alexa BlackBook: Recipe for Success: April Bloomfield, Elise Kornack & Kerry Diamond Stir Up the Culinary Boys’ Club

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ANTHONY Bourdain once described the professional kitchen as a place infested with a “towel-snapping, locker-room attitude,” although he thinks that’s changed in recent years. Perhaps it has, but if the situation is improving, it’s largely down to female chefs making their voices heard.

Among their ranks is April Bloomfield, famously dubbed “Burger Queen” in a 2010 New Yorker profile that mapped the British chef’s influence on New York’s dining culture. Bloomfield, who won plaudits at gastropub the Spotted Pig and meat-lover haven the Breslin (both received Michelin stars) is now giving veg lovers something to celebrate with Hearth & Hound, her first LA venture.

One of the many chefs inspired by Bloomfield is Elise Kornack, who made waves with her own tiny Michelin-starred eatery, Take Root, in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens. Earlier this year, Kornack closed shop and relocated to the Hudson Valley, where expectations are running high that she will make the region the home of her second act.

Kornack and Bloomfield sat down with Kerry Diamond, co-founder and editorial director of Cherry Bombe, a biannual magazine that focuses on women and food. – Aaron Hicklin

 

EK: As someone younger in the industry, I want to give respect to people who came before me. I want advice. But I don’t want to make it seem like I’m saying, “Make this easier on me.”
AB: It’s OK to say that you’re having a hard time or that you don’t know how to deal with something. I don’t know that it necessarily comes with age. I’ve always been quite open and willing to act, especially if it’s a problem that you need to address. But I don’t think women are any lesser at doing that than men. Maybe women feel that they don’t get supported. Maybe we should be talking more, as women.
KD: I think the bigger issue is institutional sexism. The guys just have better infrastructure when it comes to asking for help. They’re part of a network. I went to an event two years ago, a type of lunch-and-learn, and it was all the heads of the big restaurant groups in the city. There were four women out of 75 people in the room. It was shocking, but it opened my eyes. We have to start penetrating that infrastructure if we want to have equal opportunity. It’s the lawyers, the accountants, access to the people with money. It’s starting to change, but it’s still a little slow going.
EK: I’ve moved out of the city and into a smaller community [in Woodstock, NY]. And it’s amazing how many women up there and in general are so eager to help each other get things off the ground.
KD: Do you feel like New York City wasn’t as supportive as upstate?
EK: People are a bit more organized in the country. There’s a lot going on in the city. When there’s not a lot going on, you can grab onto something faster and make a bigger impact. It’s like being a bigger fish in a small pond, and it takes a lot more to do it in a larger place. But you can start in a small community and grow from there.
AB: New York is a pretty busy place. I think it’s really important to gather and talk, that we have some agenda that is meaningful for everybody. I’m quite shy. I like to go to talks and I like to listen, but sometimes it takes me a while to process. It’s one thing to talk, but there’s the pressure of, “Well, I’m thinking …”
KD: That’s what I like about social media, that even if you’re shy, you can promote yourself. The self-promotion aspect of this industry is really hard for a lot of people. One of the things we need to be careful about is not just promoting people who can afford a publicist and people who’ve got a big machine. I think that I’ve come to a better understanding of what mentor means — someone who would reach out a hand and show you the way like Yoda. They were like the personal-goals mentor that would know how to get to the next level.
AB: Or you can have young people that teach you. I think there was once an idea that a chef was always in charge and that all ideas had to come from a chef, and I think in this day and age, it’s more open.
EK: I’ve always wanted to just lead by example, and then maybe I can inspire people through that.
KD: The [James Beard Award-winning] chef Jody Adams was on the radio saying something to the effect of, “If you can’t see it, you can’t be it.” And I feel that it’s such a great moment for women in the industry because you have so many dynamic female chefs today, and for so long you didn’t see any women. That’s finally starting to change, and, April, I think you get some credit for that because so many women learned under you and now they’re opening their places and cooking elsewhere.

 

Photo by Victoria Will; April’s Hair & Makeup by Mary Guthrie at ABTP.com

 

Acclaimed British chef Bloomfield (of Spotted Pig and Breslin fame) reveals her favorite tools and treats.

PG Tips black tea: I like a good, strong English breakfast tea. Great for gradually waking up and for dipping biscuits.

Jacobsen sea salt: Flaky sea salt is great for seasoning food right at the last minute to maintain the clean, crunchy quality that comes from its harvest. I visited Ben Jacobsen at Netarts Bay in Oregon, and it was wonderful to see how they make a product that I love to use.
Westwind Orchard’s apple-cider vinegar: Vinegar is great for balancing salt and fat. My friend Fabio makes incredible apple-cider vinegar at his farm, Westwind Orchard.
Microplane: This little tool serves many purposes, but I especially love using it to get a nice fine grate on Parmesan to cover a grilled cheese sandwich.
Mortar and pestle: This one is perfect for getting your spices to blend together before seasoning. And it’s also a great upper-body workout!

 

 

Elise Kornack photographed at her Woodstock home. Photo by Michael Mundy.

 

Elise Kornack’s Kitchen Essentials:

Aged meat: Usually we have some piece of meat aging in the fridge, whether it be a local bird or a piece of beef sitting in there waiting for its day to be used. I usually get something like that a week out.
Ceramics: It’s beautiful — all of it was handmade for our restaurant, Take Root, by Felt+Fat. When we closed in the summer, we brought everything to the house.
Sweet treats: We always have really trashy ice cream bars, like the ones from a gas station. It’s usually a really gross processed thing. People are always shocked. The other day, a guest was over and saw a Chipwich, and they were like, “What the hell is this doing in here? You guys don’t eat like this?” We were like, “No, sometimes we do.”

 

Kornack loves to grill and keeps her upstate refrigerator stocked with aged meat (along with a few surprising indulgences).

 

Sourdough starter: I make a lot of fresh bread.
Fermented chili sauce: Any sort of hot sauce or fermented chili sauce — either homemade or the kind by Huy Fong Foods, Inc. I like to put hot sauce on most things I eat.

 

Chef Kerry Diamond at her home in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Taylor Jewell.

 

Kerry Diamond’s Kitchen Essentials:

Bubbly: I am one of those New York 
clichés in that I always have Champagne in my fridge.
Bee pollen: I read somewhere that bee pollen can help you ward off colds and allergies, and I swear since I starting putting it on yogurt almost every morning, I haven’t gotten any colds.
Beauty products: Which always annoys my chef boyfriend. I have all these facial sprays — my favorite is Caudalie — and they’re just so refreshing when you keep them in the fridge.

 

 

Cherry Bombe co-founder Kerry Diamond is always prepared to celebrate — with bottles of bubbly and small-batch jams.

 

Condiments: I am a sucker for artisanal condiments: Sir Kensington, Brooklyn Delhi, Basbaas sauce. I cook a lot of simple things — quinoa, roast veggies — and a sexy condiment always perks things up.
That’s my jam: I’m a bit of an indie jam addict! It’s a fun souvenir, especially from the West Coast. There’s Ayako & Family in Seattle, Sqirl in LA, June Taylor Jams in San Francisco. I don’t eat the jam as fast as I collect it, though! I need to host some tartine parties or something.

 

Moderated by Alyssa Shapiro

alexa BlackBook: On Pointe: Star Designers Deck Out Prima Ballerinas for the Ultimate Curtain Call

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 New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala, on Sept. 28, presented several world-debut dances, along with original costumes by prominent fashion designers like Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, who created a dozen frothy confections for the event.

 

WHAT’S a night at the ballet without the glorious costumes? On Sept. 28, the New York City Ballet celebrated both at its annual Fall Fashion Gala, hosting the global premieres of four dance pieces, each outfitted with original creations by a buzzy NYC designer.

Prima fashionista Sarah Jessica Parker, who serves as vice chair of the NYC Ballet’s board, dreamed up the night of dancer-designer collaborations six years ago. This year’s all-star fashion team included Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim (of Monse and Oscar de la Renta), Virgil Abloh (of Off-White), Jonathan Saunders (of Diane von Furstenberg) and Tsumori Chisato.

They were paired with four rising choreographers, including Gianna Reisen, who — at just 18 years old — is the youngest ever appointed by the company. Principal dancer Lauren Lovette returned with a new piece this year, after presenting her debut work last season — a rarity for women in the ballet world.

She blames the shortage of female choreographers on the pressures of performing. “Women just have a lot of dancing to do in a day,” Lovette tells Alexa, noting that the competitive stakes are high. “That’s why a lot of women don’t really think about the creative side; they think about the technical side and the artistic side and trying to be better every day.

“It wasn’t until I got promoted to principal,” she continues, “and I achieved that goal to be a prima ballerina that my boss came to me and said, ‘Now will you choreograph?’” Fortunately, the answer was yes.

And when she heard she’d be pas de deux-ing with Monse’s Kim and Garcia on costumes for her gala piece this year? “I almost had a heart attack,” Lovette laughs, noting that she’d saved one of their runway looks on her phone for inspiration. “I couldn’t believe it.”

“Lauren’s approach is very forward-thinking, which is refreshing,” says designer Kim, with Garcia adding: “It’s been very fluid and experimental working with her.”

Parker was similarly thrilled. “We are really excited about what Monse is doing,” she tells Alexa. “The fact that they’re also at the house of [Oscar] de la Renta is not inconsequential to us.”

Meanwhile, Off-White’s Abloh created costumes (including ethereal, pastel tulle skirts) for wunderkind choreographer Reisen — all thanks to a fortuitous note.

“I got a random email from [Parker] that was superawesome and heartfelt,” he tells Alexa. “I was blown away — little does she know she’s this muse for me. Then a couple weeks later she emailed back and suggested I design costumes for a ballet that was being created. So I have been working on this for the last three months.”

Parker describes Marc Happel, head of the NYCB’s costume shop, as “the linchpin making it all work,” serving as a translator between the choreographers and the designers. “In my mind, I have a very clear idea of what is needed in a costume to make a dancer comfortable,” he explains. “Certainly we have tricks — I’m always looking for what kind of treatment there is around the waist.”

Garcia brought existing pieces from the Monse line — including a fitted black jacket with a cinched peplum flare and lace-up sleeves — to Lincoln Center for a test run with Lovette.

“I got lucky because I felt like Monse had already met me halfway,” reflects Lovette. “Their clothes are so movement-based. All of their advertising is in motion. Their models are jumping — the clothes have life. What better way than dance to put life within the clothes?”

 

Photo by Taylor Jewell

alexa BlackBook: Double Feature: Rodarte’s Designing Sisters Make Their Writing & Directing Debut with ‘Woodshock’

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Kate (left) and Laura Mulleavy share directing duties on the set of their first feature film, “Woodshock.”


 

SISTERS Kate and Laura Mulleavy ask to meet at the Pacific Dining Car in Downtown Los Angeles, where green-dinner-jacketed waiters serve afternoon tea while Chet Baker plays softly in the background. It served as the ad hoc pre-production office for the movie they’d been incubating for years. After founding their acclaimed fashion line, Rodarte, in 2005, the pair are now taking a page from the Tom Ford playbook and channeling their dreamy aesthetic into feature films. Their cinematic debut, “Woodshock” — which they wrote and directed — stars Kirsten Dunst and hits theaters Sept. 22.

“Both film and fashion are about a natural instinct and being open to following that,” Kate, 38, tells us. “They’re very different processes but both of them involve an extreme desire to bring something to life.”
“Woodshock” centers on Theresa (played by Dunst), whose grief snowballs into chaos and paranoia as she experiments with a lethal drug. Through the movie, the audience is largely left in the dark about why Theresa falls down this particular rabbit hole. “[We created] a character where you have a stream-of-consciousness experience,” explains Kate. “It’s not a film based on explanation of her behavior.”

Kate and Laura found plenty of creative common ground between fashion and filmmaking, along with some refreshing distinctions. “Our main job at Rodarte was to protect it, and to protect the creative identity and the integrity behind what we do, which is something that you really have to do when you create a film,” says Laura, 37. “Fashion design is about a series of repetitive motions and this cycle of developing ideas, questioning your choices. But the film was taking that thing that you do in six months and dividing it over five years with 300 people.”

 

 

Kirsten Dunst stars in the movie, playing a grieving woman whose drug experiments are presented in a chimeric, stream-of-consciousness style.

 

 

The sisters previously worked with director Todd Cole to create a series of short films for Rodarte. They also worked on costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s celebrated 2010 movie, “Black Swan,” an experience that inspired them to make their own movie.

“There’s such a small percentage of women directing films, you realize why a lot of people may feel that that job is not achievable to them,” says Laura. And so, like our cover star Lake Bell, the Mulleavys decided to create their own opportunity. “What’s amazing is knowing that when we came to the table with this unique project, there are other people out there who will do that too,” she continues. “People are questioning the status quo.”

As with Rodarte, the sisters shared filmmaking duties: writing together, scouting together, editing together. Kate and Laura also collaborated on the wardrobe with costume designer Christie Wittenborn. The film’s elegant use of reflections, scale (much of the movie is set among unfathomably huge redwood trees) and disorientation creates an unearthly, glittering, nebulous effect that echoes their fashion collections.

“[Making films] is something I just know I love,” says Kate. “I can finally get all these creative things in me and figure out a way of pulling them all together and getting them out into the world. As a woman that’s a really empowering feeling.”

 

Photos Courtesy of Autumn DeWilde, A24

alexa BlackBook: Hollywood Triple Threat Lake Bell On Power, Love, Tattoos and Tom Cruise with Comedian Tig Notaro

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​alexa BlackBook is the new ​luxe fashion, arts, entertainment ​​platform​, published inside The NY Post print edition and digital on NYPost.com, BBook.com, and all social channels.

 

In a world where just 7 percent of 2016’s top-grossing movies were directed by women, Lake Bell is here to be counted.

She wrote, directed and stars in the new comedy I Do … Until I Don’t (out now) about three couples dealing with the challenges of marriage, co-starring Ed Helms, Amber Heard and Wyatt Cenac. It’s a follow-up to her lauded 2013 feature, In a World … for which she pulled off the same writer-director-actor hat trick.

“If you’re just waiting for the phone to ring, that’s a really tough existence,” Bell, 38, tells us. “It’s so much more fun to generate.”

And generating she is, with two more films out now (Home Again, with Reese Witherspoon and Shot Caller, with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), all while playing real-life wife to tattoo artist Scott Campbell and mother to 2 ½-year-old Nova and 3-month-old Ozzie.

In the midst of this whirlwind, she sat down to talk with her friend and collaborator, comedian Tig Notaro (whose One Mississippi returns for a second season on Amazon this week). The pair first bonded on the set of In a World … where Bell fortuitously cast Notaro opposite her future wife, Stephanie Allynne. Here’s their no-holds-barred heart-to-heart.

 

 

Christian Siriano Blouse & Pants, Guiseppe Zanotti Pumps

 

 

Tig Notaro What are the points in your life when you’ve been surprised to feel powerful?

Lake Bell: It’s interesting, because I do feel that as a director, it’s an inherently powerful place to be, to be realizing your vision with a team of comrades who are all showing up to help you do it. I feel least powerful when I am parenting. Now that my daughter is nearly 3 — we have raised a very confident little sprite — I am in awe of the power she can wield.

TN: What’s an example of her power move?

LB: She climbs on the table, for instance. She’s testing those waters. So she’ll start to creep to stand on the table and look at me. And in that moment —

TN: “I’m a powerful director. Get down. I’ll ruin you in Hollywood.”

LB: Yeah, “You’ll never work again in this town!” But that moment when she shoots a look back at me in defiance and, “What are you going to do about it?” It is my least favorite moment of parenting because I don’t want to be a d–k about it. And that is a constant power struggle.

TN: As somebody who’s your friend, and who you’ve directed, I’m just endlessly astounded by your abilities. On set on “In a World …” I was like, “How come she seems like this is her 50th movie?” You have such confidence. Now that you’ve done it twice — writing, directing and acting in a film — what have you learned?

LB: There’s no phoning it in. I knew I needed to have copious amounts of preparation. And on top of it, I was a mom for the first time while making this movie [“I Do … Until I Don’t.”]. So I had a 1 ½-year-old at home while I was taking on all these things. Taking care of thyself is equally important.

TN: It reminds me of one of my favorite sayings: The best gift you can give anyone is a well-lived life of your own. If someone’s happy, healthy, functioning, you don’t worry about them.

LB: Even when I got married, there’s this romantic idea that you become one. And that is bulls–t. I think you have to remain singularly powerful and on your own two feet, but just side by side. And walking forward in the same direction.

 

 

Alexander Wang Dress, Max Mara Pumps

 

 

TN: Do you set new goals for yourself every so often?

LB: My sister and I had a séance this year to go forth with trust — we wrote it down on a piece of paper and lit some candles. “Go forth with trust” is something I say to myself over and over again in moments of question. Because that’s a powerful place to be.

TN: What should every person try at least once in their life?

LB: Cilantro, because you never know if you’re going to like it or not. What do you think?

TN: There’s so much fear around love, it’s hard to believe the growth and joy and everything that comes with it. I feel like my opportunities have escalated and I wish everyone could feel that way.

LB: The reason I love Scott so much is because his take on love and life is so that. Scott, pretty openly, expresses that the braver path is not to bail, but to jump in full force with all your heart and soul and the optimism to meet eye-to-eye with someone who feels the same way. And when s–t gets muddy and rough, to actually hash it out. He got “Lake” tattooed huge nine days after meeting me.

TN: What were you thinking when he did that?

LB: It’s on his back. So, we had just had sexual intercourse, and I had not noticed because we were looking at each other in the eyeballs and he rolled over, then I noticed it and I was like, completely without words. I couldn’t speak in the moment. He was like, “I just got this” — so casual! And I was like, “That was the tattoo you got in New York?” He was just like, “Yeah,” so nonchalant. And I read it and I remember looking at him and being like, “Who is this person who is so fearless in his resolve?” He’s full on. I was so crazy about him from the moment I saw him — he’s just a magic person.

TN: One of the things [my wife] Stephanie says to me if I say I don’t care is, “Choose to care.” Was there a person in your career who really clearly made a difference?

LB: I gotta say Billy Lazarus, who’s my agent, who told me I should direct. That was game-changing. I said, “Billy, I’ve never directed. I don’t think I can take on a full-length feature. I feel like that’s going to set me up for failure.” And he told me, “Then write and direct a short film.” That afternoon, I resurrected some old bits that I had. One of those was “Worst Enemy,” which ended up being the short film I wrote and directed that starred Michaela Watkins and went to Sundance. That really became my calling card as a director. So he really changed my life that way.

 

 

Brunello Cucinelli Sweater & Pants

 

 

TN: What famous person would you like to see play you in a film?

LB: Tig Notaro.

TN: I can’t be the answer to everything.

LB: OK fine. Can it be a man? Can it be Tom Cruise?

TN: That’s who I’d choose to play me. This new billboard of his movie, I’m like, “Oh my God, I truly thought I had a movie out and didn’t even realize it.” Can you write a movie where Tom and I play siblings?

LB: Yeah, I’ll direct a movie, and I’ll get Tom Cruise, if you’re available.

TN: Good luck trying to get me. What’s your favorite memory from your childhood?


LB: I had a weird childhood, just parents getting divorced and getting carted back and forth.

TN: That’s almost a normal childhood.

LB: Probably. I went to [be an] au pair at 13 and take care of these kids in rural France. I went to boarding school at 14 — I was just always away. The thing I always come to with a happy place is writing letters. It was better than journaling. With letters, you could express what you were going through and get a response.

TN: A week later.

LB: Yeah, exactly. A week or two later.

 

 

No21 Coat

 

 

TN: What regular or minimum-wage job would you have if you didn’t do what you do? I’d deliver pizzas, because you get in a car, get away from people, smell pizza, listen to music, podcasts, “Get off my back, boss!” You get tips right away.


LB: Scott and I regularly do the 
fantasy of, “What if we just ran away? What would we do?” Scott has an elaborate, very well-thought-out — kinda scarily thought-out — plan of what we’d do to disappear. And the good news is: He can tattoo anywhere.

TN: What’s the bad news?

LB: There’s no bad news. We’d just disappear.

TN: What would your job be?


LB: I was going to say a bartender. I’d like it because I’m a night person and I’d get a constant flux of different characters, but there’s a barrier between me and the crazy people.

TN: But they’re gonna be talking to you drunk all night.

LB: I get to choose what kind of bar I’d work at, though. I’d choose a sleepy but respectable one.

TN: That was my last question. I will reiterate once again, I was truly tickled and honored to do this.

 

 

Fashion Editor: Serena French, Photographer: Gavin Bond, Stylist: Annahiva Moussavian, Hair: Dean Robyal, Makeup: Liz Lash

On the cover: Chanel Collar, Bottega Venetta Turtleneck

Stay Swathed in Denim with H&M’s Conscious Collection

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Sandra Rieder and Chloe Wheatcroft (Muse) wear H&M Conscious Collection. Photos by Jaesung Lee.

We live in our denim — there’s simply nothing else that makes more sense for our lives. H&M has given us new reason to stay swathed in the stuff with the launch of the new Conscious Collection, available to shop now in stores and online. The materials that make up the collection are more sustainable than ever, and the processes used to create each wash are scrutinized for minimal environmental impact. To top it off, the collection is gorgeous. Smart and pretty? Sounds like the perfect package.

Sandra wears an H&M Conscious Collection cardigan, H&M zipper turtleneck, and refurbished jeans by Rialto Jean Project. Chloe’s overcoat by H&M Conscious Collection.
Chloe wears H&M Conscious Collection bra top, embroidered button down (worn over the shoulder) and skinny jeans, Sandra wears H&M Conscious Collection jumpsuit and sweatshirt, and Cosabella bra.

Photographer: Jaesung Lee
Models: Sandra Rieder and Chloe Wheatcroft (Muse)
Stylist: Alyssa Shapiro

Hair: Jason Murillo
Makeup: Dana Rae Ashburn
Stylist Assistant: Emily Ovaert

Shot on location at 13 Eight Avenue, a West Village townhouse available for sale now. For more information, click here. Special thanks to the Eklund Gomes Team and Clayton Orrigo.

Marisa Tomei Makes a Case for Flats—Here’s How to Nail the Dance-All-Night Look

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Marisa Tomei. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Marisa Tomei has cracked the code for elegant summer evening wear — IN FLATS. What was once considered impossible is now easily within grasp. Seriously easily. It just takes a few key ingredients, which the actress has down pat, evidenced by her look at the New York premiere of Ricki and the Flash this week. It is literally as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1: Simple, solid ankle-length dress. (Tomei’s is utterly chic and perfect.)

2: A statement necklace. (The most fun.)

3. Elegant flat sandals. (The real winner. You want to walk everywhere and dance all night? Me too!)

That’s a look with major mileage, given you’ll actually be able to transport yourself throughout the night.

Check out our picks to get Marisa Tomei’s perfect look below.

The sleeveless option:

marisa_tomei_red_carpet
From left: Rosetta Getty midi dress; Tabitha Simmons suede sandals; Chloe gold-toned necklace

The strapless option, slightly more formal:

adam_lippes_marisa_tomei
Clockwise from left: Adam Lippes gown; Paula Mendoza necklace; Rochas slides

The L.A. option (I mean pastels, honestly):

tibi_marisa_tomei
Clockwise from left: Tibi dress; Erickson Beamon necklace; Musa sandals

These are go-anywhere looks. Evening flats forever!

Going for a sexier nighttime look? Try Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio’s super hot summer red carpet look. Get it here.

Going out tonight and no time to get your nails did? We figured out how to take care of that. 

How to Wear a Summer Ponytail as Effortlessly as Gigi Hadid

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Photo: The Vault on Instagram

Summer: the season of a million creative ways to keep your hair off your neck. Sometimes a sleek ponytail will cut it, and sometimes you want something just as simple but way more easygoing (it is the season of pool parties, beach days and rooftop hangs, after all).

Gigi Hadid traveled to Australia this week for the launch of the Guess spring 2015 collection in Sydney. At the launch event, Hadid posed in an easy, va va voom LBD, embellished only by a side zipper unzipped to show off the model’s toned and tanned legs. Mirroring the ease and sexy simplicity of the dress was Hadid’s hair, natural waves intact, gathered into a mussed-up pony. Whether or not you have the loose layers Gigi sports, this pony is equal parts pulled together and easy going, making it an ideal go-to for summer events. It just takes beach spray, a hair tie and some tactful backcombing.

Complete the look with simple black eyeliner and a swipe of punchy red lipstick for a look that’s equal parts fun and sophisticated.

Want to sneak a manicure in at work without getting caught? Here’s how to do it.

Trying to look younger pretty much instantly? We figured it out for you.

How to Sneak a Manicure at Your Desk Without Getting Caught

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Chanel-inspired manicure by Julie Kandalec. Hand modeling by yours truly (contact me directly for bookings. JK. But maybe).

Ooh girl, you’re goin’ out tonight! Even if you’re not, take a look at your hands. How are those nails doing? Healthy? Polished? Soft? Not exactly? Not a big deal.

There’s a short window between the work day ending and the salon closing for the night, especially when you have yoga/305/core fusion. And yes, it’s way too tight to sneak out at lunch for a mani and make it back for the conference call. You’re busy, I get it, me too!—we still deserve shiny, healthy, happy nails (and cuticles).

As for technique, Deborah Lippmann, manicure and nail care guru, weighed in on the sneaky desk manicure:

“To execute this quick, no-fuss manicure, try my special DIY trick: Start by laying your opposite hand flat on a table (or desk!) and angle it so your arm is parallel to your body. When you’re polishing, once you put the brush down, just pull it straight. Don’t try to curve it. To get into the nooks, crannies, and curves of your nails, put a little more pressure on the brush so that it widens, creating a curve. There’s enough bristles on the brush for it to do the job for you.”

Even with a hawk-like boss, you can still sneak in a manicure during work hours. The other trick is bringing everything you need with you, no hooky required. Here’s what’s what.

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PLAY THE LONG GAME

Nail health is gonna make this process so much easier and prettier, so get in the habit of moisturizing (all the time) with a rich hand cream. Go the extra mile with some cuticle oil. I’m a big fan of Byredo‘s hand cream (which is luscious and smells like you fell into a field in Holland, if you go the La Tulipe route), and I keep a cuticle oil pen in every handbag I own. The pen part makes it easy and completely mess free. You live and you learn and you become addicted to cuticle oil. Get it here and here.
hand_Cream_cuticle_oil

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TAKE IT OFF, TAKE IT ALL OFF

In the moment and feeling ready to go for it? Take it all off and keep the mess contained with this wonderful invention from Deborah Lippmann, the Stripper To Go lacquer remover. These little textured mitts “come in a travel-friendly packet and removes all 10 nails of polish with one mitt, making it discrete and mess-free,” says Lippmann. They are perfectly sized and shaped to take off any remaining polish from previous manicures, sans spills and noxious fumes—these babies are lavender scented. Get them here.

 

deborah_lippmann

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GET YOUR SHAPE RIGHT

When it’s time to file, reach for the Deborah Lippmann Smooth Operator 4-Way Nail Buffer, which also offers everything you need for a polish-free mani. It’s “the ultimate multi-tasker since you’re able to shape, smooth, buff and shine your nails all in one,” says Lippmann. Get it here.
smoothoperator

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COLOR YOUR WORLD

After applying your favorite base coat (Deborah Lippman All About That Base is good, like a CC cream for your nails. Also great, Deborah Lippmann Hard Rock, which works as a strengthening base coat and topcoat in one), choose something quick drying. You do have to get back to typing, you know. But did you also know that Marc Jacobs Beauty makes the fastest drying nail polish of all time? … is what I’ve discovered doing my own research. I’ve painted my nails with it and promptly forgotten, proceeding to wash my hair 15 minutes later and emerging NAILS INTACT. Manicure miracles do happen. Get it here.
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TOP IT OFF

Go for the quick dry. Marc Jacobs Beauty in Shiny works in a pinch, and you can get it here. OR, go crazy, and try out something like Pacifica’s just launched Rainbow Gloss 7-Free Top Coat. This swirling, shining sealer isn’t quite glitter, but it adds enough oomph that you can skip out on multiple coats of color (thereby saving time). For all the animal lovers out there, the brush is 100% vegan. Get it here.
topcoat

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Trying to look younger pretty much instantly? We made a guide for that.

PETA Infiltrates Hermès by Buying a Stake in the Company

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The Hermès Birkin croco bag

The saga of Jane Birkin, PETA and Hermès is just getting started. In the news now: PETA has purchased a small stake of Hermès in order to have access to shareholder meetings and in the hopes that as a new shareholder, it’ll have a say on the exotic skins Hermès uses to create bags, i.e. PETA hopes to be able to stop the use of exotic skins in accessories — permanently.

According to WWD, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals now owns a single share in the French luxury leather goods house. PETA by way of its U.K. director Mimi Bekhechi, told WWD:

“As a shareholder, PETA U.S. will work from inside to demand a permanent ban on accessories made from exotic animal skins, including crocodile skin bags and alligator skin watch bands.”

Early this week, Jane Birkin asked PETA to remove her name from the Birkin crocodile bag after PETA released an investigation report that claimed farms in Texas and Zimbabwe that supply Hermès were sawing open live crocodiles. Which is horrific. Hermès politely declined the request, stating these farms don’t supply the house. Catch up on those stories here and here.

Keep your enemies close?