Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Twilight Gown

The Twilight gown
By now, readers should be familiar with the story about Bella's wedding gown for Breaking Dawn.  Carolina Herrera designed the gown, and a licensed adaptation is available for $799.

I've read comments praising the "modesty" of the gown (although the gown has a teasingly cut sweetheart neckline and plunging back) and welcoming it as a change of pace from the current fashion for strapless gowns.

There are some aspects of this gown that I find weird. Twilight is implausible, but it strains my imagination that a 19-year-old from Forks, WA would walk down the aisle in a Carolina Herrera gown. I also question Carolina Herrera's motivation.   Money and publicity, for sure, and maybe she had a genuine affinity for the romance and courtliness of Twilight.  Still, I am surprised that the patrician Ms. Herrera would do anything that might lessen her image.


Monday, November 28, 2011

I Knew the Bride When She Used to Rock and Roll #MusicMonday

On Thanksgiving Day, I was listening to Fresh Air with Terry Gross on NPR.  The show was a re-broadcast of an interview with singer-songwriter Nick Lowe.   Nick Lowe??!!  I hadn't heard about him in years.

In the day (the 1980s), I found Nick Lowe's songs "Cruel to be Kind" and "I Knew The Bride" catchy, but that's about it.  For some reason, listening to Nick Lowe on Fresh Air filled me with nostalgia and happiness - as when I hear the opening riffs of The Beatles' "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

Although Nick Lowe is from England, his rockabilly is purely American.   Here's the goofy video for "I Knew The Bride" from MTV's music video heyday:

Enjoy, and rock out!

Nick Lowe today:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hermes limited edition sari line

"Hermès admires India and has a lot to learn from India." So says Patrick Harris, chief executive of Hermès International.  Indeed.  The patterns and mix of colors (often colors that you think wouldn't work together) found in Indian saris would be an inspiration to the French luxury leather goods maker known for its "beyond classic" silk scarves.
Hermes limited edition sari
Now Hermes has launched a limited edition collection of saris for the Indian luxury market.  At $6000-8000 a sari, I can see only Bollywood stars (and some uber-rich) being able to afford it. While I think that this picture is intended for fashion spreads only, no self-respecting Indian woman would go without a blouse!

Source: via Julie on Pinterest

Friday, November 25, 2011

Subtle blush

I hate obvious blush. The worst example was Lindsay Lohan at her court appearance for violating court orders (and I feel badly about her situation, as The Parent Trap remake is one of my favorite romcoms).

Perhaps it harkens back to the nude/naked makeup of the early 1990s, but I prefer subtle blushes, and Revlon fills the bill.  I alternate between the Revlon Powder Blush in Sandalwood Beigeicon (a perennial) and Revlon Colorstay Mineral Blush in Honeyicon.
Revlon Powder Blush in Sandalwood Beige


I use a dome-shaped blush brush and apply blush only to the apples of my cheeks.

Raiding the closet

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Style Page interview with Kirsten Kjaer Weis

Kirsten Kjaer (pronounced Ki-ar) Weis sought to marry organic cosmetics with glam packaging. To this end, she collaborated with designer Marc Atlan to create the packaging for her cosmetics line Kjaer Weis. The Kjaer Weis collection comprises crème blushes, lip tints, and eye shadows. The one of a kind packaging features red lacquered grain-textured boxes that encase refillable metal compacts that swing open and close with a click that sounds like “a classic Mercedes door closing,” as she says it.

Kirsten Kjaer Weis
The Style Page posed a few questions to Kirsten Kjaer Weis:

You grew up on a farm in Denmark, where the nearest “big city” had a population of 1,500. Since then, you’ve lived in Paris and California and now you’re settled in New York City. Did growing up in a relatively isolated location fuel your wanderlust?

Yes, I think it did, I have always known that I wanted to travel and eventually live abroad, it feels like it was in my blood, a desire for seeing the world, different cultures, ways of living, getting as much out of the “smorgasbord” of life as possible.

What brought you to New York City?

A great desire for working as a make-up artist in New York and it also fit my personal/relationship situation.

You wanted to marry organic cosmetics with glam packaging. Your packaging is one of a kind. What was the inspiration for the design? Denmark is famous for its modern design. Was Danish design an inspiration for the packaging?

For the design I give credit to Marc Atlan, hands down. When we first met I showed him my “mood board” of things that have meaning to me, everything from swaps of fabric to a beautiful hand writing I had seen to a painting ect, I explained my vision for a green product with a design/glamorous outside, yet sustainable. I also liked the idea of having a distinct color and left him with free hands and a feeling that we were very much on the same wavelength. He called me 2 month later and said he had come up with a great concept, he was right:)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Carmen fantasy redux #MusicMonday

For this week's #MusicMonday, I present this scene Tabacalera from Carlos Saura's film adaptation of the Carmen story, recast in a flamenco dance studio:

This scene is set in the tobacco factory where Carmen works (and gets into a tussle with another factory worker).

I love the ballet tops and whoosh of the skirts.

Carlos Saura's film was released in 1983, and complements Francesco Rosi's adaptation of Bizet's Carmen, which released in 1984.  In addition to featuring Georges Bizet's music, Carlos Saura's film also features flamenco music performed by renown flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Mila Kunis - a class act

Kudos to Mila Kunis for accepting Sgt. Scott Moore's invitation to be his date at the Marine Corps Ball and honoring her promise.

Mila Kunis and Sgt. Scott Moore
She looks adorable with the bangs, updo, modest dress, and makeup (although I quibble with the obvious amount of blush), and Sgt. Moore looks like one very happy man!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel

Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refuge to International Supermodel

I had some time to spend before a meeting in DC, and decided to take a walk. It was then that I happened upon the clearance rack that was outside the World Bank bookstore. In the clearance rank, I found the book Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel. At $3.00, the book was a steal.

The fashion angle is what drew me to Alek: My Life from Sudanese Refugee to International Supermodel initially. Alek Wek is a trailblazing model. Before her, there had been many models of color, but most of them had “acceptable” features, that is, European-like features, but with darker skin. Alek Wek is said to have an “African” look; however, she rightly notes that there is no typical African look. Appallingly, as you key in “Alek Wek” in Google, one of the top results is “Alek Wek is ugly.”

My fascination and curiosity about world cultures are what drew me into the book. Alek Wek is from southern Sudan, and is an ethnic Dinka. She relates many customs of her Dinka culture. The cow is central to Dinka culture: in this way, I was reminded how central the cow is to villagers in India. As an aside, she talks about what happens to the clothes that we dump into collection boxes.

The civil war between Arabs in northern Sudan and blacks in southern Sudan goes back decades, but never had the high visibility of the human rights catastrophe in Darfur. Alek Wek and her family fled their town to find shelter in a village where distant relatives lived, but had to trek to another village after learning through bush telegraph that fighting had spread to their original destination. She later bluffed her way to Khartoum, and from Khartoum, she went to London, where she was discovered in a London park.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are pantyhose making a comeback?

Pantyhose sales have been declining for a long time: the Washington Post (WaPo) saw it fit to print an article about declining pantyhose sales on its front news page several years ago: was it that newsworthy?  On The View, Michelle Obama admitted to not wearing pantyhose.

Now pantyhose are making a resurgence, thanks to trendsetter Kate Middleton (royal protocol frowns on bare legs).  To capitalize on the resurgence, L'eggs has launched a catchy new ad for its pantyhose (HT Shine from Yahoo!):

I can understand why women have given up on pantyhose.  Nylons run easily, and I've taken pantyhose out of the package only to rip before I can put them on my legs.  Also, pantyhose can be seen as constricting.  It's hard to recall that pantyhose liberated women from garters and girdles.

Monday, November 14, 2011

La Cumbia de Mole #MusicMonday - Lila Downs

For #MusicMonday, I present Mexican singer Lila Downs performing La Cumbia de Mole:

"mi Querida Soledad me Va A Guisar Un Molito" - "My dear Soledad is going to cook a molito for me." Mole is a thick sauce usually cooked with chicken.  She then proceeds to list the ingredients in mole.

Doesn't Lila Downs remind you of Frida Kahlo?

I first heard La Cumbia de Mole on the Starbucks compilation CD Songs of the Siren.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Krigler Jazzy Riviera 2/10

I seldom do fragrance stories, and I certainly don’t cover the spate of celebrity fragrances! I have, however, done a few stories on boutique fragrances and will entertain more such stories. That’s why I was excited to learn about Krigler, a fragrance house based in New York and Monte Carlo that was founded in 1904.

Krigler’s Jazzy Riviera 2/10 fragrance is a tribute to the Jazz Age (1920s) in the Cap d’Antibes. This unisex fragrance was inspired by eminent personages of 1920s, including Picasso, F. Scott Fitzegerald, Ernest Hemingway, and Dorothy Parker. It resonated with me, as the last movie I saw was Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, in which Owen Wilson plays a writer who is transported back in time to the 1920s and meets with artists and eminent American expats of that era.
Krigler Jazzy Riviera 2/10
With its citrusy top notes (Bergamot, Lemon, and Mandarin), Krigler Jazzy Riviera 2/10 reminds me of Acqua di Parma’s Bergamotto di Calabria, another Mediterranean-inspired fragrance that I’ve covered. However, it doesn’t dry down to the same sort of warmth.

Olfactory notes for Krigler Jazzy Riviera 2/10:

Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin
Heart notes: coriander, freesia, cyclamen
Base notes: cedar, patchouli, musk, vetiver.

Krigler Jazzy Riviera 2/10 costs $215 for 1.7 fl.oz. and $365 for 3.4 fl.oz. Krigler’s U.S. boutique is located at The Plaza Hotel in NYC. You may purchase Krigler fragrances at

Other Krigler fragrances are:

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Thank you Halifax

OK, after my bout of depression on Monday, I feel encouraged to keep this blog up.  I hope that I'm not seen as crying wolf.

Thank you Halifax of Sparkled Beauty for your kind words and encouragement.  I regard you as a longtime blogging friend, and hope that this shout-out will encourage others to visit your site.


Monday, November 07, 2011


I woke up this morning hating this shitty little blog and I am on the verge of trashing it. Since no one's reading it, I might as well be writing a private diary.

Someone wrote on FB: "unloved, unrecognized, burned out?"

Unloved, unrecognized, for sure. When I compare my viewership, engagement, and opportunities for remuneration to what other blogs have, I am ready to throw in the towel. I have sunk 7 years into this blog, and while I thought I was doing good stuff, I woke up to the fact that I was deluding myself.

As far as burnout is concerned, I suppose that it's too soon to complain. I reactivated the blog only in mid-August after a year and a half absence in which I experienced severe stress in my life.

While I am sure that many in the world have gone through a lot worse, I have gone through a *long* rough patch in my life.  I don't think that I've seen the end of it.  Right when I am picking myself up, re-energizing my blog, and otherwise re-engaging myself in life, I am fearful of backsliding.  I have had a lot of financial problems and my mother died after a nearly a year of accelerating decline. I lost 30 pounds - not by design, but my weight loss was induced by stress. Eating was distasteful, I had to force myself to eat, and I lost 20 pounds in one month. I underwent a shocking change in appearance. In addition, I lost a lot of hair - I hated to wash my hair, as wads of hair would come out with every shampoo: enough to fill my hand. I lost interest in my appearance and would just throw clothes on. I didn't have income left to buy new clothes to accommodate my weight loss: my clothes just hanged on me and my tops got so stained that I wouldn't even give them to Goodwill. I'm still wearing them. Hardly the stuff of someone who is purported to be a style and beauty blogger.

Carmen #MusicMonday

Another one of my #MusicMonday features, higlighting my eclectic music tastes:

This is from the 1984 film adaptation of Bizet's Carmen, starring Julia Migenes and Placido Domingo.  This scene is from Act I.  Carmen has been adapted in numerous ways, and I hope to spotlight those adaptations in upcoming weeks.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation

Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation is yet another addition to Laura Geller’s collection of baked collection of products. It is marbleized with shades of tan, yellow, and white to correct redness and balance the complexion.

Laura Geller Balance-n-Brighten Baker Color Correcting Foundation
The QVC site says that you can use Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation instead of or top of your regular foundation. I use it alone, and find that applying it on top of my regular foundation to be overkill. I apply a face primer before applying Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation: for application, I use Mineral Optics by Beauty Strokes® Optic Allover 75 Brush, which diffuses the powder.

I was surprised by the matte finish of Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation, particularly since the main ingredient is mica. You can build up coverage by applying several layers, and it has a fair amount of opacity with repeated application.

I am always looking for solutions to neutralize a red spot on my cheek (although I have recently come to the conclusion that I’ve developed an unhealthy obsession about it). I’ve used Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation as a spot treatment using a flat lay-down brush, and it does the job satisfactorily.

You may buy Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation for $31.00 from QVC and Currently, only Tan is available. Mine came in Regular.

The Style Page wishes to acknowledge blue sky communications for sending me a sample of Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Baked Color Correcting Foundation for review.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Style Page interview with Michael Marcus

Michael Marcus is the founder and CEO of an eponymous line michaelmarcus (yes, that’s all lower case). As with several makeup artists I’ve interviewed, he has a background in art, having studied art history and interior at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.  He started his career as a makeup artist at the Prescriptives counter at Neiman Marcus in Dallas and became national makeup artist for Estée Lauder. Through his travels, he learned that women, particularly those over age 35, were clamoring for brighter, clearer colors than those offered from brown-based makeup lines.

He founded michaelmarcus to fill that void in the cosmetics market. His largest account is Dillard’s, although his line is also carried by a number of boutiques. In addition, his line was picked up by Takashimaya New York (since closed), the U.S. outpost of the Japanese department store, where he had the distinction of being the only U.S. brand that its beauty department carried.

Michael Marcus
The Style Page posed a few questions to Michael Marcus:

Why a relaunch of michaelmarcus?

We are relaunching a fragrance I created originally for Takashimaya New York. It was called Takashimaya “t”. Since Takashimaya closed we have been inundated with upset people looking for the fragrance. It was their top-selling fragrance after all.

How are you promoting the relaunch? What is your near-term itinerary?

Interestingly, we have not done a lot of promotion on the relaunch. We posted on Facebook and sent out an e-mail blast. Even before the official release date we had over 50% of our production sold.

Your biggest account is with Dillard’s, which has a presence in most U.S. states. How did you land the account with Dillard’s?

Dillard’s was looking for new brands to energize their cosmetic department. There had been several big articles about me so the buyer contacted us.

Now that Takashimaya NY is closed, what are your plans to re-enter the NYC market?

We are exploring options. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of New York retailers that want unique independent brands.

You say that you got the same complaint, especially women over 35, about brown-based cosmetics lines and the lack of clear color. Yet I also wonder if the desire for color is driven by regional differences, for example, between Dallas and NYC. I also wonder if your older customers are still influenced by the seasonal color typing (Color Me Beautiful) of the 1980s. Could you comment on this?

Many of my bolder shades were first wildly successful in New York. Mainly because I have offered colors no one else does. As the baby boomers are aging they are finding that nudes and neutrals are no longer working, they simply wash a woman out.