It’s been aaaages since I had a new beauty crush and though I feel vaguely guilty about "betraying" Gwen, Lou Doillon and Diane Keaton, there’s a new girl in town ladies, so deal with it! I’m talking about Rachel Khoo, the newest chef to appear on TV in Britain with her series, "The Little Paris Kitchen."
The show is a delight, with Rachel (who has a pastry degree from Paris' Le Cordon Bleu school) managing to somehow make the most intimidating French dishes appear achievable in her comically miniscule kitchen. She scorns low-fat ingredients (diet crème fraiche? Pah!), has a filthy laugh and is determined to demystify Gallic grub. But as much as I love watching food porn and I will go into more detail about her culinary skills at a later date (she’s published three books on food and ran her own tiny restaurant in her apartment), right now I want to concentrate on Rachel’s super cool look, which is the perfect blend of quirky Brit girl (vintage frocks, cardis, polka dots) and the savoir faire of her adopted homeland.
I spend a worrying amount of time in the throes of fringe-envy (the rest of the time it’s eyebrow-envy -- I’m so balanced) and Rachel has a corker of a fringe. Whether it’s brushed forward and just hitting her brows, or swept nonchalantly to one side, it’s perfect. She also does all these clever things with plaits and braids and cute ponytails with little wisps of hair escaping, sigh...
And then there's the make-up: porcelain, slightly matte skin, delicately shaded cheekbones, a subtle flick of black eyeliner and lipstick. Always lipstick. A spot of research (ie., watching the webchat she did over at Stylist.co.uk like a hawk) revealed her favourite lipstick brands and shades: Cherry Lush by Tom Ford, Schiap by NARS and MAC’s Russian Red. I’ve been looking for the perfect dark, pinky-red for ages -- something like the colour of an American Beauty rose, velvety, rich and matte.
The whole point of a beauty crush for me is that their style resembles your own in some dreamy, perfected way. It’s aspiration, inspiration and validation; you are on the right track with that fringe, the red lipstick is a good idea, keep going kiddo! Etc.
So from time to time I might actually bother putting a little effort into blow-drying my hair properly, in sections, with a round barrel brush rather than just tipping my head upside down and blasting it on hot. And instead of jabbing my finger into the 5-year-old Bourjois lipstick that I treasure because it’s the perfect fuchsia and they don’t make it anymore (I should have followed Emily's advice and threatened violence to stop it being discontinued) I have ventured into a brave new world and tried Rachel’s favourite Russian Red by MAC and ohmygod it's gorgeous. A silky consistency that's quite matte but still feels moisturising, in the richest, darkest mulberry shade.
I tried recreating Rachel's look by wearing Face Atelier Ultra Foundation in Porcelain which gives a decent amount of coverage without feeling heavy (my make-up bugbear), stealing Rebecca's Illamasqua Cream Pigment blush and smudging it along my so-called cheekbones, then whacking on the Russian Red. Eyes were done with a fine line of Rimmel's classic black liquid liner, then a coat of MAC Zoom Black Lash Mascara.
And can I please get some credit for writing this without once using Khoo’s name in a "hilarious" pun, unlike the rest of the British media (Khoo-La La! was my personal favourite -- ha ha HAAA!!!) They also indulged in that tedious habit of comparing her to the female chef who immediately preceded her; i.e., Rachel is the new Gizzi who was the new Nigella who was the new Delia who was the new Fanny who... ugh. They never do that with male chefs. Funny, that.