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An International Night of Culture Through Fashion - Press Conference

Ahead of tomorrow's big night, An International Night of Culture Through Fashion, I had the pleasure to attend the press conference in relation to the event at The Palace Hotel in Sliema, one of a chain of hotels run by AX Group. 


An International Night of Culture Through Fashion has become a yearly appointment for us in the fashion industry, an event synonymous with the month of July and is organized by The Chamber of Fashion (Malta). The Chamber of Fashion is a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting culture through fashion and support educational initiatives for students who will take up Textile and Fashion Design as a career.


This year, the event will take place within the beautiful gardens of Verdala Palace in Rabat, which is one of the residences of the President of Malta. Apart from showcasing different fashion and jewellery collections from different designers from different countries, the event will raise money for the Malta Community Chest Fund.


The designers are, Giada Curti and Marina Corazziari (Italy), James Dimech (Malta), Sibu Misimang, Brenda Quin, Katherine Montague and Karla Morton under the name of One Africa (South Africa) and Sladana Krystic (Croatia). They will each be exhibiting their collections during tomorrow's event, which I am really looking forward to!

Dr. Gavin Gulia from the Malta Tourism Authority highlighted that fashion tourism is a niche that is already being explored, even on a local basis, where you have people like for example bloggers, media and even regular tourists, flying into a country specifically to attend fashion events and the Chamber of Fashion, with their events, are starting to do just that. 

Interview with Giada Curti

I will be going into more detail about the collections in the post following the event but I got the chance to interview Ms Giada Curti about her prêt-a-couture collection entitled Jackie which will be showcased on the runway for the first time during tomorrow's event. 

Photo by Bernard Polidano

She started off by explaining to me that the prêt-a-couture concept for her has only started 2 years ago, which the designer has named Giada Curti Resort. Garment production for this line happens at her atelier in the province of Frosinone which lies between Rome and Naples and is distributed in over 170 countries.

The Jackie collection is her take on S/S19 and is inspired by the timeless elegance embodied by Jackie Kennedy. The collection was already presented during 'Sposa Italia' in April in Milan but was never modelled on a catwalk before, hence Malta will serve as the springboard for this collection to be launched on the catwalk. The collection, however, is not inspired from Jackie Kennedy the First Lady, but Jackie Kennedy who loved her summers in Italy and cruises in the Mediterranean, so we are expecting to see a lot of elegant, wearable, colourful looks that truly capture the essence of summer.

Photo by Bernard Polidano

I am really looking forward to tomorrow's event and can't wait to share all the happenings live from the show on my Instastories so be sure to follow me there.

This event could not have been possible without the help of Malta Tourism Authority, AirMalta, Retail International Ltd., Marks & Spencer, The Palace Malta, Busy Bee Caterers, Stivala Group, Dean Gera Salons, Brittania Tours, Beauty Plus, SU29 Boutique Hotel, Porsche by Continental Cars, Hilton Hotel, Nexos & Co. Ltd., Tower Supermarket, Bernard Polidano Photography, Niumee, Digigraphics International, Camilleri Paris Mode, Mediterranean Ceramics, Myoka Spas, Alfsons Enterprises, All Clean Services, PressH Juices, Deco Manufacturing, Barba Italiana, Il-Malti Restaurant and Queens Laundry and Dry Cleaning.

Battle of the Brands | Catrice Professional Make Up Techniques Face Palette vs Essence Strobing & Contouring Palette

I have a different kind of post today, one where I compare similar products from different makeup brands and I'm starting with two face contouring palettes from sister brands Essence and Catrice. I own another contouring palette from Pupa Milano which I love and still use on an almost daily basis but that is a pricier option so I wanted to compare these two palettes which come with a more affordable price tag. Want to know which one gets my vote? Read on to find out!

Packaging



As soon as you look at both palettes, you can immediately notice that the Catrice one looks more expensive - it comes with its own sleeve and instructions at the back which also feature on the back of the palette itself. The palette is a glossy black in colour with the brand logo on the bottom left corner and a wavy lid. On opening, you get a mirror, 8 products and a mini brush which I'm going to be honest with you, I don't see how it fits the palette's purpose. Moreover, there is a protective piece of plastic with the respective product names on it. 6 of the products are powders while the other 2 are creams.




As for the Essence one, you also get a black palette but it has a window on the lid, no mirror and all 10 product pans can be seen from the outside. It also comes with instructions at the back. All ten products are creams. I think the Essence palette does look cheaper compared to the Catrice one, so, thus far, Catrice gets my vote.



Formulas

The Professional Make-Up Techniques Face Palette from Catrice comes with contour powders, blushes, highlighters as well as a matt powder and a matte cream. Save for the Pearly Blush and Highlighters, all the rest of the products are matt finish. Pigmentation and staying power are not an issue with any of the products. My favourites are the Matt Bronzing, Matt Cream and Highlight Gold. This palette is intended more towards sculpting your face and creating a contoured look.

Catrice Professional Make Up Techniques palette swatches

The Strobing & Contouring Palette from Essence also has more matt shades apart from the white shade and the last two products from the first row. I like that this palette also features a yellow hued product which can be used as a corrector against dark circles. Pigmentation is a bit lacking with the lighter shades but the dark ones make up for them. Staying power is not an issue with any of the shades from this palette either though.

Essence Contouring & Strobing palette swatches

Ease of Use

I found both palettes pretty easy to use - the formulas are amazing and they hold up well. The only two products I had hiccups with were the blushes from the Catrice palette - they are very pigmented so do use a very very light hand with them. As for the pearly one, I think I'll stick to using it as an eyeshadow rather than as a blush because it is too shimmery a blush for my liking.

Price

I think by now you're dying to know the price of these palettes so here goes. The Essence one retails for €6.99 while the Catrice one retails for €13.79.

The Verdict

Time for the truth! As much as I have enjoyed using both of these palettes, I have to choose the Catrice one over the Essence one for various reasons i) the packaging as it looks way classier and expensive than it actually is; ii) it comes with a variety of products in different finishes and also includes 2 blushes. The price for the Catrice one is almost double but I'd rather spend my money on it and know I have a variety of products and better formulas.

Have you tried any of these palettes? What would you like to see me compare next?

PR Samples

Branded Contact Lenses for Less from welovelenses.com!

We all love a good deal, especially when it's something we use frequently, if not on a daily basis. I recently came across welovelenses.com and when they reached out to me for a collaboration, I couldn't possibly refuse since they stock my favourite contact lenses - at a cheaper price!


About welovelenses.com

welovelenses.com stock various branded contact lenses from reputable brands such as Alcon, Bausch & Lomb and Johnson's to name a few but they sell them at a cheaper price than when you buy them in store. The website is easy to navigate and there are both the usual retail price and the actual price you'll pay when shopping from them shown for every product. Postage costs €2.85 and delivery only takes a couple of days.

Alcon Dailies Total 1

The first type of lenses I am going to review are my absolute favourite - Dailies Total 1 by Alcon. I used to hate wearing lenses until I came across these. These are the best lenses I have ever used and they are hands down the most comfortable. So much so that I forget I am even wearing lenses! Dailies Total 1 feature a water gradient technology which is why they are so comfortable. They are breathable, hence ensuring your eyes get oxygen even while you're wearing lenses. In fact, they are suggested for people who work in dry air offices, live in a dry climate or have seasonal allergies such as hayfever.

Alcon Dailies Total 1 are available in packs of 30 and 90 contact lenses.


My eyes look whiter and brighter with Dailies Total 1 thanks to their water gradient technology


Freshlook One Day Coloured Lenses - Green

For the more adventurous types, there are the coloured lenses. welovelenses.com sent me two different types in two different colours. First up, Freshlook in Green. Green is closest to my natural  eye colour, hazel, and consequently, these look really natural on me and most people can't tell I'm wearing coloured contacts if they don't look closely. As for comfort, with these I have no issue as such but they are not like Total 1. I can feel I am wearing contacts but they don't irritate my eyes so I would still recommend them. These are great to change up your look every day if you like with 4 different colours to choose from. One point to keep in mind, is that the colour effect is affected by your natural eye colour.

Available in packs of 10.




Air Optix Colours - Gray

Lastly, Air Optix Gray. I was a bit afraid these won't look good on me but, well, I think I was wrong. I really like the look of them on me - very different to what I am used to and you can definitely tell I am wearing coloured contacts. Air Optix employ a 3-in-1 Colour Technology which defines the eyes, transforms the eye colour and brightens and adds depth with 3 different colour rings. These feel a bit more comfortable than the Freshlook ones though, comparable to Dailies Total 1 I would say and I have to say I liked changing up my look. I would wear this colour again definitely!

Available in packs of 2.


Air Optix Colours Gray in natural light

Air Optix Colours Gray in flash - they almost look blue here!

See how dense the colour on the Air Optix lenses is compared to the Freshlook lenses

Contact lenses are a part of my daily life you could say and while the regular ones serve their purpose, it's fun to change up my look every once in a while and with cheaper prices from welovelenses.com, it's even easier! If you want to get some for yourself, use code LARA for an additional 5% off your order! Thank me later ;)

PR Samples

From the Catwalk to the Street - Part 1

I'm very excited to release this blog post today in collaboration with Caroline from Diva Inside and three local designers which have just showcased their latest collections during last month's edition of Malta Fashion Week. We chose to showcase an outfit from each of Gaetano's LEGACY collection, Rosemarie Abela's Al Magrib collection and Marco Parascandalo's STAR collection. The aim of this post is to contrast the way the looks were worn by models vis à vis how Caroline and myself 'pulled them off'.

Rosemarie Abela - Al Magrib

First up, Rosemarie Abela. I chose this chambray denim dress with lace paneling across the torso and a matching hem and pockets. I paired it with red shoes and sunglasses which really popped against the blue and black of the dress. I felt really comfortable in this dress but of course since I am only 5 feet tall and the dress was designed for a model who is waaaayyyy taller than I am, the dress fit me a bit baggy. Nonetheless, this is something I would go for and I would wear this to lunch or a casual event - just add heels and some popping accessories to dress it up. I went for a geometric pair of earrings and a bracelet and ring by another local designer - Yana's Jewellery who just celebrated her fifth year in the business with the Colores del Flamenco collection also launched during this year's Malta Fashion Week.





Marco Parascandalo - STAR

Next is Marco Parascandalo which I thought was going to be the most difficult for me to pull off because street-wear is really not something I reach for at all. Funnily enough though, come the shoot, I really had fun in this crop top and slit trousers ensemble and well you can tell I had fun styling it in a rather unusual way for me - cat ears and all ;) I also used a stamp tattoo from Rimmel London's Ink Me collection in the shape of a star which was just right seeing the collection is actually named STAR :) Again, since I'm quite short, Marco hemmed the trousers higher for me and I actually think they looked cooler with the gemstones showing from the underside of the trousers too.






Gaetano - LEGACY

Lastly, my favourite - Gaetano. I chose this beautiful dress which features a heavily patterned skirt, a multi-way top and a red applique which really stands out against the monochrome fabric. I had a ball wearing this dress and would wear it to a special occasion such as a gala dinner. I went for a choker-style neckline with a pussy-bow at the side of my neck rather than at the back as worn on the catwalk and I paired the dress with just a pair of simple earrings. You will have the chance to see Gaetano's LEGACY collection being showcased during a fashion show which is going to be held tomorrow night in Hamrun.





Hair & Makeup

Hair and makeup for this shoot were entrusted to Marlene Vassallo and Bernice Catania from Bliss Hair & Makeup. The makeup was done using Makeup Factory and Marlene opted for a classic red lip look with a twist - she did an ombre lip and added a pop of purple and pink to my eyes. I really liked wearing this look and I would like to give it a shot myself too. The hair, on the other hand, was styled by Bernice in a braided upstyle. I think this look complemented both the casual looks as well as the more glaourous evening dress so kudos to these two ladies for their impeccable work!


About the location - Talbot & Bons Boutique Hotel

We set the photo shoot at the newly opened Talbot & Bons Boutique Hotel in the heart of the quiet, charming village of Gudja. The hotel is a 400-year old converted farmhouse situated in a quiet street. Apart from the stunning, peaceful surroundings, one thing I found to be really charming and unique are the room names - they are all named after the surnames of everyone involved in the building of the boutique hotel - from the owners to the designers. I really liked the modern touches and how well they complement the rustic element of the farmhouse. The bed and breakfast is truly the ideal escape if you want to experience a taste of old Maltese villages and their charm.



Which was your favourite look and did you like the way I styled these three different outfits? Be sure to check out Caroline's post too and see which looks she picked and styled her way :) Huge thanks go to our sponsors for this shoot and the designers who believed in us and allowing us to give their clothes our own spin :)

Photography: Gordon Formosa from Go Raw Photography
Catwalk photography: Justin Ciappara from JCiappara Photography
Hair: Bernice Catania from Bliss Hair & Makeup
Makeup: Marlene Vassallo from Bliss Hair & Makeup
Location: Talbot & Bons Boutique Hotel

L-Għarusa | Behind the Scenes of a stellar local drama production

Maltese television drama has undergone somewhat of an overhaul ever since the first season of Strada Stretta (Strait Street) was shown on national television in 2016. The series was set in the 1950's when Valletta was still in its heyday and, excellent storyline aside, the well-researched series kept me waiting eagerly for the weekly episodes.


Fast forward to 2018, and Sharp Shoot Media Ltd., the media team behind Strada Stretta have taken on another project, L-Għarusa (The Bride), also penned by the outstanding script-writer, Audrey Brincat Dalli. I'm glad I was given the opportunity to go behind the scenes on set of this production which is set in 1930's Malta when noble families still had a strong presence within the Maltese community.

The first time I attended filming was a couple of weeks ago towards the end of June and before that, there were many more scenes being shot but I couldn't attend primarily due to work. This post is just to give you an idea of how much work goes into such high-quality productions. So, for my first behind-the-scenes attendance, I got to see a circus scene come to life - from hair, makeup and wardrobe preparations to going around the set, I was overwhelmed with all the hard work put in the scene right down to the littlest of details. On seeing the actors get prepped in their dresses and hair being done, I kept saying to myself that I was born five decades too late - I would have gladly attended parties in flapper dresses, feather headdresses, long satin gloves and T-bar shoes!






I got to meet some of the actors and also had a chat with the production team discussing plots, limitations and some technicalities that go on in producing the final product. Makeup was done by Krista Paris and Priscilla Chalker together with her assistants while hair was again left in the capable hands of Soraya. As with all other details, hair and makeup looks for this period drama are faithful to the pinned-up waves and natural looks of the 1930's. For the circus performers, the looks were of course more in-tune with their costumes - extravagant makeup typical of performers from back in the day.





Now let me peak your curiosity a little bit more; here's a summary of the plot around L-Għarusa to get you pumped up until October ;)


The story starts off in 2018 with the purchase of a vintage 1932 wedding dress. The bride who wore it, was tragically murdered on the day of her wedding, just before she walked down the aisle. Liz, a young student working for museum owners Manuel and his son Alan, is intrigued to know if this is in fact just a legend or if there is more to this story. 

In 1931, after a mysterious fire at a circus camp, the aristocratic family of the Gauci Fontana's decide to take in a number of gypsy circus performers who are left homeless. Bettina, their only daughter who is soon to be married, is suddenly exposed to more of the outside world than she ever could have imagined. After the murder, Inspector Fenech Lauri is determined to find whoever is responsible for the young woman’s demise.

I really can't wait for this tele-series to come to life on our televisions this October can you?

I would like to thank Sharp Shoot Media Ltd. for giving me the opportunity to join them behind the scenes. Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for more exclusive behind the scenes snippets as filming unfolds!