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Chanel Take Five

Chanel Rouge Coco 2015I’m surprised that Chanel haven’t chosen May 5 – 5/5/15 – to celebrate Essentially Chanel, the five beauty products they consider the most iconic amongst their make-up and skincare collections. Why? Because their founder, Coco Chanel, was famously superstitious and five was, as we all know, her lucky number. Nevertheless, the company is offering customers the chance to discover their top five at counters across the country from now until May 8. Simply visit a Chanel counter and enjoy a complimentary bespoke make-over, packed with expert tips and background info about the products.

The five Chanel essentials you’ll learn about are the new formulation of Rouge Coco lipstick (as modelled by Keira Knightley, above), Hydra Beauty Micro Serum (the latest addition to the fab Hydra Beauty range for dehydrated skin), Soleil Tan de Chanel Bronzing Make-up Base (a versatile bronzer that can be used on top of or under foundation), Le Volume de Chanel (one of the best mascaras on the planet at the moment) and Le Blanc de Chanel (an illuminating base beloved by make-up artists).

It’s interesting to learn which products Chanel regards as its most iconic essentials. Personally, I certainly couldn’t be without my Hydra Beauty Serum (I haven’t tried the Micro Serum yet) and Gel-Creme, my Le Lift Creme and Eye Cream and my Le Volume mascara. What’s your top five?


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Chanel for Time-Travellers

Chanel Misia photoSince I was treated to my first sniff of Chanel’s 31 rue Cambon fragrance a few years ago by its creator, Jacques Polge, in Mademoiselle Chanel’s apartment at that address, I have been a big fan of Les Exclusifs, the collection from which it comes. Each of the Exclusifs perfumes was inspired by and evokes a particular aspect of Coco Chanel’s colourful life or her wide-ranging influences and passions.

This spring, the company has added a new fragrance to the collection; the first Exclusif by perfumer Olivier Polge, Jacques’ son. Named Misia, the new addition fits beautifully into the 15-strong family of fragrances  – yet it more than holds its own. It is named for its inspiration, the enigmatic Misia Sert, an intime of Coco Chanel from the late 1910s, a period when the fledgling couturiere was honing her tastes and finding her style. Sert opened Chanel’s eyes to styles, such as baroque, and opened doors for her into the thriving Parisian arts scene.

It was through Sert – a Polish-born pianist and muse to such important artists as Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Valloton and Renoir (whose portrait is shown below) – that the young Gabrielle Chanel met such key figures as Igor Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau and Pablo Picasso, and began her association with the Ballets Russes.

Misia Sert by Renoir, 1904And it’s the olfactory world of the Ballets Russes which particularly informs this new fragrance which is dominated by the powdery scent of violet, swathed in Grasse rose. It evokes the smell of the make-up which the dancers would have been wearing, and recalls the Parma Violet scent of vintage face powders and blushers. At the same time, however, there is a freshness and warmth which goes hand in hand with its timelessness.

As Olivier Polge says: “My inspiration wasn’t Misia herself as a person but her role as a turning point in the life of Gabrielle Chanel. With this fragrance, I wanted to convey the atmosphere of the Ballets Russes and the smell of make-up from that time.” What more could a Chanel devotee want than a perfume which can catapult her back in time to the moment when 20th century fashion was born?

* Prices for Les Exclusifs de Chanel Misia start at £115 for 75ml eau de toilette. Les Exclusifs are available at Chanel boutiques, Chanel Covent Garden, Chanel at Burlington Arcade, Frasers in Glasgow, House of Fraser Bluewater, Fenwicks in Newcastle, and Selfridges at Manchester Exchange, Birmingham and London.

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Paris, je t’aime ..

Chanel Reverie Parisienne model shot 2Ooh-la-la, check out the spring collection from Chanel. Magnifique, n’est -ce pas? Inspired by the city of light, it’s entitled Reverie Parisienne and is just the job for brightening up a dull January day. The colours of Paris when its parks and squares blossom in springtime are translated into a palette that takes in pale metallic green, deep pink and dusky lilac for nails, vibrant corals and pinks for lips and coppers and rosewoods for eyes.

The limited edition Blush Camélia Rosé (£36) not only looks exquisite in its compact (the two shades of pink powder are embossed with tiny camellias), but adds a lovely glow to the cheeks.

Chanel Reverie ParisiennePictured above are the Les 4 Ombres (Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow) in Tissé Paris (£40); Le Vernis in Desirio (£18) and Rouge Allure lipstick in Badine (£26). The collection is available from Friday, January 23 at Chanel counters nationwide, including House of Fraser stores.

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Christmas Beauty Countdown

Chanel Advent Calendar 2Why should the children get all the fun in the countdown to Christmas? Advent calendars needn’t be exclusively for the young and non-dieting – as Chanel will demonstrate tomorrow, when it unveils its giant advent calendar in its Covent Garden boutique. Each day, a window will open to reveal a range of exclusive events, gifts and treats – including makeovers, manicures with celebrity nail artist Jessica Hoffman, and portraits by fashion illustrator Jason Brooks.

For information about gift vouchers, or booking a fragrance master class from the boutique, call 020 7240 2001, and you can keep up to date on what’s happening by watching out for the hashtag #CHANELATCOVENTGARDEN.


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The Famous 5

Chanel No5 - GiseleChanel is spoiling its No5 fans this Christmas … Not only is there a gorgeous new Baz Luhrmann-directed advert to savour – and whoever would have thought that a hit song from Grease would be the musical accompaniment to a Chanel ad?!  – but there are also three beautiful new body products in the Chanel No5 collection.

For the number one No5 woman in your life, how about treating her to a new, curvaceous bath soap (£22) or the luxurious No5 Body Cream (£60)? Or, best of all, the gorgeous No5 Loose Powder (£50), a delicate powder which leaves the skin soft and subtly scented and provides the perfect finishing touch to the “sillage”, the sexy-sounding French translation of the less-than-sexy-sounding  “trail” that your perfume leaves as you move about in all your No5 loveliness ..

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Palette of Platinum Pzazz

Chanel Camelia de Plumes white backgroundThis photo does not do justice to the wow factor of the limited edition Camélia de Plumes compact (£47), the star turn in Chanel’s Christmas 2014 make-up collection.

It’s a beautiful pressed powder embossed with a feather motif in the shape of Chanel’s signature camellia flower.

And if you can bear to actually mess up the embossed image, you’ll find that the translucent platinum-coloured powder adds a lovely shimmer to the cheekbones or the décolleté.

The Christmas make-up collection went on counter on Friday so, ladies, form an orderly queue!

For stockists, call 020 7493 3836.

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Le Gloss, C’est Boss

Chanel Rouge Allure Gloss model shotActually, I’m not a natural gloss wearer, but Rouge Allure Gloss (£26; on sale from today), the latest one from Chanel could well make a convert of me – the range of vibrant, covetable colours is eye-watering. Rouge Allure Gloss is a sumptuous gloss with a lacquered effect that plumps up the lips and provides lasting shine while caring for the delicate lip skin thanks to the antioxidant complex it contains, which protect from environmental damage. Like its big sister, the Rouge Allure lipstick, it comes in a gold-tipped tube which you click at the tip to open. Tres chic, tres Chanel!

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