Thursday, 28 June 2012

Illamasqua: where beauty has no age limits

Those gorgeous people at British beauty brand Illamasqua have been hard at work finding older models for their new campaign. The Generation Q range celebrates all ages, and launches September 6, with a fabulous selection of adverts featuring the brand's Beauty Before Age competition winners. One of the campaign's stars, Evelyn (above & below) was scouted by the Illamasqua beauty team in a Manchester store. After meeting her the other night, I can see why. She's beautiful and charming and up close, her skin is amazing. Ari Seth Cohen would swoon. I asked Evelyn how she felt about being an older model, 'It was a terrific shock at first, adverts always feature very young girls - so even though brands cater for us older girls, they don't show us,' the 72-year-old commented, 'Most of my friends don't wear make-up, so it can sometimes feel like you're going over the top - but after this experience, I just don't care. I like what the make-up artist has done so much, I'm going to keep it on for days!'

Behind the scenes. Evelyn and her daughter Kate (standing to the right).

Talking about the initiative, creative director Alex Box said,' It's important to show all ages. To be inclusive. These are people who've loved make-up all their lives, that doesn't just stop when you reach a certain age. We wanted something that would look fantastic on 77-year-old skin and on 17-year-old skin.' And, beauty newsflash: readers, this range includes shimmer. Often deemed a no-no for women of a certain age, Generation Q products - including the new Gleam Cream highlighter that Evelyn's wearing in the photos - are 'light reflective, not age reflective'. Illamasqua are putting the shine back into grown-up make-up, and 'standing against the industry rule of wearing matt products and concealing your real identity under a sea of beige.'

If it makes my skin look like this, I'm all for it. Though I think I'll pop along to the Illamasqua Beauty School Drop -In to find out how to apply my make-up properly first:

Evelyn's campaign shot.

So, forget what you've previously been told. Shimmer rules. OK.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Fashion bin: cut-out swimwear

Sharp swimwear: French Vogue.

There are some fashion items - fascinators, vajazzles, cut-out swimwear -  that are about as much use as the England football team during a penalty shoot-out. What French Vogue is calling 'sharp swimwear' is just complicated, fiddly and too much like hard work. To say nothing of the weird tan lines. As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing sharp about looking like John Terry's paparrazzi-friendly missus on a fake beach in Dubai. An hommage to Helmut Newton, they say, but even with a Brigitte Nielsen physique, you wouldn't, would you?

And as for the Chanel resort 2013 collection, this Marie Antoinette-inspired, one-piece is simply grotesque. Porno chic meets panto. Perfect for Lady Gaga, probably a bit too covered-up for Rihanna. But really. What would Coco say?

There's only one place for it:

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Quote of the week: Tricia Jones

Tricia Jones in Vogue magazine.

As part of the day job, I recently gave a very short talk at the All Walks Beyond The Catwalk forum at Graduate Fashion Week. Sitting nervously at the table beforehand, I spotted a gorgeous older woman in head-to-ankle navy: Marc Jacobs rain mac, fine knit sweater, rolled up cotton pants, off-white Converse All Stars and what looked like a Marni necklace. Now that's what I call Casual Glamour. It was Tricia Jones, co-founder of i-D magazine, there to talk about an upcoming Diversity NOW! competition.

'I was 65 last week and I'm really proud to tell you that. It's good, fuck it, 65 is really good.'

Going on to add, ' I think it's incredibly important  that everyone in the media takes onboard how essential it is to pass on a positive message of diversity: in ethnicity, size and age. We're communicators. We absolutely have a responsibility.'

Hear, hear.

Image courtesy of Out of the Bag.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Style icon: Jane Fonda

Photo: Rex/Telegraph.

Worn the wrong way, a metallic biker jacket could look a bit Rock of Ages, but Jane Fonda gets it just right. Spot on. At the LA premier of The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin's new show, the 74-year-old superstar owns the red carpet - and highlights just how precious gold really is. Choose the right tone and a metallic jacket will light up the face, brighten the complexion and make the wearer look absolutely fabulous. Fonda sensibly let's the jacket do all the work, whilst the rest of the outfit - beautifully tailored pants, a silk camisole and bronze flats - kicks back and relaxes. Magnificent.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Street Style: White Brogues

Always on the look out for a comfy shoe, this morning on the way for a much-needed coffee (I blame Euro 2012, I can't watch the England football team sober) I bumped into Rose Ratcliffe. Local retailer and stylist extraordinaire. In white brogues. Sadly, her feet and ankles are out of focus in my mobile phone photo - Garance Doré won't be quaking in her peep-toe shoe-boots just yet - in real life Rose looks a lot better than this. For a start, she doesn't have cankles, and her flesh is not the same colour as her footwear. Anyhow. Here's a picture of a slightly less blurry brogue. Starting to think I may need to pay the optician's a visit...

The lace-ups are from Danish comfy-shoe-meisters Ecco. The 48-year-old label now has a more directional Fashion Line. Who knew? Rose is practically an ambassador for the brand, 'I've had other Ecco shoes and they're still going 6-7 years later,' she declares, ' So you could say I'm impressed by their durability. Also, I like the fact that there's not too much going on with this brogue. Not a lot of detail. And the off-white colour means I can wear them in winter, with socks.'

As we all know, the brogue and wide-leg trouser combo is the epitome of tomboy chic:

And now for a game of dress-up. Let's imagine Lauren Hutton in a pair with this tailored outfit:


How would you wear white brogues?

Monday, 18 June 2012

What your dressing gown says about you

Photo: Getty.

Mr That's Not My Age is a fan of loungewear. Every evening without fail, he comes home from work, has a bath and changes into something more comfortable. That's Not My Husband by the way, it's the actor Benedict Cumberbatch 'channeling a slightly younger Hugh Hefner' on the Nick Hart catwalk. This weekend was the inaugural London Collections: Men. I think it's just brilliant that London now has its own menswear shows. This is the home of Savile Row, after all. And Prince Charles is a bit of style icon these days, don't you know.

So, for his recent birthday, I decided to buy the Blog Widower a new dressing gown. Simple, I thought. He's in need of a style upgrade and it'll be perfect for lounging in. I wanted plain, cotton and nothing too shiny. Playboy Mansions this ain't. After trawling all the obvious places: Selfridges, Fenwick, John Lewis, and finding everything too big and fluffy, I went online. Where after flirting briefly with a gorgeous £1800 paisley Turnbull & Asser number from Mr Porter, I took a quick reality check and found this lovely cotton bath robe at Not On The High Street. It's handmade using 100% cotton, Hamam towels by Tunisian artisans. And Mr TNMA loves it. In his twenties, on returning from a trip to Bali, the young Blog Widower spent the summer wandering around London in a sarong - so I think this Febronie gown appeals to his hippy nature. 'It's not a fire risk like that old one from M&S,' he says, ' It's cool for summer and kind of sleek. And the pockets are quite big. Good for storing hankies and I think I could fit my Kindle (last year's birthday present) in too.'

So there you have it. Benedict Cumberbatch in black satin with a whisky and cigar. Mr That's Not My Age in cool cotton with his handkerchief and reading matter. I know which one I think is the real gentleman...

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Ai Weiwei: Serpentine Gallery Pavilion

Photo: Telegraph

Good news from London: it's finally stopped raining. Which is a relief, I'm tired of having crap hair and damp feet. So for the first time in ages Mr & Mrs That's Not My Age jumped on our bicycles and headed over to Hyde Park to see this year's Serpentine Gallery Pavilion. Designed by the artist Ai Weiwei, it's a sunken, cork-lined structure with a circular pool of water on top. Underneath was very busy, though I managed to snap a few photos without having to ask the crowds to step aside - and the water had a calming effect:

Ai Wewei hasn't seen his latest piece of work, he's stuck in Bejing under constant surveillance. The 55-year-old Chinese artist designed the pavilion via Skype, in conjunction with Herzog & de Meuron who he worked with on Tate Modern and the Bird's Nest Stadium for the Bejing Olympics. He told the Independent, 'Using Skype is lovely. I think all projects should be done with Skype.'  And he's not wrong. I'm currently trying to figure out ways of Skyping myself into the office so that I can stay at home all week. 'The pavilion concept is about memory and questioning. It's to offer something the public will hopefully enjoy at this moment, there with the Olympics. I hope the Olympics in London won't have any problems for the people who live there. But it's a civil society, the Olympics is made for the citizens.'

Shame the citizens can't get hold of tickets! At least I'll be able to buy one the good old-fashioned way instead of having to enter a Kafka-esque lottery for Never Sorry, the Sundance Festival prize-winning documentary about Ai Wewei's work, out this summer.

What have you been doing this weekend?

Friday, 15 June 2012

Trinny & Susannah launch fashion range for QVC

Trinny & Susannah are back! Gok Wan may have nabbed their TV makeover crown. Mary Portas' Kinky Knickers are hotter than the duo's Magic Pants. But like a pair of feisty terriers the What Not To Wear stars aren't prepared to let go, just yet. Set to be the Queens of QVC, they've been busy 'designing' a new figure-flattering range, 'When we got the call from QVC, it was the most fucking exciting thing,' shouted Trinny as the pair barnstormed the launch party barking soundbites and issuing their trademark body shape philosopy.

In keeping with the two posh girls' best-selling book, this collection is designed to boost confidence by using the art of camouflage to help create a well-proportioned silhouette. 'Women feel like they go over a size 16 and they've turned into a blob,' yelled Susannah. 'We've designed a range of dresses that do something for the body. Give you a waist if you have no waist.' cried Trinny, 'I feel sexy, which I like. I usually feel bony and puny.' One of the things that distinguishes Trinny & Susannah from Gok & Mary, is that they relate body image to their own hang-ups, which I like.

This is not the posh pair's first collection, 'We worked with Littlewoods and, ugh,' exclaimed Susannah, ' We just wonder why retailers don't lay it out in categories like big, tits, big bum and so on. Like we do in our shows. On QVC we'll talk about body shape, so you know what does it for you. We want to make women feel better about their bodies.' Wearing items from the collection, Trinny (top half only, from the range) & Susannah prodded and poked model Krissie to remind us that they are the original bossy boots fashion experts:

So, what about the collection itself? Some of the styles didn't have much hanger-appeal, though the Roland Mouret-inspired frock stood out.

And some of the fabrics looked a bit cheap, there was a particularly flammable-looking burgundy velvet jacket. But then the models arrived, and the dresses looked much better on the body. Prices range from £48 - £150, and sizes from 10-22. Krissie - who has just turned 40, by the way - told me that the contrast panel number fitted properly and made her look and feel good. There are certain similarities to the Twiggy for M&S Woman collection - no ground-breaking design, just easy affordable basics, such as animal print dresses and simple tailoring, that do actually flatter the figure.

Trinny & Susannah's QVC collection launches on Sunday 19 August.

What do you think of the range? And how do you feel about celebrity fashion collections?

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Ernestine Sheperd: the 75-year-old bodybuilder

'Exercise is like an anti-ageing pill,' says 75-year-old Ernestine Sheperd, the Guinness Book of Records' oldest competitive female bodybuilder. 'Miss Ernie' took up the sport aged 71, runs 10k every morning, is more active than people thirty years her junior, ahem - and looks fantastic. 'When I was younger, I was too prissy to be athletic,' she adds. Personally, I'm worried that my sporting life is going in the opposite direction. Very athletic in my youth, I seem to have entered a middle-aged slump, but seeing this video - and 64-year-old Grace Jones with her hula hoop at the Queen's Jubilee concert - I'm determined to take make like an energetic pensioner and get fit. Fast.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Older Models: China Machado

Having read a news story this weekend on the rise of appearance-related anxiety in elderly women, I was delighted to see 82-year-old China Machado modelling for Fashion Magazine. Increasing diversity in fashion by accepting beauty at any age, using older models instead of fixating on the young, could help overcome this self-esteem issue. Don't you think? As Alex Yellowlees, a consultant psychiatrist, confirmed in the Observer yesterday, 'Today everybody is acutely aware of how they look, and our appearance has become a currency we trade on. That means we value old people less because they don't fit the 'currency' of youth. This in turn leads to a lack of self-esteem in older people, because they don't feel valued by a culture that can't get past superficial image.'

Born in Shanghai in 1929, Machado started modelling in 1954, after meeting Hubert de Givenchy in a Parisian nightclub. Moving to New York in 1958, she was introduced to Richard Avedon by Diana Vreeland. 'I worked exclusively with Dick and Harper's Bazaar for the next three years. I stopped in 1962 because, frankly, I couldn't give a damn,' the octogenarian model recently told Harper's. Moving to the other side of the lens instead, Machado became fashion editor for the American magazine (from 1962-1972).

China Machado also appears in the Timothy Greenfield-Sanders documentary About Face: The Supermodels, Then and Now.

Bring on the older models, I say.

Thanks to Fashion Gone Rogue and Dal Choda for bringing this photo shoot to my attention.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Advanced Style: London book launch

Ari with Daphne Selfe and Fanny Karst.

Even though I'd had an early preview of the Advanced Style book, I was practically hyperventilating when I arrived at the London launch party last night. All my heroes in one room, this felt like a grown-up style summit. And I felt like a giddy child who's overdone it on the Haribos. When I finally managed to calm down, I had a lovely chat with Daphne Selfe, who as you all know is 83-years-old and still modelling. Here she is with Fanny Karst from The Old Ladies' Rebellion, both wearing outfits from the latest collection. So, Daphne is an octogenarian supermodel, just this week she's been on the graduate catwalk circuit and has featured in the Guardian. The Hertfordshire-based model stays fit and healthy doing yoga everyday and has even invented some of her own moves.

The place was jam-packed full of fabulous older women - but, I was borderline hysterical and could barely speak, let alone take photos. So the picture below is from Susie Bubble's site - her photos are excellent, you really should take a look. This wonderful lady makes her own jewellery and apparently, Tatty Devine have signed her up. She's like our very own Iris Apfel, don't you think?

Photo: Susie Bubble

And here's the blogger Very Old Grandmother, who Ari spotted last time he was in London:

Photo: Susie Bubble

I like how ASC's bubblegum pink suit matches Zandra Rhodes' hair. Now, this is a photo I took with the Advanced Style iPhone, so I'm sure it's OK to use it! Thanks, Ari.

The book signing/party/best night of my life was in the Mary Portas shop over at House of Fraser. Of course, Mary was there. Decked out in her own gear (animal print trousers, now £69.30, throw-on shirt, £125). Sorry this one's a bit shaky, the Queen of Shops has that effect on me:

When Ari met Mary. And the uber-stylish Virginia Bates.

One of the best dressed women of the entire evening was the multi-talented Thelma Speirs.

Photo: Fred Butler

The hat designer, DJ and muse proves that sparkle never goes out of style, and white slingbacks can look cool. Here she is on the decks wearing 'all her old clothes' and a gorgeous necklace made by a friend.

And, if I wasn't emotional enough already, Ari's lovely comment in my book made me well up with pride:

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Meet my new friend: Dr. Perricone

People, there's been an exciting breakthrough at That's Not My Age Mansions. I've upgraded my beauty routine. Not difficult, considering that most nights I collapse exhausted into bed and reach for a carefully positioned packet of cheap cleansing wipes. The boudoir isn't quite up to Tracey Emin's standards, but you get the picture. But that's all changed. I've ditched the studenty behaviour and discovered a new paradigm in skincare technology: Cold Plasma by Perricone MD. It's a cosmeceutical. Here's Doctor Nicholas Perricone, you probably know him already, he's an expert on ageing and has written several books:

Not bad for 63, eh? Now, I'm no expert, so I'm not going to bore on about the science behind Cold Plasma (there's a lot of it), suffice to say that like blood plasma, this cream delivers nutrients to the skin, as and when needed. Addressing visible signs of ageing such as: wrinkles (tick), loss of firmness (tick), uneven skin tone (tick). I've been using the treatment for the last couple of months and - if I say so myself - my skin looks and feels amazing. Over the last year or so, a combination of stress and hormones have really had an impact on the old face, but having embraced the New Paradigm, my skin is all glowy and radiant again. I've just been applying Cold Plasma in the morning under moisturizer - though the doctor suggests using twice a day. I never read the instructions properly, so I've only just noticed that you can use this stuff on thighs, bums and wobbly arms too. Though it's quite pricey so I wouldn't slap it on all-over if I were you.

Do you have any favourite anti-ageing products?

Just so you know, Perricone MD very kindly sent me this product to review.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Modern Love - and the Great British seaside.

Modern Love's fabulous cape dress.

We're back. And whilst Mr That's Not My Age recovers from a weekend with my family (he's currently lying speechless on the sofa), I've been tending to my inboxes. Blimey, I feel like Sisyphus with his boulder. Does anyone have any tips, apart from press delete and go for a walk instead? So, as I trawled through the digital dross, I found a query from a lovely reader who asked where she could find screen-printed dresses. Oh I do like a coincidence, only last week one of my favourite grown-up labels Modern Love embraced e-commerce and introduced a fully functioning, transactional website. Technically, these are digital prints but hey, no need to be pedantic - there is a screen involved. And as the latest collection is inspired by seventies disco, I'd like to take this opportunity to show you the largest mirror ball in the world:

Which can be found in Blackpool. Where the Blog Widower and I spent the latter half of the Jubilee weekend. As the Modern Love team are seasiders too (they live in Brighton) - and we're all feeling proud to be British at the moment - I'm sure they won't mind me banging on about Blackpool. After many years at the bottom of the bucket list, usurped by cheap air travel and the promise of a kagoule-free holiday, I'm pleased to announce that this tired old northern town has had a facelift. The Golden Mile has been spruced up: new trams, a new registry-cum-tourist information office, a landscaped promenade with fabulous fixtures and fittings and, wait for it...public works of art.

The new look Golden Mile.
A shiny new tram.
Pebble-shaped seats on the prom.

If you look closely (on the left-hand side, behind the shiny new tram), you can see Blackpool Tower. Not dissimilar to Eiffel Tower and the closest some of us northeners get to Parisian Chic.

Then last but not least, there's the fabulous Comedy Carpet. Which looks like a gigantic, old-fashioned playbill and consists of 160 thousand granite letters -  displaying the names of comedians, writers, and popular catchphrases - embedded into concrete on the seafront.

A close-up of the Comedy Carpet.

As the brochure says, 'Comedy runs through Blackpool like the town's name runs through a stick of rock.'

Er, nice to see you, to see you nice.

Friday, 1 June 2012

A Royal Send Off

It's the Queen waving us off. We're heading up north for a friend's wedding and a couple of days en famille. This solar-powered model of Her Majesty (you can just about see the panel on the top of her handbag) is a belated birthday present for my mum.

Have a Jubilicious weekend.