The Brow-zy Chaperone

Sunday, 28 March 2010

You know what really bothers me? People who don't understand the importance of eyebrows. I know it may sound weird, but eyebrows are EXTREMELY important when it comes to having a successful face. I mean, ok maybe they're not as important as eyes and lips and nose and skin and all that other nonsense, but a pair of rubbish eyebrows, in my opinion, RUIN a perfectly good face.

I am obsessed with eyebrows. Whenever I see a person with overplucked or weird-shaped brows I want to give them a good telling off and confiscate their tweezers, but I refrain from doing so for fear of being known as 'Insane Tweezer Stealing Eyebrow Girl'. I don't want that label. They might ban me from planes.

While I'm not sure what their 'official' evolutionary purpose is, aesthetically, brows serve to frame your eyes (and, you know, separate your forehead from the rest of your face). Therefore, attention should be paid to them! Sadly, for some reason, a lot of people seem to think that as long as you've plucked your eyebrows into some kind of uniform shape, and they both vaguely match, you've done a good job. If you believe that then all I can say, Grasshopper, is that you still have a lot to learn.

You can probably get better advice from some kind of eyebrow expert, but I think the main things to remember when it comes to shaping your eyebrows are;

- Only pluck stray hairs from underneath the brows, don't pluck above them.

- Some people mistakenly believe that eyebrows should begin where the eye begins, this is so MASSIVELY wrong. Sure you should pluck between your brows to avoid a monobrow, but they should start at either side of the bridge of the nose, no further out than that.

- While quite a lot of people go for the whole 'tadpole' look, ie a big bit at the beginning and then a really thin 'tail', it's actually better to keep brows at a similar thickness throughout.

- It varies from person to person, but the arch, that is, the part of the eyebrow that goes up, should start at the outer edge of your iris.

Still, if you choose to pluck your eyebrows yourself rather than get them done professionally (which can be expensive), accidents can happen. We've all done it; gotten a bit pluck-happy with the tweezers and before you know it you're caught in a permanent state of shock and/or terror, like Sweep from the Sooty Show;

Now I love Sooty and the gang, but this abusive behaviour is just unacceptable.

Fortunately, if you have overplucked, you can at least rest safe in the knowledge that eyebrows eventually grow back, so put your tweezers away, make friends with your eyebrow pencil (in a similar colour to your hair, not an insanely dark one) and just keep reciting this mantra;

thin is not always good, less is not always more.

Pammie, take note.

Anyway, over the past couple of years, countless designers have featured strong brows in their shows, so if there was ever a time to ditch your tweezers completely, it is NOW.

Balenciaga Spring 2008, Chanel Spring 2010, Cavalli Fall 2010

Prada Fall 2010, Dior Spring 2010, Valentino Spring Couture 2008

I LOVE these images! Brows brows brows! If you're still not convinced, why not browse through the brows (ahahaha!) of these beauties, who've still gone for a more natural, fuller brow, but have kept them a little more groomed;

Idina Menzel, Rachel Weisz, Jennifer Connelly

However, if you really want to talk about seriously MASSIVE, unruly and downright sexy brows, we need to a take a little trip back in time to the 80s...


Julia Roberts

Brooke Shields, perhaps the most iconic brows of all time. Wow.

Of course, huge, bushy brows like the ones above aren't for everyone. While they can look great, it's also worth bearing in mind that there is a very fine line (about as fine a line as Pammie's brows) between looking like Brooke and looking like these people;

Oscar the Grouch, Benicio Del Toro and Sam the Eagle

Right, I'm done waxing lyrical about such highbrow matters. Take my advice, motherpluckers, and thread carefully. Tweezey-peasy.

Factory Girl

Saturday, 13 March 2010

I've been trying to write this post all week, but I just had too many words to say and ended up having a small breakdown. Don't worry, I'm ok now, but following on from my breakdown, I'm thinking that the best way to write about this particular topic is to break it down... (you see what I did there? I am just SO street!)

First, let's all share a moment and look at this;

I know, I know, crazy/epic/mental/ridiculous/fabulous/insane right? But what's even more exciting about this is that moments before this photo was taken, that gigantic ruff/cloak thing was actually this skirt;

How Franki? How? And why? And also what? And who? And when? But mainly how? Explain all, please, for we are so confused by these images of strange and wonderful things.

Well children, are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...

Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoering, also known as Viktor & Rolf, the crazy-cool Dutch design duo, have always been known for their whacky but wonderful approach to fashion. I've mentioned them briefly in previous posts but not really gone into great detail about them... that is UNTIL NOW, because, having been rendered completely and utterly dumbfounded by their Fall 2010 show, I have to comment.

Imagine the scene; a fashion show. The runway is completely plastered with images of cogs, gears and screws and the music is layered with the mechanical sounds of a factory. The lights dim. Kristen McMenamy (a popular face of the 90s... I've never heard of her) heads down the runway wearing a ma-hoo-sive fur and tweed cape. The designers follow her and the three of them stop on a rotating circle in the centre of the runway, where Viktor and Rolf then proceed to remove said ginourmous cape from the model, who is standing as still as an extremely still mannequin (that's VERY still). Another model appears on the runway, steps onto the magical rotating bit and the designers dress her in the cape, which, with a few minor adjustments, becomes a coat. This process is repeated again and again as it is revealed, on removal of the giant cape, that McMenamy is actually wearing several layers of coats and jackets, which are each removed in turn, transformed into another garment through the magic of drawstrings, zips and fasteners and then placed onto another model, who then carries on down the runway, while McMenamy is STILL STANDING STILL!

You want a cape or a coat? Voila! You can have both!

Once all the layers are removed and McMenamy is stripped down to nothing but a nude bodysuit, the process starts again, this time in reverse, with models wearing various dresses, which are then removed, turned into yet more coats and placed back onto McMenamy, who, believe it or not, is STILL STANDING STILL! Is she a robot? Possibly.

First it's a dress, then it's a coat. Ah, the things you can do with a drawstring.

Basically, the whole thing was insane. I don't know what I was more impressed by; Viktor and Rolf's ingenuity and precision when removing/transforming/replacing garments or Kristen McMenamy's ability to wear twelve million layers of clothes while maintaining an air of zen-like coolness.

But what was the reason for all this? Are Viktor and Rolf telling us that layering is going to be such an important aspect for the Fall season that we should just wear all our clothes at once? Were they taking tips from that video of the 1930s future fashion predictions where they thought we'd all be wearing clothes which could adapt for day and night? Or did they just want to play dress up with a life-sized Barbie doll? (Don't we all?)

No. Don't be silly, it was none of those things.

The show was entitled "Glamour Factory", the runway (I think) represented a conveyor belt and the designers were like the two little workers, busily producing new garments. They were also playing with the concept of "Ready to Wear", as the pieces were somewhat extreme but, with a few tweaks, became instantly wearable.

I'll be honest, I don't really get where McMenamy and her layer upon layer of coats came into it all, but I'd like to think she represented a big stylish onion, which could be peeled to reveal more and more lovely things.

Regardless of what it all meant, I think it was brilliant, simply because it's a nice change to see a runway show which involves something a bit more than models just walking. Even so, having read several reviews, it's clear that the spectacle and theatrics of the show managed to overshadow the actual clothes, which is a shame because they were really gorgeous;

Those circle-lens sunglasses do remind me of Judge Doom from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? though;

Anyway, Viktor & Rolf have to be commended for the brilliant design features which utilised a simple drawstring to conceal or reveal volume, allowing garments to transform effortlessly from one thing to another. It was never a case of "oh that coat looks a bit like a dress now"; the coat was DEFINITELY a dress.

I also think it's great to see the designers taking an active role in the show, as usually, designers don't seem keen to enter the runway at all. I'm hoping that next season, designers will take their cue from Viktor & Rolf and we'll see Karl Lagerfeld whipping out a sewing machine on the Chanel catwalk and making all the clothes from scratch, right there and then. Brilliant.

"Her hands are never cold, she's got Bette Davis eyes..."

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Ok, ok, you've got me. I admit it:

I have not seen Avatar.

I have also not seen The Hurt Locker, An Education, Up, Precious, Inglourious Basterds or any of the other big, important films of this year. I have, however, seen Valentine's Day. And The Princess and the Frog (which was amazing. I love Ray). Clearly I have my film-related priorities very much in order.
And while I think it's great that Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win Best Director (seriously, the Oscars have been going since 1929, how can it have taken 80 years for a woman to win? Does this mean the Academy are very sexist or that women just aren't very good movie directors? Answers on a postcard), I simply can not comment on any of the other awards as I have no opinion on the majority of films nominated.

So all I will say is, congratulations to the winners, commiserations to the losers, but really you are all winners in my eyes. Except, not really because I don't know who most of you are.
Anyway, none of that matters because here at the little curly girl, we deal in fashion, not films (if you want film-talk, go here, but not until you've read this post, ok?) and you know what there was plenty of at the Academy Awards? Dresses! Lovely, lovely dresses.
I thought, just to make things vaguely more interesting, I'd show you my favourite gowns of the night, alongside the original catwalk version, because two pretty pictures are better than one, aren't they? Yes. Yes they are.
First up, in one of my absolute favourite gowns pretty much EVER, was Diane Kruger;

This is Chanel Couture from the Fall 09 collection and I think it's just exquisite. She looks like a vase, but a really, really gorgeous vase. Just look at the shape! And the ruffles! And look at the back! (on a side note, how FIERCE is Sasha P in the first photo?!) Perfection, honestly, I LOVE it. And to think, I really wasn't keen on her Golden Globes dress at all, well done for turning it around Diane, very well done.

Also in Chanel and also one of my absolute favourites was SJP;

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! And so elegant! Thankfully she chose not to team it with the crazy big hair from the Spring Couture show, (but I still do love that crazy big hair...) opting instead for a soft, slightly messy updo, extreme smokey eyes and glowing skin.

Elie Saab was also a popular choice for the red carpet with both Anna Kendrick and Rachel McAdams sporting floaty, feminine frocks from the Spring 2010 Couture collection;

I think it's interesting how, on Anna, this dress looks so demure, but on the catwalk, with slightly different styling, it's actually really sexy.

The floral print on this gown is lovely, it reminds me of watercolours. I'm also a big fan of Rachel's earrings - you know I loves me a pair of oversized earrings!

Two more actresses wearing the same designer were Jennifer Lopez and Amanda Seyfried, who both stepped out in strapless Armani Prive Couture;

I like how Jennifer's gone for a gown that not only hugs her curves, but also creates its own curves!

The combination of the silvery white gown and Amanda's pale skin make her look like the Childlike Empress from The Neverending Story, which is interesting, because in the film, the Empress' proper name is Moonchild and this Armani Prive collection was all about the moon! (Is it just me, or do these gowns look a bit like they're made from bubble wrap?)

Also doing the classic strapless thing was Cameron Diaz in Oscar de la Renta;

Am I the only one who finds it funny that she wore Oscar to the Oscars? Hahaha madness! Cameron went for a good old fashioned dose of glamour with her super sparkly dress and tumbling blonde curls. I also think it's quite impressive that she's technically wearing a dress from the future as this was literally just seen on the Fall 2010 catwalk. She's wearing Fall 2010 in March 2010! Cameron Diaz has a time machine! (I'm sure celebs get to wear stuff in advance all the time, it's just the first time I've ever actually picked up on it before).

Finally, my award for best dressed of the night goes to Carey Mulligan in Prada;

I couldn't find a shot of this on the catwalk (I trawled through LOADS of images too) so I can't work out if it's some kind of crazy one-off or I've just missed it. If anyone does know which collection this is from, please tell me!

This is fab for so many reasons; firstly Carey actually looks her age in it (so many young actresses end up aging themselves about 10 years when they get dressed up for big events) because it's so fun and quirky, secondly the bottom is a really weird shape but it still works and thirdly, all those embellishments are tiny little scissors and forks and spoons!!! Tiny metal things! For tiny metal people! I heard that after Sunday night, Carey donated this dress to the Borrowers. She is their queen now.

I'm going to end with a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal (wearing Burberry) because he's handsome;

That's all for now.

(all images from

Temporary high

Sunday, 7 March 2010

My general opinion of tattoos is that, while they can look quite cool, I'd never want one myself because, a) I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain and b) well, they're very permanent aren't they? Sure, you may love having Donald Duck on your shoulder now; it's a conversation starter if nothing else, but a few years down the line, he may just serve as a big, web-footed reminder of what a complete idiot you used to be. Saying that though, a Donald Duck tattoo may be preferable to a tattoo of say, your ex's name; after he broke up with Winona Ryder, Johnny Depp changed his "Winona Forever" tattoo to "Wino Forever" (so I guess they just crossed out the "na" part?), which, quite frankly, is just bloody stupid. And even if you don't go for someone's name or a cartoon character, even if you think your tattoo is the classiest, most sophisticated piece of artistry ever to be carved into human flesh, consider this little pearl of wisdom from my mum...

how will it look when you're wearing a wedding dress?

(I can only assume that my mum is directing this thought towards women rather than men, because, let's be honest here, if the groom comes down the aisle in a wedding dress, you've probably got more to worry about than how his tattoos look)
So all in all, tattoos are not for me. However, when I was much younger I was a big fan of the temporary kind; they always seemed to come free on pre-teen magazines like Mizz and Shout. I clearly remember sitting in my room with a wet flannel pressed against my arm, counting to thirty (because you had to count to thirty or it wouldn't work) patiently waiting for the magic to happen. Sparkly suns, flowers, rainbows; I had them all! I was practically a tattoo connoisseur! Sadly though, when I was about 13, we were in school getting changed for PE and some mean girls teased me, saying that fake tattoos were 'so immature' - kids can be so cruel. After that I stopped using them. (apart from last October at my friend's hen party when I bought a pack of My Little Pony transfers and made everyone wear one - we looked AWESOME!)
But HA! In your faces, mean girls! Thanks to Chanel, temporary tattoos are making a comeback!

(images from and Elle UK)

First seen adorning the limbs and decolletages of the models at the S/S 2010 show, the limited edition Chanel tattoos, (officially named "Les Trompe L'Oeil De Chanel"...I have literally no idea what that means...) are available to buy from Selfridges and Chanel stores, though they may have already sold out. Each pack contains five sheets of transfers and they cost £49 (or $75 on the Chanel site) but I just looked on eBay and they're selling for at least twice that amount.

The packs contain a selection of intricate chains, pearls, flowers, swallows and the Chanel interlocked Cs logo, and what's quite clever is that they all fit together, so you can wear as many or as few as you want.

I haven't been able to find any really good quality images of the tattoos, but here's a video of the Chapman sisters (my absolute favourite youtube makeup artists) trying them out;

The £49 price-tag means that I won't be buying them any time soon, but they are very pretty and I can see them being a big hit with all the serious fashionistas out there. It'll be interesting to see whether Chanel has sparked a trend for temporary tattoos, I mean, most of the things we see on the catwalk do eventually trickle through to the high street and I for one would LOVE to see stores like Topshop and Urban Outfitters bring out their own versions!

The more I look at them, the more I think they're actually quite innovative. If temporary tattoos were to become a big trend, imagine how your beauty routine would change! "Foundation - check, mascara - check, lipstick - check, tattoo?" Plus, what implications would there be for accessories?! Do they replace jewellery altogether or could you wear them with necklaces and bracelets layered over? Ooooh just think of the possibilities!

What are your thoughts on these beauties? Would you wear them or do you think they're best left on the catwalk?

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