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New Site News!

ReBeauted image for Style MattersDear readers,

I’ve started a new website, ReBeauted, which is where all my beauty write-ups have been published for the last month.

I’ll continue to add style pieces here but would love you to come visit me at ReBeauted and tell me what you think.

In the last week, I’ve published posts about best budget beauty buys, the new Tom Ford Beauty Spring/Summer 16 collection and the best taupe nail polishes.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Yours,

Alison

 

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A Christmas Curiosity

Shop window 1I don’t know about you but I love what we Glaswegians (or maybe it’s just my mum and I) call a good “guddle” around the shops. Not all shops, but shops which have interesting items to look at, especially when they’re presented in imaginative and attractive ways. The place to go for a good guddle in my hometown of Glasgow at the moment is The Curiosity Shop, a pop-up boutique on Hyndland Street (next door to the famous Rio Cafe).
Shop window 2The shop window reminds me a little of the warm and inviting one that a shivering Tiny Tim stared into in A Christmas Carol – and certainly the Curiosity Shop has been like a little beacon of good cheer during the cold and wet weather of the last few weeks. It’s the brain child of three go-get-’em Glaswegians – Jill Rodger, Jennifer McGlone (owner of The Braw Wee Emporium) and Sally Reid – who each specialise in selling quite different types of items, which all work very well together. My friend Jill is the vintage queen who has a particular eye for homewards, especially from the 1970s.Shop potsI have a bit of a vested interest in The Curiosity Shop because Jill is selling some of the pieces from my vintage jewellery collection which is long overdue a bit of a cull – my Christmas brooch  habit has been needing to be addressed for some time!Shop 2And it’s not only my love of classic costume jewellery and accessories that The Curiosity Shop appeals to; I was also rather taken with some cool – and very affordable – necklaces by Florence Box which, at £6 each, are potential stocking-fillers.

 

Shop 3

My talented sister-in-law, Akiko, got loads of requests for her exquisite felt Christmas decorations a few years ago, when my pals spotted them on my Christmas tree. You’ll find her cute creations (shades of Dick Bruna, I think!) in The Curiosity Shop too.

Akiko 1

And if you’re looking for gifts for The Curiosity Shop is it is the first Glasgow stockist of the lovely new Ermana range of natural skincare – beautiful, preservative-free oils, creams and lotions made here in Scotland – which sits alongside handmade soaps by A Pony Called Steve. As a fan of old movies and movie style, I am very taken with the gorgeous Deco Girl lightshades which could be just the job for my new boudoir..Curiosity 10

Curiosity 11Anyway, the shop is gorgeous to look at so enough of my words, here are some more pix to tempt you. Curiosity 7

 

Curiosity 6

Curiosity 1

Curiosity 2

Curiosity 4

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Debenhams AW15

Debs AW15 3I had a great time at the Debenhams Autumn-Winter 2015 press launch at Glasgow’s Blythswood Hotel last week. The entire first floor bar area was given over to showcasing this season’s trends – and the rows of white mannequins cut a real dash. Debs AW15 2The event focused on the Designers at Debenhams collections – which this season include a couple of new labels, Nine by Savannah Miller and Jenny Packham for Debut. I was particularly smitten by this gorgeous dress by Jenny Packham (below left), which stood out from the rest.

Debs AW15 1

Dress by No1 Jenny Packham, £199

Savannah Miller’s new range, Nine, embodied a rock chic vibe – with lashings of black suede fringing and gorgeous skinny scarves a la Kate Moss. Some of the colours of the clothes were a bit grungey for my taste but I thought this patterned shirt was lovely.

Debenhams Nine By Savannah Miller Swallow Shirt £32

Nine by Savannah Miller, £32

And it wasn’t just the day clothes that were covetable; there was some beautiful lingerie to ogle too. I especially liked the elegant range of pale pink and black lace-trimmed lingerie by The Collection, of which this pretty wrap was a stand-out.

Debenhams The Collection Wrap £30 (2)

The Collection, £30

Like the wrap, this next dress exuded old-school Hollywood glamour – and could have come straight from Joan Crawford’s Mildred Pierce wardrobe!

Debenhams Edition Preen Lace Trim Wrap Dress£75

Preen/Edition, £75

 

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80 Years of No7

No7 1960s adWe all take affordable beauty for granted these days, but when Boots introduced its No7 – then Number Seven – range 80 years ago, in 1935, there was very little choice for women operating on a beauty budget but wanting the best in skincare and the latest in make-up fashions. Launched with the advertising slogan “The Modern Way to Loveliness”, Number Seven became the go-to brand for our grannies (I still have my grandmother’s beautiful Number Seven lipstick from that era, which has a No7 1930s skincaregold tube embossed with little stars) who appreciated the quality of the products.

Great effort went in to making Number Seven as luxurious as possible, and it was described by Boots as “a series of deluxe beauty preparations in which is embodies more than 50 years’ experience of toilet preparations”. The brand launched with a collection of skincare, with packaging designed by the celebrated Carlton Studios and a leading beauty writer named Mrs Dalrymple was hired to help with the publicity. She arranged cocktail parties to which she invited housewives and, from time to time, a few well-known personalities.

No7 ad 1940sOver the years, the advertising campaigns have changed – notably the revolutionary move, in 2013, away from models to real, un-airbrushed, women in the “Ta-dah!” campaign, launched to highlight how great the beauty products can make the customer feel – but the ethos of quality, innovative skincare and on-trend cosmetics remains.

To celebrate its big birthday, No7 has launched a limited edition collection comprising three new lip glosses, a new radiant shimmer palette and two new eyeshadow palettes. The range is available now from Boots stores.

www.boots.com 

 

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Goodbye Gaston

Louis & LeslieLouis Jourdan, the dashing Gaston in the ravishing 1958 movie Gigi – a favourite film of every lover of beautiful things, surely? – has died at the age of 93. Click here to tead my obit over on GirlFriday Films.

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Scaffolding for the Skin

Clinique Repairwear Sculpting Night CreamIf your new year’s resolution is to acquire a Hepburn-esque jawline (either Audrey’s or Katharine’s will do) – or at least maintain the definition of your own – then there’s one newly launched cream that should be on your beauty shopping list. Clinique‘s Repairwear Sculpting Night Cream (£58) helps to define the appearance of facial contours along the cheeks and jawline, and keep sagginess on the neck and chest areas at bay. Put it this way: if you want a swan neck  that you can show off, rather than a turkey neck you want to cover up, this is the cream to try. Oh, and it feels lovely too – a luxurious, comforting moisturiser which is a pleasure to use just before bed.

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Dead Movie Stars Do Wear Make-up

Norma Jeane:MarilynMarilyn Monroe has this morning been revealed as Global Glamour Ambassador for Max Factor – and from tomorrow will be seen in advertising campaigns for Max Factor across the media. Is it just me or is it weird having a dead person as your “ambassador”? Sure, Marilyn’s iconic look – which was created by Hollywood make-up guru Max Factor – has timeless appeal and is still widely copied today. But frankly I am uncomfortable with these campaigns where you see dead people being used to advertise products that they didn’t advertise when they were alive, and/or where words are put into their mouths. I was surprised when Chanel used Marilyn Monroe for a No5 campaign in 2013, but at least they used newsreel footage of her, accompanied by her own voice giving the famous quote about wearing the perfume to bed – rather than manipulating her likeness to bring her back to life.

In recent times we’ve had cameo roles from computer-generated Marilyn, Grace Kelly and Marlene Dietrich in a Dior ad, while a sort of plastic, lookalike version of Audrey Hepburn has been used in a chocolate ad campaign. It was better – and arguably required more wit and brain power – in the pre-CGI days when clips from films were cut and pasted together (a la Carl Reiner’s inspired 1982 film noir pastiche Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid) to make such clever ads as the brilliant Holsten Pils ad, which used recognisable clips from Some Like It Hot and certainly wasn’t trying to imply that Monroe would have endorsed the brand.

And while I’m getting stuff off my chest, why does Max Factor keep insisting in its press material that Marilyn was a 1940s star?! She was certainly in Hollywood and playing small roles towards the end of the 1940s, but she only began to catch the eye of film-goers in 1950 when she had small but memorable parts in All About Eve and The Asphalt Jungle. And it was 1953 before she had her first starring role.

Pat McGrath, Max Factor Global Creative Design Director, is quoted as saying: “Marilyn made the sultry red lip, creamy skin and dramatically lined eyes the most famous beauty look of the 1940s.” Er, hello? No she didn’t. She may have made that combo the most emulated look of the 1950s, but the sultry red lips and natural yet defined eyes were around throughout the Second World War, when Marilyn was still Norma Jeane. Just look at pictures of Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable. Creamy skin, red lips and big lashes.

What’s disappointing about the Max Factor brand’s carelessness with dates and pedantic stuff like that is that it is, ironically, a company which is a key part of Hollywood history. However, it’s certainly true that Norma Jeane Baker entrusted her gradual transformation into the Marilyn Monroe we know and love to the team at the Max Factor Beauty Parlour on Hollywood Boulevard – and that what became her signature look is still hugely inspirational today.

But it’s not all complaints from me: Max Factor has also today announced the launch of #GlamJan, a rallying call encouraging women around the world to glam up with make-up in this drab month of January. Inspired by the transformation of Norma Jeane to Marilyn, #GlamJan is a social media campaign led by Pat McGrath and famous faces including fashion model Candice Swanepoel, which invites women to post their most glamorous self using the hashtag #GlamJan and a message about how good it feels to glam up.

(Norma Jean image – Photo Bernard of Hollywood (c)2015 Renaissance Road Inc. Marilyn Monroe image (c)2015 Archive Images. MH Greene 2013. J Greene.)

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Musical Make-up

Clinique Nutcracker SuiteOoooh, the Christmas make-up collection from Clinique – the beauty company that seems to do Christmas more stylishly than most – is not only extremely pretty to look at, but, with its frosted and candy colours, it looks good enough to eat. And since it was inspired by the definitive Christmas ballet, The Nutcracker, it’s impossible not to hear the wonderful sounds of Tchaikovsky’s score when you try out the products and read their names.

“The collection was inspired by the characters, costumes and scenery of the ballet,” says Janet Pardo, SeniorVice President Clinique Global Product Development. “The tulles and velvet fabrics in vivid pinks, glittering  whites and vibrant purples inspired us to develop a colour collection that brings to life the whimsical nature of The Nutcracker.”

Clinique’s Nutcracker Suite’s leading lady is a new powder, Clinique Blended Face Powder in Snowflake Dreams (£23), which brings a shimmering elegance – a touch of the Snow Queen – to your party look if dusted across the shoulders, neck and chest. Florrie White, Clinique’s UK Colour Artist, suggests using it to add “pops of soft pink shimmer to your temples, inner corners of your eyes, cupid’s bow and your collar bone to enhance your features, whilst adding a touch of festive sparkle”.

The other big stars of of the suite are the palettes – inspired by the Waltz of the Snowflakes, The Nutcracker Act I colour compact (£35) comprises a Snowflake Suite eye shadow quad in soft pinks and sultry tones, and a delicate Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Plié Pink. Meanwhile, The Nutcracker Act II  compact (£35 – and available only from Clinique online)  is made up of a Sugar Plum Suite eye shadow quad of plum shades with shimmering white and silver tones, along with a flushed pink Blushing Blush Powder Blush in Tutu Pink.

But you’d better glide gracefully down to your Clinique counter fast while stocks last.

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The Defence League

CLINIQUE_Superdefense_SPF_20_and_Superdefense_Eye_SPF_20_TRAVEL_RETAILWhile the rest of us were recovering from post-turkey stress on December 27, Clinique launched two new skincare products in readiness for our traditional New Year fixation with sorting out our skincare concerns.

Clinique Superdefense SPF20 Daily Defense Moisturizer (£39; www.clinique.co.uk) boasts a cocktail of ingredients designed to help the skin defend itself against the early signs of ageing – while at the same time protecting it from future damage from the sun’s rays, and keeping it well hydrated. The cream is available in two different formulations to suit different skin types, and the textures are lovely and feel like a treat for the skin.

If ever an area cried out for extra protection it’s the particularly delicate skin around the eyes, so it makes sense that Clinique has also launched Superdefense SPF20 Age Defense Eye Cream (£30) which protects and hydrates the skin while preventing future damage. Additionally, it has a luminous tint to it to help brighten dull, tired-looking skin. Word of warning: if you like your eye creams to feel moist and malleable then this one is maybe not for you.

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A Touch of Class, A Clink of Glass

Cocktail night - margarita

The Women – the original, 1939, version of course (from which the Style Matters banner photo comes)– is one of my favourite films and it sort of came to life here, at my flat, last week when I hosted a ladies-only cocktail party.

I may have been the only person there who saw the connection with the glittering and stylish 1930s MGM comedy, but I was rather tickled by the similarities – all three of them. There was the pan-generational, all-female cast (excepting my two children and the barman), the classic cocktails being sipped, and the fact that we all had our nails painted by the Cocktail night - Mojitoslovely Margaret – though not the Jungle Red shade that links the ladies in the movie. (Thankfully, unlike the great movie – which I have often referred to as one of Hollywood’s best bitchfests – there was no catty behaviour..)

What made the night so memorable, however, was the presence (in my own hall!) of a well-stocked cocktail bar and a barman well-educated in the sophisticated science of mixology – both thanks to Social and Cocktail, the must-visit website for cocktail devotees, which recently branched out into events.

Cocktail night - Jean

A satisfied customer

For a very reasonable £25 per head, each guest can enjoy five cocktails – chosen by the host. Social and Cocktail offers an impressive and wide-ranging menu which is divided into different sections – dessert cocktails, rum cocktails, vodka cocktails, classic cocktails and non-alcoholic cocktails.

For my Cocktails ‘n’ Cosmetics night, I opted for one non-alcoholic cocktail – the Summer Berry Sling (pronounced “delicious” by all who drank it) – plus three old favourites: French Martinis, Mojitos and Margaritas. And, since I’d never tried them but associated them with black & white movies, Old-Fashioneds, a whisky and orange bitters concoction which was the perfect final cocktail of our soiree.

* Social and Cocktail is currently offering its cocktail evening services in Glasgow and the surrounding areas, but it will soon be available in Edinburgh too. Contact them at info@socialandcocktail.co.uk

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