Talk of Town

A Very Happy Flashback and Reunion!

So I didn't really participate in all the Black Friday sales and Holiday shopping frenzy - except for one thing. Two actually. I saw these two fragrances on a website and simply couldn't resist. Let me tell you why. One is a kind flashback, while the other is a reunion of sorts.

Let's start with Calvin Klein's Obsession which launched in 1986 in a slew of provocative ads that sky-rocketed Kate Moss' career into supermodel stardom. Back then I was still a teenager, but, nonetheless, Obsession was my first designer fragrance believe it or not. Imagine a young teenager simply doused in this woody oriental fragrance - yeah, not pretty, I know, but I really, really loved it. Now it's back on my skin - and the love is still there without any flashbacks to being an unadjusted teenager. Plus I've probably gotten better at dosage this time around so my surroundings won't slip into a scent-induced coma... I appreciate different aspects of the fragrance today that I couldn't have back then - the sensuality, the depth, and the sheer genius of this fragrance which really doesn't have a contemporary today.

And speaking of genius - let's talk Guerlain Habit Rouge, a fragrance I was introduced to by one of Denmark's most renowned and knowledgeable fragrance experts, Peter Wegersleff. I was a new employee of the men's fragrance counter in a major Copenhagen department store for the biggest beauty distributor in Denmark, and he was to take me through the considerable portfolio of the company. And when we got to Guerlain, an air of reverence settled over us - if you understand Danish I suggest you read his personal review and account on Habit Rouge.

The oriental-woody fragrance dates back to 1965, but has lost none of it's potency or sheer artistry in it's 50-year life span. It's closest contemporary is Tom Ford's Noir, but Habit Rouge still trumps Noir in depth and layers.

First impression is a bold burst of citrus and vanilla, which gives off an almost floral impression that immediately has me thinking that this fragrance is red (like it's name). It's initial explosion is overpowering for many without the patience to wait for this beautiful fragrance to fully develop on your skin and become a warm, sensual, and above all masculine masterpiece.

As Peter writes, Habit Rouge is not for everyone and needs a certain type of man to wear it. Back in my early twenties when I was starting out in the beauty industry selling men's fragrances, I probably wasn't quite ripe to wear a bold composition like Guerlain habit Rouge. But maybe today - with a little more experience and confidence - I hope that's the case. I'm certainly going to give it a try!


And then I came under fire

Recently I came under fire. I was asked to 'blog-sit' for a very good friend and wrote a blog post about Jane Fonda and her fashion cover and spread in the June/July issue of W Magazine. My point was that the fashion spread was a great example of a positive movement in our society that I dubbed anti-ageism. And I received backlash for it!

Comments to the blog post stated that this photo spread in W Magazine states the opposite, because Jane Fonda is in a photo-shopped fashion series where she poses and dresses as a much younger woman - so in a sense the ideal is still youth and not age. And then there was the push-back saying that of course she looks great, because she's had cosmetic surgeries to make her look younger, so considering that on its own made Jane Fonda anything but an exponent for an anti-ageism current in our society.

I knew this subject was going to be provocative, and I did anticipate that some would misunderstand the post as me celebrating plastic surgery and that 'as long as you look young everything is fine'. But that was far from point with introducing a subject like anti-ageism.

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

Photo: W Magazine/Steven Meisel

So just to reiterate: Jane Fonda is in a fashion photo shoot, which by definition is an idealization of the subject (model or clothing). It's a perfect world where everything is corrected (trust me, EVERYTHING is corrected).

What I  (still!) find interesting with this fashion series is that Jane Fonda could have been made to look like a 20-year-old, but she's doesn't - she looks like an idealized version of her age. If you were on the cover of W Magazine wouldn't you like the help of makeup, hair, wardrobe, good lighting, and post production aka Photoshop to look you absolute very best (be honest now!)?

My overall point was that a photo shoot like this - along many more examples of female actresses in their mid-seventies getting parts in films and TV shows - is creating a positive impact in our culture by putting a renewed focus on this group of women that is otherwise easily overlooked and discounted in our society.

Yes, we have a long way to go because our culture is still heavily youth-obsessed, but in the grander scheme of things I do think that this cover is a step on the way to a world where age plays a much smaller role.


Surrender to the Grey

Not long until the movie adaptation of the best-selling book 'Fifty Shades of Grey' hits the silver screen. But you can actually get your hands on some grey already now. It's only a few of the fifty shades. but you will LITERALLY get your hands on them. Or rather, your nails.


I'm of course talking about OPI's Fifty Shades of Grey nail polishes that celebrate the release of the long awaited movie with a collection of six hues that each on their own explore the movie's seductive universe. With names like My Silk Tie, Cement The Deal, Shine For Me, Dark Side of the Mood, Embrace the Gray and Romantically Involved (the only not-grey polish) this little collection teases and tantalizes just like the movie is expected to do.



So, now the question is what shade of grey will be on your fingertips? Or, to keep in line with the movie's seductive story line, which one turns you on?


The Kind of Red You Will Be Seeing in 2015

Marsala pantone

If you think you've been seeing more red lately on everything from cars to fashion and interior, well, you're absolutely right! To prove it the experts at Pantone have named the color of 2015 to be Marsala - a rich red with hints of terracotta, brown and wine. Pantone, being the global authority on all things color, surveys the global landscape of fashion, media, art and travel to deduce what colors are the most prevalent in our world right now, and which will be projected to become a trend color during the year.

And looking at the sophisticated and yet sensual shade of Marsala red, it inevitably looks like a shade of lipstick, blush or nail polish. Not convinced? Take a look at some of the beauty products below that are perfectly Marsala matched. The advantage with Marsala is that it actually looks great against most skin tones (in stark contrast to last year's violet and beauty-challenging Radiant Orchid color), and because it also has browner earth tones, the color could be used to create a smokey eye look. Even though my first instinct would be to put it on lips, cheeks and nails.


So will you be seeing red in 2015? Personally, I'm thinking that my next car could be a red one...


Oh My My My Burberry!

When I saw the ad for the new fragrance My Burberry, I was immediately drawn to it. I've always had a strong fascination with Kate Moss, because she's always been there either as the fresh, new face of modern fashion photography in the 90s, as one of the interstellar super models and as a fashion and beauty icon who still has the charisma to draw consumers' gaze. The pairing with the gorgeous Cara Delevingne is nothing but ingenious, because not only does it place two of the most coveted faces in fashion right now in one frame, but it also effectively bridges two very different generations under one umbrella.

My Burberry

Photo: PR

Or rather one raincoat, because the inspiration for the fragrance is the iconic Burberry trench coat, which was originally designed to keep soldiers dry in the trenches (hence the name!), but it has since gained it's own momentum as one of the most recognizable fashion items of all times. The direct link on the fragrance is the little bow around the bottle neck, which is a nod to the belt on the coat.

The fragrance itself is a bold floral like most of Burberry's women's fragrances, and it said to emulate the scent of a London garden after rain. Truth be told, I haven't had the chance to experience this fragrance yet, but judging by previous Burberry scents like the sensuous Body, the sparkling Brit and the wonderful The Beat, I predict that we have a winner on our hands.

And, of course,  judging by the massive marketing effort pairing Kate and Cara in the spot for the fragrance, I see no reason not to claim My Burberry as your own anytime soon.


Zegna Essenze Collection

I love when I stumble upon news when it comes to fragrance - which happened to me the other day when browsing through Bloomingdale's and discovered the Ermenegildo Zegna Essenze Collection. Well, to be fair, it's not exactly new as the first bottles inspired by Zegna's couture collection came out in 2012, but apparently, this wonderful assemblage of cologne has completely flown by my radar.

What is interesting about these six fragrances is that they share one ingredient - Calabrian Bergamot - but they are still very different in their compositions. Italian Bergamot, Sicilian Mandarin, Javanese Patchouli, Indonesian Oud, Florentine Iris, and the latest Haitian Vetiver may be united by bergamot, but stand out individually, because combined with the individual scent notes the bergamot will change character.


Especially the newest Haitian Vetiver and Javanese Patchouli stood out to me as exponents of a less woodsy and oud-inspired fragrance trend. They where far from polished and still had deeper layers, but they had a cleaner edge than most woodsy fragrances have. Honestly, I would wear each and every one of them. Oh, and of course, they look really amazing too. The Zegna Essenze Collection sells for $125 a bottle - it seems like a lot, but really do get high-quality perfumery for your money - and that's worth every penny in my book.


Vamp(ire) Lips On The Red Carpet


The Met Gala is probably the biggest and most important New York social event of the year benefitting the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. And since it's all about about costumes, this is where celebrities dress up in the wildest and boldest fashions out there that often border costume more than couture.


Apart form the wild and amazing fashion statements, beauty fans got their fix as well. One of the things that stood out most this year was the color of the ladies' lips, which were predominantly red or simply nude. But model Joan Smalls and Queen B Beyoncé both pushed the envelope on lip color. Joan Smalls wore a purplish plum shade on her gorgeous kisser and Beyoncé went for a deep burgundy shade. Both looks stirred the waters - Smalls more than Beyoncé - but I think they looked great with the unusual nuances. It was a little more vampire than vamp, but with absolutely no goth in sight - they both looked elegant and chic.

Vampire lips2 vampire lips 1

If you want to try vamp(ire) up your lips, try these two shades: YSL Rouge Volupté Shine Deep Raspberry and Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick Vibrant Orchid.


Lupita And Maison Lancôme

Just days ago it was revealed that the next spokesperson for French luxury cosmetics company Lancôme will be actress and Oscar winner Lupita Nyong'o. Personally, I am thrilled about the choice first and foremost, because Lupita has won over the hearts of millions not only because of her stunning performance in 12 Years A Slave, but also because she is already considered a major style icon and the epitome of beauty. She has simply taken the world by storm.

LUPITA2 copy

And it is such a strong statement for Lancôme to choose a spokesperson with Kenyan roots and Mexican heritage even though Lancôme was among the other major cosmetics companies to introduce 'global skincare', which was created from the unifying notion that women all over the world - no matter ethnicity - share the same skin concerns. This also meant that Lancôme (along with Estee Lauder) was among the first to introduce marketing material featuring models of different ethnic backgrounds in the same ads.

"I am truly honored to join the Maison Lancôme, a brand with such a prestigious history and that I have always loved. I am particularly proud to represent its unique vision for women and the idea that beauty should not be dictated, but should instead be an expression of a woman's freedom to be herself,” Lupita said in the official press release.

Lupita Nyong'o will join Julia Roberts, Kate Winslet, Penélope Cruz and the recently appointed young actress Lily Collins in the Lancôme line-up of beautiful women, and her campaign for the cosmetics and fragrance giant will be out in late summer.


Something To Be Thrilled About!

Recently, I was asked by Berlin-based gallery MM Kunst to participate in their new lifestyle publication for international distribution. Of course, it is always flattering when your work is recognized - especially internationally - and when I received the finished magazine just days ago, I was even more thrilled to see how my words about bathing rituals had been transformed into a beautiful feature. So, thank you Federico, Daniele and MM Kunst for this opportunity! You can see the result below and under the photo I have included parts of the article, which guides you to taking the time to make your bath more of a ritual rather than a routine. Enjoy!


Before even immersing into the wet element, prepare your skin so that it is both freed of the very outer layer of dead skin cells and invigorated to soak up the warmth of the water. The shortcut is to use a body scrub to gently enliven the skin, but if you want to really treat your skin, go for a dry brush. Smoothly brush from the feet up towards the heart to align with your body’s natural lymphatic flow - your skin will feel as if it is breathing, and it will be glowing from the stimulation of the blood flow in the skin’s surface. Purify the pores of your face with a facial mask, which will draw out impurities and also eliminate toxins in the skin surface.

If you have access to a bathtub, fill it up with hot water and dissolve a handful of bath salt in the water. Bath salt, as opposed to a foamy bath gel, will not strip your skin of natural skin oils, but rather prevent the skin from soaking up too much water. Also, a bath salt will soften the skin aiding natural exfoliation of dead skin cells. If you take a shower, go for a mild shower gel, which will not strip your skin of natural oils. Scent is imperative for a truly immersive experience so choose a product with a scent that will please your senses and not throw you off balance (if it is too feminine for example). Let the warm water relax you for about 15-20 minutes and then finish the bathing part of the ritual by washing and conditioning your hair.

Stepping out of the bath (you may need to rinse off the salted bath water in the shower), pat the skin dry with a soft towel - don’t rub it dry as the friction could irritate the warm and supple skin. If you have never tried a Turkish cotton towel, it is highly recommended. It doesn’t have the thickness of a plush towel, but it is extremely absorbent and very soft to the touch. Immediately following the toweling off massage a body oil into the skin, while it’s still moistened from the warm water. A so-called dry body oil is preferable because its chemical structure is so finely laced that it won’t leave an oily residue on the skin’s surface. And as for any oil: a little goes a long way so be careful not to overdose.

The final steps of your bathing ritual is to equip you to re-enter the world outside of your ritualized bubble: A few strokes of deodorant will have you smelling good, a couple of sprays of fragrance to your torso will make you smell even greater, and a nice face cream will get your face ready to meet the world, which by now is less plagued by dreary routine.


Madonna’s Good Genes


Photo: PR

Around this time last year Madonna launched her first signature scent 'Truth or Dare', and now she upping her beauty game even more with a new skincare regimen named MDNA Skin. The three products - a chrome clay mask, a skin rejuvinator and a serum - are a state-of-the-art treatment system created by Madonna in collaboration with Japanese top skincare manufacturer MTG.

The three products have yet to debut outside of Japan where they were launched at an exclusive pop-up store in February. When they will come to the U.S. or Europe has yet to be determined, but the launch of the products is moving forward with a newly released advertisement video for MDNA Skin.

Granted, the clip is somewhat corny playing on all (dated) beauty cliches about the miracles of these products (and whispered teasers like 'creation', 'infinity' and 'immortal'), but it seems that Japanese beauty ads are still widely prone to that kind of exaggeration. Add to that an undeniable 'Justify My Love' vibe along with a few glimpses of the three products (that look amazing btw...), and you're left wanting more. Because no matter how you look at it, at 55, and even though the queen of pop has obviously had help beyond skincare to look youthful, Madonna still has great-looking skin. Take a look at the clip, and tell me what you think.


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