Call It A Bible

There are plenty of books out there on fashion and beauty, and most of them suck. One that doesn't is PRETTY: The Nylon Book of Beauty

Why is it great? Think of anyone famous you ever thought looked cool. You can look them up in this book and find tips on products and techniques to use to achieve their look. It's also divided by decade, and includes everyone from Grace Jones to Courtney Love. The photos are gorgeous and glossy and they aren't sucking up to any one brand as far as what they recommend using. They also consider things such as "Courtney was pretty broke when she looked like this, so she probably used this shade of Wet n' Wild...."

Nylon is the magazine to read if you have any sense of daring whatsoever in terms of personal style. The artwork is always excellent and as a whole it never ceases to inspire me to create something or blow money on my appearance.

It's $9.95 to subscribe for 10 issues. Actually, right now you also get 3 free issues and a t-shirt with the Nylon logo on it. Being a complete shwag-whore, the free t-shirt totally sold me.
Did you know Nylon is also selling a line of t-shirts at Urban Outfitters? They're by various artists and the girl ones are cute (my favorite is the gray with the bunny.) However, the guy ones are a little bit heinous.

(Shout out: Michelle who gave me the awesome book.)


Could It Be Talent?

Nicky Hilton actually attended fashion school (though she didn't graduate), so in that respect she is slightly less infuriating than the 3,000 celebrities who can barely dress themselves who now "design" their own collections. Because she might actually have tried, I feel more willing to give Jan Brady Hilton a chance. I looked up what she's done this fall, and surprisingly some of it isn't half bad.

The 24-year old has two labels-- Nicholai (that's her full first name) and Chick by Nicky Hilton.

In a recent interview with the Associate Press, she noted the difference between the two:
"Nicholai is definitely for the mature, sophisticated customer ... whereas Chick is just fun pieces."
Check out this video of the Nicholai show at New York Fashion Week this fall. (P.S. - Model #4 in the red is Pete Doherty's current girlfriend.) Some of the outfits manage to be simultaneously tacky and boring, and others are cut like sacks, but there are a few beautiful pieces peppering the line. I particularly love the dense sequins on some of the separates - very vintage.

Chick on the other hand ain't so good. And it wasn't ever good. Less than a year after it debuted in 2004, I was finding pieces of it on the clearance rack at my local T.J. Maxx.
These items are cute, but they were already available 3 months ago at the mall.

Do you think she actually designs this stuff? Or does she just approve what other people design for her and pays them to keep quiet about it?


The Lips of a (Mc)Queen

It's a simple pair of equations:
Dark lipstick = smaller looking lips
Pale lipstick = bigger looking lips

If you prefer plump to pursed, check out these two new shades M.A.C. created to coincide with the fall collection of edgy (think clothes you'd listen to The Cure in if you were a billionaire) British designer Alexander McQueen.

"Masque" is a pale neutral rose and "Archetype" is a pale neutral gold. Both satin-finish formulas retail for $14.
If you rock dark or dramatic eye makeup, you can wear these without looking like a clown.

P.S.-- In true goth-boy form, McQueen dedicated his collection to Elizabeth How(e), a woman killed in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692.

Breeds of Model

I'm as big a fan of America's Next Top Model as the next girl, don't get me wrong, but I'd bet you my left leg that no cotestant-- or even winner--will ever book a high fashion campaign or show. Why? They're pretty girls. And only freaks and celebuspawn make it in high fashion.

If you don't believe me, check out Style.com's new article "The Ten" about the 10 teenage skeletons du jour dominating the runways and billboards this fall. Every one of them looks to be the offspring of a human and a creature from Lord of the Rings.

Here is my advice to the contestants of America's Next Top Model, and anyone else aspiring to strut a catwalk in the presence of Anna Wintour and her ridiculous wig:
A good litmus test for whether or not you're high fashion is whether or not frat guys want to bone you. If they do, don't plan on booking that Dior campaign.

Erin Fetherston 4 Target : Pictures!

It won't be in stores for a couple more weeks, but take a peek at the images of Target's new Go: International collection by Erin Fetherston. (They're meant for the press, but you don't have to show credentials to view them so, eff it. And P.S.? If you click on the thumbnails they show you the prices too.)
Don't Lolita, Marcia Brady and late-60s Marianne Faithfull come to mind? I love it already. Let's hope these pieces look as cute in person (and mind you, I'll let you know the day it launches.)


Glamorous Choice

M.A.C. Cosmetics has a new face. According to today's Women's Wear Daily, Stacy "Fergie" Ferguson will be the next spokes"woman" for Viva Glam in an ad campaign to be released in Februrary 2008. She'll be hawking a limited edition shade of Lipglass to raise money for the company's AIDS Fund.

Pam Anderson, Lil' Kim, RuPaul, Christina Aguilera... now Fergie? No offense to M.A.C., but do you see a trend here? Yeah, me too. Trannies!
But kudos to them for being socially responsible. They should branch out to Viva Glam eyeshadow.


The Best of Holiday Moss

The new Kate Moss collection from Topshop is now available to order. Hit it up now if you care to get spendy on a collector's piece, because the good stuff goes fast. Speaking of good stuff-- here are my top picks from the collection:

The corset top.
About $70 US dollars
Why? It's a statement piece. Part mod, part domme. Very Factory Girl.
What you need: A C-cup or smaller, and a damn good t-shirt bra.

The wool cape. (Update: SOLD OUT!)
About $240 US dollars
Why? It's a classic. Military chic meets avant-garde. It screams urban femme fatale, and you'll have it forever.
What you need: A pair of button-up leather gloves and a narrow cut skirt/pant.

The sequin-encrusted accessory.
Scarf, about $70 US dollars and Purse, about $90 US dollars
Why? With all the simple cuts and achromatic ensembles these days, you need a focal point.
What you need: A valid I.D. stating that you are under the age of 65.

These shoes are also lovely, about $150 US dollars, but sold out immediately. Real leather, mind you.

I didn't post any pants because you can buy average looking skinny jeans and bell bottoms on this side of the pond for far less than $100 at any of the following: TJ Maxx, Marshall's, H&M, Forever 21, Delia*s, Alloy... (how much time do I have?) It doesn't appear Miss Moss did anything for our bottoms that we have not seen before.

Her dresses, too, were nothing special. A few 1940's style floral numbers with puff-sleeves you could find at your local thrift store or on your local pastor's wife, satin gowns that look more like negligees, a completely random mandarin-collared mini dress, and a couple of pieces I like to think even the stylist for "Pretty Woman" would have rejected for a hooker's wardrobe.

Sometimes I think Kate just cleans out her closet for Goodwill and sends one of the bags in accidentally as design ideas. Other times the people who tell her what to say she likes are doing quite a nice job.

As always, you can find plenty on eBay already.

Beauty Review Duo: Maybelline's Latest

Maybelline Salon Expert Nail Color
In a word? Amazing. I was attracted by the sleek rectangular packaging and seduced by the richness of Amped Aubergine, a limited-edition shade from their Rock N Black fall collection. It was a worthy choice.
* EASE- You can truly get away with one coat, if you're lazy or in a hurry, and still look fabulous.
* SHINE- The claims about "just-done shine" are true. A glossy top-coat seems magically built-in.
* REAL LIFE-PROOF- I'm not careful with my hands at all. My polish withstood a full week of typing, shopping, driving, cooking, chores and even catbox-scooping without cracking under pressure. And in all honesty, shreds of it were still hanging on at the end of two weeks, when I finally got around to re-doing them.
* IDIOT-PROOF- I'm the queen of sloppy at-home nail jobs. I always manage to smudge some on my cuticles and fingertips, and end up taking half of it off with polish remover when trying to correct my mistakes. The "nail-shaped" brush in this product is an innovation. The span of it's spread is just enough to reach the curves of the nail without running outside the lines. They call it "precision." I call it just the training wheels I needed.
* PRICE: About $4. So stock up. They have 28 classic shades, and a handful of limited edition seasonal shades.

***Maybelline may have hit a home run with the nails, but their new Superstay Silky Foundation is quite another story. (For your own free sample, click here.)
BAD PACKAGING- What you won't experience with the sample is the most annoying part of this product. The packaging warns you that you may need to push on the pump a few times before both the "foundation" and the "silky coverage extender" come out at the same time. It took me about 50 pumps, and with each one of those pumps I wasted more and more of whichever ingredient was coming out. I assume that ingredient will run out first, and leave me with a useless amount of the other. So don't imagine for one second you're getting a full, useable 1 oz. of the product.
INACCURATE COLOR- I am fair-skinned and always wear the lightest possible shade in any fondation, usually called "01" or "fair" or "ivory", etc. The lightest shade of this product is too tan for me, and looks more like a orangey bronzer on my face. After all those pumps, I can't even use it unless it's summer when my skin gets a little more color to it.
Maybelline put this product on the market soon after their EverFresh foundation, which served the same "stay-put all day" purpose, was phased out (though it still appears to be on the UK market). They ought to bring that one back and get rid of this dud.


WTF of the Day: Elisa Jimenez on Project Runway

Who are they going to cast next, Marc Jacobs?
I didn't realize this at first glance, but one of the Project Runway Season 4 contestants is already-famous, already-successful, already-a-fashion-insider Elisa Jimenez.

If you're a "fashion person," like to the degree you ever looked at a Nylon Magazine, you heard of her back in the late 1990s. She's worked with a ton of famous artists, musicians, actresses and on films and a million mass-media-press covered endeavors.

She's gorgeous and already extremely successful. How is there even going to be any competition? And how weird is it that the other designers will probably all have heard of her and think it's unfair?


What Happens When You Win Project Runway?

With the new season of Project Runway starting up on Wednesday, November 4 at 10 p.m., I was curious to see how far the first three winners have gone since their 15 minutes. Here's what I got...

Season 1:

Winner Jay McCarroll had one show during NY Fashion Week in Fall 2006 sponsored by the Humane Society (he's anti-fur), but is now "homeless and relying on the kindness of friends who are allowing him to stay at their apartments," according to his wiki page.

Season 2:
Winner Chloe Dao still operates the store she already had before the show, Lot 8, in Houston. Last May she debuted a 13-piece collection sold on QVC called Simply. Chloe Dao. It kind of sucks.

Season 3:
Winner Jeffrey Sebelia has continued with his already-successful (again, before the show) L.A.-based Cosa Nostra label. According to a New York Magazine article last spring, his line was "under consideration" by Bergdorf Goodman, but looks like it wasn't picked up as there is nothing of his on their site. His stuff IS for sale on his site, however.

Check out the Season 4 Bios here and decide for yourself who'll be the next designer Bravo will thrust forth into marginal success!

Are You Ready?

The unveiling of Italian designer Roberto Cavalli's collaboration with H&M is just DAYS away. Mark your calendars for Thursday, November 8th! And plan to get there early enough to browse before certain assholes ruin the fun by buying entire racks to sell on eBay at a 200% markup.

If you're unfamiliar with Cavalli, think jungle prints, low necklines, high slits- polished rock and roll decadence. So very Italian.

My hope is that his collection challenges women to take it up a notch, and dare to go to dinner, or a club, swathed in a daring red carpet ensemble. Of course you and I have no gala to attend, no premiere or awards ceremony-- but why deny yourself? In my book, there is no such thing as overdressed.
According to H&M:
"The line will consist of iconic menswear, 20 pieces, and womenswear, 25 pieces, including lingerie plus matching accessories."

As far as the menswear... I would love to think anyone besides gay guys will be snapping this stuff up. American men are among the most wardrobe challenged in the world, narrowly beating tribes where loincloths are still all the rage. That is why I propose November 8th be Adopt-A-Hetero Day for friends and lovers of straight men. Pick up one item from this collection, and bring it home for him to try. Because you know what? You can always return it. And it's worth a shot.


Erin Fetherston Does Target

Target announced yesterday that Erin Fetherston will design the next collection for their "Go International" (read: haute design at ghetto prices) program. It hits stores on November 18, 2007.

So who is this chick? Well, she's young, elfin, and rather new on the scene. She showed her first couture collection in Paris in 2005, just a year after nabbing her fashion degree (she studied at Parsons School of Design in Paris) and her first ready-to-wear collection debuted in New York just this past spring. See footage of her Fall/Winter 2007 collection here.

Her collection for the plebes, according to Target, will include "must-haves such as Peter Pan-collar dresses, ruffle-front blouses, chunky cardigans, miniskirts, skinny pants and wool coats."

The "standout pieces" they promise are:

* a charmeuse jumper with velvet hearts
* red velvet shorts
* a layered chiffon dress
* a classic velvet pantsuit
* a wrap sweater
* an oversized heart-shaped bag
* bow headbands in satin, jaquard and brocade
* heart necklaces
* a knit scarf with heart details

(All priced between $7.99 and $89.99)

My first thoughts? Sounds like a cross between vintage holiday party-wear and how I dressed on school picture day circa 4th grade. I foresee her scaring off the "normals" a bit, but being an absolute hit with urban indie chicks, nostalgic twenty-somethings and those willing to take a risk.
The first model you see on her website is Zooey Deschanel. So you know she's into quirk and music and shy whimsy. I can't wait. If you get there first, save me a heart-shaped bag.


Shop Goodwill, Dodge the Smell

Did you know that Goodwill has an online auction site? It's a bit of a mess (just like the stores-- so thrifters won't miss out on that the exilhirating feeling of "digging for gold"--though if you're looking for a multi-sensory simulation, try tearing open a dirty diaper and setting it next to the keyboard...) but there are more than a few treasures lurking in what appears to be one Michigan location.
For example, a pair of unworn Prada pumps, current price $78, with 3 minutes to go...a vintage Gunne Sax prarie dress...a vintage suede coat from Saks Fifth Avenue, and so on.
It's definitely worth a look, if you can get past their overabundance of fur coats. (That's vintage fur, PETA! Now, put down that can of red paint.)


Skinny Santa Comes Early

Topshop has released a preview of the new Kate Moss holiday collection! Check it out here.
It won't be available for purchase until Thursday, October 25th, but you can still fall in love in the meantime...


Damn the Conversion Rate

We all know about Topshop. That English upgrade of knockoff-couture-for-cheapskates (Swedish, by the way) retailer H&M that American "actresses" rave about after sending their personal stylist/clenbuterol dealers to raid it in a roof-landing private aircraft.

Underrated talents such as you and I, on the other hand, curse the dollars to pounds exchange rate and international shipping fees while coveting the cuts we won't be trouncing about in for months, sometimes an entire year, later.
Well, as if one unreachable beacon of fab wasn't bad enough, take a peek at Dorothy Perkins.

Ever-so-slightly cheaper and just as fabulous, it's yet another reason I'll soon be looking for a "flat" in Pete Doherty's trailer park as soon as humanly possible.
But for the sake of my dental health, please, one or both of you... Come to the U.S.? I promise the total amount of income I plan to dispose of at your registers will put at least one child through an ivy league school.

Seriously. I want my trends while they're still trendy. Waiting this long to hop on the high-waisted trouser train has been painful.

PS- Guys if you don't already know, the Topshop for you is called Topman. Check it out.