Category Archives: Obsessions

supermodels

Current Obsession: Supermodels

Perhaps it’s because it reminds me of a time when women weren’t just women, they were the ultimate glamazons – wearing Versace and Alaia whilst they were photographed in a power suit, or a swimsuit, looking incredible with massive hair and perfect makeup (or at least Vogue would have us believe). It was the time when more was never enough and there was no such thing as excess. Models like Elle McPherson, Stephanie Seymour and Cindy Crawford had the bodies that women (and men) admired. They had boobs and hips and waists and muscles and looked like they could crush a small car without flinching. Or without crushing their Christian Lacroix taffeta ball gown in the meantime.

I love them because their faces encapsulate my youth – a time when my bedroom walls were plastered with their faces. Linda Evangelista and Christy Turlington in Chanel in St Tropez. Claudia Schiffer’s tiny waist was clad in acid wash for Guess jeans and the lens of Ellen Von Unwerth, Cindy C cavorted on the beach for Herb Ritts and Arthur Elgort, and Elle McPherson was on the cover of Time. I loved them then because they were the ultimate in all that a woman could be – strong, and powerful and beautiful in an Amazonian but still attainable way. There was a wholesomeness to them, a girl next door quality that also promised a life beyond your wildest dreams. They were business women, who built empires and fortunes and offered a world where your wardrobe was Chanel and Gaultier, and you partied with Madonna at Gianni Versace’s mansion. They were the original superstars, the top models who reinvented the glamour of the celebrity world we know today.

Having been lucky enough to work with a lot of them whilst in London (Claudia, Yasmin Le Bon, Kate Moss, Elle McPherson, Kristen McNenamy), I can attest to the fact that getting older does not mean losing anything in any way. If anything, it’s about gaining – wisdom. Self knowledge and grace. And designers and advertisers are listening, as the original Supermodels speak to us in a way that a fourteen year old never can. Harpers Bazaar UK has five of the original Supers on their latest cover – and let me tell you, if I look anywhere near that good at forty five I won’t be complaining.

And now as we all grow older, and women my age look ahead to their middle thirties and beyond to their forties and even fifties, middle age is being completely reinvented by them too. They are still beautiful, and powerful, and strong. Their empires have grown and away from the camera they now helm massively successful businesses and prove that women can have children and fortunes and wealth and beauty. They provide a stunning antidote not only to traditional notions of what happens as you age, but also to the legions of undernourished teenagers that currently populate our magazines and runways. May the tide turn permanently and bring back real women. Maybe we can have a return to the ideal of the amazon woman from my girlhood, where women had power and strength and beauty and grace. Long live the Supermodels.

Here is a beautiful trailer from the 1991 film by Peter Lindbergh, simply entitled “Models”. The Supers at the height of their beauty: www.peterlindbergh.com/#FILMS/10

 

Current Obsession: Jane Birkin

This is my favourite Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg song, and I just think she’s so beautiful in this video of them frolicking in Europe in the late ‘60’s. That whole period has got me riveted again – maybe it’s because it started cropping up again on the catwalks in the last spate of shows (thanks Pat and Guido!) or maybe it’s just because I’m sick, OH SO SICK of the 80’s now. Please put them away people, and give them a decent burial. They were great but leggings and Bananarama skirts have had their place in the sun again and it’s time to let them go. Forever, hopefully.

Jane was the quintessence of cool back in the day with her gorgeous natural beauty and her affair with her much older French lover, Serge Gainsbourg, one of the most admired artists of the time. Together they collaborated on many songs and films, the most controversial being the fabulous Je t’aime… Moi non plus. The French side of my family always call me Jane Birkin when I speak French, but that is sadly only to do with my terrible French accent, not my effortless cool and striking resemblance to the brunette beauty.

So this season I want long, beautiful hair and a natural radiant glow (with a little gap in my teeth), a groovy wardrobe of flares and just the perfect onionskin thin t-shirt. A bit like Jane really.

 

Current Obsession: Facial Oils

I’m having an oil moment (that sounds wrong, doesn’t it?) But it’s true, I am – I have fallen in love with not one but THREE facial oils, so I consider it my sworn duty as a beauty blogger to tell you all about them.

AesopThe first is from my Aussie wonderbrand favourite, Aesop – really is there anything that this brand can’t do? I have yet to try a dud product from them. It’s their Parsley Seed Facial Cleansing Oil. It’s great for combination, sensitive and dry skin (which would certainly be myself), and has skin-calming properties combined with anti-oxidants.

Then there is also the latest addition to the Parsley Seed family, which is their new Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser (out this month). This one is a gel cleanser (that feels like an oil), but this one is special – it EXFOLIATES whilst it cleanses. How does it do that? I hear you ask (well even if you didn’t, I’m going to tell you anyway), it combines a softly lathering gel cleanser with lactic acid to gently exfoliate and brighten the skin.

So as a pre-makeup cleanse for shoots and clients, it’s amazing as it gently stimulates blood flow, giving you the all-important GLOW. Yes, that GLOW, the one every makeup artist knows about as it’s what you strive to impart to someone’s skin before you start putting makeup on, since makeup going on a crusty, dry flakey surface just looks like ass, and makes your job much more difficult.

It probably seems pretty counter-intuitive to use oil to wash the face, but Japanese makeup artist Shu Uemura pioneered this in the late 1950’s when he realized that an oil cleanser effectively removed all traces of heavy makeup, whilst maintaining the delicate acid mantle of the skin. He created the Shu Uemura High Performance Cleansing Oil in the early 60’s, which is my second facial oil pick. I’ve had this in my kit for oooh, around 10 years now as it softens the skin and is miraculous at removing makeup. So now I have two oils to use – the Aesop for pre-makeup cleansing- for the GLOW, and Shu for afterwards for it’s makeup melting properties. (Especially when you’re on a job where the girl is wearing an extra head full of makeup, you need something with some serious grunt to take it off. I do love my Crealine but sometimes you just need the Makeup Removing Big Guns – that’s when my Shu comes into play).

And last, but by no means least, Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil. This has a different purpose – I use this sometimes on dry, dehydrated skin to perk it up and impart some serious moisture before starting the makeup. It can also be mixed into foundation to give it extra slip and shine – lovely when your skin is feeling the cold (ie the whole of the Northern hemisphere at the moment).
Jurlique is another favourite Aussie organic brand of mine, as their products are just plain yummy. This oil has biodynamic and organic Chamomile, Calendula, Marshamallow and Rose, and Rose Hip oil to give the skin elasticity.

Even in the heat of summer the skin can get dehydrated and can benefit from oils. However if your skin is very oily anyway I would advise using oils with caution – don’t discount them, but try a sample before you invest in them. Sometimes those with an oily finish to the skin actually have very dehydrated skin underneath (*cough* don’t ask me how I know that).

www.aesop.net.au

www.jurlique.com

www.shuuemura.com

Current Obsession: Chanel for Nowness

Oh I’m sorry, did someone say ROBOT MAKEUP FILM FOR CHANEL BY PETER PHILLIPS? Oh you did? Good Lord, I’ll have to check it out, sounds amazing!

And it is.

Current Obsession: Burberry

My complete infatuation with all things Burberry shows no signs of slowing down with the launch of their new Winter Storms campaign. Check out this immaculate new ad for Burberry, shot by incredible London photographer Jacob Sutton. I shot a TopMan campaign with him earlier this year, and he’s just a lovely, down to earth guy, as well as being a brilliant photographer. He’s now shooting regularly for British Vogue and is behind the new campaign for Burberry’s Beat fragrance. I’m thrilled he’s doing so well – if anyone deserves it, he does.

As always Burberry is blowing me away with their iconic take on classic British fashion. As an added bonus the songs in their campaigns stay in your head for days! Enjoy.

Gina Brooke for Intraceuticals

Gina BrookeI had heard whispers about this amazing skin treatment for a while, a treatment that firms the skin and gives it that radiant glow that you get if you’re a newborn, or a celebrity. Then when I heard Madonna’s makeup artist, Gina Brooke, was in town with her role as Brand Ambassador for that amazing oxygen facial, I had to find out more. I have long been an admirer of Gina’s work, so I was completely intrigued to meet her in person.

Gina’s work speaks for itself – she has worked with Madonna now for a number of years, creating her latest iconic looks from her Reinvention Tour in 2003 to Hard Candy in 2008. Now in between working with Madonna she is booked solidly around the world handling big campaigns and other celebrity clientele (the day I saw her, she was about to fly out and give David Beckham a touch of the Gina Brooke magic).

Part of her magic is the new Australian treatment, called Intraceuticals, for which she is Brand Ambassador. And the reason why she’s Brand Ambassador? Because it works. After she started using the treatment on jobs, her bookings went through the roof. Ad campaigns, beauty campaigns, other A-listers – everyone wanted to try this new miracle treatment that makes your skin look like it’s had new life literally breathed into it.

Intraceuticals Infusion is a beauty treatment unlike any other that uses therapeutic grade oxygen and Hyaluronic Acid, an ingredient naturally found in the skin, to deliver specialized active serums to the skin. It makes skin noticeably brighter, firmer and tighter, lifting and sculpting and improving the surface so that makeup glides on. After my treatment I couldn’t stop looking at myself (not my usual M.O), and I’ve been raving about it to anyone who will listen (and when you tell them it’s Madonna’s skin secret, believe me, people are interested!)

In addition to the salon-based facials, there is now an at-home range of products that build on the same principles of hyaluronic layering. They can be used either in conjunction with their facials or at home on their own as a skincare regime. What I love about the treatment is that it’s non-invasive (no needles, no fillers), but gives results that you very rarely get without a more aggressive approach. All the ingredients are the finest grade possible, and it mixes the frontier of modern science with natural ingredients like Vitamins A and C, aloe vera and green tea.

I also really like that makeup can be applied straight away – there is no downtime, and your skin looks amazing as soon as the facial is finished, and makeup goes on like a dream. I’m definitely going to be carrying the products in my kit to deal with clients who have skin that needs a little something. The only drawback for me was that it doesn’t contain SPF, but with specialized treatments like this one it can be very difficult to synthesise the SPF into it so both the SPF and the active ingredients are working effectively. And it’s just a matter of applying a good sunscreen under your makeup – something everyone should be doing as a matter of course!

People with eczema, rosacea and acne can all benefit from it as it reduces the capillaries and drastically improves the texture. So many facials mean you have to be locked away like The Bride of Frankenstein until your skin subsides, but I was able to be photographed next to Gina, who has to be one of the world’s most gorgeous women, makeup-free straight after my treatment, and feel confident I wouldn’t scare the children.

In person, Gina Brooke is impossibly gorgeous – so flawless and perfect she almost doesn’t look real. Huge blue-green eyes (not unlike a certain client of hers!), lashes for days and skin – well, let’s just say the treatment speaks for itself. And she’s NICE. Sometimes when you meet someone of her stature, with an A-list clientele, they aren’t that nice – but she makes you feel like the only person in the room.

I consider her one of the beauty mavericks, in that she is always seeking solutions for how to improve her work. About 6 years ago she was wanting to improve the texture of client’s skin so that makeup went on smoother, and looked more flawless. But it had to be immediate. A friend told her about a new Australian oxygen skin treatment, and once she tried it, she was hooked. So was Madonna when Gina introduced her. And now other celebrities like Naomi Campbell, Anne Hathaway and Eva Longoria use it before their big appearances to give them red carpet results.

For more information, visit www.intraceuticals.com
Follow them on Twitter: @intraceuticals

Intraceuticals Infusions can be found in London at Chelsea Day Spa
In LA at Terri Lawton
In Sydney at Wild Orchid, Double Bay