Sunday, December 30, 2007


It’s All About the Girl
By Barbara Barton Sloane

This season designers put basic black and stark white on the back-burner, choosing instead florals, sheer fabrics and vibrant hues. Spring/Summer is shaping up as the ticket for women who like to look pretty.

The Spring collection by the Badgley Mischka boys seems inspired by the 1920s French Rivera of “Tender is the Night” – beads, fringe, champagne-soaked nights. They re-invented a drop- waist flapper dress in blush tulle and satin. In another reference to their inspiration, the designers studded a halter-neck sleeveless dress with crystals in a geometric Art Deco style. The pair said they were taken with “the way that this decade’s clothes were put together and polished, yet didn’t grab the body.” Grabbing delicately at the body and in a more modern vein, there’s an above the knee, spaghetti strapped, chiffon-floaty design, white to the hips and then morphing into a tender leaf green. Their strapless dress of polished cotton printed in boldly patterned blue and white is as fresh and crisp as a spring morning.

Giles Mendel cited the French photographer Guy Bourdin, master of erotic innuendo, as his touchstone. In his romantic nod to spring, Mendel couldn’t resist a painted flower here and a lace insert there. Some of his strongest looks, however, are his fresh basics, among them a sandy-hued, sleeveless, casually belted dress, cut just above the knee with patch-pockets top and bottom, a modern twist on the classic shirt dress.

Lavish is the word for the fabrics Carolina Herrera chose for her Spring/Summer collection. Last year she cited Edvard Munch as her inspiration. This season it’s the interiors illustrator Jeremiah Goodman, among whose clients were Pauline de Rothschild and Diana Vreeland - thus luxe is the touchstone here. Herrera’s heart is in her evening wear. She offers a short and sweet all-white design: an above the knee white skirt worn with a cotton T and topped with a sequined jacket splashed with champagne flowers.

She is nothing if not a savvy businesswoman, but for Spring, Diane von Furstenberg has pleasure in mind. She says it is about “the fantasy of escaping to exotic islands and the wilder shores of love.” Indeed. Her menagerie of print offerings is well-represented in a jaunty black flowers-on-cream dress, swingy skirt and head gypsey-wrapped in the same whimsical fabric.

The fast route to a successful Spring/Summer Pucci show: book a flight to Capri. That’s where, after all, the island paradise most closely associated with this print house was born exactly 60 years ago. One Pucci look this season that effectively channels Capri is a blazingly bright number in citrus-colored tangerine. Pucci avoids sugar-shock, however, in his elegantly cut Bermuda shorts paired with a flowing blouse punctuated with fuschia and slipping sexily off one shoulder. Sizzling as Capri itself!

This season in Milan, it took Versace to get hold of drapey, goddessy dressing and make it look hot, easy and believable. Donatella shows beautifully constructed silk jersey dresses – from short togas to open-backed draped shifts in a rainbow of colors, each piece gorgeous in its own right. One of her more casual designs: shorter than Bermuda, toast-colored shorts . The ample cut and fine tailoring saves them from looking inelegant. She tops the shorts by echoing spring’s theme and going completely printastic! A billowing silk blouse, turquoise slashes slithering around it, puts this look firmly in style for Spring/Summer ’08.

Looking at some Virgina Slims’ advertising of the late 70s and early 80s inspires the Michael Kors collection. “There was something about those women that was very sexy but sporty at the same time,” he explains. Kind of like the Kors woman. Come springtime, she’ll need clothes for lunch at the club, cocktails, cruises and galas too. Kors had plenty of suggestions, and one look that seems designed for a Maidstone lunch – impeccably cut white pants worn with a pristine sleeveless greige, double-breasted top ending at the hips and circled with a narrow gold belt. He accessorizes this with an insouciant wide-brimmed hat, large shades and gold jewelry.

Frida Giannini’s Gucci Spring/Summer designs picks up on some of the things going around this season – the fifties big-skirted silhouette, a bit of toga dressing, patent-leather accessories, and yes, ubiquitous prints. One sure stand-out: a short-sleeved, v-neck dress, gently flowing skirt just to the knee, On white ground, Gucci splashes it with a black and red geometric design, a print that pulses and appears, at any moment, to leap off the dress. She pairs it with short black gloves, big black patent bag and red peep-toe pumps. Ah yes, Spring is here!

Friday, December 28, 2007


Getting Comfortable in your Skin!
By Barbara Barton Sloane
The mercury is dipping, the wind is whipping, and your skin is getting drier, flakier and more uncomfortable by the day. Besides a cup of comforting hot chocolate to the take the chill off, here are some other rich and creamy suggestions - your defense against weather that’s frightful!

The part of the body most exposed and one that we can’t put a glove on: the face. Three facial creams that protect the skin with luxe and exotic emollients: Estee Lauder’s Revitalizing Comfort Cream (1.7 fl. oz., $115). Reishi mushroom, wolfberry and ginseng extracts lock in moisture, help skin boost collagen and protect against cold. Comfort Cream feels light, smooth and, yes, comforting when applied. Shiseido’s Bio-Performance Advanced Super Revitalizer (1.7 fl. oz, $70) offers the latest advances in revitalization and protection against the environment and contains glycerin and squalene to smooth and soften. If you prefer to glow as you go, Kiehl’s Since 185l has Ultimate Facial Tinted Moisturizer SPF 15 (2.5 fl.oz., $24.50). It comes in 3 shades, Light, Medium and Dark, and feels light and fresh on the skin. It contains extracts of chamomile to soothe and royal jelly to hydrate.

We can put gloves on our hands, but admit it, we sometimes forget. So for those gloveless days, there’s Kiehl’s Strengthening Hand Salve (2.5 oz. tube, $12.50) that soothes, hydrates and protects. The formula contains a blend of botanical oils as well as natural wax derived from olive oil. It is rich, quickly absorbed, and offers all-day “glove-like” protection from the elements. Shiseido’s Benefiance Protective Hand Revitalizer SPF 8 (2.6 oz., $37) is a hand treatment with bio-hyalauronic acid to deliver moisture, keeping the hands soft and supple. An effective way to combat “sandpaper hands” is with Estee Lauder’s Re-Nutrive Intensive Smoothing Hand Crème, (3.4 oz., $45). It’s non-greasy and is effective even after multiple hand washings. It contains Australian bois oil to prevent dehydration, green tea, a potent anti-oxidant and Chinese spike moss, to quell irritation.

Want to stay winter-kissable? Give those dry, cracked lips a slick of Kiehl’s Lip Balm SPF 4 (0.5 fl.oz. $8.50). It staves off winter’s drying effects and
comes in pear, cranberry and mint flavors. Your lips will be not only kissable but will taste delicious! Shiseido’s Full Correction Lip Treatment
(15 ml, $35) retextures and hydrates. It is waterproof and contains marine collagen to plump and keep lips ultra-moist.

For over-all body care, slather on Avon’s Skin So Soft (8.4 fl. oz., $8.50). This lotion is available in three fragrances, each of which contains natural ingredients to provide a benefit to the skin: Soft & Sensual contains almond extract for softening, Soft & Nourish with Jojoba Oil to nourish, and Soft & Replenish, containing vitamins and antioxidants to condition the skin.

Men, there’s help for you, too. A line dedicated to men’s skin care is Zirh and they offer two moisturizers which seem tailor-made for now, whether you’re walking to the train station, shoveling snow, or occupied with something more pleasurable like skiing or jogging. Protect (3.4 oz., $28) is a daily moisturizer that is ultra-light and fights the negative effects of cold, sun damage and dryness. It contains pine bark antioxidants that improve skin texture and elasticity. Defend Face Moisturizer with SPF 15 (3.4 oz., $29) contains Vitamin E to retain moisture, pine bark extract to purify and avocado oil to nourish and condition. Stepping up to the plate, we have a new men’s line: Derek Jeter Driven Skin Care. His line is available through Avon, and his Driven Moisturizer with SPF 15 (1.7 fl. oz., $15) is a hypoallergenic, lightweight lotion with the added bonus of broad spectrum sun protection.

Drink Your Way to Skin Health
Cheers! Green and black teas have been shown to prevent skin cancer in mice (whether they’re ingested or applied in extract form to the skin). Now, a new study confirms this link in people. Studies conducted by the Dartmouth Medical School show that daily tea consumption was associated with a 20 to 30 percent decrease in skin cancer. Both green and black teas contain anti-oxidants that help fight UV-induced damage. Now that is something to cheer about! Head to toe, inside and out, these products have you covered. Now, go forth and enjoy winter. We’ve only got a few more months of it (we hope!).

Where to Buy:
Estee Lauder: Fine department and specialty stores nationwide
Avon: Call 1-800-FOR-AVON or online at
Kiehl’s Since 1851: 109 Third Ave, NYC, 154 Columbus Ave, NYC or
Zirh: Sephora, Bloomingdale’s,,
Shiseido: Fine department and specialty stores nationwide