Tag Archives: Brigitte Bardot

My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Aaahh!!! Monday was what the French call La Rentree – back to school day – so I was up with the larks, or at least with two very excitable six-year-olds, despite having gone to bed at my usual ridiculously late hour.

So, how to deal with the resulting tired eyes? Well, luckily, I had just started using the new Jurlique Herbal Recovery Eye Cream (£33; www.jurlique.co.uk), a gorgeous botanical cream which is soothing and refreshing – and helps to counter those dark circles and morning puffiness..

TUESDAY

Tuesday morning was a struggle – thanks to a late-night viewing of the glorious Woody Allen comedy Annie Hall, which I hadn’t watched in ages. While  Annie (Diane Keaton in her most stylish role) favours black soap for her complexion (“Say, are you joining a minstrel show?” asks a bewildered Alvy), I have found that both complexion-wise and wake-up-call-wise, the best face wash on the block just now is Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleanser (£15; www.origins.co.uk). Thanks to the saw palmetto extracts and mint which are key ingredients, it is incredibly thorough and gives the skin a tingling, awakened feeling ..

WEDNESDAY

The combination of this strange, changeable weather and the arrival of autumn/winter clothes in the shops made my Wednesday play date with the new season’s cosmetics very timely.  There are some stunningly beautiful new products being launched but few as exquisite as Lancome’s La Rose Deco compact (£32; from Harvey Nichols stores now, and other Lancome counters from September 1), which is one of the stars of the lovely French Coquettes collection. In fact, it’s so exquisite that I can’t actually bear to use it and spoil the pretty picture…  I’ll be writing more about the French Coquettes collection – it’s very inspiring, and was itself inspired by three icons of Parisian life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: Sarah Bernhardt, Edith Wharton and Kiki de Montparnasse. Chapeaux off to Aaron De Mey for his most covetable collection to date.

THURSDAY

After the success of its initial, core, range of make-up, Topshop is launching a seasonal collection named Heavy Duty in late September. Inspired by the grunge aesthetic of such LA “boho” girls as the Olsen twins, it features inky, murky shades on the eyes, crumbly black kohl eyeliner, and a “bitten lip”. One essential component, to which I’m already devoted, is the thick black mascara, Topshop Mascara in Carbon (price TBC but under a tenner; www.topshop.com, from late September) which does a brilliant job of creating that dramatic, heavy lash look that sixties beauties like Brigitte Bardot (right) perfected when they combined it with layers of kohl eyeliner. Watch out for it going on sale and buy yours while you can as this limited edition mascara is going to fly off the shelves.

FRIDAY

When the latest foundation from Laura Mercier – Creme Smooth Foundation (£40; from September) arrived in the post, I dismissed it. It looked too old-fashioned, too heavy and, even in the Warm Ivory shade (one of 12), too dark. How wrong I was! When I gave it its first proper outing on Friday, I found that appearances can be deceptive. This is actually an incredibly light-feeling foundation which glides on to the skin (as opposed to having to be dragged across it – which is what I was expecting) and provides good coverage. It leaves the complexion looking naturally radiant, and much fresher than most medium coverage foundations, and its optical diffusers help to reduce the obviousness of fine lines and wrinkles.


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Oh, Beehive!

In tribute to the hit musical, Hairspray, which is touring the UK at the moment, here are some of the best beehives of the 1960s – starting with the most elegant and iconic of them all: Audrey Hepburn’s in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Swedish star Britt Ekland was a big beehive fan in the 1960s too – and helped popularise the gravity-defying style here in Britain.

Julie Christie was another film star whose hair trends were always worth watching in the swinging sixties.

The most famous exponent of the beehive, pre-Amy Winehouse anyway, was French “sex kitten” Brigitte Bardot who liked to wear hers loose – a sort of 1960s variation on the bedhead look.

Her fellow French star Catherine Deneuve was usually seen wearing her backcombed hair long and completely loose, or with an Alice band, but here’s a rare picture of her with a shortish fringe and bit of a beehive.

And let’s end our beehive bonanza with the lovely Leslie Caron, another Gallic style heroine – and one who often played similar parts to our first queen of the beehive, Audrey Hepburn. This is probably how Leslie C would have looked had she played Holly Golightly!

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Viva Biba

Designer Barbara Hulanicki may be in her seventies but – with her shaggy peroxide blonde bob, dark glasses and black jacket, jeans and boots combo – she looks like a rock star; which is appropriate as she is treated with the same reverence as a pop icon.

The woman behind the legendary fashion emporium Biba is now the subject of a documentary which, when it was recently shown at the Glasgow Film Theatre, proved to be a magnet for anyone interested in fashion. The scenes at her post-screening book-signing session were what you’d expect at the stage door after a pop concert.

No wonder Hulanicki drew an impressive crowd: Biba  is still a huge influence on today’s fashion – not only in terms of its look, which drew on the styles of the past while setting new trends – but also in its ethos of “disposable fashion”, which paved the way for today’s High Street shops. Barbara explains: “The idea was to buy things and then, when you were done with them, give them to someone else. Everything was £3.”

Biba began life as a mail order catalogue in 1964 and by 1969, the shop was the second most popular tourist spot in the capital (only the Tower of London attracted more visitors). “People would travel from all over the country every Saturday, because the fares were so inexpensive,” says Hulanicki. “There was a sort of club atmosphere about the shop – lots of people who went on to get married originally met there.”

During its heyday, Biba was to fashion what the Beatles were to pop music. It was also a mecca for the coolest celebrities of the day. Hulanicki recalls: “Anybody who was anybody at that time – whatever country they were from – would come in. Brigitte Bardot, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful … Barbra Streisand came in when she was pregnant. She went into the (communal) changing room with her great big belly, and took all her clothes off. But you know the girls in the shop were so blase about celebrities that I used to have to beg them for information on who had been in!”

As a student, Hulanicki’s style was very heavily influenced by two movie stars of the 1950s – Grace Kelly and, in particular, Audrey Hepburn. “Her style was just magic,” she gasps. “She was very simple and always wore black.” So, did she ever pop into Biba when she fancied a day-off from her Givenchy wardrobe? “No, but I heard she bought some of our clothes. Somebody told me that she actually said that the only place that fitted her shape was Biba. I was so thrilled! Of course, she was already quite old then…. she was 28!”

As Hulanicki moved on to her Biba period, she fell under the spell of movie stars of an earlier era: Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, neither of whom would have looked out of place lounging around in the decadent art deco fabulousness of the most famous of the Biba stores, all of which were designed inkeeping with their architecture.

Hulanicki walked away from Biba in 1976 after a prolonged period of difficulties with her new business partners. She and her late husband, who had worked with her at Biba, lived in Brazil for a while but, in 1987, wound up in Miami, a city which captured Hulanicki’s imagination – thanks, largely, to its once-glorious Art Deco architecture which she has helped to conserve. Over the last 20 years, she has worked as an interior designer, designing Miami Beach night clubs for the likes of Ronnie Wood and Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

Is she surprised by the ongoing, worldwide fascination with a shop that closed its doors over 30 years ago? “Isn’t it bizarre,” she says. “It keeps growing and growing. My son says that I get rediscovered every two years. It goes quiet then it starts again.” Of course, part of the reason for this is that the coolest, hippest celebrities all seem to own some vintage Biba.

Which of today’s famous fans does she think wears it well? “I love Kate Moss. I love all the bad girls – Amy etc. Everybody seems to collect this stuff, which is interesting – and very nice. But it’s strange because it started out as throwaway fashion!”

* Beyond Biba (November Films; £35) comes out as a special, limited edition (only 1000 copies) DVD on December 7 from http://www.beyondbibamovie.com. The standard edition of the DVD will be in shops in the New Year.

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