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True Whit by Whitney Port

23 Sep


Deisnging a life of Style, Beauty and Fun with Sheryl Berk

 

Welcome to the world of Whitney Port. She was part of two of MTV’s most successful reality TV shows, The Hills and The City, and has since become a style icon through launching her very own fashion line Whitney Eve. In her first book, Whitney aims to use her life experience to enlighten young ladies who are starting to find their feet in the real world. “What I wanted to create was a guidebook, so to speak, to starting out in your twenties. It’s your time to shine, to dig deep and discover who you are.”

 

So a la mode?

 

Whitney goes down to every little detail when offering advice on how to get your life in order. Using specific family recipes and detailing things such as what her personal fitness regime consists of make it lots easier for us to dabble in her routine and see how it works. She also gives tips on how we can channel her eclectic style, from encouraging shopping in charity shops to identifying specific hair types and using that information to explain how each hair type can be styled to emulate her own locks. Every base is covered, from how to deal with a difficult co-worker to how to impress on a first date.

 

Uh-oh a la mode?

 

One thing that did disappoint me as an avid fan of The Hills and The City was that lots of her personal experiences draw from things we’ve already seen on the show. I was hoping that in purchasing the book I’d hear a different side of the story than what I’d already watched, but advice seemed based on things we already knew – e.g. relationship advice based on her relationship with Jay or work advice based on her time with Olivia. Maybe next time if Whitney could give us a little spoiler of all the things we had missed then the read would be a little juicier!

 

All in all a brilliant guide for a young girl – I’d especially recommend it to anyone who has just moved away from home, for example a University student or a new graduate.

 

A la Mode Appraisal: 8/10 – more secrets next time please, Whitney!

 

True Whit is published by Aurum Press and will help every young lady in her search for herself at a very reasonable £14.99.

 

If you liked this book, you may also like Style by Lauren Conrad.

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Makeup Your Mind, Express Yourself by François Nars

2 Jul

Makeup Your Mind, Express Yourself by François Nars

All makeup artists are besotted with the power of transformation. Every time we take a brush to hand we are embarking upon the task of creating a whole new persona for a client and are responsible for making them feel like a new person, whoever that may be. Now, makeup artist and photographer extraordinaire François Nars, founder of Nars cosmetics, has decided to spill all of his beauty tricks and unveil his artistry secrets.

It is quite poignant to note the fascination between makeup artists and transformation, because Nars himself has actually transformed thisvery book. First  released some years ago as simply Makeup Your Mind, Nars has chosen to makeover his original guide with specific references to Nars products and techniques that will enable the reader to replicate looks exactly. In double page spreads, Nars provides his before and after shots of models that have recieved a pampering from him. In between each two-page spread a cellophane sheet- to be placed over the after shot- annotates the image and details exactly which products have been used. Featuring makeovers on people of all ages, races, skintones and of both sexes, this guide is an unmissable how-to for every makeup requirement.

Striking the perfect balance of theory and practical evidence, Nars begins the book by helping the reader to identify their own makeup needs. He provides information on how to assess their skin, how to prepare their skin for makeup, which tools to use for optimum results and other likewise essentials. He also gives his top ten makeup tips including: “10. Have some fun! It’s only makeup!”

Guarantee to instil a sense of confidence and ability in the reader, Nars proves in this book that all beauty lovers are capable of expressing themselves with makeup and encourages them to do so accordingly. “François Nars is an anti-depressant. There is an innate positivity in his message: adorn, enhance, attract, allure and express!”

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10 – a timeless manual for any makeup artist or lover of Nars.

Makeup Your Mind, Express Yourself is published by Rizzoli International Publications and will teach you all of the tricks of the Nars trade for $45.00.

If you liked this, you may also like Express Makeup by Rae Morris.

Style Yourself, Inspirational Advice from the World’s Hottest Fashion Bloggers

13 Jun

Foreword by Jane Aldridge

Since the internet was launched, fashion bloggers have taken the web by storm and created an infectious network. Perfect for supporting those in need of fashion inspiration and daring readers to explore the endless possibilities within their wardrobes, there are tons of style writers all over the world uploading invaluable fashion content every day. Now, 95 of the best bloggers, from the UK to Japan, from the USA to Norway, have joined forces to compile the ultimate guide in personal style.

In a guide that is both logical and whimsical, bloggers give their advice on all wardrobe essentials. The book begins with a guide to which  items specifically should make up your wardrobe, e.g. number of skirts, tops and shoes, and then as it continues each garment is evaluated in meticulous details. Styles and shapes for each piece are explored and suggestions are made as to which variety of each garment is most suited to each individual. Throughout this process, bloggers sprinkle in their in-depth features on how to style a particular part of your wardrobe. Whether you’re after some advice on which colour suits you best, what trousers accentuate your shape or what kind of purse will compliment your earrings, this book is not to be missed. The balance between creating attainable concepts and outlandish collaborations is incredibly refreshing.

For a glimpse at some of the contributors personal blogs, why not visit some of the following websites?

Susie Lau from London, England
Style Bubble

Carolina Engman from Stockholm, Sweden
Fashion Squad

Funeka Ngwevela from Johannesburg, South Africa
Quirky Stylista

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Style Yourself is published by Apple Press and will inspire you to play with your wardrobe for just £14.99.

If you liked this you may also like Style Diaries by Simone Werle.

Style Book by Elizabeth Walker

12 Jun

Fashionable Inspirations

Have you ever heard the expression “one picture is worth ten thousand words”? This is the sentiment that Elizabeth Walker uses to open her Style Book. When unveiling the truth behind her fashion inspirations, she takes photographs from all eras, locations and social situations to compile a “remarkable insight into the progression of fashion”.

Consisting of over 400 pages of photographs, Walker uses kitsch categories to divide her images into miniature style journeys. With chapters such as ‘Divine in Denim’, ‘Attention to Detail’ and ‘Button Up’, single fashion concepts are expanded upon and visited from film sets to sidewalks. A small caption is provided underneath each photo to provide an opinion, a story and details of the year it was taken.

Although famous faces such as Audrey Hepburn, Joanna Lumley and Twiggy crop up among the photographs, Walker uses lots of faceless fashionistas to “juxtapose” fashion moments from over the years. She is true to her claim that “from flowers to furs, from pearls to pools, there are all things here for all folk”. Despite being a beautiful book to flick through,  my criticism would be that I couldn’t help but yearn for more insight as to why exactly Walker had found these images to be inspirational.

A la Mode Appraisal: 7/10 – a wonderful collection of photographs, but perhaps a lower price tag would have been more suited.

Style Book is published by Endeavour publishers and will inspire your wardrobe for £20.00.

If you liked this, you may also like New Club Kids by Oggy Yordanov.

(Please note: the images used in this review have not been taken directly from the book.)

Vintage Fashion Sourcebook by Emma Baxter-Wright, Karen Clarkson, Sarah Kennedy and Kate Mulvey

12 Jun

New Looks and Labels and Where to Find Them

It is always lovely to have a one-off piece in your wardrobe that stands out a mile and can’t be replaced. You are never going to turn up to a dinner party in the same dress as someone else if it was a hand-me-down from your grandmother, or be embarrassed that someone is wearing the same cuff links as you if you’ve spent an hour on your hands and knees rummaging through the accessories at a charity shop. This sentiment seems to have spread to the minds of the mainstream fashion consumer in the last few years, leading to an enormous rise in popularity of vintage clothing. With so many competitive sellers on hand to offer their designs, and so many frauds willing to charge a fortune for a modern replica, four industry insiders have decided to unveil all about the world of vintage fashion.

In a decade by decade guide to vintage fashions of the twentieth century, the Vintage Fashion Sourcebook allows the reader to absorb trends of a specific period in fashion and to trace exactly where styles originated. This is helpful on numerous levels; not only can the vintage buyer gain a clear indication of how old their garment really is, but they can style an outfit to replicate a specific era should they need to. All sorts of context is given to fashion as the decades are explored, for example the vinyl dresses of Paco Rabanne are compared to the “party atmosphere” of London in the 1960’s and the hip-hop music of the 1980’s attributed to a “passion for bling and sportswear”.

To conclude the vintage timeline, the Vintage Fashion Sourcebook then goes on to offer tips on how to choose a vintage garment wisely, how to care for vintage appropriately, and offers a number of suggestions in regard to the best vintage sellers in England. Most of the boutiques are based in London which is unsurprising but nonetheless annoying for people from other parts of the country, so the ladies have also included a number of online outlets to accommodate for those outside of the capital.

An enjoyable and easy to follow book, this short read would be a lovely gift to a vintage lover who is eager to learn about the origins of their favourite garments.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10 – great value for money.

Vintage Fashion Sourcebook is published by Carlton Books and is an essential buy for all lovers of vintage at a very reasonable £5.99.

If you liked this, you may also like Vintage Jewellery by Caroline Cox.

New Club Kids by Oggy Yordanov

18 Apr

 London Party Fashion in the Noughties

Welcome to a time when eccentricity was ultimate fashion statement. You are about to embark upon a journey of spandex, leather, glitter, wigs, body art and some female fashions, too. Influenced by the New Romantics and breaking the barriers of Punk, this is the tale of London’s New Club Kids.

Upon arriving in London in 2001, Bulgarian photographer Oggy Yordanov decided to capture the style of London’s original “dressers” in the underground club movement. For ten years he was immensely inspired by his findings and so he decided to put together a glorified scrapbook of all of his favourite looks. Containing minimal but brilliant prose, New Club Kids provides the reader with a brief written description of London’s New Club Kids, an interview with Princess Julia (a woman who has lived through many of London’s creative movements and played an enormous part in founding some of them) and then decides to let the photographs speak a thousand words.

Taking photographs of individuals and groups across a ten year period and in numerous London clubs, Oggy manages to capture the fashions behind the music, the art and the characters that inhabited the city at the time. What is most interesting for me is the fact that Oggy seems to focus particularly on androgynous fashion. In doing this, he almost creates the impression that each person is a piece of art all on their own. Rather than presenting these people as spectators of a fabulous scene, he presents them as a pivotal part of this ludicrous movement – they are the scene. By removing gender from the equation, these people become almost like other-worldly walking art forms and are even more integral in allowing the reader to get lost in such a fantastical time.

After turning through pages of outrageous face paint and wild props and every clothing texture under the sun, I felt as though I had completely developed a sense of what it was to be a New Club Kid and felt compelled to do something daring with my hair that evening. Oggy certainly knows how to capture a moment with his camera; if you’re a fan of fancy dress or have an interest in theatrical makeup, this book will certainly be useful in kick-starting your creative vision.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

New Club Kids is published by Prestel and will provide you with endless fashion and makeup inspiration for £16.99.

If you liked this, you may also like Doppelganger by Gestalten.

Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators by Sha Tahmasebi

20 Mar

Scan, trace, copy: 250 templates for professional results

What a fascinating thing the imagination is. Without need for evaluating budget, practicality or feasibility, one can invent all sorts of wild and wonderful things and allow them to exist happily in their own mind’s eye. Unfortunately for fashion designers, this creativity needs to translate into fabulous drawings if it is ever going to manifest itself in a show stopping garment. With this in mind, Sha Tahmasebi has composed Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators to teach designers how to express their ideas with paper and pencil.

Divided into three main chapters, Dynamic Fashion Figures, Basic Garment Blocks and Rendering Techniques, Sha teaches her readers how to sketch the body in a number of positions and in relation to lots of different garments and styles of clothing. For instance, she may use this sexier silhouette for something like an underwear sketch. As well as providing tips and hints for how to sketch correctly, Sha also ensures that she provides lots of information about fashion terminology so that students understand the facts and figures behind their creations. This would prove particularly useful for the budding business fashionista.

Not only does Sha provide an understanding of shapes and garments, but she also gives the reader suggestions for creating the illusion of different textures in shading and how to digitally enhance images. By including finishing touches like these, sketches can be transformed into concepts and thus the reader is capable of presenting completely refined designs. A CD is included with over 250 copyright-free images and the pages of the book include lots of different sketched figures, allowing for easy scanning, tracing or copying. Spoilt for choice when deciding how to create these images, it is merely up to the student to inject the sketched figures with wild and wonderful clothes. This book would be a brilliant starting point for budding fashion illustrators as it contains a perfect combination of beginner’s tips and professional touches.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Figure Poses for Fashion Illustrators is published by Search Press and will teach you to sketch the perfect silhouette for just £14.99 – an absolute steal when considering the CD of images that is also included.

If you liked this book you may also like Fashion Drawing in Vogue by William Packer.

Style Diaries by Simone Werle

17 Mar

World Fashion from Berlin to Toyko

Gone are the days when Vogue was the definitive guide to what you would be wearing each month. Obsolete is the notion that fashion relies upon trends and current fads. With the click of a button, those in need of inspiration now have endless realms of opportunity via the most influential fashion forums of the 21st century… blogs.

“Fashion blogs might not (yet) be the biggest stars on the fashion firmament, but they are definitely the brightest.”

Fascinated by the broad spectrum of fashion blogs that are moulding the wardrobes of vintage-lovers and Topshop fanatics, Simone Werle has concocted a sophisticated encyclopaedia of the most fashionable people online. From Philadelphia to Paris and even to my hometown of Birmingham, style is explored by bloggers of different ages, shapes, races and personality types. Featuring well known icons such as London’s Susie Bubble to lesser known gems from all over the world, Simone manages to present an eclectic mix of style and provide the reader with endless outfit encouragement.

Although each blogger gives a small account of themselves and what makes them tick, the real beauty (as often is on the blogs themselves) lies in the fact that the photographs tell a story. Fashion bloggers have a way of capturing their outfits with immense attention to detail and consequently a close up of a button or a neon seam can be all it takes to trigger a fashion idea in your head. Anyone with an interest in fashion, photography or journalism who has not yet immersed themselves in the culture of blogging would find this book to be particularly useful. For anyone like me who enjoys reading blogs and tends to seek a lot of inspiration online, it will be a peculiar change to enjoy the best of the internet in a traditional bound book. A true representation of the diversity of Style, this book is the ultimate reminder that Yves Saint Laurent was right when he said that “fashions fade but style is eternal”.

A la Mode Appraisal: 9/10

Style Diaries is published by Prestel and will encourage you to get creative with your wardrobe for just £16.99.

If you liked this you may also like The Fashion File by Janie Bryant.

The Fashion File by Janie Bryant

14 Mar

with Monica Corcoran Harel
Advice, Tips and Inspiration from the Costume Designer of Mad Men

Winner of multiple Emmys and Golden Globes, the US television series Mad Men has recieved endless acclaim for its striking visuals and fabulous representation of 1960s America. In order to create the sense of such a time period, one enormous element of design comes into play during every single episode… costume. In The Fashion File, Janie Bryant, the show’s costume designer, shares all of her creative secrets and enlightens the reader as to how the styling for the show really unfolds.

The book contains a foreword by Mad Men star January Jones, an introduction, and eight chapters that take the reader on an elaborate journey of styling. Despite drawing heavy reference to all of the Mad Men characters to illustrate her points and to juxtapose different styles, Janie provides styling advice that anyone can adapt for their own personal use. For example, in a small section entitled ‘Colour Me Chic’, Janie advises you to “hold a few different coloured pieces up to your face and see if the palette brings out your eyes or warms your complexion”. The end of each chapter comes hilariously with some trivial fashion ‘Cocktail Chatter’ and a checklist for the reader to tick off before continuing on their style mission.

As well as offering her own recommendations about styling, Janie constantly reminds the reader that she is someone who looks to other people for inspiration. I was fascinated to read that Janie compiles inspiration boards (boards on which you attach cuttings and pictures to help you reach an end goal – in this case, styling) and encourages other fashionistas to do the same in order to “capture the mood of how you want to look”. She also features an entire section of her icons and inspirations, featuring the likes of Rita Hayworth and Elizabeth Taylor. With these facts in mind, there is a constant undertone that each woman is capable of compiling her own individual style and that – although these tips may be useful – the reader ultimately has the power and creativity to style themselves perfectly. This, for me, is what sets The Fashion File apart from other books of its kind; it exhilarated me to want to concoct my own fashion recipes.

With so many fabulous elements, from descriptions of typical fashions in different eras to rules on how to dress for your personal silhouette, The Fashion File would be an asset to the bookshelf of any fashionista and is a compulsory buy for a Mad Men fan.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

The Fashion File is published by Apple Press and will provide you with the priceless advice of Janie Bryant for just £16.99.

If you liked this, you may also like Paris Between the Wars by Vincent Bouvet and Gérard Durozoi.

Express Makeup by Rae Morris

13 Mar

Imagine the scenario…

You are a hairdresser at a beauty pageant and one of the guest judges is Naomi Campbell. The model throws one of her infamous tantrums and her makeup artist storms out, prompting her to bid you “fix my lips”. At the very moment that you reach to apply a little gloss for her, the paparazzi burst into the room and capture you pampering her to perfection. From that day forward, you are an in demand makeup artist extraordinaire. This is the story of author, Rae Morris, a now world renowned makeup artist.

In a sequel to her first book, Makeup: the Ultimate Guide, Rae is attempting to share all of her artistry secrets with an attention to speed; “this book is for the women who are put off by the thought of how long it takes them to do their makeup”. Covering all bases, from helping you to compile an essential makeup kit to making suggestions that tailor it to your eyes, skin and hair, Rae is here to provide a starter guide to maintaining a fast and flawless beauty regime.

My favourite parts of the book were, in fact, two small statements that surprised me the most. Firstly was the recommendation that one invests in good eyebrow pencils because “besides the perfect foundation, your eyebrows are the most important feature on your face”. It seemed so trivial at the time, but since adapting the mantra of using an eyebrow pencil regularly I have really noticed how much varying your brows can completely alter your look. Secondly was the very logical suggestion that women own at least two shades of foundation. Your complexion changes with the seasons, so shouldn’t your foundation? Such a small thing to note but it had genuinely never occurred to me. It is also useful to vary your shade depending on whether you’ll be applying fake tan or not.

A thoroughly enjoyable book with lots of images and step-by-step guides to creating specific makeup looks, I would like to emphasise that this book is not a girlie indulgence… it is a necessity.

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Express Makeup is published by Apple Press and will teach you all of the tricks of the trade for a mere £14.99.

If you liked this you may also like The Modern Girl’s Guide to Fabulousness by Bethanie Lunn.