Monday, 30 November 2015

Winter Lip Edit ¦ Lush, Urban Decay, Giorgio Armani, Stila, GloMinerals

Lip colours can be a bit tricky for me. As much as I love the corals, oranges and pretty pinks of Spring and Summer, my natural lip colour is so highly pigmented that lighter shades often don't settle right on my skin.

Which means winter is my time to shine.

I'm also normally rather loyal once I find a colour that I like but, for whatever reason, I've found lots of shades that I love this season. Some of these products are recent launches, others are new shades in pre-existing lines and one or two are just new to me but they're all rich, deep colours perfect for winter and, especially, the festive party season.


First up is my most recent acquisition which is already showing its worth. This is the Santa Baby Lip Tint (€8.25) from Lush. In their new tube format, instead of a tub, application is much, much easier. It's a lovely light, but bright, red that swatches sheerish on the hand but is a lovely, distinct shade on the lips. The name is adorable but its staying power is the real selling point here. I wore it the other day and it lasted through tea, coke, mulled wine, champagne, snacks and dinner over the course of five hours. It, obviously, wasn't as bright by the end, but it really held on for dear life. And, while it is a matte formula, it didn't dry out my lips. The only thing I'll say is that it is a little waxy when applying and drags a bit, so it could probably do with a tiny bit of warming in your hands or pocket before use. Still, a solid, long-lasting, cruelty-free, vegan, natural option at a mid-range price.


Next is the GloMinerals Cream Glaze Lip Crayon (£13.95) in the shade Jetset. This red is brighter still and a little more orange-toned. The staying power ain't got nothing on Lush but it is a serious joy to wear. It's pleasant on the lips, creamy, glides on smoothly and feels nourishing. Considering that it contains Vitamin C and E as well as mango oil and shea butter, it's no wonder that it feels almost as though you're wearing a lip balm. The colour is nice and universal and could be worn at any time of the year and deemed appropriate - though I don't necessarily adhere to "rules" when it comes to beauty and make-up and feel you should just do you anyways - which is also a bonus. An extra, extra bonus, however, is that the cap has a sharpener built in so you'll never have to go looking for one!





My current go-to lipstick is one of the new matte formula Revolution Lipsticks from Urban Decay in the shade Bad Blood (€19.00). I also have the 24/7 Glide-On Lip Pencil (€18.50) in the same shade which is also a fave. I do wear them together but very rarely. They're also not exactly the same colour but are both more berryish, deeper reds. The lipstick is matte and, again, applies a little waxy but actually doesn't drag too much and is really nice on the lips. Normally a matte lipstick would be impossible for me as my lips are constantly in bits (from my gross habit of biting at them when nervous or thinking) but this is beautiful on. The lip pencil is slightly lighter in shade and feels less intense. It is so creamy that I can also do a nice Korean-inspired gradiant lip with it which means I wear it a lot as that is a super subtle way of doing a red lip.









Leaving Urban Decay aside for a second, I'm turning to Giorgio Armani, I need to mention their Ecstasy Lacquer (€31.50) in the shade Night Berry. This is what I rocked on Hallowe'en as a vampire and which is a beautiful, vampy berry shade. It's so wonderfully A/W and somewhere between goth and sophisticated socialite. The technology behind this liquid lipstick/gloss hybrid means that it is SUPER pigmented, glossy and nourishing. It's really the best of all worlds.





Then we have the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick ($24.00) in Como. I love the colour. It's quite intense though, this very vibrant purple. It's different to the rest of this edit and a love/hate colour. Basically, your girlfriends will love it and guy friends, not so much...but who cares what they think right? It's a liquid lipstick in the truest sense and dries very matte. I don't enjoy the feeling of wearing this as much but it is so pigmented that you don't get the issues that matte-ness can sometimes cause.



Finally, I've been loving the Urban Decay Revolution glosses (€19.00). I have the shade Apocalypse, which I was given, and Big Bang, which I bought because I like a band of the same name - I'm aware that I'm a loser. Both shades are intense purplish colours and they apply that way because though these are glosses, they aren't overly sticky and gross and they are seriously pigmented. I'm not a gloss fan in general but these I keep coming back to. They need more careful application because they are so pigmented but once you've applied, you're bound to be happy with the results. I could genuinely buy the whole line - utterly in love.







So, that's my winter lip edit! Any you've tried? Thoughts? Any that you're interested in? I'd love to hear! And, keep an eye out as tomorrow something special is coming...#12DaysofGiftmas!

(The Urban Decay items - bar the Big Bang gloss - and Armani and GloMinerals lip products were all provided to me as press samples. However, all opinions expressed are my own.)


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Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Year of Irish Design 2015: Kiki Na Art

When I was on the Galway Fashion Trail this month, I was exposed to a lot of new and wonderful brands, labels and shops. One that really caught my eye, in particular, was Kiki Na Art which was being stocked in the wonderful purveyor of Irish design, My Shop...Granny Likes It. Bright, bold jewellery pieces that combine images of figures from pop culture with geometric patterns and hand-painting, stared out of one of the display cabinets and immediately set the group of bloggers gasping in delight.

Cue dozens of Instagram posts - one from myself as well!

But I didn't want to leave it there.

I was intrigued and wanted to know more about these pieces that danced somewhere between art and design and stood out so boldly from everything else on display.

I contacted the lovely Ciarna, who is the genius and craftswoman behind the brand, and she gave me a little more insight into the world of Kiki Na Art.


Moi: Can you tell us a little about your background?

Ciarna: I am an artist who studied Fine Art Painting in Galway. When I finished up college, I moved to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam for 6 years, where I met my husband and worked as the Art and Music Project Manager for the Christina Noble Children's Foundation (absolutely brilliant Charity!). When I moved back to Ireland with Duc (my husband) in 2010, I found it difficult to find work and decided to use that time to give my husband’s art and my art a chance. Duc is an extremely talented painter and we wanted to really give that a go - which meant being broke and choosing an alternative way of living. I have always loved photography and always wore jewellery so when I moved back to Ireland, I started to play around with ideas.  The idea for this came very organically. I started off doing them for creative fun and for friends using different materials but, eventually, I found a formula that worked for me. I started out making them in my back room two years ago. They’ve come a long way since then!

How did you come up with your concept for your label?

I am a big fan of Joan Baez and wanted to make earrings with her on them and my sister had also bought me a pair of Frida earrings when she was away - so I developed the idea from there with a lot of hand drawing and individual design and pattern on each piece. The name Kiki Na came from a nickname given to me by a certain group of friends in Vietnam, who called me Kiki, and the kids I worked with, who called me Kieu Na, so I combined the two. I make every one [of the pieces of jewellery] as a one-of-a-kind, as I treat them as unique illustrations, and that was important to me from the start. I really value individuality.

Which pop culture icons would you wear on a daily basis, if you had to choose one or two?

I would wear anyone I admire and respect. I am quite political and would be inclined to wear people like Aung San Suu Kyi, Nelson Mandela or Angela Davis but I am also into art and music big time so I wear anyone from David Bowie to Frida Kahlo. Realistically, I wear the ones I make and I usually make ones that are more popular such as Bjork, Bowie, Blondie or Grace Jones etc. These people are true artists and usually the styles and photographs of these people are amazing. I keep making pieces that I think I will keep for myself because I love the person, shape or design but eventually I end up selling them!

Why are handmade pieces and craft important?

Because individuality is important and things develop naturally from eye to hand. A designer who cannot make their own pieces is like a painter who cannot make their own paintings. Eventually things can get bigger and develop to a concept made by machine but to start out hand making and crafting your creative pieces is vital to allowing a greater development of said piece.

What do you think of the Year of Irish design?

More of this I say! I studied Fine Art, not design, so I find myself lagging behind in what’s happening but this year I started a back-to-work enterprise with my jewellery. Now, I have a platform to really develop my stuff and part of that is to discover what is out there for designers in Ireland. The Year of Irish Design is something I honestly need to look into more for my own stuff and I'm glad it’s there for people like me who need to discover more in what’s happening with Irish Design.

What do you think of Irish design?

I love anything expressive and fun and I see a lot of that happening. Although, sometimes, I think the minimalist trend has reached some sort of peak and that a lot of stuff is along those lines. My motto is go big or go home - haha - but I understand that that is not for everyone and that minimal forms of expression are more accessible to a lot of people. It’s all very subjective. So when it comes to Irish design I love to see all the different expressions out there. I have stuff in OmDiva and its great seeing people making some beautiful works of art through jewellery design and clothing design. Ruth, who runs OmDiva, is great for allowing a space for different forms of expression and design whilst managing to stay on trend.

Which designers do you admire?

Ah, Jaysus...I’m crap at this! I love fashion, design and art but I’d be able to name more artists that I love than designers. I do love the whole advanced style thing happening - Older people in fashion - I also love the non conformist styles and the different body types out there and I think fashion design needs to catch up a bit more with that. I think I'm more into artists – all kinds of artists – musical, like Roisin Murphy (her style!!!); fashion - Irish Apfel and Vivienne Westwood; art - Frida Kahlo. I love eccentrics. I'm a second hand shop girl so when it comes to designers I am not great. I do like COS because, as Irish Apfel, put it – ‘I love to accessorise... my mother said buy a lovely simple black dress – you can dress it up or dress it down’. COS is great for nice material and simple monochromatic colour clothing which really suits my jewellery but who their designers are?... I’ll [have to] google it!

What inspires you?

Big Question. Everything!!

What would you like to do with your brand in the future? Are there other avenues you'd like to explore?

Go bold or go home! I plan to expand to wearable art pieces and wall pieces but who knows... I'm someone who likes to go with the flow – not that I am resting on my laurels – I work hard at what I do but it’s like this; in Asia, the turtle is one of the most respected of creatures, as they move very fast by following streams and ending up where they end’s a Buddhist thing I guess.

If you had to describe what you do in five words or less?

One of a kind; individual.


So, if you're after something for the individual, something one of a kind, something hand-crafted and filled with love, hit Kiki Na Art up. It's hard not to fall more in love with (the already desirable) brand when you hear from Ciarna. Her passion, sense of fun and no-nonsense and inclusive attitudes are rather refreshing. And, I think, visible in the art/design that she produces.

Thanks to Ciarna for chatting with me!

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

COS SS16 Womenswear Lookbook

To complement my last post on COS SS16, where I analysed the influences and ideas behind the collection, I thought it might be a good idea to also post images from the lookbook. This allows you to see each garment, rather than merely get a sense of its aesthetics overall. Keep in mind that this lookbook is styled editorially and don't get put off by the collection appearing so far away from what we are used to on the high street. Look past your surprise and see the beauty and tranquillity that is COS SS16.

P.S. This is already a lot of images. So, for now, at least, it's just the womenswear!



































(Images all belong to COS, used here with permission)


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