Who’s Who: Oribe

You may have heard or even tried one of the products created by Oribe (pronounced Or-bay), after all, the range of shampoos, conditioners, masks etc is as luxurious as the hairdos styled by him. The Cuban born hair stylist, who made a name during the 1980s and 90s, is still associated with sexy styles, inspired by the stars of the Hollywood golden era.

Oribe Canales began his career as Garren’s assistant, which opened the doors to magazine editorials and partnerships with Steven Meisel and François Nars. As his ex-boss, he created iconic hairdos for iconic supermodels and was responsible for many Versace shows and campaigns. Everything was going well until the grunge trend changed the glamorous look of fashion to a bare face, undone hair mood. Suddenly, Oribe was no longer the darling of editors and photographers and went through a rough path. Then, a phone call from Jennifer Lopez, inviting him to style the hair for her first album cover, brought a breath of fresh air to his career.

Nowadays, he signs looks for Vogue, Vanity Fair and Allure, the Oscars, cool editorials for Pop and V, and campaigns for Armani, Louis Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana, among many others. He also manages a salon in Miami Beach and the Oribe Hair Care which can be found at Space NK, Fortnum & Mason and Net-a-Porter. Take a look at Oribe.com  to learn how to recreate some of the hairdos and get product recommendation!

The Fashion Critics that Still Matter

For many years, my dream job was to be a fashion journalist to review the shows. By reading the collections critiques and articles about the industry, I got a good part of my fashion culture and a great understanding of the business. However, as you know, things changed drastically in the last decade and the role of fashion journalism today is quite different, especially when shows are conceived more to get Insta-perfect images than perfect pieces for real life.

Nevertheless, if you work or want to work in fashion, reading what the top journalists are writing is still essential to develop a critical view. Here is the list of my favourites and where to find their articles (please, don’t just follow them on Instagram, right?)

Cathy Horyn: the former New York Times fashion critic and currently contributor of New York Magazine’s The Cut blog is famous for her direct and straightforward vision about a collection and for not going easy on her critique, which caused some notorious feuds with Giorgio Armani and Hedi Slimane.

Robin Givhan: thanks to her broad vision, always linking fashion to cultural issues, she received a Pulitzer Prize in 2006. With experiences at Vogue, Newsweek and The San Francisco Chronicle, she is The Washington Post fashion editor for more or less 10 years, on and off. The style analysis of political figures, such as Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, under a social-economic prism, only reinforces her prestige.

Tim Blanks: if you are old enough to remember the Canadian show Fashion File, you know how Tim is a walking encyclopaedia! And what to say about the Throwback Thursdays videos on Style.com remembering iconic 90s moments? At the extinct site or as Business of Fashion editor, his critiques can be subtly straightforward and embedded with references that range from fashion history to pop culture.

Vanessa Friedman: Cathy Horyn’s replacement on NY Times has worked for The Financial Times, Elle, InStyle and The Economist, which means that her vision aggregate economic aspects and the pragmatism of editing a contemporary wardrobe for women. For this reason, the articles are easy to read but present constant reflexions about the industry trends.

Sarah Mower: the English journalist is American Vogue contributor for years and fashion critic on its website since the days of Style.com. Even with the magazine’s “neutral” voice, Sarah is able to send a message with a delicate and intelligent approach. Her work for the British Fashion Council, as ambassador for NEWGEN, the project for up-and-coming designers, only adds to her views of the business.

Bridget Foley: she is one of the most low profile figures, holding a position at WWD for over 30 years. Her critiques are direct and inquisitive and the “Bridget Foley’s Diary” is a constant invitation to reflect on the current industry moods.

Suzy Menkes: obviously, she is a living legend, famous for her hair do and for the speed to write her eagerly awaited critiques. Even with an old school approach and fierce opinions about the industry compass and the pressure on designers, the former editor of The International Herald Tribune (now International New York Times) and current International Vogue editor, with articles published in the online editions, was among the first to embrace social media and new technologies, discussing them on her annual summit about luxury.

Alexander Fury: The Independent fashion editor is the voice of a new generation and is already recognized for his honest, even controversial opinions. With encyclopaedic references and a rather ironic tone, the articles (he also writes for other publications) are as informative as questioning.

Want to Try: Probiotic Skincare

If you are into healthy eating must probably have heard about the importance of probiotics, the good bacteria found in yoghurts and other fermented foods, like kombucha and kefir. There is scientific evidence that they help our digestion and even boost immunity. Now, research points out to probiotics being powerful ingredients in skincare!

Even though there is no proven results yes, some studies show that common skin problems such as acne, rosacea and eczema may be softened and aging signs reverted, as they act on skin PH, avoiding collagen and elastin breakdown. The cosmetics industry has already jumped into the bandwagon and launched versions of Danone’s Activia to the skin. A few brands went further and created their USPs around probiotics. Aurelia, Tula and Gallinée are good examples:

Aurelia Probiotic Skincare is an English company, founded in 2013 by Claire Vero, a dermatology expert with experience in very well-known pharmaceutical labs. The products are a mix of probiotics and botanic formulas and claim to reduce inflammation thus, the aging process.

Tula is an American brand created by gastroenterologist Roshini Raj. The name means balance in Sanskrit and the target is to nourish skin with the same ingredients that help our digestion.

Gallinée goes beyond probiotics, combining them with prebiotics (boost the growth of the former) and lactic acid (naturally produced by some of our good bacteria). Founded by French Doctor in Pharmacy Marie Drago, with funding from Kickstarter, the products aim to balance the skin PH and its microbiome, i.e., the bacteria that live around us.

With so many potential benefits, all I want is to try them as soon as possible!

Wish list

probiotics-clinique

Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream

probiotics-aurelia

Aurelia Revitalise & Glow Serum 

probiotics-tula

Tula Purifying Face Cleanser

Gallinee_face_cream

Gallinée La Culture Hydrating Face Cream 

Home Office, Sweet Home Office

Working from home is one of those things that you either love or hate. I totally believe that adapting to a home office is a matter of personality more than anything. You have to be extremely organized, disciplined and self-motivated, otherwise the chances of turning your living room into chaos are high. As the trend of remote work increases, I think more and more people are willing to give it a try, so this post is dedicated to sharing my experience of over 10 years doing it and tips to build a “home office, sweet home office”

Routine: you got rid of commuting and office hours but it doesn’t mean that a routine is not important. Keep in mind that you’ll need to reply emails and make phone calls during the 9 to 5 period, and that deadlines still exist, so establish a schedule and stick to it.  Of course, you have the luxury to sleep a little more if you went out the night before or had insomnia, for example, and there will be days of extra procrastination on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube (hello, makeup tutorials!), or an afternoon in the kitchen baking chocolate muffins (love them!) – which is perfectly normal as long as they are exceptions.

I usually go to the gym in the morning, so I try to check emails and reply anything urgent by 10 am. Before lunch, I tend to organize my mailbox and set up the day tasks. Obviously, I don’t need to take exactly one hour of lunch, but between preparing the food, having the meal (never ever in front of the computer!) and doing the dishes I spend at least 30 minutes. I also take the break to post on Instagram and Snapchat, so the afternoon is dedicated to work on clients’ projects or write the blog. I try to finish at 7 pm tops, however, depending on the time I start and amount of work, I can go on until 8 pm. After I check the final emails of the day and make the round of social media, I really turn off and don’t even leave the mobile near me. This separation between office and leisure hours is kind of sacred and I try hard to not mess it up.

Space and décor: your office can occupy an entire room or be in the corner of your living room but it needs to be the place where everything related to work is close – and organized. Investing in a proper desk and chair is one of the best things you can do to your physical and mental health so put a real effort here. Also, take light (natural is better) and noises into consideration, especially if you live with other people. My desks have always been by the window in order to take advantage of natural light and because I love to be able to look at the sky and at whatever the view allows and do some wandering. It’s great to inspire! By the way, try to decorate it with colours and elements that reflect your style and are inspirational, after all, you are the boss now!  The images above can be good references.

Personal Image: the time saved when you don’t need to choose different outfits every day or waste 10 minutes just concealing a pimple is incredible, but, on the other hand, working in your pyjamas can’t be part of the deal. As I said in the first topic, it’s essential to establish a routine and to differentiate work from chill time, so leave the PJs in the bedroom.

Evidently, you don’t need to dress up, but choose some “work clothes” to rely on, something comfortable that doesn’t embarrass you when the postman or the Amazon delivery guy come in the door, ok? Also, don’t ignore your hair and skin cares. I wash my hair every other day and style it as if I were going out. The same applies to my skin regime: after cleansing, I apply a moisturizer with SPF because even indoors the light from the computer screen can be damaging. My current favourite is Clinique Superdefense Daily Defense SPF 20. Lip balms (Chapstick, Ceralip or Dr. Paw Paw) and hand creams (Cowshed Cow Pat, Roger Gallet Crème Sublime Bois d’Orange or L’Occitane Vanilla Bouquet) are always strategically near. I truly believe that taking care of ourselves help improving our self-esteem, thus when I’m feeling down I swap the lip balm for some layers of bright lipstick. I can’t get enough of Estée Lauder Pure Color Envy or Clinique Pop Lacquer Lip Colour + Primer  

Human Contact: as much as you love the freedom of listening (or not) to your own playlist loud and clear (singing along when a favourite song plays!) and the fact that you don’t have to deal with annoying co-workers that are part of every company, sometimes, is normal to long for some interaction.

Since I don’t drink coffee and can be easily distracted by the noises inside a café, I’d rather schedule regular network  events and kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Meetups and talks/workshops from organizations as General Assembly and Google Campus are great to meet people with similar interests and unwind. I try to go to one of them at least twice a month. The events don’t necessarily need to be related to your work, but surely will bring a breath of fresh air, so just sign up and go – work hours is not an excuse anymore, remember? Also, don’t forget that you are more flexible to catch up with friends, so instead of meeting them in a packed bar at happy hour, schedule brunches, lunches or afternoon teas, for example. Feel the good vibes and enjoy it!

Icon: Linda Evangelista

Linda Evangelista truly deserves the title of super model. As a blonde, brunette or redhead, with short or long hair; blunt, side or no bangs she is one of these rare human beings that can wear any colour, length or texture. Chameleon? Maybe. The perfect definition of the word “model”. Always.

Dream Spas: Amankila, Bali

You know those beautiful images from idyllic resorts that go around on Pinterest and Instagram? Amankila is featured in many of them! The resort, which name means “calm hill”, is located in one of the most traditional Bali regions, Karangasem, and is an invitation to day dreaming…

With 34 independent suites, some with private pools, and a décor inspired by typical Balinese elements, you will forget about everyday life minutes after stepping into the hotel. Needless to say, the spa offers a heavenly experience!  First of all, you can choose to have the treatments in your room or contemplating the sea, at the Beach Club. All of them use locally produced aromatic oils and include from reflexology to the Mepijet, a deep relaxation massage that improves circulation, and the Cinta therapy, a full body exfoliation followed by a warm bath with flower essences and an aromatherapy massage to infuse harmony.

At this point, you are sure that Paradise is right there, right now!

In Search of a (New) Style

I totally believe that the way we dress reflect our personality. Back in Brazil, I was a lecturer in many Personal Style workshops and learned the tools to build one.  Throughout the years I learned what flatters my body type and how to use trends in my favour, going for some and ignoring others. In general, I was pretty happy with my style and with most of the outfits in my closet.

Nevertheless, I knew that my style would have to change when I moved to London. First of all, the weather requires different clothes, but furthermore, I wanted my looks to be a reflection of this new personal and professional moment in my life. A lot of pieces were either donated or sold in Brazilian thrift stores and my suitcases came with a very well thought selection of pieces (ok, some tops and dresses can be worn for only a few weeks in a year but still have an emotional value!).

So, before buying anything new, I created a wish list of what was worth having in the closet, and gathered some references to help in the process (go Pinterest!)  The result was 10 basic but versatile pieces that reflect my style:

– Black skirts: in the plural because I have models made with lighter and warmer fabrics, shorter, midi length, pencil, pleated, A line….

– A line dresses: floral-printed and sundresses are practically impossible to wear here, but the structured ones, in A line shape, just over the knees, are my favourites.

– Jumpers: one of the most worn items. Some are in neutral colours, like grey and black, but I’d rather invest in bright colours and cheer up an outfit!

– Plaid shirts: the grunge version stayed in the 90s as my current models are more fitted and great to wear under a jumper, with leggings + boots or ballerinas.

Leggings: speaking of leggings, I stock them since I don’t wear jeans (only have 2 pairs and one of them I can’t even remember the last time I wore). And they must be black.

– Leather jacket: the motorcycle style, fitted and cropped. Mine is black, with a detachable fur trim, but I’m considering purchasing a second one, just in case.

– 60s Coats: as in the skirts and dresses, I like coats with an A line, big buttons or a zipper, the typical ‘mod’ style from the 60s. Besides the 2 black and 2 grey that I wear the most, I have a shorter model in red and one in Royal blue to break the winter mood.

– Scarves: must confess I had no interest in them but had to change my mind as they warm up the neck area – and can be very stylish as well. Almost all of them are in cashmere or wool, but I guess the silk and cotton gauze ones are great for mid-season temperatures.

– Colourful accessories: I love red shoes and bags (but never wear them together) and think that any look is more interesting and less predictable with a hint of colour.

– Ankle boot: probably the best investment I made. It has a short heel, a side buckle and is perfect for all seasons!

Tea Etiquette

Yes, it’s true, tea is a big part of the British culture and in every social or professional meeting there will be someone asking if you’d like a ‘cuppa’ (the short, cute abbreviation for a cup of tea). In the workplace, coffee may be popular, but tea is still king and I’ve seen people having it from the moment they arrive until they leave. As I only drink herbal tea, usually before bedtime, in an almost lukewarm temperature because I can’t stand super hot drinks, learning how to make a regular cup of Earl Grey was a little tricky, but ended up being the biggest lesson learned during my days as an intern… So, in order to help interns and assistants to be, or just to impress friends, here goes my 101 on tea making:

  • When people ask for a ‘cuppa’ they probably expect it to be Earl Grey. If there’s more blends in the cupboard, you are more than welcome to check if the guest wants another flavour. Always ask if they will have it with or without milk, sugar or sweetener.
  • Since milk nowadays can extend to coconut, soya, almond or oat milks, stick to whatever is in the fridge if you are not given specific requests.
  • Earl Grey was invented for the 2nd Earl Grey in 1830s and is a black tea with notes of bergamot, whilst the English Breakfast Tea is also black, but with floral undertones.
  • Once the water is boiling, pour it in the cup and wait a couple of minutes to brew. Then, add a splash of milk, stir, wait a little longer and remove the tea bag. I have no idea why people don’t like to drink with the bag inside, but anyway…
  • You can serve the cup without sugar, so the person can add the right dose, otherwise one teaspoon is good. For sweeteners, is best to check first.
  • If your boss or co-workers like a particular mug, blend or temperature, make a mental note and always try to meet it – it will surely add extra points for a future promotion or even a kinder letter of reference! ????

Apart from the work tea etiquette, if you want to experience the traditional afternoon tea, which, contrary to popular belief, is served at 4pm, not 5pm, here is a list of glamorous places in London. Enjoy!

Claridge’s Hotel

Flemings Mayfair 

Hotel Café Royal 

Sketch 

The Berkeley Hotel

The Modern Pantry 

The Palm Court at the Ritz 

Ting at the Shard 

How Chanel 2.55 Bag Inspired a Trend

When Chanel created the iconic 2.55 bag, all she wanted was to free a woman’s hand from holding clutches. The rectangular, quilted model, with gold chain straps turned into a classic. However, along the tweed tailleur, for decades it was associated with rich and elegant ladies who lunch and even though it was very chic, wasn’t exactly cool. Then, in 2005, when it celebrated 50 years and during the it bag fever, Karl Lagerfeld decided that was time to revamp the 2.55 and make it coveted by grandmothers and granddaughters. With marketing campaigns and it girls holding them, it didn’t take long until the bag became as desired as a Birkin or a Kelly.

Ironically, not only Chanel relies on the model to be a best-seller. Many luxury brands got “inspired” and developed bags with gold chain straps and locks (most with the brand logo), rectangular shapes and frontal flap. In a quick search, I found quite a few 2.55 alike, from Gucci to Saint Laurent, from Stella McCartney and Mulberry to Proenza Schouler.

Do you think any of them overcomes the original?

From left to right: Valentino Lock medium, Stella McCartney Falabella shoulder bag, Saint Laurent Monogramme, Proenza Schouler  PS small, Mulberry Lily, Lanvin Jiji small,  Gucci Icon, Chloé Drew, Chanel 2.55 and Coco with the original bag.

Brands We Love: Clarins

My memories of Clarins products come from childhood. I remember watching my mother applying this “luxury” sunscreen to avoid dark spots. The packaging wasn’t special and had too much text (probably in different languages), however, you could tell there was something “scientific” about that lotion. Years went by and I kept an eye on the brand, one of the biggest in France since the Medicine grad student Jacques Courtin-Clarins opened in 1954 the first Clarins Institute de Beauté in Paris.

Even after over 60 years in the market, the company still follows the same philosophy of love and respect for women’s beauty. Actually, Jacques started to create plant-based formulas thinking in our happiness, as he believed they offered solutions for common cosmetic issues. If you browse the Ingredients Glossary in the website, will find that sunflower, water lily, rosemary, jojoba, Sequoia leaf, chamomile and fruits like raspberry, tomato and kiwi are the base for different skincare lines. Synthetic ingredients don’t take part in the formulas and since 1987 the company doesn’t test on animals, which shows how Clarins is ahead of the organic/environmental conscious trend.

From anti-aging products to moisturizers, contour treatments and even invigorating lotions and oils there is always the vision to improve the skin appearance/texture and provide well-being to customers. This is one of the reasons that you may have seen a Clarins spa close to a counter or inside resorts all over the world!

In the last decades, the company invested in expansion, with the inclusion of makeup lines, My Blend range and fragrance divisions (Thierry Mugler and Azzaro licensing), but managed to keep the family control. Jacques sons’, Christian and Olivier, are in charge and have the help of heirs Virginie, Claire, Prisca and Jenner to make a lot of PR thanks to their it girl status!

Note: Clarins wasn’t Jacque’s surname but a character he played in school and later used to name the brand. He got so lucky that by mid 1970s it was added to his ID card, and he became Jacques Courtin-Clarins!

My favourites

clarins-celulite

Body Lift Cellulite Control 

clarins-multiactiv

Multi-Active Day SPF20

clarins-doubleserum

Double Serum 

clarins-lotus

Lotus Face Treatment Oil

clarins-antieau

Contour Body Treatment Oil 

clarins-mousse

Gentle Foaming Cleanser Normal or Combination Skin

clarins-instantsmooth

Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch 

clarins-flash

Beauty Flash Balm