What Makes A Classic?


Hermés CE, Jean-Louis Dumas, sat next to Jane Birkin on a Paris to London flight in 1981 and the ‘Birkin Bag’ was born. Legend has it the actress/singer, trying to fit her overfilled straw carry-on into the overhead locker – creating the type of cabin chaos we can never get enough of –complained she couldn’t find a leather bag she liked, the rest is history.

Based on an original 1891 Hermés design, the ‘Birkin Bag’ is now a classic. It’s simple with barely any branding and the genes couldn’t be better – Hermés gravity with Birkin glamour. Plus it’s practical and actually holds more than lipstick and a stick of gum (although Jane Birkin said hers was too heavy, some people are never happy).

Does the Saint Laurent Duffle 24 have what it takes to make it to 30 and still have icon status?

Well anything that Hedi Slimane touches turns to must have these days. The Duffle 24 isn’t ostentatious just serious and practical. There’s the cross-generation SL thing http://www.thesartorialist.com/photos/on-the-street-anna-dr-milan/. It won’t date and it’s got the clever hand/shoulder mix going so it works summer and carries through to the ‘big clutch’ look for AW 2013. And from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kate Moss everyone’s got one or wanting one or waiting for one.

But is the Saint Laurent Duffle 24 a classic? www.net-a-porter.com

THIS WEEK I FOUND …….. Blue Plasma Daily No Peel, Peel


Fast fix for dull skin without nasty chemicals and gentle enough to use every day, Perricone MD Blue Plasma Daily No Peel, Peel gives immediate and long-lasting results. It could be the quickest way yet to smooth and light reflective and that’s what I’m looking for in skin this spring. www.selfridges.com

Images: Yves Saint Laurent. Perricone MD

10 Ways To A Weightless Wardrobe


Way back in the 70’s the term ‘Capsule Wardrobe’ was coined. 40+ years later it still appeals, but is it practical for real people? Can you honestly imagine living with just two pairs of shoes? No, probably not.

But if your wardrobe’s cluttered and you still can’t find anything to wear – at least not easily – give the ‘capsule’ basics a try. It’s unlikely you’ll end up living forever with a wardrobe that would fit in a flight case at a moment’s notice, you might just find it easier to get dressed.

Empty your wardrobe. Take out everything, that’s everything, even the nasties lurking away in the back. Make a big pile, now you’re ready to begin.

Be ruthless. If you haven’t worn it for a year, you haven’t seen it for longer or you don’t even remember buying it, chances are you don’t need it. Send it to someone who does via your Charity Shop Bag.

Start sorting. Put trousers into one pile, skirts into another, shirts, t-shirts ….. you get the idea, if you’re enthusiastic micro-sort by colour. This is the time to start trying things on and only keeping clothes that really fit now, this minute. If it doesn’t fit it goes in the Charity Shop Bag.

Be basic. It’s a terrifying thought but here’s what your ‘capsule’ should contain; 1 pair of jeans, 2 skirts, 2 pairs of trousers, 1 sweater, 1 cardigan, 2 plain t-shirts, 1 dress, 1 LBD, 1 coat and 2 jackets. There’s shoe culling too, but you’re probably traumatised enough by now.

Create the capsule colour canvas. The blueprint ‘capsule wardrobe’ is based on neutral colours (navy, chocolate, camel, grey, black, white), so focus on selecting key items in this colour range. Just imagine how beautifully Japanese this is going to look when it’s hanging up.

Closet the final cut. If you’re short on space only hang dresses, coats, jackets, skirts and shirts. Trousers, t-shirts etc. can be put in drawers but don’t fold them, roll them – you make more room, you can see what you’ve got at a glance and you avoid fold creases.

Make a shopping list and stick to it. Be true to the capsule concept and think quality not quantity. Choose cashmere, wool, silk and cotton. Consider designers that focus on classic tailoring and exceptional finishes. Don’t think about trends, think about what suits you. Do think about accessories. Don’t deviate. The capsule wardrobe has no room for impulse buys or bargains you couldn’t resist.

Only buy in your size. Seems obvious but it’s not. Everyone’s guilty of the ‘diet buys’, just don’t do them. If you want to lose weight and you do it you deserve to go shopping all over again.

Try everything on and take your time. Don’t shop when you’re rushed or in places where you don’t feel comfortable. Move around and look at what you’re wearing from all angles, try different mirrors in the shop, think about the shoes you’ll wear. And again, it’s quality not quantity.

Own It. The confident capsule is yours and it’s a great discipline but it’s just the start.

Will you try capsule? If you do let me know how you get on (pics please) I’d especially like to see some before and after wardrobes.

THIS WEEK I FOUND ……… the ‘Closet’ App


Even if you’re not ready to go full ‘capsule’ yet, you could try the Closet App and add a bit of order to your wardrobe. Simple and effective it organises your looks, has a calendar so you remember what you wore and when and you can ask it for ideas too – all based on what you’ve already got. Plus, if you’re travelling ‘Closet’ is the perfect virtual packer.

A Few Fresh Spring Makeup Must Haves


So they tell us it’s spring. Can’t say I noticed and when it comes to a fresh start for makeup that’s a bit of a problem. One minute the light’s bright and won’t let you away with anything and the next it’s back to grey, flat and just as unforgiving – only in a different way.

Best plan is to pretend we’re in a makeup micro-climate, get ready for spring anyway and – even if it doesn’t arrive any time soon – at least we’re prepared.

Brows are back
And if you’ve been good and careful they shouldn’t have gone anywhere in the first place because nothing ages your make-up faster than over done eyebrows; that’s over-plucked, over-shaped or all-over-the-place. But even if you’ve been less than careful you can cheat a bold, youthful brow until you get the real thing tidied up more permanently. Forget pencils and gloopy gels and think Tom Ford Brow Sculptor – the man believes in brows and his solution comes in three shades (blonde, taupe, chestnut), soft, simple and totally convincing.

Think Pink (but just a bit)
If you saw January Jones at Paris Fashion Week with her ‘bumped’ beehive, girly bow and bleached out makeup you just saw ‘retro’ go from reference to wrong, wrong, wrong. And this spring’s makeup does have a bit of a retro feel ie. plenty pink. But take it easy here, too much pink isn’t fresh and bright, it’s just dated. The look we’re going for is matte and velvety, Parisian effortless and just a dash of blossom. Try Laura Mercier’s Arabesque Range as an introduction; Crème Cheek Colour in Praline, ‘En Pointe’ (barely there pink) Nail Lacquer or a slick of Crème Smooth Lip Colour ‘Arabesque’, the finish is translucent and the colour buildable so it’s up to you how pink you go.

PS. Highlight with Care
Finally make the most of the light this Spring with careful highlighting. Remember it’s matte and velvety so try Paul & Joe Pressed Powder, it’s subtle, sheeny and comes in several shades so choose one that’s the same as your skin tone or just 1 shade lighter. Apply lightly to cheekbone, brow bone and cupid’s bow. Parisian Spring (lavender and green in a swirl) is a great Paul & Joe pressed powder for all over even skin tone.

THIS WEEK I FOUND …….packaging that’s just too pretty


What can I say? One look at this pretty packaging and I want a boudoir, Maribou feather mules, a huge dressing table with an even bigger mirror and someone to run baths for me!

You were right Mum, Happy Mothers’ Day!


This is the best gift I could possibly give my mum on Mothers’ Day; proof that I really did listen to her a lot of the time.

You were right about elbows according to you scruffy elbows make you look older than crows’ feet do. So here’s your tip for dealing with the rough, nasty, dull skin I just might have forgotten; mix sea salt crystals with a little almond oil, put the gloop in the palm of your hand and gently rotate your elbow in it – it’s messy skincare and you have to do it regularly, but it works. Try it at night and the left over oil sinks into your skin while you’re having 8 hours sleep (another Mum tip).


You were right about Vaseline I used to think you were either mad or had shares in the stuff but turns out good, old, ordinary Vaseline is one of the cheapest and best go-to’s in my kit. It’s great for removing heavy eye make-up (really dissolves mascara). It conditions eyelashes. Slather it on your heels at night and wear socks to bed (ok, not beautiful but you get nice beach feet eventually). Use it as a lip salve or a quick gloss if you’re stuck. Elbows (them again) love Vaseline. Massage it into your nails the night before a manicure. It seals and heals little cuts and scrapes and ………

You were right about Witch Hazel Remember all my broken hearts and the tears and the puffy eyes? Well Witch Hazel does work (it doesn’t mend the hearts but it does sort out the puffiness). Use a little Witch Hazel solution on a cotton pad to dab under your eyes – gently. Reduces puffiness, brightens the skin, soothes redness – fantastic if you get allergies and don’t want to look like an angry grizzly bear.


You were right about mascara I know you didn’t think I was listening when you told me ‘less is more except when it’s mascara’ but I was! Yves Saint Laurent Mascara Volume Faux Cils is my choice at the moment; single application, smooth and rich, no flakes, lengthens, thickens and makes big, luscious, weightless lashes in one swoop.

You were right about necks And I remember your words of wisdom every time I moisturise mine (more gently and carefully than anywhere else). Try Chanel Hydramax + Cream it’s also an excellent all-over, rich and fast-fix moisturiser (sounds extravagant, but it’s good for pregnant tummies too). Like my mum says ‘you only get one skin and who wants a neck like a turkey?’

You were right about shins They are the Sahara of the body; always up the SPF on shins, use a much richer body cream on them, don’t ever exfoliate them – pretty, bare legs and scrubby, desolate shins are not a good look.

wooden shoe lasts

You were right about baths showers are for getting clean and washing hair, baths are time to soak, think, read, relax – and like you always said mum – they save water.


And you were also right about Tea Tree Oil, it’s a universal antiseptic. Lavender does make you sleep better (a few drops of oil in the bath works for hyper kids too). Arnica Cream is a must in every mum’s bag. And always wear a hat when it’s cold outside!


This week I found ……Balenciaga Was Born in Spain


I always assumed Balenciaga was French. I never even thought twice about it. But in fact the ‘Great French Couturier’ was actually born in Gateria in the Basque Country (there’s a Balenciaga Museum in Gateria and it’s near San Sebastian – two good reasons to visit).

And how do I know this? Because this week I’m reading ‘The Master of Us All: Balenciaga, his workroom, his world’ by Mary Blume. It’s wonderfully written, beautiful to look through and about the first real look into the mystery of Balenciaga the couturier who gave us the ‘Cocoon’ silhouette (see Alexander Wang’s take on it at PFW 2013) and so awed his clientele that one of them claimed, she wanted to be buried in Balenciaga in case she met him in Heaven. Definitely not a ‘coffee table’ book, this one’s to read (but not in the bath).

Good timing too, Alexander Wang’s first collection for Balenciaga showed at Paris Fashion Week on Sunday – was he as good as Nicholas Ghesquiere? Anna Wintour thought so, what do you think?


Photograph of Elise Daniels by Richard Avedon 1949