Archive for September, 2011

September 29, 2011

Burberry Beauty – Now At Saks!!!

Beautiful Burberry

Introduced at Nordstrom and Harrod’s this past fall, Burberry Beauty has quickly become my favorite cosmetics brand.  From the second I saw the introduction advertisement with three glowing, porcelain finished, smoky-eyed models; it was love at first sight.  Being such a big fan of the brand and all things anglophile it was hardly a surprise I would want to try their beauty products, but would I really love them when I used them?  Well, yes as a matter of fact I do, and after a year of using the products I am very nearly exclusively a Burberry girl.  As with all things that I fall in love with, there is the fear they will not last, so imagine how happy I was to see the brand is now being carried at Saks as well – another important conquest in the retail world – Hurrah!!!!

Since the demise of Prescriptives, I had been going through a less-than-fabulous trial of new products over the past two years, trying to find the perfect foundation products to replace my beloved custom-blended foundation and powder.  It’s tough – I am so fair as to be quite nearly blue, my skin really doesn’t like or need a heavy foundation, and a little glow is a must.  It was a somewhat expensive period of trial and error – some foundations too opaque, tinted moisturizers too sheer, colors that looked great in the store mirrors but in the light of day were waaayyyy off (Can we say OC orange? Or jaundice yellow anyone?  How about a vaguely greenish one? – no really, I mean green).  And don’t even get me started on the glow factor – shiny, sparkly, or weird iridescence that looked like fish skin – yikes!  I was pretty much over it all, so seeing those lovely English Rose models was a moment of inspiration – here was a brand that should really understand how to work with pasty, pale skin, right? Absolutely!  Their luminous foundation/skin glow/power products give me a terrific base to work from and suit my complexion well – and they are light weight and buildable, so they adjust coverage easily.

Pleased with my first products I was quick to try the others and was not disappointed.  Nearly every product was better than the last.  I adore their mascara as it has just the right texture, and this fall they introduced a new color called Midnight Blonde, that isn’t black, isn’t brown but IS perfect for everyday.  The eye shadows are butter soft and blend like a dream while managing not to fade, and they have been designed to be used both dry and wet for deeper color.  The pencils are smooth without being too smudgy; in fact I love the eye pencils so much I have acquired FOUR colors already – way beyond my typical black of days past.  I even like their lip products and I am not generally a big fan of lippy in any form – gloss, stick, etc… However I am finding I love the lip gloss and may even learn to love the lipsticks as the colors are good, the textures nice, they smell good without being overwhelming and they last astonishingly well. 

Burberry is rolling out the products in phases, so the number of product types is small and there are some key items such as concealer that haven’t been released yet.  They also keep a very moderate and focused color palette, with natural and smoky shades that reflect the brand’s modern yet classic vibe.  Some women may not love the limited selection, but for those of us who tend to become befuddled at the MAC counter, it is a god-send!  After all, how many browns can a girl own?  No…wait…don’t answer that…I know first hand – waaayyyy too many to make any sense at all.

The packaging is achingly chic – weighty, sharply square, and modern in Burberry plaid etched gun metal grey.  They all sport excellent closures including clever magnetic closures for the lipsticks and eye shadows, and come with little plaid etched black velvet slips to keep everything nice.  The brushes are divine, and while they have only introduced four so far – a stellar Kabuki brush for powder and three great eye brushes – I have them all and cannot wait for more. 

These lovely goodies are not cheap with single eye shadows and lipsticks and glosses running in the $27 to $30 range, in line with Dior, Trish McEvoy and the like.  However, the simply gorgeous packaging coupled with the quality of the products makes using these products feel special every time you open them, so you feel like you really have gotten your money’s worth.  With my “TRY to have just a bit less, but make sure it is the very best” approach these products are a perfect fit and I have significantly reduced the total number of products in my make-up wardrobe. 

And now for the confession: yes, I did have to go and get the Burberry make up bags to match.  I really had to, it just didn’t seem right to keep these gorgeous goodies in an elderly Kate Spade bag.  So they now travel in style tucked inside super chic black and grey Burberry Beat Check and black patent trimmed bags to match my big travel tote.  The coordinated treasures make my little OCD heart simply sing and I have both simplified and glamorized my make up routine all in one go!

September 19, 2011

Snippets – Paying It Forward, Isabella Fiore and Fashion TV

Snippets – a curated collections of bits I wanted to share…

Paying It Forward Is Always Stylish. 

October presents several opportunities in the LA area to help great causes, here are two that are near and dear to me:

First, the Boy Scouts of America Los Angeles Council is holding an event called “Over The Edge” October 7.  This event is a little bit like a walk-a-thon, but waaayyyy more adventurous and exciting as participants will be rappelling from the roof of the Bonaventure Hotel in downtown LA.  Among the participants will be one of my best and most stylish friends, Kimberley Lathrop.  You can sponsor her at

Second, the Citadel Outlets, located near LA, are hosting their sixth annual Shopping Extravaganza event October 22 from 9 am to 9 pm.  The event includes Lunch and Wine Tasting, goodie bag, exclusive discounts to the Citadel stores, entertainment, and prizes.  Tickets are just $20 and 100% of all ticket sales benefit local charities, including Concept 7, where I volunteer.  Concept 7 is a foster family and adoption agency helping at-risk children, teens and transitional age youth in Southern California, for more info on Concept 7 go to  More information on the event and ticket sales can be found at   

Isabella Fiore is back. 

This handbag and shoe designer was gone for several years and only a diffusion line, Fiore, was available at QVC.  But I.F. is back and can be found at Bloomingdales, no less.  This line tends to be a bit quirky, with tones of detail – embroidery, ruffles, bows, mixed media, paint, print, and many influences (Southwest, rocker, eastern, you name it!) and many items are way way over done.  However through the years I have found one or two real gems among all the noisy bits.  I have an East-West bag in black with interesting ruffled detail from quite a few years back that I find I pull out season after season.  Its fun, it’s a great size and it has a timeless trendiness to it that is hard not to love.  This season I found this adorable Bow bag and it is winging its way to me as I write this.  This took some chasing down as I first saw it online at Bloomies and when I went back for it a few weeks later it was GONE!  I can see why, with the mixed neutral colors giving it a timeless quality, the adorable perforated leather bow, and the shoulder strap plus handled satchel style, it’s a true winner. 

Fall Fashion TV worth seeing. 

For those of us who need our fashion fixes, this fall is giving us some great options in TV form.  Project Runway soldiers on, with a lot of drama but not much of the fashion variety.  Blah fashion or not, I still love this show and can’t wait for each episode to see the design process in action and I enjoy the great witty input from the always charming Tim Gunn and zingy Michael Kors.  What Not To Wear is in new episodes and as good as ever, as is The Rachel Zoe Project which I tend to watch for the fierce fashion tidbits sprinkled among all the boring Drahmah (which I fast-forward through).  This season is better as one of the key story lines is the launch of her fabulous line, again more tedious drama, but her line – what can I say?  I die! It is truly Bah-nan-nas.  

As fall progresses we are getting some even better goodies – as hot on the heels of Project Runway will be Project Runway Accessories.  And even better, Project Runway All Stars, which features a cast of previous finalists who were nearly all my favorites, and will have the ever-chic and amusing Joanna Coles (Nina Garcia’s boss over at Marie Claire) as mentor– I can only say YAY!  Over on Bravo another Project Runway grad, Chris March will be featured on a new series – Mad Fashion.  While Chris is most known for his crazy extreme work for stage and screen, which will be featured on Mad Fashion, he is mad talented as well in other design arenas and very droll, so it will be great fun to see him do his thing.  Lastly November brings the second season of All On The Line – where Elle’s Joe Zee helps fashion lines take their businesses to the next level.  I LOVE Joe and LOVE this new show.  All in all some fashion content that will be well worth tuning in and Tivo-ing as fall progresses.

September 14, 2011

Fantasy Fashion Week – Part 2

M and M Fashion Week

The real New York Fashion Week is winding down, but Fantasy Fashion Week is still going strong! 

As I explained in my last post, since we couldn’t go toNew Yorkwe decided a little fashion fun at home was in order.  My fiance’s daughter Megan and I did some September issue perusing and decided on what we would wear if we were there – eight front-row ready day looks, three cocktail ensembles and one gala outfit – best of all, no budget!  I won’t share everything we picked out, I will be using some of our finds in upcoming posts covering Fall 2011 but I will share a few of the highlights.    

Megan started off conservatively, with some cute pieces from mainstream retailers and designers, but as she delved deeper into Vogue she really got into the fantasy, selecting classic shapes, but with some zing, such as this dynamite black and red Diane Von Furstenberg dress.  She added in great pattern and texture – pairing these Jackson Pollock-esque sandals from Bottega-Veneta with the golden cocktail dress from Lanvin, popping Dolce and Gabbana’s star-bedecked navy chiffon dress with a pair of bright yellow Giuseppe Zanotti sandals, and picking a truly stunning textured Elie Saab gown for her gala look – simply fab!   

This fall’s offerings are clearly up Megan’s alley – the girl seriously rocks the retro lady-like look and she loves polka dots – so she had a ball choosing pieces from Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton.  Big favorites included a cream pencil skirt with black polka dots by Marc Jacobs, sensational Bally Mary Janes, and a powder blue Derek Lam pea coat that could go lady-like or mod depending on her mood.  (She loved the Derek Lam piece so much we may have to hunt down a fast-fashion version for her later this season!) This season’s “it” bag is the satchel, which really suits her casual style and practical sensibilities, and when you do it in a luscious cognac suede like the one from Proenza Schouler or the deep green leather of Fendi, , well she simply can’t resist and selected several different bags for our week.

There was definitely an evolution – starting with pencil skirts and sweet chiffon Louis Vuitton day dress in a pale shade and moving to a deep blue Boss shredded hem mini dress, an adorable Sretsis belted dress with an ombre night sky motif, and another Lanvin cocktail dress in chocolate knit with a black asymmetric neck detail.  Shoes started with demurely chic round-toe pumps in nude patent and black suede but progressed to the rocking Zanotti’s and a great pair by Nicholas Ghesquière for Balenciaga (I really LOVE Balenciaga’s shoes).   Go girl! 

For myself, well I usually tend towards the European Designers but since the fantasy was to go to the New York Fashion Week I challenged myself to select looks from the American Designers.  The fur cuffs on this Carolina Herrera outfit coupled with my beloved wide-leg pants was pure heaven, very 1940’s screen star.  I think the colors, while very elegant, do look just the tiniest bit bland so I imagine I would add a bit of color and/or shine with the bag and shoes – perhaps a soft metallic or a deep colored patent such as wine or teal.  I loved the fun that Alexander Wang had with metallic patent, like these loafers and his structural bags and thought they were great options to pair up with this terrific grey Oscar de la Renta dress, which while it has great detail might otherwise get a bit drab and frumpy without a bit of kick.   

I also chose a “dotty” pencil skirt, mine being a different Marc Jacobs number in black with the polka dot panel, but couldn’t see myself in head-to-toe dots by wearing it with the matching top as it was shown with on the runway.  Instead I would pick a sleek black jacket with a peplum to keep the 40’s vibe going and wear a bold red shoe like these great suede ones from Dolce and Gabbana. 

The American-only restriction turned out to be a bigger challenge than I thought – most of the American casualness or flashy glam wasn’t what I was craving for sitting front row until I landed on Oscar de la Renta and then – ta da!  His clothes have the feel I was looking for and there were some beautiful choices for evening and gala too.  My favorite cocktail look was this lace jumpsuit.  So fun! 

While not as much fun as a trip toNew York, I really enjoyed the burst of fashion immersion that our fantasy activity provided.  It was wonderful to play “what if”, and think about how all these pieces could come together.  Now I have a much better feel for what looks I really do love from this season and how I may incorporate some of them into my own wardrobe.  Next year my goal is to get more folks involved in Fantasy Fashion week – maybe even have some sort of girl-bonding event….stay tuned!

September 11, 2011

Fantasy Fashion Week – Part 1


For many folks September heralds the start of totting up points/yards/tackles of their favorite NFL players and watching how their fantasy team is doing.  For Fashionistas September means the September Issues, New York Fashion Week and Fashion’s Night Out – the shopping event now celebrated not only in NYC, but in cities, malls and websites throughout the US. 

Since going to New Yorkfor Fashion Week clearly wasn’t in the cards I decided to invite my fiance’s daughter Megan to join me for a game of “Fantasy Fashion Week”.  How to play the game?  Review the Fall 2011 collections and select eight day looks for the front rows, three cocktail outfits, and one gala look.  While there are no points, weighting or winners, there are also no budgets or rules, just some fantasizing and fashion fun. 

On our soggy Labor Day afternoon we sat ourselves down with the mammoth stack of September issues and the Fashion Week show schedule for further inspiration.    I will be sharing what we came up with for our Fashion week in the next several articles, but first up – Fashion Night Out!  

I had planned on heading to SouthCoastPlaza for Fashion Night Out – invitations to the Chanel, Valentino and Burberry boutiques in hand, but had a little change of plans.  Undeterred I went to plan B – Fashion Night IN.  Thanks to those clever folks at Neiman’s, Saks and other great retailers there were special offerings, deals and cool merchandise galore.  I was primed to do some cyber shopping and then….yet another change in plans in the form of a blackout.  Yep, I live in deepest southern Orange County and so joined the millions in San Diego for what ended up being nine hours without power.  Needless to say, no online shopping occurred.   Grrr….

So I am left with our Fantasy Fashion Night Out – where we had planned on starting out at Saks Fifth Avenue up in midtown (close to our favorite boutique hotel) and then we would be taken down to SoHo to hit all the great boutiques there.  From Houston St to Canal St this is fashion HEAVEN with big designer names next to super cool boutiques.  Once we exhausted ourselves along the streets we could hit one of her dad’s all time favorite bistros – L’Orange Bleu – casual and easy with great food and a terrific local atmosphere. 

What to wear?  Well casual yet stylish is a must and we need to represent the industry so I put together outfits for Megan and myself by snagging a few items we picked out in our Labor Day extravaganza, taking two of the FNO tee shirts and going to town. 

For Megan, I wanted to stick with a silhouette she likes but nudge the fashion quotient up with bold color and accessories.  Hey, you are only 18-ish once, and it is *the* time to really have some serious fashion adventures.  So I paired the bold FNO graphic tee with a pair of jeggings (a look she wears frequently) and then added this super cute cropped, laser cut suede jacket in yellow (a favorite color).  The bag is a red version of a red and black number she picked.  The boots, okay, these are all my doing – they are just so sleek and powerful I couldn’t resist.  And last but not least, some cool gold hoop earrings embellished with small black feathers, just for fun. 

For myself, well at my age it is hard to look fashionable in a message tee without it coming across as if I am trying to look like I am 18.  I was going for chic and fun so I instead chose the long-sleeved tee in red with the all-over FNO text in black – it looks like a cool tribal print.  With it, go-to wide-legged black jeans and a lush shearling vest with a broad collar and wide belt.  I like this silhouette – the belting gives the slightly fluffy vest nice waist definition further enhanced by the broad collar.  I paired this with Vena Cava’s suede platform bootie and Alexander Wang’s cross-body box bag.  I would keep the jewelry simple, but I have fallen in love with this black and white print scarf from Diane Von Furstenberg so I will be mixing some print (I think it’s the pom-poms, I have this really strange affinity for pom-poms…)

And there you have it folks, the Fashion Night Out that never was!  Stay tuned as next time I do a run-down of what else Megan and I put together.

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