The last time I visited Notting Hill’s Colville Mews was in August 2011, to pick up my wedding dress from the Alice Temperley boutique. Since then, I’ve had two children and little reason to return to the pretty cobbled through-road, lovely though it is. Or at least that was the case, until Cloud Twelve opened last September and founder Jenya Emets brought to life the modern village my weary soul has been longing for since I became a mother six years ago.Read More
A sentence starting ‘Don’t take this the wrong way’ is never going to be a morale-booster. This one, delivered by a grimacing Amanda Holden, was no exception: ‘Don’t take this the wrong way, but you really don’t know how to pose in pictures, do you? Let me teach you my “red-carpet pose”: it’ll change your life.’
Because I’m not an actor required to look waxwork flawless in the kind of magazine line-ups where outfits are either blue-ticked or big-red-crossed, this may have been overstating things. But a ‘game-changer’ Mandy’s guide to red-carpet posing most certainly was, and crucially, it was also easy to follow.
So if you don’t mind looking utterly daft IRL, and quite fancy mimicking the Oscar-tastic stances all those A-list actors will be flaunting outside the Dolby Theatre tomorrow night, it’s a case of head up, chin down, girl – and tilt your face slightly to the right or left, depending on which is your best side.
Body three-quarters-on please; arms held away from sides (to prevent the egregious ‘fat arm’); one knee bent, one foot positioned slightly in front of the other, but legs never – never – crossed, which in emphasising the hips and concealing one of your feet, gives you the little-known condition known as ‘cone uni-leg’. And for God’s sake don’t look happy: it adds 3-5lb.
If you feel exhausted reading this slumped in a pool of Saturday papers at home, imagine what real A-listers are feeling right now, just hours away from the longest posing stint of the year – not to mention a possible podium moment, should they scoop a gong.
Although they, of course, have the confidence born of 11½ months’ prior planning and preparation (there’s a fortnight’s grace period after the Oscars when the whole industry lets it all hang out, cutting workouts down to once a day and extending their grape allowances to four – a week).
The confidence of knowing that over the years they and a team of personal beauty administrators have sourced the best products and treatments out there – along with the weirdest. After an actor friend swore by its benefits I once tried bathing in icing sugar (an excellent exfoliant, apparently), and two years ago I allowed a couple of leeches to feast on my blood in the run-up to the Oscars, having been assured by a model that their magic enzymes facilitate weight loss.
The first left me smelling like a patisserie; the second with tiny Mercedes-Benz-logo-shaped scars all over my abdomen. Which is why, since then, I have focused my efforts on sourcing the kind of non-wacky red-carpet prep that both can easily be undertaken in Blighty and, you know, actually makes you look better.
And since none of us is likely to be nominated for anything more exciting than school-council president, it’ll work for everything from office parties to weddings, anniversaries and school reunions. I’ve even done a countdown for you.
Twelve months to go
Invest in a course of technologically enhanced facials. Celebrity facialists in both LA and New York incorporate everything from microcurrent and radio frequency to Hifu (high-intensity focused ultrasound) into their treatments, in order to exfoliate, lift and tighten. Lena Bratschi – the Hollywood-based facialist to some of the industry’s most famous faces – even uses a hi-tech Israeli machine originally employed for triage wound cleaning in the military.
But since you’re unlikely to find that in the UK, I’d recommend the ‘non-surgical facelift’ at Dr Rita Rakus’s Knightsbridge clinic, from £450– where radio frequency is also offered for the body. There’s zero pain or downtime, and I saw a noticeable difference after one treatment.
For those in need of a concerted blitzing of the Churchill Dog jowls – who don’t mind a little stinging – Dr Christopher Rowland Payne’s Hifu at The London Clinic, from £415, will have you looking sleek and high-cheekboned within two or three months.
Should the prospect of doctors and clinics fill you with dread, the online beauty-device experts at CurrentBody have the solution to every beauty ailment. The most awe-inspiring of their gizmos is currently the TriPollar Pose, which smooths dimples and tightens skin on the stomach, upper arms and thighs, delivering salon-grade results in the comfort of your home for £325.
Six months to go
Both New York-based dermatologist Dr David Colbert – the brains behind the complexions of Sienna Miller, Robin Wright and Naomi Watts – and LA-based super-facialist Shani Darden are fans of LED therapy, for the face and body.
Non-invasive and actively pleasurable (it feels a little like sunbathing), LED ‘doesn’t just boost the collagen in the skin and your circulation, but your immune system’, says Darden, whose clients include the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Chrissy Teigen.
‘This also helps offset the stress of running around before an event.’ Darden also swears by Lumity’s Day & Night nutritional supplements, £90 for a month’s worth. ‘A common problem with my celebrity clients’ skins is a loss of natural radiance due to a lack of high-quality sleep. Looking after your body on the inside is just as important as what you use on the outside.
Lumity’s two-step supplements naturally stimulate the human growth hormone, allowing the body to repair itself as you sleep.’ Any new products should be tried at this point, in order to both avoid unsightly reactions and enjoy the full effect by the time The Night comes around.
So grab RevitaLash’s Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner, £34 and £38 respectively– from the company that doubled the length of your lashes – which protect and fortify hair, providing visible results in three months. And get your hands on a tub of Kérastase Elixir Ultime Masque, £34, which will restore dull hair to its full glory from the first treatment.
Mustela Cleansing Water, £6.30, adored by Parisian beauty bloggers, is the celebrity secret of the month. Because if it’s good enough for babies, it’s gentle enough for us – and blissfully it requires no rinsing. Don’t ever leave the house without a slick of Egyptian Magic All Purpose Skin Cream, £29, on your lips (dry hands, scars, stretch-marks and brows too, if you like).
And finally, I’m not sure how I made it to this grand old age without trying Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex II, £75, which I now plan to never live without. It has your skin looking like you’ve been filtered within a week.
One month to go
Although LA facialist Kate Somerville’s red-carpet clients tend to come in a few weeks before the Oscars for her famous Wrinkle Warrior Medi-Facial, she believes their day-to-day skincare is equally important. ‘Exfoliating two to three times a week with a product that provides both physical and chemical exfoliation will help your skin soak in other products more effectively and leave it smoother and brighter,’ she says.
Somerville’s ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, £72, is good for more robust complexions, but I prefer to use the ExfoliKate Gentle, £55, for sensitive skins. This is a good time, too, for a final boost to the body.
Colette Widrin at Akeso Therapeutics in Beverly Hills is booked up weeks in advance for LPG Endermologie massage – one of the most efficient inch-reduction and body-contouring treatments out there (find your nearest treatment centre at endermologie.com). ‘Our clients tell me they’ll notice a big difference in photographs,’ she says. ‘And there is no downtime which is a huge plus.’
Less than 12 hours to go…
Stick on one of Shiseido's BenefianceWrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Express Smoothing Eye Masks (£60 for 12, shiseido.co.uk) when you first awake and let Notting Hill's luxury wellness club Cloud Twelve take care of the rest. The Red Carpet Ready Programme (£400, cloudtwelve.co.uk) includes a 90-minute facial, express mani-pedi and blow-dry, leaving you primped and painted and ready to take up your insanely contrived Oscar-worthy pose.
Tags: High-tech Facials | Author: Celia Walden