Sunday, 29 January 2012

Blue Shoes

I wanted to show you these vintage Christian Louboutins. Midnight blue fabric with a low heel, size 38. But these aren't ordinary Louboutins. Their previous owner was Elizabeth Taylor.

The shoes were Lot 1788 in the recent Christie's online auction of Taylor's possessions. In a mad romantic gesture my other half secretly entered the bidding fray, deciding this was a one-off and an heirloom.... He likes to think of David Beckham bidding online somewhere and being disappointed to lose out (though these heels would be a little low for his wife). I was blown away by it all. Elizabeth Taylor was a figure of such passion and character – somehow I can't imagine a current actress inspiring such fascination, even those who are lauded for their fashion sense. I watched Giant a few weeks ago and her presence on screen was just magnetic. To own even a pair of wellies she'd once stepped out in would be a thrill!

It feels rather strange and magical to hold them and think of the hands that held them last – and to try and imagine the vast and treasure-filled wardrobe they used to live in (a far cry from mine, I can tell you!). I'd love to know more about when they were made and worn - for some reason I think the 1990s (Louboutin opened his first boutique in 1992). They look to me like they were hand-made, to go with a particular outfit for a one-off occasion, perhaps – they are barely worn, their red soles immaculate. I've contacted Louboutin's head office to try and find out.

So the question is whether to put them up on a shelf, and keep them pristine for my daughter one day – or to enjoy them to the full, as they're my size. It feels a little cavalier to actually wear them. But the temptation is to walk tall – what better way to channel the feisty spirit of Elizabeth Taylor on a day when you're feeling a little timid....

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Lip service from YSL

The best bit about Saturdays as a teenager was buying a new lipstick. I've mentioned before how this mainly involved hours in Miss Selfridge, stocking up on Running Bare and other pale frosted delights. I may have moved on from Miss Selfridge, but the lipstick obsession has stayed with me, and I stockpile as many different colours, types and textures as I can. Recent standouts are Chanel's Rouge Allure Velvet – wonderful pigments, classic shades – and Guerlain's Rouge G is hard to beat, in its bullet-shaped silver case with integral mirror. And this month, exclusively at Selfridges, and Brown Thomas Dublin, a great new lip line has landed: YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain (£22.50). I'm pretty fussy about lipstick, but I reckon this is the best new formula for a fair old while. There are 20 shades, from rich sultry raisin browns to light nudes and beiges – with this fabulous orange (above), a key colour for the season, somewhere in the middle. And they have a unique light texture: not too sticky, not too glossy, but pigment-rich and long-lasting. One coat gives a subtle stain, the second a richer finish and sheen. So they're both glam and easily wearable – love the chic little square bottle, too. Creative director Lloyd Simmonds is bringing a dynamic edge to YSL beauty right now, with fabulous colours and the latest technology: these, for example, harness polymers usually used to make food look glossy! While you're at the counter, check out YSL's newest skincare range, Forever Youth Liberator, which includes an excellent serum and a rich day cream that's ideal for winter months. Though you may not necessarily associate YSL with luxe, efficacious skincare, this could change that perception. Just launched this month, also in Selfridges and Brown Thomas exclusively.