Dior takes you right into Versailles’ Hall of Mirrors. In grand style.

The last thing I expected to see at Versailles, while visiting a few days back, was a bevy of Dior-clad ladies casually leaning against the front façade. But then, the House of Dior and Château de Versailles are no strangers to each other. Both are French, both have a gilded history, both are underlined by some of the most skilled craftsmen of their eras, and both speak of grace, of nobility, of being at the forefront of all that’s chic and stylish.

Then there is Monsieur Christian Dior’s own personal history with the glittering palace: seeking to restore some of France’s glory after the dark years of war, Christian Dior found in Versailles a major reference and a source of inspiration for his work. His most emblematic designs had names like Trianon and Versailles, or were photographed by top photographers within the château. This influence still lives on in Dior, with Raf Simon’s latest haute couture collection presenting a modern take on Marie Antoinette.

dior versailles 1

dior versailles 2So, it should comes as no surprise that the two French majors have once again joined hands. Marie Antoinette’s private getaway on the grounds of Versailles – the rustic Hameau de la Reine (it’s GORGEOUS and there’s more coming up on that in a few days!) – has finally received a much-needed restoration, thanks to funding from the House of Dior. And now, during ongoing renovations at the Pavillon Dufour, a mammoth trompe-l’œil work by Pierre Delavie will obscure the construction site. It shows photographs of Dior’s past and contemporary designs in a setting of stone and greenery, like a window of the Royal Court looking onto the gardens.

What does that mean for all of us who are neither the Sun King nor Marie Antoinette? First, we won’t have our gorgeous photos of Versailles’ magnificent entrance marred by ugly scaffoldings and other construction paraphernalia. Secondly, there is another beautiful Dior video on the way, shot within Versailles. This time it’s for J’Adore and if the glittering Hall of Mirrors can’t make you reach out for a bottle of the sensually floral perfume, your willpower is definitely much stronger than mine!

The film releases on September 3rd but here’s a trailer… like it?

Orange is the new red… and here’s how to wear this lipstick trend in real life

I hate summer. There, I said it. So, lynch me. The heat. The humidity. The gravity-defying hair. The only thing that makes this season passable is its love of bold and bright tropical colours. So I really intend to make the most of the orange lipstick – not just because it’s trendy but also because this punchy citrus shade is fresh and modern, like red’s cooler, not-so-serious sister. Plus, unlike red lipsticks, orange shades don’t have saturated blue or red undertones, so they warm and brighten every skin tone. In short, this is the perfect summer shade.

Yes, it’s not an easy colour to wear. And yes, there are ways in which you (yes, you!) can master it. Here are some pro pointers culled from the top makeup artists in the industry.

Jessica Alba at the Golden Globes

Jessica Alba at the Golden Globes

Orange lipstick #1: Start with sheer

You don’t have to go with super saturated, super bright orange right out of the gate. To ease into the look, start small with a tinted balm for minimal colour (I am totally in love with Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment in Coral), then move up the intensity scale with a sheer coral gloss. Ready to take off the training wheels? Graduate to a bright orange stain, or dab an orange lipstick only on your bottom lip and blend.

Orange lipstick #2: Pick the shade

Like any other lipstick, your own colouring is important while picking the perfect orange. Darker, tanned skin works best with true orange shades, while a red-orange (like coral) looks good on most skin tones. And always test before you pick or pass on a shade: some lipsticks look outrageously neon in the tube but turn out to be really sheer and wearable on the skin. 

Moschino by MAC

Image: Moschino by MAC

Orange lipstick #3: Keep it matte

Feathering and fading are more noticeable with bold shades like orange, so skip glossy formulas that can slip off your lips. And stay away from those shimmer, frost and pearl finishes, unless you are channelling a retro vibe. Instead, go for a cream or matte finish, which looks modern and tends to stay put for longer.

Orange lipstick #4: The preparation

Just like wearing any other bold lipstick, it’s important that the lips are well-prepped and free from dry flakes. Try this super-easy DIY lip scrub recipe for the best results.

Orange lipstick #5: Color inside the lines

Orange lips should look clean and crisp – and the way to that is with a precise lip liner. This will cut down on the messiness and also stop the saturated shades from migrating to your cheeks. Either opt for a neutral lip liner around your line (I get wonderful results with Dior Universal Contour Transparent Lip Liner, no matter which lip colour I use) or fill in the entire lip with a colour similar to your lipstick.

Image: Maybelline

Image: Maybelline

Orange lipstick #6: Wear your skin clean and dewy

Orange is fun and fresh, so it needs to be paired with a fresh, unfussy face. With one caveat: orange lipstick can highlight redness and blemishes, so you will need to conceal any spots with a light-to-medium-coverage foundation. For the most glow-y effect, mix your foundation or tinted moisturizer with a liquid highlighter such as Clinique Up-Lighting Liquid Illuminator. If you’re feeling pale, dust some bronzer in a number 3 figure on the sides of your face to hit your forehead, cheeks and chin. Follow it up with a light wash of highlighter on your cheekbones and brow bones. The result is beach-y and super-sexy.

Orange lipstick #7: Say no to heavy eye makeup

Orange lips are a style statement, like a punchy necklace or bright shoes. You wouldn’t clutter up these with dangly earrings or super-patterned trousers, right? Similarly, orange lipstick works best when left to its own. Ditch the dark eyeshadows and heavy liner – instead, keep the focus on your lips by curling your lashes and applying a coat of clear mascara.

If ditching eye makeup is a no-go for you, try the next best thing: smudge some dark brown kohl liner around your upper and lower lashes lines, then wiggle 2-3 coats of mascara through your (curled) upper lashes. For nightwear, opt for a wash of bronze or rose gold eyeshadow. Or draw on a jet black liquid liner coupled with clean mascara for easy sophistication. The effect: a bright burst of color on an otherwise bare face.

Orange lipstick #8: Focus on those brows

This is a non-negotiable: bold lips need bold brows. Otherwise your face will look unbalanced. So work on them and fill in any gaps with a brow pencil till you get the perfect frame.

Are you ready to tackle the orange lipstick trend?

The easiest glow-y skin trick you will hear all summer

This summer is clearly the domain of hyper-perfect, super-dewy skin and its quest reminds me of something I learnt from Charlotte Tilbury a little while back. Speaking backstage at Donna Karan’s spring-summer show, the makeup supremo revealed a cool new idea to create the most luminous, satiny, polished finish of all times.

donna-karan-makeup

The trick? Mix a little bit of moisturiser with a few drops of pearl highlighter and layer it on top of foundation.

It’s not as difficult or messy as it sounds – I tried it myself and all you need to ensure is that the foundation is lightweight (so it doesn’t sit on the skin in a heavy, gloopy layer), use a light hand with the moisturiser-highlighter combo and go for light, sweeping strokes rather than trying to rub the cream into the skin . To further the effect of light literally bouncing off the model’s faces for added radiance, Charlotte applied a touch of sheen to lips, lids and eyebrows.

Definitely a look to try this season, though you might want to keep some blotting papers handy when headed somewhere hot and sultry.

Slick tricks to make legs look more toned (Prep time: 10 minutes. Gym time: 0)

Were opaque tights and cozy jeggings your best friend through winter? And have they added another cozy layer: all that fuzz and flakiness that’s grown in since you started skipping skirts and shorts? Yup! Thought so. After months of grizzly-like hibernation, your legs will likely be requiring some extra attention right about now. Luckily, even if you don’t have time for the full leg workup – exfoliation, intense moisturizing and thorough tanning – there are plenty of easy ways to make those stems rock. Here’s how to fake it till you make it.

sexy-legsSummer-ready legs step 1: Shave

If you have absolutely no time, just shave. This is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to exfoliate your legs, so that flaking is minimized and skin doesn’t look as dull.

Summer-ready legs step 2: Get oily

The quickest save for scaly legs is a shave followed by a generous slather of whatever oil you’ve got on hand – the thicker the better. You can use something as simple as coconut oil (which is also a great natural moisturizer) or a product specifically designed for the task, like Caudalie Divine Legs. Oil makes all of the key curves of your muscles catch the light and look more well defined. Plus, it makes the skin on your legs appear smoother. And ashy skin magically vanishes, making even the most sallow legs look healthier.

sexy-legs-gisele

Summer-ready legs step 3: Glitz up

Did you know that a little bit of shimmer can actually hide flaws? With a light hand, dust some fine loose shimmer down the front of your shin bones, the sides of your calves, the backs of your legs and on top of your knee caps; then blend. The shimmer diffuses light, making your skin look more translucent and disguising discoloration. Added bonus: it creates an illusion of longer gams.

Summer-ready legs step 4: Bronze it

Pale is beautiful but when your legs are approximately the same shade as raw meringue, don’t be too proud to pull out the bronzer. This works for deeper skin tones as well, as it highlights and gives a warm glow to gray areas. Plus, bronzer can make your stems seem more defined.

What about you? Do you ever apply stuff to make your legs look sexier and more toned? What do you like to use?