Fashion industry veteran Sasha Charnin Morrison gives you a glimpse inside the world of fashion and stylists with her amazing book, Secrets of Stylists: An Insider's Guide to Styling the Stars (published by Chronicle Books). As the current fashion director at US Weekly, Morrison has over 20 years experience working in the biz for such publications as Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Allure, Vanity Fair, and more. She has her finger on the pulse of trends and celebrity fashion, all with an amazing sense of humor. She loves a very high heel and if you follow her on twitter or tumblr, you'll see the many nuggets of fashion eye candy she'll share each day.
What I love about Secrets of Stylists is that it goes deeper into what it takes to be a stylist. As an addict to the Bravo fashion stylist reality TV shows of Rachel Zoe and Brad Goreski, this book is a godsend. From the nitty gritty details of inventory to the drool-worthy trays of high-end jewelry and racks of gowns, Morrison gives you a complete in-depth look into this glamourous as well as tough as nails world. Even if you aren't looking for a career in fashion styling, the book gives you plenty of tips and advice on how to carve out your own personal style. I love, love, love all the photos of celebrities but what I love the most is the detailed photos she includes featuring sketches, supplies, array of outfits, and scribbled detailed notes – a true behind the scenes peek at this fabulous world.
Just in time for fashion week! Two lucky Coquette readers will win a copy of Secrets of Stylists! Just leave a comment to this post. The giveaway ends on
Friday, February 10th at 5pm PST Monday, February 13th at 5pm PST. Good luck!
I also got a chance to talk to Sasha Charnin Morrison and ask her some very important fashion questions. Click for the interview after the jump!
Skin care expert Kate Somerville is my new beauty idol. I just devoured her book, Complexion Perfection! and learned so much more about skin and skin care in general. I loved looking at the case studies and realizing that everyone really can achieve great skin. Kate is so passionate her work and that passion is evident in the quality of her products and all that she does. (You can see my previous post on my favorite Kate Sommerville products.) While so many cosmetic companies claim the latest and greatest ingredients, I'm honestly over all their hype. I'm pretty ecstatic that I finally found an excellent skin care line that isn't tied to a makeup brand. Kate is all about skin health and it's about time we focus on the beauty of healthy skin again.
Kate's principle for good skin care is all about starting with a strong foundation. She outlines this in more detail her book where it's broken into sections but it's also mentioned here on her web site.
"The Skin Health Pyramid™ is, essentially, the blueprint for a healthy complexion. It’s an easy-to-implement strategy for achieving overall skin health. The basis for beautiful skin is protection (PROTECT). After preventing environmental damage, the next essential is hydration (HYDRATE). Only after it’s been restored can the skin be properly nourished (FEED). Once the basic needs have been met, it’s important to then increase circulation and promote the production of collagen in order to renew skin (STIMULATE). Finally, the removal of impurities completes the process (DETOX). Plain and simple, this step-by-step system produces remarkable results."
I'm really humbled and excited that Kate took the time from her busy schedule to answer some questions I had here on Coquette. Enjoy this special interview!
Natalie: How did you get started in the skincare business? When did you decide to launch your own line of products?
Kate: Having battled a variety of skin concerns (including psoriasis, eczema, and hives) and really struggling with my own complexion growing up, I always had a special affinity for skin care. I had a deep-seated desire to provide relief to other people who, like me, didn't feel comfortable in their own skin. As a result, I found my calling and earned my esthetician's license. For a time of period after moving to L.A., I worked for a skin-care company in product development and was the director of education. I educated doctors and surgeons on the efficacy of the line and its ingredients, along with how it could support their business and treatments. My passion for product development began here. I started to develop my own product collection after I opened my second clinic, but before I opened Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts on Melrose Place in Los Angeles. I set up an esthetics office with a cosmetic surgeon in Santa Monica, who gave me the tools and inspiration I needed to fully pursue my dreams and career goals. He saw how I was constantly mixing and matching product lines to get my clients results. So one day he took me aside and said, "The only way you’re going to make a difference is through innovation. You have six different skin-care lines here. Learn from them and make your own." So I did. From that day on, I started to develop my own product collection.
Natalie: What is the first thing a woman should do to evaluate her skin care needs? Are there a list of basic products one should not go without? How often should one get a facial?
Kate: A good facialist will know her skin and understand her concerns, issues and goals. So many of my clients are puzzled by their skin – what’s going on, why it’s doing what it’s doing, and how to fix it. Facialists have great skin because they know their skin, both inside and out. The more connected you are to what’s going on and how you feel, the better you can care for your skin puzzle now and throughout the years.
In the morning, start by cleansing; cleansing is key for healthy skin. However, cleansing should be customized to your skin type and you should select your cleanser with care; always have a cleanser that’s matched to your skin type. If you’re oily, you need something to get you really clean, with some salicylic or glycolic acid. For dry skin types, look for something that’s more moisturizing like lavender or a milk based product. Step 2 is exfoliate: do this one or two times a week, depending on your skin type. Kate Somerville ExfoliKate contains physical beads and fruit enzymes that act as chemical exfoliators to help remove that dry, dull, dead layer of skin. Next, treat your skin based on its particular needs, for example, an antioxidant serum to lighten spots and fight free radicals if you have sun damage or apply a toner to reduce sebum production if you have oily skin. Step 4 is to hydrate and use a moisturizer. Regardless of skin type, it’s key to deliver water to the cells and then seal it in, so skin absolutely glows with health. Lastly, protect skin by applying an ample amount of sunscreen over your moisturizer.
At night, cleanse again. If you tend to have blemished, sensitive or thin skin, I recommend exfoliating at night rather than during the day. Most forms of exfoliation can leave skin a little red, as they are stimulating. Then, you’ll want to treat the skin with repairing serums at night. Because our bodies are at rest, they tend to have more energy to heal and repair during this downtime. If you have aged skin, make sure you’re using a peptide and retinols to stimulate collagen; always use retinols at night. Hydrating and moisturizing is very important in the evening, in order to replenish hydration lost during the day and during the cleansing process; pat on an eye cream to deliver important nutrition and age-defying ingredients and brighteners while your eyes are at rest. Moisturize your lips as well- you’ll wake up in the morning with a smoother, plumper pout.
Regular monthly facials are also crucial, whether at a skin-care salon or doing them at home, because they’re a way for you and your skin-care professional to keep tabs on changes in your skin health.
Natalie: Anti-aging is a hot topic lately. What is the approximate age a woman should start an anti-aging routine and what ingredients should she look out for?
Kate: It may come to a shock to you to learn that our bodies technically start "aging" when we’re in our early 20s as cell production begins to slow down. Of course we’re all going to age, but how and when our skin shows the signs of aging are subject to a number of factors, most of which we can actually influence and increasingly have control over. Free radicals are a natural part of your bodily function, but they do speed up aging. They are a certain type of oxygen molecule that causes a chain reaction of damage – oxidation – to your cells. The antidote to oxidation is the appropriately named "antioxidant" – a wide variety of vitamins and minerals found in fresh foods and nutritional supplements. We can also fight free radicals and promote cell recovery with topical applications of antioxidants.
Vitamin C, retinoic acid, and alpha hydroxyl acids could give clients the visible results they were looking for. Vitamin C and E are proven antioxidants, which fight those free radicals that cause damage to healthy cells and DNA. Vitamin E is a particular antioxidant superhero that boosts healing and tissue repair and enhances immunity. Topical vitamin A, in the form of retinoic acid or retinol, helps break up skin cells that are irregularly stacked, this encourages cells to turn over and creates smoother skin with fewer lines. Look for products that offer a combination of tocopherols and tocotrienols. Green tea contains protective compounds called polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. Copper is needed by your skin for the cross-linking of collagen and elastin and also for the formation of melanin, your natural sun protector. Selenium is an important antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can help alleviate psoriasis. Researchers have also found that selenium deficiency is common in people with metastatic melanoma. Retin-A will help speed up cell turnover to get rid of damage deep in the layers of the skin. Peptides, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important.
Natalie: How important is eye cream and what are some of the ways we can protect the delicate skin around the eye area?
Kate: In my 20s I loved to bask in the rays at the beach as my mother had. Yet in my early 30s, I started to notice lines around my eyes and on my forehead. It is important to prevent wrinkles by patting on an eye cream at night to deliver important nutrition and age-defying ingredients and brighteners while your eyes are at rest. One of our new ones, CytoCell Dark Circle Corrective Eye Cream, combines years of research and cutting-edge technology to reduce the visible signs of aging around the delicate eye area, especially dark circles.
Natalie: With the onset of winter weather coming, what should we be doing to take better care of our skin?
Kate: Without a doubt, the worst time of year for your skin is the long, cold months of winter. Chilly weather wreaks havoc on your skin, drying out the outer layers and making your complexion feel tight. Because the weather can be so damaging to your face and body, you need to adjust your winter skin care to accommodate the changing climate. Although you don’t necessarily need to throw away your current moisturizers, exfoliators, creams, masks, toners and pore reducers, you might need to add a few things to your winter skin care arsenal. When shopping for winter skin care products, you should look for lotions and creams that provide intensive moisture that can help shield your skin from the damaging wind and cold. You should also regularly use sunscreen products that have a high SPF in them. Just because you can’t see the sun doesn’t mean that its rays aren’t reaching your skin! Winter skin need not be dry, dull and tight! Show off your radiant complexion all year long, with skin care products designed to defy the elements.
Natalie: Do you have any tips on how to get our skin looking radiant for all those upcoming holiday parties?
Kate: My celebrity clients particularly love the Dermal Quench Treatment, especially those who are about to hit red-carpet events, because it ups the hydration level in their skin, keeping it supple, hydrated, smooth and dewy. It has instant results and no downtime. My facials are an awards show secret because they deliver immediate results of smooth, glowing skin, creating a perfect palette for their big night. Also, diligent exfoliating will leave skin feeling soft, looking supple, and glowing everywhere.
Thanks Kate for this great interview full of wonderful tips! If you have any skin care questions, please leave a comment to this post or email me.
If you are in the LA area, you can visit the Kate Somerville Clinic.
Kate Somerville Clinic
8428 Melrose Pl # Cde
West Hollywood, CA 90069-5300
If you are in the Bay Area, Kate will be at Nordstrom in Walnut Creek this Saturday, November 5th to sign her book, Complexion Perfection! Also, you can call and make an appointment to get a complimentary DermalQuench Oxygen & Hydrating Treatment. See the above graphic for details.
I've spent many years interviewing inspirational artisans who create beautiful handmade things. It's one of my favorite things to do and I'm bringing in this element more on Coquette this fall. For my first interview, I had the exciting opportunity to talk to jewelry designer Emily Wheat Maynard of Elva Fields. She is the creative genius and business person behind her exquisite Kentucky-based jewelry line. Her pieces are bold, colorful and make the perfect fashion statement!
She's here! She's here! Nina Garcia talks and she's got lots to say with plenty of style. The Project Runway judge and Elle fashion director, answers a few of my questions and then lets Coquette readers take the spotlight by answering each of their curious questions from fashion tips to Project Runway. Enjoy!
Natalie: What inspired you to write your book, The Little Black Book of Style?
Nina: People often come up to me and ask questions on style, shopping, trends etc. I realized that fashion is an overwhelming and mysterious feat for many women and that there was a need for a manual that did not dictate fashion or emphasize trends but could be used as a platform to build one's own personal style. I approached The Little Black Book of Style as a fashion-insider, editor and woman to hopefully create an all encompassing Style 101 cheat sheet that women can draw inspiration from.
Natalie: Who are some of the up and coming fashion designers you like that we should know about?
Natalie: What are your thoughts on how technology is influencing the fashion world, or is it at all, in your opinion?
Nina: I think that technology is absolutely influencing the fashion world in many ways. Designers are incorporating technology in the treatment of their fabrics. For the Spring shows, Dries Van Noten designed the entire collection on white silk fabric and after the pieces were constructed he printed the pattern on the garment seamlessly blending two contrasting patterns together. Prada, as well, uses technology to treat fabrics. For example, this fall season she sprayed mohair sweaters and skirts to manipulate the original fabric into a completely different texture. I also see the influence of technology on the fashion world with the Internet. With websites that show the collections moments that they get off the runway it has really changed the face of retail and trends are dissipated on an accessible level faster than ever which challenges high-end designers to create garments that are more specialized. This more artistic treatment of fashion was a major trend that emerged for spring.
Natalie: Now that you have your blog on the Project Runway site, how are you enjoying becoming a blogger yourself?
I live for it! Being able to blog each week and viewing the episodes for the first time has been an incredible way for me to keep in touch with Project Runway fans. I love to see how people view the challenges, the designs, the personalities and the outcome of each episode! I also love when they ask me questions its great to interact with the bloggers.
Nina answers to Coquette readers:
1. Could you offer a bit of advice on where to begin on how to consider a career switch into fashion retail buying at 24? -Rebecca
Nina: Hi Rebecca. You have a great education behind you that will be useful in all areas of your life but my best recommendation for entering a job in retail buying is to apply for a job in a store that you are interested in-and really like the merchandise the store has to offer. Starting off on the floor is the best way to understand retail merchandising, the store's clientele and their buying patterns. From there you get acquainted with the corporate office and move up from there.
2. I'm curious who your favorite designers are and what eras from fashion history might be and why? –Jennifer
Nina: Hi Jennifer. It is hard for me to choose a favorite designer. There are so many designers that I love and others that my affections change from season to season. But my favorite era in fashion history is 1970's, think Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent. I love his mix of ethnic references, safari jackets and, of course, Le Smoking suit.
3. I would love to know which challenge on Project Runway has been one of your favorites and why? Also what's your favorite trend this fall? -Christina
Nina: Hi Christina. One of my all time favorite Project Runway episodes is when the contestants had to construct a garment entirely out of items from the flower market. The designers amazed me with their boundless creativity and made such realistic beautiful pieces that I wanted to wear them myself! My favorite trend for Fall that I cannot get enough of is the return of the jacket. It pulls together any look.
4. Does you believe that fashion is cyclical in nature or does it evolve more organically from aesthetic and cultural influences of the moment? If it is cyclical, what do you think is the next big look? Also, is there a single item or outfit that is truly classic and timeless other than the Chanel suit or little black dress? Finally, who is your biggest style icon/inspiration when growing up? –Nancy
Nina: Hi Nancy. I think everything is cyclical, especially fashion. For spring, a main trend on the runways was minimalism. Essentially, I think that more designers were motivated to move towards a cleaner toned down aesthetic as a reaction to other collections that are more opulent and styled. The single item that I think is truly classic, besides the little black dress and Chanel suit, would have to be a great tailored tuxedo for a woman. Finally, my biggest style icon/inspiration growing up, and of all time, is my mother.
5. What are some of your favorite movies that have the best costume designs that you admire? Do you care that Marc Jacobs has been upsetting the press non-stop with uber-late fashion shows and Project-Runway-esque drama queen hissy fits? Which Project Runway contestant who didn't win from any of the seasons are you most excited to see do something with their talent? -Bonnie
Nina: Hi Bonnie. My favorite movies/costume design that I admire are The Thomas Crown Affair with Faye Dunaway, Belle du Jour and Funny Face. In response to the press more recent criticism of Marc Jacobs tardy fashion show, I believe that all good things come to those who wait, and I love Marc and will wait. Finally, I am looking forward to seeing the works of Daniel V., Laura Bennett and Uli from Project Runway.
6. Does the designer's look affect how they're judged? Like if they show up to the runway challenge looking super-style, maybe even reflecting or complimenting hat week's design, do you think that helps their chances of winning the challenge? –Kate
Nina: Hi Kate. I think that they way one puts themselves together is important as this is a business where you need to not only sell your designs but ultimately sell yourself. But in the end, it does not matter if you have exquisite personal style if you do not have the talent to back it up.
7. In the finale of last season's Project Runway it seemed like Uli's designs had more commercial appeal, while Jeffrey's designs were more avant garde. How much do you factor in potential commercial appeal when deciding on your top pick? –Celiana
Nina: Hi Celiana. Being avant garde and having commercial appeal are two very important elements of a successful collections. In consideration to the winner of last season's Project Runway, one factor that influences my judging is if the designer is on par with what is going on in the industry. To me Jeffrey had a refreshing collection that was modern, relevant and avant garde which is why I chose him as the winner in the end.
8. I live in a place where we experience the extremes of all four seasons. I feel like I am always one step behind on fashion because I have to prepare for the coldest and hottest weather. How can I keep my wardrobe up with current trends and weather extremes without breaking the bank? –Danielle
Nina: Hi Danielle. This is a great question as we are beginning the long cold months of winter, it is a challenge to be fashionable and functional while at a price. But I think that there are great options this season that will keep you warm and stylish. We have seen many sporty down coats that this season. Whether cinched at the waist or with a fur hood, we have seen them at a variety of price points. I also recommend shopping at Uniqlo. They have the best cashmere sweaters, in every color of the rainbow and every style, at astonishing prices! I am obsessed. For summer, I love going to stores like H&M, Zara and J.Crew for simple sun dresses which I pair with ballet flats that keep you cool while looking ultra chic.
9. I am always super impressed with Nina's astute observations about the designer's creations on Project Runway and about fashion in general as noted in Elle Magazine. What are the primary things that influence your fashion sense and likes/dislikes? -Sarah.
Nina: Hi Sarah. My sources of inspiration are film, art, music, history, icons of fashion and street style.
Thank you Nina for taking the time to answer questions on Coquette! We wish you continued success and look forward to watching your style opinions each week on Project Runway this season.
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