Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Red Alert

I am currently listening to the entire Desert Island Discs archive, I love it. I try and listen to at least one episode a day and on Sunday, I listened to the wonderful Kristin Scott-Thomas.  An actress who shot to fame playing cold, repressed English women (Fiona in Four Weddings, Katherine in The English of my favourite films of all time) she came across as incredibly warm and self deprecating with some great music  choices.  What surprised me was her luxury. Foe my readers who don't know the format, you choose eight 'discs' (pieces of music), you are given the Bible (or religious text of your choice) and the complete works of Shakespeare, you choose one book and one luxury. Kristin's luxury was a pair of Christian Louboutin mules.  
SJP's feet in the Pigalle pump by Louboutin

Recently Mr Louboutin is a bit hot under the collar.  He has sued Yves Saint Laurent for trademark infringement last month in a legal tussle over a pair of shoes and it was clear the accused, one of the grandest labels in France, would not take the slur lying down.  Now YSL is fighting back in a dispute which started with a collection of pumps. The best-selling styles, including the Tribute, the Palais and the Woodstock, came with coloured soles which perfectly matched their leather uppers. It was the red shoes Louboutin and his legal advisers took exception to. Now, as I am not lucky enough to own a pair of either, it made me wonder...if the Gods of Fashion were reading this and I could request just one pair...what or by which designer would it be?
Is this what one of the Gods of Fashion might look like?
 Louboutin's designs have been spotted on the feet of celebrities for many years. The designer is among the most prolific on the international catwalks and, in his case, the prized instant recognition which is fashion's life blood comes with his poppy-red lacquered soles.  Louboutin claims to have introduced his trademark in the early Nineties while studying a prototype. "There was this big, black sole," he told The New Yorker recently, "and then, thank God, there was this girl painting her nails." He swiftly used the enamel in question to cover the shoe and one of fashion's status symbols was born. 

Alexa in the YSL Palais

Or so he thought. YSL argues that Louboutin has no monopoly on the colour – on the soles of his shoes or indeed elsewhere – and that its shoes have sported red soles since the Seventies. "Red outsoles are a commonly used ornamental design feature in footwear, dating as far back as the red shoes worn by King Louis XIV in the 1600s and the ruby-red shoes that carried Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz," said court papers filed by Yves Saint Laurent and released this week.
"As an industry leader who has devoted his entire professional life to women's footwear, Mr Louboutin either knew or should have known about some or all of the dozens of footwear models that rendered his sworn statement false."
Elvis blue suede shoe envy? Buy these from YSL

 Louboutin, 47, is seeking damages of $1m (£620,000) from YSL which, he argues, has copied his signature sole on "virtually identical" shoes. According to court documents, Louboutin, which sells more than 500,000 pairs of shoes in more than 40 countries, was awarded a registered trademark for its red sole by the US Patent and Trademark Office in 2008.
"The shiny red colour has no function other than to identify to the public that they are mine," the designer told a court in his application. With this in mind, Louboutin has, in the past, obtained injunctions against several companies attempting to replicate it, including, last February, Kimera International, which was found to have "engaged in acts of trademark counterfeiting and trademark dilution." Taking on a name with the clout of Yves Saint Laurent, today owned by PPR (Pinault-Printemps-Redoute), among the largest luxury goods conglomerates in the world, is another matter. 
The YSL Tribute Platform T-strap sandal...a favourite of Olivia Palermo
 Charles Colman, a New York-based intellectual property rights lawyer told trade paper Women's Wear Daily that any litigation was likely to prove a long, drawn-out affair. "When you're dealing with two large parties, both of which have large and skilled law firms working for them, you don't have that leverage differential that you may have in other situations," he said, going on to point out that it was also less likely that inflated legal fees would run either party into the ground.

So..the fight will go on. Do you have any thoughts about this and if you had to pick a side, who would it be?

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Seeing the Light!

Major news on the beauty circuit: YSL’s Touche Eclat is now available in seven shades. Having only been available in shades 1, 2 and 3 until now, the additional four shades will be available exclusively at Selfridges from today! You can read more about this wondrous development on Musings of a Makeup Artist and but suffice to say, this is pretty exciting news.

The must have pen of make-up artists, Touche Éclat illuminates and highlights complexions with every brushstroke; it’s the perfect balance of coverage and radiance from this secret formula and it stops me looking like Dracula's daughter every morning by magically vanishing dark circles.  I've also discovered that a thin swipe down the middle of my nose, gives the illusion of it being narrower than it actually is! 

Having originally launched in 1992, the distinctive gold pen is as popular as ever with one sold EVERY 10 seconds.  Until now it's only ever been available in three shades. However with an additional six shades the wonder concealer will offer the perfect match for any skin tone plus, according to the YSL product blurb, "the ability to sculpt and redefine facial contours."

Coincidentally, I’m down to my last click of Touche Eclat (shade no 3) – my only criticism of this product is you never know it’s going to run out – but I can’t eke out what’s on the brush until payday.  I've tried before..with a dab of oil free moisturiser and it simply doesn't blooming work! I can't live without and I also love the appearance of that swanky gold pen in my make up bag.  What do you think of Touche Eclat? Do you find the existing three shades limiting or have you found an equally good product from another (cheaper?) brand?

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

God Save Her!

Aaah her Majesty and some lovely black labs..Hold up! I think it's Helen Mirren

My goodness I have some explaining to do..What a long absence! Firstly I had a blissful ten days in the Shire thanks to a combination of Easter, the Royal Wedding and the May Bank Holiday before coming back to my busiest two work weeks of the entire year..then giving myself a weekend off! Many things have happened on Planet Fashion since I've been away, we've had the Wedding Dress (I loved it), Princess B and E's hats (hilarious), the beginning of Cannes and the melting away of the beautiful hot weather to be replaced by the Great British Public wondering around praying that the brief sojourn of sun we had wasn't actually all there was going to be this Summer, please? PLEASE?

I have two new addictions in my life, The West Wing and Lindt dark chocolate with sea salt and I'm considering making an investment purchase influenced, in part, by a rather key member of the Royal family and the unpredictable British weather.  A Barbour. "But" I hear you cry, "the Barbour is young and hip, it even comes with a Liberty lining for Pete's sake! Alexa Chung has one, Lily Allen has one, heck Gaga has probably eaten one..No drama!"

Well this decision was not influenced by the fash pack peeeps, it was..gulp...a practical call. I borrowed one from a friend at the prospect of a wee break on our beautiful but unpredictable coast. Given that it might be warm, it might be cool, it might be windy, it might be wet, it might, indeed, be all of those things at the same time, what, without wishing to travel with my entire wardrobe in tow, to wear?

A pair of jeans. Not too skinny. It's all a bit Boden around those parts and sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb is generally best avoided in order not to cause embarrassment to self or The Boy. A sun-dress. Cotton. Prints possibly..but nothing too loud. That would be ridiculous. And a Barbour jacket.
A classic man's Bedale. The women's jackets are too womanly – both in terms of cut and more
pastel-coloured tartans in their linings. True, the Bedale is the type La Chung likes to wear. But I'm not going to let going head to head with a fashion icon put me off (hello this month's Vogue cover) – there are so many of them now, after all. 
Having the hood up on the Barbour enhances the Bambi eyed look.
 Should a Barbour be green or black? "Green's a bit country on you, isn't it?" a colleague opines. I point out that I have been known to leave town, if only for a day or two at a time, thank you. Also black is perhaps overly masculine – and too flat in the rare event of blue sky.
And so I borrow a sage green Barbour. And wear it. For four days solid. Over everything. It's got massive pockets so I don't need a bag. It's waterproof so in a hail storm I stay dry. I even sling it on over my pyjamas when I wander outdoors on a particular evening I can't sleep because it's too quiet!!

Versatile doesn't cover it. And if, admittedly, on occasion I might look just a little like Her Majesty The Queen only with much, much messier hair, what's so very wrong with that?