Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture Spring 2012

by David Pedroza, Editor in Chief

  For Spring 2012 haute couture, Alexandre Vauthier has managed to create a collection perfect for a modern woman.  Alexandre Vauthier, a veteran of Thierry Mugler and Jean Paul Gaultier, has created his own identity of a post-modern, sexy, yet glamorous woman with the knowledge in great workmanship and fit. These exits evoked the glamour of Jean Harlow, techno, and a very demure sex appeal.  Models stomped down the runway, like amazonian goddesses, dripping with soft silks, glass Lesage beading, gabardine, and feathered ensembles. Soft tailoring was paired with sleek, black vinyl leggings and spiked heels. Streamers trailed behind jumpers, and gowns where cut on the bias to perfection. One suit, a simple boxy jacket and pencil skirt, had a blouse exploding with white ostrich feathers. Highlights of the collection were ombre gowns with lightly tinted ostrich feathers and a black paillette Smoking Tuxedo, that closed the show.  Alexandre Vauthier goes from strength to strength each season, perfecting his craft and vision, and proving that he knows what women want.

All Photos by Stephanie Kaufman for Master the Art of Style 2012

Alexis Mabille Haute Couture Spring 2012

by David Pedroza, Editor in Chief
Alexis Mabille sticks to his principles season after season, making clothes for women who work and require a wardrobe that is not limited, and surpass the quality of any off the rack garment. For Spring 2012, the designer's 4Th couture collection (Alexis Mabille has always presented both ready-to wear and couture in previous years), was a bold execution of color, colors that only the bravest woman could wear. The colors of intense fuchsia, cobalt blue, Robbin-egg blue, and chartreuse, where saturated into simple, 1930's linear silhouettes; silhouettes reminiscent of Lucien Lelong and Maggy Rouff, couturiers that where sought after by Hollywood starlets, in their day for long, negligee, inspired dress. Alexis kept his contemporary vibe, which one would expect from a young couturier, offering a vision for a more practical clientele. One stand out, fete of couture craftsmanship was a Faberge-inspired strapless cocktail dress, encrusted in sea foam green sequins, and gold thread embroidered scrolls. Each model was festooned with an over sized, floral headpiece, and their faces painted to coordinate their ensemble. Alexis Mabille knows how to keep his clients on their toes with out giving up his integrity or vision.

photos by Stephanie Kaufman for Master the Art of Style

The Art of Haute Couture: Dior Couture spring 2012

by David Pedroza, Editor in Chief
Haute Couture has been known as a way for designers to express them selves through experimentation of fashion with an emphases on workmanship. Through the years new ideas have changed fashion and inspired the world, but Haute Couture became a tool for marketing and brand image.The tables have turned, making workmanship and quality as the main focus to drive sales.The workmanship of haute couture was evident, with Bill Gaytten's second couture outing for the house of Dior. Gaytten analyzed the inner workings of a haute couture garment, and reveled its beauty to the outside surface. Delicate, fine layers of organza and crain or horse hair, created nipped waist day dresses that would make Grace Kelly swoon. Fine, window pane prints, where in fact created by individual sequins sewn by hand.
Small irregular squares where painstakingly applied to organza, by hand, to create a crocodile effect, with out giving up the integrity of softness. There was a lightness and ease to Gaytten's second couture Collection for Dior, and much of it seemed to be inspired by its founder and his ideal look, the New Look, which was introduced in 1947. Though nostalgic in reference, the collection was fresh and modern. Some pieces where very simple, with a few pleats and top stitching to adorn them, making it it obvious that Haute Couture is no longer a marketing tool, but a craft of making quality clothes for real women to wear every day. The restrain in the color palette makes it easy for a client to imagine her self wearing these creations, leaving the color up to the clients decision.
Bill Gaytten did not leave fantasy out of the equation, the end of the show was filled with lavishly frilled and beaded cocktail dresses, and ravishing ball gowns that makes one dream of being a princess.

photos by Stephanie Kaufman, for Master the Art of Style

Favorite Valentine Finds.

I've been up to my eyeballs in RAINBOW stuff for our New Beginnings program tomorrow night. Can't wait to share the details...

For are some of my VERY FAVORITE VALENTINE finds via Pinterest.

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The Idea Room
Such a cute twist on the original pretzel m&m bites.

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These are super simple...she uses OREO cakesters and cuts them out in heart shapes. Then you roll the edges in Valentine colored sprinkles!  Brilliant! 

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A Diamond in the Stuff
Love Love Love the simplicity of this doily banner.

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Darling Doodles
FREE soda pop printables here.  This one is PERFECT for MY Valentine :)

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Is this not the most darling table setting ever? LOVING the heart shaped napkin and arrow fork!

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Bloom Designs Online
Some people are just TOO clever.  I need to find me a big package of these tube containers.  Stat.

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Because what little boy DOESN'T love Star Wars?  She provides the FREE printables here too!  Score!

January Empties


Here are my beauty empties for this month and whether I would choose to repurchase them or not. The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter - Have used this for years and it's still a firm favourite of mine. Definitely one that I enjoy using in the colder months because it's so thick and moisturising. Repurchase? Yes. Crystal Spring Salt Of The Earth Deodorant Spray (review) - I made the switch to all natural deodorants about a year ago and have mostly been using this brand. It's fragrance free and works great, no problems at all! Repurchase? Yes. Cowshed Cow Pat Moisturising Hand Cream - Received this when it was free with a magazine and although I've liked other Cowshed products, I didn't think much of this. It wasn't particularly moisturising in my opinion. Repurchase? No. Ceteum SCR Gold Creme De Lite - From a Boudoir Prive box, this smelt awful like talcum powder or something! Didn't rate it much as a moisturiser either. Repurchase? No. Lush Glogg & Snow Fairy Shower Gels - I love these, they smell so good. Repurchase? If they bring them back this year, then yes!


Clinique Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturiser in Shade 03 - Really liked this, has more of a foundation formula than a traditional tinted moisturiser but it was really good and non-greasy for my oily/combo skin. Repurchase? Yes, will get a full size when my current foundation has run out. The Body Shop Nutriganics Smoothing Day Cream - Didn't like this much, don't think it's right for my skin. Repurchase? No. Burts Bees Honey Lip Balm - One of my all time favourite lip balms, like ever! I always end up going back to this and usually have a spare one around somewhere. Repurchase? Yes. Witch Concealer Stick - I do like this for covering blemishes but will probably try Collection 2000's Lasting Perfection next. Repurchase? Probably not. OPI Nail Envy Mini - Another product that I do like (review) but I've switched to using Trind for now. Repurchase? Maybe. Vinies Luminous Skin Mask - That face mask from Boudoir Prive. I thought it was OK but nothing amazing and the smell was a bit too off-putting for me. Swapped the other sample pot. Repurchase? No.

Have you used up any beauty products this month?

January Book List


A round-up of the books I've read this month. I did start the first two back in December which explains why there is quite a few this time round:- 11/22/63 by Stephen King - I haven't been all that keen on King's non-horror ventures in the past, so I was a little sceptical about his foray into time-travelling with 11/22/63. I mainly picked it up because I was interested in what his take would be on the Kennedy assassination and I wasn't disappointed. Yes, some parts could have been edited out without losing much to the story (this is another of his 'thick' books), but for the most part, this was a gripping thriller that transported me straight into 60s America. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert - This was a fascinating book. It's centered around a young girl called Rachel who is suspected of having leprosy and sent away to live on a nearby leper colony. The place and setting of Moloka'i is incredibly vivid; you can really imagine yourself on this island and eating the local food etc. The characters are interesting and the story is gripping in an emotional but heartwarming kind of way. I also enjoyed the political undertones about Hawaii in the time before the 21st century.


The Greenpeace Story by Michael Brown & John May - An interesting and comprehensive book which covers the story of how Greenpeace was founded in the 70s right through to its ongoing global presence in 1990. All of its highlights are detailed here, such as it's high profile campaigns which brought about real tangible change in legislation around the world, as well as its low times, which include the dramatic bombing of the Rainbow Warrior ship by French spies. It's a really inspiring read laid out like a scrapbook and filled with photos. The Somnabulist by Essie Fox - *Won via Goodreads Giveaways* A light and fun read, one of those books that you can get through really easily. It's a 'gothic' mystery set in Victorian times. The writing is generally good throughout, but the many mysteries and family secrets that the story is based around are very predictable and the characters are a little bit too overly cliched for my liking. Still, it served its purpose of keeping me entertained.


Looking For Alaska by John Green - One of the most emotional coming-of-age novels I've read. I loved the protaganist Miles, this young boy who doesn't have any real friends and goes off to a private school in search for his 'Great Perhaps'. He becomes best friends with his roomate and falls in love with a rebellious girl called Alaska, but it all ends in tragedy, awww! For a YA it's pretty damn good and I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone. Good Essay Writing: A Social Sciences Guide by Peter Redman - I picked this up because I've always struggled with writing essays and it came highly recommended by OU students. Whilst this covers everything you need to know about structure, what tutors are looking for etc, I find that it seriously overcomplicates itself. If you're looking for essay tips, you'd be better off getting a copy of The Good Study Guide and reading the writing chapters in that. Far North by Marcel Theroux - Wow, this book is seriously good! I was absolutely hooked from the beginning and couldn't put it down. It's a brutally realistic story following the main character, Makepeace, and her struggle for survival in a bitter post-apocalyptic world. It's bleak, depressing and disturbing, so of course I instantly fell in love and must declare it as one of my all time favourites. If you'd liked the solitude of The Road, but wanted some more flesh to the story, then you'll probably love this.


Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr - It may be because I've read so many typically 'violent' books already, that I've become somewhat desensitized to a lot of it, but I found this difficult to get into. The 'tell it like it is' prose began to grate on me right from the start. The story itself describes the very worst of people and how their despair quickly escalates into hellish situations, but I quickly found it tiresome. The Secret History by Donna Tartt - I loved this book, so many people have recommended this to me over the years so I'm pleased to have finally finished it. The story is fantastic, I loved the setting, the characters, everything! The only reason why I wouldn't call it an all time favourite is because it's just so damn long that I don't think I'd ever re-read it personally, but it's a great book and one I seriously recommend everyone to read at least once.

Have you read any good books this month?

NOTD: Zoya - Nimue


Zoya's Nimue is a dusky purple that has a silver metallic shimmer running through it. The formula is a little thinner than other Zoya polishes I've tried, but still delivered an opaque finish in two coats. I wasn't all that sure on the colour when I first bought it but it's one that has started to grow on me the more times I wear it.

Hope everyone's having a great weekend! x

And the winner of the Valentine contest is....

KATIE who said:

Oh good I'm not too late! I NEED this! Literally I don't have a single Valentine decoration (shameful secret!) I'm now an official follower from VA, but I wish I was following from your backyard.

Not only is she LUCKY....but she's quite funny too! :)

Congrats Katie!  Contact me with your mailing address and your goodies are on their way!!

The winner was determined by  There were 69 comments and Katie was the 54th.  She also was a follower of my blog!

Because I got such a GREAT response from this little giveaway...I may JUST MAY be doing one of these

 around Easter.  Stay tuned...

Debut: Rami Al Ali Haute Couture Spring 2012

by April Wirth Hall, Paris Correspondent
Paris, Jan. 25 -- The Syrian designer couldn't have chosen a more beautiful, classically Parisian setting for his first presentation in the city, and what a presentation it was! A handful of gorgeously embellished dresses and gowns decorated the gilded interior of Le Maurice, creating a spectacular scene of glamour and refinement. Al Ali took note of trends, including a gown of intricate cut-outs and of course a few Haute Couture upgrades on sequins. The brilliant crystal-embellished pieces stole the show however, glittering wonderfully in the light as the models moved. Al Ali creates classic, yet highly ornamented pieces for the modest woman; given such a talent, he shall undoubtedly find Paris a very welcoming city.

Photos by April Wirth Hall, for Master the Art of Style

Carmine Box - January


Look what arrived today, the lovely Carmine box! Like everything New Year themed at the moment, this month's box has a focus on 'a fresh, new start'. Here's what was inside mine:-


(1) Balance Me Extra Care Radiance Face Oil, 5ml sample. I saw this advertised on Naturismo's e-newsletter the other day and had made a mental note to myself to find out more about it. So what great timing to receive a sample?! This face oil is 100% naturally active and features a whole host of exotic sounding ingredients such as Amazonian buruti nut, yarrow, camellia oils etc. I'm really liking the Balance Me brand at the moment so I look forward to trying this out, will probably use it before going to bed.


(2) Eldora False Eyelashes in style B158 - I'm not a big false lashes wearer, but these do look really nice. When I do wear falsies, I always opt for the more natural looking ones but that have that extra OOMPH, so these look like they may suit me. Will do a separate post on these when I wear them :)


(3) Eyeko Fat Eye Stick in Satin Taupe, full size. Another item I was pleased to see in the box was this creamy eyeshadow stick. I've been looking for a colour similar to the one I was sent, and this is exactly what I was after! It's really nicely pigmented and soft with a generous amount of glossy shimmer to it.


(4) Korres Wild Rose 24 Hour Moisturising & Brightening Cream, 10ml sample. I received a sample of this from a Boudoir Prive box a few months back that I still haven't used yet. Judging from everyone's reviews of this though, I'm 90% certain I'll love it so I wasn't annoyed about getting another one. I do think I may be starting to accumulate a stash of beauty box products that I haven't gotten around to using yet though!


(5) Westlab Himalayan Pink Salt, sample bag. This is a natural mineral rich detoxifying treat for your skin that looks pretty, but I don't really use bath salts because I find that they sometimes irritate my skin. I might swap this or use it in a foot soak instead. I appreciate that it fits in well with the detox/new you theme though and I like how the sample bag is the perfect size for one bath.

Online offer codes:-
- 10% off full size Balance Me Face Oil w/ CARMINE2012 @ (expires 1st March)
- 50% off when you spend £15 or more from Eldora w/ eldoracarmine2012 @ (expires 29th Feb)
- £5 off when you spend £25 on Korres products w/ WILDROSE6 @ (expires 31st March)
- 30% off the Detox and Revive Kit w/ 4321 @ (expires 1st March)

Summary: Another great box from Carmine, lots of things for me to try out and I love, love the Eyeko eyeshadow stick!

Did you get a Carmine box this month? Which Eyeko shade did you get? If you sub to more than one box, how do you feel about getting the same samples?