Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rouge d'Armani 402 - How To Perfect Red Lipstick

Photo by Sandro Brant

Red lips are always a statement: sensual, attention-grabbing, and classic all at once.  However, not all red lipsticks are alike, and poorly chosen, poorly applied, and poorly maintained red lipstick can achieve the opposite of what was desired, that is to say, it can become a smeared, gaudy disaster.

The first thing to consider when choosing a red lipstick is the color.  I strongly recommend Rouge d'Armani's 402 lipstick.  It is a very long-lasting, lovely nuanced, velvety red.  Although it has some shine to it, it is not glossy, and the color has some deeper, cool blue hues that make it fantastic for the winter, when our skin has less warm tones.  Armani makes lipstick that stays put, even when eating and bleeding or smearing here.  Throughout the evening it tends to lighten in color, but uniformly, so you won't be left with that horrid red outer circle and bare lips in the center!

Perfect lips require proper application:
1.  Use a lipliner under red lipstick, since it adds longevity, prevents bleeding, and can help you to modify the tone of your lipstick if you wish to make it darker, warmer or more intense.
2. Apply a bit of transparent loose powder on top of lipliner to set it, being careful to put some on the area immediately surrounding your lips as well.
3. Apply lipstick slowly and carefully (either directly with the lipstick tube or ideally with a lip brush), being careful to keep the shape balanced and avoid going outside of your natural lip line to create elegant lips.
4. If you wish to increase shine, now apply some lipgloss to the center of the lips, keeping in mind that gloss tends to make lipstick smear, bleed and come off more rapidly.
5. Bring a mirror and lipstick for periodic touch ups and have fun!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Antonia - Fashion One Stop Wonder in Milan

Antonia is has been written up in all of the major fashion mags for good reason.  This shop is lovely, and if you're planning on going high-end shopping in Milan, put this shop on the top of your list.  They carry Balenciaga, Derek Lam,Victoria Beckham, Bottega Veneta and many others.  As mentioned in my previous post, Antonia is now also managing the clothing and accessories selection for the new department store Excelsior.
Via Ponte Vetero 1

Excelsior - New Shopping Paradise in Milan

It would take pages to list all of the brands that are sold and beautifully displayed in this new fashion mecca in Milan.  Excelsior is the newest department store in Milan, and the three floors dedicated to clothing and accessories are managed by Antonia (read more about this fabulous shop in my other post) and this means that the selection is top notch and eclectic, carrying both the big names and harder to find niche brands and novelty gift items.   They've also got a Tiffany's boutique and a perfume bar.  When you're ready for a break, Excelsior houses a fantastic gourmet food and wine department, a couple of chic restaurants and a café, a Ladurée macaron corner, so it's also a great place to eat a hot meal or take away a tasty fresh salad and a great bottle of artisanal beer.  This place is not to be missed!

Galleria del Corso 4, Milano, just behind the Duomo.

Biffi Boutiques - Trot Down to this Shop in Milan

In Italy, Biffi is a long-standing reference point for fashion retail excellence.  The selection they make is eagerly observed by shop owners in the know, because if Biffi has it then there's bound to be a good reason.  They carry brands such as Marni, Emilio Pucci, Junya Watananbe, Fendi, Gucci, Antonio Marras, Stella Mccartney, Tory Burch and many others and have a well balanced selection of clothing and accessories for both men and women.  They also offer a personal stylist service, and sell online.  The flagship boutique is not huge, but it's well worth stopping by:  Corso Genova 6, Milan

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shiny Manageable Hair - Orofluido by Biopoint

As I've already mentioned in another post, my hair is fine, fragile and color treated.  It's tough to find shine-enhancing products that don't dirty my hair.  At a recent photo shoot I did, the hairstylist used and gave me a little sample of Orofluido by Biopoint.  This golden colored serum contains a mixture of Argan, Cyprus and Linseed oils, and the exotic fragrance has notes of citrus flowers, vanilla, wood, and spices.  Add a small amount to damp or wet hair and proceed to dry and style.  You will see that it leaves hair noticeably shiny, smooth, and slightly thicker in texture, while not dirtying or weighing it down.

The box set shown here comes with several of the fantastic samples that make great gifts for friends and the are perfect size for traveling.

DMagazine Outlet Milan - High Fashion At Great Prices

This is no ordinary outlet.  You can find many of the great names in fashion in these chic outlets in three shops around the city, strategically placed in the high-fashion areas.  They've got Prada, Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Comme des Garçons and many more.  Sizes can be limited, and it's not the cheapest outlet out there, but it's always worth it to have a look around and see what's available.

Go check them out in:  Via Montenapoleone 26, Via Forcella 13, Via Bigli 4 

Tame the Mane - Aveda Shampure

Healthy hair earns us a lot of beauty points, but it for some of us it can be an ongoing battle.  I was born with fine, fragile hair that doesn't stand up well to too much heat, styling or chemical treatments.  When I'm not working, I try to let my hair rest and use only gentle, nourishing products.

Lately I'm a big fan of Aveda's Shampure shampoo and conditioner.  They have a heavenly, spicy floral fragrance, and instead of using Sodium Laureth Sulfate (a suspected carcinogen) as a foaming agent in the shampoo, they use plant extracts that work up into a luxurious and smooth foam that gently cleanses hair of all types.  It is so gentle that they suggest it for children, and can be used daily.  The Shampure conditioner is light-weight but nourishing, and it leaves my hair soft, tangle-free and clean for styling.  

Protect Skin With High SPF - Clarins UV Plus

More and more research shows that sun damage is one of the primary factors of skin aging.  In order to keep your skin beautiful, youthful and spotless you must use a high SPF protection daily.  This is especially important if you exfoliate regularly, since removing dead skin leaves fragile new cells less protected from the sun's rays.  

I love Clarin's UV Plus, because it has a SPF 40 and is lightweight and almost odorless.  I just smooth on several drops after applying my daily face cream.  It leaves my skin looking matte, and is non-comodogenic so it doesn't block my pores like some sun creams can.  Plus, since it is made for the face, it can even be used in the eye contour area and under makeup.  Quick, easy protection for my skin.

Exfoliate For Glowing Skin - YSL Gommage Action Biologique

YSL Gommage Action Biologique
One of the most important tricks to getting great skin is to exfoliate regularly.  Skin cells naturally rejuvenate themselves throughout our lives, but the cell turnover starts to slow as we age.  Using a great exfoliant helps to remove the dead skin on the surface to reveal the smooth, glowing new cells that are hidden beneath.  Exfoliation also helps to remove makeup buildup and roughness due to dryness, preparing the skin to absorb all the nutrients in our skin cream, and creating a smooth base for our foundation and powder.  I cannot express how important regular exfoliation is.

There are many types of exfoliants on the market, from granular ones that use mechanical abrasion techniques, to alpha hydroxy acids and do-it-yourself dermabrasion products.  I have very sensitive, dry skin and granular exfoliants tend to irritate my skin, so I prefer to use non-abrasive fruit-based chemical peels.  The best I've found is the superb YSL Gommage Action Biologique.  It has a wonderful honey-like consistency that transforms to an oily-smooth texture once it has competed the exfoliation phase.  It is very gentle, and I suggest using it twice a week, as using it more often can cause dryness.  It leaves my skin feeling thoroughly cleansed and remarkably smooth.  It does have a rather strong (pleasant) fragrance, but since it does not stay on the skin for long it doesn't bother my sensitive skin.

Eyebrows - Frame Your Eyes

Eyebrows frame our face and give expression to our eyes.  Finding the right arch for your eyes is essential, and mistakes can lead to irregularities, patchiness, or worse, like having a clown-like surprised look on you face all day, a disaster that happened to my mother once.

If you don't feel up to shaping your own, "brow bars" are popping up all over the place, inside of Sephora, at some specialized make up counters, or at your trusted esthetician's.  It is now easy to find someone to help you define the initial shape.  At that point, maintenance becomes key, and no great brow can keep its form without a little help.
In my experience, Tweezerman makes the best tweezers on the market.  They are super fine and accurate, making it easy to pluck even the finest, tiniest and most stubborn of hairs.  Great for shaping and maintenance, they stay sharp for ages and can be sent to the manufacturer for free sharpening.

To minimize irregularities or fill in areas with less hair growth, a good natural-colored eyebrow pencil is key.  I love Shiseido's light brown eyebrow pencil, because it is a very neutral, cool brown that doesn't draw attention to itself, but really gives my brows more definition.  If you really want to perfect your look, I suggest an eyebrow gel such as MAC's Brow Set.  Although they make it in several tones, the clear gel is the easiest to use and most versatile.

Sisley Confort Extreme - Getting Great Winter Skin

For a makeup artist, beautiful skin is like a clean canvas to a painter, the foundation on which masterpieces can be created.  Having great skin and maintaining it is not easy, since skin is a living tissue with different needs throughout the year as the climate changes.

I have fair, very sensitive skin that becomes very dry in the winter with the cold air and indoor heating, so I need to choose a skin cream that gives me extra protection and moisture to soothe and plump my skin. 

This winter I am using Sisley's Confort Extreme day and night creams.  The day cream is rich, but not greasy, and doesn't cause shine under makeup.  The night cream is very nourishing with a thick, creamy texture that leaves skin super soft and hydrated the next morning.  Both are full of natural plant extracts and essential oils such as Shea Butter, Arnica Montana, Echinacea, Wheat Germ Extract.  This cream has no SPF protection, so it is very important to add SPF with other products before sun exposure.
Photo by Mario Gramegna Fotografo

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Bagel Factory

I cannot express the joy and excitement I felt when I was introduced to this fantastic new bagel shop in Milan, near the Navigli, in Piazza XXIV Maggio.

The bagels are great, the price is right, and the decor and super-friendly service make you feel like you're in the U.S.

Check it out!  +39 02 39811951

Bar Milano

Bar Milano is a great place to come for a
drink before dinner.  This large open space has been beautifully decorated with retro-inspired corners. Numerous spaces have been created where design lamps, architecture books, and sofas give the eyes an indulgent taste of Italian Style.

In the summer, enjoy the large terrace upstairs. Can host large parties:  +39 02 34930819

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warming Up White

White is one of my favorites all year round.  It is fresh, clean and pretty.  Warming it up with a bit of leather can help it to transition into fall.

What I'm wearing:
Dress:  Gado Gado by Marghriet Wageraar
Camisole:  Intimissimi
Boots:  Ralph Lauren
Belt:  Twin Set
Bag:  Salvatore Santoro
Sunglasses:  Madonna for Dolce & Gabbana

Pretty in Pink

When it's time to choose an unforgettable evening look for a cocktail party, try light colors such as this pretty petal pink, rather than dark and anonymous shadow colors.

What I'm wearing:
Dress:  Vintage
Headband:  Accessorize
Lace Bracelet:  La Perla
Shoes:  BCDG
Bag:  Chloe
Watch:  Chanel

Making Mustard Palatable - Autumn City Look


Mustard is hot this season, but it's not always complexion flattering when used as the primary color in an outfit.  Try using it as an accent, blended with other warm, autumnal colors to make it more palatable if it's not quite your color.

What I'm wearing:
Shirt:  Erika Tanov
Pants:  Ralph Lauren
Shoes:  Repetto
Bag: Salvatore Santore
Belt:  H&M
Sunglasses:  Madonna for D&G

Watch:  Hermes

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Roialto - Aperichic

This bar is a great place to have an aperitivo in Milan, and in Italy, Milan is known as the city of the aperitivo.  The idea is to meet with friends in a cool spot after work, from around 7:30 to 9pm, in one of the many thriving bars and sip, quaff, or guzzle, depending on your drinking habits, while mingling, chatting, and eating a little something off of little plates.  Theoretically, the aperitivo is meant to be an appetite-stimulating pre-dinner (that sometimes leads to a pre-discoteca...), but often these aperitivi end up substituting a proper dinner, especially if you go to a place like Roialto.
Here you will enjoy a very cool decor with comfortable chairs and couches, high-quality food stations with hand-sliced Italian salumi and prosciutto, a cheese board, and other tempting nibblers (a.k.a. potential appetite-spoilers), strategically placed throughout the bar.  I confess to happily making this meal-substitute on a weekly basis...

Check it out:  Via Piero della Francesca 55

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Giacomo Milano - More Than a Culinary Institution

Giacomo Milano is synonymous with refined quality:  With several locations in town they cover a lot of territory:  a restaurant specialized in seafood, a bistrot, a fine tobacco and perfume shop, and a patisserie all to be found in one block...they certainly cornered the neighborhood of Via Sottocorno.
Each restaurant or shop has a carefully chosen retro decor, giving a glimpse of a historic Milan that has been somewhat eclipsed by a more more glitzy, design-oriented modernism.  Good food, good wine list, good setting...just add the good company...

More recently, Giacomo has opened a restaurant right on Piazza del Duomo, Giacomo Arengarario, inside of the new museum dedicated to 20th century Italian art, Museo del '900.   The view of the Duomo is unparallelled, perfect for a lunch break downtown, and the art deco decor is sleek and elegant.

Il Salvagente - Fashion "Lifesavers" in Milan

If there is one shop in Milan that every model comes to know sooner or later, it's "Il Salvagente" or the "lifesaver", and they do live up to their name in a fashion emergency.  These people are legendary in fashion circles. Their outlet is a regular supplier for all the stylists in town for fashion shoots.  They carry an incredible array of top brands, from Chloe' and Balenciaga, to Dries Van Noten and Margiela, and many, many incredibly discounted prices.

This is the kind of tip I'm not so sure I should be sharing...

Go do a fly by in Via Bronzetti 16.

Cavalli e Nastri: Chic Vintage in the Heart of Milan

Photos via

Let me assure you, this is not your average vintage shop.  You will find no dusty, faded, wilted worn or dismal pieces in this exquisitely selected collection.  This whimsically named shop, Cavalli e Nastri  (or "Horses and Ribbons") is just what you needed if you're looking for vintage Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, YSL, they've got 'em all.  You'll find fabulous prints, mint-condition bags, costume jewelry, and even home furnishings in their three Milan locations.

Hit their shop in Via Brera 2 for stylists beware, you will leave with a lighter wallet!

Check out their website at:

Jennipie - Pretty "Petit Four" Lingerie - Oh la la!

photo via

I've always had a thing for cupcakes, and what girl doesn't like a little lingerie?  The next time you're in Milan, pop over to this fabulous little boutique, tucked away in Corso Magenta.  It feels like you've entered a romantic pastry shop, full of pastel colors, cupcakes, and flowers, but really this little gem of a shop sells frilly panties, silky babydolls, bathing suits, and super-feminine accessories.

These scrumptious little confections make the perfect gift in their little pastry-box packaging.
So make the trip, this place is pure flirty, girly fun...

Go check out their website, you'll see what I mean!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pink Champagne and Peck

Sometimes a girl just feels an irresistible urge to throw a last-minute, over-the-top dinner party.  Last Wednesday was one of those days for me.  While enjoying a leisurely morning stroll, I happened to pass by Peck, one of my favorite gourmet wine/cheese/specialty food shops.  I couldn't stop myself from entering...and charging my credit card with a frightening sum for such a fanciful little whim...but that's how it goes when you enter this place.

I created my menu around a fantastic bottle of pink champagne, a rose' from Provence, and a luscious little bottle of Recioto di Suave for desert.

After eating fresh arugula salads topped with walnuts and summer figs, a variety of creamy and pungent cheeses, oven-roasted suckling pig leg (not for me, I'm vegetarian, but for my friends), roasted potatoes, basil zucchini and rice-filled tomatoes, we finished off with dainty homemade pistachio cupcakes topped with pistachio glaze.

...not a bad way to end an anonymous Wednesday night.

Welcome to The Chic Trotter

This week promises to be a great start to my blog, since Thursday is Vogue's Fashion's Night Out in Milan, my hometown.  All the best shops in this shopping capital of the world will be open all night for fashionistas to browse, window shop, and pick up on the latest trends for this fall while enjoying a nip of something refreshing to drink.  I can't wait to put on my heels...