Advice Sisters Guide to Life, Success and Happiness

Advice Sisters Guide to Life, Success and Happiness. Alison Blackman Dunham the popular advice, beauty abnd lifestyles expert, offers her views, reviews and reports on topics of interest to adults, everywhere including beauty, fashion, travel events,lifestyle, and general topics. Bookmark this blog--it is worth visiting regularly!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Omnia Luo Runway Spring 2009 - Saving the Best For Last

On Friday September 12th at 5:00 p.m. in the Salon at Bryant Park, as some of the exhibitors were already closing down their exhibits in the main lobby, Omnialuo, the line designed by super-talented Chinese designer Zheng Luo, was unveiled in a premier runway show. The show began as a blizzard of animated cherry blossoms floated onto the stage (along with some real, silken petals). If this wasn't breathtaking enough, the collection was so beautiful and unique the audience got up to cheer at the finale -- a very rare occurrence during Fashion Week. You could really feel the excitement in the room. Those in the audience agreed: this show was one of the best....saved for last!

Backstage, I was fortunate to have video capabilities for this show, thanks to actress/TV hostess Cognac Wellerlane, and photographer/videographer Lorenzo Esquivel (to my right).

*EXCLUSIVE! Alison Blackman talks to lead hair and makeup artists backstage, and asks Designer Zheng Luo about the collection. See photos of these looks, below!

The level of detail in this collection was absolutely amazing and something you really needed to get up-close-and-personal with to fully appreciate. It's hard not to go "ooohhhhh" when you see the clothes up close. Some of the opulent fabrics were hand-dyed, and there were yards and yards and yards of gorgeous, shimmery silk. beading, embellishments, lace and embroidery were also applied by hand. Hand craftsmanship and attention to detail may be lacking in some collections--but not in this one.

Creative Nail Design, the nail company of Fashion Week and the runways, were there in force. They used a ladylike, shimmery brown polish called "Iced Cappucino."
The makeup, by Makeup, by Nadine Luke and the M.A.C. Cosmetics Pro Team, channelled a modern geisha with a delicate complexion warmed up with a rose blush. Lips were colored pink lips and were dabbed with a deep, rose red in the middle of the upper and lower lip.

A really beautiful, modern take on an ornate, geisha hairstyle was an created by Heather Packer for Cutler NYC/Redken. The half up and twisted sides updo with bun looked elegant with the feminine clothes.

Here are some of the Cutler and Redken products and tools that Heather used to create the look, including Redken Iron Silk 07 (to straighten hair with a flat iron) and Forceful #23--a hair Spray that kept the style in place.

The designs, under the leadership of Zheng Luo, the Company's founder and award winning chief designer, already have a following of affluent Chinese women who appreciate luxury and can afford it. There's a reason that Zheng Luo, has already won five CFDA awards (including best women's wear designer two years running). She tailored this collection, shown at Bryant Park, exclusively to suit a New York audience and the reesulting collection was full of modern, wearable clothes that look special.

The show was also special --actually, quite spectacular! It is the type of runway show you want to experience at Fashion Week, but almost never do: one that's beautiful, memorable.... and unexpected. New York audiences don't stand up and cheer very often, especially not after a seemingly endless week of show after show after show. Everyone got to their feet to applaud for this one!

The theme for this Spring 2009 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week show was: "Beauty Blossoms." In China, the cherry blossom symbolizes feminine beauty and the inspiration for the collection comes from an ancient Chinese poem written by poet and scholar Cui Hu from China's Tang Dynasty. The poem artistically combines the beauty of a young woman with that of a cherry blossom to illustrate the scholar's unrequited love of nature and the lady; a love that continued long after the lady was no longer present. The first look out on the runway, a flirty, soft pink dress with silky sash,and portrays this perfectly. Each item gave us a fleeting "ahhhh" moment of beauty. Everyone will be talking about this collection for a long time to come--even the most jaded of fashionistas.

I kept thinking that the no matter how feminine the designs were, they weren't at all "girly." That's the genius of this collection. What you see on the surface isn't quite what you get. For example, a white lace dress with a cherry colored sash avoids being too "young," with the addition of a slip of black lace, peeking obviously from underneath the hem of the dress. Another dress with a sash and bow could have been "too teen" but instead radiated elegance, femininity and sophistication, thanks to a low back with an interesting "envelolpe" treatment. The designer made sure that her clothes always speak softly, but also carry a big stick. In other words, as each model moved down the runway she radiated femininity, but not in a weak way. The body conscious, luxurious designs gave the models confidence, grace and power. I'm assuming that for China's rapidly growing class of urban, affluent, professional women, the ability to look soft and feminine, but also to be strong and decisive, is paramount. That will also make them very appealing to women in the USA who can afford statement dressing in the form of beautiful, beautifully-crafted clothes that let them look like a woman, but hold their own with the guys.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz

I loved the showy accessories that made even a simple sick outfit look impressive -- exotic, with a hint of Asia.

Color palettes ranged from subtle to sensational, from deep charcoal and hot pink, to light pink and creamy ivory. The long gowns were especially spectaular and elegant,e ach accentuating a womanly figure. This one, in creamy ivory, had an almost "Gibson Girl" like allure, with a feathered top and nipped in waist.

photo-mercedes benz
Everyone applauded this show-stopper- a rose-colored gown artfully layered and wrapped around in an asymmetrical column of lovely silk. Like genuine rose petals, each layer gently moved for a sexy reveal of leg as the model walked. Yes, it was sexy, but not overtly so. Zheng Luo knows what she is doing. She has the ability to balance beauty and flattering sex appeal, with something you can actually wear in in polite society. That's talent!
OmniaLuo, Inc. ( ), based in China's fashion capital of Shenzhen, designs, markets, and distributes fine women's apparel under the brand name OMNIALUO. If their plans come through, the company may be coming to the United States to Madison Avenue. It will be a perfect location.


Friday, September 26, 2008

Four Easy Ways to Get the Mad Men Look This Season

I'm not much of a television fanatic, but I've been following the beautifully-crafted series "Mad Men" since it's beginning. This drama series truly captures the essence of Madison Avenue in the 60's, with true-to-life sets, costumes and makeup that really makes the early '60's come alive on the screen.

Here are a few suggestions to get the "mad men" look, without going overboard:

For the guys:

Back in the early 1960's, no man would step outside without a hat (and he removed it in elevators, at the table, and when women were present). Try a Stetson fedora Available at

...and every man needs a pair of cufflinks. These by Hidalgo, are "back-to-the-future" friendly, a classic oval with American Flag design in enamel. Available at

For the Ladies:

A dress with a belted waist is a must-have. Go slinky with a sheath dress, or add have fun with bold prints with this flirt, full-skirted dress from Alice & Olivia (Multi Ombre Trellis Dress with Belt $440.00).

: The perfect red lip is essential for an authentic 60's "mad men" look.
The easiest way to get the perfect red is with the Stila Paint Your Pout Red Palette ($45.00). A silvery, cardboard palette with magentic closure features a winking red lip. Inside, press a button an your actually hear a Stila Pro Artist takes you through the process of creating a perfect, red pout, step by step. You get a lip balm, and three intense, silky red lipsticks: warm, cool, and true red. I have been in search of a red that looked chic, not ridiculous, for years. This palette's warm red is perfect--and the true red looks classy, too. I've even mixed the cool with a gloss and have gotten a pretty result. Red is "60's appropriate" and always classic, even in 2008, but it's only festive as long as it looks "right." This palette delivers. *it makes a great holiday gift idea, too.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

American Express Skybox--A Luxe, Real Way, to See the Runway at Fashion Week - report by Alison Blackman

A couple of seasons ago I discovered a little known secret in the Bryant Park tents: there's a sky box quietly tucked away at the very top! It's hidden behind black curtains that shield it from curious eyes. You can't know it's there until just prior to the start of selected runway shows. Then, if you know where to look, just as the runway is about to be cleared of photographers and celebrities, you can see the people inside the box for just a few seconds. Then, the lights dim and they're gone.

You might think you're dreaming--that you didn't really see it -- but the American Express sky box is not a dream. It is a real and rare opportunity that American Express offers it's more elite card members to be a part of Fashion Week. For a primarily female, fashion-focused, audience, a visit to the sky box is a dream come true. A visit to the American Express sky box gives them the opportunity to see real fashion shows from within the Bryant Park tents, and soak up some of the atmosphere of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City.

The American Express lounge in the back of the main Bryant Park lobby, is the "portal" to the sky box. It gives a good view of how the rest of the Fashion Week participants deal with the action: noisy crowds, lots of socializing, a visit to sponsor exhibits, and long lines separated by those with seats and invitations, and those waiting for standing room. Sky box guests sit comfortably watching the action, while waiting for their personal escort to take them to the sky box -- no backstage pass, needed.

I was invited up on September 12th to report on this "mysterious" and unique part of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Members of the press, buyers, photographers, bloggers, stylists and others deal with the crazy crush of the lobby. American Express sky box guests are escorted quietly past them into a completely different "fashion Week" world. In the sky box, just like the fictional Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City, everyone is a VIP with a front row seat, watching the proceedings from a private, priviledged, perch.

This season's sky box was designed by Frank Carfaro, acclaimed founder and creative director of contemporary home furnishings company, DESIRON. Fashionably dim lighting, glass sculptures, comfortable sitting areas, and a bar offering light refreshments and passed snacks, makes for an ideal place to feel relaxed and happy. The sky box opens onto two venues: the large tent, and the mid-sized Promenade. Guests see two runway shows (one in the tent, the other in the Promenade), and get lots of bonuses for the cost of the sky box experience, including nice designer discounts, and exclusive gifts and gift bags, plus the chance of surprise guest appearances of famed designers.

I couldn't resist taking a photo with Amy Smilovic, the woman behind TIBI's fantastic designs.

...and another surprise guest, was the legendary designer (and AmEx spokeswoman) Designer Diane Von Furstenberg! She told us how she got started in the fashion business and her motivation to do so (she wanted to be a strong, independent woman, and to empower women); what all women have (strength "although sometimes you have to look deep inside to find it and bring it out" she said); what inspires her (every woman, because we are all unique); the one thing that she thinks every woman should experience (raising a child) and what none of us really need ("must-have" clothes, because everyone has their own style). Diane Von Furstenberg is the president of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). "Fashion is a reflection of our time -- the street inspires fashion and also the other way around," she said.

The VIP lounge-style viewing window lets card members see the shows directly, and through monitors strategically placed around the room. These guests are eagerly awaiting the Vera Wang runway show. Although the front row view for A-listers from "downstairs" is closer, for the majority of people attending the popular shows in less desirable seats or standing in the back, the comfy viewing area in the American Express sky box would be Heaven!

Here, my view from the Sky box as a model makes the turn on the runway during the Vera Wang show.

....and my view of Naeem Kahn's finale in the Promenade.

In between the shows, industry experts such as Kate Nobelius of Billion Dollar Babes (shown here, "interviewing" TIBI designer Amy Smilovic), educate, inform, and entertain the AmEx guests. Kate pointed out celebrities in the front row, offered tidbits of fashion and runway information, talked about fashion trends, and introduced the guest designers, asking really good questions that really kept our interest!

The guests I chatted with in the sky box were from all over the country and all ages, united in their desire to see what goes on during Fashion Week. This photo is of Sherri and Britany, a mother and daughter from Ohio, who traveled to New York to spend the weekend, visit the American Express skybox, and go shopping....all for Britany's 16th birthday. Lucky sweet 16! Britany, who wants to be a model, was excited to see first-hand what a real runway show was like. She was so excited. While we waited for the second show to begin, I filled her in on some of the things that go on backstage and she asked me lots of questions about the models and how they prepare for a show. Both mother and daughter were having a fantastic time. Other American Express card members who chatted with me in the sky box said they were there because they were curious about Fashion Week, NYC's fashion scene, modeling, and fashion. Most said they were splurging for a special occasion such as a birthday or early Christmas presents. One woman was there with some friends. Another, as a chaperone for her younger sister.

The cost for all this luxury and excitement? The $700 for the day (much more for a weekend package) may seem like an extravagance, but for fashion-obsessed American Express Gold Card members, Platinum Card ® members and Centurion ® Card members, it's the chance of a lifetime to feel like a fashion insider.

The sky box may not be inexpensive, but some pretty good perks come with the package. I so wanted one of these railroad spike bracelets by jewelry designer Philip Crangi, who also appeared as a surprise guest. Crangi's jewelery is sold at Barneys with many of his pieces going for well over $1,000. Each sky box guest got one of these fantastic bracelets as a gift from American Express, personally engraved with a special message of their choosing (many chose "Fashion Week 2008" - not original, but it made a great keepsake). Another bonus of being a sky box guest is that you take home a sponsor swag bag that only the Fashion Week sponsors, and a limited number of press, can even attempt to snag. I had to wait on three long lines to get one this year.

As part of American Express' continued support of designers and the fashion industry, proceeds from the sale of Card member packages will contribute to the $500,000 American Express donation to Council of Fashion Designers of America in support of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund.
One special offer that all American Express Card Members can take advantage of (until October 31. 2008) are the Lambertson Truex Totes, created exclusively for American Express® card members, in partnership with Vanity Fair Campaign New York. Luxury accessory designers Richard Lambertson and John Truex teamed up to create two terrific totes. There is a personally signed, "Index of Happiness" tote $1,000 in full color, and more simple and affordable "Gertrude" Tote $150.00 in blue canvas with brown leather trim. Either one would make a special gift this holiday season. Even better 15% of the purchase price from these totes will benefit the Whitney Museum of American Art.* Click here to get more information and photos of the bags, and to make a purchase.

Although this is a report of the sky box, the attendees are really there to see runway shows. We saw two: Vera Wang in the Tent, Naeem Kahn in the Promenade:

VERA WANG: Vera Wang's subdued Spring collection featured day-to-evening looks in a very muted palette, with just pops of color, and without a bridal or red-carpet gown in the bunch. The most festive touches were the seriously large, sparkling and showy accessories that were almost blindingly glittery bouncing off the lights on the runway. Wang's inspiration for her Spring 2009 collection celebrated the vibrancy and naivete of Niki Saint Phalle, a woman and artist of extraordinary imagination, individuality, and talents. Saint Phalle, was deeply affected by the work of Antonio Gaudí' and was known for her use of bright colors, while the mainstay of Wang's Spring collection was basic black, grey, cream, white and navy. But the knee-length dresses and resort-y pants with tops, are wearable designs we'd all die to own and wear!

NAEEM KAHN: Naeem Khan's collection was glamorous, mixing lots of glitz and sparkle with other exotic touches. This collection was a contrast to Wang's more day-to-evening approach to evening fashion. Kahn's glittering, opulent gowns were in bright colors and full-length. "Obi" style belting, jewels, and lots of opulent detail traipsed down the runway. The inspiration: "The Far East though the eyes of Diana Vreeland, Loulou de Falaise, 60's handmade clothes, and Japanese origami."

Spring 2009 Fashion Week completed my 9th season covering the runway shows. My regular experience during Fashion Week is not one of the A-list in the front row or that of the guests in the American Express sky box. My week is is not only physically demanding, it is emotionally draining. But the American Express sky box is a commercial experience that gives a flavor of Fashion Week, although it's a glammed-up view. The feeling is one of privilege that money can buy, and it's awesome fun! In addition to the sky box, American Express collaborated with popular designer Zac Posen to present a one-of-a-kind private runway show for American Express® Card members this season. Last season, I attended the American Express® Cardmembers only runway show by Designer Peter Som.

If you have the time and the money (and can get your tickets early--they immediately sell out), a visit to the American Express sky box is an awesome way to be part of the action. Just weeks before the doors to the tents at Bryant Park open for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, American Express informs it's privileged card members of the upcoming "fash week" activities via an email list. The card members I talked to approached securing their tickets as if they were for a sure-to-be-sold-out concert, or sporting event. American Express is not only a sponsor of Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, they sponsored several episodes of the popular television reality show, Project Runway (one of the shows was a chance to see the Project Runway finale from the sky box). If you are an American Express American Express Gold Card, Platinum Card ®, or Centurion ® Card member, you can sign up for Ticket Access and you will get emails when here’s an opportunity to purchase advance tickets for a number of special events sponsored by American Express, even before they go on sale to the general public! For more information about American Express and Fashion Week, please visit

All content and photos Alison Blackman Dunhamm for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman. The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Fel free to link to this story. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Carmen Marc Valvo Spring 2009 Runway Show- Elegance, Always, Squared!

One show I consider a "can't miss" at any cost, is Carmen Marc Valvo's runway show for his latest collection. Each season, Valvo's amazing attention to detail and elegant, ladylike, powerful designs, simply enchant all who see them on the runway. Later on, these wearable, elegant, sophisticated designs look beautiful on women fortunate to own them. In Fall 2008, the designer focused on details such as hats and feathers, but for Spring 2009, the simple square became the designer's inspiration, and perhaps, obsession.

You can see the sophistication in the close ups I took backstage. "Tiles" of metallic leather were sewn onto metallic organza and organza tweeds, balancing flowing fabrics with structure. Along with the squares, checkerboard weaving, and materials woven together, there was plenty of evidence of Carmen Marc Valvo's signature draping, twisting, and knotting. Interestingly, although long, "red-carpet" gowns predominated in Fall 2008, this Spring 2009 collection featured as many or more pretty cocktail dresses, skirts, and pants that could transition from day to evening with the right accessories. Some standouts in the collection (and there were many) included a clear, plastic raincoat with a design of squares, worn over capri pants; sheer and shimmery tops over elegant, slouchy pants; and bathing suits meant for nothing more than elegant sunbathing, including a black, bandeau bikini that was bare, but not too bare. Chunky black mules and eyewear (from the Carmen Marc Valvo Collection) were must-haves.

This season the mixture of fabrics, such as patent leather squares sewn on to a wool skirt, or leather woven into tweedy fabric, were a new twist on classics, I particularly liked the designs that features a basketweave of silky "ribbons" artfully woven to create a textured "fabric" that looked entirely new and different. Here you can see a green dress on instructions to the dresser, and my view of it from the runway.

The designer is also known for his artful draping. Here are some examples.

photo courtesy Mercedes Benz photo courtesy Mercedes Benz

For elegant and modern clothes like these, you have to have dramatic makeup. "The dark eye gives a touch sexiness and the lips are pale because they have to be kissable." explained Tom Pecheux, lead makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics. The first photo shows the concept photos the rest of the M.A.C. Pro team will follow. The rest of the look was explained to me by Keri Blair, Senior Makeup Artist for M.A.C. The eyes were a blended a combination of dark brown cream eyeliner and black felt-tip liner. MAC Eye Shadow in Smut gave eyes a feline shape, and a clear gloss and gold-pearl pigment were smudged over the lids. Tip: For a shimmery highlight, sinply mix a pearlescent pigment with a gloss texture, and sweep the mix under the eyebrows for a glossy highlight." The face look was described at: "She's a woman who just came off the beach and freshened up for cocktails." The elegant, glowing lookw as created with apricot blush and contoured bronze cheeks. The "kissable" lip was created with a nude cream lipstick on an UNlined, lip.

Lead Hair Stylist Odile Gilbert for Redken, is no stranger to creating runway hair magic. She once told me that do-it-yourself hair simply won't work with complex styles--certainly not with this type of updo. To get the look, "See your stylist," she has often advised.

Odile used a number of Redken products on smooth, straightened hair to create the look, including a new Redken product called Iron Silk #07 to straighten hair with a flat iron, and Forceful #23 Hair Spray, to keep the chignon in place. The black clip in the middle added a classic touch to the style.

Creative Nail Design's Lulu Cooper applies two shades of CND polish, custom-mixed, for Carmen's show, to a mode's fingertips. "Smooch" is a pearly white, and "Negligee" is a pretty, subdued nude shimmer. Nudes will be popular in the Spring, but in a slightly more opaque form. And, metallic shades that give a soft patina rather than a garish glitter will be popular, too in color like Copper and antique gold, and gunmetal. Roxanne from Creative Nail Design suggest this: "if you're wearing color on your hands, go nude on toes--and vice-versa." Roxanne also says the shape of nails, now, is almond-shaped and medium length. Color them in a light shade like beige or baby pink -- a great way to go if your nails aren't long and strong. Think Cher in the 1970's. In the next photo, nail artists Lulu and Angie are on the floor, doing pedicures. This is definitely exhausting work!

Just prior to showtime, I was directed to my seat by Alyssa Ford, one of the many interns who volunteer to be ushers at Bryant park during fashion week. Alyssa is currently an intern at Michael Kors. Usher have their work cut out for them, dealing with some of the "personalities" that attend the shows....and you're on your feet for hours (as are members of the press), but you get to experience Fashion Week first hand, up-close-and-personal. I've never heard one of these energetic interns, complain.

When you get to the backstage early, you often get the chance to see a designer checking out his own backstage, first before the photographers and reporters charge in. Here, Carmen is chatting with Angie from Creative Nail Design. Later, he is interviewed by Full Frontal Fashion's Judy Licht.........and other reporters from around the world.
All too soon, it is time for the finale.....
....The show is ending. Carmen takes his bow, embraces a model....
....and goes backstage to receive congratulations from celebrities such as Emmy Rossum, who, I caught waving goodbye to Carmen, just as the security guards allowed members of the press, backstage.'s Friday....and I have one more show to go before Fashion Week ends!

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All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Monday, September 22, 2008

Richard Chai Spring 2009 Runway Show Magnificent Minimalistic Joy!

Designer Richard Chai's signature minimalism was carried through to the makeup and hair for his Spring 2009 runway show. Backstage, James Kaliardos, lead makeup artist for M.A.C. Cosmetics and the M.A.C. Pro Team explained the makeup concept in four words: "An experiment in minimalism."

The "no-makeup" look (or "natural" makeup look if you will) shows a clean, fresh face where emphasis is on one feature, be it the brows, the lips, or the eyes. For Chai's show, James focused on the brows. He used a clear brow gel and combed brows up "More than Brooke Shields" he said. Then he added highlight to the inner corners of the eyes with a cream texture pearl shadow.

photo courtesy Merdedes Benz

The look is simple but "very honest" said James, who picked this minimalist look to go with Chai's preference for minimalism. "It's a great teen look" James said.

The fresh-faced look seems face looks as if nothing much was done to accentuate the model's beauty, but in reality, it takes time, makeup and lots of tools to make the look, work. For Chai's look, James used three different shades of MAC Sculpt and Shape Foundation --applying lighter tones down the center of the face to highlight, and darker shades on temples and cheekbones to subtly contour, (natural shades go everywhere else). Then he powdered the T-zone." Lips were conditioned with lip balm.

The hair, created by Kevin Ryan from RSessions, focused on a simple twist that hung loose and textured from the the knot at the top, with swingy, shiny hair. The youthful, pretty look is one you can easily do at home. Start with perfectly clean, straight, shiny hair (use a hot iron if necessary). Then pull up the sides in a half-up, half down style by twisting the top and pinning it. Twist (or braid) the tail with a styling product. Let dry the tail dry, and then loosen it up. FYI: Kevin is teaming up with Rickys (the great cosmetics and beauty store chain) to produce a holiday up-do kit which I hope will be available in time for the Advice Sisters to review it in our upcoming What Works Beauty review column.

photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz
Richard Chai's Spring 2009 collection,was a Spring collection full of "joy" and casual, feminine looks that in summary, resonated with his fans, and was a great success for Chai. I love this graceful, natural-colored jacket-it would be perfect over everything from pants to a party dress. And I loved this feminine, flowing day dress that mixed sheer with a cover-up of a long vest (vests will be a "must-have" accessory for Spring '09).

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All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Brian Reyes Runway Show Spring 2009- Classy, Classic, Elegant, Wearable

If you've been reading my blog reports from backstage and the runway during Bryant Park Fashion Week for Spring 2009, you already know that I over-extended myself a bit. But I had a spare moment, and I was able to get in to see the Brian Reyes Spring collection (it was early in the day--the fashionistas of the "A" list were probably still sleeping off last night's champagne).

The collection was subdued, almost "mad men'esque" in it's tailored, simple, rather demure dresses and pants outfits that would not have been out of place in a Grace Kelly wardrobe. Unlike many of the peacock-colored collections I saw for Spring, Reyes's palette was
simple and quietly elegant with much in the way of beads, bangles or spangles, in primarily black, white, cream, grey and navy. But the graceful pants outfits, made modern with sheer fabrics on top, and demure sheath dresses, are the type of polished, timeless elegance that appeals to real women. All in all, the display of day and evening looks were just plain...pretty!

photos courtesy of Mercedes Benz


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Willow Runway Show Spring 2009 -Wild and on the Witty Side

The Willow Spring/Summer 2009 presentation was all about contrasts--black, white, taupe, long and short, color and shape. The inspiration for the graceful collection was Ballet Russes. The Ballets Russes (French for The Russian Ballets) was a dance company established in 1909 by the Russian impresario Serge Diaghilev. The Ballets Russes's ground-breaking artistic collaboration among contemporary choreographers, composers, artists, and dancers made it a significant influence in the avant-garde culture of Paris.

In keeping with this tradition, Willow's designs were glamorous, but wearable, flowing but fresh, and with classic touches made modern. For example, a classic black tuxedo was made sheer and sparkling. A taupe dress goes from day to evening, a bit "Great Gatsby's" Daisy Buchanan meet a Victoria's Secret model.

There was lots of white and black, but also bright colors such as a grouping of bright orange designs. Here it's in artfully wrapped printed pants with a white jacket, and in an arfully wrapped and arranged, jumpsuit. There were plenty of rompers and jumpsuits represented on runways this season. It's ane easy, fun look that flatters most every figure.

There were long and short dressed and pants outfits, including a number with a striking, zebra print that I really love. Animal prints can sometimes look a bit cheesy, but these were made elegant with draping and flowing fabrics. I am coveting the short zebra print dress right down to the fabulous, chartreuse, shoes!


Friday, September 19, 2008

Carlos Miele Runway Show Spring 2009 - Exciting, Musical Mix of Cultures

The Carlos Miele Spring -Summer 2009 Runway Show at the Bryant Park Tents was one of the most entertaining and lively shows of the week, thanks in part to live music on the runway, by singer Seu Jorge, a once-homeless kid who lived in a Brazillian slum outside of Rio de Janeiro. Jorge electrified the runway, singing his heart out, while serenading the passing models on the runway. Not just a signer, Jorge appeared in the film: "City of God." He has also created several music DVDs and solo music albums.

photos courtesy of Mercedes Benz

But it's the clothes that everyone comes to see, and Miele's wearable but sexy, Springtime frocks delighted the fashionistas. Miele called this collection: "a dance between nature and the female body." The clothes, delivered.

Dresses floated and swayed down the runway, with lots of artful wrapping and draping The designer found his inspiration in a tropical garden and in the colors of day and night in the tropical rainforest. The clothes, according to the designer's note, are a "a movement of the leaves, the shadows of the native trees and flowers, the lightness and reflection of the water, the sleek shapes, curves, vibrant colors, and rich textures of the rainforest." But there were also very sophisticated, glamorous, body conscious gowns, such as this glittering one.

Miele is part Italian and part Brazilian, and creates clothes that will work on cosmopolitan women in every city with clothes that are sophisticated for women who know what they want, and how to get it. The clothes were structured in some cases, flowing and light in others, with lots of chiffon prints in soft patterns, balanced by skin tight black pants and sheer tops, and a smattering of sparkles that were sensual, but not trashy. Jeweled necklaces held dresses in place, and from where I sat I could only glimpse the beading, feathers and light fringes of tulle.. There were plenty of soft pastel prints and muted tones, but there were also pops of brights: turquoise, green, red, pink, orange and blue.

Brazillian women love long, soft, shiny, swing-y hair. Hair stylist John Barrett created the shiny, bouncy hair look with an uneven part that look exotic and pretty on the runway. Lead makeup artist Romy Soleimani and the M.A.C. Pro Team created the fresh-faced, smouldering eye look. "The look is that "end-of-summer bronze, as natural as possible and really buffed," Soleimani, used deep bronze cream shadow buffed onto lids to create the sensual eye. Romy applied MAC Sculpt and Shape Foundation in one tone darker than models' natural skin tone for a bronzed effect. Her Pro Tip?: "Use your bronzer as a contouring powder with a soft brush that offers control. This will serve as a bronzing technique that will give the face balance and a vibrant finish."She then blended a combination of bronze and orange cream blushes into the cheeks. Like almost all the lips I saw, the lips for Carlos Miele's show were moisturized with a touch of sheer pink gloss, but not a lot of fuss or color.
All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


G-Star Spring 2009 Runway Show -- Denim, and Causes, Go Together

G-Star RAW (G-Star) is a Dutch clothing company specializing in making RAW denim. This is an unwashed, untreated denim. Many of the G-Star designs are influenced by vintage military clothing around the world, with details including pratical and eye catching cell phone and zippered arm pockets on jackets.

G-Star had it's Spring 2009 runway show at the cavernous, Park Avenue Armory. The premium denim brand brings serious issues, along with it's fashioanble denim, to the runway, as it promotes the United Nations for its Millennium Development Goals project. The show brings attention to a high level Milennium Develolp Goals event set for September 25th, 2008, in New York City. The event will renew the United Nations and its partners’ commitment to achieve a variety of challenging goals--ranging from reducing extreme poverty by half, to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS --and providing universal primary education by a tartget date of 2015. Actors Heather Graham and Alan Comming started out the show by walking the runway reading the Millennium Development Goals to show their support for the show, and the cause. The collaboration with G-Star collaborate and the United Nations brings socio-economic and political issues to a stage that makes it more than just a fashion runway.

The hair was a real focal point.... created by Avon stylist Marco (he's from Brazil and has the #1 salon there) told us that women in Brazil like long shiny hair and love the Avon Advance Techniques Dry End Serum, and Avon Advance Techniques Mirror Shine Spray, plus the shampoo and conditioner. For the G-Star show, quite a few different Avon Advance Techniques products were used for the two female model's looks, and on the guys.

To create the various curly hair looks, the model's hair was sectioned into five parts, slicked with Avon Techniques Volumizing Mousse, and twisted, pinned to the head dry with Avon Advance Techniques Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray Later on, the hair was fluffed out. This is a sort of modern take on old-fashioned pin curls. You can do this at home and get a similar, flattering style...raw and pretty.

A second look was similar, but instead of dry twisted pin curling the stylists used a hot curling iron in two sizes, and then sprayed the hair, pinning one side back sleek and flat on one side. You may not be able to see the look completely in this photo, but the young model really looks entirely different, depending upon which way you view her. The hair mirrored the sleek chic of the clothes...very sophisticated and "European."

For the girls with curls, here are the Avon Advance Techniques Products that were used:

Cleanse: Advance Techniques Body Building Shampoo Condition: Advance Techniques Body Building Condition Treat: Advance Techniques CelloShine Treatment Style: Advance Techniques Volumizing Mousse Advance Techniques Salon Curl Refresh Spray Advance Techniques Extra Strong Hold Hair Spray -- The products used on girls with straight here included: Women (straight hair) Cleanse: Advance Techniques Smoothing Shampoo Condition: Advance Techniques Smoothing Conditioner Treat: Advance Techniques Dry End Serum Style: Advance Techniques Super Straight Smoothing Balm Advance Techniques Mirror Shine Spray

Dutch makeup designer Lydia Leloux created a face look with strong eyebrows and nude lips, penciled in with liner. A dewy, moistly matte lip color in nude with a bit of pink added to teh center (and blended out) made the look, lovely. The skin was fresh, but with a powderd T-zone and strategic highlighter. Here, M.A.C. Cosmetics makeup artist David Stella poses with a model. Both are Dutch and were here just for Fashion Week. David worked on The Blonds show as well...I'd just met him the night before.

A multi-level platform, moving platform could be precarious for models, many of whom were on the runway, stopping and moving at the same time. But the models were at the Armory rehersing meticulously, all day. The well choreographed show, plus pulsing music and lights, made a dramatic setting for both the clothes and the models. Wide legs and slender jeans with menswear vests, looked great on the girls, while the guys were sporting skinny jeans. Black, sheer knee-highs give a "Cabaret" edgy look to pants outfits and trench coats.
Celebrities love denim, and rally around causes.

Among the celebrities attending the show were “Entourage” star Adrian Grenier, stylist Patricia Fields, model and TV host Tyson Beckford, music entrepreneur Damon Dash, actor Josh Lucas, “Ugly Betty” star Eric Mabius and actress Mena Suvari.

All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Dennis Basso Spring 2009 Runeway Show -Glitzy Glam

I wasn't that familiar with Designer Dennis Basso, so I delighted with the range and versatility of his lovely collection. Apparently, celebrities such as, Ivana Trump, and fashionistas Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley, were already in the know. Basso's Springtime 2009 collection was inspired by America's tony resorts and summer retreats, such as Nantucket, South Hampton, and Newport--presumably the audience from which his clients, come.

The collection included a emphasis on day dresses that demurely grazed the knee, and included form fitting waists and belts....definitely Grace Kelly more than Grace Slick!

Cocktail attire was also fairly demure, but appropriate for those charity dinners and country club lunches. The array of pleasing, knee-length frocks inclueed chiffon hems that swayed as if in a soft breeze, and flirty necklines (including some sheer fabrics).

The long, evening gowns offered styles from mild to body conscious "wow (well, sort of). These are not overtly sexy designs--a touch of bright print, an exposed shoulder, perhaps. The clients who love Basso are attention-getting enough without being boldly sensual. You can just imagine one of these rich, powerful and influential women drinking champagne and enjoying the good life in long dresses, not all meant for the red carpet, but perhaps, just for a formal dinner at home.

Many designers, including Venexiana, love fur and have lots of it in their collections. However, to get into this show we had our bags and purses searched by doubt because they didn't want another outburst of PETA protesters storming onto the runway, as at the DKNY runway show that past Sunday. We did see a crowd of protesters outside the tents, but thankfully, none made it past security this time.

I wasn't backstage to see the hair, nails and makeup for this show, but the smooth, tight bun was created by Frederick Fekkai, and the fresh-faced, smouldery eye look for the makeup was by Cynde Watson.
*all photos on this post courtesy of Mercedes Benz


Herve Leger- Spring 2009 Collection- Designs That Delight --If the Body Is All Right

Max Azria of BCBG has taken over the house of Herve Leger, famous for skin-tight bandage dresses. The Spring 2009 runway collection looked spectacular on the runway. If you love these clothes, you'll be spending a lot of time a the gym, however. The designs are seriously body-conscious. The spare, bare, form-fitting designs will look great on a genuine gym-rat, and anyone else who is genetically fortunate.

The collection was full of bandage-style designs, but there was color, and glamour. The dresses are engineered to hold in a bit of jiggle, but as you can see, with so much exposure at stake, you've really got to be confident to pull off clothes like these. On the right person, Herve Leger, sizzles!
Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Milly Spring 2009 Runway Show - Dedacent 60's Summertime, Anytime

Milly By Michele Smith is always a fresh and exciting runway show. Before the show I spent some time backstage, checking out the hair, makeup, nails and clothes. I really admired this heavily embelished, bright, hot pink bolero jacket.

Here's how it looked on the runway)

photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz

....and I loved this bohemian fabric that look simply wonderful on the runway

photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz

Creative Nail Design used "Clearly Pink" on fingers (nothing on toes because the shoes are so bright). This sheer, light, blush pink polish (like a lip gloss for the nails) has been a favorite with designers this season. Milly's look for Spring 2009 featured so much bright, bold color and bold prints that the hair and makeup had to be a bit less bold, to give it balance.

Angie from CND gave me a tip for my readers: almond shaped nails like the ones in the photo, and on the Milly runway, are slenderizing, sort of like stilettos for the hands! that had just a hint of ballet-worthy pale pink on it. The look is very innocent, as if you were on the way to the beach. The nail colors for Spring 2009 will give you a full spectrum of color choices. You can go with pale sheers or perhaps, try something new, like CND's new-for-the-Spring, palette of "aged" greyed pastels including lovely, warm colors like those in the Sonoran Desert! Find out where you can a gazillion great CND nail colors right now, through Creative Nail Design's website or in your favorite nail salon.

When the designer meets with the hairstylist s/he has chosen, the stylist must then take the designer's vision and create a hair look for it. The photo on the left shows the concept on a test model with the finished look that the other stylists will copy. The model on the left is a real model whose hair has just been completed for the Milly runway show. Hair was made super-straight, then braided. A few of the models sported 60's style headbands for the show as well. This style is one you could do easily at home, but you'll need smoothing , anti-frizz, and shine products, a flat iron, and at least a little patience!

The creator of this pretty, bohemian hair look is the always gracious and talented Kevin Ryan (on the right) of Rsessions. he posing with Ricky Kenig, owner of the fabulous, Rickys Beauty Supply stores. The stores are so much fun to shop in, offering everything from lipsticks and eyeshadows, to candles and Halloween costumes. Kevin gave me a little tidbit you'll want to know about: the two are working on a special, "updo" kit for Rickys, with everything a girl needs to make (and keep) perfect updo's. Hopefully these will be out in a few months, right in time for the holidays. I can't wait to see it!

Makeup for Milly was created by Romy Soleimani for M.A.C. Cosmetics. This easy, I'm-on-the-way-to-the-beach, 60's look, featured a dewy, sunkissed face, created with tinted moisturizer and then a dusting of powder on the T-zone to keep that area from going wild with shine. Cheeks sported a glowing pink blush plus a bit of bronzer. This glowy/dewy face look with matte T-zone was used on several runways. The models sported body makeup, to complete the beachy look Romy used a pale pink shadow on the eyes, and then lined them 360 degrees, with a pearlized, gold liner. That 60's deb-chic look was continued on lips, with an almost "mod" baby pink lip stain.

The bright, cheerful, easy to wear, bohemian designs were truly lovely -- casual, swingy, with lots of bright colors to keep that day-in-the-sun look, alive. There was plenty of turquoise, purple, pink, coral, orange, yellow, brown, and tons of beads and embellishments. Fashions ranged from the barely there bikini and sheer, off the shoulder looks, to long granny gowns and slouchy pants. These clothes work on women of all ages, and most body types. Fun in the sun? With Milly, you can't miss!

All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Reem Acra Runway Show Spring 2009--An Enchanted Attic with Exciting Spring Designs

By the time I arrived backstage for Reem Acra's runway show, Creative Nail design was already hard at work on the nails. "Lighten Up" is the word for this show...a pink that's neither too warm not too cool -- an elegant, ladylike, semi-sheer, pink, the color of soft-spun cotton candy.Amanda, from Creative Nail Design, carries pedicure foams in her belt, to keep her hands, free. In her belt she keeps files and other tools, and a bottle of Creative Nail Design Solar Oil. Solar Oil is great for dry skin and nails. It softens cuticles with Jojoba Oil, Sweet Almond Oil and Vitamin E, and it can help remove press-on nails, too. Creative Nail design was present at more than 78 shows this season. They use so much solar oil on the models, that by the end of the week, the girls' nails are actually in better condition than when they started the week. press on nails.

Some designers always bring their beloved pets. Last season I remember Reem Acra's dog, LuLu taking her own walk halfway down the runway. When I arrived a man with AO Production was holding Lulu. When Reem arrived, LuLu ran over to see her, tail wagging so hard it looked like a pennant blowing in a stiff breeze! LuLu adores Reem and I think the feeling is mutual. The relationship between the two of them is true (puppy) love! Note that Lulu is wearing one of the bejeweled belts from the Reem Acra Spring 2009 collection--the best dressed doggie in town!

Great shows, like these mules by Manolo Blahnick, don't need to compete with your toenail color

Hair, by GavinHarwin, channelled several hot looks I've been seeing: half up/half down, braids, and soft versions of a beehive or "chiffon."

This look is young and sexy...a little bit Brigitte Bardot meet bohemian chic--but more smooth and elegant. Hair has texture and shine, but it isn't fussy. Products from Cutler Salon were used.

Makeup artist Polly Osmond did the makeup for M.A.C. and Christoper DelCatsillo, a Senior Makeup Artist for the MAC Pro Team, explained the basic look. This photo really doesn't do the finished look justice. Like so many makeup looks for Spring 2008, this one features a fresh face with very little color, neutral matte skin, and a T-zone kept from getting too shiny, by adding powder down the middle of the face. Shimmery highlighter on cheeks give the face a glowing look. The focal point is is the dramatic brows. There is no mascara and no eye liner in this look--just the model's own pretty coloring. Lips are a natural, cool pink. Smoky eyes are still hot for Spring, but ringed with warmer colors. Lips are nude and colored with flesh tones or light pink, or in bright colors such as day-glo orange, are must-haves for Spring 2009. Moistly matte lip glam or gloss replaces patent-leather shine. Chris explained that many of the runway looks that makeup artists design are meant to be "statement" looks for the show, and not necessarily something that a woman should follow, slave-ishly. As with many of the fashions, the idea is to take a feeling away from the look, but not necessarily try to re-create it. If nude lips in a flesh tone leave you looking pale, try a tone that is more in keeping with your own, natural lip color, and spark it up with gloss, for example.

Details are everything in a beautiful collection like this...but to appreciate them you have to see them close up. The pailettes and jewels and beading made every outfit red-carpet ready.

Many of the designs were loose and flowing, but hardly "casual." There were plenty of embellishments in this collection. Even a simple, taupe cocktail dress gets the pailette treatment and a silken rope belt decorated with crystals (similar to the one LuLu the dog wore as a leash).

I loved the beautiful blue and gold fabric, the red, jeweled shirt, and the golden, embroidered silk coat. Here's how that beautiful blue and gold gown looked on the runway.

Here are more looks from the runway. Reem's inspiration for this collection is an incredible attic hidden away at the top of a royal palace. The hidden "treasures" include "semi-precious stomes amd rich fabrics in a rainbow of colors.. creating a cascade of color and glamour...sweeping you away to a dream ball of a fantasy spring world." This collection is part Bollywood coupled with rich, colorful, elegance. These were delicious, red-carpet looks, but some of the pieces were fairly simple--cocktail dresses and jewelled tunics that could even get a vote from a mother of the bride. Note-able were the beading details, as on the red jacket, the crystal pleated dresses in cheerful colors, and the flowing caftans that are not only figure-forgiving, but elegantly unique in a world of "little black dresses." The colorful mules by Manolo Blahnick in contrasting colors, made each outfit just a bit more of a stand-out.
At the end of the show, Reem Acra came out to take her bow, and brought LuLu with her!
Backstage, celebrity fans Singer Danity Kane and Ashanti (in Reem Acra of course) pose with Reem and Lulu.
All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net


Malo Runway Spring 2009 - Spare, Sparkling, Modern, Delicate

(from the Malo finale)

I had a short hiatus between shows, and noticed a fashionable crowd gathering on the steps of the New York Public Library at 42nd street. Investigating further, I discovered that people were going to the Malo runway show. I hadn't been invited, but was told that I could join the standing room line.

(from the Malo finale)

I was excited about seeing this show...Alessandro Dell'Acqua's debut for Malo for Spring/Summer 2009. so I waited patiently (Fashion Week is all about lines, standing, and lots of patience)...... And I and waited, and waited.....until it became clear that I was the entire standing room line!

Eventually, minutes before the show, "standing room" was admitted. I noticed Nina Garcia and other fashionista note-ables in the celebrity-studded front row. Lots of air kisses and exclamations alter, the din of greetings in English and Italian, quieted down. Then came the parade of dresses, pants, skirts, jackets, vests, and sweaters, some in bold brights of purple, emerald green, and peony, but most in very subdued tones of ivory, dove grey, taupe, greyed green, tea rose, and blue.

I was in the back, and couldn't see the "bold" and "tough" looking shoes and boots, or the zippers and bold accessories that supposedly added a balance to the very delicate, sheer, sexy-but-ladylike creations. But I could see the clothes. Body conscious designs in cashmere, the designer's signature fabric, were light-as-a whisper, often shredded or sheer, in layers, or festooned with large "Jewels" that added a glamorous touch to these spare, bare, sheer, and sexy (but still refined) clothes. You have to have a certain level of confidence, not to mention a great body, to wear clothes that are sliced up stitched with transparent nylon thread. However, taken as separates, while many of the pieces were seriously fashion-forward, the knitwear, a bejeweled sweater or a jacket, a skirt or pants, or one of those gossamer dresses worn with another layer, would certainly add pizazz to a wardrobe with the resources to own these unusual pieces.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Blonds Runway Show Spring 2009- Bold, Beautiful, Bejeweled

I was chatting with the great folks from Creative Nail Design backstage at the MILLY Runway show, telling them how much I loved the flashy, faux nails from the Baby Phat show last season. "Well, then, you've GOT to come to The Blonds runway show...the nails are going to be teriffic!" they said. Not one to resist an opportunity to see great nails (and what I knew would be an outrageously fun show), I gamely made my way over to the Altman Building several hours before the show. As you can see fron this close-up, models wore glittering, colorful, jeweled, or sequined nails, depending upon their outfits (sequins for swimsuits, jewels for the finale, etc/). The photo cannot do them justice--these are one-of-a-kind creations for The Blondes, but I am hoping Creative Nail Design re-creates them for the general youc an see, they are truly fabulous! Hair and makeup were already being done in a frenzy of activity, but the nails were applied closer to show time because even good press-on nails can fall off. Toenails were left unpolished to showcase all the glitz and colorful shoes, but with sequined, bejeweled and hand painted nails on every finger, you've got to be careful!

David Blond is looking at the nails, by Creative Nail Design, pre-show.

P Philippe Blond gets the bejeweled nails for a seriously bejeweled outfit for the finale.

Billy B and the MAC Pro Team created a "doll like" look with the specific style of The Blondes. It featured a very matte face with a bit of shimmer, a brown countour blush dusted over with peach. The only other addition was some concealer where needed. The lips were a departure from many shows, featuring not just one, but actually two lip looks: violet and peach, with lip liner exaggerated outside the natural lip line, and lots of shiny dusty coral lip gloss. The look is "tranny" but not trashy. The eyes looked eearliy like doll eyes, but lots of false eyelashes and some mascara, but no liner. Eyebrows were "subdued" with a beige-ish brow mascara that softened the brows almost into oblivion, but not quite. As you can see in both versions (and especially with the blonde wig), the models really do look like living dolls!

Each model got a blonde wig, designed by Jimmy Paul for Bumble and Bumble. "It's amazing, but every model looks good with these blonde wigs," said Jimmy. The addition of the larger-than-life, blonder-than-blonde hair, really made the look come alive.

Phillipe and David Blond already have a reputation as rebel designers. They launched their label just four years ago. The designs are, for the most part, full fantasy outfits that are not only one of a kind, but are attractive to unique individuals who aren't going to look like everyone else any day of the week. No wonder the front row of the show was filled with colorful fans like Lady Bunny and Annette Lepore. These are three of my favorites from the runway.

Accessories were key for these looks. There were supersized, absolutely amazing (I am in love with) jewels provided by Bastion by Ramona Boucher. I met her husband backstage and really want to check out the rest of her starry collection, including a couple dazzling rings so large, they needed not one, but two rings to hold them on a model's hands. And, a glitzed-out corset worn over a dress might not be everyone's idea of casual wear, but there were a number of these gorgeous garments on the runway.

The "Vegas Showgirl" feathers met with enthusiastic applause, too. With all the people milling around backstage, dying for a look, "Touch or Die" makes the sentiment, clear.

Donna Summer's music brought the disco-inspired collection to the runway with a thumping beat. I was standing in the back, and the light was right in my camera lens, but I did manage to get some photos. Here's the first look on the runway.

Most of the designs are club wear, but while there were lots of amazing, fantasy outfits, there were some quite beautiful, wearable gowns and even a glittering swimsuit covered with crystals that would look amazing with a skirt or pants for an evening occasion, and some very flashy but elegant gowns that reminded me of Nolan Miller's in the "Dynasty" days.
I wasn't able to get to the runway to photograph the guest for this show, but afterwards, lady bunny posed with a friend in an equally interesting costume. What a great evening!!!!
All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net

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Malandrino brings back the 40's-50's for Fashion Week Spring '09

Last night my husband and I were watching World War II movies, and I admired some of the hairstyles of the 40's. Designer Catherine Malandrino must have been watching WWII movies too, or perhaps she was just having a retro moment when she designed her collection. Malandrino's inspiration for her Spring 2009 collection is a Spring day in Paris reflecting the ’40s and ’50s , with soft silhouettes that were feminine, but modern.

There were so many updos on the runways for Spring 2009, but Malandrino's hair look is particularly striking...doesn't it really look like a modern take on a pinup girl? Styling was provided by Odile Gilbert for Sebastian Professional. Known for her elegant updos, Gilbert created volume on the top of the head in a chignon, and similar variations of this updo.

Odile has told me more than once that women should enjoy the services of a stylist in a salon when they're hoping for a high fashion look like this. and, you will need hair extensions for this look (Eva Scrivo and the Wella Professionals team died the extensions for the show). If you want to try the look, here's a do-it-yourself guide to get ahead of the fashion curve:

1) Make a tight ponytail high on the top of the head
2) Twist the ponytail tightly into a coil
3) Wrap coiled ponytail first towards the forehead and then to the back, securing with pins into a bun, sitting high on the head
4) Take a highlighted extension, coil, and secure on top of the twisted and already secured ponytail to add height and dimension to the bun

You need good products to keep a look like this, alive. Odile used products by Sebastian Professional :

TAMING ELIXIR: Weightless Smoothing Crème Serum
SHAPER FIERCE: Ultra-Firm Finishing Hairspray
SHAPER ZERO GRAVITY: Dry, Brushable, Lightweight Control Hairspray

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cognac Wellerlane Interviews Esther Nash and Alison Blackman -- See the Video

To kick off Fashion Week for Spring 2009, Esther Nash, the incredibly talented actress/model/fashion designer/socialite/artist/stylist had an art installation/exhibit at the Serrano Contemporary Sonnet Gallery (547 W. 27th street 5th Floor). Charming television hostess Cognac Wellerlane interviewed, Esther, and then she interviewed me. I'm not used to being on camera, but I did my best...what do you think? ALISON

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frugal is the New Black-Budget Fashionista 5th Anniversary Party

On September 9th, more than 500 budget-conscious fashionistas, including Carson Kressley and Roshumba Williams, turned to celebrate Kathryn Finney and the 5th anniversary of her popular blog, The Budget Fashionista. Founder Kathryn Finney shows readers how to look fabulous, for less on her blog, and she has published a book on that same topic. "Frugal is the new black, " exlaimed Finny.

"Kathryn Finney and The Budget Fashionista is truly amazing," statedKressely. "She provides real women with real solutions. I love her!"

Roshumba, Carson and Kathryn on the red carpet

Other special guests attending the celebration included FUSE TV hostDee Vasquez, HSN star and shoe expert Meghan Cleary, VH1 Glam God'sJess Zaino, and We TV's lifestyle guru Steve Kemble. Along withcelebrities, there was also major media in attendance, includingPeople, Glamour, Forbes, NBC, several members of the internationalpress (including Czech and German TV), Kathryn's blogger friends, and a few paparazzi.

"Frugal is thenew black, and the incredible turnout and support from my friends andcolleagues demonstrated that my advice for getting the most out ofyour fashion budget is needed now more than ever."

Guests were fitted for Fashion Bug and Lane Bryant jeans with RightFit technology, an innovative fitting system that offers women ofevery shape the right fit at the right price, guests sipped on theBudget Fashionista's signature drink provided by Chambord, whileDashing Divas provided mini-spa treatments, and IT Girl contest winner Nicoletta was on hand hosting the bloggers lounge sponsored by Guests went home with a Payless "I Love Shoes" goodiebags filled with Finney's Favorite Things including Dearfoam slippers,Spanx's budget shapewear line "Assets", and bottles of Febreze fabricfreshener. Anna Sui Spring 2009 runway show and exclusive video

I was absolutely in love with Anna Sui's Fall 2008 Collection , and the Spring 2009 collection was equally vibrant and exciting, full of fashions that anyone would love. What I like so much about Anna Sui's clothes are that they're not only fun to see on the runway, they are clothes that are wearable, to. Take just one, individual piece in the collection, and that one skirt, jacket or dress, would become a coveted part of your wardrobe that would work with so many things. In a time when budgets are shrinking, Anna Sui offers investment dressing that works the real way, as well as the runway.
This is the first time I have had video capability for Fashion Week. I could only select a few shows to cover with video, and of course, colorful, and innnovative Anna Sui
was first on my list!

Sui is a hot designer whose collections always delight. She can also command in-demand fashion models to strut their stuff on her runway. Sui's show for Spring 2008 included in-demand Agyness Deyn, Jessica Stam, and Lily Donaldson. Here, Agyness poses in a striking shorts set. The jacket would look amazing over a black, or white dress, the shorts, with a cute sweater or sparkly top for resort or evening wear.

Makeup artist Pat McGrath described the makeup look as " Very sunny, very fresh, as if they (the models) have been outside in the sun." Red lips aren't going away anytime soon, and they were prominent in this show, stained with a sheer red "Anna Sui #400" lipstick over a lipstain that's not on the market quite yet. As with so many shows, the rest of the face was frsh and not overdone. The hair, by Garren, was very gently textured waves, parted in the middle, that looked shiny and sexy on the runway.

Fall 2008's look was very "boho," but Spring 2009 looks more South-of-the-border-ethnic. I loved the embellishment-heavy collection features embroidery, beading, ribbons, and elaborate trims, plus the bright patterns and colors, inspired by Mexican folkloric design that was "colorful, optimistic, and happy," according to Sui. The clothes have an exotic sexiness to them, but although hemlines were high, dresses got their real sex appeal from the way they swirled around the model's legs, and defined their waists in a girly (but not silly) manner,
I'm not a huge fan of gladiator sandals, they were a Summer '08 "must-have" that clearly will be in fashion again when the weather warms up. The gladiator sandals and embellished, ankle strap thongs in fun colors, and the amazing, impressive costume jewelry accents by Erickson Beamon, will have all of us feeling better about things.


Fresh Faces from Fashion Week-Friday September 12, 2009

IMG's Fern Mallis backstage at Carmen Marc Valvo

Emma Rossum waving goodbye to Carmen, just as the security guards allowed members of the press backstage.

Aaron Lorenzo, in another great outfit, posing at the end of Fashion Week--we will see him on the runways, next season!

Cognac Wellerlane and Heather Packer, one of the hard-working security guards "I'll try to look mean," the actually really sweet guard, said!

One of the very hard working students who volunteer as Ushers. We will see her designs on the runway, someday.

Shelly Nash, who had just won a BlackBerry Curve from the TMobile/Blackberry Booth on the last day!

Me, Esther Nash, and Cognac Wellerlane pose in the Visit Seoul Korea booth after the Omnia Luo show.
....I will be posting full stories about Fashion Week as quickly as I can....but I want to make them great! Please be patient and check back daily (or subscribe to my blog feed) to see everything I did...and more! ALISON

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Custo Barcelona Runway Show Spring 2009

Here is a chart with some of the model's looks for the runway

As you can see from these photos--brights are definitely "in"

Hair that's soft, flowing and romantic takes a little work, but the effect is worth it


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Flex-Away--the Fountain of Youth for Your Face?

"Celery raw, develops the jaw, but celery stewed, is more quietly chewed" Ogden Nash

Gravity is not man's best friend when it comes to facial muscles. Over time, these muscles tend to sad, causing wrinkles and a sagging jaw. For those who would never consider surgery, the options are very limited. One is the Flex-Away System Kit $49.00 by Hanna Ibes, Inc. I like low-tech approaches, and this one is just a simple, u-shaped, flexible plastic device powered by thin or thicker rubber bands (we get 250 in the kit) and doesn't require surgery or potions or pills. Like machines at the gym, this one is powered by you, exercising your facial muscles. I guess that makes sense. But you won't need a gym membership for this, just a simple, flexible plastic strip that provides tension via a rubber band held in your mouth on two plastic "buttons." It really looks scary in your mouth, but then again, not all of us look so great at the gym, either. Actually, the device reminds me of an old fashioned bite plate for braces.

The kit includes a DVD-- it's easy to understand how to assemble and use the device. You also get a hard-sided case. All you have to do is insert the device and make an "O" with your mouth 40-60 times, twice a day). You are supposed to see results in a matter of weeks. When you drop out of sight at the gym for a few months, you'll really feel it in your muscle tone, but the manufacturers of Flex-Away claim that once your face is in shape, only a single minute of your day maintains the transformation indefinitely and you can even take a "vacation" of several months and not see a diminishing of the results.

The device, to be honest, looks a bit scary until you try it. I didn't use the Flex-Away long enough to say it really works (it's challenging enough for me to be motivated to work out with a trainer--and he comes to my house!).

However: I see possibilities here. Others online who have tried the Flex-away didn't seem to have anything negative to add to their reviews either. The exception was a young blogger who was freaked out about how the device looks -- and he also criticized the Flex-Away web site's layout (I found the site perfectly fine although not particularly detailed).

So is there a downside to using the Flex-Away? You can't exercise your jaw with this in public. And, while it's not unpleasant to use, you've got to find the time to use it faithfully to see any results. That could be challenging if you have a demanding schedule. The device could be irritating to sensitive types, although you get some foam beads to put around the place where the buttons meet your mouth. While flexing your muscles will strengthen them, facial muscles that are stretched out won't snap back--you're not going to take 20 years off your face.

The bottom line for me: If one of your New Year's resolutions is to get in better shape, it can't hurt to include your face in your full body workout. It is also a unique gift for the man or woman who has everything...well, almost!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Total Beauty Web tour for this week

Fashion Week is over, but beauty bloggers are still hard at work:

Vampy lips and sultry eyes are all the rave this Fall season! Roselyn from Makeup Makes Me Happy shows you how to achieve this sultry look in this spicy makeup tutorial, using items from MAC's latest limited edition collection, Cult of Cherry.

The Makeup Divas reviews Smashbox Breast Cancer Awareness Eye & Lip Palettes.

Boutique Flair's fab finds will give you gorgeously gray eyes!

Beauty Anonymous reviews FlowerbyKenzo Eau de Parfum Nomad Spray from Kenzo 2008 Ryoko Collection.

Alison of the Advice Sisters is , including sneak peek, up-close-and-personal reports of latest hair and makeup trends that you'll want to be wearing in Spring 2009, plus photos of a Total Beauty event--and backstge beauty

Frappelattes highlights some of her favorite
Fall 2008 makeup trends.

Beauty Tyrant has discovered Botox breastlift and it's 7 other uses!. You may be surprised at some of the finds here.

Fabulous Over Forty is comparing four different mascaras on her eyes. See which one comes out the winner!

Enter to win a $500 personal coaching session from a certified personal coach via phone from Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog.

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings gushes about her absolute favorite eye makeup remover. Find out what it is!

Beauty Junkie in SF fell in love with Kate Somerville's new Oil-Free Moisturizer and you will too!

Beauty's SPOT visits New York City's most beautiful spot, Estee Lauder's personal office.

Looking for a new Fall haircut? Check out Victoria Beckham's chic new pixie cut on A Mom in Red High Heels. Do you have the confidence to pull it off?

Henna at Canadian Beauty tells you how to get rid of acne with H20 Plus!

Jenn and Christine from Beauty in Real Life got backstage at the Ruffian show during Fashion Week. Check out the gorgeous runway look from MAC and Bumble and Bumble here.

Beauty Blogging Junkie reports from the circus that is Betsey Johnson's backstage! What wild and makeup graced the runway? Find out here.

Fifty-Cent Head gives a quite honest review of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab's Grindhouse scent, Gwyenth - the 10th part of a series.

See Glossypink's favorite backstage experience at Fashion Week!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Palin's Hair Pushing the Envelope in Washington?

Republic VP Sarah Palin's hair looks a "little bit country, little bit rock and roll" Perhaps her looser look when she accepted thenomination as Republican party VP will help shake up the no-nonsense, buttoned-up, helmet head hair of first ladies and female politicians, past. Here are some of the Washington hair styles Total Beauty thinks are best of the bunch. What do YOU think? Feel free to leave your comments on this post! ALISON content:

Washington's Best Hairstyles

See how women like Cindy McCain, Jenna Bush and Michelle Obama are making Capitol Hill more stylish

When most of us think of political hair, we picture hairsprayed-beyond-belief bobs and matronly updos. But newcomers on the political scene (like Sarah Palin) are shaking up that image with softer hair (that actually moves). Check out our picks of the best political hair from now and years past. These women prove that there is plenty of style in Washington, D.C.

See hairstyles

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Fashon Week Note September 11th

Normally, and in the past, I've been able to cover shows and blog about them immediately, but I have seen so many shows and backstages in the past few days I can't keep up with all of them in print! I could throw up a few comments and a photo or two as so many do...but I am always interested in telling the true story from beginning to end. Each post takes quite some time to craft. So I have decided to hold off on reporting about most of the shows until I can edit my photos, and write a decent piece that will hopefully make the experience come alive for you. Posts will start to appear as I can get them done in the next week...thank you for your patience, and please let me know if you enjoy what you see here--Alison Blackman

Fresh Faces from Fashion Week-Thursday September 11, 2009

As we remember the tragedy of September 11th, the excitement of Mercedes Bens Spring 2009 Fashion Week, continues:

Jay Manuel, is best known as the director of photo shoots on the reality TV show; American Next Top Model. He is in the front row at Reem Acra's show during the rehersal, with a young girl named "Britany" who apparently is being shown the Fashion Week "ropes" by Jay this week. I heard him giving the young girl tips about how to behave in the front row. Then he left her to go backstage and do an interview with designer Reem Acra. Yes, Jay is wearing a pleated...uhhh...skirt?

Amy Smilovic is the woman behind the Tibi designs. She paid a surprise visit to the American Express Skybox and graciously posed with me for a photo. The skybox is a special opportunity for American Express cardmembers. I will be blogging about my experience in the skybox, shortly!

A surprise guest, the radiant, Diane Von Furstenberg, electrified the American Express Skybox audience with her account of how she started in the fashion business, her feelings about being the genius behind the enduring "wrap dress," and her favorite charities. " I always wanted to empower women," said Diane. "Every woman is strong, even though sometimes you have to bring out that strength from deep within." She is certainly a role model for women, everywhere,

Dutch makeup artist David Stella with a stunning, Dutch model backstage at the G-Star runway show.

Sherrie and Britany, mother and daughter visiting the American Express Skybox at Bryant Park for Britany's 16th birthday. Britany wants to be a model --but both Mom and daughter are lovely, aren't they? Watch for the Advice Sisters Feature on the American Express Fashion Week Skybox experience..coming soon!

Model Aaron Lorenzo, in an eye-catching outfit at the Bryant Park TMobile/Blackberry Lounge

Designer Reem Acra's adorable pooch, "Lulu" --the best dressed doggie in the tents!

Aurora Nessly, one of the charming hostesses at the TMobile/Blackbery Lounge

Danity Kane and singer Ashanti backstage post-show with Designer Reem Acra (and "Lulu")
All content and photos (unless otherwise specifically marked) --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please feel free to link to this post. For other permissions, email the Advice Sisters advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net

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Fresh Faces from Fashion Week-Wednesday September 10, 2009

Jared is hard at work making flip-flops for weary feet, at the Haviannas booth. These are no ordinary thongs--they have a silhouette of the skyline and they're the most comfortable flip flops, ever!

Don't you love this smile (and the great hat)! Texas TV reporter braves the big apple to bring his reports to fans in Texas!

This model is literally painted with Ahava mud....proving that playing with mud is good, clean fun (and makes for a great, living advertisement, too)

Celebrity hair guru Kevin Mancuso took the time to pose with me at the Total Beauty suite, after telling us about last night's runway look for Vivienne Tam. He also told us about Nexus products and how they work.

Ahhh....after a long morning at the tents, a scalp massage helps ease tension, and foot pain!

Stylist Rosemary Ponzo on her cell phone in the front of the tents, behind the cool Mercedes Benz!

Designer/actress/socialite/reality start/ and all around nice person Esther Nash poses in front of the cool Mercedes Benz!

Lady Bunny and a friend (or perhaps, a superhero) at The Blondes

All content and photos --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please contact for permission to use content or photos.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Transform Your Makeup From Day to Night--Fast--from Total Beauty

This week I'm at Bryant Park all day and into the evening with no real chance to change my look from day to evening....but here are some tips from Total Beauty that we all can follow to transform ourselves-fast. ALISON content:

Transform Day Makeup to Night -- Fast

Pump up your blah workday look to create an evening-chic look

No need to do a full makeup reboot when you need to go from the office to a swanky dinner. We asked makeup pros how to go from a basic everyday face to a sophisticated night look by adding a few (three, to be exact) new products.

Change your look

Fresh Faces from Fashion Week-Tuesday September 9, 2009

The rain finally stopped, and the crowds came out to check out the "celebrities"

Cognac Wellerlane waiting for the Joanna Mastrioianni show--glittery in silver

Amber--a lovely and statuesque "Rioja" girl, in sparkling pink

Julia of All About the Pretty blog is deep in a discussion about hair care with celebrity hair stylist Ted Gibson at the Total Beauty suite. This charming man has a great line of hair treatment and styling products. No wonder celebrities love him. And the Total Beauty Bloggers love him and his team, who provided blow-outs and new styles even though the day was humid and rainy.

Kristen Booker of SheFinds took photos of my "during" and "after." I had just come in after being soaked from head to toe in a downpour. It's a good thing she didn't take a "before" but the sleek, shiny blowout that Ted Gibson stylist Hayleigh gave me lasted all day long.

Hanging out in the Office Max louge was this colorful man with his colorful T-shirt

Model Aaron Lorenzo posed for me at the Office Max lounge. He is gorgeous, and he's still in School. He will be famous, rich, AND smart (his mom will make sure he stays in school). He's genuinely nice, too!

Joanna Mastroianni's Dog, Designs --Bring Sighs!

I raced back from taking notes backstage at the Halston show, to find hair stylist Louise O'Connor from Salon OC61 in NYC (on the Upper East Side) just getting started pinning up the hair for the first model of Joanna Mastroianni's runway show. This is a photo of the finale.

Oloff beauty sponsored the hair looks for this show---a first for this company! Louise was already busy creating an elegant modified "chiffon" look for the show. I wanted to talk to her, but backstage passes were in short supply, and I knew I couldn't remain backstage for long.

My eloquent contact from Oloff Beauty filled me in on the look. She told me that since the clothes were "architectural" in design, the hair reflected this vision as well. The idea of the elegant and retro-modern hair was to showcase the chin, neck, shoulders, and the bone structure of the models.

The final result, a modified"chiffon" was a conical style almost like a small, low beehive situated halfway down the head. The look is sleek, but it takes artful layering of the hair (and in some cases, a "rat" or small mound) to put into the live in the "hive." The look was very sleek, very controlled, and elegant with Mastrioanni's beautiful gowns and cocktail dresses.
Some of the Barex products from Oloff Beauty that Louise used to make the look, lovely. The makeup, created by JP McCary of Temptu Pro, wasn't completed when I was backstage, so I didn't get a close up photo of it. But, as I could see it from the runway, it had a similar look to many other Springtime visions I've seen so far this week: a fresh, nude face, a pretty, pink or nude lip, and a focus on intense eyes, that smouldered, but weren't the deep, Goth look of last season.

Here are two photos of the clothes, backstage . There was so much bold, bright color...really breathtaking!

I have always loved it when designers bring their beloved pets to Fashion Week. Here, Joanna's prized pooch enjoys some down time backstage. The doggie was held like an underarm clutch in the finale of the show!

And, speaking of the show. It was really lovely. At one point, a model dressed as an elegant bride walked down the runway, and then turned halfway back and waited for another bride, They stood together, shyly held hands, and walked back down the runway together ...alluding to support for same sex marriage.

Joanna Mastroianni launched her collection in 1987. She is known for clean and sensuous lines and elegant gowns that win raves from celebrities like Jane Seymour Angela Bassett, Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith, Susan Lucci, Sela Ward, Tara Reid and Sean Young.
For spring-Summer 2009, the designer was inspired by the world to Tony Duquette, an an American costume designer who passed away iin 1999, after a long, celebrated career. As the program notes clearly describe, Mastroianni is a "sculptor of fabric" She works with "overlays of transparent lace, cotton paired with patent leather, and exotic tulles matched with sumptuous embroidery." Black and white is mixed with pops of tangerine, coral, chartreuse, and canary. The dresses were embellished in a manner worthy of the red carpet. Even the pants were beautifully tailored, with an elegant casualness I just loved.
"Beautifully constructed couture garments can be fun and flirty" says Mastroianni. I agree. These are carefully crafted clothes that real women would find fun and sastisfying to wear!


for more information about Joanna Mastrroianni, visit
All content and photos --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. Please contact for permission to use content or photos.


Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Halston Hatches a Happening at Moma for Spring 2009

When I think of Halston, I think of an Elsa-Peretti style glass vial holding the designer's signature, richly amber-colored, spicy fragrance...but Halston was a clothing designer, famous for dancing the night away with the first of the mega-celebs of the decade of Studio 54: Bianca Jagger and other socialites. The name "Halston" was synonymous with hipness and the first of the "it" girls.

Now the brand is making comeback after 30 years, some difficulties, and a variety of different designers. The "comeback show" if you will, wasn't staged at the Bryant Park Tents, but more appropriately for a brand that has both glamour and history, at the Museum of Modern Art.

I got to the museum super-early as I had to be at Joanne Mastroianni's backstage almost at the same time.

I spoke to Wanda and Tory (shown modeling the CND -Creative Nail Design- black and white T-shirt in the photo below). The nails for this show featured two colors: the sheer, glossy, nude sheer called "Serenity" that was also used for the Peter Som runway show (1 coat for pale skin, 2 coats for more yellow toned skin) and a mixture of Serenity and "Cocoa" a bronze metallic used on deeper skin tones and on toe nails. The mixture isn't available to the public, but it was shimmery, cool, and quite beautiful. The nails complimented the Halston Collection's "effortless glamorous , luxe tranquil getaway" look. When you are wearing a lot of color (and even the bags and shoes were bold) you need to balance the look with more subtle accents.

Model Ana shows the hair concept by Orlando Pita-- a sort of messy "braid" that looks soft and pretty. Braids are big news for Spring...but not "Heidi" type plaits....braids worn more as accessories than a style.

Here is a head chart for the models in the show. They are MUCH more beautiful than this! Tom Pecheux and the M.A.C. Pro Team createdthe makeup for this show. It featured luminous skin (M.A.C. studio sculpt) and accents of color, smokey eyes and a bit of black/iridescent glitter at the lid line for a glam touch. Mascara was lightly applied as was black eye liner. "Silver Dust" (it actually looked like light pink to me) was applied over the lids. The lips were simply colored with a berry stain.

Alas, I didn't get to see the show, but I was told that it featured lots of bright colors and flowy, feminine fabrics. Colors that would seem right in another decade as well as now: orange, yellow, blue, pink, grey, burgundy and violet. The burst of color seems appropriate not just for the Spring season to come, but for year's past, when Studio 54, and the celebration of disco, was in full swing.


Good Gracious! Gottex Gold Shines on the Runway

Ask anyone in the tents which show they've liked the best so far this fashion week and without hesitation you'll hear: "Gottex!" It was all glitz, like a Las Vegas showroom, with body conscious swimwear that had people literally, gasping with it's beauty. And the color of the moment wasn't just white or black, orange or turquoise, yellow or green--it was: GOLD. Gold was literally shoes, gold foiled-nails, gold accessories, gold suits, Gold in hair, gold on model even scattered gold fabric leaves on the runway.

Hanan Shauriki for Redken created an elegant beach look that looked witty and artful, but could make the transition to dinner and dancing. Messy buns have been a staple on the Spring runways in past seasons, Shauriki designed an off enter "bun" of curls that was artful, but not too perfect. Redken Spray Starch 15 was used on the models and then the hair was slicked back while the to-the-side tousle of artfully pinned curls looked jaunty and young. Redken Gold Shimmer was applied with a brush to give the top and sides of the hair a wet look that shimmered under the lights (photo). Redken Force 17 Gel was used, along with Redken Hair Spray #23 ensured the look would stay put. This fun, elegant, sleek look is perfect for Spring/Summer and the beach. Gottex swimwear is elegant enough to pinch-hit for eveningwear, and this hair look is perfect day or evening. You can do a version of this look with a curling iron and hair pins, a little patience, and Redken Products.

Huge, floppy hats in black and white, and glitzy "starfish" accessories the hair looks.

The glitzy show was as dazzling backstage as it was on the runway. Creative Nail Design actually applied gold foil to the model's fingers and toes....
...and the effect was seriously dazzling. Leave it to the pros such as those with Creative Nail design to gold foil nails, but you can do a variation of the look yourself, with a metallic gold nail polish (CND has several versions of gold).

Philippe Chansel and the M.A.C. Pro team created a makeup look that, as you can see, focuses on a fresh, beachy face and a gold-glitzed eye. The models were airbrushed from head to toe, so it was only necessary to add a little bronzer and highlighter on the face. All the girls were airbrushed head to toe so they had to start hours earlier than normal to get the total look. No foundation, just bronzer and highlighter (it's the beach, after all). MAC Pro Pigment from brow to lids gave a 14K glizted look to eyes. False eyelashes but no harsh lines at all. Full, shiny lips thanks to M.A.C. Plushglass in a pretty, melon-y almost-sheer color called "Fulfill."

There was plenty of black, white and gold on the runway...

...but as you can see in my backstage photos, there were bright, cheerful colors such as lime green, yellow, pink and orange. Crystals and gold accents, cut-outs and gold fasteners, gold bracelets and shoes made for a glittering display that would look great on the beach, even if it was an overcast day.
Some looks featured flowing caftans to cover up some of the basically bare, nearly there, suits.
Doesn't this make you long for Summer again...or at least a beach vacation?


Sergio Davila-Chic Comfort, Crochet, and Playfulness

Sergio Davila thrilled an enthusiastic crowd in Bryant Park. Taking his queue from 1930s immigrants, Davila's collection focused mainly on men's and mainly on menswear. The classic sportswear pieces included lots of knit cardigans and henleys, bermudas, and slouchy, casual pants, worn with slim sneaker-like footwear. The mens's designs were classic and elegantly casual, sure to be popular with hip young fashionistas. But the women's designs were very bare--peek-a-boo crochet and body conscious, not for the flabby or the shy.

Davila's inspiration for the collection came from his Italian Immigrant grandparents, who came came from Genoa with nothing but pure love and the ambition to succeed in South America. Davila dedicates the show to his parents, Azucena and Alfonso with "unconditional love: for almost 45 years!

The Davila Spring/Summer 2009 collection takes ideas specifically from European and Asian immigrants that mixed culturally with the indigenous people of South America (and the Spaniards who came before them). Soft, drape-y fabrics and knits including pima cotton and as I mentioned, lots of filmy crochet, makes for a romantic but still practical collection. This black, crochet-type evening gown with elegant train flowed down the runway as if it were made of feathers, or chiffon! These clothes, both those for men and those for women, look like they would be comforting, comfortable, and certainly, chic. Fashionable men and women will want at least one Davila piece in their warm weather wardrobe to enjoy now, and wear forever!

Hair was slightly textured, soft and loose, by Antonio Zausua for Arte Salon, a mostly nude-look Makeup was created by I couldn't see any of the shoes, but they were by, with vintage accessories by amacord.

Melani Von Alexandria: Against Guns Violence --For Fashion video

Philadelphia designer Melani Von Alexandria has worked for wedding designers and others, but it's her collaboration with the City of Philadelphia to reduce, hopefully end, gun violence on the streets, that makes her fashion, unique. Her latest collection for Spring 2008 is called "superwoman," emphasizing that the beauty of each woman is unique, and that women are powerful. The collection was both romantic and beautiful, with soft, luxe fabrics such as organza, silk jersey and pleated cotton --but the accessories reflect a harder, rougher truth: gun violence. The brooches, and cuffs adorning the models were created from melted down and recycled guns. The designer, tired of hearing about the soaring murder rate on Philadelphia's streets, decided to turn something ugly, into something beautiful, powerful, and positive. "I just wanted to make something positive and creative out of a serious problem," Von Alexandria explained. Von Alexandria approached Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green who agreed to her proposal. A portion of the proceeds of her sales goes to aid the Philadelphia School District. "It was amazing seeing something that was used for so much violence, hurt and destruction, to watch its power being taken away," Operation: MWVA – Melting Weapons of Violence into Accessories’ are Melanie Von Alexandria's initials, quite an honor! Melting and sculpting guns into beautiful objects is a statement in itself. "With each piece made, another gun is taken off the street," says Von Alexandria. Melanie Von Alexandria (in black) is shown with some of her models

Philadelphia designer Melani Von Alexandria has worked for wedding designers and others, but it's her collaboration with the City of Philadelphia to reduce, hopefully end, gun violence on the streets, that makes her fashion, unique. Her latest collection for Spring 2008 is called "superwoman," emphasizing that the beauty of each woman is unique, and that women are powerful. The collection was both romantic and beautiful, with soft, luxe fabrics such as organza, silk jersey and pleated cotton --but the accessories reflect a harder, rougher truth: gun violence. The brooches, and cuffs adorning the models were created from melted down and recycled guns. The designer, tired of hearing about the soaring murder rate on Philadelphia's streets, decided to turn something ugly, into something beautiful, powerful, and positive. "I just wanted to make something positive and creative out of a serious problem," Von Alexandria explained. Von Alexandria approached Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green who agreed to her proposal. A portion of the proceeds of her sales goes to aid the Philadelphia School District. "It was amazing seeing something that was used for so much violence, hurt and destruction, to watch its power being taken away," Operation: MWVA – Melting Weapons of Violence into Accessories’ are Melanie Von Alexandria's initials, quite an honor! Melting and sculpting guns into beautiful objects is a statement in itself. "With each piece made, another gun is taken off the street," says Von Alexandria.


Here are some views of the delicate but powerful Melanie Von Alexandria designs for Spring 2009--there's something for every woman here. The designer told me she selected women with diverse looks, to reinforce the notion that women are not only unique and powerful, but each is beautiful in her own way. Delicate ruffles beautiful draping details, and light-as-air fabrics, and light pink, ivory and eggshell are a balance to the toughness of black, sexy ankle boots and gun-metal accessories.


Conair Keeps the Curls, Pretty, and the Dash and Smooch Runway Show + Kim Kardaskin's Hair Styles from Total Beauty

The Dash and Smooch show was held this morning at the Metropolitan Pavillion as part of the Style 360 Fashion Week Event. Backstage, Khole Kardashin mentioned that she loves straightening her hair. With that said, Conair gifted Khole with the Infiniti by Conair Nano Silver Ionic Steam Straightener. Shortly after, her publicists asked for a Conair Steam Straightening iron as well for both Kim, and Kourtney Kardashin. The publicist said that you if you gift one of the sisters, you have to gift them. Talk about sibling rivalry. *the Advice Sisters have reviewed this truly remarkable hair tool on our latest issue of the "What Works" Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column. See it under "Hair Helpers" at:

Hair for the Dash and Smooch show was young and hip, loose and bouncy, and in waves. Thanks to Conair products, there wasn't a hint of frizz in sight--an awesome accomplishment considering that the atmosphere outside of the venue was more like a tropical rain forest--and then it rained and rained and rained! Singer Melanie Brown, Stephen Belafonte and singer Aubrey O'Day were in the front row. If you watch reality television, you can't help but be entertained by the pretty Kim Kardashian, socialite and co-owner of a two clothing boutqieus that she owns with her pretty sisters, Kourtney and Khloe. content:

Kim Kardashian Hairstyle Photos

The "Dancing With The Stars" contestant shows how to rock long hairstyles and sexy updos

Kim Kardashian Hairstyle Photos

We can't get enough of her on "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" and now we get to see even more of Kim Kardashian on the upcoming season of "Dancing With The Stars." Why do we like her so much? It could be her antics or her crazy family but really, it's the hair. Whether it's long -- or really long -- she always looks glamorous. Check out the many hairstyles of Kim Kardashian and maybe you'll want to inject a little Hollywood glitz into your look.

See Kim

Fresh Faces from Fashion Week-Monday September 8, 2009

Me, sitting at Estee Lauder's desk on the 40th floor at Estee Lauder! This had to be one of the most exciting moments of Fashion Week. I was there with Total Beauty as the Estee Lauder Companies hosted us at a reception. Look at the view of Central Park out of the windows--you forget how large and green this oasis in mid-City, really is.

Back at the tents, always friendly, always camera-ready Fashion Designer and Stylist Prince William III poses. His own collection was shown at Couture Fashion Week this season. I missed the show, but the cherries on his lapel are a hint that his collection might have had elements of the cheery fruit in it!

Cognac Wellerlane - the glamorous TV personality, actress, and model (and friend) and me waiting to get into the Sergio Davilla runway show.

Cognac Wellerlane interviewing Gottex designer Gideon Oberson after his stunning runway show last night. I think the designer was surprised when Cognac announced for her TV show audience that she loved his designs and planned to wear one on Lido Beach!


Peter Som Fashion Week Spring 09-Pretty, Beautiful and Gorgeous

Peter Som's collection last season (in a show exclusively for American Express cardmembers), could be summed up in one word" powerful." Architectural in feeling, beautifully cut and tailored. the "masculine" designs of this collection draped and formed around a woman's body like they were for that one woman, alone. But for Spring, 2009, the look is much looser, prettier and more feminine, with a range of options for day and evening. As you can see from this card showing some of the looks, there was also plenty of color including red, peach, turqoise and pink, plus several shades of Springtime green.

It's always exciting to don your backstage pass and walk through these doors. What will the models look like? What will the clothes be like? Come inside ....this will give you a quick idea!

Before I checked out the hair and makeup I took these photos of Mr. Som, who always seems amazingly calm and collected. What goes on in a designer's mind less than an hour before a show? I'm not sure, but he is asked: "what is the inspiration for your collection?" over and over and over again!

First on my agenda was to check out the nails, courtesy of Creative Nail Design. The models were wearing a sheer, warm, flesh called "Serenity" that looks dark in the blob on the right, but was actually a sheer gloss that's four season and really easy to wear. As Roxanne Valinoti, Education Ambasaddor for Creative Nail Design, explained, nails are increasingly an important part of a designer's runway look. And, it's always an important part of a woman's everyday look as well. Well groomed nails are a must-have. Remember when mom told you not to leave the house with scuffed shoes because it reflected poorly on your image and would leave a negative impression? Nails have the same effect. Roxanne told me of one powerful fashionista that confided when she shakes someone's hand she knows immediately whether or not she will work with that person. If the nails look unkempt, that could be the instant end to a business relationship! In a down economy, a coat of a trendy new nail color can instantly update a wardrobe that has little room in the budget for new fashions. Nails are the newest must-have fashion accessory!

I also checked out the clothes, of course. I particularly liked this bustier-top mini dress in a tweed jacquard copper shimmer, (held for me by Lana, one of Som's helpers)...'s how that dress looked on the model, on the runway!

Two other personal favorites are this cocktail dress with black applique in a rich, elegant fabric, and this peachy-pink, suede day to evening dress with wide leather belt and the must-have fashion accessory for Spring, killer shades.

Makeup was provided by makeup artist Pat McGrath using Max Factor Cosmetics. She always looks runway elegant herself! The key element in the look is "healthy" said McGrath. Smooth, sunny, gorgeous skin, accented with pink-ish nude, shiny lips and eyes ringed with color.

Hair was styled by Guido of Redken..a breezy, young, beachy, innocent look that was a bit "Bardot" but less kittenish and more a bit more rough and sexy. The slight "pouf" on the top of this pulled-up-at-the-sides style looked perfect with the uptown/downtown clothes on the runway! Peter Som's designs for this season are so rich-girl perfect that the hair had to be a bit more edgy and no so perfect to add a balance, Guido said. Redken Spray Starch 15 was the star product used in this show, and also in the Gottex show later in the day.

Here are some additional scenes from the actual Peter Som runway show:


Carolina Hererra Always Elegant

Carolina Hererra is always elegant. Her impeccably-tailored pants outfit with signature, crisp, white blouse, looked completely unruffled backstage, even though it was less than an hour from her Spring 2009 runway show.

I wasn't able to attend the actual runway show, but I did snap these photos of some of the elegant designs, backstage. There was plenty of color including a cheerful persimmon (reddish orange), blue, yellow, prints, and of course, classic black and white. "When the economy is not that good, we need to achieve, to do something even more special," Herrera told The Associated Press. "Women who buy your clothes have to be attracted with something so special that they need to have it."

Ms. Hererra's show was my first backstage of the Spring 2009 season. I arrived late (never good) and by the time I got into the backstage area it resembled a living, breathing, mosh pit. But the scene always feels familiar by now. Models sitting in folding chairs working with blackberries or listening to Ipods, while a team of hair, makeup and nail experts work their magic to create a holistic vision for the show.

Although you may not focus on the model's hands and feet, their fingernails and toenails are meticulously colored for each show. Creative Nail Design, the absolute nail company of the runways and Fashion Week, was there to apply a pearly, ivory polish called "Creme Brulee" on fingers and toes. The look, like Hererra own, is ladylike, rich, and understated. Whether you are wearing jeans, or a jet-set cocktail dress, or an evening or bridal gown, well groomed, beautifully polished nails make the look complete. To see the FALL 2009 nail colors from CND, visit the Advice Sisters What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column for Fall 2009:

Orlando for T3 created a 30's style, controlled roll for the hair that was surprisingly buttoned-up, but kept the focus on the clothes. This show was all about special occasions and powerful women who know their power. The hair complemented that perfectly. Will close-to-the-head buns and updos be a trend for Spring '09? Orlando told me that he isn't sure. "There are really no trends until Europe," he said.
The Makeup by Diane Kendal for M.A.C. was also controlled and elegant, but not harsh. As with most of the shows so far this season, a very strong eye and nude lips, against a background of a fresh face and nude lips was popular. The look for this show was inspired by "Boticelli plus black and white." Eyes were smouldering--created with a ring of eye kohl pencil blended and blended and blended and blended! Although eyes were ringed with color, and "Lucky Tom" eye shadow swept across the lid and under the eye, the look wasn't a typical smoky eye. There wasn't any true liner and absolutely no harsh edges were apparent. No mascara was used. The lips were colored with a nude M.A.C. pro ceam colour base simply patted onto the lips. An overlay of lip conditioner, and then a "frosty gloss was applied. Cheeks were warm and the apples were colored with a pretty pink powder clush called "Tippy" and highlighted with a Blonde M.A.C. Mineralize powder.

I wish I had been able to see the show, but from all reports the feminine, elegant, and rich looking designs in beautiful fabrics were a bit hit with those inside the tent. If Ms. Hererra was seeking something special to offer women--special and rare---she succeeded, perfectly! Visit for more information and (coming soon) photos of the runway and the collection!
All content and photos --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark.


Monday, September 08, 2008

Total Beauty Guest Review-Sally Hansen content:

Sally Hansen Diamond Lip Treatment

Guest review by editor Sarah Carrillo

The word "treatment" makes this sound like medicine, and it sort of is; the aloe and shea butter formula work really well to soften dry lips and keep them protected.

See review

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Today in The Tents

The always gracious JayMcCarroll posed for me. Thanks Jay!

These ladies were followed by the paparazzi after Jennifer Lopez excited a limo right before them.

Dermologica's Lisa Kovner explains a new product from Dermologica's Shave line to John Dunham at the Total Beauty Suite.

How could you not love the face on this absolutely adorable Pomeranian? He was the star of the Haviannas line at the tents this evening.

Project Runway's Tim Gunn poses with the ladies.

Hurricane Hair Frizzing You Out? Frizz-Ease Gives you Straight Answer!

This is definitely hurricane season. This guest post by Total Beauty featured a new product that might just de-frazzle you! ALISON content:

Frizz-Ease Straight Answer Straightening Spray

Guest review by editor Beth Mayall-Traglia

This product somewhat helps wavy hair stay straight, but doesn't leave it soft or shiny. On the contrary, it leaves a stiff residue like firm-hold hairspray.

See review

Friday at Couture Fashion Week Spring 2009

Most people assume that Fashion Week means shows in the Bryant Park tents, but some of the most colorful and innovative designs are being shown throughout the week in other locations. Couture Fashion Week always showcases these types of designers. The dress is elegant, the crowd, eager to see what's on the runway(s), and there is always a display of luxury goods in the venue, such as this amazing, hand-beaded handbag by D. Rothbury (designer, Dee Rothbury).

On Friday, September 5th, at the Westin Times Square's Majestic Ballroom, The Advice Sisters were fortunate to see three different shows by International designers that have unique visions.

There was live music before each show. Pianist Donna Weng has performed as soloist with the Atlanta Symphony, Shanghai Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, and the New Jersey Symphony to mention a few. She is also on the faculty of the Mannes College of Music Preparatory Division.

Violinist Jane Hunt, also known as the "Violin Venus"made her debut at Carnegie Hall in 2007, and has appeared in such venues as Radio City Music Hall, The Kennedy Center, The Cannes Film Festival and Sir Elton John's Lifeball Concert. She is also appearing this summer at the 2008 U.S. Open Tennis tournament.

The clothes are the real stars at Couture Fashion Week. Designer Celia Perez produced elegant eveningwear from glitzy, form-fitting golden gowns, to classic strapless, to a white wedding gown that featured a removable train so the bride can have a regal train walking down the aisle, but end up with a sexy mini-dress for dancing the rest of the night away with her new (and lucky) groom. Perez has a unique style. She's been at her craft for nearly 2 1/2 decades. Her designs benefit from her training in watercolor and oil painting as well as sculpture. The designs are known for attention to detail and elegant, luxe fabrics. Her new, pret-a-porter line, a new initiative under the Cecilia Perez brand, launched in NYC this September. Perez was recently recognized as a fashion industry leader by the Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce. As a favorite designer of many Latin America celebrities, one of her gowns was presented to actress Eva Longoria at the 2007 Alma Awards. What's nice these elegant gown is that they are actually modern classic, in other words, wearable, not so avant garde that you couldn't wear it to your sister's wedding. Violinist Jane Hunt played beautiful, soothing violin music throughout-- a nice departure from the often loud, raucous runway tunes.

Sararose Krenger loves vintage fashion. Her inspiration this season's "Sararose" evening collection came from the silhouettes and extravagance of 1930's. Texture is a key element in this collection and the extravagant use of luxe fabric mixes such as satin, silk dupioni, and tulle. Colors ranged from classic black, to soft gold and silver, to deep burgundy and emerald green. These were interesting designs that looked nice on the models. There were surprising elements, such as feathers on long sticks that were reminiscent of mardi gras masks, or the types of feather ornaments that used to festoon men's hats. Extravagant fantasy details, such as the very large "snow white" type collar on the burgundy gown in the photo, looked eye-catching on the runway, but probably would be less wearable for anything other than a red-carpet event.

Edwing D'Angelo did an eye-catching collection featuring two favorite colors only: white and black. His show featured a variety designs, many adorned with crystal details and also a number of style sfor men. The all-white men's suit in this photo would make a great wedding or prom outfit. D'Angelo's designs would work well on young, hip men and women, but the classic, short dress on the left would work for women of all ages. Entitled "Aquactica", this designer's inspiration for the collection was the continent of Antarctica with it's black and white landscapes, especially the shifting shapes and textures that Spring brings to that harsh environment. The Designer's innovative fashion are faves of celebrities such as: Vivica A. Fox, Patti LaBelle, Lil' Kim, Paula Garces, Nelly, Sean Paul, Mo'Nique, Rosa Blasi, Tia Texada and Tony Award nominee Laurie Metcalf--just to name a few. D'Angelo thanks God and credits his family, especially his mother, Sara, for helping him bring this season's vision to life.

Fashion shows by other designers will run throughout the week. Couture Fashion Week is a series of couture and luxury fashion shows held multiple times each year in New York City, Palm Beach, and other selected cities, featuring international designers, entertainers, art and luxury product and service exhibits. The event attracts press coverage and upscale fashion buyers as well as socialites and other affluent fashion consumers. The shows are produced by USA International Fashion Shows®,. If you're a fashionista and you'd love to attend one of these exciting fashion events, or you'd like to see events and photos of show's past, visit

*All content and photos --Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark.


Fall 1008 Beauty Trends from Total Beauty

I'm at the tents this week looking at Spring 2009 trends. Here are some Fall trends presented by Total Beauty you can use right now for FALL 2008! content:

Fall 2008 Makeup, Nail and Hairstyle Trends

How to use products from brands like MAC and Bumble and bumble to replicate the hottest runway looks, from dark lips to sleek updos

This fall, the biggest trend in clothing is texture, from the smoothness of varnish to the multidimensional surface of tweed. Look for the same trends to appear in makeup and hair on celebrities and in magazine ads, giving you plenty of fun new options to try. Pick your favorites here and start experimenting.

Best trends

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Pink was the color of the season for Spring and Summer, but even though the Fall is fast approaching, pink is a color everyone wants on their lips to beef up a fading tan, brighten a pale face, and generally add a feminine, flattery to lips. Pink will never be out of season, or out of style. Two pink lip products that are new, and special, are below:

Kat Von D is a tattoo artist, reality-TV star, and owner of High Voltage Tattoo. Since self-expression, and color are the inspiration for many tattoo artists, it's not that surprising that Kat created her own makeup line. The Kat Von D for Sephora Lightning Lip Gloss $18.00 in this photo comes in a wanded tube stenciled with silver roses. Tattoos might still be associated with studs, chains, and leather, but this Lightning Lip Gloss is all girl. it smells like berries, and reflects the light with just a bit of sparkle and a splash of bright, sheer pink tint. There are 10 others pretty shades to choose from, too. I like it as a "better than bare" gloss, but you can wear it on top of your favorite, deeper pink or berry to add more dimension and shine.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is Sephora Lip Attitude $12.00. This exciting lipstick is a classic, creamy, semi-sheer, non-shimmery delight. The shiny, pewter-y cap is so elegant, with a slightly fluted base on the tube and an angled lipstick shape that's a nod to retro--but with a modern vibe. The color slides on so smoothly it's a pleasure to apply it. The formula is soft, silky, and hydrating. The color is moist, but not gooey or stick, and includes a complex of omega-3 and vitamin E protect lips. Now that's a healthy treat--and it comes in 20 gorgeous colors, including two glorious pinks: Smart Pinky 01 (cool frosted pink) and Trendy Pink 02 (candy pink), and five glamorous roses: Rose Select 03 (peachy pink); Nice Rose 04 (dark rose); Elegant Pink 05 (natural wearable pink), Glory Rose 06 (rich raspberry) and Sensual Rose 07 (berry rose) and Rose Prodigy 08 (bright magenta rose)

Visit or Sephora stores for these Fall "must-haves>'

Total Beauty Web tour for this week

It's Fashion Week, but beauty bloggers are still hard at work bringing you the latest and greatest. Here are what some of my Total Beauty blogging colleagues are up to:

The Makeup Divas reviews Clinique's Quick Eyes Cream Shadows and Blushcream Stick.

Enter to win a Twisted Silver necklace worth $80 from Girl-Woman-Beauty-Brains-Blog.

Viva Woman shows you how colored stockings can add style and fashion to your wardrobe.

Beauty Tyrant has found a very effective 3 steps waist slimming exercise!

Beauty Anonymous plays with the fall nail colors of OPI's France Collection.

Alison of the Advice Sisters is blogging daily about Fashion Week, including sneak peek, up-close-and-personal reports of latest hair and makeup trends that you'll want to be wearing in Spring 2009

Frappelattes finds another skin brightening serum to rave about, perfect for correcting those summer sun spots!

Monique at Beauty Girl Musings finds a better alternative to Proactive Solution. Find out what it is!

Boutique Flair reviews The Bliss Triple Oxygen Instant Energizing Mask.

Beauty411 discovers a foundation that thinks it's a skin treatment product, too!

Beauty Blogging Junkie's Napoleon Perdis Lip Service is her version of Napoleon Dynamite's precious ChapStick. If she were to leave it at home, she'd borrow "your guys's" phone to get someone to drop it off, stat.

Product Girl turns 3 years old in September! To celebrate they're doing a series of giveaways all month long. Enter their first giveaway, goodies from the MAC Cult of Cherry collection. Good luck!

Toya from The Life of A Ladybug has started a new feature: Ask me how to! Each week, she will answer a reader question. In the first installment, she shares how you can use your bronzer all year long!

A Mom in Red High Heels shares one of Fall Makeup's Hottest Trends. Find out what it is!

Christine over at Beauty in Real Life is loving everything L'Oreal lately. Check out her faves here.

Christina Aguilera Inspire New perfume-Talking Makeup!

This week, Spoiled Pretty is hooking you up, Gossip Girl style. Get in touch with your inner Serena and Blair, with two haute headbands, courtesy of Colette Malouf. Winners will also receive Gossip Girl: The Complete First Season on DVD. Enter today!

Smoky eyes are all the rage this Fall. NARS has a brand new sexy kit to help you get them, and you can win it only at Fifty-Cent Head. Post a comment and let the smoke begin!

Meredith at Daily Dose of Coffee isn't a fan of the mineral makeup craze but experiments with L'Oreal's Bare Naturale Mineral Eye Liner and actually likes it!

Glossypink is committed for life to this hair product.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Could Your Makeup Cause Acne? content:

Your Makeup Products Could Be Causing Acne

Maybe trying all those free makeup samples at once wasn't a great idea. Take this quiz to see if your beauty supply needs a makeover

Stress, the environment and hormones all contribute to unsightly blemishes ... but could part of the problem be your makeup? Even seemingly acne-friendly products can clog your pores if they're not right for your skin -- or if you're combining them with not-so-skin-friendly habits. Take this quiz to see if your makeup products and practices put you at a higher risk for acne.

Test your routine

Fresh Faces from Fashion Week

Not all the fashions are on the runway. From time to time I'll share some of the fresh (and fashionable) faces of people who are part of the scene.

Andrew Cristi is the gracious and smartly dressed young man who is in this photo. I'll be looking for him again in the tents, and also in the pages of UnVogue!

...and these hard working girls are the ones who give out the Women's Wear Daily Magazines to all the show-goers. From left to right: Liz, Maria and Shannon--watch for them on the steps or in the tents! They were patiently waiting in line behind me for Haviannas. Amber Muir of Fox News and I were in front of the WWD girls...the new design with a silhouette of the NY skyline was worth the long wait. Haviannas are the most comfortable flip flops in the world!

Perry Ellis-Perfect Sun, Sand, Beach, City

BOYS! BOYS! BOYS..on the beach and in the City!

Perry Ellis's show brochure didn't provide a specific concept for the Spring 2009 collection, but from where I sat, Creative Director John Crocco's entire collection of preppy-made-modern classics had the easy, sun-washed feel of the shore...a sand dune festooned with soft, subtle colors with a soft, light blue sky overhead. It was a collection where most of the clothes would work in the City, or in the Hamptons. Worn with cool, white aviator shades, the look portrayed casual chic at it's best.

To be sure, there was lots of light blue (or sky blue)...but it was super-subtle, soft, ethereal -- was almost washed of it's color. The blue was seen in everything from sweaters to stripes on shirts. Khaki, bright white, natural and some very, very light pink were also main color choices. One note-able exception was this bright, silk-cotton fine gauge T-neck in burnt orange, worn with sandwashed, flared jeans.

The collection was youthful and classic. Preppy, striped sweaters or piped with color such as the one in this photo, make for fun weekend wear. There were a lot of long, casual hoodies, some of them with "Errol Flynn" (or Peter Pan, if you will) type lacing in the front. in the front.

But the casual/dress-down Friday loose, textured jackets, (most worn with vests and subtly-tinted or printed shirts) seemed to be a nod to the always cool, Miami Vice look of the 80's. These outfits worn with or without a vest, shirt tucked in or left loose, will take a fashionable man from the workweek to the Hamptons without a second thought.

Another take on casual dressing I loved was this roll-up tab sleeve print shirt, topped with a vest...a great "date night" option! Other shirts featured subtle stripes and checks, and some vests were!

The clothes will look best on fit, young men, but individual pieces would appeal to just about any man of any size or age. Hair was by Frank Rizzieri of, shoes by the Generic Man, and makeup was done by Wendy Karcher for Make Up For Ever


BCBG Max Azria- Belts, Backs, Shoulder, and Legs

Last season I began my post for BCBG Max Azria as: "BCBG Max Azria- Belts, Backs, Shoulder, and Legs."

This year, I think the same details describe the look best--but unlike the tailored and waist-belted clothing for Fall 2008, the Spring 2009 collection is loose and draped, and flowing, and feminine.

Founded in 1989, BCBGMaxAzria is the vision of one person--the chief "cook & bottle washer" Designer, Chairman, and Chief Executive Office, Max Azria. Celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Sharon Stone, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Lucy Liu all love BCBGMaxAzria clothes. The thing that makes this designer beloved by both celebrities and ordinary women with a taste for style is that the clothing looks sophisticated, but the designs are actually easy for a woman with a reasonably average figure, to wear. The designer is shown here taking his bow for an enthusiastic crowd.

Spring 2009 brought us 37 looks, mostly for daytime, with a dusty purple washed silk gown encircled with a large black and grey belt that reminded me a bit of over sized military issue--worn with grey satin pumps. The final look in the collection was a graceful, black micro-sheen sateen gown worn with black leather pumps. But there is something for literally, everyone, in this collection.

There was no absence of color in this Spring collection. Here, model Yulia is wearing a stunning, flirty, dark teal micro-sheen sateen dress with chunky grey leather platform sandals..... and while the designer showed subdued colors, he also added pops of color like fuchsia and orange........and a range of designs in an elegant dark purple..... but mauve, dove grey, and beige (the designer calls it "canvas") make the clothes easy to wear in an urban setting where "bright" never seems quite right.

One trend I am already seeing is the return of rompers and jumpsuits. This jumpsuit on model Abbey Lee is dove grey sateen, ringed with one of the black/grey "military style" belts. These were featured on a number of the clothes...along with a grey, platform sandal, also with a solid, somewhat militaristic feel as well -- perhaps in reference to our nation's political situation overseas? Jumpers are quick dressing for busy women, and they tend to flatter most body types. Rompers work well for the well toned and young (or very young at heart) and look flirty and cute for casual days.

Jumpsuits and rompers aside, the feel of this collection was light, flowing, feminine and very, very pretty.And there were plenty of drapey, short dresses to delight. If you like to show your legs, BCBG will not cover you from head to toe, unless unless you want to be. Although there weren't many of them, the gowns stood out as exceptional. Details included low backlines with gentle bunching, almost as if the lower part of the dress was gathered in a pouch. Several of the gowns also had an assemetrical one-sided "back sash" that extended from one shoulder to the low back of the dress on the opposite side--a sort of "Miss America" sash but worn backwards.

The hair and makeup were minmal and very natural--this may also be a trend we will be seeing in Spring 2009.
The makeup, created by Lisa Butler for NARS cosmetics, featured a dewy complexion with seemingly no blush and a light nude lip, plus deep but not overly intense, eyes.
The hair was stick straight with no adornment, created by Laurent Philippon for Bumble & Bumble. I kept thinking that the models all were channellingGwyneth Paltrow's signature, "I don't overdo my hair and makeup", look.
Manicures were by my favorite Fashion Week Company: Creative Nail Design. Alas, I wasn't backstage so I can't provide any details on colors or products used...but I will try and get that information in the weeks to come.

*report filed by Alison Blackman Dunham, All photos by Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters copyright © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark.

Every now and then The Advice Sisters think "guest" opinions are a good thing on thsi blog. So here are the 18 Life-Changing beauty product members say you can't live without:

(Please post your favorite picks and pans in the comments section here) content:

18 Life-Changing Beauty Products members say you can't live without these makeup and hairstyle wonders from MAC, Clinique, Paul Mitchell and more

Instead of showcasing the latest innovations or celebrity favorites, we're paying homage to the products members consider staples in their makeup bags and bathroom cabinets. See which goods earned enough glowing beauty product reviews to rise to "can't-live-without-it" status. They may just be the answers to your beauty prayers.

Best products

Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Brief look at Geren Ford's Spring 2009 Collection

LA designer Geren Lockhart presented her Spring 2009 Geren Ford collection at the Bowery Hotel on Wednesday night. The colorful collection was full of youthful, casual, wearable clothes.

Long, very colorful printed scarves were shown with many of the outfits. I hope long scarves are back this Spring --they're a trend that is easy for everyone to wear, and instantly update your look.

I particularly like this bright blue shift dress. And this short set in jade green with yellow is the epitome of a great, Spring outfit!

All in all, the word for the collection was "wearable" The baggy socks with sandals on the model's feet was innovative, but perhaps hard for most women to embrace and wear. On the other hand, the puffy hair and dramatic eye looks was a nod to the '80's that was fun and fresh again.

For more information visit


Esther Nash Hosts An Art/Fashion Event at the Serrano Contemporary Sonnet Gallery

Esther Nash is a beautiful person, inside and out. Some women really do have it all -- talent, personality, beauty, and the ability to light up a room. Esther is that type of woman -- the genuine article--rare in our world full of "faux."

Tonight, the incredibly talented actress/model/fashion designer/socialite/artist/stylist had an art installation/exhibit at the Serrano Contemporary Sonnet Gallery (547 W. 27th street 5th Floor).

Invited guests, and the media mingled at the gallery, while enjoying a well curated exhibit of Ms. Nash's fashion illustrations featuring her 2009 line of Rock Star Glam Wear. Ms. Nash stand in front of a collage of denim designs decorating one large wall, and there was also this statement piece: "prisoner of Fashion" featuring Ms. Nash's own designs. Esther told me that she is busy working in television as well as modeling, designing jewelry (the green necklace I am wearing in the photos below, are Esther Nash originals) and of course, working on her fashion designs. She also finds time to attend Fashion Week.

And she's a cover girl now, too! Esther proudly stands with her first magazine cover for EXO Limited, with Lisa Garcia, President of the magazine. EXO is a new, exciting magazine for Latinas with information about a wide variety of subject of interest to women everywhere. My flash bounced off the cover photo, but Esther looks amazing in it!


Here are some of the other people honoring Esther at this interesting and inspiring event:

Esther Nash, Shelly Nash and Gallery owner Ramses Serrano. The next show at the gallery will be September 11-October 14, 2009. The show, called "Morphogenesis features work by Meikle Gardner and Tim Jaeger. More information:

Dorothy Nash, Alison Blackman, Cognac Wellerlane

Dorothy Nash and her other beautiful and talented daughter, Judge Shelly Nash

Actress Nell Mooney (now on "As The World Turns") being interviewed by Coganc Wellerlane

Cognac Wellerlane interviewing me about Fashion Week, makeup trends, and more! View the interview with Esther Nash and Alison Blackman. Visit for more interviews with celebrities and interesting people you will want to know more about!

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Elemis and Molton Brown Alternatives To Counting Sheep for a Good Nights' Sleep!

Now that the days are getting shorter, it's possible that your sleep patterns can be affected. In fact, approximately 70 million people in the United States are affected by a sleep problem, about 40 million Americans suffer from a chronic sleep disorders, and an additional 20-30 million are affected by intermittent sleep-related problems.

It's not just a question of whether or not you count sheep to sleep -- sleep deprivation and sleep disorders are estimated to cost Americans over $100 billion annually in lost productivity, medical expenses, sick leave, and property and environmental damage (*National Sleep Foundation).

The Advice Sisters have recently tried two multi-taking beauty products that help you make the most of "shut-eye time":

One of my favorite spa brands is Elemis. Their new, Elemis Maximum Replenish Night Cream $65.00 s1.7 is more than just an ordinary moisturizer. It actually helps to stimulate the natural regeneration process while you sleep, helping to repair your skin while it's most receptive. The cream is light and absorbs quickly, and the smell is lightly floral, and genuinely relaxing. Smooth it on your skin to help prepare it for whatever the next day brings. Prickly pear, lotus flower, liposomes and exotic oils such as marula, hemp and argan, make the product luxe and exotic. I like the slim, red tube with silvery top that's not too bulky to take with you for travel.
Find Elemis Maximum Replenish Night Cream at select Nordstrom doors,, and

Another Luxe line with great spa-type products is Molton Brown. Their Relaxing Yuan Zhi Sleep Mist $37.00 3.3 fl. oz comes in a nice looking, frosted glass pump bottle with silver top. It holds a lavender-tinted aromatherapy liquid that instantly makes you feel soothed and relaxed. A luxe blend of essential oils, including: lavender, bergamot, ylang ylang and yuan zhi. The latter is a wild South China plant traditionally used to balance energy and soothe the spirit. The blend of essential oils will help you feel peaceful and give you a better chance at a restful night. This is great sprayed as a body spray, but spritz is on your linens, and your entire room for a better nights' sleep. Although the product comes in glass and is liquid, I'd be willing to risk putting this in my luggage (checked bag, of course) because it is a "must-have" to make hotel rooms more restful. Imagine what it can do for your romantic weekend, too. *available at Neiman Marcus and

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*think people don't see what you've got on your nails? Think Again!

*think people don't see what you've got on your nails? Think Again! content:

Trendy, Tacky and Wacky Celebrity Nails

Think You Know Who's Who? Play this beauty game by matching celebrities to their hands, from chipped polish to crazy acrylic nail designs

Trendy, Tacky and Wacky Celebrity Nails

We often check out celebrities' hair and makeup but we don't always think to look at their nails. Turns out we should be paying more attention. Here we bust stars wearing everything from extra long and red faux nails (yikes!) to short and dark chipped polish. We even discovered a nail biter in the group. Test your knowledge and see how well you can pair the celebrity to her nails.

Guess the nails

Fashion Week Begins....

For most people, Fashion Week begins with the show at Bryant Park, but for the press, Fashion Week is more like Fashion 9 days. With that in mind, I got to Bryant Park more than half an hour before the press badges would be given out to pre-registrants. Each year it is moved to another part of Bryant Park. This year, it was on the South East side. The check-in is shown here...but it never really goes smoothly. About an hour later, I finally received my press badge...entry into the tents only. To see the shows or go backstage I've had to request entree from the designers and their public relations team.

I noticed Cognac Wellerlane, hostess of Cognacs Corner on the line...easily the most glamorous person there. The photographers generally wear jeans and T-shirts and the writers generally wear comfortable clothing. I dressed as nicely as possible, but with an eye to the fact that I'd be standing in the hot sun for at least an hour, maybe more).
Not all the fashion shows are in Bryant Park. In fact, not all the best shows are there. Events are being held throughout town, featuring seasoned and younger designers. So I went cross town to see Nuj Novakhett's fashion preview for Spring/Summer 2009.

This designer is up-and-coming, but has a talent for tailoring and has created hip, young, fresh fashions with a true attention to details. There was no runway for this show. Instead, the models filed in in four rows, and switched places every couple of minutes.

Set #1 featured model Tsubasa in a burning red quilted pocket silk dress that would be dressy enough for after-work parties, but professional enough (with a jacket) to wear to the office. Model Anya is shown in a truly lovely cocktail outfit--a red silk tank top with tire fitted silk satin skirt. The "apron" effect is adds dimension to the waist and hips, but it's still slimming. Model Jotasha is wearing an antique white waterfall crepe draped dress, classic, but with modern draping.
Somehow I missed photographing set #2--four designs that were really daytime and casual wear. This set featured a simple, sleeveless, classic black crepe dress, a cuff linked button-down "muscle" shirt with stingray linen skirt, a checked cotton bustier with checkered puff pie skirt, and a cuff linked button-down "muscle" shirt with a linen rayon playsuit.
My favorite dress was in Set #3 (although I'm showing it last, here). Model Agnesa's classic, black crepe cocktail dress was fitted at the waist with a strapless bodice that was intricately tucked as if it was a precious piece of gift wrap. The fabric shimmered and the effect, worn with pale, nearly-bare makeup, was gorgeous! Next to Agnesa is Kacie, in an electric blue wrap dress with a plunging neckline and a skirt with a tulip-shaped hem that reminded me of a sarong. Julie wears a poppin satine tafetta black shirt dress, and Masha is in an electric blue off the shoulder, silk and cotton mini dress that reminded me a bit of an old-fashioned swim costume!

In Set #4 Nakesha models an adorable, linked sweetheart Tochet black jumpsuit with romantic white border. I hope jumpsuits are seen on more runways this season--they're the easiest way to get dressed and one of the most comfortable styles to wear. Model Monika wears a sand date dress (by "date" I believe the designer meant to go out, not the fruit). Galy is in a sand chiffon ruffle secretary blouse with khaki skirt shorts --very 40's pinup, and very, very cute (if you've got the legs for it). You can't see Ataui, but she is wearing a noir tulip gown which was intricately draped, and very glamorous.
Details are important. The shoes, by Marcello Toshi were really fabulous, many with a 40's or 50's retro look featuring "tap shoes" and two-toned coloring that was reminiscent of 50's cars--fun!

Makeup was completely minimal...almost as if all color had been removed from the model's faces. On pretty young faces this looked dazzling. I'm not sure it is a look that the average woman will want to emulate completely. Make-up was by Luc Bouchard and the M.A.C. Pro Team, Hair by Katejo Kardel and the Sexy Hair team.
For more information on the designer and her collection, visit:

Going "Green" -Brands Like the Body Shop Know Which Way to Go!

I'm about to go to Bryant Park to pick up my press credentials for Fashion Week, but I couldn't resist another peek at my emails...switchtasking is probably my biggest challenge!

Of course something caught my eye--a press release from the Body Shop. In it, they talk about Consumers choosing to go "green" with their choices. The Body Shop's been a leader is this. It was founded in 1976 by a social and environmental activist, Dame Anita Roddick, on the basis of being a business model of positive social change. The company has campaigned on causes ranging from the protection of whales and rainforests to human trafficking, promoting self-esteem, domestic violence and HIV and AIDS. The Body Shop is celebrating 21 years of its Community Trade program, an initiative dedicated to providing a fair deal to suppliers in some of the poorest areas of the world.

And here's another interesting statistic. Outlaw Consulting, the source of market intelligence on the social and style trends that impact mainstream consumers, released its 2008 Favorite Green Brands Index, revealing the brands that are most favored for being environmentally conscious among young trendsetters across the U.S.

Top 15 Favorite Green Brands

1. Whole Foods

2. Trader Joe's

3. Toyota

4. Honda

5. Google

6. Aveda

7. Zipcar

8. American Apparel

9. Ikea

10. Seventh Generation

11. Apple

12. The Body Shop

13. Starbucks

14. Netflix

15. Method

So next time you're choosing to "go green" you'll know where to go!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Urban Decay Deluxe EyeShadows-Total Beauty Guest Review content:

Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadows

Guest review by editor Sarah Carrillo

Made for the daring, most of the 12 Urban Decay Deluxe Eye Shadow powders are intense and fluorescent -- anything but subtle.

See review

Chanel Cleansers/Toners Protect Against Pollution

Pollution is a dirty fact of life. The dirt on your window-sill, the smog in the air and the hole in the ozone layer are daily reminders of the unfortunate effects of pollution. It wreaks havoc on the eco-system and even our skin. Unless you're living at the South Pole (right now it has the cleanest air on Earth), you'll be bombarded by pollution. If pollution has the power to damage the ozone layer over 6 miles above the Earth's surface, imagine what if can do to your skin!

Luckily, Chanel has created some new Cleansers & Toners specifically developed to counteract the damage of pollutants on our skin. To do this Chanel taps the benefits of the Tulip Tree. It's shiny green leaves are covered by a protective wax that traps pollutants. As the toxic particles accumulate, the wax barrier prevents the pollutants from penetrating the surface, allowing them to be naturally eliminated when it rains.

For those who just need to know, the use of plants to de-pollute the environment( a process called phytoremediation), utilizes plants to naturally absorb the environmental contaminants. Chanel is pioneering the use of this natural technique in skin care by combining the natural strength of the Tulip Tree Extract & Concentrate, with a bio-technological ingredient (Bioglucane,) to help do three things: 1. Trap pollutants to prevent skin damage from daily exposure to harmful environmental elements; 2. Remove up to100% of impurities caused by harmful indoor and outdoor pollution and: 3. Protect the integrity of skin's natural defense barriers, while respecting the skin's natural balance.

This is a lot of techno-speak, but the bottom line is that these products do more than just cleanse and moisturize. Three product sets were created to address the needs of differing skin types. "Confort" (for dry, dehydrated and sensitive skin) features a foaming mousse cleanser, a cleansing milk and a toner. "Balance" (normal/combo skin) has a foaming cleanser and gentle toner with mallow extract, a smoothing and softening ingredient for normal to combination skin. "Purity" (for oily skin) has a gel cleanser and mattifying toner made with meadow-sweet extract, a flower with astringent properties.

I tried all three cleansers.

The Chanel Mousse Confort Rinse-Off Foaming Mousse Cleanser $45.00 5 fl. oz.. I love the pump bottle in chic black and white (for "snob appeal" on your sink). The scent is light and slightly floral, the cleanser, gentle. It cleanses perfectly, leaving skin feeling soft and moist. I also tried the Gel Pureté Rinse-Off Foaming Gel Cleanser $45.00 5 fl. oz. that also arrvies in chic, pump-style packaging. I loved the light, marine scent, and the nice foaming qualities of this cleanser that removes even stubborn makeup, and helps to mattify oil! The star in this cleanser is meadowsweet extract, from a flower with naturally powerful astringent properties. This one is my favorite, even though I do not have oily skin. t is packaged in a pure, white tube with shiny black top (so chic on your sink). Mousse Doceur Rinse-Off Foaming Mousse Cleanser $45.00 5 fl. oz cleanses normal/combo skin. It comes in a tube instead of a pump (I love the product, but I really prefer a pump for portion control and cleanliness). The star performer in this one is mallow extract, a flower prized for its emollient and softening properties. The cleanser is kind of skin, but doesn't leave a speck of dirt behind.

All three of these cleansers, and no doubt, their companion products, do a great job, and make you feel special...worth a little extra for the designer touch and high-tech benefits. These new, Chanel products are a "must-have," especially if you live in an urban area where pollution can be magnified.

***at department and specialty stores and on

*if you like this review, visit the Advice Sisters What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column for Fall 2008 and see even more reviews of beauty and fashion for men and women!

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Twisted Silver is a line of jewelry featuring fun, affordable, cutting edge designs by Debra Mitchell. "Twisted" items have appeared in Grammy and other gift bags, and on the Style Network's "How Do I Look?" with Finola Hughes. Fans include Oprah Winfrey, Maria Shriver, Melanie Griffith, and Tyra Banks (to name a few). The Advice Sisters were lucky enough to receive Twisted Silver jewelry to review in our
Fall 2008 What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column. In celebration of Fall, The Advice Sisters are giving away these amazing earrings by Twisted Silver. Please Visit the Advice Sisters Fall 2008 What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column to read the our review of three pieces of Twisted Sister Jewelry, and hundreds of other beauty and fashion items for women and men. Also check out our exclusive, online buying guide with links to all the products in the column.





*the contest ends December 1, 2008. One entry per person, thank you.


Alison Blackman Dunham for the Advice Sisters


Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Beauty Deals

*The Advice Sisters are participating in a beta test of Total Beauty "Beauty Bytes."
Everyone loves a good bargain. Total Beauty has rounded up some deals, sample offers and contest opportunities from favorite beauty brands like Clinique, Stila, L'Oreal and more. content:

Discount Deals of the Week

Check out these free samples, beauty product steals and contests from top brands like Clinique. Hurry, they won't last long!

Everyone loves a good bargain, which is why we've rounded up some of the best deals, sample offers and contest opportunities from favorite beauty brands like Clinique, Stila, L'Oreal and more. Take advantage -- they'll only be around for another few weeks!

Shop deals

AdviceSisters Notice About Fashion Week Spring 2009

Fashion Week starts a just a few days from now. As in previous years, I will bring you up-close-and-personal reports and photos from the tents and the runways. I will also be reporting from backstage, where the greatest hair and makeup artists in the world will be creating looks you'll be wearing in Spring 2009.

If you have been reading my online content for a while, you already know that The Advice Sisters online publications include a blog:; a web site: ; forums, and a free, bi-monthly Ezine (4,500 subscribers). Each offers fashion, beauty and lifestyle advice and information for an international audience of educated, upscale adults. Our PR4 web site is ranked by Alexa at 580,000 -- halfway up the top million sites of the Internet. The Advice Sisters are also a member of the Total Beauty Network. Content from our publications are shared with Total Beauty, and social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter.

Last season, The Advice Sisters reported on more than 25 shows and events at Fall 2008 Fashion Week, and we reported and photographed 30 shows for Spring 2008 Fashion Week. These archived reports are accessible through this blog's archives, and accessed every day through search engines. Individual reports and features of shows are also often picked up by other sites. Mentions of Fashion Week routinely appear with throughout the year on's long-standing fashion and beauty review column called: "What Works.

In the past, Fashion Week was a small-ish event, with buyers and press assembling in the designer's showrooms and modest venues to see the collection. But thanks in great part to IMG (and also to our celebrity-obsessed culture), Fashion Week has become a star-studded "cricus" that brings lots of interest. Everyone from legitimate press, to people with cameras who just like taking photos of pretty girls, to a constant stream of gawkers on the steps to the tents, wants to be a part of it. This makes it challenging for legitimate reporters of smaller publications. Those of us who don't work for the Style Network, Vogue, or another of the top media outlets. We also need to report on Fashion Week--and I think we do it in a fresh and exciting way for our readers! The New York Observer published a story on the topi9c: Oh, Lowly Blogger? Your Seat's in the Back Couture’s cyber-clique still pulls up the rear at Fashion Week. But times are changing, slowly … by Gillian Reagan September 2, 2008

The Advice Sisters have a great reputation online. We have no wish to compete with celebrities or huge media outlets. We feel that while we're not as "huge" as these mega-publications, we offer coverage that is more personal and therefore, more unusual.

As the Publisher and reporter for The Advice Sisters at Fashion Week, I completely appreciate the fact that designers and their publicists have to maximize the space they have in Bryant Park's small venues, by inviting buyers, sponsors, and mainstream press first. Despite this, I will be reporting on as many shows both backstage and from the runway as I can if I am invited to do so.

I hope you will enjoy reading about the shows, the models, the clothes, and everything else "Fashion Week." I'll be burning the midnight oil to upload photos and give you the latest, the fastest, and with my personal view to what's happening. Please feel free to link to anything and everythign here. But if you want to do more than that I would ask just this: PLEASE RESPECT THE ADVICE SISTERS COPYRIGHT! If you want to do more than just link to a post--if you want to use one of my photos, or quote something I've written-- please ask permission and when you get it, make sure you attribute it to the Advice Sisters at with Alison Blackman Dunham as the author/photographer. © 2008 all rights reserved by Alison Blackman Dunham of THE ADVICE SISTERS® The Advice Sisters is a registered United States trademark. No portion of this web site, including illustrations, may be copied or used in any without written permission of THE ADVICE SISTERS. E-Mail: advicesisters(at)advicesisters(dot)net.

Thank you for your kind consideration of my intellectual property. I look foward to hearing your comments at any time on this post, and any other I'll be creating in the future.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ FIRST NEWS FROM FASHION WEEK: New York, NY (August 20, 2008) – In a few weeks, fashion insiders from around the world will come together as the first Spring 09 collections are revealed at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week from September 5-12. Creative new talents will share the stage in the iconic tents of Bryant Park with celebrated designers such as Michael Kors, Diane Von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Zac Posen, Betsey Johnson and DKNY, who is enjoying its 20th Anniversary, among other designers from Brazil, China, Korea, Japan, Russia, India, Israel, Spain, France, Italy and Australia. “We are very excited to welcome so many new talents to the most prominent fashion event of the season,” said Fern Mallis, Senior Vice President of IMG Fashion. “We are anxious to observe how these energetic, enthusiastic and creative new ‘fashion engineers’ will inspire, influence and impact an industry hungry for new talent.” This season a record number of internationally recognized designers will present their collections to buyers, editors of noted fashion magazine, the media, celebrities, clients, industry professionals and various VIP’s. The list of debuting designers includes Michael Angel, Charlotte Ronson, Andy & Debb, Thuy, Sergio Davila, Leifsdottir, Aurelio Costarella and Zheng Luo. Each designer’s distinctive vision and unique approach to fashion and style will be reflected on the runway. Australian designer, Michael Angel, has been in the fashion industry for over 10 years, as a top stylist for many influential celebrities and campaigns. He has now transferred his hypercolor designs into fabric and created a collection that will truly astonish. Charlotte Ronson has gained a notable reputation and an enviable fashion and celebrity following. With fourteen boutiques already in Japan, her much anticipated debut show in Bryant Park will reinforce her future expansion on the global fashion scene. Andy & Debb, a famous Korean couple, produce their own collection and run a number of boutiques in major department stores in Korea. Their signature clean, fresh modern cuts are inspired by the artists’ designs in the many museums and galleries they frequent. Thuy Diep, the Vietnamese born, New York designer inherited her talent and skills from her parents, who used to run a tailoring school and custom-made clothing shop. Thuy’s romantic, sophisticated style mixes together a casual chic reflective of “a woman of beauty and intellect with an artistic and forever youthful soul.” Peruvian native, Sergio Davila, began developing and marketing a menswear line based on a vision for how he himself wanted to dress. His very first collection created a buzz on the West Coast and was immediately bought by many established retailers. Davila’s character, hard work and talent has helped secure him a mark on the Manhattan fashion scene. Anthropologie's new wholesale line, Leifdottir, is a pretty, artsy and quirky collection of clothes for a young, feminine customer. Top American editors have said, “Leifdottir attention to little details such as whimsical prints, vintage buttons and intricate embroidery have secured their reputation.” Aurelio Costarella has turned a Western Australian based company into an internationally recognized luxury brand. Determined to keep evolving without losing his Perth City identity, his instinctive and sophisticated designs grow each season and are a testament to his success at achieving his goals. Zheng Luo, a leading Chinese designer, owns Omnialuo Inc., is one of the most successful fashion companies in mainland China. Working with natural fabrics gives her collections an organic and eco-friendly flare. Zheng believes that “the perfection of human nature, no matter whether in the West or the East, is driven by the power of chasing beauty.” Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week begins with Michael Angel and is followed by BCBGMAXAZRIA , Perry Ellis, Yigal Azrouёl Women, Duckie Brown, Rubin Singer, Nicole Miller, Erin Fetherston, Academy of Art University, Venexiana, Lacoste, Charlotte Ronson, Toni Maticevski, Abaeté, Andy & Debb, Rosa Chá, Verrier, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Rock & Republic, Lela Rose, DKNY, Tracy Reese, Terexov, Hervé Léger by Max Azria, Diane Von Furstenberg, Y-3, Akiko Ogawa., Tibi, Miss Sixty, Thuy, Twinkle by Wenlan, Carolina Herrera, Peter Som, Jill Stuart, Sergio Davila, Diesel Black Gold, Luca Luca, Yeohlee, Tony Cohen, Ports 1961, Gottex, Cynthia Steffe, Matthew Williamson, Monique Lhuillier, Iódice, Betsey Johnson, Dennis Basso, Joanna Mastroianni, MAX AZRIA, Vivienne Tam, Brian Reyes, Michael Kors, Nanette Lepore, Richard Chai, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Carlos Miele, Pamella Roland, Milly by Michelle Smith, Anna Sui, Mara Hoffman, Malan Breton, Vera Wang, Naeem Khan, Rebecca Taylor, Reem Acra, Calvin Klein, Leifsdottir, Chris Han, Custo Barcelona, Zac Posen, Aurelio Costarella, Project Runway, Ralph Lauren, Tadashi Shoji, Sabyasachi, Carmen Marc Valvo, Donna Karan Collection, Badgley Mischka, Yigal Azrouёl Men, OmniaLuo Zheng Luo and Chado Ralph Rucci. Title sponsor Mercedes-Benz is joined by DHL, American Express, M·A·C Cosmetics, Judith Ripka, YKK, W Hotels Worldwide, Havaianas, TRESemmé, BlackBerry® and T-Mobile USA INC., OfficeMax, Seoul Metropolitan Government, LU Biscuits, Evian ® Natural Spring Water, Peroni, The Wines of Rioja, Imperia Vodka, Chambord, and BAWLS Guarana as well as the following media partners The New York Times, Women’s Wear Daily, Full Frontal Fashion, ULTRA HD, Getty Images and The Insider. Each of these sponsors will be providing hospitality, services and amenities to make the exciting week of shows as enjoyable and pleasant as possible for all attendees.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Celebrity Love Child Game-Wacky Beyond Belief! content:

Celebrity Love Child Game

Meet your beautiful offspring with Justin Timberlake ... or Barack Obama?!

Ever wonder how gorgeous your features would be mixed with those of a celebrity baby daddy like David Beckham, Brad Pitt or Johnny Depp? Play this game to give birth to the dream baby you two would make together.

Make your baby now!

BeautyCast Videos for DIY "making up" on a Bride's Special Day

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and if that’s true (and it is), a video is priceless! The BeautyCast Bridal Collection DVD Volumes 1 and 2 will give you all the tools you need to do your makeup like a professional makeup artist. Created by talented makeup artist Barbara Siragusa, Beauty Cast DVDs offer lots different makeup looks especially for brides and others significant to her wedding party such as her attendants, and mothers of the couple. Volume 1 offers seven makeup looks for a traditional, white wedding. Volume 2 offers ideas five different looks for a “fantasy” wedding.

What’s really wonderful about these videos is the ability to see a makeup artist work in close-up on eyes, lips, cheeks. The dvd clearly shows the colors used, the brushes used (and why that brush is important), the techniques to apply everything, and then, a final “reveal.” You can learn so much about application, color choice, and blending from watching these whether you’re a bride looking for DIY on your special day, or you just want to finally understand what makeup artists are doing when they’re applying full makeup on your face (no, a chart from the department store makeup counter isn’t going to really help you faithfully re-create a look that an expert has created). I also like the idea that Ms Siragusa has chosen models of all ages, skin types, and ethnicities. These women do not look like supermodels, they look like average women who want dramatic makeup for a special occasion...and I love this!

The looks are not everyday makeup. They are complicated and require a lot of practice to accomplish (so get the videos well in advance if you're really going to try and re-create the looks for a special occasion). In some cases, we counted more than 16 different products and colors used on the eyes alone. It’s just too much makeup for most women, even if it's done by a professional makeup artist. On the other hand, if it's just too challenging for you, take the looks and tone them down to create a glamorous vision of the original. The focus is all on the eyes and foundation or concealer techniques are shown, and the lips are all very dramatic. I personally wouldn’t suggest red lips for a wedding day as in one of the looks from the Fantasy Wedding collection. A bride does way too much kissing on her special day to use a dark lipstick, and hope it won't smear. False eyelashes are also used in most of the looks. That's ok if you like them, but on a wedding day, I think they are impractical (brides cry, and lashes get loose). Again, you can pick and choose what parts of the look you want. I really enjoyed watching the videos. They were instructive, entertaining, and well produced. Don’t wait to say “I do” to check them out -
*if you like this review, check out the latest Advice Sisters What Works Beauty, Cosmetics & Fashion review column for FALL 2008--up NOW at

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