Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Back to black

Sorry for the long absence - I started a new job a month or so ago and have been adjusting to the new balance... and to being inhouse again after many years of freelancing. I have lots of new things to enthuse about, the first being these neat little ballerina pumps from Gap. My last post was also about shoes, and how easy they were compared to super-high heels. Well, low-heeled they might be, but after a day walking round a city in them, they may as well have been those drag queen-style Louboutins. These City Flats will now be a permanent fixture in my bag for emergency foot relief. Brilliantly, they fold in half, so are great for travelling, too. And they come in great shades, from shiny silver to copper and pewter. There are alot of metallic make-up shades around right now, and going into autumn, so these make a cute accompaniment. I can't find them on asos but they are available on (£19.95). Gap stores themselves can be a bit depressing; I always see great items in magazine features but once instore, everything looks rather brown and doesn't fit well. My local one feels more like an outlet store than anything. But they've always been smart on accessories, and this season's no exception.

I was in a city in heels at the launch of YSL's new autumn/winter beauty collections, the first full range by their international make-up artist Lloyd Simmonds, who took the helm last year and is clearly set to take the brand to ever-more glamorous and creative heights. More on this later – there are some really dazzling products to come in September. As an international launch it drew together beauty editors from Canada to Australia – and ALL of them were wearing black. In fact, at every beauty launch I've been to, anywhere, pretty well everyone wears head-to-toe black. The NARS people. The Chanel people. The Tom Ford people. The YSL people. So when you read all those magazine articles praising 'colour blocking' and how colour is 'it' and 'must-have' for this season, it's worth knowing that the people putting those magazines together are all wearing black. The lovely PR girl I was with was the exception to the rule, wearing the most shocking of shocking-pink jackets – a truly YSL shade. The French PRs – all incredibly stunning and effortlessly stylish, and called ridiculously gorgeous names like Emmanuelle – nearly passed out in shock when they saw it; although they work with dazzling colour day in, day out, they would never consider actually wearing it.... It's just interesting that black has become an unspoken uniform in industries such as fashion and beauty, when colour is such a vital part of these industries. I've worn predominantly black since I was a teenager (I remember a friend's mother asking me why I always wore black and was I a goth?), and still now I'd rather wear a dash of the brightest lipstick, or a thin line of, say, YSL's Absinthe Green eye pencil – surprisingly gorgeous on – than colourful clothes. Lloyd Simmonds told me that the modern way to wear bright, bold colour in make-up is not to go full-on with everything (lips, eyes, cheeks, the works), but just to add a touch of it on eyes or lips. Coloured mascaras are big again this season, for example, adding just a touch of unexpected colour. This, for me is why black is so much more than just a safe uniform, something we wear to blend in and not get it 'wrong'. I love the way black is a classic base for accessories and dashes of bright colour elsewhere – to make great shoes, or great lipstick, the focus instead. Yves Saint Laurent considered black a vital, affirming colour in itself – and that's something that really comes to life in the YSL make-up collection for the coming season.....