15 January 2010

Golden Globe Fashion Highlights

The 67th annual Golden Globe awards are airing on 17th January this year, which is just a couple of days away.  In honour of this glitzy spectacle here are the best dressed Golden Globe attendees from the last ten years (with a little help from Marie Claire's image gallery).

25th British actress Rachel Weisz wore such a simple dress (Bill Blass), but carried it off well.  I can't help but feel the accessories were somewhat lacking, which is why she trails other celebrities in this list, but red is definitely her colour.  A little more drama in her make-up wouldn't go amiss, either.

24th Whereas Rachel should have turned it up a notch, songbird Mariah Carey should have turned it down.  The Chanel dress is gorgeous but needs to be a size bigger and the hair is too fussy.  Kudos for great make-up and nails, though.

23rd Despite edging towards tacky, Halle Berry just about succeeds pulling off this red and white doily evening gown.  I think that's more down to her beauty than anything.  I like the contrast of colours, I even like the almost organic look of the red accents, but the lace top and bottom parts bring it down.

22nd Eschewing the more traditional classic Hollywood glamour look for this modern, more casual Marchesa outfit was a risk but it paid off handsomely for Latin singer/actress Jennifer Lopez.  Her curves are displayed modestly, which can be much more effective than flashing the flesh.

21st Kate Moss, renowned for her eclectic wardrobe, solidified her reputation as a left-field dresser with this full-length, full-coverage black-sequinned number.  And with Johnny Depp on her arm she was truly accessorized to perfection.

20th Mischa Barton is so slim she can get away with wearing a dress with such a daring cut-out around the middle.  I think that if you can get away with it then why not? Others, however, have criticised Mischa for glamorising her overly slender (possibly unhealthy) frame.

19th Salma Hayek has assets some people would die for, and she shows them off here in this Narciso Rodriguez corseted dress.  Her ample bosom dominates, though, and distracts the eye from the rather fabulous gold accessories and dark nails.

18th Floor-length gowns are the norm at red-carpet events such as the Golden Globes, but Sex and The City star Sarah Jessica Parker stood out in this Emanuel Ungaro, romantic, soft pink gown with a tumbling corsage.  She looks perfect except for the out-of-place bag.  Where did THAT come from?

17th When you're short and not a size 2 it can be hard to compete with some of the most giraffe-like women in showbiz.  America Ferrera - who transforms into Ugly Betty in the television show of the same name - shows it can be done, however, in this fitted, flattering purple Brian Reyes dress.

16th Amazonian-limbed actress Minnie Driver made her mark in Hollywood with this corseted, shimmering, fishtail dress which glittered in the flashbulbs and hugged her shape perfectly.

15th Taking inspiration from Kate Moss's black gown (and sporting dazzling blonde hair like her mother) is Kate Hudson in this sleeved, sequinned Atelier Versace creation with a plunging neckline.  Only for the brave... or small-chested.

14th Certainly not as elegant as Emily Blunt's similar dress (below), Eva Longoria goes for drama instead in a stunning navy blue Ungaro gown with in-your-face turquoise bead detailing.

13th Now this is how you do 'unique' and still look amazing.  Melissa George divided people over this choice of dress, but it really is like nothing else.  It's avant-garde yet classic, controversial yet beautiful.  It's haute couture for the future.

12th Evan Rachel Wood is perhaps a little flat-chested to wear such a deep v (but hey, it doesn't stop me!).  Glossing over that, the ruffled, tiered Elie Saab dress is lovely and like Nicole Kidman, the contrast of her pale skin tone against the dress makes her look divine.

11th White is a difficult colour to pull off on the red-carpet as you run the risk of looking bridal.  London-born Emily Blunt looks fantastic, however, and wisely chose to keep accessories to an absolute minimum.  Big jewellery or an eye-catching bag would have taken away from the beautiful simplicity of this vintage Herve Leger dress.

10th Pretty Angelina Jolie often looks fabulous, but like Emily the simplicity of her St. John dress works in her favour.  Emphasis is on her face; the make-up and hairstyle are wonderful and really add to the old-school glamour look she's working.

9th Kate Beckinsale may recycle the same look over and over again, but it works for her.  This vintage frilly, fishtail dress by Christian Dior is elegant and distinctive with more than a hint of Victoriana about it.

8th Intricately designed with beautiful touches such as the corsage, cinched fabric at the hips and delicate, flowing trail help make Cate Blanchett look so ethereal and serene (by Jean Paul Gaultier).

7th Keira Knightly's Valentino column dress is a stunning design with effective diamanté detailing and an imposing look.  The jewellery is also flawless.

6th Anne Hathaway's Armani Prive gown is a full-on design, replacing subtlety with Swarovski crystals and a bold colour.  The bodice emphases her womanly figure while the classy make-up and up-do scream Parisienne chic.

5th Oscar-winner Kate Winslet admits she'll never be a thin as some of her contemporaries; which is something that bothers her as much as the thousands of women who voted her as having the 'most desirable body' does.  Here Kate shows off her incredible figure in this classy black silk Yves St. Laurent gown complete with Chopard diamonds and classic hair and make-up.

4th Drew Barrymore looks like a fairy princess in this fairytale frock by Galliano for Dior.  It emulates the light delicateness of Cate's dress but the bigger hair and bolder accessories take the look to a whole other level.

3rd Similar in style to Nicole Kidman's dress below, Charlize Theron loses out because of the low-key accessories and too-dark hair.  She looks better as a blonde but she gets full-points for the petrol blue dress (John Galliano for Christian Dior) which is to die for.  Also, that stance she's holding is something else!

And the winners are... (alright, I couldn't choose just one, these dresses will appeal to different people for different reasons, but they are both - in my opinion - the epitome of classic, memorable Golden Globe dresses that did wonders for the wearers.)

Joint 1st Statuesque blonde Nicole Kidman looks stunning in this tight, blue Gucci number.  The peacock feather adds a quirky touch to what is already a distinctive dress.  Certainly, its a difficult dress to carry off unless you're tall and thin like Nicole.  However, the amazing contrast between the rich blue of the fabric and the porcelain white of her skin would work on any outfit.

Joint 1st Hilary Swank looks like a bronzed Goddess in this fabulous silk Calvin Klein dress.  Everything from the shimmering colour, elegant neckline and flowing trail is beautiful, and to top it all her hair and make-up are perfect.

28 September 2009

Mariah Steps Back In Time

Ah, Mariah, she's my favourite artist and has been for many (many!) years, so here's a little post dedicated to her recent photo shoots recreating classic poses from albums and singles gone by.  Why would she do this?  To remind us all of her illustrious past, of course!  Mariah's about to release her 12th studio album - Memoirs Of An Imperfect Angel - which hits U.S. stores tomorrow and will be released in the U.K. on the 16th November.

First up...Butterfly from 1997:

Then her debut single (Vision Of Love) from 1990:

Not forgetting her first album - Mariah Carey - again from 1990:


 And in 1993 - Hero:


Finally, Glitter from 2001:


Damn, Mariah looks amazing!  Even taking into account photoshop, she's certainly ageing very gracefully, and her hair's as fabulous as ever...in fact, her well-kept tresses and subtle, elegant make-up are two aspects to her appearance that she's consistently done well.  I've not always liked what Mariah's worn (yes, she can dress inappropriately and wear the tackiest outfits) but she sure does scrub up beautifully.

29 August 2009

Cleaning-Up Motoring

I am a big fan of motoring and I love cars, but I also care for the environment and believe we could all take steps to reduce our motoring carbon footprint.

This is why I am encouraged to see many manufacturers fit extensive 'green' technologies to their cars. The technological achievements are quite remarkable and mean that you can have any car from any segment and save potentially tons of greenhouse gases if you choose wisely. Of course, manufacturers aren't developing all this new technology out of the goodness of their hearts; a forthcoming EU directive stipulates that all car companies must have an average CO2 output of 130 g/km or less by 2015 or they will be heavily fined for each car they sell.

The most widely used innovations include engine or cylinder cut-out systems which activate when the vehicle has stopped or is cruising effortlessly. Re-mapped engine management systems and taller gearing also feature. All manufacturers make aerodynamic changes too as they can sometimes shave up to 0.05 Cd off a car, allowing it to slip through the air with less resistance.

One of the most prolific manufacturers to implement green technology such as the above is BMW. They have fitted all of their four-cylinder cars with their EfficientDynamics package which has cut CO2 and increased fuel economy by an astonishing amount. Not to be out done, Mercedes-Benz is not far behind with their BlueEFFICIENCY programme. For a full list of manufacturer's environmental packages look at the list in the right-hand column.

Unfortunately, many manufacturers have decided against implementing their 'green' technology across their ranges and are instead limiting it to special 'eco' models. (Yes, I'm referring to you, Volkswagen, Ford et al.) This is a shame, as inevitably these 'eco' models are more expensive than their less environmentally friendly counterparts, and are often cost-ineffective for consumers.

The best site, bar none, for analysing the true ecological impact of cars is www.whatgreencar.com. Their analyses don't just take into account CO2 emissions, but also CO, NOx, HC, PM, SO2, N2O and CH4.  They express a vehicle's life cycle environmental impact as a score out of 100 ranging from 0 for the greenest vehicles to 100 for the most polluting.

So when you're in the market for a new car, no matter what class of car you're after, it may be worth having a look at that site (relevant mainly for the E.U. market) and considering a make and model that not only fits the bill, but is one of the 'greenest' cars available.

17 August 2009

Ugly Betty Fashion

Is anyone else absolutely in love with Ugly Betty? Not just the show, although that is fabulous, but the fashion – the good, the bad and the ugly. Whatever a character is wearing it always makes a statement. And that is exactly what clothes should do! Of course, certain situations call for moderate dress, but given the choice and the freedom, isn't it better to embrace individualism and dress how you damn well please?

Take Ugly Betty herself. She's not so ugly, really, in fact I think she's rather cute. However, in the superficial world of a fashion magazine, she sticks out like a sore thumb – but at least she's being true to herself. I like that. She's definitely getting savvier with her clothes choices; as season three progresses, for example, we're seeing leggings and big belts which are de rigeur at the moment. It's all a bit clumsily put together and perhaps the overall effect is a little too bright, but that's half her charm. If you want to recreate the kooky Betty look have a gander at these items I found below...

This bright, multi-floral skirt from Dorothy Perkins is right up Betty's street.

Cinch in your waist with this super quirky elastic Max C London belt available at A.S.O.S.

It's good to see Betty in heels, walk tall with these comfy platforms from Evans.

Amanda is the total opposite of Betty in that her style is sleek and always bang-up-to-date. She's definitely one of the sexiest and most fashion-forward characters in Ugly Betty.

Take these River Island heels, for example. Who else would wear anything so outrageous?

Pair them with this sexy black, crochet, batwing top from Dorothy Perkins...

...and these chocolate brown foil leggings from New Look, and you'll be strutting around in no time.

For the men out there, it is Marc who raises the bar in the fashion stakes. His look is smart, but noticeably less business-like than the other men in the show. I think he looks great.

His trousers are always the smartest item he wears, and these luxurious Black Label trousers from Burton are perfect.

Team it with this eye-catching River Island shirt to make an impact.

Marc loves his cardigans, and this purple cardigan from Topman is a stylish addition.

Season 4 of Ugly Betty will be hitting the screens in the U.S. this Autumn, and I've read that with Betty's promotion comes a new and improved look. She keeps the braces but her outfits are more coordinated than ever before and her hair is smoother. So exciting!

15 August 2009

Cheap - But It'll Cost You


When an Avon brochure appeared at my door seemingly out of nowhere, being the beauty hound that I am, I couldn't resist a sneaky peak; after all, with Reese Witherspoon on the cover there had to something worth looking at. For such a little brochure, it is positively bursting with products, and it's all a bit overwhelming at first glance. However, as you flick through you're slowly lured in with a few stand-out products that make seductive claims like 'look up to 5 years younger in just 14 days' and 'wake up to your dream hair'.

If you can resist such glorious claims, then perhaps the multitude of offers will sway you?

Any 2 for £2

Any 5 for £5

Buy any two for a tenner

Save over 20%

Save up to 50%

Buy a 99p 'Value!' item

Everything half price

Free gift with purchase

Buy 1 get 1 half price

Buy 1 get 1 free

Buy 1 choose 2 free

Buy 1 choose 1 for £1

Get all 5 for £10

...and so on. (Pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap comes to mind!) In times where we're tightening our belts and spending less on luxuries I can see how some people will be drawn in by these too-good-to-be-true offers. However, are they really as good as they seem? Products like a 400 ml bottle of firming body lotion being sold for 99p while still making a profit has to be chock full of incredibly cheap ingredients (often petroleum based with cut-price preservatives) and manufactured at an astonishingly low price.

This inspired me to do a little research using one of my favourite consumer websites: www.goodguide.com. It's still in its early stages, but Good Guide already contains comprehensive ingredient and manufacturing information on a multitude of products, including many from Avon.

One product that caught my eye was Avon's Anew Ultimate Skin Transforming Cream – a Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) award winner, no less. However, GoodGuide rated this product as 'Terrible' for general health, scoring it zero out of ten. The rating is created by analysing...

'...the safety and toxicity of its ingredients, based on research by the Environmental Working Group. The EWG bases its score on data from more than 50 toxicity and regulatory databases and takes into account the product's potential cancer hazards, development and reproductive hazards, violations, restrictions, warnings, allergy and immunotoxicity concerns, and a range of other concerns such as neurotoxicity and hormone disruption. For sunscreens, this score also incorporates an assessment of how well the product works in blocking UVA and UVB rays.' (Good Guide, 2009)

I went directly to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) and had a look at the ingredients list there (as Avon don't list ingredients on their site or in the brochures). There are seventy seven different ingredients in this one face cream. You can find out more information and the break-down of the ingredients list by following this link: www.cosmeticsdatabase.com. For comparison purposes, Neal's Yard Remedies produce a three times award-winning moisturiser: Frankincense Hydrating Cream, which has only 25 ingredients. That's only 32% of the number of ingredients in Avon's Anew Ultimate cream, and the former is 91% organic to boot.

Do I worry about cheap and potentially toxic ingredients in my cosmetics? Well, yes. Bearing in mind that the skin is our body's biggest organ it should come as no surprise that whatever we put on the outside gets into our blood stream and is absorbed by our body. Even in these credit crunch times I am willing (and actively encourage others) to shun the bargain basement or overly synthetic products on the market and spend a little extra on something of quality.


Luckily I remembered to include a list of fabulous natural cosmetics companies in this blog. Have a look in the right hand column!


Good Guide (2009) Avon Anew Ultimate Skin Transforming Cream, Available from: http://www.goodguide.com/products/127970-avon-anew-ultimate-skin-transforming-cream/details#rating-627652