Found! My perfect red lip




I found my perfect red lipstick! After a couple of years of dithering over whether to embrace a red lip or not, I decided to succumb. But how to achieve the right red? First I tried to revisit Revlon’s Love That Red which was my mum’s signature red and then mine in the 90s. It somehow looked too severe and didn’t even suit my skin tone anymore. Then I hankered after an Armani matt-looking red but was too intimidated to try one out. Pathetic. Next, I was seduced by Tom Ford’s super-expensiveluxurious new line of lipsticks. Interestingly, there isn’t a ‘true’ red in the collection, you have to go pinky or orangy. But the consultant did say I have ‘good lips’.

And then I was offered a make-up lesson by my blog (and real life) buddy, Make-up Mistress. Well duh, who would turn that down? I decided I wanted a Tina Chow minimalist monochrome face – something that could be called a ‘casual red’ to wear in the daytime with jeans. Not too matt, not gloopy and not sheer. And definitely no lipliner.

Make-up Mistress prepped my face with Givenchy Skin Drink Mat followed by concealer around the eyes and some really light foundation applied with a brush. I usually use By Terry Light-Expert Foundation so I can carry on using that. She then went straight for the lips, explaining that if you’re doing a statement lip it’s best to tackle it first so that you can work out what other make-up is needed to balance it afterwards.

As much as I’d hoped for a luxe lipstick (I’m a self-confessed packaging whore), the Dior was no-go (too pink) as were most of the other expensive options. The hero product was one I’d never heard of – Vixen by GloMinerals. Makeup Mistress applied it with a brush but didn’t go all the way to the edges of my lips. This keeps the look soft-looking and informal. It’s also important not to overload the brush, much better to apply a little at a time and if you do use too much, use a cotton bud around the edges. Top tip indeed.

The colour is a strong, true red that looks just sophisticated enough and not too old. Once the lips were in place, Makeup Mistress did the rest. Using my own Bobbi Brown Blush Pot cream blush in Calypso Coral applied with a brush, she followed the contours of the cheeks but only enough to give a hint of natural-looking flush. No eye make-up was needed other than mascara on the top lashes with lashes curled first. And to keep the overall look youthful, just a little bit of mineral powder (she used Becca) on the T-zone.

I wanted to know why she hadn’t used balm on my lips. Apparently, you shouldn’t apply lip balm directly before lipstick as the colour will just slide off. Kind of makes sense. But you can use lip balm if you allow some time for it to sink in before doing the lipstick. Better than lip balm, she recommended Clinique’s Repairwear Intensive Lip Treatment, after a few days you won’t need lip balm at all.

Typically, GloMinerals is not easily available so I will have to hunt it out online. And as Makeup Mistress advised, I will be buying several as you can guarantee one thing, once you have found your hero product, it will get discontinued.

[Pic: Tina Chow by Andy Warhol]



Everyday luxury



Reading this week’s announcement that Joanna Sykes has been appointed design director at Aquascutum made me very happy indeed. Not only is Sykes a sweet and modest person, she is also an outstanding designer and a perfect fit for Aquascutum. Known for her fuss-free silhouettes and flattering tailoring, she has been tapped to take Aquascutum to new heights following the departure of Michael Herz and Graeme Fildler to Bally. Sykes’ appointment highlights the attention on female British designers creating high-quality, enduring clothes for women of all ages to wear in an everyday context (ref: Hannah McGibbon at Chloe, Phoebe Philo at Céline, Margaret Howell, Stella McCartney).

This to me is luxury. For some, luxury means expensive, rare or extravagant. For me it’s something beautiful and useful that is made to last. (Examples off the top of my head: My Hermès Medor watch, Church’s shoes and Helmut Lang blazer). The timely appreciation of nineties minimalism is about more than a pared-down silhouette. It’s about fine fabrics, a great cut and fit and the ease of throwing on clothes that trascend situations and can be forgotten about once you’re in them. As gorgeous as the current crop of bodycon cocktail dresses are, they don’t have a place in my life. But perfect-cut cigarette pants? Tailored jackets in soft fabrics? Tummy-skimming tops in neutral palettes? More please.

I don’t think these need to be relegated to top-tier price-points either. COS and Whistles have recognised this need for well made, everyday staples that aren’t trendy but still have a sense of style, while ASOS is soon to introduce ASOS White for the customer who has grown up with them. Watch as others follow suit.



AW10 trend report: fur ankle-scarves



I don’t know about you but sometimes my ankles get really cold in winter. And if I’m wearing a pair of heels, I can’t ruin the look with an inelegant sock. So what to do? Thoughtful Stuart Vevers at Loewe has the solution with his natty fur ankle-scarves. Smart, practical and warm. But not a good idea with trousers.