Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Me, basically

I don't often do this. In fact, I never do this. But, as this is my blog I am throwing caution to the wind and making a change - I am posting an outfit post (which I should do more of seeing as I work in fashion)!! Walking through the sunny Northern Quarter in Manchester on my way to meet a client for coffee last week, I was snapped for The Wardrobe Doors Style blog. So I thought I would put it on my blog as well.

So here we go. My outfit consists of:

Jacket = Silence & Noise at Urban Outfitters. 2 months old
Top = pinched from my Mum's wardrobe and worn back to front. 10 years old
Trousers = River Island. 3 years old
Jewellery = H&M and vintage. All over 4 years old
Bag = M&S satchel bought from a Dress Agency. 1 year old
Shoes = Kurt Geiger. 7 years old (re-heeled and re-soled numerous times, I will probably wear them to shoe death; they are the perfect midi-heel)

The reason I have told you how old my clothes are is because I don't buy new all the time and that is the whole foundation of my business, The Wardrobe Angel: I want to make the most out of what people already have hanging in their wardrobes. 

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Natalie Willingham Make-Me-Up!

Those who know me know that I am a red nails and red lips girl all the way. I also have severely sensitive skin (get the wrong product on there and I look like an eczema ridden circus clown),  and I used to have acne so I am conscious of scarring which needs covering. And my hair is a short box-bob so an up-do is out of the question. Unaware of my seemingly endless list of requirements, the “lucky” Natalie Willingham  rocks up at my parents’ house one Saturday to do mine and my Mum’s make-up for a ball. I stick the kettle on as she unpacks bag after bag of kit.

“I had 75% of the necessary kit before I even started my training!” She laughs as the kitchen table starts to resemble a make-up counter. That ‘kit’, by the way, costs £4000. £4000!! She has 52 lip glosses alone.

Natalie spent 18 years as a HR Director, took redundancy and re-trained as a hair and make-up artist. But it wasn’t as straightforward as it sounds,

“I have always loved make-up but I had only ever done my make-up – not friends, not family, just mine - so it wasn’t always obvious I would take this route. Then I went on a 1 day training course at Cheshire Makeup Academy with Richard Harvey . After learning how to apply the perfect base I just knew – this is where I want to be.”

She progressed to a 3 month course and Natalie Willingham MUA was born. After coercing me to err away from red lips just for one night to embrace the smokey eye, she primes my face whilst chatting away,

“I love the transformational power of make-up, its flexibility. I am a make-up addict. I don’t discriminate on any brand level. If a product does the job, it does the job. I do a lot of bridal make-up, event make-up and editorial work and been lucky to work with Urban Coco.”

Urban Coco launched in Summer 2010. An online magazine with a fashion and music focus, it provides a platform for emerging talent. Two lucky ladies featured on the front cover have had their faces painted by Natalie: Hatty Keane and Etta Smith. The Etta Smith feature in issue 4 looks like Alice in Wonderland on crack. So where does Natalie get inspiration?

“Street style, magazines, TV, blogs. I work better under pressure though, so even when we have signed off shoot moodboards I will see the stylist’s pick on the day and ramp up my ideas or get creative and change my mind on the spot.”

She is finished with me –a smokey eye and a nude lip - and my Mum takes her seat. Natalie explains each product she uses with care, even taking the time to make a note of the ones she thinks my Mum should buy. I have one more question –when I do go back to the red lipstick, what’s your top tip for keeping it on?

“Make sure your lips are dry when you put it on – no balm, no vaseline. Blot. And use Lipcoat. Lipcoat has been around for years so they must be doing something right.”

Kudos to her for getting her first published image featured in Hello magazine. I have a feeling you will seeing Natalie’s handiwork a lot more in the future… 

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Get in my wardrobe you Preloved goodies!

There is a tantalising rail of designer goodies before my eyes: Vivienne Westwood, Malene Birger, See by Chloe, Luella, D&G, Maxmara….the rail goes on. I am in the Corn Exchange to meet Katie, the brain behind The Preloved Designer Sale.

Started 18 months ago in Brighton, The Preloved Designer Sale has mushroomed to locations in Kingston, London and most recently, Leeds. Katie also has plans to move the Designer Sale to Manchester in the not so distant future. But what is it? A cross between a flash sale and a really cool dress agency; the Sale is open for one week and one week only, in only one city at a time. You drop off your top end high street and designer treats on the a week before the sale and Katie prices them up. The sale opens on the Friday and continues on the Saturday and Sunday. You come back the following week to collect your cash (minus 50% commission) and pick up any unsold items.

The thing that strikes me is the quality of the garments which Katie takes to sell: pristine, hardly worn or tags still attached, on-trend. She patiently explains why she can’t take certain items to clients and carefully hangs and tags the garments she does take to sell. With such a friendly and approachable personality it is no wonder that Katie has built up a loyal client base including such leading Brighton lights as Zoe Ball and Susie Cave.

Definitely worth checking out, Katie offers a real alternative to people a bit wary of eBay: she can more often than not get a better price for a designer item and even though she takes 50% commission you don’t have to worry about listing your DVF dress and watching it sell for a pitiful £4.99. Find out more here: http://www.preloveddesignersale.co.uk/