Alzerina Gomes is a jewelry and fashion entrepreneur. Gomes was born on the island of San Antao, Cabo Verde or Cape Verde. Cape Verde is a paradise, located off the coast of Africa in the central Atlantic Ocean. Alzerina Gomes is creative and has a flair for jewelry design. She began her entrepreneurial debut, in Paris, as a model in the city of lights. Alzerina worked with the The Swarovski Company which is known for its Austrian crystal and jewelry. After her journey in Paris, she settled in NYC to raise her family and begin her own business. A lot of work goes into being a small business owner in a big city such as; NYC. Her jewelry collection ranges from casual earrings, bracelets, rings and layered necklaces to more formal colored crystal drop earrings and statement pieces. The colored crystals add a glow to an outfit or mood. The Alzi Collection is causal and reflects a trend to every day bangles and accessories. She recently started a men’s line and there is a bridal line as well. The luxury collections; The City and The Signature Collections, have been worn by Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, actress, Sharon Stone, who wore a white crystal choker and Olivia Wilde. AG mixes metals; silver and gold with colorful Swarovski crystals and her style becomes apparent. The Cabo Verde Collection is handcrafted jewelry made with good luck beads which ward off the evil eye, providing positive energy, otherwise known as Conta di Ojo. Alzerina Gomes teaches jewelry making classes and hosts jewelry making parties. The company helps support education in Cape Verde, especially targeted to young girls from Cape Verde. In the fall of 2019, Gomes headed a fundraiser to support those affected by Cyclone Idai. The cyclone caused serious damage to Cape Verde, Mozambique and surrounding areas. Alzerina Gomes Jewelry and supporters of the Cape Verdean and Mozambican communities, gathered together, raising funds for people affected by this devastating cyclone. The fundraising gala’s theme was named: “Beira No Coraçao” which means “Beira ( a major city in Cape Verde) in our hearts”. Musicians from Cape Verdean and Mozambican heritage played Cape Verdean music and traditional food was served at a venue in Rhode Island. The Alzerina Gomes line can be bought in NYC or online at: AlzerinaGomesJewelry. com.
At first one sees the picture of The Moulin Rouge (Red Windmill) cabaret in Paris, but looks can be deceiving. The new Hermès luxury lip line, Rouge Hermès, came on the market this spring. Hermès, the 183 year old Parisian house of fashion and style, has introduced a lip collection. Hermès is a traditional, yet stylish brand with a caleche or horse carriage logo. The family fashion house began as a saddle company and Hermès has many designs with equestrian themes. The company is known for its solid and graphic print silk, twill and cashmere scarves, leather goods, Birkin and Kelly handbags, prestigious men’s ties, perfume and high end clothing. The Hermès Rouge palette is based on 76,000 silk and leather shades which comprise the 24 lips colors. The line has ten matte colors and 14 stains and is modeled after the Kelly calf skin box bag. The lipstick tube architecture is the creation of Pierre Hardy, creative director for Hermès shoes and jewelry. The cases are made of lacquered polish and brushed metal like the permabrass material used in the bag’s hardware. They come with 3 vertical stripes of color blocking in: black, white and gold with a gold plated Hermès seal on the bottom. The limited edition color tube comes in white, blue and orange and a few other tri -color variations A lip pencil, lip brush, balm and poppy lip shine are available to enhance your pout. The lipstick is priced at $67 with refills at $42, there will be future limited edition colors for $72. An ad shows women holding orange cases, between their lips, wearing a multitude of lip colors. The tagline; une femme dit en un accent Français, (a woman in a French accent, says): “orange turns red”. The shades vary from beige to reds and corals to violets and the Hermès name is etched into the lipstick. Colors have names such as: Rouge Mexique, a bright pink shade reminiscent of a Mexican fiesta, Corail Fou, a bold coral, Violet Insensé, a plum hue and Orange Boîte/Box, the companies signature orange. A range of beige colors: Beige Tadelakt, with a sunny glow, named after Berber styled houses and Beige Kalahari, a color like the deserts in Namibia and Botswana. Rose Dakar is a shade reminiscent of Lake Retba in Senegal. Hermès Beauty is headed, by Jerome Touron, who collaborated on the collection. Bali Barret, artistic director for the women’s line says; “Color is a language for Hermes, nuanced, irrational and playful”. Hermès plans to expand its makeup line with foundation, blush and eye shadow palettes as well as skincare. This lip service is not the drugstore lipstick brand, it competes with brands such as; Yves St. Laurent’s Tatouage and the Christian Louboutin line. Tatouage Lip is an all day, high impact velvet cream lip stain with a range of berry to bold colors. Louboutin Lipsticks are shaped as a stiletto heel and have gold plated and black casing with a crown like top. They come in a jewel case and are put in a black velvet pouch tied with a ribbon. The rich colors and branding evoke glamour, coming in velvet matte, sheer voilè and silky satin formulas. They retail in the $90 price range.The lipstick market is fraught with competition and many will purchase lip shades in a time of a COVID 19 due recession, a less costly way to own a piece of haute couture. Hopefully, the design and colors of Hermès Rouge will brighten outfits and boost your mood. Accessorize with Hermès perfume; Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, (A Garden on the Nile) and get a sense of springtime green or a stroll down the island gardens along The Nile River at Aswan. Notes of lotus, green mango, sycamore wood, calamus root and grapefruit are calming, pair the fragrance with a newly colored lip and begin the summer.
“Inside Asprey: Luxury by Royal Appointment” is a docuseries which looks at London, England’s prominent 167 New Bond Street boutique designed by Lord Norman Foster. The setting is comprised of eight Georgian townhouses combining old world architecture and fashion. Asprey’s was founded by William Asprey in 1871 and, in the beginning, saw the patronage of Queen Victoria. Royals; Edward VII, Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Sarah Ferguson and the majority of The Windsors have come here to shop. Sir Elton John and members of the House of Lords have frequented Asprey too, giving the house a long lineage. Yet, in current times, Hollywood and foreigners from the House of Saud and Qatar are frequent shoppers. Asprey received a Royal Warrant in 1886 from Queen Victoria and later, one from King Edward VII, Prince of Wales. Upon entering, one sees displays such as; a silver gorilla safe, a round champagne holder, silver decanters with antler heads and one of a kind crocodile bags encrusted with diamonds. Jewelry, handbags, home decor, embellished crystal and china seem straight out of Town and Country or Architectural Digest. Asprey was once a store which sold crowns and sceptres to the royal family. Watches by Asprey and Rolex are a main specialty as well as clocks. The store had a Regulator Clock in the window so the gentleman passing by could adjust their watches. The boutique recently recreated Queen Elizabeth’s diadem worn at her 1953 coronation, using 1000 white diamonds. Asprey’s goods have been a focus in movies such as; “Titanic”, “Match Point” and “Confessions of a Shopaholic”.
The documentary takes cameras, for the first time, on a store tour which is filled with an air of British aristocracy and finery, but it has modernity, with a black and white spiral staircase as a centerpiece. The viewer can see smiths who have spent their whole life creating jewelry, silverware and decorative merchandise for the discerning customer, private shopping sprees, events and shop talk from the manager, pr, sales and crafts people who know the secrets behind this prestigious shopping landmark. Outside, the picturesque street, its neighbors are; Louis Vuitton and Chanel. A Saudi princess, once the store has closed, buys 12 custom designed handbags, priced at 300,000 pounds and has them sent home by jet. Asprey is known for its alligator and lizard 1871 Pochette bags as well as the polo style bag. Polo sporting goods have been a staple of the store and are incorporated into fashion. A new shopper from Texas, clad in denim, comes in and buys unique silver owl salt and pepper shakers. Silver has been used for platters to sporting trophies. The marketing is discreet, yet, one gets an inside view as to what it takes to maintain the store’s caliber. Whether one is a long time shopper or a new visitor, each visit evokes an image of a future British socialite wearing an Asprey jewel collection, an elegantly dressed man going to Ascot or an estate in Yorkshire filled with their home decor. It takes effort to maintain the stores one of a kind inventory and exclusive upscale brand, much of the items are made on site. The jewelry, leather, silver and gold craft maker is shown cutting platinum and stringing blue and green gem stones for a necklace and earrings named “Chaos”, due to the free floating design. The Asprey diamond is known as the Asprey Cut which is handmade and flawless. They are the only company to have a letter A diamond above the crown symbol. Much of the jewelry is known for floral patterns, after English garden blossoms, designed as sunflowers and woodland flora. A rare fancy yellow diamond ring is brought out for show. There is a barrier between the have and have nots, old money and nouveau riche, but it is available to niche markets at the traditional Asprey. The intricate silverware, museum collection, gold gift boxes made with mercury are still part of the inventory, but a custom made haute couture ring, retailing at 4.6 million pounds, is a current seller. One can buy a less costly piece of heritage with a purchase of Purple Water Perfume, Purple Cream or Purple Bath Gel. Asprey uses purple as a signature color for branding and is recognized for their purple flag logo, the color symbolizes royalty. Asprey stores in: NYC on Madison Avenue, Beverly Hills in the Beverly Hills Hotel, South Beach, Miami in The Setai Hotel, Zurich, St. Moritz, Osaka in Takashimaya and Tokyo in The Ritz Carlton, grace the brand’s symbolic purple lettering and finery, but the English boutique is the original. The store can be reminiscent of scenes from Downton Abbey, Ralph Lauren’s take on the British or a twist on contemporary London shopping, but standards and old world traditions are upheld.
In the time of #BlackLivesMatter: the senseless killings of: George Floyd, Breonna Lewis and Ahmaud Arbery, bring new meaning to race and social injustice. A cosmetics company started by Nigerian born entrepreneur, Sharon Chuter, brings a new perspective to racial understanding. Sharon Chuter was born in Nigeria and moved to London, working as an executive for LVMH and is founder of Uoma Beauty. Uoma (pronounced Oh Ma) is the Nigerian word for beautiful in Igbo. Uomo is profiled by Allure Magazine which highlights an entrepreneur who is making strides in cosmetics, but cares about dialogue and fostering understanding concerning race and racism. Yesterday, the social media had Blackout Tuesday, users put up a black square, in which people stood in solidarity for the black community and against the killing of George Floyd. #TheShowMustBePaused was targeted to music sites; Apple, Spotify and YouTube, which went silent.
Chuter says; “There are many lines such as; Fenty Effect, which address a multitude of skin shades, but she wants to take it a step further and enhance communication between women and people from all races to foster more equality. Coming from Nigeria, she knows of the obstacles and injustices which have occurred in her homeland as well as throughout Africa. The Uoma line has a foundation named, Say What which comes in 51 shades, but Chuter empathizes the unique and authentic self. This is in response to ones inner and outer beauty. The line uses the Fitzpatrick Scale which measures skin’s reaction to the sun. The scale identifies 6 skin groups which have similar characteristics and skincare needs. Skin Kin comes in shades from cool to warm; White Pearl, Fair Lady, Honey, Honey, Bronze Venus, Brown Sugar and Black Pearl. Uoma Beauty wants to know what a woman likes and wants more of in her daily life and how her outer appearance can fulfill needs in other areas. Fair skin tends to get red easily and is hypersensitive so Uoma uses microalgae. Rose Hybrid which reduces sebum production and induces elastin production are ingredients for those who would pick the Honey Honey shade. Brown Sugar and Black Pearl users tend to have a dullness and the line contains tomato as a brightening agent. For lips, metallic shades in Black Magic Impact and matte lipsticks are Bad A…. The packaging is bold, shiny, innovative and modern with moderate pricing. The Skin Woke concealer comes in 18 shades, a liquid eyeliner with a name such as; Cleopatra and Boss Gloss monikers; Diana Ross and Maya Angelou. These black females are a legendary singer/performer and the other, a world renowned author and activist. Bahia and Trinidad are lipstick names and are places reminiscent of shades which have a natural warm hue, kissed by the sun on a tropical beach. The line has versatile eye shadow palettes and a range of contour and highlighter sticks in shades such as; Barbados. The products are cruelty free.
Uoma Beauty favors fashion photographer, Nadine Ijwere, who has taken shots with model, Nyakim Gatwech and Allure covergirl, Halima Adem. Adem is from Somalia, but escaped to a refugee camp in Kenya. She is represented by IMG Models and won Miss Minnesota where she was the first contestant to wear a hijab. She has been in Sports Illustrated as well as being a major runway icon. Gatwech has been dubbed; “The Queen of Darkness” and hails from Southern Sudan. Chuter believes beauty comes in every color and is part of the movement to encourage change for inclusion and to eradicate injustices. Uoma’s main message is that all are welcome to this beautiful tribe. Uoma would welcome a donation to #blcklivesmatter and #humanrightsmatter because no one should feel left out. Other organizations; The George Floyd Memorial Fund, Reclaim the Block, the Minnesota Freedom Fund, Black Visions Collective and the NAACP are foundations which support the Black American community.
Essie is one of the most well known nail color products and every season there is a collection for toes and nails which conjure up colors with a theme. Summer 2020, Essie has a group of 6 nail polishes which will visually take you on a trip to Morocco. Think Casablanca, Fez with its hats, the lush gardens of Marrakesh, spice souks and desert dunes with camels. Salons have been closed, for awhile, due to COVID, but you do not have to put your manicure and pedicure routine on hold. There are self care nail tutorials, nail files, toe nail clippers, buffers and emery boards so you can create your own in house nail spa. Essie sells a base coat and top coat too. An exotic location such as, Morocco, can bring to mind a certain color palette. This time, gold tones, reds, earthy shades and magical colors, will give your digits the look of a glowing sunset, exotic fabric weave or a desert underneath a sunset. Souq up the Sun is a color which is a creamy red coral, Mosaic on Down, a gold with ultra fine glitter, Bustling Bazaar, a cyan blue, Spice it Up, a bold and burnt red, Kaf-tan, a warmer earthy red and Worth the Tassel, a bubbly purple hue. An ad features Bustling Bazaar with a splash of blue polish in the center, a lantern, drinking glasses, and a blue beaded necklace, depicting shopping at a bazaar. One can buy this Essie Collection in drugstores or online at Essie.com. It comes in regular nail color as well as the gel.