Sunday, 19 February 2012

Fashion Weak

As fashion week is upon us I was vaguely musing on the latest enfant terrible Marc Jacobs, who has once again stirred up the issue of child images used to entice invariably older adults. It is hard to feel sorry for beautiful people who earn their fortune through not mental prowess, but purely through their blessed genetics - yet as they are treated as 'independent contractors' and are routinely fleeced by their agents, and spend their days being tossed about like rag dolls - perhaps one should. The Marc Jacobs designs looked like they had the capacity to turn anyone over 25 into an instant old lady, so possibly, selecting a couple of teenagers was essential? It seems to me to be a tacit way of ensuring the emaciated scrawny flat-chested look without actively risking the model's ill health - as those 'objectionable parts' simply have not developed yet.

In a similar way, big lips are great but they often come with big noses - and that will not do. Big breasts often come with big hips and thighs but that will not do. So we are in a position where very young plumped faces with scrawny bodies are offered in the form of underage models (who will soon grow out of this ratio) and plastic surgery whereby your big lips can stay but trim the nose to a slither. And you can diet and exercise to get slim hips and thighs, but be sure to get bulbous round (but never drooping) breasts to establish your femininity in a swift motion. There is nothing wrong with setting the bar high to strive for virtually impossible beauty, but representing outright fake or misleading beauty as attainable is just so depressing and misguided. For the first time in decades women have the license to have curves, by seeing Kelly Brook, Kim Kardashian, JLo, Beyonce and Rhianna as templates. However for a high fashion and sophisticated image these do not qualify at all.

Is it wrong to see teenagers modelling clothes that they are not the target audience of? Perhaps not, in terms of them making the choice (if they conclude that dropping out of school to cash in on their youthful money maker face, that is a choice and should not be over-dramatised to equate to slavery) but, more prosaically, it is wrong because it is insulting to grown women, who know that young bloom is gone forever and no amount of botox and blusher can ever quite compete. Personally I would like an age minimum to be enforceable because I think there is something weirdly unhealthy about having prospective women customers basing their purchases on young under-developed teenagers...

Here's a video of the Vivienne Westwood makeup behind the scenes for more:

Whilst on the subject of fashion week, if you plan to attend London Fashion Weekend which sounds fun, don't forget to use quote 'Glossybox' for 15% off. [See my February glossybox review here (link.)]

A CliniqueL Trial

Just before Christmas I was kindly invited to have a consultation at Clinique's counter at John Lewis Oxford Street. I was helped by the charming Isabelle, who painstakingly examined my bare skin under a large magnifying glass and carefully listened as I complained of my various skin related woes. Putting my mind at rest over apparently unsubstantiated concerns, yet raising others (Isabelle insisted I need not worry about my '11' lines, but should start moisturising my parched lips.) The consultation took around half an hour, and I was given my 'prescription':

I was also invited to witness the crazed mayhem of the last day of shopping before Christmas struck - at London's Selfridges Clinique counter. It was a special day as Clinique were holding an initiative whereby the people behind the big desks were given the Clinique white coat and experienced the other flip of the coin: selling to the masses. Although they were not trusted with makeovers, they were able to advise customers and sell them their recommended products. In addition, the Selfidges counter hosts their new concept: self assesments on an Ipad. I'd had my traditional consultation with Isabelle but tested it all the same. Most of my recommendations were as she had said, so it is very accurate and extremely quick (a matter of minutes.) It even prints out your prescription - and it does look like a prescription! (-although sadly did not dupe my GP.) The Ipads are discretely located in the corner and their white faces look custom-made for the Clinique brand. It was amazing to see the regular sales force intermingled with the Head Office team. And although I could occaisionally spot which were which (Gucci brogues and a mildly supercilious air) I thought it was a brilliant device to remind both teams of the big picture.

Anyway, seeing as I have used these now for several months, onto my reviews....

All About Lips (12ml, £16) - As you might recall, this made it to my top finds of 2011. I really like it. Although this is not a rich ointment formula, meaning for bitter cold days I did have to use it with my trusty Clinique Superbalm (7ml, £11.) For everyday dry lips which are probably an overlooked symptom of my Retin A usage, I think this is excellent. It's a pump with a lotion texture inside, and the small bottle is lasting for months despite daily use. I think the fruit content seems to gently penetrate and exfoliate the lips, as it really has made my lips very soft and comfortable, making lipstick application very smooth.

7 Day Scrub Cream
(100ml, £17.50) - I had used this before and I do like it. It is suitable for everyday use yet it still feels vigorous enough that it leaves your skin feeling clean and scrubbed.

Liquid Facial Soap (Oily Skin) (200ml, £14) - This foams a lot and was pleasant to use, not too drying and a refreshing scent - but it didn't take my makeup off as well as my usual Estee Lauder 'Perfectly Clean.'

Clarifying Lotion 3 (Oily) (200ml, £15) - I had (years ago) been a devout follower of the famous 3 step process. I had used the purple one (no.2?) but abandoned it as it was making my skin feel tight and dry. Isabelle confirmed that this had been wrong for my skin, and that this version would be more gentle. I have found this has dried my skin and I have skipped using it most days because I worry about the alcohol content, but it does work very well in tandem with Mild Facial Soap to remove all makeup.

Dramatically Different Gel (125ml, £29) - This is a great moisturiser. I had in the past used the lotion version, and did not get on with it at all. This however is very, erm, dramatically different. It sinks into skin so quickly and leaves it fairly matte and ready for foundation. It's oil free, and promises to improve and smooth skin texture with regular use.

Superdefence SPF 25 moisturiser(Combination Oily)(50ml, £35) - This is another excellent moisturiser. Although noticeably heavier than the gel, I liked the fairly high SPF and it did sink in without much trouble, perfect for sunny days. I have used this for snow-glare cold days and it is best for cold bright days for me, as it is relatively rich. Provides broad spectrum protection against UVB/UVA rays. Also, promises to help the skin fight the effects of "emotional stress which can damage skin... much like sun and pollution."

Turnaround Overnight Radiance moisturiser (50ml, £34)- This is oil free and works extremely well, I can feel it working, and it leaves my skin looking great in the morning! Such a great price point too, I can see this being a staple.

Repairwear Laser Focus (30ml, £38) - Three drops of this serum a day worked wonders. It made my foundation go on smoother than ever before, and kept my skin bright and even. I didn't care for the pipette packaging, and it did finish rather quickly, but it is an extremely good product and has the requisite peptides and retinol derivatives for anti-ageing concerns. I must admit my main praise is for its primer ability, but Clinique does advise 4 months use to see results; I only gave it just over a month before my bottle was out... Slightly drying (which was good for me personally) and definitely seems to 'refine pores'. This is well worth a try! I especially love that you can use this around the eyes too, it did seem to soften lines under my eyes but I was wondering if it was the silicone simply creating this illusion? I will be considering trying this again, it is in an upcoming GWP so that will be the decider...

Turnaround Instant Facial (75ml, £32)- Oil Free, and promises results similar to microdermabrasion without any irritation. This was fairly moisturising to me and did leave a slight gleam to the skin, but for a moisture and smoothing mask fix I have to admit I will be returning to my Clarins hydraquench... will continue to test this and update... it has left my skin tone very even mind...

Even Better Foundation SPF15
(02 Fair)(30ml, £22) - Alabaster 01 was very yellow and off for my skin tone so Isabelle matched me to this rather more neutral tone. It is slightly dark and warm on my skin but Isabelle showed me that when skin is prepped adequately, you can blend it in seamlessly. I haven't quite managed to perfect the technique myself, but blending it in with my fingers and not using too much has worked fine. It is buildable but I like to wear a thin layer for a natural look that does give medium coverage. It can be built up to fairly full coverage though. This claims to lighten pigmentation over time, and is infused with minerals. It didn't break me out, but I did find that it transferred a little and did not set as well as my usual foundations. It also did little to control shine so it is probably not my favourite.

Chubby Stick (Woppin Watermelon) - This only gives a glaze, but it is great to wear when lips are very dry as it does indeed treat them. These are "loaded with mango and shea butters." This shade is very natural, and brightens up a face instantly. Fun to use, too. I like carrying this around as an instant fix.

*I still haven't tried my 'All About Eyes' but I'll be reviewing that in the coming months!

Buy Clinique at various department stores or online. Don't forget the famous Bonus Time GWP, currently on at Debenhams until 25th... or you can hold off for your Boots points at Boots from March 15th-25th. (The Boots GWP has a sample of Repairwear Laser Focus.)

Found a Foundation I'm fond of...

Yes, I have - after years (over a decade if truth be told) of religious devotion to Estee Lauder's Double Wear, ventured into Other Foundations. I have dabbled in Youngblood's Liquid Mineral foundation, which I really love as a sheer and light option. I have tried out a couple of Clinique foundations (Even Better in 02 and Repairwear in 01 - reviews imminent...) and now, I have found a foundation which is what I had hoped Bobbi Brown's sleek compact foundation would be - but wasn't. Introducing... Mally Beauty's Ultimate Performance foundation (I use Fair.)

I got this as a gift / in a swap so in UK I can only so far see that QVC stocks it, but I imagine it is not impossible to find. You get 10g and it comes with a chunky sponge. I follow gossmakeup's advice ("wet your sponge, woman!" was his catchphrase at one point) to dampen my sponge with a little water before using it with the foundation (this effectively stops too much product absorbing into the sponge.)

It is oil free as far as I can tell but it does still give a slightly dewy finish which mimics that 'youthful glow'. The coverage is excellent and effortless. I set it with a little powder (currently alternating between NYC pressed translucent powder and MAC pressed Blot powder) and it lasts through the day almost as staunchly as ELDW. If you can get this near you, I really highly recommend it!

Although it has not quite replaced my eternal fave, it takes a lot for a foundation to impress me - so this has definite Top Table placing.