How I want you to look, and what I’d wear to the Met Ball.

So, wow.  It’s been a while.  And believe me- it’s not that there hasn’t been enough to discuss about beauty, but rather I’m finding that there’s just too much.  This past month I’ve tried new products (hello, Aveda Dry Remedy!), gotten blow-outs at a couple different salons (which always makes for an interesting experience), gone crazy over various celebrity things having to do with hair and makeup, and have started marching toward bridal makeup season.  Oh, and my nine-to-five is kuh-RAAAAAzy busy right now.  And I’ve been reading like a maniac.  I don’t know what’s come over me (oh wait … I do … it’s this), but lately I’ve been consuming books like a rabid animal consumes an unsuspecting person’s ankle.  There’s just no stopping it.  And that’s okay.  But does anyone have any book recommendations?  I tend to prefer narratives with psychosis, obsession, and personality disorders.  Got it?  Good.

What’s kind of sad is that this coming month is going to be even more ridiculous.  And the next.  But what’s been fun is that in all the chaos, I’ve managed to do some fun introspection (those two are typically mutually exclusive) on my style.  And for this post, it goes a bit beyond just hair and makeup but into the wardrobe as well.  I sorted out my closet the other day and I noticed that it was sort of a mish-mash of … good stuff, I suppose.  I love everything in my closet, but some of it just doesn’t get, well, worn.  Over the years I’ve had a tendency to purchase things that aren’t necessarily akin to my own, true aesthetic.  Well, I’ve been trying to sort that out lately.  I’ve tried to take an inventory on what pieces show up most in my closet (black, denim, leather, t-shirts), and where I could perhaps use a pop of color (because it turns out I’m not nearly as daring as I’d thought when it comes to things like yellow).

This same thought process has translated over to my love for makeup and hair, as well.   I’ve noticed similar themes in many of the looks I’ve created for friends lately.  If I do your hair or makeup within the next year or so (because who knows how I’ll change), here’s what I think I’ve nailed down:

1.  I want you to look natural.  Mostly.   This tendency of mine has just evolved out of doing lots of bridal makeup, but I’ve always had a dislike for makeup that looks makeup-y.  You know that look when the eyeshadow, the lipstick, the foundation, just seems to have a thick, done-up consistency to it?  I hate that.  Or when one wears the super glossy, hot pink lipstick for the lipstick, and not for how it looks on them?  Not about that either.  I want the makeup that I put on you to sort of look like it’s not even something that you really put on, like it could’ve come forth from your own pores.  The eyeshadow might be gunmetal grey, but I want the feel of it to seem like in another dimension, you might have been born with that eyeshadow on.  A lot of this also comes from studying celebrity makeup.  The blending, the precision, the products, the meticulous selection process of which shades- a lot of times, celebrity red carpet makeup is simply a study in what works best and what will enhance.  I tend to stick to a philosophy like that, one that sticks to what works best and what will enhance, as opposed to cover up.

2.  I want your hair to look sort of messy and haphazard.  I get that this is very much the trend of the times, but whenever I get hold of someone’s hair these days, they end up with messy, slightly gritty hair.  And you also end up with me flipping you over and spraying Oribe’s Après Beach all over your head while shaking my hands through your mane.  It’s a process I love.  I’ve tended to be more within the Kate Moss camp when it’s come to hair as opposed to Kate Middleton’s.  I like a bit of that day three look (notice I didn’t say day two), and I prefer a matte, almost shineless finish to a shimmering one.  I’ll never forget reading an article in Elle magazine about this new product from Bumble&bumble called “Texture”, and how we finally had come up with a product that gave that rough, shineless finish that stylists would have to use five products to create on models’ hair for runway shows.  That was in either January or February of 2011 … and I had the stuff used on my hair for my wedding day that following June.

3.  I want you to glow.  No, I did not say I want you to shimmer.  I said I want you to glow.  I have watched two makeup tutorial videos in my lifetime (yes, just two), one of which demonstrated how to cover up terrible, terrible acne, and the other which demonstrated how to emulate the carved-out cheekbones and plumped cheeks of the Renaissance era with just a bit of highlighting and contouring.  It was the easiest how-to ever (and everything is more exciting in a French accent).  I’ve been using pearly cream shadow to dab on the weirdest spots of the face along with matte, pinkish-grey blush to add that extra half-inch that just makes your face glow.  Again, I’m all about that “from within” thing; how your face looks after you’ve taken a post-workout shower.  The best.

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See?  Natural, messy, glowy!

But, it’s been difficult to translate all of this into how I feel about fashion.  Big fashion.  Like, Met Ball fashion.  What kind of red carpet look speaks to me?  Can I separate my affinity for a certain celebrity’s street style with their red carpet style?  Because sometimes, a good choice for the pavement does not guarantee a good choice for the steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  For instance, I typically really like what Katie Holmes wears around town.  However, her red carpet choices post-Tom have tended to be quite ho-hum (though her makeup/hair is always fantastic).  On the flipside, Diane Kruger is usually the first person I look forward to seeing at events and premieres, but her street style is pretty meh.

Anyhow, here’s what spoke to me at last night’s Met Ball:

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Surprise!  But really.  I love this dress.  I love it.  Is it lavender?  Iridescent?  Silver?  Can’t really tell, but that’s what I love.  It’s Hugo Boss, and it’s working (along with that mother of pearl box clutch … swoon).  But you know what else is really working?  That fan bun.  I could barely find a shot of the back of it until I stumbled upon this, complete with a how-to!  Score!

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Her makeup, as always, is the greatest thing ever.  EVER.  Kristen Stewart, along with Keira Knightley, serves as a huge makeup inspiration of mine.  She may have shown up to the Ball in what appeared to be a too-playful-and-not-serious-enough Chanel frock, but Kristen’s makeup was ON POINT.

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Kirsten Dunst in Rodarte.  Or more specifically, Death Star Rodarte.  Because if you could secretly get on with your bad nerd self without reservations, you would walk down the aisle in this.  Don’t lie.

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Yeah, I guess she looks okay.  Blake Lively in Gucci Premiere blah blah blah stunning blah blah blah perfection blah blah blah Green Lantern sucked.

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Such good thinking here.  Such great editing.  See, it’s all about deciding not to go with a strong eye because of the headpiece, and not to go with a bright lip because of the mood of the look, and not to go with stand-out hair so as not to compete with the dress.  All of these looks have so, so much thought put into them that you would not believe, and that’s why they turn as out flawlessly as they do.  Beyonce’s makeup and hair styling have always been out of this world, and this is just another testament to that.  And I love the light shimmer on her neck and chest.  A good touch.  And finally …

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This, my friends, is what I would wear.  This dress is the most “me”.  It’s a little weird, and remember how in my Oscars post (I think) I said that I love gowns that are a little bit weird?  Well this one’s got that.  It looks like it’s got scales, it makes great use of sheer, and the color gradation is beautiful.  And of course, it’s Givenchy … the same house responsible for Zoe Saldana’s purple confection from the 2010 Academy Awards that I won’t ever, ever get over.  Bingo.

Any favorites of your own?  Or ones that you loved to hate?  Oh I know you’ve got ’em.  I know you do.  xo, MR

 

 

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Let’s hear it for the Mara sisters!

If I can say one thing, just ONE THING, about the Emmys this year, it’s this:

KATE MARA’S HAIR.

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I’ve been so ridiculously busy and preoccupied lately that I’ve barely been able to lift an eyelid even for Fashion Month (seriously, I haven’t watched the Prada OR Jil Sander show yet and Milan Fashion Week is OVER … if you know me, you know that’s unheard of), but something like that seen above will always demand a moment of my attention.  Kate Mara had her hair styled for this year’s Emmy Awards in a way that I’ve been obsessed with for about a half-year or so.  I’ve tried it myself a couple times, and it works best with hair that has not been freshly washed, but perhaps blown out straight a couple days ago and now has accumulated some natural oils at the scalp.  Add some gel that imparts shine, tuck behind the ears, and BOOM.  HIGH FASHUNZ!  Now, you can’t exactly flip your hair all over the place Herbal Essences-style, but if you just buckle down with it and go with the vibe, it’s great.  I’m always so in love with Kate Mara’s hair color, too.  I don’t really know what color it is, to be honest.  It’s not quite red, but I wouldn’t exactly call her a brunette.  Auburn?  Autumnal?  One should be so lucky to have their hair color named “autumnal”.

And now that I’ve mentioned a thing or two about big sister, I’m going to take a moment to drool over little sister, too.

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For a good year or so, I was really, really unconvinced by Rooney’s whole aesthetic.  I haven’t seen Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I don’t really ever plan to, but I think I just couldn’t buy Rooney’s look because it seemed so heavily influenced by the film.  I would see how Rooney used to look and dress prior to Tattoo, and I couldn’t help but feel like she simply wanted to remain in character beyond the camera (though perhaps in a toned-down, more glamorous way).  The vampy lips and dark brows, the pale skin and stark expressions, and the raven-hued hair always styled with a sleek edge- is this really Rooney that we’re seeing, or are these just remnants of Lisbeth Salander?

And then I got to thinking, how often am I inspired by a character, whether it’s in a movie, a book, or a magazine (because let’s face it- we really can only understand celebrities as characters and not true people, unless we are to know them personally) when it comes to my own hair or makeup?  How often do I draw upon the look of another for my own, whether by adaptation or straight-up replication (because we’ve all copied that outfit we saw on Pinterest down to the very nail color she was wearing)?  How often have I studied what they did for their makeup, only to tweak it and adjust it until it suited my preferences, but still started with what someone else did first nonetheless?  How often have I actually had someone else in mind when deciding what eyeshadow to put on my own eyes?

I sometimes feel we obsess over the idea of “being ourselves”, and I’m not always certain that we really know  how to do this or what it even means.  My own tastes in beauty and fashion are a collective puzzle, made whole by the tastes and preferences and creations of thousands of others.  I mean, that’s what inspiration boards are, right?  You take the ideas and looks that others love and put them all together to determine what it is that you love.  It takes the manner of thousands to develop the manner of one.  My point is, I think I’ve made peace with the possibility that Rooney Mara’s current personal tastes in beauty may have indeed been heavily influenced by her film character.  She may totally be channeling a glammed-up Lisbeth Salander with that matte skin and eerie shade of plum, but so long as it looks awesome and she’s down with it, who cares if it wasn’t Rooney’s completely original idea?  And so lately I’ve felt free to fall head over heels for Rooney’s entire moda.  I love it!  I wish I could pull it off every day!  But for now, I’ll save it for an October Friday night or two.  Or three or four.  xo, MR

Now THIS needs no explanation.

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See … this is what I’m talking about.  It’s just enough.  The styling is subtle, and yet it would still be hard not to notice Jessica looking like this.  These are the kinds of looks for makeup and hair that inspire me (and make me anxious to grow my hair out a couple inches and go lighter again).  Her hair has obviously been styled, and yet you know you could probably work this same look on yourself, too.  It’s been styled, but it hasn’t been fussed over.

Try creating this look the day after washing and blowing your hair out semi-straight … it’ll be more pliable and it’ll hold wave better.  Create a center-part and then use a 1.5-2 inch barrel iron to create waves in two inch sections of your hair, going in different directions as you curl.  Brush through the waves to give it that soft and natural feel, and gently gather it all to one side.   Use the tiniest amount of styling gel or spray to tame the frizzies around your center-part.  And remember … nothing has to be perfect.

For the makeup, use a warm blush with almost ruddy tones on the apples of your cheeks and bring it upward toward the ears as you apply it.  I’d probably try NARS blush in Liberte for this look, but I’m going to try and dig to find out what was actually used on Jessica.  Fill in and groom your brows, and then draw focus to your eyes by using metallic, shimmery shades of silver, gunmetal grey, and even blue just barely up to the brow bone and around the lid, using the darker shades around the rim and in the crease.  If you’re not comfortable with how some of these colors work with your skin tone, just try varying shades of grey.  Add a couple coats of mascara (or some modest false lashes), and then top it off with a natural lip.  I’m not even sure if she’s wearing anything on her lips here!  Perhaps the lightest, slightly frosted pink or nude shade, but surely nothing more.  So simple, so beautiful.  xo, MR