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The Classics: Chanel 2.55

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The Chanel brand has always been associated with classic, timeless elegance. To this day, a Chanel handbag remains one of the most recognized and respected accessories in the world.

Mademoiselle Chanel designed her accessories to be both practical and sensible, and to her accessories signified the true emblem of luxury and elegance. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to update her handbag, for the modern woman. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955.

From the very beginning, Coco Chanel strove for functionality. For this reason, the bag features a double flap with a zip-fastened pocket intended as a secret place for storing a love letter. On the inside of the bag there are three bellow pockets, meant to store a lady’s necessities like lipstick and perfume.

The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume. The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: by jockeys’ riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment. The original 2.55 is lined in a burgundy color which represents the color of the uniform she wore growing up in an orphanage. The famous double C emblem, (“Coco Chanel”) is stitched on the inside flap like a coat of arms. The bag originally came with a front lock called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (in reference to Coco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions can also be supplied with a lock in the shape of the double C logo. Both the iconic rectangular clasp that is gilted with gold and the famous leather and chain shoulder strap had never been seen on a handbag before Coco Chanel added them.

Since it’s introduction, there have been several variations of the original design including different colors, leather/fabric combinations, metal and interwoven leather straps and the lock, mademoiselle vs. interlocking CC. Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in February 2005 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original. Though the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags it is now commonly used now as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55.


 

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Sophisticated Scent: Chanel Coco Noir

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A 2012 launch I was extremely excited for was Chanel’s new fragrance Coco Noir. The scent is the third in the Coco franchise, joining 1984’s Coco and 2001’s Coco Mademoiselle. As a loyal servant to Coco Mademoiselle, I had to test it’s counterpart.

Created by Jacques Polge, master perfumer at Chanel, Coco Noir marks a return to Oriental fragrances for the House. Recalling his journey to unveil the mystery of black through fragrance, Monsieur Polge explains, “The night vision of the ‘Orient that starts and ends in Venice’ imposed itself upon me, and that is where I wanted to go.”

Striking top notes of Grapefruit and Calabrian Bergamot accentuate the floral accord with Rose and Jasmine, while Indonesian Patchouli, Sandalwood and Bourbon Vanilla notes add warmth to the seductive scent.

The Coco fragrances by Chanel are very personal to me. My mother has worn Chanel Coco ever since I can remember which is why I believe I am so drawn to it’s younger sibling Coco Mademoiselle. As for the newest family member, Coco Noir is an exquisite fragrance that reeks of sophistication and luxury. Saved for a very special occasion, this is no versatile, everyday perfume. One day I will graduate to Coco Noir’s level of sophistication, but as of yet I feel I am still too young.

Sun-Kissed Favorites: Bronzing Powders

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Bronzing Powders. The most purchased item in my collection. Used to create the illusion of sun-kissed skin without lying in the sun. Not only are they easy to apply, but they conceal, even-out skintone and create a more toned/sculpted appearance.

Bronzing powders should be placed strategically on the areas that would be naturally “kissed” by the sun: the forehead, bridge of nose, tops of cheeks, and chin. Take what’s left on the brush and blend onto the neck and décolleté so there is no line of demarcation. Bronzer should be transluscent. The brush that you use will make a big difference in your application: denser, shorter hairs will pick up more pigment than looser, longer hairs. (Favorite: Bobby Brown Bronzer Brush).

Over-applying or picking the wrong shade will result in looking like Snookie. Everyone can wear bronzer, fair or dark skin, it’s just about knowing which shade works best for you. When picking out a bronzer, go about two shades deeper than your natural coloring, or choose a shade that is close to the color your skin naturally turns in the sun. Stay away from products that are frosted or have orange undertones, they will look artificial.

Matte and semi-matte bronzers ONLY! Matte bronzers look more natural than glitter or frosted products. Especially for contouring purposes, matte products are a must. (How-To Contour: Here) A small about of sheen/glow is okay, however, apply with a light hand. If you want the shimmer or highlight, add separately with a highlighting product.

FAVORITES:

Disclosure: I am constantly changing bronzers, daily. I have yet to find the “holy grail”, but will continue to search high and low. The favorites I have chosen are the products I reach for the most and believe to be universally flattering.

Laura Geller Bronze-n-Brighten: This is a great product for correction purposes. The multi-colored, baked layers provide redness relief and an even skintone. The “bronzing” layers add a lasting glow to the skin.

Bobby Brown Bronzing Powder: The universal bronzer. Available in seven shades for a wide range of complexions, this bronzer will suit anyone. The long-lasting formula is extremely smooth and silky and applies seamlessly.

Guerlain ‘Terracotta-Four Seasons’ Bronzer: Guerlain is considered to be the “ultimate bronzing authority”. With many great products to choose from, the Terracotta-Four Seasons can be used all year long. The idea is to blend the four colors together in different variations to reach your desired color for every season.

Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Faux Tan & Warmth All-Over Face Color: Both of these powders are my most reached for bronzers. Quick and easy, these bronzing powders bring “life” to the skin. Use separately to create healthy-looking skin in seconds. Mix them together for a radiant “sun-goddess” look.

Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel Moisturizing Bronzing Powder: When my skin is looking a bit dull or flat, this is the bronzer I use. It produces a nice glow on the skin and the color is very subtle. This is the most natural looking bronzing powder I have used.

Honorable Mentions:

NARS Laguna: I have a love/hate relationship with this bronzer. Sometimes it looks amazing and other times it just looks dirty.

Too Faced Caribbean in a Compact in Sun Bunny: Great color, too much shimmer. This is a great product to use on chest/legs and décolleté.

QUESTION?

What are your favorite bronzing powders?

Tangy Trend: Orange Nails

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This summer change up your lacquer collection with unexpected vibrant hues. Accessorize your fingers and toes with zesty shades of orange. This attention-getting hue comes in many energetic forms; bright coral, firey red, neon, tangerine – a hint of orange is a hot shade for summer.

Summer is synonymous with vibrant color and tanned skin. Express your personal style with loud, fun nail shades. Orange will work on every skin tone and looks incredible on bronzed, sun-kissed skin. These four zesty hues will set tanned skin on fire.

Illamasqua ~ Whack: $21.43

RGB ~ Coral: $16.00

Chanel ~ Holiday: $26.00

Dior ~ Psychedelic Orange: $23.00

Festive Fingernails: Best Red Nail Polish

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Red nail polish is a constant around the holidays. This bold color is festive, classic and timeless. However, not all reds are created equal. To find a red hue that complements your skintone follow these simple rules.

✳ For dark or golden skintones:  bright, true reds look best.

✳ For pink undertones: lighter, orange-reds – will make skin look less ruddy.

✳ For pale skintones: the contrast of a blue-red is striking.

Red nail polish has a tendency to stain your nails. Apply a base coat first so your nails are protected from unwanted and hard to remove stains.  Here are five red nail polishes, every girl should own:

Chanel ~ Dragon: $25.00
OPI ~ Big Apple: $8.50
Revlon ~ All Fired Up: $4.79
China Glaze ~ Ruby Pumps: $6.50
Nars ~ Jungle Red: $17.00

How To: Glitter

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Sparkle this holiday season with a little glitter.

Application of glitter can go terribly wrong… fast. It is messy and can look too theatrical if not careful. To make glitter appear chic and sophisticated, use only a small amount in a concentrated area.

Start with product. The Illusion D’Ombre Eyeshadows by Chanel are by far my favorite. They have intense pigmentation and provide a classic shimmering effect with one easy-to-use swipe. They can be used with fingers or a very dense brush for perfect application. If actual glitter is desired, loose pigments/glitter are best. Make Up Forever Glitters are soft, concentrated and finely-milled for super sparkle.

How To Apply Glitter:

➺ On clean eyelids, apply eyeshadow primer from lash line to brow bone. (Favorite: Urban Decay Primer Potion)

➺ The glitter will need something to adhere to, apply a cream eyeshadow to the lid. This can be nude or a color that compliments the glitter. (Favorite: MAC Paint Pot)

➺ Using a small synthetic brush, dip into the glitter. Tap off excess.

➺ Press the glitter onto the lid in a dabbing motion. Do not sweep.

➺ Mist a setting spray gently on the eyes and wait to dry. (Favorite: Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray)

✴ If this technique is still too messy, on the back of hand or artist’s palette, mix cream eyeshadow and glitter together and apply to the lid. With glitter application, fallout is expected. Make sure to do eye makeup first and face makeup second. Dab the fallout with scotch tape to clean any loose particles.

Couture Collaboration: Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s

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Pictures from the Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s press preview were unveiled yesterday. The collection hits 235 stores on August 31 and are priced from $50 – $170.

Karl Lagerfeld has been a freelance designer for many fashion houses, Balmain, Patou, Chloe, Fendi and Chanel. Currently, Lagerfeld designs for three companies, his own label, Chanel and furs for Fendi of Italy.

Karl Lagerfeld for Macy’s is comprised of dresses – floral and structural, tweed separates – shorts and vests, and faux leather jackets. All of the 45 piece collection is in black and white, with subtle pops of pink.

Collection is available online and in stores August 31.

Fine Line: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

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Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner

Gel-based eyeliners provide the look of liquid-liner but apply with the ease and control of a gel formula.

Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliners are my pick in this category. They are extremely pliable, long-wearing, water-resistant and are available in an array of 14 beautiful colors.

This award-winning liner feels light and silky on the skin. The texture is smooth, slippery and glides on the eyelid gracefully. This liner lasts all day, no flaking and stays put.

Like most gel-liners, packaging comes in a pot-form. This product does not dry-out as fast as others and will last a very long time because only the tiniest amount is needed. Use with any brush that you are most comfortable with. I prefer Chanel’s Pinceau 13 ultra fine eyeliner brush, it provides ultimate control and accuracy.

This product is truly in a league-of-its-own and once you have tried this eyeliner, it will seem very hard to use anything else.

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