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Saturday
May132006

DIY Bridal Beauty!

Your wedding is the start of a beautiful life with your special partner. It's also one of the most stressful ones as well. As if brides-to-be don't have enough to worry about, we also have to think about our makeup game plan. In reality, it's not as hard as you might think. With the proper products and some practice, you can easily create the magazine-perfect look yourself. The following suggestions will give you a basic idea to obtaining that dewy, fresh visage.

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Prep - Begin by prepping your skin with a toner (such as Kiehl's Rosewater Facial Freshener-Toner), then moisturize with a light lotion - we used Estee Lauder Future Perfect Anti-Wrinkle Radiance Lotion SPF 15. Follow with your favorite eye cream and lip balm.

Face - Bridal makeup should never be heavy. You want it to enhance your features, not hide it under cakey layers. Makeup artist Maggie Kerr applied Aveda's Inner Light Tinted Moisture SPF 15 to even out the skin tone. She then used Burt's Bees Concealing Creme to eliminate dark circles and blemishes. Everything was set with Stila Sheer Pressed Powder. A light wash of blush (Estee Lauder BlushLights) was then gently blended on the apple part of the cheeks.

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Eyes - Start with a MAC eyeliner pencil to define the upper lash line. Kerr then used NARS Decameron on the base of the lid, then blended Estee Lauder's Pure Color eye shadow (Bronze Cube) on top. Blend, blend, blend! The dark brown shade from Tarte's Social Butterfly Palette is then gently swept along the crease and to lightly line the lower lash line. Finally, curl lashes and brush with Estee Lauder Illusionist Waterproof Maximum Curling Mascara.

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Lips - Get the sexy pout with Tarte's Sexy-Lexy double lip liner, nude shades that will work on most skin tones. Glide on Tarte's supergloss in J.R. and you will be all set!

Hair - 2006 marks a resurgence in soft styles, with mild sculpting for a romantic look.

"If you have thicker hair that has length, try leaving your hair down as wearing it all the way up might be too heavy and give you a headache," Steve Elias advises. "For thin hair, use pre-styling and blow-drying with volumizing products to get more texture and hold, as thin hair tends to lose style quickly."

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Elias started by applying Aveda's Light Elements Reviving Mist, then blow-drying the locks to remove excess build-up. He then sectioned the hair in 1-inch sections, starting in the back. Using a 1-inch ceramic curling iron, Aveda's Brilliant Hairspray (helps guard against humidity) was sprayed as the hair was curled in different directions for a natural, tousled look. To set it in place, he then gently finger-styled the locks to loosen the tight curls.

Voila! Bridal perfection is now at your fingertips!

*** Special thanks to the following talented folks who created this bridal look:***

Photography: Will Taylor, wtphoto.com

Makeup: Maggie Kerr, missmaggiek.com

Hair: Steve Elias, steveelias.com

Wardrobe: Verrières & Sako, studio23fashion.com

Model: Amber Lunsford of Look Model Agency (San Francisco)

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Friday
May122006

Leather Artisan Maintains Timeless Appeal at April in Paris

Photos are courtesy of April in Paris

Beatrice Amblard has always loved creating something with her hands. The French-born master leather artisan had a natural inclination for making wooden toys from a very young age.

"I used to build puppet theatres and make wooden boxes. I also liked to take bicycles apart and fix them," Amblard says. "I made my first skateboard before I even knew what it a skateboard was."

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Her early talents quickly translated into a career choice. At 16, Amblard visited the famous Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Paris. She initially chose to enroll in the carpentry program, but at the last second she switched to the leather training program.

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"It was love at first sight. The smell of the leather, the glue and the wax went right to my nostrils. I decided right there on the spot that I would become a master artisan in leather," Amblard says.

Amblard studied for two years and was immediately hired by Hermes in Paris. In 1987 she was appointed as the "Ambassador" to their San Francisco boutique. With fourteen years of experience in custom designing small leather goods, Amblard eventually opened April in Paris, where she built a strong and loyal following.

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With popular styles like the Scarlett or Bea handbag, it's very easy to see why Amblard's work is in such high demand. Her 'contemporary-classic' designs are hand-finished with the traditional saddle stitch - the same exact way it was crafted 200 years ago. Marked with her signature logo of an 18-karat gold or sterling silver bee, every item is one-of-a-kind. Working with a few select French tanners, Amblard only uses fine skins for her products, including French calf, alligator, ostrich, and stingray. Dye lots can be requested, so one can order shocking pink alligator or persimmon ostrich skins.


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Due to the intensive design process, it's no surprise that one might have to wait as long as four months for a custom-tailored handbag to be completed. It's worth the wait, as eachclient plays an interactive role in designing their own leather product, including the color selection and size of the finished product.

"Beatrice has a wonderful sense of perceiving a client's desires and enabling their vision to come to life," Jim Hogan, a senior merchandiser for Wilkes Bashford, says. "Her work essentially reflects the unique, personal style of each client."

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In a fast-paced fashion world where nearly everything is mass-produced by machine, custom handcrafted leather accessories are indeed a rarity.

"The term 'hand-made' is bastardized these days," Amblard says. "If one person touches the fabric in the manufacturing process, it's considered 'hand-made.' Here, every step of the process, from start to finish, fits the true definition of hand-made."

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Hogan concurs with Amblard's craftsmanship philosophy. "Dollar for dollar, her work is not a store-bought taste. It truly speaks of your love of luxurious, beautifully hand-crafted leather goods."

"I don't follow fashion trends," Amblard says. "I design what I like, and my work is made to last. My heart really goes into my work. Twenty years later I love it more than ever."

April in Paris is located at 55 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118, (415) 750-9910, www.aprilinparis.us

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