Monthly Archives: October 2009

Product Review: RAW Minerals


A few weeks ago, I was approached by RAW Natural Beauty to review their RAW Minerals 7-Piece Discovery Kit.  What appealed to me about the makeup was that it is all natural.  They don’t use any harsh chemicals, artificial dyes, parabens or synthetic preservatives.

Something else that I found interesting, was that RAW Natural Beauty partners with their mineral sources to ensure that they practice sustainable agriculture, adhere to Fair Trade Production guidelines and the farmers reject the use of pesticides, which are known to carcinogens.

When my package came in the mail, I was impressed by what I received.  The boxes that the makeup were packaged in, were made with recycled materials and thankfully, it came with some tips for proper application.  (It also came with an instructional DVD, but it was more like an infomercial.)

After using the product, I think what I liked most, was that it came with two shades of foundation.  I always have a really hard time finding the right shade—especially from a drugstore.  Having the duo that comes with the Discovery Kit is useful so that as the shade of your skin changes throughout the season (especially from summer to fall) you can customize the blend to match your complexion.

What I wasn’t too crazy about, was the strange smell of the minerals proceeding my first application.  But I must say it wasn’t overpowering, and the second time I used the RAW Minerals, the scent didn’t seem as strong.  I had to remind myself that this was an all-natural product—and didn’t have any fragrance added—which is common in many cosmetics and may cause irritation.

Overall, I felt that the RAW Mineral foundation had good coverage, complemented my skin and after wearing it throughout the day, I appreciated the mineral’s light weight feel.

As a special offer to Fashion Sensei readers, RAW Natural Beauty is offering a special 50% discount on RAW Mineral products and free shipping when you use the code: DISCOVERY50.  This discount extends to the RAW Minerals 7-Piece Discovery Kit as pictured below for only $90.

To start shopping click on this link and don’t forget to use your discount code!


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My Trip To Tim Gunn’s Fashion Road Show

2009 Lucille Lortel Awards

Not Just Your Ordinary Mall Fashion Show, Tim Gunn Dishes On Personal Style, Project Runway And A Little Potty Humor.

There was more than oggling new looks and runway beauties at a recent Somerset Collection fashion show, emceed by the pope of fashion himself—Tim Gunn.  Much to my delight,  America’s fashion guru injected the show with a variety of unexpected anecdotes and opened up the floor to a short Q&A.

As I sat waiting for the show at Somerset Collection—a  luxury emporium which houses stores such as Gucci and Neiman Marcus—I relished in the people-watching paradise.  Women arrived in jeans and sweatshirts—unfazed by potential fashionista ridicule, and others donned the finest outfits that their budgets allowed.  One intriguing couple obviously looking for attention, arrived in matching purple leopard print outfits.  The woman had to clutch the bodice of her dress so as not to flash her bosom and her escort—a man with a Mr. T mohawk (complete with gold chains)—proudly took their seats in what can only be described as a Project Runway challenge gone seriously wrong.

I also noticed a  woman walk by and was so distracted by the fact that she was in desperate need of a bra intervention, that I took little notice of what she was wearing until she passed me by.

Tim Gunn’s Fashion Lessons and One-Liners

As the show started, we were immediately informed by his perky co-host that she was working on 2 hours of sleep and Tim had not slept in more than 36 hours.  This lack of sleep would prove to be the fuel for his unguarded quips as the models walked the runway. 

In a lesson on proportion, he explained that one must have volume at only one end of the body at a time.   (For example, a floaty blouse and a pair of skinny jeans.)  Otherwise, “Big + Big= a float in a parade,” Gunn proclaimed with indignation.

He advised the crowd that he “hates” trends but, loves flat boots—“they are a classic that will be in style for years to come.”   This is quite a refreshing alternative to the spiked stilettos that my feet often reject.

Here’s a tip to you women who like to dress in the same fashions as your daughters.  As models wearing Kensie Girl made their way down the ramp, Gunn cautioned, “If you are out of High School stay away from the junior’s section!”

Sage advice Mr. Gunn…  Sage advice…

One of the sponsors of the fashion show was Juicy Couture whom Gunn amusingly gibed, “push the boundaries of taste”.  He then backpedaled, and said that Juicy Couture was lovely—but like everything in fashion—you must choose your pieces wisely.  “Otherwise, if you put them all together,” he said, “they look like clown clothes.”  Ouch, I hope the Juicy folks didn’t notice that comment—but, he was right.  Grown women trouncing around in pink frilly dresses and hoodies is not exactly a good look.

Gunn is also well known for his distaste for footless tights.   “Tights create a proportional problem,” he said.  Unless they are one inch above the foot, they will cut off your leg.  Any shorter and they look like “overly-long bike shorts”—any longer, they look dreadfully saggy.


The crowd was treated to a short Q&A session with Tim where audience members were allowed to ask him anything from Project Runway to personal style questions.  Well as fate would have it, the woman who desperately needed a bra intervention had a chance to ask the fashion guru a question.  And what did she ask?  She wanted to know how to dress to flatter her “ample bosom.”  With grace, Tim turned to the audience and said that she, like many of the women that he has styled, unwittingly are wearing the wrong bra size and suggested that she have a proper bra fitting.  “You go Tim,” I thought.  I bet none of her friends would have had the courage to tell her she had a little too much bounce in her step.

A Little Potty Humor

The lack of sleep was obvious (but in an entertaining way) when he had trouble pronouncing the names of audience members who had won signed copies of his book, along with a gift bag.  In his frustration, he was reminded of an occasion when he was an instructor at Parsons and he came across the name of one unforgettable student.  Her name was was spelled, L-A-V-A-T-O-R-Y.  He said he thought to himself, “how am I going to say this one?”  The student told Tim that her mother named her the first word that she saw after giving birth.  Talk about a stinky name… Yikes!

The Chief Of The Fashion Police, Spares The World

Finally, he shared a story about the episode of Project Runway when Ra’ mone won the challenge where he designed a two-piece, neon-colored neoprene outfit.  Tim told the crowd how judge Nina Garcia “conducted a 45 minute filibuster” behind the scenes, lobbing for Ra’mone.  As we know, he won—much to Tim’s chagrin. 

You may or may not know, after each episode airs, the winning outfit(s) are auctioned off online to the highest bidder.  Tim confessed to the crowd that he was so appalled by the idea that anyone would wear that creation, that he furiously bid on the outfit.  With much pride, he announced that he was the winner of the auction, thus sparing the unknowing public the embarrassment of wearing such a monstrosity. 

And the fashion world can sleep safely…

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Opening Ceremony Unveils Their Where The Wild Things Are Collection

Just in time for tomorrow’s release of Spike Jonze’s new movie Where The Wild Things Are, design house Opening Ceremony has a collection of amazing fashion, T-shirts, jewelry and yes that covetable Max suit, all for purchase.

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Look, I understand that most of us couldn’t get away with wearing the Max suit, but we could pull off an accessory or T-shirt proclaiming our love for one of the most magical children’s books ever written.

For shopping info on all the images you see above, and to marvel at the whole collection go to

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Did Ralph Lauren Fire a 5’10, 120lb Model For Being Too Fat?

Hot on the heels of Karl Lagerfeld’s comments, model Filippa Hamilton-Palmstierna came out yesterday on the Today show and stated that she believes  she was fired from Ralph Lauren for being too fat.  The 5’10, 120lb size 4 model said that her agent received a letter that she says read, “We’re terminating your services because you don’t fit into the sample clothes that you need to wear.”

In what appears to be a confirmation that Ralph Lauren thought she was too large, this grotesquely photoshopped Ralph Lauren ad shows Filippa with a waist that is even smaller than her head.

rl skinny

Ralph Lauren shot back with this statement:

For over 42 years we have built a brand based on quality, integrity and a wholesome American lifestyle. Filippa Hamilton is a beautiful and healthy woman that we have worked closely with for over 6 years and we consider her an important part of our imaging and branding. We regret that our relationship has ended as a result of her inability to meet the obligations under her contract with us. The image in question was mistakenly released and used in a department store in Japan and was not the approved image which ran in the U.S. We take full responsibility for allowing this image to run as this is completely inconsistent with our creative standards and brand values. This error has absolutely no connection to our relationship with Filippa Hamilton.

Polo Ralph Lauren 


I’m not sure that this statement helps their case.  The regret that she is unable to “meet the obligations under her contract…” seems to confirm Filppa’s accusation.

What do you think about this? 

Take the Fashion Sensei Poll

Size 4 model: I was fired for being too fat []

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“AVEDON Fashion Photographs 1944-2000” Comes to the DIA


veruska jump with credits

Delight In the Brilliant Fashion Photography by Richard Avedon Spanning Nearly Six Decades, but Just Don’t Do the Cha-Cha

I felt anxious with anticipation as I purchased my tickets to see Richard Avedon’s fashion photography exhibit, (running now until January 17) at the Detroit Institute of Arts last weekend. As I made my way through the museum, I thumbed through the Visitor Map and Information Guide to the DIA. In the back of the guide, I noticed with amusement the following quote under Museum Etiquette: “Please do not run, skip, hop, jump, slide, tumble or cha-cha in the museum galleries and halls. Walking is our preferred method of movement in the building.” Apparently, strolling is also allowable.

Upon entering the gallery, I learned Richard Avedon started his career in photography at the age of 21 under the mentorship of Alexey Brodovitch, the talented art director of Harper’s Bazaar. Avedon went on to become one of the most influential photographers ever.  Some of his influential methods include: his pioneering use of movement, the juxtaposition of his subjects, his ability to create a story behind the still image, his diverse use of models and his exploration beyond conventional beauty.Sunny with credits

Avedon’s fashion images move beyond basic catalogue photos of women wearing beautiful gowns and instead, take us on a voyeuristic trip witnessing an evening of fashionable society. Each still frame elicits a story as with model  Sunny Harnett, seen above leaning seductively over the roulette table, cigarette in hand, at a casino table in Le Touquet, France in August 1954.

In another image from this group, figures of varying ages surround the model and one can’t help but notice the juxtaposition of her youth in comparison to the aged countenance of a neighboring female gambler. You are left wondering who these characters are and longing for more. The series moves her from the casino on to the theater, then exiting from a car and finally ending her evening at the doorway of a posh hotel.  Avedon is not only the photographer behind the beautiful clothes in each of these pictures, he has been described as a skilled director, guiding the models much like actors, drawing out a broad range of emotion.

He is also famous for the sense of veruschka Kimberly credits movement in his photography. Models are seen stretching every limb, jumping from curbs, leaping into the air–sometimes jumping himself to get an interesting shot—gracefully bringing his images to life. Fashion photographer’s today use many of the techniques he employed (see my post What I Did This Summer for a modern example.)

Donyale with CreditsWhile moving through the gallery, I was struck by his daring use of multi-cultural models. Avedon used  African American models such as native Detroiter Donyale Luna. As well as China Machado–a woman of both Portuguese and Chinese heritage—during a time when the standard of beauty demanded fair Caucasian skin.

Once when Avedon was pressured to refrain from using China Machado  in a Harper’s Bazaar layout, (Hearst publications had a strict protocol to exclude “ethnic looking” models) the photographer threatened to quit. The magazine was forced to relent.

One thing is clear—Avedon’s work is eternal. Throughout the exhibit, I couldn’t help but feel the work that he created is so timeless that if I saw them in next month’s Vogue, I would believe they were recently taken.China with credits

After leaving the exhibit, I stopped by the theater across the hall for the 90-minute documentary, “American Masters: Richard Avedon, Darkness & Light.” The incredible PBS film runs in a continuous loop while the exhibit is open, taking you deeper into the mind of Richard Avedon and his mesmerizing work in not only fashion, but portraiture as well. I highly recommend it—just don’t let the docent catch you doing the cha-cha on your way out.

For more information on the exhibit or to buy tickets, go to

A special thank you to The Richard Avedon Foundation for the use of the images in this post.

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Karl Lagerfeld : “Curvy Women Have No Place on the Catwalk”


Velvet D’Amour  Photo Credit: Jacques Brinon / AP Photo

The Kaiser is at it again.  If you remember, designer Karl Lagerfeld took pot-shots at Heidi Klum for being too fat for the runways.  Well, he’s now spouting off to news magazine Focus, “No one wants to see curvy women”.

Even worse, he is quoted as saying:

"You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly". []

What’s wrong with you Karl?  That’s just downright offensive.

Apparently someone does want to see curvy women, because Glamour has already committed to using a broader range of body sizes in their fashion pages.  And in a surprising move by Brigitte, the popular German fashion magazine,  the magazine will no longer use professional models due to the overwhelming requests by their readership to feature women that they can relate to.  

Can you believe it?!

The revolution moving forward.  Get with it Karl.  Starving models are not pretty and finally someone is listening! 

Media Source: Independent.Co.UK

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Filed under body image, controversial, Diversity

Paris Fashion Week: Spring 2010

Those of you who watch Rachel Zoe’s reality show know her famous phrase “I die!” when she see’s something beautiful.  I would say this sums up the incredible fashion displayed at Paris Fashion Week.

When you review the images from the events, one thing to keep in mind is that when executing a fashion show, it’s necessary for the designer  to juggle demonstrating their creativity, pleasing retailers and entertaining the audience.  This may explain why we see some really crazy displays making their way down the runway.

That being said, here are a few shows that I thought were noteworthy.

Valentino, the house best known for their signature red dresses, are paving a new path now that Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have begun designing for the luxury house.

The collection embodied several trends that we can expect to see come spring: ruffles, sheer fabrics, shorts and lace.


Legendary milliner Phillip Treacy took his famous hat making skills and transferred them to stunning effect with the lace wings on the incredible shoes below.

Photo Credit:  To see more from the Valentino show click here.

John Galliano is well known for his theatrical styling and entertaining shows. This collection is no exception.  Once again you will see an abundance of lace and sheer fabrics with an infusion of colorful accents.  It was difficult to focus my attention to a single piece in this collection—inspired by early Hollywood stars such as Mary Pickford, with the artistic (and dangerously spiked) platforms that competed for ones attention.


Photo Credit:  To see all the John Galliano images, click here.


Finally, with all the sheer materials draping the models, you’ll understandably gravitate to the lingerie inspired collection by Jean Paul Gaultier for a little Puritanical privacy.


Further, the collection epitomizes creativity over wearablity with the maternal looking olive green bustier below along with the commando style belt.


Photo Credit:  To see more form this show click here.

Have you seen anything from the shows that you like?  What do you think of these trends?  Tell us about it by commenting below.

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Filed under Fashion, runway, Spring 2010