A Truly Couture Christmas

Another festive décor not to miss in London is to be found at THE LANESBOROUGH, that takes on a touch of couture with the unveiling of a Ralph & Russo inspired Christmas Tree installation, as imagined by creative genius, Tony Marklew.

Inspired by the heritage of the British luxury house and the intricate detailing portrayed in Ralph & Russo’s most recent F/W 2019 couture collection, the artistic installation brings to life the magic of couture, enchanting onlookers with a canopy of chandelier-like crystals and ornate leaf embellishment, adorned with silk petal flowers in bold hues of raspberry and ruby red.

Tamara Ralph

Established in London in 2010 by duo Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo, Ralph & Russo is an international luxury brand revered for producing designs that are contemporary, timelessly elegant and sought after worldwide. In 2014, Ralph & Russo became the first British guest member in almost a century to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their first runway collection as part of the S/S 2014 couture season.

Ralph & Russo Couture F/W 2019

Ralph & Russo is loved all over the world for its bold and unapologetically glamorous silhouettes, and famously dressed Meghan Markle in her engagement portraits. Its first ready-to-wear collection launched exclusively with Net-à-Porter, and each piece is made using the same exquisite craftsmanship, modern artistry and detail as its couture pieces.

Bringing the glamour and personal touch of a truly couture Christmas to every hotel guest this festive season, of which the resident cat, Lilibet, is of no exception. To honour the hotel’s most loved resident and her first Christmas at THE LANESBOROUGH, Ralph & Russo have hand-crafted a bespoke collar bearing the crown sigil.

Lilibet arrived in June 2019 and is the latest addition in what is becoming something of a trademark among the sister Oetker Collection properties. Lilbet is a Siberian Forest Cat which means she has very fluffy fur. Siberians are fun-loving, energetic felines and hypoallergenic.
Lilibet joins Burmese cat Fa-Raon from Le Bristol Paris and Kléopatre from Brenners Park-Hotel & Spa in Baden-Baden.

The hotels have a small team of cat-loving employees, known as the Cat Committee who have kindly volunteered to look after the house cats.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © The Lanesborough Hotel and © Ralph & Russo

Designer Crush: Costarellos

I am always on the search for outstanding talent in the fashion industry. Therefore I would like to introduce you to Christos CostarellosFlowing fabrics, floral prints, delicate embroideries, lace appliqués and an amazing sense for colour are in the DNA of the Athens-based designer. His romantic language tells a story about every dress that is created with moulage and couture techniques inspired by ancient Greek mythology and infused with a youthful, bohemian edge.

«The creative process I follow forms a bridge that connects elements from the past, making them relevant to the present as they project ideas for the future
Christos Costarellos

Wearing Costarellos last month in New York (for the outfit post, click here please).

Born in Duesseldorf, Germany, he was introduced to the fashion world at an early age, as his parents both worked in this industry. He studied fashion design at Dimitrelis School of Fashion in Greece and then theater costume design at the London College of Fashion, England before founding his eponymous brand in 1998.

During Paris Fashion Week, I visited Christos in his showroom at the Westin Paris Vendôme and meeting him in person was a true pleasure. He has such an amazing personality and welcomed me with open arms. His passion for craftsmanship, fabrics and colours is contagious. After showing me a video of the quality of his production in Greece and the special creative techniques for the fabric of the dress below, I was really blown me away.

Costarellos F/W 2019

Therefore it is natural that from the beginning, Christos Costarellos has worked with an exclusive clientele, who deeply appreciate his fine tailoring and finishing details. By 2000, his production line was enriched with two new ateliers, which provided the flow for the collections’ development and the unique bespoke creations.

Costarellos Bridal Wear (different seasons)

With a modern approach to timeless, romantic silhouettes, you should definitely check out his bridal wear even if you are not a bride to be. Everyone looks great in a white gown at a black tie event…

Costarellos F/W 2019

Costarellos is on the right path. After many designers struggle to keep haute couture alive, he meets the women’s demand for high-quality clothes at prices way below couture level. His so-called «Nouvelle Couture» is for me a modern way to being sustainable; investing in a beautiful gown that lasts. I would love to declare fast fashion dead!

Costarellos F/W 2019

Many seem to be in accord with me. Meghan Markle is a huge fan! A worldwide distribution network with more than 50 selling points around the globe such as Net-à-PorterModa Operandiicon, Mytheresa, and Harrodsicon are proof of Christos Costarellos’ dignified presence in the fashion industry! In Zurich available at Maison Gassmann.

Below you can enjoy some more photos that I took in the showroom. The beautiful F/W 2019 collection will hit the stores in September 2019 – #costarellosdreamers.

LoL, Sandra

Costarellos F/W 2019 (have a look at the sleeves below – such great craftsmanship)

Photos: Courtesy of Costarellos – Instagram @costarellos
and © Sandra Bauknecht

My Next Balenciaga Shoe Crush

After the fabulous and already iconic Knife boots and sequin-embellished satin pumpsDemna Gvasalia looks to Balenciaga‘s archives for inspiration for Pre-fall 2017, sifting through 30 years’ worth of founder Cristóbal‘s imagery. Exploring the link between couture and fetishism and set on a slanted kitten heel, these sharply pointed mules have been crafted in Italy from smooth satin and topped with a bow. The plunging vamp creates the illusion of longer, leaner legs. I prefer them in vivid jewel-tone colors.

Be fast as they are selling out like crazy and opt for one of the season’s most iconic silhouettes:

Emerald green satin mules (the ones I could NOT resist!)

Sky blue satin mules
iconHot pink satin mules
iconBlack satin mules

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Balenciaga

Trend Alert: Two-Tone for Nails and Lips

Two-Tone Lips and Nails

As promised last night when I showed you Chanel‘s limited edition “Les Twin-Sets” collection, here are the upcoming trends for your nails and lips.

Forget one colour, the hottest applications include two tonesKarl Lagerfeld evoked the idea of using two shades on one nail for his Chanel Haute Couture F/W 2012 show “New Vintage”, a combination of the vintage shade “Silver” with the existing one “May”.

2012-13 FW HC_24

Instead of doing a classic French manicure, the whole outline of the nail is painted in a lighter shade with “Silver” and “May” is used to cover both the center and the tip of the nail. “May” is the full nail polish shade, and “Silver” is the outline shade.

2012-13 FW HC_25

Lancôme is taking the same line and plays with the idea of flamboyant contrasts for nails and lips (see photos below):

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Love Rose Manicure by Lancôme (shaded tones) Difficulty level ++

An understated and elegant daytime manicure. Begin by applying the lighter “Violette Coquette” shade to the nail’s lateral border. Holding the brush vertically and then flat, draw a “comma shape” which should become broader as you move to the inner side of the nail. Then apply the darker shade, “Midnight Rose”, over the rest of the nail.
Lancôme make-up artist tip: Always begin with the lighter shade.

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Love Rose Manicure by Lancôme (contrasting shades) Difficulty level +++

This is the It-manicure, playing on contrasts between two on-trend shades: “Aquamarine” (blue) and “Rouge in Love” (red).
1) Apply a block of red all over the nail (2 coats for sufficient coverage).
2) Next, apply a coat of “Aquamarine” on top so that only a “comma shape” of red remains visible.

Another possibility for symmetry lovers: The stencil technique.
1) Take some ordinary scotch tape and cut out shapes to match the surface of the blue polish.
2) Then stick these “scotch stencils” to the nails of both hands.
3) Apply the red polish over each uncovered nail surface.
4) Complete an entire hand before peeling off the tape.
5) Then apply the blue varnish over the rest of the nail, following the curve of the red “comma shape”.

LANCÔME_BEAUTY_NAILS_01

French Rose Manicure by Lancôme Difficulty level ++++

An evening manicure inspired by the rose, the mythical Lancôme emblem. Apply a drop of the darker “Bleu de Flore” polish to the base of the nail. Paint a neat crescent, paying particular attention to the outer borders, as if “framing” them with a rose petal. The brush should be held at an almost vertical angle. You now need to perfect the inner and outer borders using the branchwood stick wrapped in cotton wool. Next, apply “Rose Boudoir” to the centre of the nail to create a colour contrast, using the flat of the brush. To finish off, apply a top coat to achieve uniform shine. This will also allow you to even out the surface texture.

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Colorful Manicure by Lancôme Difficulty level +

The playful manicure to reinterpret to your heart’s content with the Vernis in Love shades. Play with contrasts and shaded tones – for bang on trend nails! Apply alternate shades of pink and red polish as you go from nail to nail.

GENERAL NAIL POLISH APPLICATION TIPS

A gorgeous manicure deserves both time and attention to detail. Leaving your nails to the last minute before slipping into an evening dress is not to be advised!

Prepare your nails before you start applying polish.

1) Use a (supple) nail brush with some warm water and a branchwood stick to remove little skin tags around the nail and impurities as well as push back the cuticles. This will restore an attractive nail surface and shape.
2) Gently smooth nails with a nail file.
3) Apply the colourless protective base to form a screen between the nail’s keratin and the pigments in the polish. This optimises application and wear, whilst boosting shine.
4) If your nails are not symmetrical in shape, you can correct this by painting a regular “U” shape with the polish, leaving the lateral nail borders lacquer-free. Nail polish should never touch the skin. Generally speaking, it is better to apply 2 thin coats to each nail rather than one single thick coat.

AND HERE COME THE LIPS:

LANCÔME_BEAUTY_LIPS_01

“Effect 1” – Sensual & daring Difficulty level ++

A make-up look offering instant and deliriously daring allure. Generally speaking, make-up artists apply a lighter lipstick to the central part of the lower lip. Try creating a surprising effect by using a touch of darker colour (“Violette Coquette” for example) at the centre of your lips: all the better to attract more admiring glances…

1) Begin by applying the lighter shade such as “Midnight Rose” over your lips.
2) Dab “Violette Coquette” onto the central part of the lips with your finger to keep it natural. Or, for a more sophisticated look, use a lip brush to play up the contrast between the middle and the edges (making the lips look more open).
3) Repeat brush application of “Midnight Rose”, using the tip of the brush to define the lips without using a lip pencil. Starting at the corners, apply slightly beyond your natural lip line.

Tip for thin lips: If you want to add some volume, apply the colours the opposite way around (light in the middle and dark outside). For a ripe red fruit effect.

Result: A highly crafted look with intense colour. Shamelessly sexy.

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“Effect 2” – Contrast & volume Difficulty level +

Playing with light and dark contrasts allows you to harmonise any difference between upper and lower lip volume. Apply the lighter shade to the lip that you want to make bigger.

1) Use the shade “Sequin d’Amour” on your upper lip.
2) Apply “Rouge Valentine” to your lower lip.
The lighter, more luminous shade on the top lip highlights your Cupid’s bow and lip sensuality, for a highly effect.

Top tip: Follow up with “Rouge Valentine” nail polish.
Coordinate with nude eyes, just a stroke of mascara and a relaxed hairstyle to contrast with the sophisticated lip look.

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“Effect 3” – Shaded & bitten-lip look Difficulty level +++

Play with inverted colour shading for a “healthy glow” effect.

1) Start off by applying the “Violine Lamée” shade all over lips.
2) Use “Chocolat Mordoré” to create depth on the central part of the lower lip.
3) Then once again apply “Chocolat Mordoré”, tracing a border along the upper lip line to enhance its definition and accentuate the chocolate brown-deep purple harmony.
Instant healthy glow effect.

GENERAL LIP COLOUR APPLICATION TIPS

A brush is advisable to help you apply lipstick in a precise and even manner. A brush will also help avoid applying lipstick too heavily. Then blot with a handkerchief to remove any excess colour, leaving only the pigments behind (responsible for hold and colour).
To boost your lipstick’s hold, after applying the first coat, dust on a little loose powder before adding a final colour coat on top.

For thin lips: Define your lip contour 1mm out from its natural shape using a lip pencil in a shade as close as possible to your lipstick. Then apply your lipstick slightly beyond the natural outline. Try choosing high-shine or light and iridescent lipsticks, which will make your lips appear larger.
For full lips: Steer away from shine, pearly and/or iridescent effects and overly bold colours. Opt for a shade less vibrant than your natural lip colour and use a lip pencil in an equivalent colour. Use the pencil to define your lip line, tracing the inner border of
their natural shape.

Free your creative spirit and have fun!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Chanel and Lancôme

Fashion at Versailles

Chanel Versailles

Tomorrow, May 14, “Kaiser Karl” will reign over the world of fashion once more. Lagerfeld will show his Resort 2013 collection for Chanel at Versailles. Of course, it will be a big production, but all details are still under wraps. Past Chanel Resort shows have been presented at the Lido in Venice (Resort 2010), and one of my favourites, in St. Tropez (Resort 2011). Their locations usually bewray the inspiration for the collection.

Versailles was the famous place where the French royal family ruled in extravagance for 100 years before the French Revolution. What does come to your mind? As for me, I could only think of excess, rich fabrics, opulence.

 I am truly curious what Karl Lagerfeld has been thinking of.  If anyone is up to the task to pay tribute to Marie Antoinette or to revive those decadent moments in time, it is definitely him. I am sure that he will surprise us as the setting has to be different from his S/S 2011 Chanel show that was based on Versailles’s extensive gardens (see above).

If you look in fashion history, this won’t be the first time Versailles has been used for a show.

Couture 2007-Dior

In 2007, John Galliano rented out the palace for a huge spectacle – Dior‘s 60th anniversary couture show.

Battle of Versailles 1973

In 1973, five upcoming US-designers, Anne Klein, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Bill Blass, and Oscar de la Renta faced off against French couturiers Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Pierre Cardin, and Emanuel Ungaro in a runway spectacle that became known as the Battle of Versailles.

The French designers were certain of victory, due to their long tradition and know-how. But the Americans had a secret weapon; a vibrant group of eight African-American models plus the wish to conquer the European world of fashion. And the celebrity-packed audience of 800, including a tiara-wearing Princess Grace cheered to their performance. It was that chilly night changed the face and colour of fashion forever.

Versailles1

There have also been numerous fashion editorials photographed at Versailles over the years.

Above:
1 Shalom Harlow by Steven Meisel for Vogue October 1994
Diane Krüger by Gilles Marie Zimmerman for Paris Match March 2012
Trish Goff by Steven Meisel for Vogue October 1994

Please enjoy this little summary of some of the most beautiful ones, along with other palace-set shoots by Karl Lagerfeld himself.

French Chic

Jessica Stam and Snejana Onopka by Karl Lagerfeld for Harper’s Bazaar Romania November 2007

24hour Couture

Gisele Bündchen by Karl Lagerfeld for Harper’s Bazaar June 2007

Tatler

Vanessa Paradis by Karl Lagerfeld for Tatler Russia July 2012

Stay tuned for the photos of the Chanel Resort 2013 show.

LoL, Sandra