The Countess in Dubai…Part Two

Today I write having ‘endured’ a rather busy day of shopping. This comes after complaining that I had brought too much luggage; Lets just say I shall be going back with even more. The Dubai Mall is an experience like no other, the World’s largest Mall, it is a marvel and I could not resist the opportunity to spend the day indulging in one of my favourite hobbies..retail therapy. It is difficult to explain just how huge the Dubai Mall is, so instead I will provide you with the facts. It is 5,400,00 sq ft, has 1,200 shops, an ice rink and gigantic aquarium. I will be honest and admit that I did not even see the ice rink or aquarium today, it was fashion that was on my agenda and fashion is what was delivered.

Fashion Avenue in the Dubai Mall is perfect for Ladies who love labels. It is the VIP area of the Mall (although you do not have to be a VIP to enter) and the difference is obvious. In this section, the floors are bathed in plush cream carpets, chesterfield seating adorns the walkways, magnificent artwork hangs from the ceilings. When Dubai makes a statement it does so boldly and without mercy. This is what I love about Dubai, it is so proudly extravagant and who does not love that from time to time? Fashion Avenue did manage to get my undivided attention today, and it is with regret (or not) that I did not manage to spend a little more time exploring other areas.

For Lunch, I dined at Madeleines, a French restaurant with a large terrace that overlooks the Dubai Fountains. I have seen the fountains before but I must say I still found them mesmerising today. For anyone visiting, I would recommend doing this at night as the display just feels more incredible. The Burj Khalifa lights up as the fountain dances and the whole spectacle makes the hair stand on end.

I am now on the Yacht enjoying the sun before I have to get ready for the Evening. I shall be attending the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition as I did not manage to attend in London or Paris and then I shall be attending a large reception with The Earl and two hundred guests.

Tomorrow is the Wedding Day which shall last all day and night. Please check back with me on Tuesday to read Part Three,

Yours,

The Countess x

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall. Taken with iPhone

 

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My Guide to Elegance..Part Four – Dressing for every Occasion

One of the biggest sartorial faux pas is not dressing correctly for the occasion. Overdressing will make you stand out for all the wrong reasons and underdressing will make you seem as if you have not bothered to make the effort at all; It will also make you feel inferior. Dressing just correctly will show that you have bothered to really think about your outfit choice (something a lady will always do) and are enthusiastic about whatever you may be doing. There is a fine line between knowing what looks good and knowing when it is appropriate. For example, you may have the know how to buy a stunning white dress but wearing it to a  wedding would be extremely bad taste. 

 

For Business

 When dressing for business, sophistication and professionalism is key. You do not want to be showing too much flesh, however it is important to still look feminine. Finding classic, tailored pieces is a good step in the right direction. Shift dresses, smart jackets, pencil skirts and trouser suits are all key items that will make you look professional and sophisticated. 

 Your business and position is also a thing to consider. I once knew the General Manager of a luxury hotel in Dubai who had suits in bright colours tailored for her. Because of her high position, this really worked well as she was noticeable to all and it showed the hierarchical difference between her and the rest of the team. 

 Try to keep hemlines on or below the knee and if you go higher, I would suggest wearing tights.  Always dress in smart clothing for the office or business; I have seen many people dressed casually in their office environment and I think this is very bad etiquette. You are not going to send the right messages dressed in jeans, flip flops and a lumpy sweater. 

 Lastly I would always try to wear heals if possible. The height is of importance, heels that are too high will look unprofessional.

busi 

For Weddings

 It is surprising how many people do not know the unspoken etiquette of Wedding dressing. As a guest at a Wedding you should look formal and elegant, it is not a time to wear those new designer jeans you splashed out on. On the other hand, it is also not the time to be centre of attention dressed to the nines. The day should be all about the Bride and it is common courtesy to keep this in mind when planning your ensemble.   

 As religion plays a part in most Wedding days it is necessary to think about whether your outfit will be suitable for a religious building. Hemlines should be on or below the knee and showing too much cleavage is of extreme bad taste. Even if you are not attending a religious Wedding, it would not be ladylike to bare too much flesh.

 Colour is another important aspect when deciding what you will wear. As a Wedding is a happy occasion, you should choose an outfit that is colourful but not shocking. I would advise sticking to pastels such as pinks, greens, yellows and blues which will add colour in the best possible way. Black should really be avoided but if you insist on wearing it then you will need to ensure that you accessorize well so that you do not look like you are attending a Funeral.  A black outfit with embellishment is also acceptable. White should be avoided at all costs.  

 It is now largely the view that wearing a hat to a Wedding is not compulsory, but I have to disagree. In 2011, Samantha Cameron (spouse of the Prime Minister, David) was the only guest to attend the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton who did not wear a hat. I can’t imagine how much she regretted this mistake! The truth is, hats and Weddings go hand in hand (or hat on head) and a lady should always wear one. Take advantage of the rare occasion and invest in a beautiful hat. It will add a wonderful glamour to your outfit and make you look sophisticated and well mannered.  It may be a good idea to buy your hat before your outfit as you will then be able to shop to coordinate the two.

wedding

For Funerals

 Funerals are sad occasions and a time when one should show complete respect. There is not much to say about this occasion except always wear black, dress conservatively and always wear a hat.  Also be sure to take a handkerchief and umbrella.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 17.20.40

 

For Dinner

 A dinner party is usually an intimate occasion between friends or close family. For this reason it is your chance to be more experimental with what you are going to wear. As an elegant lady, it is your style mantra to never look fussy or overdone, but for a dinner party you can experiment a little more. As with everyday life however, you should still hold the image of someone who has put some consideration into their ensemble. 

 The invitation to a dinner party should always hold clues about what one should wear. Buffets, barbecues and al fresco dining always suggest less formal attire whereas a seated dinner will require you to dress more formally.  Another good tip is to take hints from the dress code required of the gentlemen. If they are required to wear jacket and tie, it suggests women will need to wear cocktail attire.

 The location of the dinner is also an important factor; Obviously you should dress more formally for dinner in the exclusive a la carte restaurant than you would for an evening at a friends garden party.

 A useful hint is to always wear a dress to a dinner party. With a dress you will always look just right and make the correct impression. For summer months and day time dinners choose elegant floral and colourful prints. For more formal dinners choose well cut dresses in luxury fabrics such as linen-silk blends, chiffon and lace. 

 Finally, accessorize. For summer and less formal occasions, choose bold statement necklaces, earrings and bracelets. For more formal occasions diamonds and pearls will always be the subject of admiration and conversation.

dinner party

 

For horse racing / Polo

 Equine events are always a great opportunity to show off your elegant and sophisticated style. The Royal Ascot is just one of many horse racing events, however it is a good template of how one should dress when attending the races. In recent years, the organizers of the Royal Ascot have changed the rules of their dress code and I believe they are a good standard for all Women to follow. 

 

  • Dresses and skirts should be of modest length defined as falling just above the knee or longer.
  • Dresses and tops should have straps of one inch or greater.
  • Jackets and pashminas may be worn, but the dresses and tops underneath should still comply with the Royal Enclosure dress code.
  • Trouser suits are welcome. They should be full length and of matching material and colour.
  • Hats should be worn; a headpiece which has a base of 4 inches (10cm) or more in diameter is acceptable as an alternative to a hat.
  • Strapless, off the shoulder, halter neck and spaghetti straps are not permitted.
  • Midriffs must be covered.
  • Fascinators are no longer permitted; neither are headpieces which do not have a base covering a sufficient area of the head (4 inches / 10cm).

I believe that these rules are perfect as it is now almost impossible not to dress elegantly. All that is left to add is to ensure that you choose a good fit, cut, material and colour.  Choosing a well made, structured outfit will always compliment the figure. The ensemble should be made of a more luxurious material such as cotton-silk blend or organza. You can be experimental with colour as the event is supposed to be fun, just make sure your hat matches the outfit. Lastly consider the weather, the last thing you want is to be too hot or cold. 

horse racing

For travel

When traveling it is easy for many to choose comfort over style and abandon all dressing etiquette. For me, I believe that traveling is an occasion when one should always look ones best. The Airport is a busy place occupied with people from all over the World, therefore it is important to consider how you want to represent yourself and your country in such an environment. It is possible to be comfortable whilst maintaining an elegant look, the key is to wear fabrics that are durable and not too tight as you may be sitting for hours at a time. I would also suggest wearing pants or long skirts and dresses as you may want to sleep and the last thing you need is to be worrying about accidentally exposing yourself! Carrying a medium sized tote is a good idea as it will be able to hold all documents and essentials. You may want to freshen up before your arrival so ensure you have cosmetics with you onboard. Try to wear heels, after all you will not be walking too far and the airport is your runway. 

travel

For the beach

When the Sun makes an appearance it is again a time when standards of dressing goes completely out the window. It is seen as an opportunity to wear little as possible; Women wear hot pant style shorts with their midriffs on show to all, some men even walk the streets topless! Just because the sun is shining and the weather is warm, it does not mean that style principles should be abandoned. You would not walk around town in your underwear so there is no reason why you should parade in minuscule clothing on a hot day. On the way to the pool or beach, ensure that you are wearing a sundress or kaftan and don’t remove it until you are ready to sunbathe or take a dip. When you have decided that you are ready to leave, put the sundress/Kaftan back on; You should never walk through a hotel in a bikini. To avoid aging, it may be wise to avoid the beach altogether.

beach

Yours,
The Countess x 

The Chanel Little Black Jacket Exhibition..Dubai

 Little Black Jacket is an iconic jacket designed by the late Coco Chanel in the early 50’s that has been re-imagined by Karl Lagerfeld since he took control of the CHANEL fashion empire.With this exhibition, the public get a chance to witness the originality, timelessness and versatility of the Little Black Jacket through Lagerfeld’s original photographs with styling by Carine Roitfeld

Due to commitments, I was unable to attend this exhibition in London or Paris, so I have decided I will be attending in Dubai. The Exhibition will be running in Dubai from April 27 – May 11 at  Mohammed bin Rashid Boulevard, Downtown DubaiI adore the Chanel Jacket so I could not miss out on this, plus it is another excuse to visit one of my favourite cities.

Alongside the exhibition, CHANEL will present its latest spring and summer collection of jackets in its boutiques at the Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates and Burjuman Centre.

 

 

 

 

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Yours,

The Countess x

Coats for the Countess

Presenting my favourite Coats & Jackets for Spring/Summer 2013

Handbags (and clutches) at Dawn

I am a Lady who loves both Shoes and Bags, much to the despair of my Husband the Earl, and I simply cannot resist the temptation to buy an item when it calls me. Since I have already shared with you my favourite shoes (Click here to read the article) I thought it would only be the right thing to do, to share with you my selection of must have bags. Please enjoy!

 Yours,

The Countess x

Victoria Beckham leather tote  £1933.75 – This tote is simply divine and classic; It is a timeless bag that will still be chic and elegant in years to come. The Leather is exquisitely soft to the touch and feels just darling! Take it from day to night, this bag will suit every occasion and you will find it is worth the price tag.

VICTORIA BECKHAM The Victoria leather tote £1,933.75

VICTORIA BECKHAM The Victoria leather tote £1,933.75

Sophie Hulme Leather Tote £512 – Have you ever seen such a beautiful pink? This bag is so elegant and ladylike adding a touch of feminine sophistication to any ensemble. It is large enough to carry all of your necessities but manages to do it’s job in the loveliest way. The stitching and craftsmanship is supremely evident as you can see and the gold metalwork compliments the pink perfectly. A delicious tote.

Sophia Hulme leather tote £512

GUCCI Leather-trimmed canvas tote £673.75 – This elegant tote has the classic Gucci embellishment which gives it a mark of recognisable elegance. The leather has an extremely beautiful grainy texture and feels marvellous to the touch. The Green leather trim is perfect for Spring and will add colour to rainy April. 

GUCCI Leather-trimmed canvas tote £673.75

GUCCI Leather-trimmed canvas tote £673.75

MIU MIU Leather and canvas tote £730.62 – I adore this tote as it has been so carefully designed. The White leather against the creamy canvas and then the luxury of the gold detailing, this bag is incredible. 

MIU MIU Leather and canvas tote £730.62

MIU MIU Leather and canvas tote £730.62

JASON WU Daphne leather shoulder bag £1,216.25 – This chic shoulder bag is another timeless statement. In years to come when other bags are thrown out, this one will still be ‘in.’ I adore the mint colour of this bag and find it excellently refreshing. If your partner still needs convincing, refer him to me!

JASON WU Daphne leather shoulder bag £1,216.25

JASON WU Daphne leather shoulder bag £1,216.25

ANYA HINDMARCH Ebury leather tote £914.37 – Nothing says Spring has sprung like this vibrant tote! The sophisticated yet simple design will add elegance to the bright coloured tote to make it ultimate perfection.

ANYA HINDMARCH Ebury leather tote £914.37

ANYA HINDMARCH Ebury leather tote £914.37

VICTORIA BECKHAM Nubuck shoulder bag £1,842 – Victoria strikes again and delivers another impeccably divine bag. There is nothing that I do not love about this bag, the gold link straps, the almost velvety leather, the dusky pink. It is the ultimate decadence and perfect for the discerning Lady.

VICTORIA BECKHAM Nubuck shoulder bag £1,842

VICTORIA BECKHAM Nubuck shoulder bag £1,842

MIU MIU Lizard-trimmed sequined clutch £1,050 – Oh My! This clutch is amazingly decadent with it’s beautiful handle and sparkly sequins. This clutch is also fabulous as it will suit women of all ages, in fact I can see Queen Elizabeth with this on her arm.

MIU MIU Lizard-trimmed sequined clutch £1,050

ANYA HINDMARCH Duke printed satin-moiré clutch £651 – I particularly like the dimensions of this sophisticated clutch. When the light catches the edges, it is going to look resplendent. The satin finish is also a detail that makes this clutch impossible to resist.

ANYA HINDMARCH Duke printed satin-moiré clutch £651

ANYA HINDMARCH Duke printed satin-moiré clutch £651

VALENTINO Bow silk-satin clutch  £441 – I cannot begin to describe how much I adore this beautiful satin clutch. It is the most exquisite piece I have seen in a long time and I have seen many clutches. This exceptionally elegant clutch is just perfection and so timeless. I can just imagine Jackie O carrying this wearing one of her signature two piece Chanel Suits. My favourite clutch of the year.

VALENTINO Bow silk-satin clutch  £441

VALENTINO Bow silk-satin clutch £441

The Countess shares her favourite Hotels

I have been lucky enough to travel the World and visit some of the most beautiful places imaginable. I do have to be honest and admit that when it comes to travelling, I like all the comforts of Home and would not have fun ‘roughing it’ to say the least. The Four Seasons have provided me with some of the most exquisite accommodations over the years and they feature heavily in this post. I know with a Four Seasons Hotel I am going to get incredible accommodation, impeccable service and a superb location. Some of the trips I have been on with the Earl have been last minute and I have not had time to research a Hotel, when this happens I simply book a Four Seasons knowing it will be perfect. When in London my favourite place to stay is The Ritz. My family have been staying at this establishment for generations and I too adore it’s regal charm and luxurious comfort. My Husband and I often considered investing in a Townhouse in Belgravia but eventually realised that it would have been pointless as we would only pine for our second home, The Ritz. We also adore the Ritz in Paris and whilst here I cannot resist the Coco Chanel Suite. I find it very moving to think that Chanel spent most of her days here creating a legacy. Unfortunately it is now closed for refurbishment and will be sorely missed. I attend the Dubai World Cup every year and whilst in the fabulous city, I reside at the One & Only Royal Mirage. The hotel named after a Prince travelling the Desert who had a mirage of a luxurious Palace. This dream was realised and is embodied in this establishment. This Hotel is a real Arabian delight with luscious surroundings and pristine accommodation. Nearby in Abu Dhabi I decided to stay at the Emirates Palace. I had read about this Hotel in the news and had to experience it for myself. The Palace cost £3.9 Billion to build and the Suites are decorated with Gold and Marble. It would not be an exaggeration to say that one felt like the Queen, residing here! In the Gallery below you will see the Four Seasons Hotel located in the Serengeti. This is a new establishment and next on my list to visit. The villas overlook the National Park with a view of African wildlife, it is almost like a picture of Heaven. Enjoy the gallery and please do comment and let me know some of your favourite Hotels and destinations.

Yours,

The Countess x

Countess’s Cosmetics

Let me share with you my favourite cosmetics that help me to achieve my everyday look. My aim is to look as natural as possible whilst maintaining a healthy, glowing complexion. Now that I am in my thirties, I have focused especially on sourcing products that will help maintain my skins longevity and postpone ageing. Luckily I have good genes and my Mother looks at least ten years younger than her actual age. That being said, I would never dismiss cosmetic procedures or surgery to enhance my youth..when the time comes I will almost certainly go under the knife and have a lift or two! From head to toe, here are the beauty products I adore. 

For my skincare routine, I change the product when it has all been used. I do this because otherwise your skin gets used to the product and it becomes less effective. I also like to use the same range at a time for my skincare so they can work in harmony together. At the moment I am using YSL skincare.

1.Firstly I cleanse my face with YSL forever Youth Liberator Cleansing Foam – £35 for 150ml. This is perfect for cleansing as it makes your skin feel so fresh and supple after use. It really does cleanse perfectly and prepare the face for all the products it is about to endure.

YSL Forever Youth Liberating Cleansing Foam

2. Next I apply my anti ageing product, YSL Forever Youth Liberating Serum – £61. I have to be honest and admit that my skin does feel fantastic since using this product. My skin feels a lot firmer more radiant, as though it is helping to take away the dullness of my complexion.

YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum.

3. Finally to complete my skin care routine I use YSL Forever Youth liberator Moisturiser- £60. This moisturiser has SPF15 which blocks the sun’s harmful rays. As I have always made an effort to avoid sun exposure, I find this particularly helpful. My skin is naturally dry and this product adds a rich moisture to my skin.YSL Forever Youth Liberator Cream

4. I did used to use a primer on my skin before applying foundation but found there to be no advantage in doing so. The Moisturiser acts as a good base for my foundation and I have been using Chanel Perfection Lumière – £35 for the past two years. I love this foundation as it provides excellent coverage without looking unnatural. It is also really breathable and almost like a second skin. The foundation is perfect for me as it lasts for hours without needing to be touched up.

Chanel Perfection Lumière Foundation

5. Next I mix my foundation with YSL Touche Éclat number 1 – £25 to create my own concealer. I did used to buy a concealer but one day I ran out so tried mixing and found it provided better coverage. I then use the Touche Éclat around the eye area to highlight my eyes and to contour the rest of my face. It is an amazing product which has won numerous awards.

YSL TOUCHE ECLAIT 25

6. To set the foundation and to give a matte finish I use Chanel Natural Finish loose powder in 30 Naturel – £27. This powder is extremely light and comes with a powder applicator. It fits into any handbag or purse so is great for touching up on the go. I adore this powder and think it is much more reliable than a primer.

Chanel natural finish loose powder 30 naturel

7. I then apply YSL Cream Blush in Powdery Rose – £29. This cream blush is phenomenal and one of the best products I have ever found. It is deliciously rich and makes the cheekbones look divine. The Powdery Rose colour is gorgeously natural and perfect for any occasion.

ysl cream blush in powdery rose

8. I apply minimal eyeliner on my lower lash line using YSL eye Pencil in Velvet Black – £19. I like this because it is very long lasting and does not smudge. It also has a great applicator tool which helps to create a more polished, neater look.

ysl eye pencil in long lasting black

9. To finish the eyes I use YSL False Lash Effect Mascara in High Density Black – £29.50. Another fantastic product that has won countless awards. It will make the lashes look glamorous yet elegant and really add length and volume.

ysl false lash effect in high density black

10. To finish the face my favourite lipstick for everyday use is Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in 41 Canotier – £35. This product is absolutely sensational and just gives a beautiful, English rose, natural look. It has a glossy finish which makes the lips look shiny and full. I have received so many compliments about this lipstick!

rouge coco shine 41 canotier

11. I go for a weekly Manicure/ Pedicure but if for some reason I need to use polish,  I use Chanel Le Vernis in 475 Dragon – £18. It is hard to go wrong with this colour and as it is extremely hard wearing there is no need to worry about chipping.

polish 475 dragon

12. Last but not least I use Chanel No.5 body scent. Some people find this scent ‘old fashioned’ but to me it is the most luxurious scent in the World and both my Mother and Granny used it. I use the body lotion after my morning shower which is intensely rich and makes you feel like a million dollars. I then use the perfume all over and finally the hair mist. My hair is shoulder length and after it has been blow dried, I spray a little of the mist in my hair and the amazing fragrance lasts all day. It is perfection!

Chanel No.5

Yours,

The Countess x

America the beautiful..Why I love the USA

As anyone who knows me will contest, I am uncharacteristically British as I am so proud of being a Brit! My family can be traced back to the 1600’s, so being British is truly in my blood. Britain is my … Continue reading