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Monday, 22 November 2010

a polished sister act

Just like the rise and fall of hemlines, nails are also dictated by fashion. In the 30’s polish was applied to the centre of the nail, leaving the half moon and nail tip bare. The 50’s witnessed nails long and pointed, filed low on the sides and lacquered with red or fuchsia. And in the 90’s it was the ubiquitous French Manicure that seduced fingertips.

Today, the most noticeable nails are those that are unpolished and unkempt. The trend for nail art, together with passionate colour has fast made bejewelled nails the ultimate accessory in beauty wear.

One duo that understands the intrinsic link between fingertips and fashion is Ange and Vernice Walker, sisters, nail technicians and co-founders of Rococo Nail Apparel – an ever changing range of on-message polishes with a celebrity cool following. Lizzy Jagger, Daisy Lowe and Alexa Chung are all devotees.

Here I caught up with the nail entrepreneurs to find out about colour, confidence and (sisterly) clashes.

Dolly Mixture (DM): How were you involved in the nail business prior to launching Rococo?
Vernice (V): We’ve had several salons in the past and we decided to launch a brand that encompassed elements of our favourite salon brands. We also added a fashion edge, originally to boost sales within our salon.
Ange (A): I was always into colour and art design, and thought nails should be the ultimate fashion accessory. I wanted to capture that vision and put it into a bottle.

DM: You’ve used the term ‘nail apparel’ instead of polish or varnish. Was this to give your band a runway edge?
V: Yes, we wanted to change the way nail polish was seen. We always talked to our clients about using it as an accessory when choosing colour, and felt there was room for experimenting with texture and pigment – just like clothing. Rococo was also a period in history that was known for luxury and adorning oneself.

DM: What inspires you when talking colour?
V: From catwalk shows to car paint…we often see things around us and think, “That would be an amazing nail colour.”
A: We have just based our latest gift set on the colours of seduction. Social influences and our travels around the world feed us with non-stop ideas.

DM: Do you believe nail colour can influence your mood?
V: I often think when your nails are polished, you feel complete and others notice enough to compliment you. A great confidence boost! Personally, I also like to wear brighter colours in winter to contrast with the more sombre fashion to lift my mood.
A: Very much. I wear pink because it makes me feel feminine and sexy against my mainly black wardrobe. If it’s a very special occasion, I’ll wear a deep cherry red with peep toed shoes to add glamour.

DM: What are your predictions for SS colour?
V: Without giving too much away we’re looking at pastels with a bit of heavy metal edge.
A: 70’s glam rock, more nude beige tones that help lengthen the fingers and retro style shades your granny wore. Think coral, peach and lilac.

DM: How do you work together as sisters?
V: We work well together. When it concerns work, we’re on the same page and find ourselves bringing different elements to the brand. Of course, there are times where we can find ourselves disagreeing, but we’ll either find a way around it, or just agree to disagree!

DM: Finally, any great tips for applying polish?
V: Start with the right foundations. A perfectly shaped nail and a smooth surface will give any nail apparel a head start.
A: I’m a strict topcoat girl. Use our Supergloss topcoat to speed up drying time, hide imperfections, extend wear and to refresh a manicure after a few days.

Rococo Nail Apparel is available exclusively at SPACE.NK.apothecary priced at £11.50

Friday, 12 November 2010

is your skin broken hearted?

Meeting the eminent American dermatologist, Dr Howard Murad, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA earlier this year, I was surprised when he told me many skin problems he treats arise due to depression. Yes, like our hearts our skin is an organ that can become sensitive too, often trying to express unresolved internal tension. Chemical changes brought on by anxiety may provoke breakouts, psoriasis conditions or adult acne, which seems to be ever more frequent in its diagnosis.

A great believer in ‘emotional self-care’ Dr Murad is my kind of skin expert. His inclusive approach is not only to treat skin topically, but spiritually too, taking into consideration your inner state to achieve a better performing visage. Because stress rocks your health at the cellular level, Dr Murad has determined, through clinical research that managing it is a critical part to optimising health.

“The stress inherent in an unbalanced life chronically over stimulates the nervous system and causes an outpouring of adrenaline, cortisol and other stress related hormones,” explains Dr Murad. “This hormonal overload taxes all the body’s systems and can ravage the cells.” Furthermore, cultural stress makes it more difficult for the body to repair and regenerate, leading to visible signs of skin ageing.

I’ve selected five of Dr Murad’s softly, softly tactics to help lift modern pressure:

  • Smile and laugh at least once a day. These child like emotions actually change our brain chemistry for the better.
  • Replace one glass of water a day with eating a raw fruit or vegetable. This is classed as ‘structured’ water, which is more efficient, and has the ability to better penetrate water into our living cells. It will reach every cell in our body including the epidermis more than when drinking water – whether it’s tap or bottled.
  • Surround yourself with positivity. Moods are contagious. Envelope yourself with people who demonstrate positive attitudes.
  • Splurge on yourself. A massage, facial or manicure can go a long way in making you feel valued and special.
  • Write down three good things that have happened to you today, and everyday.
Dolly mixture note: A comfort blanket for winter skin is Murad’s Recovery Treatment Gel, £40.95. The ultimate in redness therapy, it reduces the feeling of sensitivity by fortifying with cooling agents.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

a fashion for passion

Writing from the perspective of a life coach, I’ve noticed words such as: rut, stuck, bored and unchallenged leaking frequently into our daily vocabulary. Why? Well, one of the reasons is because new job opportunities are limited making new experiences scarce, and with money tight your world can feel like it has shrunk. In essence we are beginning to feel boxed in, jaded and fed-up. But although it seems the country has its handbrake on, that’s no excuse to put your life on hold.

One way of putting fire back into your belly is reconnecting with your passions. Although I agree with Yves Saint Laurent’s quip, ‘The most beautiful make-up of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy’, a fiery red lipstick or a rush of blush won’t feed the soul.  Life without a passion – and I’m not just talking about a can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other relationship, can feel like a jigsaw with the last crucial bit missing. Swapping purpose for passion can make everything seem significant and your life fuller.

For some, passions come naturally, but for others fusing with something that makes your heart quicken and gives meaning outside the mundane takes a little detective work. Truth is, you’ve probably fallen out of the habit of asking yourself how you can bring excitement to your life. To put radiance back into your cheeks naturally, here are my cosmetic free questions to ask yourself:

1.  What would you do for free?
Generally speaking we are ruled by money, and that’s the life game we find ourselves playing in order to survive. The downside? It leads us to think about dosh first, instead of what makes us truly happy. Turn the theory on its head. Doing something you’re passionate about brings rewards. Most successful people in business don’t go out to please their bank manager, they go out to please themselves – their success is a by product of their passion.
2.   What makes you creative?
Think about something in your life that always encourages you to come up with new, fun and exciting ideas. Whatever makes you creative is something you’re passionate about.
3.   What do you find effortless?
Usually, what we find easy will be something we’re passionate about. Think about what you’re naturally good at. How can you take it further? A client of mine never went out without a camera. Like her lipstick, it was always in her bag, ready for her to snap away at anything that caught her interest. Exploring this more in a session, we discovered she had a very creative eye and her secret passion was to become a photographer. In essence, she was one, but only defined herself by what she did in her current job. Once her blinkers were off, a month later she approached an arty brassiere with samples of her work. They suggested displaying them on their walls. She sold 20 prints. Proof you don’t have to give up the life you have now to unearth and pursue your passion.
4.   What do you talk about?
What we chatter about certainly throws up clues as to what we’re interested in. Most of the time we’re not even aware of it, which is why it’s a good idea to ask those who lend their ears - such as friends or spouses. Ask them what do you always bring a conversation around to. Your next move, weaving it into your life. As the thread becomes stronger, you become happier.
5.  What would you like to try?
We all started out with big ambitions, but somehow, life pushes us in another direction, and the next thing we know those ambitions have been sidelined. Ask yourself: if you were at the end of your life, what would you regret not having given a try? What would you have liked to have done, but never gave yourself the chance? It could be anything from horse riding, Flamenco dancing to sky diving. Make it happen now!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

dior's golden christmas star

I know this covetable clutch has already had acres of coverage – and rightly so, making any beauty aficionado already in the know, but I still can’t help but spotlight it. Inspired by the grace of the Belle Epoque, French for Beautiful Era and in retrospect considered a golden age, Dior’s Minaudiere has to be one of Christmas’s most desirable beauty offerings. With a fashionable history and always a story to tell, Dior reveal that in the early 20th century, high society ladies who found themselves without a pocket, or indeed a handbag, looked to small ornamental boxes that harboured compartments. Upon opening they would hold her beautifying arsenal of powder, blush and lipstick.
Dior has successfully captured this engaging and long gone elegance with their limited edition vintage style clutch. Inside it has everything you need to apply a face that radiates measured sophistication.
Dior Minaudiere costs £59. Take your pick from colourways of Grey Golds and Pink Golds.