Thursday, 30 June 2011

Richard Ward - Couture Hair Products and How to Achieve the Perfect Blow Dry.

My hair is the bane of my life – thin, dull, frizzy and weak. I fell out of the bad hair tree and hit every branch on the way down, then was dragged through the hedge backwards for good measure. So when QVC invited me to attend an evening at Richard Ward’s Chelsea hair salon to check out his new hair care range and learn how to master the perfect blow dry, I was over the moon.
Arriving at 82 Duke of York Square, I found that calling the salon just a hair salon was an understatement. It seems to have it all including a fully licensed bar, retail shop, spa treatments and a host of concierge services. 

First stop the bar then down to business as Richard went through his new range ‘Couture Hair’ which was launched in Dec 2010.
This range is aimed to make hair product selection easier. Rather than having to use a cocktail of products on your hair: one for volume, one for anti frizz, one for shine etc; Richard wanted to create a smaller range with all the products multi tasking. 
All his products include:
Aquarich – a moisturising compound to counteract frizz and increase shine
Anti-fade colour lock technology as most of us colour our hair
Humidity defence technology (styling products only)
Heat and UV protection (styling products only)

Before you use any of his products he says the first step is to know your hair type. And by this he means your hair texture i.e. the thickness of each individual hair strand and not the actual density i.e. how much hair you have. So take a few strands of hair and slide your fingers through. Does it feel like silk thread or cotton thread?
If it feels like silk thread then your hair is normal to fine and you should go for Richard’s VoluMoist range including the Clay Mineral Masque.
If it feels like cotton thread you hair is normal to coarse and you should go for Richard’s HydraSlim range including the Silk Protein Masque.

Richard then demonstrated how to achieve the perfect blow dry, and his 12 steps are as follows:
  1. Work on hair that is 70% wet, so just towel dry your hair but don’t rough dry it.
  2. Use a high wattage professional dryer with a nozzle to control air and heat direction
  3. Comb through with a medium toothed comb made of carbon or hard rubber with rounded teeth.
  4. Always comb from ends towards roots not the other way round.
  5. Use a radial brush with real bristles when blow drying and after the initial comb through.
  6. Holding your dryer underneath the hair section creates movement whilst positioning it above the section will create sleekness.
  7. Point the nozzle downwards to flatten the cuticle and encourage shine.
  8. Position the nozzle at least 15cm away from your hair, too close will result in heat damage.
  9. When moving the dryer sown the hair shaft for a sleek look, position the nozzle behind the brush (but still at least 15cm away)
  10. Section properly. Split hair in to 4 areas. Always start at the bottom of each section working up towards the front.
  11. Use a cool shot on your dryer function to fix each section before removing brush or leave brush in to cool off before removing.
  12. Never brush wet hair, always use a wide toothed comb after washing.

Armed with this new information, we partnered up to attempt the perfect blow dry on each other’s hair. Thankfully, we were under very close supervision and left with very swishy hair.

The next day I was in a conundrum - should I wash my hair or leave it? My hair was still swishy but needed washing-  would I get the same results?
 I decided to wash it. As soon as I used the VoluMoist shampoo, my hair felt silky so Big Plus there. The conditioner also felt smooth and silky as a conditioner ought. Now on to the perfect blow dry! As in the 12 steps I sectioned my hair and then spritzed the Volume Root Booster on to my roots and mid hair sections. It felt light and wasn’t at all sticky.
Now the tricky part, using a Richard Ward radial brush I attempted to blow dry my hair.
 Result?  OK practice makes perfect so I still have a long way to go but it was definitely an improvement. 

Richard Ward’s Couture Hair products are available on

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011- Julien Macdonald

Julien Macdonald's SS11 collection reminds me of the lazy hazy days of summer. Out of focus soft floral prints on light breezy chiffon fabrics.
White pleated slip dress under embroidered full length gown with citric acid petal print
Midnight petal print twirl mini dress in silk chiffon and cut out appliqué leaves detailing around the neckline and waist..

Frill and applique lace tank, net dress under  harness jacket

Harness blue and white mini in striped mattress ticking fabric created a stiff contrast with the loose chiffon white shirt

Flight gown in parachute silk, bubble hem mini dress with billowing cape.

Cream semi sheer pleated  tricot harness mini dress with scoop neck and back, spaghetti straps and satin band at empire waist. The harness style is the white grosgrain straps wrapping around the waist. Ruffled lining peeping beneath  the bubble hem.

Marilyn dress. Yellow and white chiffon mini with pleated front and delicate appliqué fower embellishments around the low neckline, spaghetti straps and front.
Nude petal print half frill dress

Nude petal print peignoir silk chiffon two piece gown. Blush and orange mini dress with a ruffled full length overlay. The mini dress has sheer organza detailing at straps and bodice

Nasturtium full length sheer gown with cascading side ruffles and low below the bust neckline, worn over embroidered mini chiffon slip.  Flame short taffeta wind cheater with sleeve zips to reveal shoulders.

Twilight petal print peignoir gown. The dark crystal embellished  mini slip twinkled under the ruffled  floral print overlay chiffon gown.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011 - Amanda Wakeley

Used to queuing for hours and scrambling my way for a good seat in to fashion shows, the Royal Ascot fashion show was a breath of fresh air. Here it was oh so civilised with a glass of champagne handed to you as soon as you walked in to the Bessborough restaurant and attentive waiters always ready to replenish your glass. In fact one lovely waiter came over with a bottle in an ice bucket. And no problem with seats. (sigh) I could get so used to this.

First on the catwalk (well circular podiums scattered around the dining tables) was:
Taking inspiration loosely from tribal ceremonial dress, here we see  bright corals amongst the cooler  shades of oatmeal, white, ink and cobalt and the warmer desert shaded neutrals of caramel, sand, mocha and cocoa.
Metal bead embellishments  form of tight skeletal seaming and collars with looser cascading chain threads.
Fabrics used are flowing silk batiks, sand washed silks contrasting with crisp cottons, broken tweed and perforated leather.

White washed silk cady side drape maxi dress worn with Maria Francesca Pepe plate necklace and cuffs.

Cocoa silk cady strapless maxi dress with folded neckline and side drape detail. Worn here with black saddle leather corset belt

Asymmetrical  mocha scuba bandaged detailed body and jersey draped skirt with black grain leather double strap hip belt
Cobalt block print kaftan style maxi dress in silk chiffon with blouson sleeves . Worn with brown grain leather double strap hip belt.
Cobalt block print blouson dress with batwing sleeves and ruched scoop neckline. Shown here with brown grain leather double strap hip belt.
 Ink fluid draped maxi dress with beaded details at the waists
Nickel vintage jersey one shoulder side drape short dress worn with black grain leather double strap hip belt
Draped chain top with skeletal centre front and back and mocha satin slip. Worn with mocha silk draped pants with ankle ties.
Coral blouson top, and coral silk draped pants with ankle ties. Worn with mocha grain leather belt.
Mocha chain necklace detail maxi dress. Dress is backless with central beaded detail.
Mocha draped and spinal beaded dress – inspired by tribal dress
Coral draped and beaded halterneck maxi dress with central beaded detail at front and back.
Draped beaded chain dress with mocha satin slip

Mocha draped chain maxi dress

Monday, 27 June 2011

Royal Ascot Fashion Show 2011 - Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood's couture label Gold took to the catwalk at Royal Ascot's fashion show.
This SS11collection is titled ‘ The Only One’and was inspired by lost civilisations.
"The present collection is an extraction of some past essence, things that occurred to me as I chose fabrics and worked on cuts. Markers of different views of life, from people who saw the world differently from us. Arbitrary things-tutenkamen, little girls who were exposed on the mountains of  Peru, waiting to marry the sun, Matisse, Comedia Dell’Arte, Noh theatre, Ballet."

Baby blue cotton pillowcase dress with black frame worn with a shredded gold silk bolero.

Charcoal print box dress in crinkle cotton with turquoise and brown towel worn as a stole.

Ivory double breasted blazer with asymmetric skirt in summer wool.

Drunken trousers and blazer in green leopard print stretch vicose.  worn underneath but not shown in the image is a ‘Loyalty to Gaia’ print t shirt. (Gaia theory sees all organisms and their inorganic surroundings to be closely integrated maintaining the conditions for life on earth. )

Black and white dotted squares suit in Jacquard cotton.

Shredded gold knit silk knit top with pink dotted dress in Jacquard cotton.

Silver embroidered mini dress with electric blue silk overlay.

Gold embroidered mini dress with overlaying gold silk tutu dress.

Black embroidered mini dress with floral cotton organdie overlay.

Long floral silk taffeta printed dress with twisted bodice and slit.

Long bronze and dark green silk taffeta and organza skirt with silver silk Duchess satin bodice.

Long brown silk grosgrain and taffeta corset dress.

And it wouldn’t be a Westwood collection without a bit of tartan. Ballerina linen floral and silk tartan dress.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Royal Ascot is 300 years old this year!

It’s hard to believe that Royal Ascot is 300 years old! Right from the start in 1711, when Queen Anne declared the area would be ideal for horseracing, it has attracted the fashionistas of society. And to celebrate the Big 300, Vivienne Westwood and Stephen Jones have designed three outfits collectively named the Three Graces. Each ensemble represents a different century- 19th, 20th and 21st.

The first gown is in the style of the Victorian era and made from a select silk taffeta named Quality Viola. The word taffeta is Persian in origin and means ‘twisted woven’ and is a luxurious fabric often used for ball gowns. The fabric has 100 thread counts per square centimetre and is hand dyed with 300 different colours producing an overall grey ombre shading from soft yellow, gold to violet, mauve and black.  Honouring the sewing process of the late 1800s the machine used to create the gown is more than 150 years old and each thread had to be introduced individually by hand in to the machine.
Stephen Jones bonnet is made with the same taffeta silk as the dress and is reminiscent of the prim ‘poke’ style worn in the Victorian times (called poke as the ladies could poke their hair inside the hat). But rather than hide the face with the typical forward projecting rim, Jones’ rim soars upwards to frame and reveal the face. The bow tied around the neck is flamboyantly large instead of dainty and demure, and complements Westwood’s gown. The hat’s style also is reminiscent of the jockey’s cap.

The second gown nods to the Edwardian ‘Belle Epoque’ period and was inspired by the black and white Cecil Beaton dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the 1964 My Fair Lady movie . In the film Eliza Doolittle attended Royal Ascot at the time of ‘Black Ascot’ in 1910 when the ladies wore large black picture hats out of respect for the death of King Edward VII. The Edwardians loved wearing white, cream or ecru as it was a symbol of wealth- it meant that you could afford plenty of maids to clean your soiled hems made dirty from a leisurely stroll on the lawn. 
Wider hats were fashionable and became a statement of extravagance with their over the top trimmings of large cabbage roses or gerberas, lace, bunches of berries, rosettes and ribbon streamers. And Stephen Jones’ large fascinator with its ears of wheat, bows, plumes and flowers is in keeping with the era and also pays homage to Cecil Beaton’s hat worn by Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

The third creation brings us in to 21st Century glamour. This lipstick red demi-couture piece is from Westwood’s Gold Label collection.  It is hand sewn with red embroidery on black silk with an all over flower theme. Sculptural finishes are seen around the neckline and shoulders.
The hat is of hi-tech lacquered straw in the same deep red as the dress. Fashioned in Jones’ signature miniature top hat style and softened with veil netting.

Throughout the fashion stakes, you can see the style may have changed but the flamboyant look always remains stable. 

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Pretty Amazing Lip Colour by Bare Minerals

They’re helping you to achieve healthy looking and flawless skin with their bareMinerals SPF15 foundation and their new skincare products. Now they’ve turned their attention on to your lips.

Colour- Ambition
Suffering from dry lips, I feel like Goldilocks when it comes to lipstick, I struggle to find the right one. The long lasting and matt lipsticks are way too dry and lip glosses are far too sticky with not enough colour. The gloss lipsticks are almost just right but the colours don’t seem to last two minutes.
 So I am always eager to try out new lipsticks.

BareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor says ‘it combines the coverage of a lipstick with the high shine of a gloss to deliver full-bodied, velveteen colour with a comfortable longwearing finish.’

Colour - Bravado
So what’s the verdict?
First Appearances: From the package, it looks like a lip gloss and you apply like a lip gloss, but I’m happy to say that the consistency is more of a lipstick, creamier and thicker.
Initial application - I was shocked at the thickness, so I’d recommend that you go easy on the application, blot or smooth over with your fingers afterwards. It felt dry and the more neutral colours such as Free Will seem to accentuate the lines on my lips which was not a look I was hoping for. Luckily I restrained from wiping it off straight away and allowed it to settle for the lasting impression.
Lasting Impression: It only took a few minutes for the initial look to change to a more even and smoother look, and for my lips to feel moisturised.
 So only a little hiccup at first before turning in to a Pretty Amazing Lipstick.

Colour - Strength
And the Colours?
The names of the colours were chosen to help empower women for different situations. For example: if you had a presentation to give and felt a little nervous, then apply some ‘Courage’; or you may want to apply ‘Charisma’ to have them eating out of your hands.  
Just thinking of what you wanted to achieve and then choosing the lipstick by name brought a smile to my face and a positive attitude. Although I did consider cheating at the press day when asked to choose the lipstick by name and match it with how I wanted to feel that day.  Even if I needed strength to keep me going through the busy schedule of press events ahead, and although the vibrant bright red colour was gorgeous, it just doesn’t suit my complexion. But when they gave me the whole range of colours to play with and encouraged me to mix the colours, I was feeling Free Will with a touch of Strength was what I needed to get me through the day.

Colour - Bravado
 Here’s the full colour range:
AMBITION – fuchsia.  A hot hot pink, Great for those with high contrast colouring or dark cool skins.
BRAVADO –brick rose. A smooth rich rosy brown. Great for those with warm complexions, especially you redheads.
STRENGTH – vibrant red.  The glamorous Hollywood look for those with high contrast colouring or dark cool skins
MOXIE – bright petal pink. This bubblegum pink is light and flirty.  Great for those with bright and cool complexions –pale or dark
COURAGE – warm strawberry.  A warm strawberry with a hint of brown. More veering towards the warmer complexions, pale or dark, but it is a good neutral for the evening for any complexion.
FREE WILL – pink nude- Neutral with a hint of brown so a good neutral for the warmer complexions
CHARISMA – coral pink -Neutral with a hint of pink, so a good neutral for the cooler complexions.
FEARLESS – rosy mauve. A mauve pink, a good neutral for the darker complexions and a great statement lipstick for the paler complexions.

Colour - Ambition
Pretty Amazing will be available in the UK around June time and you will be able to buy them singly or in a presentation pack. Just think of the presentation pack as an artist’s palette and start creating your lipstick picture for the day.
For stockists details go to

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Bejewelled Headpieces for Royal Ascot

We all know the key piece that will transform your gorgeous dress in to a glamorous outfit fit for Royal Ascot is what's on top of your head.
Biba Fox, the designer of bespoke jewellery, not only takes commission on rings, necklaces, bracelets etc, but can also design headpieces for weddings, gala nights and of course Royal Ascot.
Just email her on to discuss ideas for next year's hat.

Here's a few of her past headpieces with a flirty 1920's feel :
Passionate Pink is always a hot colour for Royal Ascot and looks striking with the bold black feather. The crystals are of course Swarovski.
Silver plated woven wire with Swarovski crystals - inspiration butterflies. This will set off a monochrome outfit just nicely.

Make them green with envy with this smaller headpiece.The attention is drawn to the green enameled wire lacing detail embellished with sparkling Swarovski crystals.  
Price starts from £85
visit her website for more details:


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