Vogue Festival 2015 – the highlights

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Vogue Festival 2015

Four years in, the Vogue Festival is firmly established, mixing A-list talks with smaller panel discussions, styling workshops, the obligatory makeover stations and opportunities for one-on-one careers advice with Vogue staffers. It’s a pretty good example of a brand extending its reach well beyond the printed (or digital) page, to touch the lives of its next generation reader.

Last weekend saw Vogue Festival return to its Kensington roots, with the big talks staged in the Royal Geographical Society auditorium, and everything else two minutes away at the Royal College of Art. Sponsored (for the second year) by Harrods, it was also handily close to the legendary department store – and had one of its green-liveried doormen a permanent fixture at the entrance.

I went along on both days as a guest of Vogue. My interest covers everything, from the individual talks, to the brand extension strategy of Vogue, to the various commercial sponsors and retail opportunities (the Vogue Shop gets bigger year on year), to plain old people watching. There’s definitely no shortage of peacocking at Vogue Festival, although I was surprised to witness only one selfie stick moment.

 Vogue Festival 2015
 Vogue Festival 2015
 Vogue Festival 2015
vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015

Saturday was my ‘lite’ day, with only the Tim Walker talk on my schedule. I remember the very first Vogue Festival had a small audience with Tim Walker (which I missed) that was so popular he had to do a repeat performance. This year’s format had him and his shoot cohorts on a panel with Vogue fashion editor Kate Phelan. A jovial and entertaining storyteller, Walker gave us evocative accounts of some of the Vogue shoot team’s fashion exploits in the farthest flung locations, richly illustrated with slides of his output.

Due to budget and time constraints, the teams have to kept compact with stylists doubling as hair assistants and everyone helping to haul luggage up mountains. (Clearly Uber doesn’t work in Mongolia). Taking part in the chatter were Walker’s cohorts from hair, make-up and production, including hair stylist Duffy and make-up artist Sam Bryant chuckling together like errant school kids. I was interested in Walker’s comments on the pace of fashion and photography now. “Photography is a slow process, but these days there’s no time to reflect,” he said. “As a result, I think the standard of photography has gone down.” I tend to agree.

My first talk of day two was a chummy chat called Building Your Dream between the amazing Bobbi Brown and her brand ambassador and model Kate Upton, hosted by Vogue editor, Alexandra Shulman. Bobbi has built her brand around beautiful but natural-looking make-up, the antithesis of the contouring phenomenon it would seem. “I don’t get this whole contouring thing, it’s basically saying there’s something wrong with the way that you look,” she said. She was emphatic but charming and very funny (and didn’t seem to mind one bit when Alex Shulman admitted she didn’t ‘get’ the iconic Bobbi Shimmer Brick). Side note: I would love to know how many faces were painted by the Bobbi Brown Beauty team all weekend; their brushes did not rest for a single second.

Vogue Festival 2015-Tim-Walker-Kate-Phelan-photo-by-Darren-Gerrish
Vogue Festival 2015 Kate-Upton-Bobbi-Brown-photo by-Darren-Gerrish
Vogue Festival 2015 bobbi Brown
Vogue Festival 2015 bobbi Brown

Over in the Royal College Of Art building, I loved the discussion on personal style, hosted by Emily Sheffield. On the panel were Stella Tennant, Bella Freud and Bay Garnett. What a fantastic treat; three creative, smart and eloquent women, waxing lyrical about why practical fashion definitely doesn’t have to be dull (hello Stella Tennant in fuchsia and fishnets, and Bella Freud in gold lame shirt accompanied by a whimsical knit and monstrous Celine mega-wedges…). Takeaway points: Style isn’t inherited, but your environment shapes your aesthetic (courtesy of Stella). Fashion should be about joy and fun, not pressure (said Bay). Clothes are only interesting because of the people in them. And copying is not copying if you add your own energy and irreverence (thank you Bella).

With a big gap until the last talk, I had time to wander around the Festival and take in the sideshows. Harrods’ presence was extremely visible, from the #mygreenman hashtag everywhere, to the Food Hall catering (shout out to the My Green Man cake pops), free wi-fi and charging stations for weary Instagrammers. Harrods is clearly hoping to engage the young Vogue Festival demographic and turn them into prospective customers.

Beauty is a big focus of Vogue Festival with queues for the Bobbi Brown make-overs, Kerastase catwalk hair, Organic Pharmacy facials, a rather fabulous Topshop X Vogue mani and the ever popular Vogue cover shoot with speed make-up and accessorising courtesy of Chanel. If you want to know the power of make-up, check the pure bliss on the faces of the girls coming away with Vogue ‘cover’ in hand. Beauty aside, this year I felt for the first time there really was a lot of extra stuff on offer, with endless talks, advice sessions, educational workshops and things like T-shirt customising to keep everyone stimulated.

Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015
Vogue Festival 2015

And so to the master stroke. Fashion is now undeniably part of the entertainment industry, and Vogue Festival has made a name for securing top A-listers for its headline interview. Victoria Beckham and Donatella Versace have been past bill-toppers, with Alber Elbaz and Tom Ford ranking equally high on the entertainment factor. Saturday’s big moment was Olivier Rousteing’s spontaneous selfie with an audience member, but Sunday night belonged to John Galliano: Master of Couture.

The stage was set with designs from his Maison Margiela couture collection, an ornate screen and two cosy chairs. We were instructed not to take photos. Would this be another over-staged Victoria Beckham moment? Not one bit. Galliano came on to rapturous applause, dapperly dressed in a pinstripe suit with pristine ponytail. He was quietly spoken at first, then warmed up, proving to be humble, honest and humorous and still quite the showman.

My ‘WOW’ moment came when he started to explain his design process. He jumped up from his seat, whisked Alexandra Shulman to his mannequin, then proceeded to deconstruct the red ‘wedding dress’ from his recent show. In an animated and almost magician-like fashion, he revealed that the structure of the dress came from an inverted man’s coat in which the lining had become the visible shell. His joy in revealing his magic tricks was infectious. On the subject of Kate Moss’s wedding dress he was equally vocal, declaring, “which other bride would ask someone just out of rehab to make their wedding dress?!” And of the question on where he will take the Margiela brand, he talked seriously about creating a renewed DNA by establishing a new shape. “It’s about establishing love, emotion and time.” Galliano didn’t dwell on the past and Shulman handled the interview with charm and sensitivity.  For me, it was the highlight of Vogue Festival and another Vogue  coup.

Vogue Festival 2015 john-galliano-photo-by-darren-gerrish
Vogue Festival 2015 john Galliano

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
Images: Bobbi Brown and Kate Upton; Tim Walker and Kate Phelan; John Galliano and Alexandra Shulman, all by Darren Gerrish for Vogue
Other images: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl


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Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…


Cos for Mr Porter collection

Mr Porter and Cos, could there be a better combination? Clearly they thought not. Coming May 7th is a capsule collection boasting the sort of clean lines and versatile colour palette that spell success for both parties. I’ll be having a sniff around for the best bits so watch this space.


the artist is absent margiela movie

The floodgates for fashion documentaries have opened but I like the sound of this one. ‘The Artist is Absent’ airs at the Tribeca Film Festival and explores the mystery of Martin Margiela. Isn’t it amazing that several years after he left his own company we’re still intrigued by him? Watch the trailer on Yoox.



J&M Davidson store on Mount Street

The 30th anniversary celebrations are at full tilt for J&M Davidson. One of those quiet brands that has been around seemingly forever, it has decided to shout a little louder with a store in one of London fanciest streets. The store will open this autumn at 104 Mount Street, selling the classic cuts of coats, separates and knitwear (not to mention the best in luxury totes and leathergoods), that their hardcore fans in London, Paris and Tokyo love them for.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla

Buy it now: British Beauty Blogger X Clinique for Latest In Beauty*

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British Beauty Blogger Clinique beauty box for Latest In Beauty

Jane Cunningham at BritishBeautyBlogger is on fire at the moment! Every beauty box project she does seems to turn to gold and today sees the latest – a special collaboration with Clinique for Latest In Beauty.

You can get the full lowdown at British Beauty Blogger, but I’ve been sent a preview box, which only arrived yesterday while I was at Vogue Festival, so I’ve not had time to play. But the box is a real package of gifty heaven, beautifully presented, with pristine folded tissue and everything meticulously arranged inside on a bed of tissue stripes (I’m sure there must be a fancier term for that stuff). In Jane’s email to me, she said, “they are really high production – white glove handled at pick ‘n’ pack, so they really look pristine and those boxes with silver embossing cost a fortune.”

In the box are five of Jane’s favourite Clinique products in generous travel sizes, plus a full sized mascara and Chubby Stick (these are lovely for a not-too-intense finish). I’m looking forward to trying out the make-up remover because I’ve still not found The One in that category. And I love Clinique mascaras so the High Impact Mascara is going on my lashes first thing this morning.

The box costs £18.95 (including postage) for contents worth over £55 and there are some bonus vouchers inside that Jane can tell you all about. You also get a printed booklet in which Jane explains all her choices. No expenses spared here at all. So I would say head over to BBB quick sharp because these boxes are limited and you know what that means*…

*UPDATE: Uh-oh, I said, be quick! The box has already sold out in under ten hours. Well done Jane…!

British Beauty Blogger Clinique beauty box for Latest In Beauty
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Processed with VSCOcamBritish Beauty Blogger Clinique beauty box for Latest In Beauty

WORDS AND PICTURES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

How to get a million Pinterest followers

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How to get a million Pinterest followers by Disneyrollergirl

Somehow, I have amassed quite the ridiculous number of Pinterest followers. Not sure how I made the magic million, but it could be the hours and hours I spend lost in a Pinterest vortex repinning photos of Chanel flatlays punk icons and hunting for the perfect gentlewomanly shoes.

Actually, I jest. While I do occasionally (ahem) indulge in aimless ‘pinning’, I’m usually using Pinterest for research purposes or in a strategic way to raise awareness of my site. And I’ve enjoyed learning some Pinterest insights for brand consultancy purposes, as it’s fast becoming a powerful commercial communication tool. I hosted a Pinterest workshop not long ago with a handful of fashion bloggers, to help understand some of the key ways to build and engage a Pinterest following. So here are five tips that you can utilise if you want to up your Pinterest game.

Pinterest Pin It button

Are you a brand or blog wanting to drive traffic or sales to your site? Or perhaps you want to raise awareness of your brand throughout the Pinterest community? It’s important to decide which, because there’s a big difference. If you want to drive traffic to your site, then make sure it regularly features strong visuals, then add a Pin It button and use it to regularly pin images from your site to Pinterest. When people re-pin your pins, anyone who clicks on those images will be taken straight to your site. If you want to raise brand awareness within the Pinterest community and build follower numbers, then it’s about having beautiful, useful content that’s cleverly labelled. Read on to find out how to do this.


Pinterest tips

This tip is not a popular one. If like me, you have a gazillon chores to do every time you publish a blog post (edit, retouch, resize, upload, tag, add to Twitter, Facebook, ad infinitum), then you’re not really going to love yet more. But Pinterest research has found that ‘rich’ pins with lots of helpful information in the description box, get more engagement. Whether you pin from your own site, or re-pin from within Pinterest, take a look at the description box. Try to write something useful that describes the pin. For an outfit post picture, including a how-to tip is more engaging than a line that just describes what’s in the photo. The more personality you can add to your tone, the better. A bit like blogging I guess.

To help you, Pinterest has a useful function called ‘guided prompts’ (above). For example, if your pin is about denim, type ‘denim’ in the search bar, then look at the words that show up beneath. These are all associated words that are trending in real time that you could use in your description. Why is this helpful? Because that search bar is a bit like Google for Pinterest. So if people search for the words that you’re using in the description box, there’s a better chance that your pin will come up too. (And increasingly, people are using Pinterest as a search site for fashion advice and style inspiration.) But use full sentences, not key words. And no hashtags because they don’t work on Pinterest.

Another tip: when people re-pin they generally can’t be bothered to change the wording in the description box. Therefore, if you add your blog name in the description, this can help spread brand awareness of your blog.

j crew jeans pinterest

Pinterest users are increasingly using tablets and phones on the go, and for that it’s easier to view long images, rather than wide, landscape pictures. Pinterest’s research shows that long images get more engagement, so bear this in mind when pinning. I’d say this is especially true of outfit posts, although it’s a bit of a pain with flat lays, which tend to be shot horizontally.


Denim on Pinterest
Building a million followers sounds and is impressive. But I don’t think it’s enough. For blogs and brands, the important thing is to build engagement, which means inspiring people to click on your pins or repin them. One way to do this is to think about perennial topics that people are likely to search for, or be interested in. I find that my pins about denim, Chanel, Nike, food and interiors all get lots of repins (the denim pin above has 46 repins). (Side note: Pinterest does not call itself a social network because it’s not about comments or friends. It’s really all about the shared inspiration.) But you can think seasonally too, in the same way you might for your blog. So for now you could consider creating a board about how to get the perfect summer tan, holiday essentials, summer in the city dressing and the sorts of ideas you find in magazines. But try to put your own spin on them.

Street Style Masterclass Pinterest Disneyrollergirl

Purely for research, I have boards called womenswear SS15, menswear AW15, womenswear pre-fall 2015 etc, because I use them for planning features for my freelance work. But the problem is, in a year’s time, who will want to follow a board called womenswear 2015? If you’re using Pinterest for personal research then that doesn’t matter, but if you want engagement then take a tip from Coco’s Tea Party and use more useful titles that have broader appeal. Pinterest advised me to have boards on coats, boots, knitwear etc, but to name them as something more exciting. And although we fashion types love a pun, it’s better to think of words or phrases that people will search for. So a board called ‘cosy winter knits for work’ or ‘bright winter warmers’ is likely to get more follows.

Another tip about boards. I never used to bother with the description box but you can use it to add more detail of what your board is about. This is where you can inject personality because you have space to add a few lines, so make it engaging and conversational. But remember, people follow boards without necessarily knowing anything about the pinner. They might just be interested in the subject matter, so make sure your content is useful and don’t assume they are following ‘you’ as a blogger.

You can also create unique, fun boards like Lisa Eldridge did with her genius Your Lisa Eldridge Looks board. This was a board compiled of make-up looks tried by her fans which linked to her how-to videos. Not much re-pin value (they’re amateur pics) but a great, useful service which sends traffic to her site.

Finally, as with other platforms, the more you use it, the more you’ll gain followers and engagement. Here are a few Pinners I love: La Garconne; Jamala Johns; Mrs Gorman; Natalie Hughes; Adita Jhaveri. And you can follow me on Pinterest at @Disneyrollrgirl.

Any questions, ask them below!

Quote of the day: Bianca Jagger

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Bianca Jagger did NOT ride into Studio 54 on this white horse

“I often ask myself how people visualise this fable…Where was Mick during this time? Was he holding the reins and pulling me and the horse through the streets of New York, or following submissively behind me!?”
Bianca Jagger’s letter to the FT, putting the white horse myth (partially) to rest.

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, says the old saying. But Bianca Jagger has had enough of the story that she rode a white horse into Studio 54. No, she merely jumped on one that was already there. Hey ho. Her admonishing letter to the FT is worth a read though, and not without humour, intentionally or not. Click here if you’re an FT subscriber. Or see the below…

Bianca Jagger wrote to the FT denying that she rose into Studio 54 on a white horse


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Freunde-von-Freunden-Apartment 2

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, on how brands are merchandising their store environments to inspire customers to feel at home

More and more digital brands want to lay down physical roots and create their own permanent stores. At the same time, retailers are ramping up online sales initiatives for increasingly digitally savvy shoppers. So now we have the trend to make showroom-style spaces resemble highly curated homes and apartments. Which makes us want to buy everything and move in.

The trend for homely retailing has evolved over the last year or so, kick-started by luxury players such as Louis Vuitton with its decadent Hong Kong L’Appartement by Andre Fu (below), and the personal shopping bachelor pad at Holt Renfrew’s new-men only Toronto flagship. After opening their relaxed, sun-drenched LA flagship, complete with outdoor pool, The Row are eyeing a similarly homely retail destination in NY’s Upper East Side, according to WWD. Ashley Olsen described the LA store as ‘about setting it up as a home and just having the apparel be a part of the space.’

L’Appartement Louis Vuitton

Stylists Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn set up US e-commerce site The Line in 2013 as a place to showcase their personal style across homeware, fashion and beauty products. They launched The Apartment (below), an airy Soho loft space, shortly after as a physical embodiment of the site, where customers can meet with the creatives behind labels stocked, and the pair host discussions, workshops and screenings. This form of curated, one-to-one apartment-style selling adds a valuable aesthetic layer to the online shopping experience, where customers are buying into a lifestyle not just a product range. Whistles has taken a similar approach, hosting its last two seasonal press days in penthouse lofts in London (below).

The Apartment by The Line - home-style retail
The Apartment by The Line

Whistles Press Day held at  Saint Martins Loft

Alex Eagle is the eclectic curator behind Soho House’s newest retail location, The Store in Berlin (below). There is a stylish lifestyle edit with bit of everything on offer, from designer fashion and accessories, contemporary furniture, homewares and organic food from The Store Kitchen as well as beauty services from Barber & Parlour. It’s designed in the style of a relaxing, homely loft apartment with soft velvet sofas and ‘shabby luxe’ workstations next to the library of books and magazines provided by Idea Books. There’s a florist by Mary Lennox and music by The Vinyl Factory. Everything is set over the spacious ground floor of the Berlin hotel location. ‘I wanted the space to be an open, shoppable private home for everyone to hang out in,’ Eagle said to T Magazine. Suitcase Magazine has a great interview with Eagle where she talks about sourcing localised, new talent across the creative design industries.

The Store Berlin by Alex Eagle
The Store Berlin by Alex Eagle

The worlds of interiors, design and even real estate are utilising an editorial, stylised approach to sell furniture and homewares. For the newly renovated, but still off-plan central London Saint Martins Lofts scheme, gallerist and designer Marc Peredis has created a warm, minimalist show apartment, exclusively utilising pieces from artists represented in his Soho gallery, 19 Greek Street (below).

Dutch architecture & design magazine Frame created a 3D rendition of its pages at a pop-up shop in the Felix Meritis building for Amsterdam’s temporary cultural festival, Felix & Foam, in 2014 (below). The space, designed by Dutch studio i29, was intended to be a mirrored universe, using reflective surfaces to create a sensory, immersive shopping experience. Frame curated a mix of new talent from the design world, showcased in modernist room sets, set against the grand backdrop of the building’s 18th architecture. In a similar project last year, German online magazine Freunde von Freunden (FvF) furnished a Berlin flat as part of a 3D editorial project for Swiss furnishings manufacturer Vitra (below and top).

Saint Martins Lofts

Frame pop up at Felix and Foam

Freunde von Freunden Apartment for Vitra

The idea of curating an ‘at home’ experience is also represented by restaurants, where patrons buy into the vision of the chef as much as the food. At my favourite new restaurant and bar, Old Tom & English in London’s Soho, interior designer Lee Broom has created a décor very much an ode to British decadence from a bygone era. The idea was to replicate a 1960s living room, where diners come to join an intimate cocktail party and stay for nibbles.

Danish restaurant Noma in Copenhagen is currently having some time-out from serving food, instead focusing on translating its worldwide reputation into a retail experience. Earlier this year it opened a shoppable pop-up store in Tokyo, selling locally made tableware and furniture in collaboration with Japanese designer and creative director Sonya Park of Arts&Science. And last month, US retailer Club Monaco moved into Noma’s original Copenhagen space for a curated offering of its men’s and womenswear collections as well as local New York-based furniture and homeware designs and vintage collectibles from around the world (below).

club-monaco-noma copenhagen 2
club-monaco-noma copenhagen

Designing retail or restaurant spaces that replicate a home environment takes customers a step closer to imagining a selection of curated products in their own living space. Plus, it’s the perfect antidote to 2D online shopping, making the most of physical presence and tactility as an emotional retail experience.

Follow ALISON BISHOP on Twitter, read her previous guest posts on Disneyrollergirl and discover more of her retail insights on her blog, The Retail Planner.


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Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…


Shinola co-design directors Richard Lambertson and John Truex

Somehow I missed the memo that Richard Lambertson and John Truex had parted ways with Tiffany. The handbag designers are now co-design directors of leather accessories at Shinola, where WWD reports that leathergoods (which currently make up 10% of sales) are hoping to take a bigger brand focus.



Aaaand the latest new bold-face make-up artist to sign to a brand is… one I’ve never heard of before. Sir John is Beyonce’s MUA and has just signed to L’Oréal Paris, where he will work on product development and adding a “cool, modern, digital” approach to the company’s upcoming launches, according to Vogue.com. (And no, that’s not Beyonce in the pic but Google Images didn’t have a lot to choose from…)


Francesca Amfitheatrof Tiffany design director. Photo by Christopher Sturma

I loved reading this profile of Tiffany’s design director, Francesca Amfitheatrof in the New York Times. She discusses “dull” good taste, creative experimentation and her friendship with Alexander McQueen: “Whenever I face a problem in the studio, I hear Lee in my ear. It’s him saying: ‘Push it, Francesca. Push it! Do more!’ ”


Lancome launches micro site You Are Lancome to celebrate its 80th anniversary

Lancôme has gone for a playful idea to celebrate its 80th anniversary. To help engage younger fans, it has launched You Are Lancôme, a fun micro-site in which users can upload self portraits and have them decorated with cute illustration ‘stickers’.


michael young for United Nude 3D printed Young shoes

Things have been quiet on the 3D printing side until now. United Nude, which has always been ahead of the curve with its architectural-looking foorwear, has collaborated with 3D SYSTEMS and five leading architects and product designers on a project for Milan’s Salone del Mobile. The United Nudes Re-Inventing Shoes project, takes a look at how 3D printing can work in shoe design, with envelope-pushing creations from designers including Zaha Hadid and Michael Young (above). Each design is apparently fully-functional, and available to buy in a limited run of just 50.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Shinola via Andrew Redington/Getty Images; Francesca Amfitheatrof via Christopher Sturma/New York Times

GUEST POST: Old Soho meets new Soho at Old Tom & English

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Old Tom And English restaurant and cocktail bar in Soho, London

DRG contributor ALISON BISHOP visits Old Tom & English,  the new-old Soho eating establishment that’s perfect for sipping and snacking

They had me at ‘personal cocktail cabinet’. There’s something about the current trend for home-style retail that puts you instantly at ease, so I was interested to see how the idea could be applied to dining.

Soho’s latest ‘underground’ restaurant, Old Tom & English, is inspired by visiting a friend’s apartment for a dinner party where intimate nooks and crannies invite hushed tones for gossiping and lingering. Continue reading

Rouge Dior Brillant: Goodbye lip gloss, hello pigmented lip oil

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Rouge Dior Brillant lip gloss

If this is the future of lip gloss then please count me in. The new generation of hybrid balm-gloss-lipstick is a brilliant innovation and from those I’ve tried, I can’t see any downside.

I’ve talk about YSL’s Volupte Tint-In-Oil before; now here’s the Dior version, a new, improved take on its Rouge Dior Brillant lipgloss (£26.50). Continue reading

Quote of the day: Caroline Baker

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Caroline Baker stylist

“The early 1980s was a lovely time. Punk had shaken everyone up, the Japanese taking over Paris was dynamic in terms of new looks and working with [Katharine] Hamnett was thrilling for me as she always pushed me to do more and more! I have always loved adding strings, ribbons, belts, torn strips of fabric, net and lace to my styling looks so I was in my element.”
Caroline Baker, Hope And Glitter

This quote is taken from a rather lovely interview with legendary stylist Caroline Baker on Iain R Webb’s blog, Hope & Glitter. I assisted Caroline years ago, and if I forgot to pack her bag of ribbons on a shoot there would be hell to pay!

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