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NY Fashion Week F/W 09

Lancome Declaring Indigo – Indigo Paris Le Vernis

Lancôme’s fall collection, Declaring Indigo, includes three shades of their Le Vernis nail polish including a bold, electric blue. I got my first peek at the new colors backstage at the Chris Benz F/W 09 show during New York Fashion Week. Deborah Lippmann was working “undercover” tending to the models’ nails alongside Lancôme makeup artist Daniel Martin and Redken lead stylist John Ruidant.

Get your first look at Indigo Paris and some insider scoop on Lancôme’s Pout-à-Porter lipstick series after the jump!

The look at the show was that of a late 70s/early 80s uptown girl heading downtown to the clubs. The gorgeous hair creation is the brainchild of John Ruidant who is not only a genius but very 90s-Seattle-coffee-house chill every time I see him. Madness ensues all around and he’s just working the hair, doing his thing all the while intricately describing his masterpiece. I can’t even begin to go into what it took to create this style but it involved a 1 inch curling iron, Redken Fabricate and a whole mess of backcombing and pins. Definitely a do not try this at home type situation.

Daniel Martin referenced Danceteria circa 1982 in describing the makeup. The models’ skin was given a blown out, overexposed matte finish using a foundation two shades lighter than their skintone. The lip was a flat beige giving the perfect set-up for a dramatic eye. Three colors, a cream eyeliner and black eyeshadow (both from Declaring Indigo) and Piha Black lipgloss went into creating the look. Daniel used his fingers to apply the gloss on the lid to give texture. Because the hair was so intricate, Chris wanted the makeup to be like fingerpaints, very DIY.

While talking to Daniel, he revealed for the first time (yay scoop!) that he is working with Chris to create the next shade in Lancôme’s Pout-à-Porter series. Daniel and Chris were introduced through a mutual friend from their hometown of Seattle and formed a fast friendship and working relationship over the past four years that will now spawn a lipstick.

The expected launch is Spring 2010 so look for this new shade to pop up on the Spring runways come September. In asking for deets on the color Daniel stated, “[Chris's] whole theory is color and saturation so it will be a nice, fun lipstick.” Based on his use of primary colors I’m expecting something bold.

Of course the ultimate treat of the day was when Lancôme VP of PR Kerry Diamond pulled me aside to introduce me to the one and only Deborah Lippmann! Talk about an unexpected thrill.

Deb said this was Chris’s first time making a nail statement. That it was about finishing the look with the nails and she was so excited to see designers shying away from sheer pink and embracing color. She applied the three shades from the Declaring Indigo collection, a bright electric blue shimmer, a classic red creme and a metallic gold using her Ridge Filler base coat and Addicted To Speed top coat.

She also mentioned nail shapes getting a little longer for Fall. That they’re Mad Men influenced, a little more almond shaped. That we no longer need to be strong women with a squared off nail, we need to be more feminine with a slight almond shape. A shape that elongates and flatters the hands.

So let’s talk about this electric blue, shall we? Indigo Paris is a richly pigmented, shimmering jewel. The polish just flows on the nail and becomes perfectly opaque in two coats. The tonal shimmer gives it depth and brilliance like it’s lit from within.
The color really comes alive in the sun, even more so in person.
Declaring Indigo launches in August and the Le Vernis lacquers retail for $18. You can buy them online at or at Lancôme counters nationwide.

product image credit:British Beauty Blogger

Exclusive Preview – Lippmann & Rodarte’s Marquee Moon

I remember
how the darkness doubled
I recall
lightning struck itself.
I was listening
listening to the rain
I was hearing
hearing something else.

Life in the hive puckered up my night,
the kiss of death, the embrace of life.
There I stand neath the Marquee Moon Just waiting,
I ain’t waiting
-”Marquee Moon” lyrics by Tom Verlaine

One of the highlights of NYFW was getting to meet Deborah Lippmann. She’s such a force in the nail industry with her amazing polish line, roster of celebrity clients and editorial work. Though what totally floored me was that she was just as excited to meet me as I was to meet her. I’m not gonna lie, I was totally star struck.

We chatted the day before she revealed her second designer collaboration, Marquee Moon. This time around Deborah worked with the ladies behind Rodarte, sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy. As a tease she stated that the color would be, “really really modern. Sort of space age.” That her fall and winter colors will be “out of the ballpark.” Well if Marquee Moon is an indication of what’s to come, we’re in for some truly unique polishes.

I have an exclusive preview of the shade to share with you. As you can see, the sequins she added to the gunmetal base look like tiny mirrors on the nail. Very futuristic.

Of course a full review and additional details are in the works. According to Nylon Magazine, the shade launches in June.

ALU at NYFW – Backstage at Twinkle

By on March 12, 2009
in CND, MAC, NY Fashion Week F/W 09 with 7 Comments
twinkle, wenlan, nyfw, fw 2009, mac, cnd, redkenGoing backstage for the Twinkle by Wenlan presentation was one of the most fun experiences I had at NYFW. The atmosphere was hectic, per usual, but the hair, makeup and nail leads were all in such great spirits. Very lively, friendly and quote worthy. The look was sexy, flirty and young and I loved every second of it.

To fit with Wenlan’s vision of date night at the drive-in, the presentation was held at the Classic Car Club Manhattan with the models posing by convertibles that would make any collector drool. The overall beauty look was an updated 50′s style with red hot lips, soft wavy hair and glossy, vampy tips. Get all the deets after the jump!

twinkle, wenlan, nyfw, fw 2009, mac, cnd, redkenFirst up, let’s talk nails. Instead of going for a matchy-matchy lips/tips look CND lead artist Wanda Ruiz chose to compliment the bold red mouth with a dark cherry layered nail.

Get the look: One coat CND Ridge Out base, two coats CND Fedora (a browned red creme), one coat CND Decadence (a semi-sheer red), top with CND Speedy.

twinkle, wenlan, nyfw, fw 2009, mac, cnd, redkenThe makeup look is the creation of MAC Sr. Artist Gregory Arlt. Kids, I can’t even begin to tell you what a blast Gregory is to talk to. Charming doesn’t even cover it. I was following his backstage tweets all week and he’s beyond adorable.

Inspired by the youthfulness of the 50s, he wanted the look of first date makeup with an updated twist. According to Gregory, this is a girl that’s “going on her first date, she’s nervous, doesn’t know how to do her makeup. She’s watched her mother for years” and wants to emulate her look. The key is perfect, clean skin, an orange red lip and a girlish version of the cat eye that Gregory coined the “kitten eye.” “It’s a little bit smaller, a bit cuter.” And rather than create a dated 50s matte eye, he opted for shimmery shadows to make the look more today.

Get the look: MAC Select Moisturecover concealer, Phloof! and Naked Lunch shadows, Blacktrack Fluidline, Plush Lash Black mascara, Well Dressed blush, Lady Danger lipstick.

While chatting with Gregory A. we met the sweetest, happiest model ever; Edsa Ramirez. She is an absolute doll. Chatty, friendly, a real trooper. When the light started streaming in Gregory’s eyes, she offered to hold a piece of paper above her head to help him work, even though he insisted that her arms would get tired. Right then I told her that at the end of the week she would win Ms. Congeniality. That spurned a whole convo on how the models should have their own superlatives which Gregory quickly named, “The Moddies.” Aren’t they a dynamic duo?
twinkle, wenlan, nyfw, fw 2009, mac, cnd, redken
twinkle, wenlan, nyfw, fw 2009, mac, cnd, redkenThe icing on the cake was getting to speak with Redken stylist John Ruidant. I totally heart him. He’s super chill, wicked talented and has the most adorable mop of shiny curls atop his head. My girls Jamie, Amber and I watched him work magic as he walked us through the ‘do.

The look was natural, soft waves with a deep side part and fringe swept across the forehead. To create the look, John started by blow drying fabricate 03 heat-active texturizer into the hair to bring out the natural wave. He then established a deep side part that went into a central vertical part down the back.

Taking horizontal sections from behind the ears, he sprayed hot sets 22 thermal setting mist before curling each piece, horizontally, with a 1 1/4 inch iron and pinning them to the head (seen on Edsa above). The side sections were curled towards face. For the top section he dragged the iron to avoid creating a lot of volume. After the curls cooled, he brushed them and then blew out the front section with a round brush before pulling it across the forehead and tucking it behind the ear. A bit of outshine 01 anti-frizz polishing milk tamed flyaways and workforce 09 flexible volumizing spray kept everything in place.

images: All Lacquered Up, The Beauty of Life, New York Post, WWD

My CalGel Experience at Sakura Nail and Spa

By on March 3, 2009
in NY Fashion Week F/W 09 with 31 Comments
Normally the night before a trip, I’m up late painting my nails. It’s part of my pre-trip ritual that usually involves little to no sleep as I rush around the house, trying not to forget anything. Though on my last trip to NYC I was more than happy to skip that part of my routine. I know it sounds crazy, the nail girl traveling bare nailed, but it was all for a very good reason.

You see one of my favorite people, the lovely Heather from MAC had been raving for months about her CalGel nails, tempting me with pics of amazing gradated manicures from this salon on the Upper East Side, Sakura. Since last fall she’s been sporting gray gradations, black with hot pink (for the Hello Kitty launch) and black with gold glitter. So even though I’m not much for the whole nail art thing, I had to get my butt on over there the night before fashion week started to try it for myself. Heather joined Jamie and I for our first CalGel experience and it was so very fun.

We met up at Sakura Nail and Spa, a cozy and inviting little salon. Not quite sure what CalGel was or how it worked, I was happy that they had an info sheet on the product to look over. Basically, it’s a soak off UV gel polish that is applied with a small paintbrush on the nail. It is cured with a UV lamp between layers to instantly dry the product. And the layers are thin so the overall result isn’t thick, like I’ve seen with some overlays.We spent a good fifteen minutes perusing the nail art displays trying to decide on a color/design. CalGel comes in over 80 shades and they can be mixed to create just about any hue you can think of. Between that, the special duo-chrome looking powders and nail art designs, it was a lot to take in. I went for a dark purple gradation effect, like I’d seen on Heather, with a layer of shimmer on top. Jamie opted for an intricate nail art design.

Here’s a work-in-progress shot of Heather’s deep, midnight blue gradation. Each nail artist has their own technique for doing the gradation but on my nails, she used a small flat eyeliner style brush to pull the color from the tip to the middle of the nail with short, light strokes. The whole process took about an hour and a half.

The final results

What you see below is after two weeks of wear. You can see the growth of my nails but because I used a clear base (at Yayoi’s suggestion) my nails still looked presentable. There was no lifting, peeling or chipping. Just the same perfect gradation.

Tip: Use non-acetone remover to take off the clear top coat, then paint over the CalGel with regular polish if you want a color change. Remove the polish with non-acetone remover and the CalGel will remain, perfectly intact.

Jamie’s purple and pink floral design with glitter and holographic sequins
Some designs on the other nail artists and customers

Maria Anton’s nails (above)

Now the removal process left something to be desired but it wasn’t horrifying. You can go back to the salon and pay for removal or do it yourself. Jamie said hers peeled off in the shower but mine took a little work.

To remove: Buff the CalGel with a 180 grit file/buffer. I suggest buffing as much as you can without hitting the nail. Soak a cotton pad with acetone, place it on the nail and wrap with aluminum foil for 10-15 minutes. After soaking, push the CalGel off with an orange stick.

While CalGel claims that it strengthens nails, I did not see that result though I also wasn’t left with paper thin nails like after my horrifying trip down acrylic lane. I imagine the strengthening claim applies to people who continually use CalGel and return for fills.

The cost for what I had done was $65. A basic CalGel manicure starts at $40, gradations are an additional $20, the special powder used in my manicure costs $5 extra, additional nail art prices vary. Call Sakura at 212-722-1334 for more info or to make an appointment. The salon is located on 2nd Ave between 88th & 89th.

You can learn more about CalGel on their website and if you email them directly, they can help you locate a salon in your area.

ALU at NYFW – Backstage at Tracy Reese with Sally Hansen

Tracy Reese was one of the shows I was most excited to go backstage for at New York Fashion Week. After many successful, sold out collaborations between Tracy and Sally Hansen, I couldn’t wait to see what they have in store for next Fall. Of course, I was anything but disappointed.

For Fall 2009, Sally Hansen is going HD. Hi-Def technology is not just for TVs and makeup, it’s trickling over into nails. But what exactly does that mean? Hi-Definition nail polish. I had the chance to interview Bill Boraczek Sr. VP of Marketing for Coty (SH’s parent company) to talk about this new technology and the LE Tracy Reese shade.

The new Sally Hansen Hi-Definition Nail Color is made with liquid crystals to provide color vibrancy and dimension much like the effect of HD television. To better explain…

High Definition is the new standard in visual advances. It offers unprecedented clarity and brilliance in color imagery. HD nail color reflected this technology in a patented, breakthrough formula with real liquid crystals. It’s unrivaled, spectacular color pure, vivid pigments that provide multi-dimensional color and extraordinary brilliance. Nothing compares to this color formulation for long-lasting, vibrant high definition color and deep, intense shine. And, like all Sally Hansen nail color, HD protects nails and helps prevent them from chipping, breaking and cracking.

The first shade to debut with this new formula is the Tracy Reese designed, limited edition, Opulent Cloud. Inspired by post-impressionist artists like Van Gogh, Vuillard and Modigliani, Tracy conceived this gold tinged gray to transform and compliment the cornucopia of shades in her collection.

What makes it so unique is that the gold flash causes the polish to have a chameleon effect. It can look lilac or lavender on fair skin, more golden metallic on olive skin. According to Bill, “[Opulent Cloud] looks great on a range of skin tones” and “[Tracy] does the best job of diversity with the models,” so it looks different on everyone.

Bill considers Opulent Cloud a very user friendly gray. “It’s great for those people who aren’t going to go gunmetal gray or black. It’s something in between.”
sally hansen, tracy reese, nyfw, fall 2009, opulent cloud
I’m fortunate to be able to bring you a sneak peek of Opulent Cloud, months before it hits shelves. As you can see, even the lighting affects the way this polish looks. In natural light, it’s much more gray while the gold plays a bigger part in artificial light.
sally hansen, tracy reese, nyfw, fall 2009, opulent cloud “I love colors that change and you can’t find one word to describe it. To me, that’s the best color. If I can’t name it easily, then there’s something interesting to it.” – Bill Boraczek

As much as it irritates me when I can’t easily describe a shade for you all, Bill is so right. It really is the defining quality of a unique hue.
sally hansen, tracy reese, nyfw, fall 2009, opulent cloud
To complete the overall look, Tracy enlisted the help of Charlotte Willer for Maybelline and Erin Anderson for TRESemme. The makeup was left soft and natural with a strong brow being the prominent feature. The hair was curled and romantic, pulled back and held to the nape of the neck with a simple barrette.

Opulent Cloud from the Sally Hansen HD Hi-Definition Nail Color collection will be limited edition and release in August 2009 with 8 permanent shades debuting shorty after. #NYFW

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