Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Amber Butchart's Fashion Miscellany - a review (I know, two in a row)

In advance of interviewing Amber Butchart later this week (more of that below), I was lucky enough to be sent her new book, Fashion Miscellany.  Before even opening Fashion Miscellany, you are struck by how beautifully it is presented, with a gorgeous hardback cover (in dare I say it, cerulean) and traditional gold lettering.  The book is organised much like a glossary and as such is easy to dip in and out of.  It is full of so much interesting information and covers all areas of fashion, from youth subcultures to tailoring terms, and fashion documentaries to Karl Lagerfeld's cat!  The tone of the book is very conversational, like a friend imparting a fact they've just learnt over tea and cake.

The book is also dotted with quotes regarding fashion and style from luminaries such as the ever quotable Coco Chanel and Oscar Wilde.  One of my favourites is "Style is the simple way of saying complicated things", said by Jean Cocteau (I also love Sophia Loren's "A woman's dress should be like a barbed wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view"). 

So if you are interested in fashion history, learning more about the terms used or want a comprehensive index of the most influential fashion photographers throughout the past century, then this really is the book for you.  It was a joy to read Fashion Miscellany, and I'm sure I'll be looking up some of the facts now and again.  Congratulations to Amber as I hear Fashion Miscellany has almost sold out and is going into reprint and after having read it, I'm not surprised! 


I'll be interviewing Amber this Friday at Puttin' on the Glitz at the British Library for The Vintage News, at a talk she is giving (along with Christopher Laverty of the Clothes on Film blog) on fashion in the 1920s and '30s.  There is also a cocktail party afterwards, hosted by our good friends The Vintage Mafia with entertainment from The AlexMendham Orchestra and hair and makeup from Pretty Me Vintage.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

The eyes have it... A Bésame review

I've long had my eye on Bésame goodies since I first saw the gorgeous art nouveu packaging in What Katie Did.  I occasionally use the cream rouge (which is lovely) but had thus far not used any of their other products, so when I was sent their new Mascara, Eyeliner and Eyebrow Cake Colour, I was excited to try it.

Available in brown or black (I chose brown), and inspired by a 1930s cake mascara, the colour comes in a little palette that you must activate with water before applying.  It comes with a double ended brush - one side is a mascara wand, the other an eyeliner brush and it usually retails for $25 (not sure about the UK price).
I'm always slightly dubious about products that claim to 'do it all' and I think this does very well on two of the three counts.  After getting the consistency right (it took a while to work out the right amount of water to use) and trying not to get it all over my hands, I first used the wand to coat my lashes with a fairly thin but even layer.  I'm used to wearing black mascara with a thicker consistency, so it was a much subtler look than what I would normally wear.  I think it would particularly suit someone with a very fair complexion or someone that wanted their lashes to be slightly enhanced but remain natural looking.
I look so grumpy...
This is after doing my lashes and my eyebrows
Next I tried colouring my eyebrows.  I wasn't really that keen on the effect, I didn't feel that I could get as accurate a shape as I would've wanted (especially as I like to change the shape of my 'brows with my makeup). 
I really liked the application of the eyeliner (and more so the brush). It did take a few layers to get opaque coverage, but it was very easy to get a nice shape.  Because of when I put it on, I didn't wear the makeup for that long, but I did give it a quick rub to see if it stayed put and I must say it did pretty well.  It's a nice and gentle formula and I had no trouble taking it off with makeup remover wipes at the end of the day.
It's handy to have one little box that can sort out your eyeliner, lashes and brows, especially when travelling.  I think the eyeliner in particular is really good, however, I probably wouldn't use it for my eyebrows unless I was in a real fix.
The mirror got quite messy after only one try!
Have you tried the cake mascara, or any other Bésame products?

* I haven't edited the photos at all so you can get a good idea of the colour