Thursday, 29 October 2009

Buy Bodyform and get free Jemma Kidd Lipgloss!

For £1.59, today not only am I now the proud owner of a pack of 30 Lightly Scented Panty Liners, but I also have a lipgloss, apparently worth £10. I've not bought much Jemma Kidd makeup, especially since Boots stopped carrying the line. So it's great to get one for free like this - and for a good cause too (no, not my personal body odour issues)

I got the light coloured gloss. There are two - Orchard and Rose.

Bodyform and Jemma Kidd are raising awareness for The Eve Appeal. The charity raises funds for research into gynaecological cancers and educates women on the symptoms.

Long time supporter of The Eve Appeal, Jemma comments: “I am thrilled to be involved with the partnership between Bodyform and The Eve Appeal. Teaming up with Bodyform provides the perfect platform for reaching out and raising awareness about gynaecological cancers and the symptoms. Simply recognising three common symptoms can help lead to early detection and ultimately save lives."

Slightly more sticky than my personal preference, with a sweet flavour. Not unpleasant at all. Very shiny and lasts a while on. Great value, great cause.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Makeup as cultural index

I was so involved with my stressful channel issues (detailed below) and then escaped for a holiday, so this post ideally was designed to coincide with London Fashion Week...

However, looking back at the images I collected, perhaps unfairly, it just seems that if it's not the nude look, it's the cat eye... There was some manga makeup at Luella (pictured) which probably was chosen to contrast with the childlike innocence and pretty minnie mouse bows...

There was, though, the adventurous and breathtaking shock of how Hair stylist/artist/designer Charlie Le Mindu re-addressed hair as a medium. When will this shake-up hit the makeup side of Fashion Week?

For the crux of the matter is that designers are interested in show-casing their clothes, obviously, and makeup must merely off-set the designs without intruding. Until noses are coloured in green and lips drawn on backwards, or similarly unknown avenues taken, inevitably makeup languishes in trodden paths. Recent genuinely experimental makeup came via the interesting Emma Bell, I noticed the brave makeup in her 2009 collection. This was by makeup artist Rachel Wood (aka Pixiwoo's friend) who used Benefit products to create a "Hello Kitty and Barbie go clubbing" look. She told her team to "pretend they were at pre-school" when applying glitter to the models' faces. (taken from fabsugar overview of 2009 collection)

This is Emma Bell's 2010 collection, with makeup by Nadja Hluchovsky. Here more subtly, but equally as surely, reflecting the fun spirit of the clothes:

But, the usual default it often a bare face on a young lithe model, or otherwise the classic beauty of a smokey or cat eye. This obviously can extend to a very smoked out eye/ drop down shadow/ cat eye or winged eye, but usually absorbed to some degree into this eternal favourite - this image is from the Issa 2010 catwalk collection at London Fashion Week-

This article gave an interesting taster of what the makeup artists are typically doing behind the scenes. Sample: "[Sometimes they] practically give you a painting-by-numbers guide to the specific look for the show, but at others they might just throw out obscure cultural references such as "we want Laura-Palmer-Twin-Peaks lips, OK?" This made me very nervous."

The innovative and fantastic (read: ugly?) hair show, although a menace to the ozone layer, inevitably harked back to the 18th Century trend for ornate hairpieces which marked you out as high society, which were extravagantly adorned with feathers, ribbons, jewels, and even ships, gardens and menageries.

The 18th Century taste for high maintenance styles famously soon gave way to the Victorian modest and restrained hair and makeup. It could be that like music, cultural identity today seems to be vague and riddled with retro influences, with no real cohesion, but possibly edging towards a trend eventually...?

Right now broadly speaking there is the alternative of looking your best (a la Laura Mercier, Bobbi Brown) or looking 'edgy' (MAC, Illamasqua). Witness MAC's recent collection, recalling its indie roots by the collection name "Makeup, Art, Cosmetics" and using real artists to front and design the items, and Illamasqua's use of the cult classic sci-fi film Metropolis as its inspiration. The irony is that looking 'edgy' becomes its own uniform: these so-called subversive directions are often just as restrictive and full of rules.

Tracing how makeup has accompanied cultural changes is tempting and has been addressed to some extent in this blog already when examining men and makeup. If the ornate attention to detail in the 18th Century led to the deliberate modesty by the 1780s, which ultimately became a hallmark of any self-respecting Victorian, this pattern equally is traced in the 1980s. Then, the boom years led to big hair and overt makeup, accompanied inevitably by the contrast of Punk rebellion, and evolving by the 1990s to the deliberate unpolish of Grunge. Taking a view of fashion and makeup as reactionary in this way, the pivotal decades can be traced...

1920s can thus be seen as reactionary against the austere Victorian ideal. A shortage of man-power during WW1 had meant women took on perceived male roles and obviously this re-defined what women stood for. The Political movement towards women's suffrage began during the war and in 1918, Parliament passed an act (the Representation of the People Act 1918) granting the vote to women over the age of 30 who were householders, the wives of householders, occupiers of property with an annual rent of £5, and graduates of British universities. This advance invited the fashion for brave new short hairstyles which eschewed traditional female stereotypes.

The 1930s and 40s saw film affect fashion and beauty, most famously the ultra female seductive curls popularised by Veronica Lake. However once again historical facts colour the trends, as this time WW2 with all its upheaval ushered in the need for a return to reliable old values, though now with the wife as simaltaneously glamorous and perfectly conservative. The makeup is as depicted in 'Mad Men': bold lips but doe eyed.

By the 1950s and 60s as the scars of WW2 receded and women again reacted against the stereotypes, political activism was a fashionable interest - with the realisation that the 'power of the people' was a reality. Protests, most obviously against the Vietnam War, became commonplace. Music became an important influence on society. The short skirts, short hair, bold eyes and pale lips, mixed and matched feminine with androgynous.

As before, this constructed image then reverts back to a 1970s trend for unconstructed long hair, no makeup, a general loosening on rules to highlight the hippie message of 'free spirit'. This, in turn, invites the converse trend for the more aggressive declaration of disenchanment: Punk. Makeup used not to embellish, but to unsettle.

Elements of punk were absorbed into popular fashion, thanks in no small part to Madonna, who feminised the look and redefined once again what androgyny meant.

The world now is smaller than ever, brands merge and every high street looks the same. Is that one reason why now there is less emphasis on any identifiable fashion movement...? The 1990s had the cult of the Supermodel; then the reactionary 'Waif/ Heroin Chic' trend; the Nirvana and Seattle bands' Grunge; 1997 Toni Blair's landslide victory and the rush of hope which led to the coined term 'Cool Britannia' and 'Britpop' - but ultimately had no fashion substance to distinguish itself.... And now, post 9/11 and with Barack Obama a symbol of a changed world, when fashion should be reaching a fever-pitched zenith and beauty should be revolutionary - a perfect mix of science and aesthetics perhaps - all I can find are fragments. A trend for non-invasive surgery, mixed with the same beauty styles that ever were. The new millenium seems to have stagnated where beauty is concerned. I await a shake-up with eager anticipation...

Sunday, 25 October 2009

1000Heads will roll...

1000Heads, "the word of mouth people" (I've got a word of mouth for them) have murdered my You Tube channel. God knows this blog post has been festering within me for a long while now, but I had thought the situation had been rectified. I have spent time, money and energy on this nightmare but have come to realise there is no solution other than my channel's suicide. I shall here explain, and hope that Google search results prioritise this for people who might otherwise read 1000 Heads' "Respect" section, in particular Rule No. 6: "We protect privacy and permission". (snapshot above)

In all my previous posts, if I ever mentioned PR and blogging/ YouTube, it was probably with faintly triumphant derision. It seemed to me that the little people were calling the shots - I was rather naive. As uninformed individuals, we are in fact exceptionally vulnerable novices and far more disposable than a corporation.

Not long ago, 1000 Heads were asked to draw up a PR showcase for Aussie haircare, and I and several other randomly selected blogs were chosen as "Aussie Angels". The whole convoluted "treasure hunt" seemed terribly infantile and dreary to me but in any case I was unable to make that event so who knows. A few days later, out of curiosity, I checked out the website and was horrified to see my full name listed. Every other blogger had their stage name, and then, starkly contrasting, there was my full name! And, unlike every other stage name link, mine had linked to my You Tube. I was horrified. It was a catastrophe. No-one in my real life has been told about my channel, no-one. Suddenly it's the very first result if anyone happened to look me up.

I had already written and tried to contact by mobile phone these ["word of mouth"] people, with no luck. However I had the wisdom to go to the organ-grinder instead. Aussie haircare is owned, like so many drugstore household names, by Proctor & Gamble. It was easy enough to find the correct representative. Miraculously, I then hear from the ["word of mouth"] people.

I am confident that from henceforth they did their best, just as I am aware that this whole disaster was highly unlucky - i.e that it hit someone who was determined to keep their channel secret - and that all it took was a lapse of concentration. People are human and mistakes happen, but do not hold yourself up as having sacred rules if you are as infallible as any other PR outfit.

Initially, PR speak was delivered to calm me down and assure me that the google results were certainly not permanent and were being erased with ease. Days passed by with no change, yet still assurances were offered up. My case was pushed from one individual to another, and none seemed aware of what had gone on before. I would phone up (one went on holiday without warning), and I'd ask what was going on. I'd always have to give my reason for calling.

"Oh, a blog", a withering voice would intone.

Eventually I decided to take matters into my own hands and seek out a professional expert, who managed to stem the tide. However for some reason after a hiatus, the results are now back. I cannot get the expert I paid for to do the job again without paying again, and frankly, I am not going to start this fiasco anew.

I am upset to be deleting my account as it is the one that was once upon a time in the Metro newspaper and also the illustrious Gossmakeupartist gave the channel a priceless 'shoutout'. However I have been left with no option, due to the carelessness of sloppy data input and my own naive decision to not use an alias. I have certainly learnt that as an individual without the force of advertising, your details may be treated irresponsibly and it is wise to have a stage name behind your stage name for protection. Who knows, perhaps even a P.O Box isn't going too far. It seems that for the sake of free shampoo, I have cost myself all the videos I ever worked on and all the subscribers I painstakingly amassed.

I do appreciate that the company belatedly tried to undo the damage, but it is no good: Google results are tenacious, particularly with a YT result. The harm is irreversible and although I was happy that a brief reprieve was attained, allowing me to go on holiday and relax, the fact that it has now resurfaced will hopefully act as a beacon not only to 1000 Heads, who might be more diligent when dealing with personal information, but also to my fellow bloggers and You Tube reviewers - to see past the dazzle of being approached.

With a heavy heart, I will imminently bid adieu to my Ooglegail channel. I will probably be back "O, be some other name!/What's in a name? that which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet". Indeed.