Friday, 18 January 2013

Friday Evening Culture

There I was in my slippers with a cup of tea, when I heard Martine McCutcheon’s voice resonating from my television. I heard the words “French fashion” and I was gone. Scurrying around my lounge to grab a pen and a notepad, I could already feel a blog post coming on.
So when we talk about “French fashion” what exactly do we mean? No, we’re not talking black and white stripes, neck ties, berets and clutching a baguette in one hand, and a glass of red in the other (unfortunately!) we’re actually talking sunshades, faux fur, handbags and serious shoes - it’s all about the handbags and shoes, ladies!
In comparison, we here in jolly England go for a more preppy, trendy not-too-vain approach to our every day fashion choices. “I think as British we try to apologise for everything, even for being beautiful!” - a brilliantly played-down judgement by Martine right there.
So I watched on as Martine hit the streets of Paris, approaching women and asking them all about the secrets behind their outfits. It seemed to prove a little difficult to encourage these women to reveal their deepest and darkest, but we definitely got something from it. French fashion is effortless and chic. Poised and immaculate. Think Marie-France Pisier - The Other Side of Midnight, a vision of high maintenance and discipline, but with that delicate touch of pure, clear skin and simple make-up. In fact, the only real beauty secret Martine could prise out of the women of Paris was to use lots of water for a clear complexion! My conclusion of contemporary French fashion would definitely be ‘dressing classically, rather than conforming to trends’.
Feeling slightly disappointed that this may be the end of the 10 minute programme, I had my heart set on hearing about Italian fashion. Then, thankfully, I heard the name Nancy Dell’olio.
When asked about how she would define Italian fashion she simply said that it’s all in the details - “Details are a part of out culture!” she smiled. When asked by Martine how she would define the differences between French and Italian fashion, she paused and laughed “We’re more beautiful!” followed by a shake of the head as she stopped to think; “Italian fashion is easy, open… It’s friendly.” Martine, at this point, said something that really made sense to me, referring back to how French fashion is timeless, somewhat high maintenance. The perfect simile. “So Italian fashion would be, a diamond. Whereas French fashion would be pearls.”
When asked for one single tip for women on how to feel beautiful, Nancy polished it off with “Feel confident. You must feel confident with your style. A woman could be dressed so beautifully, but people would not notice because her confidence would not show it. She must always be confident.”
After the short interview with Nancy, Martine move back on to the streets of Paris to talk more skin-care to match chic fashion statements - and here’s what I got for you:
1) Always wash your face with warm water from your basin. Not cold water as this shocks the skin and can cause blood clotting in the skin, and not hot water as this scolds. Rinse your face 15-20 in one go.
2) Immediately apply your serum/moisturiser as this keeps the skin moist and fresh - and if you’re looking for make-up tips, in the morning/afternoon keep your make-up light around your eyes and lips, and for the evening, smoky eyes are always a sexy, sophisticated option!
And with that the programme had finished, and my hand ached from making notes! Not to mention my cold cup of tea. All in the name of fashion! Now time to flick that kettle on again…

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