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Buy it now: Hermes Le Bain bath and body line

Hermes Le Bain shower gel and moisturising balm

If you’re going to spend £28 on a shower gel, you may as well make it an Hermes one. Hermes has had its bath products for a while now, but is only recently starting to actively market them. (more…)

Last chance to see The Chinese Photobook exhibition at The Photographers’ Gallery

The Chinese Photobook exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London.

The Photographers’ Gallery in London is one of my secret escapes. It always has excellent, thought provoking exhibitions, there’s a wonderful bookshop and a not-half-bad café.

During Photo London it had a special curators’ tour of the Chinese Photobook exhibition. The tour was jam-packed with overseas press and other visitors but when they went off to the next thing on their agenda I stayed for over an hour to gen up on my knowledge of China and photography via the incredible exhibits on display.

The exhibition came out of the book of the same name – a joint project between the legendary documentary photographer Martin Parr and Dutch photographer duo WassinkLundgren (Thijs groot Wassink and Ruben Lundgren). Martin Parr is well known for his collection of photobooks but when he decided to develop his knowledge of Chinese photobooks, he called on the help of Lundgren, then based in Beijing, to get him access to books that weren’t easily available to the non-Chinese resident. Rare books in China can be bought from flea markets and online auctions, but to buy from an online auction you need a Chinese bank account. Thus the process of compiling The Chinese Photobook book properly began.

The subsequent exhibition starts with books from the early 20th century documenting the colonisation of China and progresses to include the Sino-Japanese war, the Cultural Revolution and the emergence of modern China. The juxtapositions of similar books with very different political agendas is revealing and serves as a great storytelling device. But within that, some of the photography is just really compelling and the book designs elegant and timeless. There’s an image from a book called Front – Manchoukou, An Epic, which is the book version of a propaganda magazine published on behalf of the Japanese military on the founding of the puppet state Manchukuo. The book used the best photojournalists and graphic designers of the time to produce these high quality visuals which look just as fresh and dynamic today.

Towards the end of the exhibition, we get an insight into millennial China, from independent artists producing their own limited photobooks and from those documenting the shifting cultural landscape of the last decade of old-into-new China. Of these, I was intrigued by the story of French photographer Thomas Sauvin who discovered hundreds of old negatives in a recycling plant. He then made it his business to edit this unintentional documentary stash into a series of books that demonstrate twenty years of recent Chinese development. The loose themes (TVs and Fridges, Marilyn and Ronald, Leisure and Work…) serve to highlight the westernisation of contemporary China.

BELOW: The photography and design of this 1928 book, PEKING by German photographer Heinz Von Perckhammer is just stunning…
The Chinese Photo book Photographers Gallery

I love the cartoony, illustrative borders of this book layout
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

This was a real eye-opener, from the section called Manchuria and the Sino-Japanese War 1931-1947. Japanese and Chinese books are shown side by side, both presenting their own nation in the best light. The designs of the book are remarkably similar, but the contents couldn’t be more different…
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

BELOW: Here’s the image I mentioned from Front – Manchoukou, An Epic – the typography and layout remind me of something you might see on a Bruce Weber fashion shoot today
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

As you get into the Cultural Revolution years, you see the full scale of propagandist books. In this one, Mao’s vice chairman Lin Biao’s face is crudely obliterated from copies of books following an alleged attempted coup against Mao
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

Beautifully presented handmade books from modern day photographers and artists. This is a fairly recent development; independent artists just would not have had the authority to publish their own photobooks in China before
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London

At the end of the exhibition, we get an insight into today’s China from the book Modern Times by the Taiwanese Patrick Tsai (below) and the publications of Thomas Sauvin’s Silvermine (bottom), presented in individual slipcases.
The Chinese Photo book exhibition at The Photographers' Gallery, London
11 The Chinese Photo book exhibition Photographers Gallery

THE CHINESE PHOTOBOOK exhibition finishes on 5th July so do try to catch it if you’re interested in photography and history. And if you can’t make it, the book is definitely a worthwhile (if pricy) buy. All the info can be found on The Photographers’ Gallery website.

WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Buy it now: All the deets on the latest Chanel Les Beiges additions

Chanel Les Beiges 2015 collection

Embarrassing admission: I never really got bronzer until I tried Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow a couple of years ago. It’s a good starter bronzer – so finely milled that you really get just the subtlest hint of warmth, but enough to make you look ten times better.

This year, Les Beiges has expanded with more gems to impart a similar tango-free outdoorsy glow. The hero is still the Les Beiges Healthy Glow compact which now comes in two new varieties, both striped to mimic the famous Chanel nautical mariniere top. Chanel Healthy Glow Multi-Colour Mariniere SPF15 is a limited edition compact (£44). Use the lighter shade to enhance radiance (for tops of cheekbones, or above the cupid’s bow), or swirl to blend both the shades together. The pinky shade (no 01) is more of a highlighter, so best for those who aren’t so fussed about looking bronzed, while 02 is your classic tan option. Oh, there’s also a new shade added to the main Les Beiges line – 25 is a little bit pinker and warmer.

Chanel Les Beiges 2015 collection Mariniere striped compact n
2 Chanel Les Beiges 2015 collection Mariniere striped compacts

There are also three new stick blushers. Healthy Glow Sheer Colour Stick (£32) does what it says on the, er, stick; it’s a creamy blush stick containing coconut oil and beeswax and has a matte finish. You apply it straight to the cheek from the bullet and blend with fingers for a sheer, non streaky radiant effect. Having tried this I would just say make sure your cheeks are well moisturised before applying. Shade-wise it comes in three wearable shades. No 20 is the darkest of the three, a deep tan-bronze so perhaps best for contouring. No 21 is a perfect deep coral, my default blusher shade, which I’ve been wearing apply sparingly and blend on cheekbones and the bridge of the nose. No 22 is an orangy-peach that would be a great match for paler skintones.

The Les Beiges Healthy Glow Hydrating Lip Balm (£25) is another new product which I love in theory but not so much in practice. It’s an elegant black-cased balm stick, with a lovely sheen and the sheerest hint of pink shade. It feels great on but disappointingly, doesn’t show up enough on me. I’m sure there are better ones out there.

The Les Beiges line pre-empted the whole no make-up make-up look that’s obviously all the rage right now. On that tip, there are two new lip glosses (£22) – a pale pink Rose Tendre and the buff-hued Beige Star – plus four beige nail colours. I have Precious Beige and Beige Pur (£18), both of which are sheer, everyday beiges although Precious Beige has a tiny amount of shimmer. The other two are Lovely Beige and Beige Rose. No, they’re not the most exciting shades ever but they’re the ones I always fall back on so they get two big lacquered thumbs up from me. You can do one coat for a natural, groomed finish or two for a mannequin nails effect (is that still a thing?).

4 Chanel Les Beiges 2015 collection nails and lip gloss
5 Chanel Les Beiges 2015 collection nail colours in Beige Pur and Precious Beige

You can buy everything I’ve mentioned by clicking on the products below…

WORDS AND MAIN IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Prada girls

Prada Cruise 16

Love the Prada girls on the menswear ss16 runway. It’s all about the overall styling for me than individual pieces – those soft mismatched layers and the socks and shoes. (more…)