Having been given a box set of Mad Men DVDs by a concerned friend who couldn’t understand how I’d managed to miss out on the MM phenomenon (combination of a temperamental TV digi-box, too many prior viewing commitments and having the same mentality as Woody Allen, who, in Annie Hall, refused to watch a film if he’d missed the beginning), I have become addicted to the programme. Of course, I particularly love the clothes and beauty styling – and being blonde, am drawn to Betty Draper’s Grace Kelly-like look. I’ve always been a fan of the sort of coral shades of lipstick that January Jones-as-Betty Draper often sports, and was delighted to try a new one, courtesy of the Bobbi Brown counter in Frasers in Glasgow, on Tuesday. The new range of Bobbi Brown Rich Lip Colours (£16; www.bobbibrown.co.uk) includes a gorgeous coral, Sweet Nectar, that leapt out at me. Visiting American make-up artist John Hernandez advised that it be teamed with flicked-up black eyeliner and natural eyeshadow… The results would have been terrific had the eyeliner not strayed from the inner rim of my eyelids and on to my contact lenses, making vision tricky and my eyes very uncomfortable.
I had a chance to recreate the look, minus the red eyes, later in the week when a thrilling package arrived from Estee Lauder. Its contents? A dozen of the new Estee Lauder Pure Color Long Lasting Lipsticks (£18 each; www.esteelauder.co.uk from February 28), and what should leap out at me but a gorgeous shade called Coral Sun which lifted my spirits the moment I put it on and had an amazingly comfortable texture for a long-lasting lipstick. Within an hour of my going out with it on, two women had complimented me on the colour and asked where it was from.. And if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.
Speaking of compliments, I’ve had a few recently about my skin. Par for the course, you might think, for a beauty writer – but, actually, I’ve tried so many lotions and potions out over the years that I now have hyper-sensitive, reactive skin and have to be very careful which products to test myself and which to farm out to friends.
Anyway, the compliments are undoubtedly the result of my current night cream, Guerlain Orchidee Imperiale (£245). With a price tag like that, you’d expect nothing less than a glowing complexion – and this luxurious and gentle cream certainly does not disappoint… Only time will tell whether its harnessing of the orchid’s newly discovered ability to, as Guerlain puts it, “turn back cellular time” (ie: it slows down the ageing process of skin cells), will make me look any younger.
It’s amazing what a difference in perception a change of “face” can make. Dior is re-launching its 2005 fragrance Miss Dior Cherie (from £49 for the eau de toilette) next month with of-the-moment actress Natalie Portman as its poster girl. She may be topless in the ad campaign, but Portman still oozes gamine chic, effortless elegance and natural style in a way that her predecessor, Riley Keough, never did. Keough – grand-daughter of Elvis – may have been photographed against a backdrop featuring the Eiffel Tower but, in her washed-out denim and bleached hair, she looked more trailer park than Champs-Elysees chic. The perfume’s image never used to appeal to me. But you know what? When I opened the press pack that arrived on Wednesday, and saw Natalie Portman, like the fickle Franco-phile I am (and, yes, I know she’s not Parisian but she does a pretty good impression), I ripped off the cellophane and tore into my bottle of fragrance. I’d say this is a chypre for beginners, a youthful, youth-pleasingly sweet and heady (top notes of blood orange and bergamot, a rich floral heart of jasmine and rosa damascena and a patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood base) take on that classic perfume type. It’s just a bit too much for me personally .. In any case, I’ve found my ideal chypre: Chanel 31 rue Cambon (eau de toilette from £100; Chanel boutiques and Selfridges). And – since it’s just come out in a very portable 75ml size (along with the other fragrances in the Exclusifs collection) – I need never be without it.
I can’t let Guerlain take full credit for my improved complexion: some of it is also down to the new blusher from Clarins’s spring collection.
Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colour (£24; www.clarins.co.uk) is a gorgeous addition to their cosmetics range. It’s a sleek compact containing two complementary shades – one shimmery, for highlighting, and one matte, for sculpting. The ideal pick-me-up for tired, dull or (in my case, on Thursday) PMT-induced pale skin…
A night-out for a friend’s birthday was the perfect opportunity to experiment with the Estee Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette in Wild Violet (£34) from the company’s new Wild Violet spring cosmetics collection.
Despite its name, the quintet of colours is actually mainly made up of shimmering ivory, bronze, taupe and copper – with purple as the accent colour. If you’re not in a mood indigo, then you can achieve a suitably smoky evening eye look without the violet. It’s a beautiful palette, however you work it – and very reminiscent of both the Dior golds and the Guerlain Ecrin in Champs-Elysees, two favourites from the winter collections.