Friday, 31 December 2010
It feels strange to say this, but 2010 was a good year. What am I saying, good? 2010 was a sterling year. (*I'm excluding the first 3 months of it which thankfully turned out to be just a hangover from the previous Years of Bleakness.) It might sound funny to say that here, as you would barely know it from reading my posts, but trust me. So thank you 2010 - you made me feel like myself again.


Friday, 24 December 2010
I'm here to tell you that the Toujours Toi Dark Side of the Moon necklace is on sale today and it's 50% off, but just for today!

Oh, I had ideas, I had great plans to shoot this necklace but...
I had to fire my model for insubordination and move onto using inanimate objects as a model. (A lampshade. No claws.)

{The other photos I took of Lola attacking with the necklace were too disturbing to


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

{Muuto E27 pendant lamp, The White Company velvet bathrobe, Brvtvs double chain ring, Marni bra, Trasparenze Gennifer merino hold ups, F.Scott Fitzgerald beautiful cover hardbacks.}

SNOW ♡...

Sunday, 19 December 2010

I'm so glad I went outside, or I wouldn't have noticed that someone tagged my car with snow hearts. Curious...

{my pics}

Back In Brussels: Preparing shop

Saturday, 18 December 2010

This is just a teeny tiny post to say that I am happily back in Brussels! 

Everyone says Brussels is boring and I have my turn of biatching of how Brussels weather is like a woman on PMS- cannot make up its bloody mind (on the bright side, this has made Belgians such wardrobe layering artists! Though it does involve different shades of grey.)

But even with the yummiest paella and jamon serrano in Barcelonetta- Brussels and this bullshit blog is on my mind.  And I missed you, my bullshit readers- it is corny, i know and i wasn't in a hurry to get back to blogging, i admit - but yes, i did.  

Got so many great posts and new ideas planned for action (read- not have gotten my butt out of the sofa just yet)

What is next, i have been cleaning shop, (for a week now) and I pulled a muscle from my shoulder to my elbow down to my fingers.  I tell people that it is due to this fancy backward smash i do in volleyball - but it also could well have been from too much vacuuming.  But I am sticking to my backward smash story.  (You so didn't have to know that, but, heck, i have got to present my excuses why after weeks of vacation i only have this poor excuse of a blog post instead of a big bullshit revelation!)

I will be answering mails, and comments (thank you! thank you for not giving up on me!) individually and without fail and am working on new blog ideas for now and will be posting after the holidays.

In the meantime- please allow me to wish you a fabulous ballsy bullshit-free holiday season!!!  
Be blogging soon!!!


Friday, 17 December 2010
The second in my series (yes I can call it that now that I've managed a second one) on friends around the world. The first is here. Ester Pastel is my lovely friend from Barcelona. Her name isn't really Pastel, but then my name isn't really Petrolia either. Ester is my magical friend who I can go into a bonkers crazy creative zone with and we always perfectly understand each other. She is a


Wednesday, 15 December 2010
A friend recently told me I'm "a meeter", which sat a little strangely with me at first. But somehow, in the past few months - it's true - I've turned into a meeter. I couldn't tell you how this happened or how to go about it, because I don't know. All I know is that I've made more friends in the past six months than I did in the previous few years. On trips to Paris I used to spend most of the


Tuesday, 14 December 2010
{top - my photo, taken out of my window, middle - Catherine Deneuve by Mary Ellen Mark, bottom - my photo, taken in my street}


Sunday, 12 December 2010
The hearts are up. Now it's officially Christmas. I haven't bought a single card or present yet. I only need to get around ten presents oh so, so, many thanks to sensible family present buying amnesty negotiations.

I plan to spend most of today collecting pine cones and branches and I need to buy some metallic paint. My sewing fingers are twitching at the ready for some craftastic Christmas


Friday, 10 December 2010

Snow butterfly scarf by Mungo Gurney for The Creative Archives.
From No.6 {image 1} and Browns Focus


Yes, Mayle. Are you people trying to bankrupt me? Banzai!


Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The lady crossing the street is one of those bad pictures that I secretly think is a good picture - even down to the badly dressed tourists in the background (sorry badly dressed tourists but you're in Paris - at least make an effort - honestly.)  The sky kept looking like it was about to snow, like that. But then when it actually did, as A and I were drinking hot chocolate sitting outside,


Saturday, 4 December 2010
Many, MANY years ago before the internet, every season I would await the arrival of the postman with the A.P.C. catalogue all the way from France at my parents' house. I would flip through it, noting with a dot of pen my favourite things, then fill in the order form in neat capital letters, post it to the address in Ivry-sur-Seine just outside Paris, and wait. A few weeks later my package would


Tuesday, 30 November 2010
Before I bombard you with about a week's worth of Paris related posts, here are some bits and bobs of interest from before I went:

Book: Keith Richards: Life. I would never have picked this book up if I hadn't happened to read an excerpt from it in the Times and been surprised at how engaging it was. It's so riveting that I can't put the bloody thing down now - I even took it to Paris, though


Monday, 29 November 2010

As much as I'd like to think that if I lived in Paris full time I'd totally assimilate into French culture - and I would try - I also know from past experience of living in a foreign country that in reality you suddenly become obsessed with Marmite and Cadbury's Dairy Milk; you bribe people to stuff hundreds of PG Tips pyramid teabags in their suitcases when they visit. That's why I'm glad


Sunday, 28 November 2010

Sorry for the radio silence. I'm back in London after the most amazing, wonderful, interesting time in Paris; even more so than usual. Stories to come...

{photos: Tom Palumbo, Paris 1962. I never tire of these pictures. More here.}


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Ah, Parisian winter skies. See you on the other side of that beloved tunnel. (I assure you it is possible to love a tunnel, especially when it leads to France.)


Monday, 22 November 2010

Today would have been my mum's sixty sixth birthday. If she were here she would probably laugh at me for moping around being maudlin and suggest a cup of tea.


Shh, don't tell Jean Touitou, but I've been having a secret affair with COS. (AKA Celine On Sale).  It's unusual for a high street brand, albeit an upmarket one, to have me exhibiting those classic symptoms: taking weird inconvenient detours that lead me to its doors, then hey, since I just happen to be passing I may as well take a look. Followed by sighing and stroking of garments that I


Thursday, 18 November 2010
Last Saturday I visited an incredible house, belonging to the artist Stephen Wright. Both a private home and a museum, the House of Dreams, which hides behind a high wall in East Dulwich, is an artwork in itself. The house was given a huge feature in World of Interiors magazine last year and Stephen's ten foot figures recently stood in the windows of Joseph. The museum is a life project and is


Monday, 15 November 2010
First of all, apologies for taking so long to get back to you. D.V. was on an extended sojourn at the Paris Crillon; something to do with The Collections, or Fittings, or Appointments with her vendeuse at Chanel. Something terribly important anyway. But she’s here now, rouged to the hilt and weighted with jewels, ready to answer some questions.

Has anyone seen the newly published re-edition of


Saturday, 13 November 2010
How many seconds does it take to buy a locket? I've been on a non-consumerism kick for so long I had forgotten what it felt like. Surely the only time you should purchase something you don't really need is when you get that feeling; the thrilling combination of elation and fear where you're scared that someone else will buy it before you complete your payment and it's sold out. The virtual


Friday, 12 November 2010

Honestly, you'd think I'd be more committed to preparing my tax return than to dreaming of Sweden today. The pictures are from last winter when I went to Stockholm and the island of Sandhamn in the outer archipelago. I loved how every window had a light in it to protect against the darkness of the long winter, and candles were never skimped on. I think it's time to put up my fairy


Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Miss Woo from Cheapskate Chic gave me the "I love your blog" prize. Thank you! Cor, it feels as if I haven't done a tag since the olden days of blogging, when there were only two streetstyle blogs and people still bought newspapers every day.

I have to answer the 10 questions and pass it onto 10 of my favourite blogs.

1. Why did you create the blog?
It was so long ago I can't remember...no, ok


Monday, 8 November 2010
One blog that has really intrigued me in the past few months is Via.  I love delving into artist Liivia Sirola's every day life. Her photographs are beautiful - soft and mysterious - the writing even more mysterious to me because I can't read a word of Finnish. It took me ages to work out that "Vanhemmat Tekstit" means "Older Posts"! Google Translate seems to have a fair amount of difficulty with


Photos from last night at the Master Shipwright's House. I take every opportunity to visit this place (I'd buy it in a second if I had £5,000,000 to spare) and last night - a convergence of various folk bands, jugglers, Morris dancers, bonfires, acapella sea shanty groups, the burning of pirates, hot cider and fireworks flying up from the River Thames at the end of the garden - was magical.


Friday, 5 November 2010

A few recent photos from my phone. NB: none of these were taken on or have anything to do with Halloween. You may have seen some of them and many other juicy things I don't post here already if you're one of the rare and beloved flowers that follows me on ☞Twitter☜.


Wednesday, 3 November 2010
I didn't go to the Kate Moss for Topshop launch on Monday, forgive me. The Oxford Circus Topshop is already a vortex of pandemonium without adding Kate in person and her final collection for the brand into the mix. I was able to have a look at some photos of it beforehand though, and noted the re-issue of several pieces that had sent people into ebay bidding frenzies the first time round. Also,


Monday, 1 November 2010
I spent a leisurely five hours dining on baby octopus and converting family members to the ways of the Aperol spritz. Afterward, the plan had been to convene with a friend in a damp old cave under the embankment, but the intense odour of cheese emanating from inside was so strong, and perplexing, that it forced us into a retreat. Over the bridge to the land of afternoon ballroom dancing, where I


I'm just putting these Comme des Garçons shirts here so I can look at them and stop hatching mad schemes to buy them both. {1, 2}


Thursday, 28 October 2010
I'm very excited to show you this new...let's just say new post because we all know what happens when I call something a new regular feature or series. I forget how many I've grandly announced and then left lying around. But I thought this one up for very selfish reasons, though I hope you'll enjoy the results.

Many, actually most of my close friends are not here in London where I am, but


Tuesday, 26 October 2010
...I would need to wear for the next six months, if someone were to shower me with cash.

{photos: Dries van Noten ~ sorry about my lazy cropping.}


Monday, 25 October 2010
I know my posts are a bit film festival heavy this week, having previously been a bit Frieze heavy before, but that's what's going on, so what can you do?

Yesterday, thanks to the continuing magic powers of Twitter I saw that a few more tickets to the sold out surprise film of the festival had been released. By the time I got through to book, there was one solitary seat left - so I nabbed it.


Sunday, 24 October 2010
Elle: Hey Stephen, did you know that woman over there with the camera is doing an actual giveaway on her blog Lola Is Beauty for two tickets to the London Film Festival screening of the new Sofia Coppola film Somewhere that we star in? It's being shown this Thursday, 28th October at 5.45pm at Vue, Leicester Square, as part of the film festival, but it won't be released in the UK until 4 March

Bullshit Police Arrest's L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes

Friday, 22 October 2010

After our bullshit bedtime story, it gives me great pleasure to make the next bullshit arrest.

Bullshit police hereby arrests L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes!

So, what is so bullshit about this ad- you ask me?

I have 3 BIG issues with it.

First, the name - Volume Million lashes.  

What the fuck is that?  

And gawd, when will these ridiculous names and claims stop?  

Well, if I may borrow a quote from The Social Network-
"Million Lashes is Not Cool, Billion Lashes is Cool!"

And the beauty of this is, with this name, they do not have to prove anything- 
because Volume Million Lashes is a product name, not a claim so they do not even have to support this with fake tests.

Second, are those testimonials that appear in their website.

L'Oreal, testimonials that are conducted by yourself, however genuine they seem or they are- 


Testimonials should be from neutral parties.  Leave the testimonials to the beauty bloggers.  

You have no business publishing testimonials which you yourself have conducted.  
That is unethical.

The third and the BIGGEST issue I have is the word "NEW".  

With L'Oreal, everything is NEW.  Well it is NOT 

 Gawd, a mascara cannot be as basic as this one- so they had to compensate by this ridiculous name.

Tell you what dear readers, I will teach you how to create a NEW Innovative L'Oreal product.  

Just follow the instructions below:

And as a subnote, if you go to L'Oreal website- you will be impressed by the really high tech animation of opening the brush.  

I look forward for the next launch when they will make it into a digital 3D animation.  
Though I do not expect much of a new product.

So, the bullshit verdict is 10/10.  They have made a totally ordinary, really old product totally NEW.  

But, L'Oreal bullshit is getting so old and predictable.  
Time to inject new blood in your organization guys!


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Inspirational whatnot that's been on my desktop and somehow goes together.

{I can't find the credits, just the sources. Tell me if you know! First image via Convoy(?), second via JJJJound, third via either Lolita or Julia I think (can't find it now), fourth via designsponge. }

Top9 Tactic to Make You Buy More Makeup

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

In cosmetics, I would like to start the year right by making you buy BIG right away!

That keeps the council of the clueless at a comfortable distance from my ass for the first half of the year until September when I will stir you up again with another BIG innovation.

So, just in case you wonder - whether there is real innovation or not, you will surely hear one from me 
  • real or make-believe 
  • pre-programmed like clockwork by mid January.   
This will either be in the form of a lipstick or a mascara (the two biggest sellers in make up- or whatever format is surging growth for the moment).  Normally, if i gave you mascara in January, I will give you lipstick in September, and vice versa.

Anyway, this big "innovation" will come with a cool, much researched and flashy new packaging, a new celebrity endorser and....


Oh shit- I have spent all my money on the new packaging and will not have enough money to improve on the formula.  

WTF do I do now?

 Have no fear - closely watch how I, the priestess of bullshit will now trade my cape and scepter with bling and fur coat and unleash my dirty tactic N°9:

I pimp my claim!  Yeah baby!

Consider this real story:
Rich Colour Lipstick. Creamy color that shapes and defines lips. Wider coverage for easier application. Nonfeathering. SPF 15, with Vitamins A, E.  
Vivid lipstick. With 3D pigments for vivid lips and vivid life! Marigold extract has moisturizing properties for 96%* more sensuous lips. SPF 15. 
*Bullshit research, details of which you do not need to see conducted on 26 women or so. 

What is the difference between the old and the new?  

Nothing, nada, niet, zilch, niente.

But of course, I will tweak the line up a little so it will not be too obvious to you.  This is how I will further cloud your perception.  I will also:
  • discontinue some less selling shades (which are bound to be someone's favorite shade - but I don't care)  
  • put in some wilder colors to give you the impression that our lineup is exciting.  They most probably won't sell as individual shades but it will lift the sales of the whole line. Unquantifiable but true. 
  • sex up the shade names (tactic N°10)
  • I will throw in some research where i will be claiming high percentage of women who noticed a more moisturized lips (more on these on a later blog)
  • Price the lipstick just a tad higher for credibility

And the result:
Long term consumers liked the "new" vivid lipstick better and swore that it had better properties than the old one. Sales were up by 35%. True story.  
You see, of course, we are all prone to the power of suggestion.  If we are hyped that something is better, we will believe and perceive that it is.

Such is how we operate in the biz.

But, are you really better off knowing?
Or would you rather continue believing and perceiving a self-fulfilling innovation?

Only you can decide for yourself.

As for me- I am out of the biz and am here to at least present you the option to decide for yourself.

To answer Yvonne's question on whether products get recycled- this is just one part of the answer.  
You will learn much more (yes, it gets worse!) in the next posts!


Forget about D.V.? She's been languishing on that crimson sofa for weeks, elaborately maquillaged and primed to hold forth. She is not going to be amused about this.

Of course I have been tirelessly searching through her memoirs for the answers all this time. Leave any more questions in the comments and nuggets of wisdom will be dispensed shortly - after I've been firmly berated from the

Bullshit Bedtime Story : The Brush Brush-Off with L'Ucifer

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Before I make the next bullshit police arrest,  I would like to tell you a bullshit short story.  

For this short story and the next to come (if i manage to evade prison) , i would like to use my disclaimer/skip jail card.

Bullshit Short Story 1: The Brush Brush-Off With L'Ucifer

Once upon a time, in a little town somewhere in Germany, there was a small company who was little known to most of the world.  

But, to the people who work in mascaras, in spite of its size, its reputation of having the best mascara brushes in the whole industry was unparalleled - for it had the passion for innovating on brushes that had been passed from one generation to the next.  

One day,  they had the most fortunate news of having one of the world's top brand, who, (for the purpose of the story teller's preference for  a life outside of prison), we will hide under the name of  L'Ucifer - interested in their brushes.  This will mean an assured income not only for the current employees but for the children of their children beyond.  

Such was great news for this small german company in this small german town!

To finalize the partnership though, they were required to train a representative of L'Ucifer on their mascara brush know-how.

The small german company did as they were asked and gave L'Ucifer's rep the best training  and the most charming hospitality that this small village can muster - they regaled him with german beer and sausages as the little village knew how.  

After the training, all of them were so happy  - for this, was the start of a future brighter than they had ever known.

Days have passed but the finalization of the partnership, in one way or another got delayed.  Days went on, and it was becoming a blur.

One day- they did hear from L'Ucifer but it was not from the managers they spoke to nor the representative they had cradled in training.  It was but rather  from L'Ucifer's stable of lawyers.

L'Ucifer had patented all the technologies that they have been taught by our small german company. 

And the army of lawyers have dropped by to kindly inform our small german brush company that as they have become property of L'Ucifer, that the German company may never use their brush technology ever again.

What ensued after that, little more did I know of.  

But the question that came to my mind is - 

"Can any company who can do this really be worth it?"

Call me paranoid.  But it might interest you to print-screen this post just in case I will be forced to take this post out.  


This morning I got a particularly delightful email from Olivier Abry of WO & WE. I rarely post about things I've been asked to feature here - for a few reasons: I don't want to post the same content as everyone else; it has to genuinely be something I would feature had I discovered it myself and most of the many, many, of the many, many emails I get every day are addressed to Lola. She can't read


Monday, 18 October 2010
Last week Nina, Jaja, Laetitia and I met up at the lovely big rambling Georgian house on Crooms Hill for a bit of a witches collaboration. It's a wonderful environment in which to rummage around and explore all the rooms filled with collections of glass, ceramics, things and stuff: acres of patchwork quilts, persian rugs, flowers and various animal props. We immediately got to work/play, with


*A delightful afternoon with the best team of magical witches, playing dress up at Crooms Hill amongst the patchwork quilts, decoupaged surfaces, collections and flowers. You can take a peek here and here.

*The V&A on Friday night. We just made it there in time to hear Justine Picardie talk about her book on Coco Chanel, after screeching round corners and running through roomfuls of exhibits

Top10 Tactic To Make You Buy More MakeUp

Saturday, 16 October 2010
Photo credit: Jane Russell
At N° 10: Sex Up The Shade Name

I am sure, if you are reading this - that you well have known orgasm.
I mean that rush of warm gold against the folds of frosted pink that have been the subject of many a woman's flight of fancy.   It had been the stuff of legend so much so that we were given second, third, multiple and super servings of it.
Some say it is overrated but everyone admits that you have to poke and fulfill your curiosity before you can turn it down.
I am of course talking about the most successful shade name in the history of makeup- NARS orgasm- why it has been quoted in many a film and tv series (my favorite of which is in the TV series United States of Tara- which i highly recommend or am I so late in the program already?)

Now, had its name not been such, say for example peach rush - it would not have sold nor been talked about as much.   I, for one wouldn't have bought one because this is so not a shade that works for me.

But, being able to say that I paid for an orgasm is already worth the money. And it got reviewed a lot because it just is so much fun talking about it- ah the double entendre of it!
Whether to say you are disappointed of the orgasm, you are buying an orgasm, you would like a second orgasm, you have run out of orgasm- it is a great story!

And honestly, this is the kind of bullshit i wouldn't mind.   Do not just give me a cheek blush, give me a good story- give me a conversation piece, make me feel naughty, reckless, alive - heck- liven up my life- give me orgasm.   Not unlike the bullshit like the "growth mascara" that has the malicious intent to deceive- but this one, i prefer not to live without.

So I think it is such a waste to name shades by the number *cough body shop cough* - as they do not know the power and the gift to joy that they could have been unleashing.

Back where I was in the biz, we would submit our product proposal with our shade name to this wonderful Russian woman who would predict how much the shade would sell.

Can you imagine what kind of talent that is? Back then, I just shrug it off but on hindsight now- it would take a fantastic female brain to do this.

Anyway, the racier my shade name gets, the more sales she would give it to and she has a very good batting average. Yup, in girls as in shade names, horny beats pretty anytime.

So to all the orgasms in the world-  hit me!

Ok, your turn to confess gurlz-  which products have you bought because of the pull of its shade name?


Thursday, 14 October 2010

I went to Frieze with Nina yesterday - it was hard to concentrate on gawping at all the art when we were so busy gawping at all the interesting people. The soundtrack was of shattering glass every few minutes when another seething mob baying for more champagne surged forward onto the waiters and knocked their trays over.

{my photos}

Bullshit Police Arrests The Revlon Grow Luscious Mascara

This is a new series of posts I am introducing as most of you (67%) seem not to mind having bullshit posts every day (I mean really guys?  I am touched!  Thank you!)

The thing is - everyday is a lot of posts - but since I would like very much to accommodate you (even halfway is good), I am introducing these bullshit police posts with a chance of guest blogging- which i will give proper credit to - of course (perhaps i will make some guidelines laters but let us play it by ear and make it up as we go along).

It basically goes this way, you find a real product out there and you try to detect the bullshit that said product gives you.  It is a good exercise for you to hone your bullshit radar.

I will start with this product here, next time I will be happy to have your submission/guest postings in which we can all chirp in to comment.

So without further ado, here is the first arrest made by the Bullshit Police.

I want you to put your guard down and look at the picture below as if you were just flipping through it in a magazine.   
Do not read so much the details just a sweeping glance really.  So just 1-3 seconds should be just right. 

Then cover the picture and tell me 3 adjectives that you can say about this ad.  

There is no wrong or right answer.  So just answer without thinking really.

Don't overthink- just say what comes instantly to mind.   

Done yet?  
If not do not read on until you have done so.  

Okay, now I want you to look at the image below for just 2-3 seconds.

Same thing, tell me your first impression.

Okay so, we will leave that part for now and will get back to that later.


Now, this is what I will do- I will look into the fine lines and dissect what you just saw.

Woh-oh! Whoever did this didn't hold back on the bullshit ammunition!


This name is the master work of art of a true bullshit weasel.  
When you see it- you will think that the mascara will make your lashes grow.  I mean just look at the lashes sprouting out of the word GROW there!  
But then again, she added luscious which means- it will turn it luscious and not make it longer and luscious at the same time.
BUT, then notice how she made the  fonts used for GROW and luscious  different so that you are mislead that GROW is not a verb used for luscious but a different quality that you can expect from the mascara itself.
Wow! Pure bullshit gold!  I am peeing in my pants with bullshit envy.


96% saw instant longer, lusher lashes 

  • Ok, key word is "saw instantly". Whether the difference is big or not, so long as there is a difference, even if they are not satisfied, then that is counted as positive and will belong to the 96% . It suffices that you see a difference.  And of course you will see it instantly- you just applied the freaking mascara eh?!
  • And let me see, only 4% didn't see a difference. If I may guess, that 4% is one person, meaning they have a batch size of 25 women (50 tops). And they chose at least one with bad lashes so that it will not appear too rigged.
  • As well, use of instant longer on the study and with the word grow on the product name makes you believe that it is proven to make your lashes grow. If you dissect the phrase, they have a good defense that they do not claim lash growth- you just understood it that way- so, do not think you will make money on suing them for false claims- they will just argue that you are stupid.
  • they did not mention that the study is independent. So that could mean it was tested by their own paid people 
  • and can somebody tell me, why the f*ck, in this internet age- do we not have a link on the study and that it is on file?  
Now, let us analyze THE CLAIMS:

  1. Lash enhancing formula complements the natural growth cycle of your lashes, improving their overall appearance with each use
  • It complements natural growth rate.  What the fuck is that? It doesn't promote growth, it just complements it- like how- like if you would wash your lashes with water or expose it to air- tell me what would not complement thelash's natural growth cycle?   
  • What it has is perhaps some ingredient that conditions lashes (which could be same ingredient used in shampoos as lashes are hair as well)
    2.   Get lashes that look instantly longer and lusher and will also grow stronger day after day
  • it looks instantly longer and makes it grow stronger.  It doesn't make your lashes grow.  It perhaps has just some extending resin that washes off, wears off in time 
  •  Note the use of these two claims one after another- on purpose (these should have been two separate bullet points if you do not want confusion!)  It is easy to confuse it to make lashes grow longer day after day.
     3.  Oversized lash-extending brush
Ho hum! Nothing new. 
Ok, here, the bullshit weasel got lazy!  Come on!  You can do better than this!   
Heck!  The trainee of my trainee can do better than this!
     4.  Ophthalmologist tested
Tested on what?  
This could just mean that an opthalmologist tried the mascara and it didn't say on what she is testing on.  This ophthalmologist tested doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the study above.   
The opthalmologist could have just put the wand under her armpit to see if she has a fever- and that is ophthalmological testing- hah!
You know all these independent organizations that are verifying the authenticity of the organic origin, fair market source of your products?  

I think they can have good business doing the same verifying validity of these tests.  This could be a good business model that I can branch through really.  Anyone interested to join me, send me your CV - haha!

So, bullshit rate is on a high of 9/10 (-1 for sloppy brush description)

So there you have it- the mascara might/might not be great but these devious little bullshit weasels just need to stoop so low to mislead you that it will make your lashes grow.

Now, for the subliminal part.   Would you please write down your honest answers first time around (no changing!) on the comments.  I will give you more explanations on the next few posts!

Well, was that fun?  Who wants to be  bullshit police next? 

Shall you try it with  the Volume Million Lashes Mascara?  
That is another Bullshit Goldmine!


Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Before I put them up for sale anywhere else, would anyone like to buy my ye olde biker boots? They're proper motorcycle boots for the motorcycling lady, mid calf height - size UK 4, EUR 37 and slightly worn in, but not worn out at all. If they weren't too small for me I'd keep them forever. In fact, I think they're probably indestructible, hence my selling them so that I don't

Two Sure Fire Ways to Make You Buy More MakeUp

Tuesday, 12 October 2010
Photo Credit: Joan Crawford

You might say I am one lucky biatch for having a dream job in cosmetics.

Well it might have been fun and glam, but when you think about it, after all the jetsetting, the company credit card, the free make up, the glamorous photoshoots, the picking on models- the very essence of what i do is this-
I make sure you will spend more on make up year after year after year.
Let us say you spent 500$ last year and this year you spent only 490$.

One thing is absolutely certain. However well i wiggle my perfect peach shaped arse before the council of the clueless- the only way it is heading is to the unemployment office.

If you spent 515$, that is just 3% increase on a 6% growth rate industry, that is not good enough- I will still be fired but they will give me a slow, painful death- making sure that I suffer during council presentations by quizzing me the growth rate history of the discontinued lipstick used by David Bowie when he was Ziggy Stardust in the 80s.

My personal record (if I may brag) is a 13% increase in your spending.   Yes, I am your mommy.

Yet- I am not proud of myself.

You see, If I do not apply any manipulation, the only one real reason that you will buy make up is when you run out of what you are currently using.

Well, we do know that:
  • a good quality nail polish can perhaps be included in your will and testament (Take note- Caitylyn, you are sitting on a treasure chest of 400 nail polishes there- heehee!) 
  • and you will perhaps grow your pinky nail long so you can dig out the last remaining vestige of your favorite lipstick 
  • and gawd knows these freaking powders never expire!

So, if I leave you alone- I will be better off contemplating a career as a civil servant.

But since shuffling documents is not my bag, I since have developed sure fire strategy that will make you buy more than you need.  In essence there are two ways I can increase your spending.  That is by-

1)  Discontinuing the product that you lurv
Have you ever gone out to shop for just one particular product and then found out that it is gone- never to return again, so you have to compensate for its loss by buying not one but 4 replacements and yet, remain feeling empty?
Why, discontinuing your favorite lipstick can be beneficial to me in so many ways, because you will be open to my next step...
 2)  Giving you something exciting and "NEW".  And if i had my way, the following types of new would propel my career to instant councilhood -
  • a scientific breakthrough which will make your lashes give birth to more lashes like gremlins 
  • a  new packaging that vibrates like the romping rabbit  
But what if I do not really have anything new to offer?   What then?

Well- in the next post, I will tell you my Top Ten (or so) Tactics in Faking Newness to make you buy  more makeup.

The Real Nail Hardening Bitch

Monday, 11 October 2010

At one point or another, some brand will claim that it can harden nails.  And that is darn nice.

Except for one thing - 

it's bullshit.

Do you remember what they say- 
contains calcium, algae, carbon, tough as diamonds (as if they contain diamonds- bah!), bamboo, mineral....
Tell you what - 

they don't work.

There is only one ingredient clinically proven to really strengthen nails.

And that is Formaldehyde.  Yup, same one used to embalm corpses.
But then it was banned together with toluene when there was a move to have all the nail products hypoallergenic. (Hypoallergenicity is so overrated really!)

So, if a product claims to harden your nails and boasts of some wimpy herbs to do the job, save yourself the money and the trouble of disappointment, just stick out your tongue and say-



Thursday, 7 October 2010
My reasons for going to Paris are more often than not: tralala / fed up with London / I want a 3 hour lunch at a terrasse and some decent cheese / I feel like it. But this time there were 101 reasons to book a ridiculously expensive Eurostar seat at the last minute and I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it all happen. 

Paris was, as billed, full of extremely pleasant internet/real life


Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I'm posting the random outtakes before the actual post - and why not. I had an amazing time in Paris, which predictably ended with me coming home to a nice bout of flu. (Must take vitamins or learn to pace myself or something.) When my energy is restored I'll tell you all about it - the best weekend I've had in Paris for a long time, thanks to some lovely people you might know...

NEW SC / LV...

Monday, 4 October 2010

Shall we get the alligator clutch or the calf leather bag in chestnut? Maybe ecru?

Via StyleRumor where there are loads more pictures, so you can better make your imaginary selection.

{photo credit: Andrew Durham}

How To Get a Job in The Beauty Industry

Saturday, 2 October 2010

This is a special post to answer an email of one of my readers , she says-
My name is Lily, and I'm a high school student. I will be going to college in the next year or two, and I love makeup, and everything beauty related! So I figured I would either be doing something in the beauty industry or be an interior designer.
However, I don't want to be a makeup artist and I have no idea what careers there are in the corporate beauty industry, so I decided to do a little research. I did some research, and stumble upon your blog.
Now I think your blog is actually really wonderful, but I don't completly understand why you hate it so much. Can you please tell me why I should or shouldn't go towards a career in the beauty industry? Thanks!- Lily

As I can only speak for myself- on how i got my job, this post is going to talk more of my experience.

But first- gaaaah! I didn't realize I seem to HATE the beauty industry.
Well, for the record, I don't -
at least not in all caps, and i would replace "a" with "<3".
So that means- I just h<3te it.  That is almost like love if you think about it.
Anyway, seriously-  I do love the fact that the beauty industry gives us not only cosmetics, but dreams and the desire to be better.

BUT, what I hate is that most brands do not have the balls to stand for what they really believe in but would research what you want to hear and then contort themselves (read: lie) to be that so that you buy them.

I want beauty with balls, gadammit! 

Let me see, perhaps, it helps to point out the upside and downside of this job- then you decide if you want in-
PRO: Free makeup and you even get paid to try it.
CON : Allergies and irritations can be a frequent occupational hazard.  
A colleague of mine started to get too many allergies from the makeup she was trying. As the allergies are too much that it affected her work- she had to be fired.

PRO: You get to be in a glamorous industry.
CON: You go to work without make-up. 
If not, you have to remove it to try more makeup at work. And you wear different eyeshadows per eye and fifty swads of lipstick per arm. Ironic innit?

What is worst is when you have to try long lasting lipstick and waterproof mascara. Go figure. At least you know they are not tested on rabbits. Though in the depths of despair over your falling lashes, you get to question the wisdom of  "No Animal Testing.

PRO: You accumulate loads of frequent flyer miles that can get you free vacations.
CON: You have no time for vacation. 
You travel while normal people would still be sleeping, you go to meetings when others would be working. You work when others would already be relaxing. Basically, you give up life for miles.

PRO: You get to buy Hello on company budget.
CON: You will look incompetent if you do not know who was the worst dressed in the Academy red carpet.  But then, in real life, you would like to know who was worst dressed.
I miss my free "Hello"!

PRO: You get to see makeup innovations two years ahead of everyone.
CON: A trip to the cosmetic counter which used to be exciting- becomes dead boring- like- "oh, that is so 2 years ago!"
PRO : You get to attend photoshoots and criticize models and stuff.
CON: If you screw up the shoot- your ass is fired.
A minor average photoshoot costs at least 10k€ a day. If you want named models and photographers - that's easily 30k€ upwards.

You see- photographers, models and make up artists are more expensive in this industry and for a reason. As far as photographers go, beauty photographers tend to be more expensive than fashion ones- the lighting is more demanding (light is controlled)- at least that's the BS that my photographers tell me. Models also charge higher for beauty brands and make up artists have to be top.

Beauty shoots are an art and a science. You cannot just go with the flow and be impromptu as you perhaps would in a fashion shoot. Too darn expensive!
PRO: You get to create fabulous concepts, products and images.
CON: The make-up artist gets all the public credit. And they will be paid more than you.
I do not mind them taking the credit- it is the paid more than me I have trouble dealing with.

PRO: Other women will envy you for your job.
CON: And so will your ambitious backstabbing female colleagues. Office life is hell.
Put several ambitious women in one room and you will wish to slash your wrist with a stabilo boss. For me, this was the biggest turn off.

But it can also depend on the situation. My position was extra sensitive as I replaced someone who had been fired because the lipstick she launched didn't have a good "clicking" sound. No kidding. In fact, the whole team was fired before me. And before you pooh-pooh this- realize that a mold for a lipstick case can cost easily 1.5million euros. Not to mention the loss of gajillion of sales you will have from a bad launch.

Seriously, I think "The Devil Wears Prada" is work bliss compared to the Beauty Biz.
PRO: It is the only place where it is considered professional to apply nail polish while working.
CON:You have to apply a different color per fingernail.  Haha!
PRO: You get to save money.
CON: Because you do not have a life to spend it on.  
So, if after reading the PROs and CONs, you are still up for it- then read on for more tips.  Otherwise, you may stop right here else you will end up a bitter blogging biatch like me.


I started my marketing career with Unilever.  And, back then - they preferred people with interesting backgrounds.  And interesting could be anything  - except marketing.  (Mine is mechanical engineering).

The reason could be something best explained by a blog of Seth Godin here.

So study arts, styling, architecture, fashion design, fisheries, psychology, mathematics, languages, tourism, engineering, medicine, rocket science, accounting - but not marketing.

Unilever, for example, trains you what you need to know about their way of marketing.

If you want to be in the creation process, it will be an advantage to have a background in fashion, arts or design but as well be knowledgeable of your excel worksheet.

And if you want to be promoted to the highest level- study finance.
Because that is really the heart of cosmetics- money.  (But then again, if you cannot grow an adam's apple, do not count so much on reaching the top).


The toughest barrier that I had in entering the biz was not competition, not education - but visa.

You see, if you want to work in the global central, most of these are located in France, US, Japan, UK.  Some are in Germany, Italy, South Korea, Russia, Switzerland, Sweden.

I sent about 70+ CVs in Paris when I arrived there but soon as they learned I was not European, they told me to talk to the hand.

And French companies are reputed to favor applicants that come from their own business school.  No wonder French brands are galactically boring - they do not cross-pollinate.

Language is another barrier.  Just speaking French is not enough.  You have to be damn fluent.  Though now, the French realize how less and less important their language is in the global scale of things, they still could afford to be arrogant in the beauty biz.

But as a tourist, you can basically get by with "Un verre de vin rouge s'il vous plait".  (A glass of red wine please.)   Alas, the french have to learn english if they want to do business with the rest of the world now.

Haha!  C'est la vie!


If you are eyeing to work for certain brands (in Lily's case Bobbi Brown), it will be good to research which gargantuan company is behind the brand.  You can start your research here.

If you follow the link, you will realize why the top 6 companies account for 50% of all the make up sold ever.

You see, each company will have a portfolio of brands- from the most environmentally correct to the high tech to glamorous to luxury to mass.  So whatever you believe in or whatever you want your company to stand for- they have no problem being it.  Your cash does not have to go another way.

Heck -  Body Shop is under L'Oreal for the endangered komodo dragon's sake!
Not even if you are willing to cut off your left arm to be ambidextrous- you couldn't get more ironic than that!


When I interview applicants for a brand manager's job, I try to see how she lives her life.  What her influences are, what books and magazines she reads, what her hobbies are.

The more she has an interesting life, the more well-rounded she is - the better a marketeer she will be- as the thinking goes, marketing is all about life. (Whatever).

She will need to analyze sales data and do graphs (endless reporting to the Council) and assemble moodboards from trends (this can be learned if you are artistically inclined).  

Eventually, she will have to do presentations of her concepts, analysis of research.


Want to research more?

Try attending professional cosmetic trade shows and get to know the suppliers as well as the brands.

In the US, you have HBA in New York in September
or Cosmoprof in Las Vegas in July
In Europe, you have Cosmeeting in Paris in September
and the biggest one, Cosmoprof in Bologna Italy in April
In Asia, you have Cosmoprof in Hong Kong in November

HBA will be more about the brands, Cosmoprof will be a mix of brands and suppliers while Cosmeeting is more of suppliers and trends.

Cosmoprof is normally open to the public on the last day.  That is also when you can buy samples.

Well, that is all the tip I can think of for now.  If you have more questions, shoot and I will try my best to answer.

And may I ask a tiny favor please- if you liked this post, help spread it around, tweet, stumble, digg or FB will make my day!  And thank you in advance!


Thursday, 30 September 2010
I'm falling down the impending winter rabbit hole with alarming speed. It was the rain that did it I think. That sense of being trapped inside and the thought of months of the same. Last year it was Depeche Mode that saw me through winter; this year I'm already unavoidably drawn to Joy Division and it's only just October. And like clockwork, before long I will be compelled to knit something and


Tuesday, 28 September 2010

{photo credit: left: Jeanloup Sieff, right: Ewa Rudling}


Sunday, 26 September 2010
I feel slightly as if I'm supposed to come in here and post a load of looks from the SS11 shows. I'm all for inspiration, but what I'm interested in at the moment is what I want to wear now and why. And maybe what you want to wear now and why. It has to be in context otherwise I'm prone to snoozing. What you wear depends on all sorts of things: where you're going, how you feel, the weather,

The Cause of the Clueless: Who Really Benefits From The Cause

Saturday, 25 September 2010

It probably started with Body Shop supporting the cause of everything in the planet or MAC (MakeUp Artists of Canada) for anything AIDS related.
When these two companies started, there were real passionate people behind it, with Body Shop of course, there was Anita Roddick whose life, if you google about it "tallies" with her real intentions to help.  With MAC, there were Frank Toskan and Frank Angelo who intended their line for make-up artists, thus a support to the cause close to their hearts, AIDS has a genuine ring about it.  It made sense because it was genuine.
Since then, Anita has passed away, Body Shop has been bought by the biggest company in makeup.  MAC has likewise been bought by Estée Lauder.
Now, just about all cosmetic brands HAVE TO support a cause.

Nothing wrong with supporting a cause-  we are led to believe that it is noble to think of something bigger than ourselves.

But you know what bothers me?

My bullshit antenna is ringing- fake, fake, fake!

And you know what?
It IS fake.   
It may seem as real as a faked orgasm - BUT it is still fake.  

We really do not care about these causes, we are just doing it because that will make you like us and if you like us, you will buy us.

Why, it makes it easier for you to buy your 212th peach shade of lipstick even if you do not really need it- because you are doing it for a good cause.

Okay, so let me take you to a meeting I had with Public Relations, the geist goes something like this -

Moi : Trending report says our consumers will like us more if we support a cause and care about something - what causes can you suggest?
PR : Well, we can reinforce our natural positioning and support the environment.
Moi : Bah, Body Shop already took all the causes there is to support environment-wise.
PR: Well, we can save some endangered species, like the rhinoceros or the monitor lizard.
Moi : Nah, first, that is not sexy to my target market.  Second, it will not get me a lot of press. 
PR : Ok, what about children related causes?  
Moi : If I support children, only consumers with children can relate.  My target market are those that revere SexInTheCity. Can you actually see Samantha caring about children?  There has to be something else.
PR : Well, what about woman empowerment?
Moi : Our evil nemesis is already is doing that.  And making much noise about it.  Gawd, I hate them.
PR:  Ok, what about about relationships.
Moi: Hmmm, intriguing... like what? 
PR: Mother -daughter relationships, we can have a Mother-daughter beauty contest to start with.  Then we can have have a popularity contest, where customers who buy a product can vote for their contestants.  And contestants will push our cause because they want to win.  And then, proceeds will go to mothers and daughters, scholarships, shopping spree.
Moi: And does it agree with our positioning?
PR: Well, even Samantha, I imagine will have a mother.
Moi: Ok, and how much will this cost us?
PR: 2Million tops and we can have media mileage that is worth 10Million at least. You save 8Million, if you think about it- rather than just buying advertising.
Moi:  Great then, go ahead then- and time it for the holiday shopping season, will you?  And btw, the donations we will give - they are of course tax-deductible aren't they?

So, If we really care about these causes-
  • how come, we cannot support them anonymously and really have the pleasure of giving selflessly?  
  • how come you have to buy our products for us to give a donation to the cause?  
  • how come we have to have our big logo and even worse, name the foundation after our company?
Because, we do not really give a f*ck, that is why.
The only cause we care about is the cause of the Council of the Clueless bank account.

There is a line that divides SUPPORTING a cause and USING it. 

I say you really support a cause if 
  • you expect nothing from it in return, 
  •  even if it is not in your strategy, 
  •  even if it is not receiving a lot of media mileage 
  • and not unless you have the most amazing pair of bee stung lips and are married to Brad Pitt, (because she makes it her job to use her popularity to drive attention to the cause)- support a cause anonymously i dare you
Support a cause- if you really care.

The road to beauty need not be filled with bullshit- beauty companies need not make suckers out of us.

If we really want to make this world a better place,  I say we should cut the crap and give women the real deal.


*I've got a couple of new posts up on ONLY.com: one about lovely Ingrid Holm of The Showmanship and her insanely poetic skills, and one about Elisa Sednaoui and Delfina Delettrez wearing swishy Louis Vuitton AW10 on Somewhere's red carpet. {You might want to turn your speakers down before clicking on the Only site.}

*Justine Picardie has a piece here that tells a little of her journey with Coco


Thursday, 23 September 2010
D.V. hasn't visited us for ages, I know. Truthfully this is because it takes a ridiculous amount of time to look up the answers to your questions in my well thumbed copy of her memoirs. But since I have lost my voice completely, it seems a perfect time to commune with the lacquered one. If I can't speak, she certainly can. And I hope she's in a good mood with me since I asked English Heritage to


Monday, 20 September 2010
I've been the official "Text Fairy" (i.e. I write the press releases/bios etc) for Toujours Toi and Family Affairs for just over a year now. Since Nina blew into my life like a modern day Swiss Mary Poppins, working with her has been one of my absolutely favourite things to do. So I wanted to give you a bit of a window into The Process or rather, the super fun exchange of inspiration and

The Lure of the Lipstick: Why We Don't Take A Stand Against Pro-Nature Controversies

Sunday, 19 September 2010
(Photo credit: Marilyn Monroe)

Though you all say that you buy a lipstick on the basis of the color first and foremost, we in the biz think-
Bah! Whatever!

You see, even before we can attract you to take a look at our shade selection (which is the same as anybody else's anyway),  we will make sure you like us, that you have heard of how good our company is, how ethical we are, how we support relevant causes and all that and how you can identify yourselves with our image.

So color, after all these things, though important- is the least of our problems.  
FYI, i can match any color out there faster than you can say "I will have that orgasm blush please".

So, first and foremost, we would like you to think that we are a good company.
Now, to be considered a good company, there is a dictum that we always follow.  And that is- 

Customers are always right!

Yup-this, we firmly believe in the cosmetic biz.

Have you ever heard of a company that picks a fight with these environmental organizations telling them that they are overreacting to the paraben causes tumors scare?   I don't think so. 

And if ever any of our people did - I am sure that they will have been dealt with by the Council, their ass stapled to their demotion letter and shipped to manage a third world country as fast as they can say- "but cosmetics really do not penetrate beyond the superficial layer of the skin, duh" - which of course tantamounts to saying- we have been exaggerating all along on the effect of our products.

And speaking of, I am not a sadomaso- I would rather convert a moslem to christianity rather than make the mistake of having a debate with environmentalists.  
If these guardians of the good have made the ultimate sacrifice of giving up pork barbecue- they will stop at nothing, absolutely nothing to make sure you are protected from fear toxins released by an about to be slaughtered pig and so convert you to eating uncooked leaves instead- gawd bless them.  (Georgia and Apriltini take note).  We do not want that- do we?
While we are on the subject of food, here is a food for thought:
I have to give credit to the person who did this-
but i do not know anymore where i nicked it.
So peace - i pick my battles one at a time and for now abstain to state my overall stand on this one (though i do know someone who does)
You see, one of the most "compelling" arguments of "cosmetic safety groups" is how the skin is the most important organ of the body and that all the 15+ products we use on the skin on a daily basis are absorbed by the body through our lifetime and will do us bad.

Of course they will say that!  As we marketeers have been trying to sell this bullshit of how using cosmetics will actually alter the state of your skin!
We do know that we are lying through our teeth  - cosmetics are classified as such because it only acts on the superficial layer of the skin.  
If it acts deeper than a prescribed superficial layer, then, we will not be allowed by the legion of regulators to call it cosmetics- it will be classified as a drug and then we will have to abide to  another set of regulations altogether, a deeper level in hell which we, cosmetic marketeers do not dare to tread.
Now, if you have watched enough films, you might formulate this conspiracy theory that perhaps, some of these cosmetic giants are buying off the regulators so that a toxic ingredient will pass.  

To these I have one argument- it is far easier for us to play by the rules of the regulators and improvise (ie, bullshit) as we go along rather than be bothered with all this.  Really.

So when an environmental organization comes along to accuse that one ingredient causes unborn babies to be gay, heck we will not do a study to disprove that.  We will not argue with the customer.

We will apologize to the public, withdraw the offending products, change these ingredients (or relabel and call it by another name) and then support a foundation that dedicates research of child feminization and make sure that we get a lot of publicity from it - more than if we had spent that money on classical advertising.

Because- customers are always right!

Let me tell you a little anecdote.  

A few years ago, I was developing a line of nail polishes. We approved a great formula that applies evenly, adheres well and lasts long. Really- the formula was fantastic! Plus- it comes with this NEW technojargon called "nanotechnology"- something about having tiny, tiny particles that make the texture so wonderfully even. 

Naturally- we were jumping up and down with joy as this innovation, for once- is real- not a figment of marketing imagination.

But, months before the launch, (it takes us something like 11 to 17 months to take a product from a brief to the consumer) our labpeople came back to us with bad news:
That there is this small organization or movement or urban legend that accuses nanotechnology products to penetrate the blood system and that there is no sufficient research on the effects it could have on the body.

Note that this is a very flimsy accusation which we could have easily disproven with a study, a simple explanation, admission- whatnot.  

But did we? No.
And what did we do? 

We launched the product as usual, claimed fantastic percentages on how long it lasts, how fast it dries, how even it looks .... blah, blah, blah without the mention of nanotechnology- even if it is there.

So, controversy avoided.  Customer happy.
We stay in your list of good companies and we get the sale.  
Everybody gets what they want. 

You see- customers may always be right,
but the council of the clueless always, always end up laughing their way to the bank.


Friday, 17 September 2010

I've been aware of the film Claire's Knee (Le Genou de Claire) for as long as I can remember, but apart from being amused by the name, I had never felt the urge to watch it. Then a few weeks ago someone (who is unlikely to be an Eric Rohmer fan) claimed to be obsessed with my knees - both of them. That was an odd evening. Odder still was last night, when a total stranger managed to stamp on my