Thursday, February 21, 2008

Frances Bean Cobain Is No Grunge Chick

When Kurt Cobain commited suicide in 1994 grunge ruled the world. The chic set was not comprised of child-sized women with gym-toned arms, spray tans, colourful dresses and enormous sunglasses (hard as that is for us to fathom, in the waning bling era). It was made up of angsty characters with artless bed-hair and rumpled band tees. The guys wore flannel shirts and bedrooms were wallpapered with posters of the Seattle 'big three' (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam and Nirvana). For both sexes, Doc Martens were the shoe of choice. If women emphasised their bodies at all it was with tight black jeans (yech, do you remember?) personalised with sew-on patches or even (shock horror!) permanent marker doodles. I actually remember the girls in the year above me painting their nails with liquid paper and drawing on their thighs.

And this is the chic set.

The suicide of Kurt Cobain sent shock waves through the teenage world. A string of copycat suicides followed (look up 'copycat suicide' on wikipedia and it's mentioned in the first paragraph- the world's premiere example). Grunge-heads mourned, sobbed, tore their stringy hair out, wrote angsty poetry, listened to 'Lithium' on repeat, constructed eerie Kurt shrines, channelled the singer with Ouija boards and started short-lived Nirvana-rip-off garage bands. It didn't pass for about a decade - every year as the anniversary of Kurt's death approached youth counselling organisations began to get nervous and heightened their feel-good efforts. An orgy of teenage self-harm had become naturally associated with Cobain's final day: a certainty, like exchanging presents on Christmas.

Amidst all the sadness- the cries and howls and curses- a few whispers of hope could be heard. Kurt had a daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, whose mother was none other than riot-grrl Courtney Love, notorious boozer and frontwoman of nascent rock band Hole. At that stage Love was better known for her on-stage presence than for public benders or a propensity to show up paralytic at interviews and flash her boobs (Cobain, when prompted to count his blessings, once stated that he had 'a goddess of a wife who sweats ambition and empathy' - how Love's press has deteriorated since then). Kurt was gone, but his legacy lived on in handbag-sized baby daughter Frances Bean. Die-hard fans speculated, with moist eyes, about whether this tike would take those alpha music genes and make the most of them. For a while it looked like the dream was still alive.

This Elle shoot from 2006 is positively heaving in its eagerness to style Frances Bean as a grunge girl in the making. That was two years ago - since then hip hop and electro beats have tightened their stranglehold on the public imagination, and Kurt's daughter has grown up and started to look more womanly (earlier this year she declared to People magazine: 'I am not my parents'). This month came the clincher: Elle competitor Harper's Bazaar published a very feminine, very high-fashion, very 'now' spread featuring the adolescent Child of Rock. The theme? An homage to some of Frances' favourite characters from musicals (she's not quite grown-up, after all).


Beauty and the Beast


The response has been very positive - until now a great portion of the music-loving public didn't know what this girl looked like. FBC has exploded into mainstream awareness in a puff of glamour, satin, ruching, perfect makeup and and skyscraper heels. Not as a grunge-revivalist ingenue, but who cares about that anymore?

Well actually, some people do. When these shots were first published on Gawker the comments were a mixture of surprise, encouragement and good old-fashioned covetousness (mainly directed at that yellow Zac Posen dress in the middle). But one response in particular- from a guy- stood out for me. He was clearly a grunge-head, with a picture that just screamed 'hanging on to the nineties for dear life': stringy-hair, baggy clothes, sitting on the floor in a dirty apartment. I wish I could remember his screen name (Lithium4Life or kurtNkrack or something like that). His comment?

'She's almost ripe'.

Ooer... disturbing.

Kurt Cobain is a legend, and the seismic impact of Nirvana cannot be denied and may never be duplicated, but his era has passed. Anyone still hanging onto grunge like a security blanket is probably a little... well, maladjusted.
Who can blame this little bean for wanting to distance herself?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Future Is Here

Some of the wildest looks of this season (or any!) surely belong to Gareth Pugh, who sent models down the runway in deathly white makeup and clothes that were part futuristic viking, part swamp monster. Now THAT's fusion.

Star Wars, anyone?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Make your Cheekbones Pop

I heart this product! Blush is the one product that can make you look polished instantly. I was delighted to see that Covergirl had analysed the phenomenon... and released a neat compact designed to maximise the cheekbone 'pop'. Makeup is all about lighting and shading- apply a light shimmery shade to some area and you bring it forward. Applying a dark, matte shade will cause that area to 'recede' in the eyes of a viewer. Why not make the most of this? 

Covergirl 'Instant Cheekbones' Contouring Blush includes mid, light and dark shades; apply the mid as you would your usual blush (on the cheek apples), the light slightly higher (closer to your eyes) and the dark shade in the hollows of your cheeks (handy diagrams are included for blush novices). 

Voila! Your face looks instantly sculpted.

I'm not kidding ! When I first saw this product I thought 'pfff, one of those overwrought makeup ideas that doesn't actually do anything' (falling square in this category is white eyelash primer. You know those double mascaras that were popular for a while, which had a white tube on one end and the black on the other? I've never met anyone who didn't agree that they just make your lashes look gunky and sticky). But Instant Cheekbones really does look fantastic.

Bliss! It's a Fashion Oasis because:

- essentially you're getting a highlighter, blusher and bronzer in one package. Makeup artists use three separate products in exactly the same way to achieve the same effect. Now regular gals can do it with one teensy compact.

- at only $5, you really are getting value for money. If you're not a big fan of emphasising your cheekbones (something I'll never understand, but these people do exist) but you want to try it occasionally, this is the product for you. No need to make three separate investments.

-you know you're not paying extra for the packaging. It's clear, no-nonsense Covergirl plastic. The money you pay is getting you quality makeup.

- You can use it on your brow bone as well, for a nice, matched glowing look.

Leaving you Hot and Bothered:

-if you bought a separate bronzer, highlighter and blush you could choose products that are tailored for your skin, go for favourite brands or have a wider choice of colours. Also, true bronzer and highlighter can be used all over the face and body- can't do that with these little powders.

- some people say they don't trust themselves to blend blush properly. The problem will be tripled here !

-after a week or two the packaging gets powdery and it really does look like crap

Maybe you'd prefer to spend extra and get something you can display on your Vanity with pride (no pun intended!)

Verdict: Four Oases

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Lay Off The Spray Tan Or You Could End Up Looking Like THIS

I had to post this shot of tanorexic guys in a club (from )

Is this what happens when men become vain?

Well, not always. David Beckham looks great! And shocking spray tans aren't strictly the domain of preening men; I've seen doozies on girls in the street (never quite THIS bad! Centuries of vanity have left girls pre-programmed with at least some sense of what looks good slapped on their faces. And if it hasn't - if they have NO makeup sense - a torrent of bitchy remarks will usually set them straight by the end of high school).

But the fact stands: metrosexuality in the wrong hands can be disastrous...

There's actually an equation for the look:

Metrosexuality + the wrong hands = crazed Eurotrash !

The girls in the photo are either very young and naiive, too tipsy to be critical, distracted by something else, respectful of these guys for intangible reasons (inner beauty?) or determined to look serene and pouty when the pic is posted on Myspace. Because they're not even cringing.

The one on the left looks like he's been dipped in warm Max Brenner chocolate. With none of the usual sexy and erotic consequences.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Kirsten Dunst Goes to Rehab

I used to think of Kirsten Dunst as this gorgeous, eternally polished chick who could rock any hair!

Or as the celebrity who got to wear those a-ma-zing costumes in Sophia Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette'

After she went into rehab I did an image search on the web and found a different crop of pictures jumping out at me...

Bad skin!


No Front teeth!

That's perception for ya...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Dark Pleasures

Shade Tried: Steel-etto

I took a picture of this against my other nail polishes and it looks like an army of bubblegum teenagers lining up to battle the Antichrist!

This is a heavy, shiny shade, part of Revlon's limited edition 'Dark Pleasures' line. My nails were shortish when I applied it, which wasn't ideal; darker shades tend to make nails look even shorter. But it's a good colour: not-quite-black! It dries a deep bluish grey (like steel) but still catches the light.

Just a little bit Vampire.

Bliss! It's a Fashion Oasis because:
- For A$7.95 (about 5 US dollars) you're getting a limited edition shade.
- Great colour. I've heard people say Revlon colours can look cheap, I think they're hit-and-miss. This one is chic; a cool variation on the all-popular black? Get this if you're sick of Chanel 'Black Satin' (declared 'the polish of the season' by and want dark talons with a twist.
- I wore it for three days before I noticed any chips. This is with all the typing/ can-opening/ product-perusing/ food-unwrapping and home-maintaining I do (erm, average to high...)
Leaving you hot and bothered:
-I had to apply three coats to get that chunky look. A lot of people don't have the patience. Also dark shades look their best chunky IMO.
-It takes ages to dry. Actually, this is my biggest problem with Revlon polish - it dries in about the time it takes to proofread a doctoral thesis. Compare to Cutex 'Metallic Flash', which I've been wearing for the last two weeks and which dries in 60 seconds! Slow dry means you have to endure that annoying two hours trying to remember not to touch anything. Times that by three (for the three coats) and yep, you'll need a whole Sunday afternoon.
-A lot of people don't like buying Revlon because they're not known as a particularly ethical brand (toxic chemicals used in the production processes, animal testing stories floating around, etc, etc...)

Verdict: Three Oases