Swinging from the Chandeliers!!!

Jun 25, 2011

No! No! No! you naughty minxes. This post is not what you think it's about. It's about one of this summers jewellery trends; chandelier earrings.

A couple of customers and blog followers requested some posts on summer jewellery trends. As I suffer writers block more than I experience creative inspiration, I was so grateful for their suggestions.

OK, so this post we will look at chandelier earrings.

Elizabeth Hurley, gorgeous as always, with some mega-chandeliers at the Ark charity event in London, June 2011

OK, so do we all have to look like Elizabeth Hurley to carry of the chandelier? No, we most certainly don't, but not every chandelier style is right for every woman or every outfit. Choose the wrong style and you can end up looking like Dame Edna Everage on a bad day!!!

So here are my tips:

1. Never wear a chandelier earring longer than your neck. If it's touching the tops of your shoulders when you're standing, it's going to disappear down the ravine of your cleavage when you sit down; never to be seen again! Instead choose a style that leaves at least 1 inch between the bottom of the earring and the top of your shoulders.

2. If your face is broad or round, or if you have even a slight double chin avoid chandelier earrings with a wide bottom. Instead, opt for a longer, slimmer silhouette that elongates the face and trims your profile.
Celeste Earrings http://bit.ly/eSbRLw

Square Waterfall Earrings http://bit.ly/fFsoCt

If your face is very long and thin, give it more balance with a chandelier that offers more depth and width at the bottom to slenderize your face.
Channel your Spanish diva with these - http://bit.ly/iefHbq

3. You can wear a chandelier during the daytime for a bohemian casual chic look. But do choose a shorter length.
Gorgeous for day-time against a back-drop of white clothing-http://bit.ly/kX2g4x

Bohemian chic in brass - http://bit.ly/hdFzcR

4. If your hair is shoulder length or longer, opt for a longer earring to keep the look vertical. An earring that is too short breaks the line and can make your face appear fuller. If you don't want to wear a long chandelier earring than opt for a short drop earring with single stone or bead.

My "Martini" earrings for "anytime, any place anywhere!" http://bit.ly/jCwjRb

6. Never, ever, ever wear a large or showy necklace with chandelier earrings. Even a strand of pearls can be "over-the-top" if your chandeliers are significant, and you will end up looking like a walking Christmas tree, and we don't want that do we?

Two beauties "sans" necklace

So there you have a it- a brief lesson on how to wear chandeliers this summer without looking like the Las Vegas Strip, or Blackpool Illuminations (if you are from the UK!).

All LUXURIA products featured have a 20% discount for 1 week only! Offer ends Sunday 3 July

Tutu Gorgeous for Words

Jun 20, 2011

When I owned my first pair of ballet pumps ("ballerinas" in Spanish) I always assumed they came from France. Perhaps because about 25 years ago the only place to buy them in the UK was from a shop called 'French Sole'; hence my ignorance was born.
YSL's offerings for 2011

However since living in Spain, I now realise that this is a shoe that originated in Spain as far back as 1918 and has been a fashion staple for Spanish women ever since.

In 1918 they were first hand-made in Menorca and had no left or right foot; they were completely interchangeable.

Perhaps one of the reasons for their intense popularity in Spain (long before the likes of Kate Moss and Claudia Scheiffer were seen in theirs) was that in most towns in Spain, huge parts of the town still consist of cobbled stones, which wreak absolute havoc on heels. So unless you are going everywhere by car or taxi, ballerinas are the best way to hurl yourself across town during the day, without becoming wedged between two cobbles and being thrown 4 foot into the air with your knickers on display for the whole of the financial district in Madrid to see! (Yes, it happened to me!!!) So now you can understand why these have been my faithful companion ever since that fateful day over 10 years ago.

Jamie Mascaro's family started making hand-made ballerinas in the early days and since then have taken the world by storm, recently opening his flagship store in London Mayfair. He also recently just opened a store in Warsaw's prime shopping district as the Polish capital enters a new era of glamour.
Some of his new designs for Summer 2011-I just LOVE these!!

Unfortunately there are also many cheap copies being made that has taken the edge of this glamorous shoe. To remain as chic as they were intended, they still only look best in the softest leather possible for shoes and with the least amount of flourishes (for me at least).

As an aside: it shows how comfy and popular ballerinas are, they are also worn as part of the traditional matadors outfit (but always in black).
Discussing the best place in town for ballerinas

Will these form part of your summer wardrobe this year? Do you prefer plain and chic or colourful and fun? Or perhaps you can't stand them! Would love to hear your views.

Don't Forget Your Roots!

Jun 14, 2011

Since living in Spain I have been a huge fan of Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

I “loved” them (notice the past tense being used?). But I could never understand why no-one I spoke to in Spain had a good word to say about either of them. In fact the majority of people hate the two of them with a passion (and as you can imagine, the Spanish are very passionate people, so much so my "research" about these two had to take place in dark secret corners, in very hushed tones).
But is it a case of sour grapes? But how could it be as the Spanish LOVE Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffiths? This is what was baffling.

Watching the Easter processions from a balcony in Malaga

So in the interest of getting to the bottom of this, I decided to “interview” (I use the term loosely) everyone I could; ranging from age 14 years to aged 82 years! I spoke to all friends, clients, customers, waiters at my favorite bar.......you name it, I had a quick word in anyone’s “shell-like” (ears, for my US friends) and asked them “What the hell is the problem?

What astounded me was that the responses I got, irrespective of who I spoke to, what part of Spain they were from, what age-group they fell into, what political party they supported, what social class they were from.........they all said the same thing.

Here are the reasons they gave:

*Javier Bardem and his mother (who seems constantly stapled to his side at all events) have always been policital activists here in Spain. In fact they were regarded as EXTREME Communists! Javier Bardem on numerous occasions in the past, at rallies in Spain, has spoken about his “hatred” for capitalism and ALL things American.

In fact he openly said during this period of his activism that if he ever won an Oscar, he wouldn’t even go to the US to collect it!


*The Spanish are really quite angry that neither of them give interviews in Spain. In fact Penelope has a reputation of being quite rude to journalists who want to ask her questions. Her stock answer is “it’s my private life!” And yet, both of them are on every talk show in the US talking about that very thing-their private life.

*Any time you see a photo of either of them in Spain they look so damn miserable. Why?

*And of course the final insult for the Spanish was when they elected to have their baby in the US.

Unlike Antonio Banderas who the Spanish love,this clearly isn’t a case of sour grapes. It’s deeper than that. And having conducted my” interviews” I too feel my support for them waning at a very high speed. I don’t have a problem with people re-inventing themselves, but re-writing history? Yes I have a problem with that.

Just as a closing aside. Most people now know that Penelope Cruz’s brother is now the “arm-candy” of Eva Longoria. He is always written about as “the famous Spanish musician brother of Penelope Cruz”. Let me just tell you, no one here has heard of him (never mind heard anything this famous musician has performed). Everyone in Spain knows she had a younger brother, but that was the extent of if. Famous musician??!!! When I show my friends magazines from the US or the UK they are seething. Why? Perhaps this is just another “social climber” in the family? Who knows.

Is it OK to re-invent yourself and move on from your past? Does wisdom come with age, therefore what was said 10 years ago shouldn’t influence people now? Should what we said when we were younger come back and haunt us now? Is being “politically astute” more important these days than being sincere, or have they sold their souls, and sold out on their roots? How far should one go to "re-invent" themselves?

Would love to hear your views?

French Chic versus Inspirational Italians!

Jun 9, 2011

OK friends,since being on the blogosphere (which has only been for less than 1 year) I am “intrigued” perhaps at times a little “astounded” by the number of blogs and books about emulating the French style of dressing (OK, before you go off the deep end, let me explain).

I love reading and following these blogs, but on the other hand I just don’t “get it”. Why? I am European (I am from the UK) and have lived in both France and Italy for short periods of time, and now live in Spain,therefore I should “get it”. But for me, I have to say when it comes to dressing and style, the Italians win hands down.

If you have read any of the books about dressing in the French way (and there are many), I have personally found them very formulaic and predictable. Nearly always the formula for “French chic” includes at least one of the following items:
*Chanel bag
*navy blazer
*Hermés scarf
*flat pumps or loafers
*Beige trench-coat

All very nice but predictable.

However, if you go and sit in any piazza in Rome or Milan, what you will see is a cacophony of style and glamour, but none of it predictable. Gorgeous cut clothes, killer heels, designer sunglasses, lustrous hair blowing in the breeze all while zooming around on their Vespas or strolling around the city.

Caught shopping in Milan

One thing I’ve learned in particular is that when it comes to Italian women and fashion, it’s all about "la bella figura";making a beautiful impression. This expression is a way of life for women in Italy, adhered to like a religion, no matter if they are at work, at home, or on vacation.

It’s not hard to fulfill this unwritten religious obligation in a country that has given the world such brand name fashions as Ferragamo, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Prada, and more. With so many high-end labels at their fingertips, Italian women have elevated fashion to a new level, almost to an international art form that many other nationalities aspire to duplicate.

Elisabetta Canalis

Altho' not all Italian women can afford a full designer wardrobe, what they usually always splurge on is designer accessories; bags, shoes, jewellery etc.

Never underestimate the power of Gucci sunglasses!

I have both French and Italian girlfriends. If I am meeting a French friend, I can more or less guess what she will be wearing (in terms of style). If I meet with one of my Italian girlfriends, I never know what she will be wearing, and it will always have the “wow” factor. By “wow-factor” I don’t mean over-the-top, in a cocktail/frou-frou kind of way. I mean “Wow, how can she look so damn good just wearing jeans, a t’shirt and a butter soft leather jacket with matching bag, and not a Hermés scarf in sight?” My Italian friends never fail to astound me with their style.

Elisabetta Canalis aka George Clooney's arm-candy

And perhaps “there’s the rub” (as my good friend Shakespeare would say); because the Italian style is so unpredictable, personal, glamorous and authentic, there are no books written about Italian style, because it is something that cannot be prescribed. On the other hand, the French style can be easily prescribed and replicated, therefore losing it’s authenticity.

This is written principally about the style of women, let's not even start about Italian men!!! Even my husband was astounded by their style as we sat at a coffee shop, people watching in Milan.

I am sure there will be many of you who disagree with me, and that’s fine. Whatever your thoughts, I would love as always to hear them.

(Images courtesy of Grazia)

Spanish Sparkles

Jun 3, 2011

OK, some of our Twitter friends already know about the wonderful Spanish designer
who has joined our boutique. But for those of you not on Twitter (and there are many!) here goes:

The wonderfully talented designer Carlos Madirolas joined our boutique about one month ago. As you can see from the images below, his designs are very contemporary, and so fit in perfectly with our niche. He has worked in Ibiza and Menorca taking much of his inspiration from these beautiful Spanish islands. But now his workshop (which is like an Aladdin's cave for me) is in Madrid. All pieces are made with Silver,24k Gold and semi-precious stones.

Just take a look at the images below.

It was seeing the ring on the left which resulted in me contacting Carlos re a collaboration. I just fell immediately in love with this ring.The gems used are, amtheyst,garnet, olivine, blue topaz http://bit.ly/jxrBu4

Gorgeous rings again using amethyst, garnet, olivine and blue topaz; you choose the stone you want when you order.http://bit.ly/iGGeYw



Absolutely LOVE this ring with my favorite stone http://bit.ly/iQiJlt

These lovely square rings really look gorgeous on the hand. It's just different to the normal round stones, and consequently these are the designs that are most popular since we have started selling them http://bit.ly/iet2mC

So what do you think? Am I raving for nothing? I would love to hear your views.
As a special introductory offer (you know how I love giving discounts-I will never be rich!!) we are offering 20% discount on ALL Carlos Madirolas pieces. Offer ends on Sunday 19 June 2011. Just enter code: CM06 on your order form.