Favorite backstage beauty spies for LFW

New York Fashion Week is a big old corporate production. It's slick and shiny and expertly packaged. London Fashion Week is a different kettle of fish. There's more indie goodness, it's a bit more interesting and individual. All four fashion weeks are great to get an idea of what sort of cosmetics we'll probably be wearing in the next 9 months.

But I like LFW for the coolest beauty inspiration... apparently this fall we'll be back to burgundy lipstick (thank goodness I still have my Revlon in Black Cherry) and in poufy hair with headbands.

My favorite sites to follow the fun:

Stylist Magazine's backstage beauty blog (images above from this fab blog)

TopShop Inside Out

The amazing Fashion Week microsite on Asos.com

Grazia, of course

And here is a quick and sexy roundup of backstage beauty at NYFW. Thinking the 'Apres-Sex' look at Michael Kors is my favorite. Flushed and mussed and glowy. All good.

Beautiful carnage... Publican Quality Meats


I am very much not a meat lover.

A dabbler when I've had a glass of wine.

And I eat bacon like it's going out of fashion, but bacon, as we know, isn't really meat... it's crack. Meat crack, some sort of irresistible savory goodness that I can eat by the packet without remorse.

Don't get me wrong. I wish I were a meat eater, asking for my meat 'bloody' when out to dinner or sucking marrow out of bones. Really do and contrary to all the vegetarian stuff out there (and my leafy leanings) I don't think a bit of good-quality meat is bad for you at all.

But I'm squeamish like a picky two year-old. It's embarrassing. I dry heaved the only time I tried eating chicken off the bone. Same with ribs. I can eat cured meats if I don't think to hard about it or get a big, juicy bit of grizzle lodged between my teeth, which just causes a total melt down. By me. A grown woman.

But I am fascinated with the look of meat. Always have been.

I could stare at its marbled surface all day.

It's beautiful.

The reds and whites all swirling around. Flecks of dark purple and glossy surface...

Cuts of meat are always my favorite parts of old still life paintings. Always. I fantasize about what Henry VIII's banquet table must have looked like.

So... I was walking home from the most glamorous of glamorous errands today (dropping the car at the mechanic) when I stumbled onto Publican Quality Meats, which had opened this very afternoon. It's a high-quality butcher, the kind that are commonplace in places like London, all of France and Italy... 

They do not, for the most part, exist in the states in such abundance. Foodies will travel from far and wide to visit them when they do exist. Because, while we do corporate food systems like nobody else, we do not have a knack for small-scale, high-quality meats.

Publican Quality Meats is the London-France-Italy-style butcher, with heaps and mounds of speckled sausages, duck confit in glistening fat still in the enameled dish... all piled up and stewn with paper labels letting you know what each is. 

The shelves against the windows carry sundry staples and crates litter the floor with rustic bread loaves.

Clean white tiles are punctuated with blue and in the back is a freezer with high-quality dairy and stocks to purchase alongside a set of blonde wood tables where you can have lunch or a coffee.

It could be all set pieces (that's another thing we're good at over here... making just stuff look authentic) but it's not. It feels like they've tried to create something real that's simply been absent from this part of the world but genuinely should (and probably once did) exist here and still does elsewhere. And thank goodness.

I'm ready to get cuts of meat, when I get the courage to cook it, from some place other than the heaving counter at the mega grocery store, where it always smells faintly of sour milk, even at pristine Whole Foods. And I'm looking forward to a coffee in a place that doesn't have another identical shop just 200 feet away (although I do love La Colombe, which recently opened in the same neighborhood).

This was supposed to be a post with a few beautiful (in my opinion) pictures accompanied by the phrase 'just opened' but I couldn't help myself. I'm not a foodie and not a meat connoisseur but I do like lovely, genuinely interesting places that have a sense of purpose and good design.

This seems to be one.  

FROM THE FRONT | Kaia Gerber (Cindy Crawford's kid) starts modeling...

image cred

Kaia Gerber is 10.

She looks older.

She reminds me of Brooks Shields in those Calvin Klein ads in the '80s (Google it if you're so young you think the '80s are just a fashion trend from 2009) in terms of how sophisticated her beauty is for someone who only a decade ago was in her mom's belly! Whoa...

Which leads me to sort of thinking that 10 is still very young to start modeling.

Most models you meet will reflect on their early days of modelling as a young teenager and regale with horror stories of lecherous photographers, degrading casting calls, starving, lecherous men at clubs, lecherous men, well, everywhere, etc.

But something in me thinks that Cindy surely won't just let her daughter go into it with blinders on. That would be reckless and I'd bet that Cindy's not a 'roll the dice with my daughter's sanity and well-being' kinda lady. Not even for a few bucks from Versace... you know, because she's hurting so bad for the cash, right?

Kaia is wearing flats and sensible (ish) clothing. And she is the daughter of the first real supermodel (Slurring something into a camera lens enough times doesn't make it true, Janice Dickinson)... and a smokin' hot man so she can't really help that, even at 10, she's quite beautiful.

And, let's be honest, the poor lamb's been photographed her whole life by the smarmy paparazzi. 

And don't you think the above shot is better than dressing up your underage spawn as jailbait:

Noah Cyrus, younger sibbling of Miley Cyrusimage cred

Jesus... costume or not, I'd vomit a little in my mouth if I saw a grown woman wearing this out on Slutoween, let alone a child. CHILD.

There seems to be a bit of discontent on the interwebs about the Kaia thing. I don't think I see any huge problem of judgement on Cindy's behalf, considering where and who her daughter comes from (supermodel+hot dude in SoCal already in the spot light thanks to the telephoto lens) and, realistically, what trajectory her professional life was going to take.

Probably wasn't going to be a barista after a 6-year stint at ASU, was she?

What do you think?

Holiday weekend in pictures

Fingers cross we can barbeque (or at least there's no rain for the EBC summer party tonight)... wearing my new Vivienne Westwood Anglomania Arianna stripped dress all the time since nabbing it on the NAP sale last week... topping up my Ortanic airbrush tan with Clarins Delectable Self-Tanning Mousse... fixing the flat tire on my bicycle so I can use it... rocking an orange manicure courtesy of my little sister Kristin at Spa Space, doing some home DIY (installing peg board wall, hanging door and towel rack...)... watching a lovable mutt... making blueberry no-bake energy bars from YumUniverse.

Good Web Guide's best beauty blogs

WE WANT to share this great little bit of recognition from the Good Web Guide more for the other amazing beauty blogs it's brought to our attention than for the fact that it included us.

We already know about British Beauty Blogger who has, I think, the biggest following among beauty blogs in the UK (at least among beauty bloggers who aren't also vloggers, because you know the Pixiwoos and Lisa Eldridge are tops in that separate category. Her no-bullshit speak about things she does and doesn't like is refreshing, as is the fact that she both brings up hard-to-broach topics and things that might be less-than flattering for her (e.g. the nasty comment community that thrives at Yahoo to which she was subjected) in a no-holds-barred approach to writing beauty. She's real and thorough and expert and loads of fun to read.

A Touch of Blusher has been my go-to source for years for news and info about Asian beauty brands and rightfully so as it seems to be the expert on such things. Rock on, PJ.

Cult Beauty I know about because, um, I co-founded it and convinced my ex-biz partners that the site needed editorial content alongside an e-shop. So it always feels good to see that included on a list (like I've been listed twice!).

But the exciting part? Four new, beautiful blogs on my favourite subject that'll be included in my regular reading rotation. Check them out:

Into The Gloss

Found, Beautiful

The Truth About Beauty

The Beauty Bite

FROM THE FRONT | Starting TODAY get free goodies by becoming Target's Number One Beauty Fan

From today, you can load a video about why you're Target's Number One beauty fan to the Target Style Facebook page. The top 20 videos win a Target gift card (which will no doubt be spent snapping up Sonia Kashuk makeup sponges... on par with the Beauty Blender). The 4 finalists in that group of 20 will get even more gift cards to spend at Target.

Find out more here.

PS: Aren't the illustrations on the Target Style FB page gorgeous? Love them.

GIVE | The only Japan relief fashion item I'd ever buy

THE DAILY MAIL, in a bit of accidentally lucid writing, published a piece on all the new products being brough to market at break-neck speed to support Japan post-tsunami and earthquake. The accidentally lucid part? Revealing just how much PROFIT is being made in the effort. Shame on you Rebecca Minkoff. You and Rodarte are clearly drinking the same kool-aid.

Some are donating all proceeds from the bumpf they're selling, like Stephanie Giamatti. Good on her. Some of the commentators complain that places like Haiti are still in dire straights and why aren't there more things being brought to market for them. Um... earth to the hermits. 24-hour news cycle, sadly, means that if it's not absolutely novel it's not worth talking about because it doesn't make money. Tis the way it is. Japan is new although it's shocking how quickly it's fading from the headlines. However, Haiti, with regards to this post, is neither here nor there.

You can donate money directly to the relief effort as well: "Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation and support our disaster relief efforts to help those affected by the earthquake in Japan and tsunami throughout the Pacific." It shows up on your next phone bill.

Here are my requirements to buy any of the bumpf in support the relief effort. It HAS to give 100% of the PROCEEDS (and we really mean it... no creative interpretation of the word 'proceeds' and skimming a bunch off for 'overhead' costs before sending a miniscule amount as your 'proceeds') to help Japan. It has to be something useful or that I'll wear (why buy junk that'll just clutter and pollute the earth). And it has to go to a charity I don't think wastes too much money on admin (a shocking 80%, on average, of the money donated to a charity goes to running it rather than being used for the purpose you think you're donating to).

So I love and will order Opening Ceremony's Red Cross Japan Tee. They say "100% of the profits made from the sale of this t-shirt go to the American Red Cross". Did you read that, Minkoff? They even link right to the Red Cross site in case you'd rather make a direct donation. 

Opening Ceremony Red Cross Japan Tee

FROM THE FRONT | Sephora Collection Skincare

SEPHORA IS the Shangri-la of beauty in most of its markets. The Champs-Élysées boutique is a subterranean wonder. Union Square, though diminutive in floor plan, is expansive in its offering.

The brand is also pretty good at duping all sorts of amazing cosmetics and beauty tools, with a solid following for said tools, many of its color cosmetics and, recently, its more foundational items (primer, makeup fixant, wrinkle filler et al) in the gun metal gray containers in the end-of-aisle displays.

I've heard not just a few of the smaller brands stocked by Sephora grumble that once they're actually in the door and on the shelf, there is a lurking fear that their products' doppelgangers will one day end up on Sephora's own brand display. That said, I think they do a good job of differentiating their own brand stuff, in look at least, from the brands they currently stock. [If any brands disagree, EMAIL ME and let me know!]

 

Sephora's new skincare offering reminds me of a mash-up, in appearance, of a few other beauty brands but I can't think of them off the top of my head. Ole Henriksen? Murad? The collection, named hydrosenn+ after the trademarked hero ingredient HydroSenn+™ (apparently 'a breakthrough plant-derived hydrator') has fourteen SKUs.

The micro anti-ageing range has 4 SKUs within that 14, including a serum -- the must-have beauty product category of the year (and possibly next few years as I don't see anything to rival it on the horizon).

I give the brand credit, though.

These new products -- like the serum -- are free from ingredients that regular feature on big-box beauty labels, including parabens, sulfates, phthalates, GMOs and triclosan. That said, many things still crop up that aren't entirely savory. That said, I'm not expecting raw, organic, hand-picked blah blah blah beauty here. Nor should you. It's minimum input for maximum profit. That's how most of beauty works. Lots of cheap fillers, a few actives (whether or not they're in active amounts or states in said product) to highlight on the label and on the market they go.

[If you're curious about what goes into your beauty products and don't understand what something is when reading the ingredient list, don't just sit there! Be proactive. Copy the word and Google it. There are heaps of independent, reputable sites that will tell you what it is, why it's used in personal care products and if there are studies backing up the claims that it's safe/unsafe, etc.]

The products come in innovative packaging -- airless pumps, face wipes, roller ball applicators, pads -- as well as the usual jars and tubes.

Prices range from $7 to $32, so on the affordable end of the spectrum.

Check out the whole collection below.

 

1.
Supreme Cleansing Foam $15
A foam that removes makeup and cleanses the complexion in one simple step.

2.
Instant Moisturizer $20
An intensive moisturizer, radiance booster, and wrinkle fighter.

3.
Flawless Moisturizing Lotion SPF 15 $22
An exceptional daytime moisturizing lotion.

4.
Age Defy Moisture Cream SPF 15 $30
A complete antiaging treatment and day cream.

5.
Instant Depuffing Roll-On Gel $15
A de-puffing eye gel that instantly leaves eyes looking fresher and brighter.

6.
Age Defy Eye Cream $24
A complete eye cream that fights puffiness, dark circles, and crow's feet.

7.
Super Loaded Age Defy Serum  $32
An ultra-moisturizing serum to firm skin and fight wrinkles.

8.
Smart Dual Action Exfoliator $24
A facial exfoliator with two textured creams in one jar.

9.
Express Cleansing Wipes $9
A packet of biodegradable, pre-moistened wipes for cleansing the face, eyes, and lips.

10. Instant Eye Makeup Remover $8.50
A refreshing eye makeup remover gentle enough for contact wearers and those with sensitive eyes.

11.
Eye Makeup Removing Pads $9
Pre-moistened pads that remove makeup while strengthening and moisturizing lashes.

12.
Instant Refreshing Toner $12
A hydrating mist that refreshes and tones skin after makeup removal.

13.
Nourishing Hand Cream $7
A three-in-one cream for hands, nails, and cuticles.

14.
Super Supreme Body Butter  $25
An ultra-rich body cream that provides intensive hydration.

FROM THE FRONT | Cosmetics at Kew

Image via Wealden Times

Being a garden and beauty nerd myself, this is a lecture I am dying to attend.

As per the Kew Gardens website:

"Professor Monique Simmonds, head of Kew's Sustainable Uses of Plants Group, talks about the use of plants and fungi in the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.

After completing her PhD at Birkbeck College, University of London in 1985, Professor Monique Simmonds joined the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and currently holds the position of Deputy Keeper & Head of the Sustainable Uses of Plants Group. In addition, she heads the Kew Innovation Unit.

During her career at Kew, Monique has and continues to co-ordinate research into the economic uses of plants and fungi, their potential as cosmetics, pharmaceutical and agrochemical leads, and as sources of sustainably harvested medicines."

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