Wednesday, May 07, 2008

That's All Folks!

I started work on Monday, rather unexpectedly and, although I had asked permission to continue writing my blog, just two days in the office has been enough for me to realise that it would be stunningly inappropriate to continue writing about my life when it is so intimately connected with the fashion industry.

Of course, I am devastated as I love my blog, and have loved being part of so many people's daily blog ritual. It's been successful beyond my wildest dreams and that's exciting in itself. (Thank you Grazia for your support.)

Going on, at som epoint in the future I will start up a new anony-blog which will talk about stuff entirely unconnected with work in any way. No fashion, design, beauty, or style. It'll be the other things I love doing that have nothing whatsoever to do with being a fashion & style editor, like going to ball games, cooking or sitting in the park. I'm not publicising it, but I hope some of you may stumble across it and enjoy that too in the future.

I'm also not going to be commenting on fashion blogs under Liberty Girl either as too many people know who I am, and I don't want my personal take on things to be confused with professional opinion.

Thank you all so very, very much for reading. I'm thrilled to have been part of the fashion blog world.

Much love to you all.


Saving my skin: My guide to skincare

I'm lucky enough to have inherited my beautiful mother's skin, if not her looks. In fact both my parents won the genetic lottery and, now that they are in their sixties, still look ten years younger.

It also helps that I am very fair, so Muv stuck me under parasols, smothered me in sun block and taught me never, never to go in the direct sun (altho she bastes herself in Lancaster sun oil and fries. It's so unfair: she never burns & has no melanoma or wrinkles. I just do not understand it.)

I had perfect skin as a teenager, but developed late onset acne around 27 which, combined with my inherited rosacea meant I went overnight from sleeping in what little make up I wore, to meticulously looking after my skin. (Working at Vague House didn't help either: I felt like I wanted to walk around with a paper bag over my head.)

I dealt with the acne by having monthly massage & dermabrasion from Vaishaly Patel who kindly gave this impoverished fashion editor a hefty discount and using Farmacia's Tea Tree Soothing Cream (sadly discontinued). I still have to be careful as my skin flares up from time to time: I tried out some retinol capsules from Philosophy the other day and started work with a rash across my cheeks.

When I'm not covered in red blotches, I'm always being asked how I look after my face and so I thought that for my final blog post (!), I'd give you the full rundown.

The last thing difficult skin needs is residue left on the skin or harsh strippers, so the traditional cream cleanser & toner route is out. I use Shiseido's extremely gentle Power of Silk exfoliating puff ($10)in the shower, followed by Laura Mercier Purifying Oil Rich in the winter and the Light in the summer. ($40)I recommend oils as they dissolve build up while replenishing the essential emollients needed to maintain a healthy lipid barrier. Afterwards I use Laura Mercier
Perfecting Water Light
($38.00)to temporarily over-hydrate the skin, & help the penetration of my moisturiser.

Then in winter I use Hakansson's The Moisturizer ($48)(& if it' sreally cold & windy their Oil($51) too), then all year round I use La Roche Posay's FDA approved Anthelios SX Daily Use Moisturiser with SPF15, which protects against UVA & UVB. ($29)

In the evening I useBioderma Crealine/Sensibio H2O Cleansing Solution ($15.69) (£7.95)This buffered cleansing water is an extremely effective, residue-free, make-up remover that doesn't strip the skin like toners do. It's incredibly cheap - a bottle lasts six months or so.

Then I slap onBoots No7 Refine & Rewind Intense Perfecting Serum UK£16.75 US$21.99 at Target and follow up with a facial massage with
C Through The Night paraben free Night Cream by
Yes to Carrots. ($14.99)It's just about to launch in the UK & I love it. It leaves my skin incredibly, silkily soft. Containing vitamins and minerals with juices from the "orange color" product group and Dead Sea Mud, it claims to have anti-oxidant and anti-aging properties, & uses beta-carotene to aid repairing sun and pollutant damage to the skin.

I've got here by trial & error: most of the products above have been sent to me to try by various PRs and, considering the volume of stuff I receive, something really has to stand out for me to actually go out & replace it. Best of all, this routine takes seconds as I am extremely lazy & just can't be bothered faffing around in the bathrom with hundreds of unguents.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Martin & Osa

I don’t think I have a lot in common with Suze Yalof Schwartz, the executive fashion editor of Glamour, who writes a blog on their website but even though we come from different ends of the style spectrum, she does make some very LLG friendly fashion picks. I discovered my Old Navy shoes through her and, most recently, she & the Glamour editors raved about Martin + Osa. I’d seen a lot of their net advertising but hadn't bothered to click through until I read Suze YS's rave. And very pleasantly surprised I was too. The label is owned by American Eagle, but banish all thought of cheapo hoodies & slogan tees from your mind. The buy is kind of like the bastard lovechild of J Crew, Reiss, Banana Republic & Club Monaco. Lots of silk & cashmere, mid-range price point, and simple clean, chic shapes. I love that they have run lots of pieces in navy rather than black. And, for some reason, a lot of it is already reduced.I’ve ordered these two frocks at $70 each.This shirt dress for $59.95:And this cotton skirt for $68:Perfect for a sweltering summer in Manhattan.

Showing some Net a Porter love

I’ve been indulging in rather too much fantasy shopping of late. (That’s what the prospect of a regular salary does to an inveterate freelancer.) I think we can all agree that I have enough shoes to last me through the summer now, but I am still in need of some everyday summer dresses.

When I lived in London, I had started to develop a Net a Porter habit, but I’ve tried to rein it in here in Manhattan but I find myself gravitating back to their delicious site way too frequently. The joy of NaP is that they have so much stock that it’s the equivalent of spending an entire day drifting from store to store in Midtown with all the tourists.

I’m seriously considering the purchase of this Helmut Lang piece:I’m also yearning for this Philip Lim 2.1 frock:And for this Lim top which looks like a pretty good work/home transitional piece. I see it with my navy short shorts and some high wedges.

Dancing shoes

Look what royalty found for me this weekend! Truly the blogosphere is a fabulous place. Few of us blog fashionistas have actually met in 3-D, but we seem to have re-introduced the concept of the pen pal. Not only do many of chat ex-blog but, following in Suzanna Mars’ footsteps (she sent Susie Bubble a lovely dress all the way from California), Queen Michelle & Queen Marie saw these shoes when they were out thrifting in Glasgow this weekend and purchased them as a present. Lucky, lucky me. )

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sakura Matsuri in Booklyn

I’m writing this in true New York style: outside, lying on the grass. Where the English were early cell phone adopters, the Americans felt the same way about laptops and for many under 40s their laptop has become just another limb. In a city of shoebox apartments, it’s perfectly normal here to see people escaping outside to work propped up against trees by the river or typing lying on their tummies in Central Park..Me, I’m hidden away behind a yew fence in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden in a grove of silver birches, where the grass is sprinkled with violets and cherry blossom petals land on my keyboard every couple of seconds. It’s a perfect late spring day. I’m in a silk sundress and my feet are bare so I can wiggle my toes in the long grass and pretend that the City is a million miles away. I can hear the low throb of a generator and shrieking children as they run amok through the cherry blossom orchard and dance to the Japanese music performances that are part of this weekend’s Sakura Matsuri or cherry blossom festival here at the GardensIn fact it’s Japanese culture a go go in Brooklyn today. The Brooklyn Art Museum is still showing its Murakami exhibit, transplanted from LA and there were kimono clad women and harajuku girls mingling with the pot bellied Mid Westerners and Williamsburg hipsters, as they took in Murakami’s barmy cartoon world before wandering down the road for numerous photo ops here under the flowering cherries. Images: Yet more somewhat dodgy pics courtesy of my cameraphone.

I think I may understand baseball...

J & I were talking yesterday about the bubble in which we city dwellers live: it’s so easy to just do the same thing every day, even though I made a promise to myself when I arrived a year ago that I would continue to look at New York with a sense of wonder rather than let the experience glide by me.

So, in the spirit of understanding the city in which I am making my home, when J said she had a pair of freebie tickets, I spent the afternoon in the Bronx at a ball game. Not just any ball game, but a game played by the New York Yankees in their last season at this stadium before they move next door in 2009 to their shiny new stadium. I enjoyed every single minute of the three hours we spent there watching the Yankees thrash the Seattle Mariners.

No more will the sports pages in The Post be a mystery to me. I now understand the differences between rounders & baseball, the importance of Derek Jeter (million dollar shortstop apparently), drinking beer & eating peanuts at a game, and why the groundsmen do a choreographed routine to YMCA whilst smoothing out the sand between innings.

It’s quite a step from the Japanese fan dances which I watched earlier this afternoon under the cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, to hot dogs & beers at the Yankee stadium but both seem part of the quintessentially diverse American experience.

The past week

I had a slow old week. Still, that’s not a bad thing as I have just been not very well at all since Sunday, as evinced by my lack of blog posting. I'm very behind with all my admin & letters, my room looks like a bomb site & my laundry needs doing but at least I managed to get two projects to clients and file feature copy on the final minute of my deadline on Friday.

I did make it out for supper on Tuesday to Dos Caminos on Park with BA to meet B and her knitwear designer friend M, and then to Bobo on Wednesday where lovely manager Andy had kept us a fab corner table and I nibbled on their breathtaking ravioli with broad beans.

I still feel pretty ropey, if truth be told, but no late nights and calmness seem to be helping. And an afternoon outdoors in the sunshine is good medicine.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Old Navy summer shoe shopping

I've been searching for some comfy, clunky summer shoes that I can wear to the new day job for ages. Because I'm a half size with exceptionally narrow heels I fall out of most styles, can't wear slingbacks & can't abide heeled mules (trashy), so I generally wear either Mary Janes or styles with ankle straps. They're suprisingly hard to find and, because I'm not in the market for expensive shoes at the moment, I've been stumped up until now.

So, when I discovered that a pair of Old Navy shoes I'd read about were reduced to $19.99, I didn't just buy one pair: I bought them in black and in red, plus another ankle strap platform style in white & in black too. They're all exceptionally comfortable with padded inner soles and canvas strapping.Okay. I accept it. I buy too many shoes. And I'm not very good at self restraint. Still four pairs of shoes for $80 odd dollars plus postage. That's really not a bad deal, although my inability to just be happy with one pair explains why I never have any money.When I went on-line to pick up these images I saw these new on-line extremely pretty ribbon tie espadrilles . Normally tie wedge espadrilles are uncomfortable as the ribbons cut into your ankles and twisted ankles are common as there is no support, but the clever design of these means that the ties are soft cotton jersey, and their extra woven side support stops one slipping off the sides.

But, no, I'm not buying them. Five pairs of shoes in one week is making me feel very guilty as it is, regardless of price point.

Pierre Hardy gladiator sandals for Gap

Wandered into Gap at Astor Place on the way home on Thursday, just for a look, and came out over $100 the poorer. This is what happens when I leave the house during the day. It was the same in my twenties when I worked at Vogue House. For the uninitiated, it’s one block from Bond Street, Oxford Circus and Regent Street meaning that everything single High street & designer label was a stone’s throw from my desk: I started bringing my lunch from home so I didn’t need to leave the office.

I was thrilled to discover that the next phase of Pierre Hardy’s Design Editions range have hit the shop floor. There are several styles of flat sandals, including these brown leather gladiators, which even though they have a toe post, are both extremely comfortable and very chic. Not cheap at $78, but infinitely preferable to anything else that I’ve seen in at lower or similar price points.For me, the drawback of most gladiators is that they have at least two ankle straps and a plethora of buckles. These are immensely simple with just one strap (much more flattering) & they also have a padded sole which is unusual in this style of shoe. I'm just as pleased with these sandals, as I was with the heavenly black patent platform heels I bought from the pre-Christmas collection.

However Gap might like to address the fact that they have ballsed up the sizing on the boxes. The shoes come delivered with European sizing stamped on the soles, but the American sizing on the boxes is a size out. I wear a UK5.5/Eur 38.5/US8.5, but bought a size 7 in the sandals. It should have been labeled as a size 8. I tried on all the styles, but everything had been wrongly labelled. If you are buying in-store, choose a size smaller than normal.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Limited Edition Nike at Dover Street Market

Regular readers may think I am obsessed with DSM, and they may be right. It also helps that they have a very proactive PR who gets blogs* and who sends me emails with delectable pieces (like these bags) every couple of weeks that I just cannot resist popping on here.

These Nike Dunks in floral Liberty print are just immediately covetable. Apparently the Nike Design team selected two classic Liberty prints, Wilshire and Pepper, to create two limited editions of the Nike Dunk. The limited edition sneakers feature a gum rubber midsole and a heavyweight Liberty fabric for the upper which was chosen for its durability.

These aren't the first Nike shoes to transcend the boundaries between sport and style. We've seen the Nike Terminator (Harris Tweed), the Nike Air Force 1 (Merino Wool), and the Nike Blazer designed in collaboration with New York graffiti artist and fashion designer CLAW Money in October 2006.

I think the factoid that I love the most is that British designers working within Nike’s global design team were consulted during the creation of the shoes to ensure the final look was quintessentially British.

I WANT WANT WANT. Even more than I wanted the red Hiroshi Fujiwara Converse I wrote about here. Just how cool would it be to wear such a quintessentially English print as an English fashion editor on a American fashion magazine? I'm hopping back to the UK to do appointments in the next week or so... hmmmm...

Exclusively available from Dover Street Market next week. UK £90.

* Still astonished by just how few PRs engage with the online world. SO incredibly short-sighted. And that's not puffed up vanity on my part, but common sense. On line reach can be intensely targeted to a particular market and produce an ROI way, way ahead of traditional print markets.