Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Style Inspiration: Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Honourable Woman

My gorgeous friend Edward K. Gibbon was the costume designer on BBC series The Honourable Woman; Maggie Gyllenhaal is brilliant as the Anglo-Israeli businesswoman Nessa Stein, and is currently being hailed as 'the best-dressed woman on TV'. I'm a Gyllenhaal Family fan and so when I bumped into Edward filming his latest project in Shoreditch, this week, I had to ask him what it was like working with Maggie, 'It was an amazing experience, Maggie was so engaged on every level and really collaborative and generous with her talent. We spent a lot of time together; talking, shopping, fitting, trying to work out who Nessa was. Maggie completely threw herself into creating the character putting all vanity aside.'

On creating a modern, power wardrobe for Gyllenhaal's character, Edward added,' Nessa is a very complicated, multi-layered character and how she looked was very important. She is a powerful woman from a very privileged background but also highly cultured and engaged with the world. We never wanted to present a stereotypical version of a powerful woman who may dress to intimidate men. Maggie was keen to keep it much rawer than that and not to disguise the sexuality of the character. She uses clothes like armour to keep a layer between herself and the world, and the story unfolds we see it quite literally being stripped away.' 

Edward and I were student flatmates in Manchester, in the olden days, and I am not exaggerating when I say that he changed my life; he was much cooler, cleverer and more cultured than I was - and he worked behind the bar at the Hacienda, so was very good at sorting out the free drinks.

Edward in The' Ditch

Since then Edward has worked on many TV programmes (he did the wardrobe for Channel 4's Skins) and films, and with some brilliant actresses including: Olivia Coleman, Lindsay Duncan, Claire Skinner and Billie Piper - and I'm so pleased that he dressed Maggie Gyllenhaal in a couple of  Merkel/Clinton-inspired pant suits.

Who's wardrobe have you been watching?

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Cindy Joseph on pro-ageing

As part of the conversation on Ageless Beauty at the Estée Lauder Media Forum, I mentioned the negative connotations surrounding the term 'anti-ageng' and the fact that this way of thinking feels outmoded and should be challenged, and this phrase should definitely be changed. A brief discussion followed but we couldn't really come up with a suitable alternative - I was still reeling from the 'Having Botox is just like buying a new iPhone' conversation. Then the other day I came across a great interview with the model Cindy Joseph on Refinery 29. It's from 2013, so you may have seen it already but as I've been researching The Book, this subject has been on my mind. A lot. And I like what she says:

'We all grow up in an anti-age society. Ageing is considered a negative experience. As I am finding, you get better as time goes by. You become more self-aware, more skilled, educated, discerning. Life continues to be an adventure. It's time to switch our anti-ageing to pro-age.'

'There is a new kind of beauty in every age...from your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond. Ageing is just another word for living.'

I'm all for pro-age. Aren't you?

And the winner of the copy of Your Hormone Doctor (pulled out of a hat by Mr That's Not My Age) is Val Sparkle. Val, please could you email me your address and I will ask the PR to send it to you. Thanks.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Win a copy of the 'Your Hormone Doctor' book

As well as writing like a demon (apologies but the book has taken over my life, I'm just not able to blog as much as I'd like to, and my brain is tired!), I've also been reading a lot. Your Hormone Doctor written by Leah Hardy and Susie Roger with Dr Daniel Sister is a fantastic guide on how hormones affect us as we age, featuring lots of scientific information, sound advice and tips on how to take control and have a healthier, happier menopause. It's a lively read, with chapters on: body changes, attitude, stress, exercise, sex, sleep, food and metabolism. I met author Leah Hardy for a quick coffee earlier this week - we had so much fun, and so much to discuss, it turned into a three-hour-long conversation. Leah is a former editor of Cosmopolitan, so we reckoned we definitely must have shared the lift together at some point during our respective careers at Hearst Magazines, and she now writes about health and beauty for most of the UK's national newspapers. Oh and she looks fabulous too, so I'll definitely be following her advice.

Having read the book, I'm convinced I need HRT and I MUST stop 'hor-moaning'. If you'd like to win a copy of Your Hormone Doctor and three months supply of the all-natural food supplement YOUTH (worth £170), just answer the following question, in the comments area below:

What's the name of Susie Rogers spa?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Style inspiration: Thelma Speirs

Milliners Bernstock and Speirs have relaunched their website. There's a lovely video to mark the event (you can see it on their home page), it's a schoolgirl story but my favourite bit is when 55-year-old when Thelma Speirs pops up in the hat shop wearing a vintage Chanel suit. And here she is again celebrating the occasion in her Bunny Boilersuit. Fabulous.

Who's inspiring you?

Friday, 18 July 2014

New website: The Beauty Plus

Charlotte Rampling: who will be the face of Nars autumn campaign

Good news, people. Jane Cunningham the author of British Beauty Blogger has launched a fantastic new website The Beauty Plus aimed at women 'who love their age.' On the subject of anti-ageing the south London, super-blogger says:

'You have to wonder why the beauty industry thinks that youth is so important. It’s simple. Brands create fear around ageing so that we will do anything and everything to avoid that hideous fate. Positioning youth as beauty drives home the message that unless you use their products, then a miserable, wrinkle ridden life awaits. It’s an insulting perception that any women in the Beauty+ category is unhappy with how they look.'

At last, someone talking common sense! I had a chat with Jane last week and she told me:

'I would like brands to change the phrase anti-ageing, there are enough of us - women over 45 account for £1.9bn worth of sales in toiletry and cosmetics - and we want to be positive not negative. It's just a different phase of our lives. I'm calling it Beauty+.'

The website features beauty tips, news - I learned that the gorgeous French record producer Caroline de Maigret, 39, is collaborating with Lancome on a new make up range - and a regular feature called 'Things your mum says'. It's early days yet but given Jane's brilliant beauty knowledge this is definitely one to watch.