Tag Archives: The Fabulous Baker Boys

The Little Red Dress

Forget the little black dress, this festive season its little red sister is a sexy and stylish alternative to that old party staple. Here’s a selection of inspirational red dresses from the movies, including the one I’ve spent 20 years coveting – the crimson halterneck number in which The Fabulous Baker Boys’ Suzie Diamond (Michelle Pfeiffer) so memorably makes whoopee one New Year’s Eve:

Suzy Diamond’s look throughout the super-sexy Fabulous Baker Boys film is very now – from her camel coat to her black beret, via her red lipstick. Actually, watching it recently, I realised that I’ve been subconsciously channelling her look every winter for as long as I can remember.. But for a classic red Christmas party dress, we should hark right back to 1944, and Meet Me in St Louis.

Judy Garland never looked more beautiful than in this movie, and in this scene she’s especially gorgeous – thanks to the killer combination of red hair, scarlet lips and scarlet dress. (She’s probably wearing her ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz under the long skirt.) Admittedly, hers is hardly the sexiest of red dresses, however. For that we need look no further than the sparkling tomato-red number that Cyd Charisse wore in her most celebrated movie dance routine – in The Bandwagon (1953).

Little red dresses seem to have seen a lot of movie action in the early 1950s – and in 1953 they were particularly popular: in addition to Cyd’s Band Wagon version that year, both Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell showed off their equally shapely, er, shapes in glittery red dresses in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Here they are poured into their slinky gowns… I’d say that the inspiration here is less the style of the dresses – wear that today and you’ll either look like Liz Hurley or a drag queen – but the attitude of the wearers!

Heavens, even the normally demure Grace Kelly got in on the racy red act. In Dial M for Murder (1954), the least memorable – both in terms of suspense and of style – of her Hitchcock movies, one dress stands out. Yup, you’ve guessed it: it was red. Red lace, in fact. Ordinarily, I’m not a fan of coloured lace (black, white and flesh tones are best), but this is the exception:

And, no Style on Film would be complete without Audrey Hepburn who knocks ’em dead when she descends the steps of the Louvre in this show-stopping tomato red Givenchy dress in the sublime musical Funny Face (1957). As with all the other ladies featured here, she’s wearing matching red shoes – take note: black shoes and a red dress just will not do …

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My Week in Beauty

MONDAY

Having spent some of Saturday and Sunday nights getting reacquainted with The Fabulous Baker Boys (on DVD), I went on to have a bit of a Suzy Diamond-inspired week. In case you don’t know the film, Suzy Diamond was the singer who’s drafted in to give the eponymous sibling lounge pianists a touch of glamour in their rather dated act.

I may not have writhed around on top of a grand piano (hey, there’s still time – that scene takes place at New Year’s), but I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and, more importantly, was inspired by the Suzy Diamond look throughout the week. Cue lots of playing about with nude eye shades and red lipstick…

TUESDAY

Getting my hair sorted out on Tuesday at James Dun’s House salon in Glasgow was the second step in my Suzy Diamond homage. Michelle Pfeiffer, who played Suzy and immediately became one of my favourite actresses when I first saw this film in 1989, is a California blonde, but for this part, her hair – appropriately for the floosie- turned-chantoosie – is a dirtier blonde than in her earlier movies.

James Dun’s House (0141 248 5864) is an elegant and very contemporary salon which opened a couple of years ago in the same building which now houses Jamie’s Italian. Not only does this salon offer a full range of Aveda spa treatments but its hairdressing is all done with Aveda too.

I was very impressed with my very natural-looking (I hate stripy hair!), born-again blonde locks – achieved by Christine using Aveda highlights – and, especially, by the attention to detail that this salon offers. While you have your colour done, you can select a complimentary mini-treatment from a little menu – a neck and shoulders massage, a hand treatment, or a colour consultation for a new lipstick..

I’ve not yet been asked to add glamour to a piano double act,  but within a couple of days of getting my hair done, I’d notched up a respectable number of compliments on the shine and colour..

WEDNESDAY

You can’t experiment with red lipsticks – or any other strong shade – unless you have a good cleanser to remove all traces of each tester. Luckily, on Wednesday, I received a parcel from Lancome – just in time for my trawl through the red lipsticks of the season…

Lancome Eau Micellaire Douceur (£20; www.lancome.co.uk) is a lovely cleansing water, and cleansing water is the quickest, most effective way to remove lipstick in a hurry. Apart from the texture and fragrance, this refreshing liquid is a hit because it has a pump so you don’t risk too much coming out by tipping it onto your cotton pad – as happens with normal bottles. Anyway, it’s now my default morning cleanser – for those days when washing the face is just too much effort.

THURSDAY

Over the last few years, the party season has started a little earlier than before for us Scottish beauty writers. Why? Because those lovely ladies at Clinique come up to Glasgow and treat us all to a fabulous festive dinner. This year’s dinner took place on Thursday and it seemed only good manners to wear as many of my favourite Clinique products as possible for the occasion.

The main one is my ever-reliable Clinique Perfectly Real Makeup (£20 ; www.clinique.co.uk), which – used over Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Protective Base SPF15 (£ 14) – keeps my face more shine-free and even-toned than any other combo I’ve tried.

On the eyes, Clinique Brush-On Cream Liner in True Black (£13) and Clinique Colour Surge Eye Shadow in Double Date (£18.50), a neutral palette, helped me create a fairly natural look so that the emphasis could be on my Suzy Diamond-esque red lips. Which I achieved not with the best current red that I could find –

My quest for a Suzy Diamond-esque red lipstick led me to Dior Rouge Dior Haute Couleur Voluptuous Care in Zinnia Red (£22), a gorgeous blue-toned red from the beautiful new Dior lipstick collection that launched in September. However, for the Clinique night, I went into my own personal archive and exhumed the very same shade of red from my favourite lipstick range  – Clinique Colour Surge Butter Shine Lipstick (£14.50). These lipsticks are very shiny and highly moisturising – and the most comfortable I’ve come across. A couple of years ago they had a limited edition shade called Parisian Red. It came out for Christmas, I fell in love with it and then they stopped making it. I must confess I felt like a naughty schoolgirl sneaking it into the proceedings on Thursday…

FRIDAY

Too late for my night-out, I was seduced by the newest acquisition in my mascara collection – Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill Excess Mascara (£23). The name may sound more like the sort of product that Michelle Pfeiffer might have worn in Married to the Mob, but it provided dramatic lashes that were certainly worthy of Suzy Diamond.

Not only does this fat wanded mascara curl and lengthen the lashes, it makes them look as if they’ve multiplied. On the smudge-test results, the jury’s still out – I’ve had mixed results so am hanging fire with my final verdict. But put it this way: I’m happy to keep giving it the benefit of the doubt as long as it keeps giving me movie star lashes.

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