The Secret World of Haute Couture

The world of custom made dresses or haute couture is an arena shrouded in secrecy and glamor. A BBC documentary, The Secret World of Haute Couture, is a glimpse into the dress making, designers, Paris, high society and the women who belong to “the club”. A reporter discovers the high end world of handmade gowns and lets the viewer look at some of the daily rituals. About 200 women are in the circle of buying the haute couture dresses made by Christian Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Givenchy, Lacroix and Balmain. The film begins with the fashion reporter interviewing, Becca Thrash. Becca speaks of the world she has entered through her philanthropy and marriage. She is a small town girl from Texas and was fascinated by the dresses in the pages of Vogue. The dresses are shown at The Musee de Beaux Arts, Bois de Bologne and The Grand Palais. Susan Gutfreund, a NYC socialite, attends the Paris shows and purchases gowns from the ateliers. She travels between NY and Paris and became a fixture in the world of delicate handmade gowns. The grande dames of the haute couture world are; Betsy Bloomingdale, who shows her pieces and mentions the few events at which she has worn each creation, including the Reagan inauguration. Carroll Petrie who has many foundations and shopped with the Duchess of Windsor, aka Wallace Simpson and Marisa Berenson. The film documentary interviews designer, John Galliano of Dior. He explains the couture process as he shows the collection. Daphne Guinness speaks of her love for haute couture, she shows her wedding dress. These gowns can take up to 130 hrs to design with the embroidery, horse hair, stitching, apppliques and flowers. It is a special brand of fashion worn to galas, fundraisers, weddings and society events. Time will reveal if the secret world of Parisian haute fashion will stay or evolve.

Love Shack Fancy; Modern Romantic Boutique

There is a brand that conjures up images of floral patterns, shades of pastel, white eyelet, pink hearts and tulle material. It is a reminder of Marie Antoinette decor meets girls dancing at ballet recitals. The name, Love Shack fancy or LSF. The creative director and founder, Rebecca Hessel Cohen, works with her husband. Love Shack Fancy began 6 years ago, with a boutique in East Hampton. It then came to NYC, on Bleecker Street in the West Village, and more recently, on Madison Avenue. There are new stores on Melrose Avenue, Newport Beach, CA and Palm Beach. Yesterday, a Texas store opened in Dallas’ Highland Park Village Shopping Center and then another opening in Austin. Ruffles, tulle and pink and white cowboy boots with hand painted heart emblems and cowgirl hats, are pictured on opening day. A floral pastel colored cake with a fondant image of Texas is presented in celebration. Well, after the state’s power outage and Covid times, why not have a party and go big. The concept began when Rebecca H. Cohen designed bridesmaid dresses for her wedding. She has an eye for color, detail and a unique design concept. RHC had done editorial magazine work for Cosmopolitan Magazine, but retail is in her blood. The online Love Shack Fancy site is doing well and Instagram and other social media platforms show the latest knit tops and legging combinations, whimsical dresses, skirts, accessories and shoes. A feature of this store, it carries merchandise for adult females and young girls, mothers and young girls who shop for matching outfits. This captures images of mother and daughter bonding, at events such as; springtime parties, Easter, weddings and birthday parties. Rebecca Cohen has two young daughters, Sophia and Scarlett. The young sophisticated sisters could be models for the line and are pictured on Instagram wearing the brand at their festive birthday parties with pink balloons and playing dress up in mom’s high heels. The pink and gold lettered shopping bags, floral linens, pillows, hanging flower displays, tables settings and ballet tutus, create a mixture of modern Edwardian and Victorian. The 2021 summer line is out and the floral and pretty pastel swimwear will look great at the backyard pool or beach. LSF has a collaboration with Hurley’s Women, a swimsuit brand which is prefect for the modern women who likes spending time on the beach. LSF boutiques draw shoppers to fill a niche market.


Whitening Cosmetics: A Look at The Dangers of Skin Bleaching

Skin bleaching: the use of lightening or whitening products have long been on the global market. Recently, it has become a trend which is sold to the masses who are in search of a lighter complexion. “Shady” is a video produced by fashion media company, Refinery 29. Reporter, Lexy Lebsack, tells the story of the possible dangers of certain skin bleaching creams with the most toxic ingredient; mercury. Lebsack’s video about the whitening cosmetic industry and its potential dangers, is part of a series, SHADY. She is an investigative reporter and producer, covering topics about beauty issues around the globe. The Asian market is inundated with whitening creams, lotions and soaps. Shiseido, the luxury Japanese cosmetics line, sells White Lucent with Sakura Resist Technology which is derived from sakura cherry blossoms. This fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation and can be used in conjunction with lasers. Other whitening brands contain less harmful ingredients such as ; Kojic acid, vitamin C and hydroxyquinone. Porcelana’s fade cream has been a staple in the US for decades, but it never made headlines. It showed its brand as an ad for a clear and lighter complexion which helps to diminish age spots and freckles. This video focuses on the country of the Philippines. The Philippines tends to value lighter skin because it can increase attractivity, foster self esteem and creates a feel of a more “beautiful” image. A city spa, Bello, is shown and the owner speaks about the lightening phenomenon. The spa has a procedure where many females flock to use a treatment such as; “The Cinderella Drip”. This IV drip contains glucothiamine which helps lighten the skin. The goal is not to look Caucasian, but to have a lighter coloring which can help the Philipina female become more economically marketable in the workplace and increase their “value” as a beautiful woman. The spa treatments might be relatively safe, but the lower costing creams which contain mercury, are the danger. High levels of mercury can cause kidney and liver damage, leading to death. Lexy Lebsack buys a variety of these creams and takes them to be evaluated. A director at the environmental regulatory board, finds these creams contain on average.. 42,000 times the legal limit of mercury. Some customs agents are overlooking the importation of these mercury infused whitening creams. They feel these products will help the image of the country. The Philippines was under the control of the US, Spain and Japan, gaining independence in 1946. The countries’ history might lend to this trend, but much is new. Social media influencers, show pretty lighter skinned females and they have millions of followers. Young girls see IG pictures and want to look like the latest it girl of Manila. One female said, she has decided not to use these products anymore, as she is pregnant and wants her child to grow up liking their heritage and browner complexion. It is more than skin deep.. One can attribute beauty standards and marketing skincare lightening to a range of variables, but when it comes to safety.. what will someone risk in order to get a particular look.


Clarins Paris, Total Eye Lift

Eye cream, a ritual in most people’s skin routine. Clarins, a prestige cosmetics line based out of Paris, makes am eye lift concentrate which helps to smooth fine lines and wrinkles as well as help clear up dark circles. The under eye skin is 7 times more sensitive than the rest of your skin, why not choose a product such as : Clarin’s Total Eye Lift to brighten and tone your eye area. The red bottle has a dispenser top which lets you put a dab of the cream around your eye orbit and penetrate the skin during the day or night. This concentrate is powered by two plant ingredients, Organic Harungana extract and Cassie Flower Wax. It can provide an immediate lifting and smoothing effect. Clarins states the the eye cream has 94 % ingredients of natural origin. It has a blend of horse chestnut escin, albizia extract organic guarana, plant based caffeine and shea butter are a combine of elements which help to diminish circles, smooth eye skin and reduce puffiness. It is a lightweight formula and has an ultra balm texture, blending right into the skin. It is easy to then apply eye makeup. The slogan; “Good For The Skin, Good For The Planet”. Clarins has a fair trade partnership Jardins du Monde which enables the purchase of Organic Harungana to improve the local communities who harvest the plant. Their headquarters are in Paris and Neuily-sur-Seine and the customer relations is in NYC.. Clarins promise; to see major results within a month, but it will refresh and brighten the eye area, giving skin a glow, immediately. Applying the concentrate from temple to temple and watch the video as to how to accurately apply.

Paris and Nicky Hilton; Socialite Sisters

As long as there has been Reality TV, night club promoters and parties, fashion designers, influencers, Paris’ pink and sparkle, Nicky’s French Sole shoe collaboration, a start up Hilton boutique and celebutantes, the Hilton sisters have become a household name. Paris Hilton’s expression; that’s hot and sliving-slay/living and chihuahua, Tinkerbell, have become pop culture. Born to Richard and Kathy Hilton, they were born in LA and moved to NYC. Kim and Kylie, are their maternal aunts and have been on The Housewives of Beverly Hills, the family fame game is de rigeur. They’re the great granddaughter’s of Conrad Sr. and the grandaugther’s of Barron Sr., founders of Hilton Hotels. Their world has revolved around in living in NYC and Beverly Hills, traveling to places such as: Las Vegas, Paris, London, Ibiza and around the world, we have watched the pair of sisters grow up. The Hilton Hotel Corporation and Hilton Foundation, started by Conrad and Baron Srs., a worldwide hotel chain and business and an established philanthropic foundation, lends to the family name.

Paris and Nicky Hilton seem closer than ever and have q and a sessions and are in the spotlight again. Paris has created the campaign #breakingcodesilence in order to end the troubled teen industry, where schools such as the one she attended, Provo County in Provo, Utah, have made the news. Her documentary; “This is Paris” shows her life in music, merchandise, fashion and personal interests, but focuses on teens at a school which is marketed as therapeutic, but ended up being a nightmare for her and many of her peers. She speaks of the school staff screaming and keeping her in isolation, which resulted in a diagnosis of PTSD and night terrors There are other similar programs across the U.S.. Provo Canyon, was sold to another company, they deny these allegations. She is well remembered for her reality show; The Simple Life, with Nicole Richie. A parody with the two milking cows while residing on a rural farm and making blunders at a fast food place, while missing their cosmopolitan lifestyles. She speaks of this as a comedy and her perception of acting ditzy, being well that, an act. Paris Hilton has a taste for bling which can be seen in her passion for sparkles, her favorite color pink and clothing collection. For her 21 birthday, she wore a short silver Swarovski Crystal beaded dress, designed by Julian MacDonald which was paired with a tiara. Kendall Jenner copied the dress and Nicky, have worn the actual ensemble for a party. Her days of self promotion with other celbutante influencers such as; Kim Kardashian are not quite at the same level. She has her music career where she sings pop songs and DJ’s. Paris has created a multi million dollar business with products ranging from perfumes to clothing. Paris and Nicky’s favorite travel destination; Tokyo. They worked with Japanese handbag designer, House of Samantha Thavasa. Paris was a model and Nicky worked on creative, Paris has matured, almost 40, she is in love with bf, Carter Reum. According to People Magazine and other media outlets, the couple is trying to conceive using IVF. Paris Hilton influences a fantasy world which is glamorous, but some of it is business and not all is perfect and golden.

Nicky Hilton married banking heir, James Rothschild in London’s Kensington Palace, She had a lavish wedding and wore a custom made Valentino wedding dress which required many atelier fittings. The couple have two daughters, Lily Grace who is 4 and Theodora or Teddy, 3 yrs old. Nicky Hilton collaborates on a shoe line with French Soles. The shoes are flats, some with tie bows and come in a rainbow of colors. Some have designs with leopard patterns, velvet and a set of batting eyes with eyelashes, The sisters were offered a role on Sex and The City, but this did not work out,. Nicky works with a foundation which helps to prevent child sex trafficking. Nicky collaborated on an eye makeup line with SmashBox Cosmetics. The eye palette features a smoky color palette, eyeliner and mascara, packaged in a black case with a cat eye symbol. She designed jewelry for a company and has come out with a book: Style 365.

sThe Hilton sisters have two younger brothers, Barron who recently married and the couple has a newborn daughter, Milou. As well as the youngest sibling, Conrad. Keep on the lookout for a new generation of Hiltons.