Sunday, June 29, 2008

She hath a way ...

Anne Hathaway

I subscribe to InStyle, but I'm thinking about dropping my subscription when it expires next year. I seldom go to the movie theater, and I don't even have a subscription to Netflix. Consequently, I don't know the "work" of the stars featured in the pages of InStyle. The only time I catch up on movies is when I'm taking cross-country or overseas flights. On my flight between DC and Copenhagen last month, I watched The Devil Wears Prada. That shows you how out of date I am.

Which brings me to the July 2008 issue of InStyle, with Anne Hathaway on the cover. There's a series of Q&A with Anne inside the magazine; here's a very small excerpt:

[Interviewer] Let's talk about your boyfriend, Raffaelo Follieri. What does he do?
[Anne] Real estate and finance.

Now that's a terse reply. Follieri made news himself, right on the front page of the Wednesday, June 25, 2008 edition of the Wall Street Journal. He has been charged with fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. Follieri claimed that he had close ties with the Vatican, which would enable him to purchase surplus Church properties at favorable prices for investment. However, money from investors was diverted into funding Follieri's lavish lifestyle, including the $37,000 a month NYC apartment that he and Hathaway shared.

Fortunately for Hathaway, Follieri's troubles didn't spoil the successful opening of her latest movie Get Smart. Moreover, press reports claim that Follieri and Hathaway have split.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Now Nick Arrojo has his own hair care line

I've already written that I skip the first half hour of TLC's What Not to Wear (Stacy irritates me) to watch Carmindy and Nick Arrojo work their magic in the last half hour. Now Nick Arrojo has used his fame to start up an eponymous hair care line Arrojo, which is available at the tony Space NK boutique.

As for Carmindy, she has partnered with Sally Hansen for the Natural Beauty Inspired by Carmindy color cosmetics line. In my review, I wrote, "I suspect, however, that Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy will last only as long as TLC's What Not to Wear is shown on TV."

Now I'm more pessimistic. Only one of the various CVS stores that I visit in Northern Virginia carries Carmindy's line, and there it's hidden away from Revlon, L'Oreal, Maybelline, etc., right by nail care products. Hello! It might be Sally Hansen, but it's not nail care!

The competition for shelf space and placement is intense, and clearly Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy has lost out. It's only a matter of time before Natural Beauty Inspired By Carmindy disappears.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The keffiyeh controversy returns

Rachel Ray for Dunkin' Donuts

I know that my last several articles have veered away from discussing beauty, which has been my stock in trade, but timely topics such as Yves St. Laurent's death and Barack Obama's clinching the Democratic nomination for President have pre-empted blogging about beauty.

Last Saturday, I came back from Copenhagen, where only one Starbuck's was spotted (in the airport) and Dunkin' Donuts is non-existent. I came back to learn about the controversy concerning an ad for Dunkin' Donuts, in which spokesperson Rachel Ray wore a fringed scarf suggesting the keffiyeh, which is closely associated with the late Palestinian terrorist Yasser Arafat.

The campaign was driven by conservative blogger Michelle Malkin and the strongly pro-Israel blog Little Green Footballs. Dunkin' Donuts has since pulled the ad, thanks to Ms. Malkin and LGF and their thousands of followers. However, other conservative writers think that Ms. Malkin and LGF are reading into the adthings that really weren't intended.

In Copenhagen, street fashion includes scarves, even keffiyehs, loosely worn around the neck. No wonder that dELiA*s called their version the "Euro scarf." I don't know if the kids have any knowledge about the keffiyeh and its associations and are merely buying into radical chic. It would help if there were a campaign to inform people about the terrorist attacks guided by Arafat and to prod them into questioning if they can justify wearing an item so closely associated with a terrorist.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Wondering about Obama

I know that I'm breaking my own rule about discussing politics on my blog (given my dislike of fashion magazines that cover politics and social issues on one hand and fashion and fashion and beauty on the other), but given the enthusiasm that my fellow beauty bloggers have expressed via Twitter concerning Barack Obama's clinching the Democratic nomination for President, I find it hard to restrain expressing my own opinions.

Now since Obama will face national elections, he's going to have a hard time of persuading Americans to vote for him. The United States of America, as a whole, is centrist to conservative in its politics. In past elections, liberals who have secured the Democratic nomination have been decisively trounced in the general elections.

If his associations are evidence of his own views, Obama is not merely a liberal, but a leftist. Diehard conservatives might not share my opinion, but what distinguishes a liberal from a leftist is that a leftist has contempt for his/her country, while a liberal essentially wishes his/her country well. Rev. Wright ("God damn America") and Michelle Obama ("for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country ...") are leftists, while those Democratic nominees (McGovern, Mondale, Dukakis) who crashed and burned in prior elections were liberals.

Another concern I have about Obama is his willingness to negotiate with anyone, even a nutcase like Kim Jong-Il of North Korea or a religious fanatic who uses violent and genocidal rhetoric like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran, without pre-conditions. After Obama was criticized for his stance, he has been furiously back-pedaling to say that "preparations" are necessary, an approach that a recent commentary in the International Herald Tribune call "nuanced"!

On the other hand, I'm not ready to commit to McCain, as he pledges to maintain the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Yves St. Laurent's perennial style

By now, everyone knows that Yves St. Laurent died Sunday, June 1.

Yves St. Laurent in 1993

I do not consider myself a fashionista (which is why I don't blog often on fashion), but IMHO Yves St. Laurent and Coco Chanel are the most influential fashion designers of the past century. I make that judgment in view of the way that their styles have trickled down to what the Brits would call high street fashion and have become perennials (the word "classics" somehow suggests museum relics).

Chanel introduced skirt and dress suits, jersey knits, and the LBD (the little black dress for those of us who are not fashionistas) to women. Yves St. Laurent feminized menswear such as bush jackets (La Saharienne), tuxedo jackets, pea coats, and matched jacket and pants. Those styles are with us still.

Sometimes, high fashion is best restricted to Vogue and the runways. The styles of Yves St. Laurent and Coco Chanel found mass appeal.