Turning pages

Started reading in earnest again recently. Probably since August. Too many things I want to remember and not enough note pads, time, or folded page corners to keep all the important-est quotes separated from and filed ahead of the less important quotes, so will use this to keep track. 

Am rereading all of Joan Didion’s essays and books and realised I’d never picked up The Year of Magical Thinking or Blue Nights  so I have, and realised they’re both extra relevant for me right now. Sometimes things find their way to you at just the right moment.

Anyway - one of the passages I like most is below, from Blue Nights. I love how she reacquaints me with poems and literature that I’ve forgotten:

-Quote begins-

“Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,

Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East, my West,

My working week, and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now; put out every one,

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun,

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood;

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

So go W.H. Auden’s ‘Funeral Blues,’ sixteen lines that, during the days and weeks immediately after John died, spoke directly to the anger - the unreasoning fury, the blind rage- that I found myself feeling. I later showed ‘Funeral Blues’ to Quintana. I told her that I was reading it at the memorial service she and I were then planning for John. She implored me not to do so. She said she liked nothing about the poem. She said it was ‘wrong.’ She was vehement on this point. At the time I thought she was upset by the tone of the poem, its raw rhythms, the harshness with which it rejects the world, the sense it gives off of a speaker about to explode. I now think of her vehemence differently. I now think she saw ‘Funeral Blues’ as dwelling on it.”

-Quote ends-

I was once an owl until it was betrayed that that was not the case. It just so happens that it remains one of my favourite animals. I saw a giant eagle owl on safari in Zimbabwe so it seems apt to end this post with an  hibou .

I was once an owl until it was betrayed that that was not the case. It just so happens that it remains one of my favourite animals. I saw a giant eagle owl on safari in Zimbabwe so it seems apt to end this post with an hibou.

Song and Dance

One small terrifying bit about having a terrifically talented father is the fear that you’ll never measure up but 27 years helps in that I feel better about it at 27 than I did when I was 7 or 17. As you get older, you shed the idea that it’s baggage and learn to accept and embrace it a little more, I find.

The fun bit is to participate in a family legacy. Like this children’s song my dad once wrote as part of an album to mark my birth and existence. It won a prize for the best children’s song that year, I think and it’s transpired with the release of this video that a few more people know about it than I expected. 20 odd years on, the marketing and production agency hired by Philip Wain had the brilliant idea of recreating the music video to the song and adapt the lyrics for a father with two daughters in their mid and late 20s.

Shooting is always a bit nerve wracking because I’m still not quite used to it but with dad and Amanda around, it was a pretty good day though I did need dad right in front of me, next to the camera and the director for the first few takes in the morning, so I could get going.

Totally worth it though and if Amanda and I have children, would def rope them in for v3.

Here’s a link to the video if you’d like and I think I’ve managed to embed the video below. Enjoy!

Daily Morning Skincare Routine

I feel like we have now gotten to a point where I can show you all my daytime skincare routine. There's a make up one, and a night time one to follow because it'll get super long otherwise, so here is my face in all its bare glory.

First though, I have to credit my best mate for having taken these – initially for another project she was starting, but which she then ditched because, you know, life. Since the pics exist though, might as well use them, right?

And you probably won't ever get to see me like this because her and I are weird separately, but we're even weirder when we're together, so here is photographic evidence of what two weirdos who have known each other for a really really long time get up to in their spare time.

Zaneta Skincare Routine Step 1 Facewash

Step 1: Facewash

I use the Sothys Cleansing Cream because my mom used to use it. It's generally quite good as a basic, effective cleanser and it does the job without that gross unnatural squeaky feeling. Since it's a daytime routine, I would've you know, just woken up, so this is pretty much the only thing I use to wash my face. But I also occasionally use the Refa MDNA Face Wash, which is also pretty good. Everyone tells me cleansing milk is better but I cannot function if I don't get that lather on my mug.

I'm also only on the bed in street clothes because- backdrop, duh- and the clothes were freshly washed. KIDS STAY OFF THE BED WHEN YOU'VE GOT STREET CLOTHES ON.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Washing Face

Step 2: Wash that shizz off

I wanted to add this step in because I had a couple photos where I was making faces but also because it's really important to wash your face well. My mother splashes her face 70 times as per the Erno Lazlo method on steroids but I think maybe be less intense and do it for a at least a full minute. Remember the corners of your mouth and all the crevices like around your nose and the sides of your forehead. There are lots of random bits of face that I find (when I think about it carefully, which I do semi-often, because I'm a beauty writer as well, whatcha gonna do) get missed out even when doing a really thorough wash.

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Step 3: Toner

I usually don't put on toner but my general practice is to intermittently put on some acid stuff like this awesome Sarah Chapman Skinesis Liquid Facial Resurfacer (available on Net-a-Porter.com if you're in HK). Except I've kind of been a bit of a floozy lately (never in relationships so beauty products are kind of my outlet) and have used another acid toner in its place.

That one is the mega famous Biologique Recherche P50, because I recently came back from a trip to the US and the lovely ladies at Rescue Spa NY suggested I use the acid toner. It's been two weeks since I've started using it every other day and the formula is intense and really good if you want effective exfoliation but I'm getting a bout of skin purging, which sucks. Use at your own risk but don't do it before events if it's your first time. I'll update you if it passes and my skin becomes flawless because of it though.

WATCH THIS SPACE

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Hair Rahua

Step 4: Hair cream

At this point I get a bit bored with my face so I deal with my hair. Also at this point, you'll see that this was taken a while back because my hair is much longer now. Or not. What a narcissist, right?

Anyway, I find the most effective way of doing this hair thing is to actually mix hair creme and and hair oil together for max juiciness. I use Rahua's hair creme (I got mine from Joyce Beauty) and the Kérastase Elixir Ultime and smoosh it all in.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Serum

Step 5: Serum

Love serum. I'm obsessed with the Dior Hydra Life line. Dior Hydra Life gives me life. Always put serum on. Sometimes I get a bit bored and want to try stuff like oils but I'll always put this on first. This being the Dior Hydra Life Sorbet Water Essence. It's lightweight, hydrating and cooling. Something in it reacts with my eye cream and gives me this blast of iciness that's as though I've got ice patches under my eyes. My skin loves it. Get it.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Dior Life Serum

I'm putting this in here to let you all see how liquidy the texture is but also for the lols because this DEFINITELY also looks like something else. Hehe.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Eye Cream

Step 6: Eye Cream

Because this was taken a while back, I've since finished my nice bottle of Lancome eye serum and replaced it with a Sisleya eye cream and now a Susanne Kaufmann eye cream. I really need a good eye cream because allergies, dry eye and pretty much everything irritates my eyes and I rub them like I have all the collagen potential of a five year old. But because I'm not five, I now have glorious under eye wrinkles alongside eye bags and circles so whatever says will fix them, I am game.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Moisturiser

Step 7: Moisturiser

Again, Dior Hydra Life. it's just awesome. So effective, so light and that amazing cooling sensation. Really good for summer. And sometimes if my face gets itchy or stressed for whatever reason and I can't wash it right away, I dab some of this on. Maybe it's placebo but I stand by it.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Dior Life Moisturiser

And this is here because nobody ever said you had to be mature as someone entering her late 20s right? And giggles and double chins are always fun.

But actually the instructive benefit exists because that's how I rub my creams in guys, a dot on my forehead, one on each cheek, top of the nose and chin. Then make sure you rub upwards and not down so you don't give yourself jowls. I hate it when facialists/therapists rub my cheeks from my temples to my neck because SAGGING and I have to tell them to stop because I start feeling panicky.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Sunscreen Shangpree

Step 8: Sunscreen

Lots of steps. But this is THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE. Remember your sunscreen. I actually always forget but am using this opportunity as a PSA and pretending to be v self-righteous. I've made my most serious SUNSCREEN IS IMPORTANT face. It's not about a tan. It's about cancer. Nobody wants cancer. I pay seriously expensive insurance because I'm scared of cancer. So spend your money wisely and get some sunscreen and possibly some insurance.

This one is Korean from a brilliant spa called Shangpree. I've done their facial and maybe some time I will upload some pictures from that. But this sunscreen isn't sticky or smelly and it doesn't give that bizarre white cast. Basically, most concerns people have about sunscreen will not be found in this tube.

I would link it but I don't know anywhere that ships to HK. I usually get it in the duty free bit in Lotte or I go to the spa itself in Seoul. Let me know if you'd like me to write a list of what to buy in Seoul. I have a very professional list at this point that I target whenever I'm there but have heretofore only sent it out to friends if they ask nicely, like maybe three times.

Zaneta Cheng Skincare Routine Sunscreen Shangpree

Ending with a smile because my last face was rather scary. But also this is what your face looks like with the Shangpree sunscreen on. Really glowy and quite happy. Good base for make up which I might document in another post, another time.

BAI.

A few days in Paris

My boyfriend lives in Brussels and if you've ever been to Brussels or read the relatively meagre guides to the city, you'll know that aside from the incredible food scene, there's not much to do and after a weekend the itch to branch outside the city definitely sets in. And branch I definitely do – to Paris, a city where I can eat, drink, and play to my heart's content. Which is what I did last week. Seeing as I was only there for a quick moment with lots of playdates that I forgot to document in between, I'll give you a quick and easy list of places we ate, drank and saw. Quite a few of these are annual repeats so everything comes with a big fat seal of approval from me.

Standard Eiffel Tower pic. I have a better one from a previous trip but it's on my instagram and the embed code didn't work. So here we are with this aggressively average shot. But one Eiffel Tower pic is better than no Eiffel Tower pic.

Standard Eiffel Tower pic. I have a better one from a previous trip but it's on my instagram and the embed code didn't work. So here we are with this aggressively average shot. But one Eiffel Tower pic is better than no Eiffel Tower pic.

STAY

For a bougie, cosy Franglais experience, book Hotel Providence (make sure you are VERY close to your roommate if you're staying in the standard room or below). The larger rooms are spacious and stunning, with a Parisian terrace and the works. The smaller rooms are beautifully decorated with stunning Madeleine Castaing fabrics, so it's mega lush but the bathroom and room are essentially the same room. We made this mistake and quickly upgraded. Beds in all rooms are top notch and the restaurant/bar downstairs makes you want to hang around and pretend to people watch over plates of charcuterie, cheese and glasses of wine (or in my case, delicious delicious non-alcoholic ginger beer on ice).

Our favourite hotel, and the one we try to stay in if we remember to book in advance is Les Bains. Read my review of it here. It's an old communal bathhouse turned club that's seen the likes of Andy Warhol to Naomi Campbell to Kate Moss and Johnny Depp turned hotel. Sheets are a dream, the bathroom is heaven and the bar is to die for. It's tough to leave this place. Everything is made to draw you back into its deliciously appointed den. But leave you will, because it's perfectly situated between the Marais, bustling Saint Denis, and a good brisk half hour walk away from sights like the Notre Dame and Shakespeare and Company.

EAT

Oh god, where do I start? My boyfriend and I always laugh about the fact that the first thing we do when we go to Paris is figure out which days we can go for our favourite Japanese and Chinese joints for udon and, equal favourite, Sichuan noodles. It's not because I'm Chinese and have a hankering for Asian foods (although frankly, soup noodles are really hard to beat – David Chang should probably do an Ugly Delicious episode on this) it's because these two places are just so damn good.

Sanukiya is perfect after a stroll by the Tuileries or shopping down Rue St Honore (though frankly, that's not where I like to shop, just too many people). The queues are insane and you kind of have to go just after the mad school rush next door so like a late lunch or a very early dinner. Otherwise prepare to queue. Once we queued for 45 minutes and even at last order, there was a line of probably 40 people that they had to apologise to and shoo away. This place is INTENSE. It's run by Japanese expats who do things the very precise Japanese way. I'd say even more so because don't habits either get distilled or watered down when they're away from their home environments? This one got mega distilled. All sorts of people come here from kids in Paris to v wealthy women in full Chanel. Good Japanese noodles know no boundaries, ya know.

Troi foix plus de piment is the Sichuanese noodle place, run by Sichaunese peeps. I always get the soup noodles. Pro tip: They open Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7 and Sundays 6:45. I have this memorised because we go to queue up like 20 minutes before they open and there are always at least ten people ahead of us already. The space is small and the food is insanely good. Once there, opt for sugary drinks. I don't think they have milky options. Don't go for coconut water because that makes the spice worse. They offer heat levels from 1 to 5. I'm pretty big on my heat and I opt for 3. My boyfriend is a solid 2 and wants to die when he tries 3. Don't overdo it because it can probably kill you. But in a delicious way. Always in a delicious way. I'd share the soup dumplings and pass on the appetiser shui jiao. But actually foreigners might prefer the saucier shui jiao. Dunno, just try it out. They're all amazing.

My boyfriend is 100% anti-Gwyneth Paltrow and had I told him that it was a GP rec the first time I brought him to Glou, he would have turned around and marched straight out the door. As it transpired, I had the good sense to omit this detail and have since had many amazing times savouring what is probably the best rendering of contemporary French cooking we have found in Paris. Wines are always good. The cheese options are impeccable. One time there was a St Marcelin doused in olive oil infused with rosemary – unbelievable, so yummy. This time was a perfectly executed burrata. So. Damn. Good. There's razor clam and octopus. Usually when we go to Glou, we've had our fair share of entrecote and lambs so we stick to seafood but I distinctly remember having incredible meats in the past as well. Prices aren't steep and the best seat in the house is upstairs by the window if you're a party of 2. You're welcome. Oh, and I do this occasionally very obnoxious thing of like, running to a shop after we've placed our orders to browse while my boyfriend sits there with a book. He's a saint, I know.

Cafe Marly is kind of a tourist trap and also kind of obnoxious but I MUST GO EVERY TIME I am in Paris because their salmon tartar is crack. It's a melange of fresh, fatty raw fish, its glisten enhanced with sesame oil and a citrus-y spritz. There are herbs in rice for you to mix all that goodness up in. I want to fly back now just thinking about it.  I do not know how the rest of the food tastes. Could be crap for all I know but I sit outside on the balcony overlooking tourists going into the Louvre and make the best of this very overpriced yet addictive dish. And if you want more value, I guess you can do it for the 'gram. I generally do not do this because the waitresses are in sky high heels, all black, generally imposing so you don't want to be 'that person'. 

It's dark rum based but I've forgotten the name, sorry!!

It's dark rum based but I've forgotten the name, sorry!!

I got too drunk to take a picture of my food at Marie Celeste, which is unfortunate because aside from remembering that it was all very very good - especially the oysters (they're known for this), the octopus and the braised beef cheek that my boyfriend was really into, we have no evidence of what we ate nor if what we recall is at all accurate. The cocktails are fantastic. You'll see that the one picture I have is of my first delicious rum (dark rum only) based beverage and the rest was kind of a blur. Oh also, the only lost ship reference there is here is the copious alcohol selection should you wish to drink like a sailor (ahoy hehe) and many huitres of the sea.

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My hands are getting a bit tired because I talk a lot and therefore type a lot so here's a quicker list of places we also frequent: Le Relais de L'Entrecote, Candelaria (tacosssss and behind the taqueria is an AWESOME-OUS bar, not bigly, quite smally, but very deliciously), Les Enfants Rouges (the market for different stalls and the restaurant of the same name, a bit more upmarket – 4 courses and the like but both are so delish).

I will not mention all the stuff that seems tantalising on Chef's Table because well, duh, they're on Chef's Table, nor the obvious or fancy places because you all know them and unless you're super game to splash cash going to them again and again, I'm recommending places I like to visit all the damn time and unlike trois foix plus I am not willing to spend money I can otherwise buy a new pair of shoes with, on three dinners at Pierre Gagnaire (although guys, I really quite love him contrary to what a couple people I know say about his over wrought food etc.) But now we're on the subject, Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee is pretty great. For fancy dessert go to Cedric Grolet.

Oh, but Frenchie Wine Bar is a great alternative if you, like me, are really incapable of booking anything in advance of the day you go. Only go to Angelina at the main store for her white choc hot choc. If you love butter like me this is HEAVEN. You must go in and sit down for it though so a bit of a faff unless you're super keen, which I can be sometimes. And for brasseries who can miss out Bistrot Paul Bert (so I did a bit of research back in the day on who Paul Bert was and I think he was a raging racist which put me off going a bit but if you're unaffected, the four course meal is great, but I mean, maybe you should be at least a bit affected because racism is pretty shitty in this day and age) and Chez Janou?

FROLIC

My frolics generally include shopping. I'm not the hugest fan of department stores even though to Parisians and if you've ever watched Mr Selfridge, Paris and England consider its advent as the great democratisation of consumption for the middle and lower classes. But no matter how gorgeous the escalators and ceilings, nor how gilded the moulding, the fact that I lose sense of time and day gives me a sense of claustrophobia that's only growing as I get older. Never mind huge queues and just general hordes. I say this but obvs there is an amazing selection at Le Bon Marche, which is my first choice, if forced to choose. Then Gallerie Lafayette. But the latter is a bit stressful. I generally avoid, avoid.

Anyway, some areas I like to go are St Sulpice (don't go on Sundays though, it's dead). Rue Madame is around there. You can pop into the cathedral in the square as well. It's a very active cathedral and it's quite humbling to see the city communing in such a beautiful space even on a random weekday. 

The APC outlet is right beneath the Sacre Coeur so you can hit up TWO houses of worship in one fell swoop. 

I also LOVE the Marais (DEFINITELY go on a Sunday - it was the old Jewish quarter and so didn't observe Sunday as a day of rest). If you're there on Sunday, the streets will be lined with buskers. This is my favourite thing about Paris. The city's people are so proud of their past, tunes from the golden jazz age whisks you right into your very own Midnight in Paris. There are cafes around every corner. Glou is there. All my favourite shops are there. I've got the bug so badly, it's sometimes difficult to think of Paris beyond my favourite arrondissement. 

Go to Merci when you're there. Go for breakfast, have the eggs and soldiers. There's home wear, menswear and womenswear alongside the used books coffeeshop. Ladies with their significant others. Plop them in the coffee shop, amidst the furnishings or dishes, trays and goblets, or the menswear section and go crazy. Remember to bring your passport and ask for detax.

Then museums. I wrote up this list in bullet form before I started going on and on and it's as if all I do when in Paris is go to the museums when I'm in town. We've been to all of these more than once. Buy the double pass and go to the Orangerie in the morning. It's a manageable museum where the curvy walled Monets (aka waterlillies) are (haha art history majors, I am a savage and I like it). The basement is definitely worth a peek. There are Modiglianis alongside Cezannes and one of my favourite artists Andre Derain. Errybody's there.

After this, take a stroll through the Tuileries and cross the bridge to the D'Orsay. It's huge but my favourite sections are the Van Gogh bit where everyone goes. I'm not as keen on the Impressionists but they're definitely worth the visit because the collection is supreme. There are these steps that you can take to the Impressionism floor which talks about the architecture of Paris which was actually one of the best bits of my most recent visit. I'd previously only taken either the lift or the escalator. Right at the bottom is the Oriental(ism?) section. It's a section of these beautiful paintings of Persia. I know nothing about art really but those are masterpieces. Buy tickets in advance. Most of the time, the queue to the D'Orsay is MENTAL. And trust me – do coat check.

As you may or may not see, it's taking forever to talk about each museum. So leave enough time in your day to walk through them, they're all massive.

This is a Derain

This is a Derain

Actually while you're on that side of the river, walk over to the Notre Dame and Shakespeare and Co. The latter is the first English language bookstore in Paris. The interiors are lovely. Remember to go upstairs to check out all the little nooks and crannies. Rare book store next to it, part of the same group is brilliant. Rare books and Shakespeare make my inner nerd so very, very happy.

The Louvre. What to say about this place that everyone goes to. Oh, when you get tired, def go to the Angelina cafe inside. It's stunning and trust me, you'll need it. If, like me, you're not so into statues, ask for the entrance to the great master paintings (that is probs not a term but I'm sleepy now so that's what we're calling it). It's where the Mona Lisa is. Go there and don't faff around. Once we went all through Egypt and the basement etc and by the time we got to the paintings we were 300% knackered.

Also go to the Rodin Museum obvs. Seeing the Thinker and the gate of hell is something you'll always remember. It was a while ago since I was there though, but go, everyone should ponder over a pensive bronze figurine at least once in their life.

There are two museums that I really want to go to but have not yet been. The Palais Galliera (FASHION squee!) and the Middle East Museum, which I'm told is stunning and might not be there for much longer. Something akin to the Elgin Marbles issue happening to just about every piece in there I'm told. It's kind of funny that we pay admission to look at stolen goods most of the time in wealthy Western nations. Whenever my boyfriend and I walk past things we like in museums we say, 'would imperialise'. Getting into the spirit of things and what not.

This time, I took Conor with me to Crazy Horse because I had tickets and well, why not? I totally went in after I had interviewed the creative director thinking that when she said oh we use light as paint on their bodies to mean that perhaps contrary to popular opinion there would be no boobs and such. And well, I was wrong. It was a nice evening of a great many breasts all lined in a row but I have to say the execution was beautiful. And Conor? I think Conor had a great time.

Now hopefully, it's your turn to book your ticket and have a good time in the City of Lights too.

Oh there are Sunday markets and vintage stores too but I'm too tired to type now!!

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Fast Take: Erdem x H&M

I write for a luxury magazine and as such am not really able to write about things that generally I, a paltry journalist, can afford. However(!), I can do so here, so I will in all its unsubbed glory.

This year has been a fantastic one for unexpected collaborations. I am a fan (though admittedly I have not yet had time to take a peek in person) of Uniqlo's visionary partnership with J.W. Anderson. Trust the ever astute and daring Japanese retailer to follow their hard-to-beat Lemaire collab with the fun and kooky Anderson. However, I do have various screen shots of desired items saved in my phone to aid future purchases. (I am an ENTJ on Myers Briggs, which makes me a slave to efficiency.) So this will happen. Moving on.

H&M's collaboration with Erdem is a pleasantly surprising one given the Swedish fashion retailer's track record of partnering with sartorial behemoths over the years. I think most people tell me their favourite was Lanvin, but the only one I ever participated in was an overnight wait at Oxford Circus in London one frosty November for their collection with the one and only Isabel Marant who had experienced a surge in popularity as a result of the Beckett trainers. Until now.

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Still more of a fashion-insider brand, Erdem has been the go to designer for it girls like Alexa Chung for a while and it is maybe the nerd among fashion designers. Moralioglu's own collections pull inspiration from classical music and the gardens of British country houses. Growing up between Montreal and England, the Turkish-Canadian designer cut his teeth in London and has developed a distinctly new-romantic, British flavour. My longtime love for the classic, edgy, romantic spirit of Parisian style can possibly only be challenged by the Victorian/Edwardian romanticism of traditional British garb.

Scrolling through the show that is now available for plebeian viewing on Vogue the cacophony of starchy high-necked frill and rich gothic floral (this offering rivals Kate Moss's stunners for Topshop that I failed to get my hands on, so I consider this God's second chance for me to get some floral), a couple hoodies and slick suits thrown in the mix makes this a treasure trove that I covet. 

The tartan check suit trousers, multi strap kitten heels, white high necked blouse, and all manner of black lacey goodness are all hot contenders. I already own my fair share of leopard but a second leopard coat with a big black flouncy bow couldn't hurt, could it? 

The Scandi fast fashion giant's choice of designer may hint at a new direction in fashion. Given the trading floor pace at which luxury groups switch out designers in superbrands with all eyes always on the numbers, it seems like H&M has caught on that true creative freedom might now be found in the hands of independent brands where the designer is also the sole director as is the case at Erdem.

Check out my favourite pieces from the collab below and let me know which ones are on your hit list!

Collection hits stores 2 November!

 

 

 
 

Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder

This is as good a place to start as any, I think. Today, the second limited edition Victoria Beckham x Estee Lauder Collection launches in Hong Kong. The line is exclusive to Lane Crawford and will sell all five looks based on Tory B's favourite cities - London, Paris, LA, New York and Miami. 

I had the wonderful privilege of being the canvas for the Paris look, which features a slick of black eyeliner, light shimmery eyelids, chiselled cheekbones (no blush though, I was told VB doesn't like that much) and dark red lipstick otherwise known as Black Cassis.

The names are as gorgeous as the packaging and though the prices rather steep given the brand cache, the quality of the goods are truly top notch. In fact, had I not been invited to try the look on my face, I would've gone out today and bought the whole lot for myself.

Anyway, I am harping. Here's the photograph. Thanks to the lovely people at Estee Lauder Hong Kong and Leo the MUA in charge for the opportunity and tips!