Brand lessons: Gail Federici


A while ago I was invited to tea at Claridges to meet Gail Federici. Although I’ve cut down on the meet-and-greets, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to grill this dynamic beauty pioneer on the rise of female entrepreneurs and the very modern culture of self-branding. (more…)

Over the counter couture beauty


The Chanel and Dior AW14 couture collections were so different from each other although they both referenced the past to inform the future. The other thing they had in common was youthful hair and makeup. Chanel’s wayward ‘eighties boy band’ hairpieces (above and below) stole my attention from the clothes, giving the outfits an energetic attitude alongside equally youth-centric Sharpie-pen eyeliner flicks. (Full disclosure: I had a major backcombing habit in my teens.) (more…)

Afro Hair and Beauty Live: the highlights

Last month saw the 33rd year of the Afro Hair and Beauty Live show at Islington’s Business Design Centre, the biggest show of its kind in Europe. Knowing how big the UK black beauty market is (black women are said to spend six times more on hair and beauty), I intended to go to this but in the end had conflicting commitments. Instead, TOLU OGUNSOLA attended on my behalf and here she reports on her top three finds…



Just as I expected, I was greeted with a great buzzing atmosphere as I entered Afro Hair And Beauty Live. People were talking excitedly here, there and everywhere about what products they wanted to buy and blaring music further amped up the excitement for all involved. Natural hair has definitely taken off in the past year or so, with women of colour taking a vested interest in returning back to their roots as it were. (more…)

Fashion show secrets: gaffer tape hair spray

Here’s a little backstage beauty nugget I found out recently. See that backstage beauty station? See those hairspray-like cans wrapped in parcel tape? That’s a little known secret of fashion shows. When big beauty brands sponsor shows, they want their and only their branding in the backstage shots. So MAC doesn’t want a stray Lancome mascara wand in view at a MAC-sponsored show and Toni & Guy doesn’t want a can of Elnett upstaging its products if it’s paying for exclusive endorsement. All well and good, but it seems there’s an understanding that sometimes X product is the only one that will do for X star hairdresser. So the solution is to cover it in gaffer tape to disguise the branding. In fact, some say that Toni & Guy’s black-clad Label M product packaging was so designed to mimic the gaffer-tape look I just described. Who knew?

[Image: Grazia Daily/BaByLiss]