Sunday, 26 June 2011

Ormonde Man

If you are looking for a fragrance that relies solely on the merit of its scent rather than the hint of a rich and beautiful lifestyle so many perfume adverts now entice us with, then London Perfumery Ormande Jayne may be your man.

Named partly after the terrace where Linda Jayne Pilkington set up her own home as a perfume lab, the ingredients used are quality oils and absolutes sourced worldwide, some still not widely used in the Western perfume industry.

The first of the three perfumes for men Linda created was:

Ormonde Man

Top notes: Juniper berry, bergamot, pink pepper, cardamom and coriander seeds
Heart: Oudh and black hemlock
Base: Vetiver, cedar, sandalwood and musk

It’s as though all the top notes are jumping around to grab your attention saying ‘Smell me! Smell me!’ But then they seem to exhaust themselves and settle down and let the smooth sweet heart   blend take over.

It is the infusion of Oudh oil which gives Ormonde Man its distinctive sweet woody aromatic fragrance.  Oudh is usually an acquired taste but like all acquired tastes, once you’ve acquired it you’ll be hooked.  It’s definitely a smooth operator.

Oudh has always been highly valued in the Oriental and Arabic cultures and when Ormonde man was launched in Nov 2004, it was one of the ingredients not widely used in the West.  
But now it’s all the rage!

Gentlemen - A note of warning! Keep your Ormonde Man under lock and key unless you don’t mind sharing. This is a fragrance the ladies like to wear too and being a lady (I do try!) I completely agree. For me the reason I’d wear Ormonde Man is because it doesn’t smell too woody or citric like your average men’s fragrance. This is probably a fragrance for the Metro Man.

Ormonde Man is available in eau de parfum (50ml £70), hydrating bath & shower crème (200ml £28), essential bathing oil (100ml £49), replenishing body lotion (200ml £35) and large multi wick scented candles with silver lid and base. (100hrs burning time £184)

Isfarkand – a name derived from a mixture of the cities of Isfahan in Iran and Samarkand in Uzbekistan. This cologne based fragrance was launched in 2006 and in the same year was voted the best scent by Wallpaper.

Top notes: Lime, mandarin and bergamot
Heart: Pink Pepper
Base: Cedar, vetiver and moss.

This one is a fast worker! The blast of top citrus notes quickly makes way for the highly pink peppery heart notes. The peppery scent lingers alone before blending with the richer damp moss notes, the earthy vetiver and the drier cedar notes.  As it settles it becomes soft and powdery with the peppery notes fading in to the background, whilst the dry cedar wood makes a lasting impression.

This is a fragrance that improves with wear. ‘Wear’ meaning the longer it is on your skin the better it smells, I couldn’t stop sniffing my wrist it was so addictive.

Available in the following: eau de parfum (50ml £70), and shampoo & body wash (temporarily out of stock)

Zizan is the latest of the men’s fragrances, again cologne based fragrance and launched in Nov 2009

Top notes: Sicilian lime, lemon, bergamot, clary, sage, pink pepper and juniper berry.
Heart: Bay, violet and jasmine
Base: Vetiver, cedar, musk and amber
This zingy fragrance is grounded by the earthy aroma of three types of vetiver, hence the fragrance’s name Zizan which was taken from the Latin word zizanoide meaning vetiver.

Zizan was launched as a result of many customers asking for a vetiver based fragrance similar to Eau de Sauvage. Vetiver is a perennial grass native to India but is now also cultivated in Haiti, Reunion and Java. The oil distilled from its roots is used in perfumes. The aroma is deep, sweet, woody and earthy.

This one has stamina! The strong citrus top notes are there for the long haul, lingering with the heart notes before they slowly mellow and allow the sweeter base notes to take centre stage.

This is probably the strongest and longer lasting of all the three fragrances, and also the most masculine scent. Zizan is available in eau de parfum only. (50ml £70)

Since leaving her humble yet beautifully scented home, Linda now owns two London boutiques with striking black lacquered interiors and her perfumes are also available from the opulent Harrods Perfume Hall. However some things haven’t changed - each product is still created by Linda and the bottling and packaging is still by hand but now in her British workshop rather than in her home.

Ormonde Jayne’s flagship boutique is at 12 The Royal Arcade and her new and larger store at 192 Pavillion Rd just off Sloane Square.  For more information check out the website:

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Bespoke Item

Have you ever seen something that you thought would be perfect if it were in a different colour or had more/less embellishments? Alas, we usually have to compromise unless we have a Fairy Godmother who can wave her magic wand and make our wish come true.

Good news is some companies are now offering a semi bespoke service and even better news is that this service doesn’t cost the earth.

So who needs a fairy godmother when you have the following brands with their bespoke services?

Belen Echandia is the only luxury Italian-made handbag company to offer an online customisation service on its entire handbag collection. You can choose the leather, colour, lining, hardware and other extras to create your dream bag.

Step 1 – choose a style from the collection
Step 2 – choose features such as straps, tags, tassels/zips
Step 3 – choose the leather and colour
Step 4 – choose the hardware such gold, silver, brass or gunmetal
Step 5 – choose lining colour
Step 6 – choose the extras such as extra internal pockets, BE stamp or hole motif, personalised tags etc.

All their handbags are handcrafted in a family-run Italian atelier that uses the traditional techniques. And most feature extra details like multi-way leather straps, key holders, removable compartments and hidden pockets to help you stay organised.

More details on www.­belenechandia.­com 

Upper Street is a made-to-order luxury shoe label with sizes available ranging from 2 to 10. A feat in itself!

Decide on the shape and style and then explore materials, colours and embellishments. The website allows you to look at your design at all angles just by clicking and dragging over the image.

1.       Shoe style – have 7 styles to choose from. 
2.       Upper Shape – the choice of either the full cut or the D’Orsay cut sides.
3.       Fronts –  choose between leaving the front plain or adding embellishments
4.       Back – whether you want to keep the back plain or have a counter back which is a good choice for contrasting colours or materials
5.       Straps – ankle, Mary Jane, triple, wide straps or no straps
6.       Colours and materials. The shoe model is divided up in to segments and each segment can be a different colour or material by just clicking on it and then choosing. Materials are leather, suede, patent, snakeskin, metallic, animal, satin and bridal satin
7.       Embellishments


Warning! You’ll find creating your own pair very addictive. This is shoe heaven without having to walk to those pearly gates.

Start creating on

Designer Belinda Robertson not only creates modern elegant knitwear in 100% pure Scottish cashmere using traditional production methods and skilled artisans, but she also offers a bespoke service on her Black Label collection.

You have a choice of more than one hundred colours ranging from sharp citrus brights to soft natural melanges, and from deep autumnal hues to delicate pastels – so you’re bound to find a shade you love and which will complement your own colouring.  They even have a swatch service (charge £10) where they will send 10 cashmere swatches in the colours you have selected so you can feel and see the actual shades before deciding on your final choice.

The bespoke service doesn’t end there, they will alter the sleeve and body length for a charge of £35 per alteration so you’re guaranteed a perfect fit, a great benefit for the taller or petite woman. Plus there are a variety of styles and necklines to choose from.

Delivery takes approximately 6-8 weeks.

For more information check out

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Pretty Amazing Lipcolor by bareMinerals

They’re helping you to achieve healthy looking and flawless skin with their bareMinerals SPF15 foundation and their new skincare products. Now they’ve turned their attention on to your lips.

Suffering from dry lips, I feel like Goldilocks when it comes to lipstick, I struggle to find the right one. The long lasting and matt lipsticks are way too dry and lip glosses are far too sticky with not enough colour. The gloss lipsticks are almost just right but the colours don’t seem to last two minutes. So I am always eager to try out new lipsticks.

BareMinerals Pretty Amazing Lipcolor says "it combines the coverage of a lipstick with the high shine of a gloss to deliver full-bodied, velveteen colour with a comfortable longwearing finish."

So what’s the verdict?

First Appearances: From the package, it looks like a lip gloss and you apply like a lip gloss, but I’m happy to say that the consistency is more of a lipstick, creamier and thicker.

Initial Application - I was shocked at the thickness, so I’d recommend that you go easy on the application, blot or smooth over with your fingers afterwards. It felt dry and the more neutral colours such as Free Will seem to accentuate the lines on my lips which was not a look I was hoping for. Luckily I restrained from wiping it off straight away and allowed it to settle for the lasting impression.

Lasting Impression: It only took a few minutes for the initial look to change to a more even and smoother look, and for my lips to feel moisturised.

So only a little hiccup at first before turning in to a Pretty Amazing Lipstick.

And the Colours?

The names of the colours were chosen to help empower women for different situations. For example: if you had a presentation to give and felt a little nervous, then apply some ‘Courage’; or you may want to apply ‘Charisma’ to have them eating out of your hands.  
Just thinking of what you wanted to achieve and then choosing the lipstick by name brought a smile to my face and a positive attitude. Although I did consider cheating at the press day when asked to choose the lipstick by name and match it with how I wanted to feel that day. Even if I needed strength to keep me going through the busy schedule of press events ahead, and although the vibrant bright red colour was gorgeous, it just doesn’t suit my complexion. But when they gave me the whole range of colours to play with and encouraged me to mix the colours, I was feeling Free Will with a touch of Strength was what I needed to get me through the day.

Here’s the full colour range:

AMBITION – fuchsia.  A hot hot pink, Great for those with high contrast colouring or dark cool skins.
BRAVADO – brick rose. A smooth rich rosy brown. Great for those with warm complexions, especially you redheads.
STRENGTH – vibrant red.  The glamorous Hollywood look for those with high contrast colouring or dark cool skins
MOXIE – bright petal pink. This bubblegum pink is light and flirty.  Great for those with bright and cool complexions –pale or dark
COURAGE – warm strawberry.  A warm strawberry with a hint of brown. More veering towards the warmer complexions, pale or dark, but it is a good neutral for the evening for any complexion.
FREE WILL – pink nude - Neutral with a hint of brown so a good neutral for the warmer complexions
CHARISMA – coral pink -Neutral with a hint of pink, so a good neutral for the cooler complexions.
FEARLESS – rosy mauve. A mauve pink, a good neutral for the darker complexions and a great statement lipstick for the paler complexions.

Pretty Amazing will be available in the UK around June and you will be able to buy them singly or in a presentation pack. Just think of the presentation pack as an artist’s palette and start creating your lipstick picture for the day.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Matthew Williamson’s First Bridal Collection

The air was charged with excitement as we queued to view the catwalk show of Matthew Williamson’s first bridal wear collection at the White Gallery event in Battersea Park.

Taking inspiration from the iconic styles of his past ready to wear collections, there was not a meringue in sight – here it was more about the flowing carefree luxury bohemian look.

Some of the gowns you could imagine being worn for a sun kissed paradise beach wedding with the ivory feathers or waterfall ruffles embellished on the skirts dancing lightly in the cool sea breeze.

The column shaped skirt of a floor length ivory gown is embellished with hand sewn ostrich feathers and its structured strapless corset top is softened with diaphanous silk tulle across one shoulder and ruched around the waist.

Williamson has also created a shorter cocktail dress in the same style for maybe the bridesmaids or a perhaps a bride preferring a romantic stroll close to the water’s edge.

Another great beach style is the long ivory silk georgette gown with its soft waterfall ruffle skirt and plunging v neckline embellished on one side with a line of ruffles. Despite the plunging neckline, this gown has an ethereal air of innocence until you see the back which has a sexy cut out in the shape of a tear drop. The cut out is framed with hand stitched beading at the base and on one shoulder. This gown will give the guests something to focus on during the ceremony.

For the on trend 70s look, there is the silk chiffon floor length kaftan with plunging neckline, fluted sleeves and embellished with Swarovski crystals and pearls at the waist. This style has a timeless and simple elegance to the front, but I’m not sure I’m liking the back with its tie belt.

For the 60’s feel, Williamson has created the knee length silk chiffon shift dress with tiered edged ¾ length fluted sleeves. The whole garment is embroidered by hand with a floral design either in a delicate blush shade or the same ivory hue.

Rather than going for the ‘princess’ look, Williamson has gone for the Grecian Goddess style. Here a seemingly simple silk parachute draped gown is adorned with a thin Swarovski crystal belt at the front whilst the back reveals a racer style strap of Swarovski crystals and a billowing diaphanous parachute style cape attached to the shoulders and the hem of the gown.  You can believe the goddess who wears this has just floated down from Mount Olympia.

Another goddess style is the softly draped chiffon gown with crossover ruched pleated bodice and two wide Swarovski asymmetric straps to add sparkle.

Empire lines always create a slim column silhouette and Williamson’s designs are no exception. The styles vary from the ornate gold geometric beading on the high necked empire gown with a softly draped skirt to the bandeau style top empire gown with fine spaghetti straps and more subtle embellishments on the bodice and long peacock feathers decorating the skirt. 

My favourite?

Well it has to be the strapless devore gown with its cross over bodice. The hand painted abstract winter wonderland design of the buttermilk silk satin fabric with the crystal and pearl bodice trim bring a rich opulence to the gown. And for the bridesmaids, Williamson creates the Grecian handmaiden look with a softly draped asymmetric cocktail dress in the same fabric and embellished with a jewelled crystal corsage.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky