I dare you not to dance when you hear the new version of CHIC’s disco classic, “I’ll Be There”, which has been directed by famed photographer duo, Inez and Vinoodh – and if you’re a fan of Paris Vogue as I am, you’ll know their work from every recent issue of the magazine. (This month has an absolutely gorgeous 70’s disco spread in it, so they’re on a bit of a roll with that theme).
The incredibly lovely model Karlie Kloss provides the eye candy and I also dare you to not enrol immediately in an abs class at your local gym after seeing her floor-based disco moves. Trying on sequinned mini-dresses never looked that good.
Can I just say whoever came up with this is a genius. So, so clever, and one of those why didn’t anyone think of this before items? It’s a palm-sized mat of corrugated rubber that you use when you wash your brushes, and it’s a life-changer (well it is if you wash about 500 brushes a week. You know who you are!)
Being a makeup artist, you get to clean brushes. A lot. As in, after every single job. We all have different ways to do it – using soaps or special alcohol cleansers, drying on radiators or in the sun, hanging off the edge of tables and using special organic shampoo or conditioner when you want to give them a bit of extra love. No matter how you do it, it always has to be done, and done well, since dirty brushes are a health hazard, make you want to gag, and as the French say, c’est pas possible.
So anything that makes your brush-washing life easier is PRETTY damn exciting let me tell you, and in hundreds of years of brush washing, nothing has come along to make it easier, apart from armies of assistants.
Basically you whack the Sigma mat in the bottom of the sink, wet your dirty brush and tromp your dirty brush down on it. Give it a 2 second wiggle and it’s clean. I’m not kidding. It leaves your brushes softer, cleaner and speeds up the process by I would say conservatively, about 30%. When you have 200 brushes to wash after a 14 hour day, they are precious seconds that could be spent sleeping! And you can use your usual shampoo or soap concoction on your brushes as normal. The mat has 7 different texture areas on it to get the dirt out of every brush, from synthetic to natural fibres, from big brushes to your tiniest detail or liner brushes.
And if you’re assisting right now and brush washing pretty much IS your life, you need to buy one of these before you finish this post. You can thank me later…
PS Holy crap! It costs $32 which is an awful lot for a piece of rubber. However if you valued out the time you save by shortening your brush washing time, it would quickly pay for itself. Just think of it as a yoga mat for your brushes.
Also strangely the only one I can find online is a large mat, whereas the one I have is a mini and is perfect for cleaning all my brushes. Let me know in the comments please if you find a link to where you can get the mini!
I’m loving this exclusive new beauty series on Net-a-Porter’s The Edit from celebrity makeup artist Kay Montano and gorgeous actress Thandie Newton. Since Sunday was International Women’s Day, what better way to celebrate it than with a couple of the coolest feminists I know?
Net-a-Porter is obviously the most gorgeous fashion site on the internet, and The Edit is their online weekly fashion magazine. (Can we also please talk about the ridiculously amazing Porter magazine for a moment? It’s currently the most beautiful fashion magazine in the world, to my mind. It’s the only magazine I buy in hard physical form anymore, as all my regular subscriptions I now buy on the iPad. My bookshelves are positively groaning under the weight of ancient Numeros and Paris Vogues, and there came a time when I had to go digital. Possibly the time when my husband said he would divorce me if he had to move five massive bookshelves full of magazines again? It might have been around then.) There’s just something about Porter magazine – every shoot and every page is consistently so beautiful that I just can’t resist it. But I digress!
Kay Montano and Thandie Newton are not only close friends, they have worked together for many years and Kay has been responsible for many of Thandie’s greatest makeup hits on the red carpet over the years. Thandie is no slouch in the makeup department when left Kay-less however, busting out a gorgeous prune smoky eye on her own for the Oscars a couple of weeks ago. So between them, what they don’t know about makeup basically isn’t worth knowing. They have made a new series of films for Net-a Porter’s The Edit to demystify and reveal the truth about creating beauty perfection.
From assisting Kay I know both of them well enough to say that I can’t think of two better women to empower you through makeup – brilliantly intelligent, erudite, funny, and they really do believe in female empowerment, whether it’s through makeup or loftier ways.
Since they know as much about concealer as Stephen Hawking knows about particle acceleration (although not sure how they’d feel about being called ‘The Stephen Hawkings of makeup’?) they can seriously teach you a thing or two. Plus it’s a great excuse to log onto Net-a-Porter’s beauty section and see what’s new. You know you’re always going to find some tasty beauty treats when they have brands like Hourglass, Chantecaille, RMS Beauty, Charlotte Tilbury, Ellis Faas and now Illamasqua on their beauty roster.
You must also check out Thandie and Kay’s brilliant blog, Thandiekay.com. This week’s post is a look at the current increase in diversity on the catwalk and the best beauty read I’ve had in awhile.
Since London Fashion Week has just wrapped up, I couldn’t resist a quick BTS video of Burberry’s Creative Director, Wendy Rowe giving us a run-down on this season’s look, which is a lived-in smoky eye. So up my alley!
It’s the beginning of a new year, which can only mean one thing – you thought I was going to say “Detox Time” or “New Year New You” or some such, didn’t you? No – it means new cosmetics contracts for some of my favourite makeup artists! It’s always good to see some new blood coming into the brands – different artists bring different perspectives and create more products for us to love in the coming year. I don’t know about you but my kit could do with a few new colours and formulas.
Andrew Gallimore is the new UK Brand Ambassador for NARS
I was thrilled to see that London makeup artist, Andrew Gallimore, has just signed a contract with NARS and will be their UK Makeup Artist Ambassador. Andrew is an extraordinary makeup artist (his new makeup book with Rankin came out a month or so ago, and it really is incredible).
I was lucky enough to assist him in London for awhile and he’s not only a fabulous artist, he’s just an all round bloody lovely guy. Funny, charming, very calm and one of the most creative makeup artists I know, so I was always thrilled to assist him – you never knew what the day would bring!
And I think we all know by now how I feel about NARS – always a staple in my kit it has consistently amazing colours and is constantly innovating new concepts and formulas. Whether you want to do a totally tonal nude-on-nude makeup or a full-on Studio 54 extravaganza, NARS can take you there.
Lisa Eldridge is the Creative Director at Lancôme
Starting the new year off with a bang, lovely London makeup artist Lisa Eldridge has been signed by Lancôme as the their new Creative Director. With previous contracts at No 7 and Chanel under her belt and a global audience of fans who adore her weekly YouTube tutorials, Lisa is a great choice for Lancôme.
Lancôme first started their “celebrity’ makeup artist Creative Directors with Gucci Westman a few years ago, (she’s now at Revlon), followed by the wonderful Aaron de Mey (now Creative Director at Sephora). Given I’ve been loving some of the new Lancôme products I’ve been using recently (Flash Bronzer and the Rouge in Love lipsticks, anyone?), I can’t wait to see what Lisa and Lancôme come up with.
Florrie White – UK Colour Artist for Clinique
This happened late last year but with all the kerfuffle with my house move I didn’t get time to tell you. Florrie is another fantastic artist I used to assist in London and her polished, perfect editorial has to be seen to be believed.
As well as being a Vogue regular she’s been working more and more of late with celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Alexa Chung and on the global press film circuit with Rosamund Pike and Emily Blunt. (In fact, she just did Rosamund Pike’s makeup at this week’s BAFTA Awards in London). She’ll be a wonderful brand ambassador for Clinique as Florrie has an instinctive understanding of what makes a woman look beautiful, and a cool London sensibility honed by many years in the fashion trenches.
Clinique is probably the first brand I got massively into as a teenager – that 3-step system! – and I almost overdosed on their mint green and silver packaging back in the day. I’m still a regular user of their Airbrush Concealer, the Glossy mascara, and I love their lipsticks and blushes. The colours are flattering and wearable and their new Chubby Stick range is amazing.
So keep an eye on these brands – they’ll probably be the next ones with things you covet for your kit.
Tom Ford has been at it again, creating high glamour, super sexy products that make you want to Collect Them All. It might take you awhile though with his latest lipstick collection called Lips and Boys – which features 50 (50!!) miniature lipsticks in a dazzling array of colours. From violets to perfect nudes, golden metallics to classic reds this collection has literally any colour that a girl could want. And why boys? Well they’re named after men that have inspired Tom Ford in his life, which is super-cute I have to say. And about the only reason I would wear a lipstick called Collin.