"Nothing defines a person like the dress they wore to the Oscars" said... well no one really, but we were all thinking it. Cate Blanchett's Giorgio Armani Privé gown – as worn to the 2016 ceremony – saw a surge of icy-blue hues make their way onto the high street, and after the love it/hate it debacle of Anne Hathaway's pink satin Dior dress in 2013, rumours flew around that she'd sacked her stylist as a result. Ouch. So in honour of the star-studded event returning for its 89th year, we’re looking back at the most unforgettable gowns. Champagne at the ready…ALL THAT SPARKLES For an event as glitzy as the Oscars, it’s no surprise that metallic hues feature highly on the red carpet. Reese Witherspoon stunned red carpet revellers for all the right reasons at the 2006 Academy Awards after stepping out in a 1955 gold embellished Dior gown, fit for royalty. And who could forget Felicity Jones’s emotional portrayal of Jane in The Theory of Everything (2015). Jones didn’t go home with the gong that night but she was certainly the people’s choice owing to the stunning Alexander McQueen bodice and floor-length skirt. FRILL SEEKERSThe Oscars is much like a free pass for A-listers to bring out their inner Disney princess, which is exactly what Amy Adams did in 2013 when she stole the show in an Oscar de la Renta frilled ball gown. In 2011, Marisa Tomei stepped back in time with a vintage 1950s Charles James dress, complete with a frilled train. And no Oscars round-up would be complete without a round of applause for Bjork’s much-mentioned 2001 swan dress by Macedonian designer Marjan Pejoski. The Icelandic icon even pretended to lay eggs on the red carpet; top marks for originality, Bjork. BELLES OF THE BALLEverything about Lupita Nyong’o’s 2014 duck-egg blue Prada gown made it a clear winner on the Oscars best-dressed list; the colour, the cut and the way it hugged her figure in such an elegant, understated way. She also found the perfect accessory for it slightly later in the night: the Oscar itself! When Jennifer Lawrence took a rather unfortunate trip at the 2013 Academy Awards – the twittersphere was too in awe of her show-stopping Christian Dior gown to mind. And let’s face it, if anyone can pull off a red-carpet tumble, it’s J-Law. TUX DELUXERyan Gosling doesn't have to do much to please crowds with his appearance these days, in fact, quite frankly he could turn up in a bin bag and trend spotters would be hailing it as the signature look of the year. But when he presented the award for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 2016 event, it wasn't the winning film that got crowds applauding with such vehemence. It was his perfectly tailored Gucci suit, complete with matching white shirt and bow tie. Whilst David Oyelowo proved at the 2015 Oscars that bold colours aren't just for women. His red wine coloured Dolce & Gabbana tux was a daring choice, but one that totally paid off.
Whether it be Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck gallivanting around the Italian capital on a Vespa, or Mathieu Kassovitz gazing into Audrey Tautou's enormous almond eyes at the Gare Du Nord, Europe easily bags the prize for the most romantic continent. With al fresco dining, winding lanes and il vino to be served with every course – your next romantic retreat is just a hop, skip and a quick mosey round the duty-free aisle away. GO BEYOND GAUDI Known for its impressive architecture, winding market streets and glorious climes, Barcelona isn’t a hard sell. But beyond the tourist trails of Las Ramblas, the sightseeing buses and the (admittedly stunning) Gaudi buildings, is a cosmopolitan metropolis just waiting to be explored. City strolling doesn’t get more romantic than at the Parc de Montjuïc; comprising of several museums to explore and the glorious Jardins de Laribal tree-laden walkway. Spaniards are night owls by nature, so be sure to save some energy to explore some of the exciting new eateries that the city has on offer. The Michelin-starred Alkimia, just outside the Gothic Quarter, combines industrial interiors with an elegant yet innovative Catalonian menu. Don’t leave the city without sampling their signature salt cod. Barcelona’s hotel collection is an impressive one, meaning that you never have to face a bad night’s sleep after all that exploring. Hotel Omm offers the ultimate in city-centre serenity; ideally located to maximise your time in Barcelona. BEAUTY IN BAVARIA It’s often claimed that Munich is Germany’s prettiest city, and with its Alpine mountain backdrop, striking Bavarian architecture and village-esque feel, it’s easy to see why. If you’ve ever found Berlin to be too much of a head spin, then Munich could well be the antidote you’re looking for. The stunning Marienplatz Square, located in the centre of the city, boasts a wealth of art galleries – or sample the simple but excellent dishes at Zum Dürnbräu, a traditional Bavarian tavern, whose dishes include the city’s staple Nürnberger sausages with sauerkraut and dumplings. For a room with a view, book into the Grand Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where you can enjoy stunning scenery of the city from its rooftop bar, Blue Spa Terrace. And finally, a trip to the nearby Ingolstadt Village makes for holiday shopping bliss, just in case lederhosen isn’t your thing. LONDON CALLING Leave the London Eye to the first-timers and enjoy the views of the city from the dizzy heights of Vista Bar, overlooking Trafalgar Square and beyond. No admission fees means more money to spend on Cosmopolitans, anyway. Shopping is big business in London so leave enough space in the suitcase for those must-have buys. Head to nearby Bicester Village where you’ll find all the world-famous names you could ask for in one place. Markets are also a must-visit when you’re in the capital, and Columbia Road Flower Market is about as pretty as they get. After all that exploring, a night at the Como Metropolitan Hotel will have you feeling rested and refreshed in no time, not to mention being ideally located to South Kensington’s array of museums and the sumptuous restaurants of Mayfair. We’re sold. LA VILLE DE L’AMOUR Paris isn’t called the city of love for nothing; the accent, the culture, the picture-perfect backdrops around every corner of the city; we can’t seem to get enough of the place! It was Audrey Hepburn who famously stated, “Paris is always a good idea”, and she sure had a point. It pays dividends to get organised before taking off. Most attractions, including the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, allow you to pre-book online, meaning you’re less likely to spend the entire trip in queues. If you’ve visited before and are looking to travel further afield, a day’s shopping trip at La Vallée Village, just east of the city, will have you feeling (and dressing) like a Parisian! Sofitel Paris Le Faubourg Hotel offers excellence in comfort and is within easy walking distance from Champs-Élysées, the River Seine and the many other delights of Paris. Plus, to make your stay extra special, La Vallée Village have teamed up with Sofitel, Mgallery by Sofitel and Pullman to bring you an exclusive luxury travel package (click here for more details) – perfect for a romantic trip away. Bon voyage!
When it comes to the sartorial start over, there’s no one we trust more for the low down than Fashion Editor Harriet Quick. Get ready for trend overload.
Pink has emerged as the colour of modern femininity. It displays as many qualities as women themselves, whether in soft blush tones, provocative, flirtatious fuchsia or wistful old-rose hues. Designers are embracing pink with a passion, from Chloé’s signature blush and Balenciaga’s bubblegum brights to Prada’s knowingly kitsch candy shades. The newest way to wear it is uncompromisingly in head-to-toe tonal layers. Seek out pink tailoring to replace monotones; baby-doll dresses with matching shoes; pussy bow blouses and cropped trousers, and even WAG-style tracksuits. Pink speaks volumes about optimism and that’s what we need right now.
The era that delivered power shoulders, Working Girl miniskirts, slinky body-con dressing and a whole lot of lamé is back. A generation of designers who were toddlers at the time are pillaging the stylistic memes of the sex, power and glamour decade and reprising that exuberance for now. What this trend requires is guts and daring. Mini skirts will feel naked after seasons of flowing lines, just as bold shoulders will seem alien. Yet the confidence-boosting benefits are manifold. Look back to the icons of the era for inspiration from the supermodels in Alaïa to Nan Kempner’s taste for boxy tailoring and Paloma Picasso’s flamboyant big earrings and taste for Saint Laurent.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro, keen to hit the slopes, or more excited by a log fire and glass of vin chaud, discover your perfect winter getaway with our edit of Europe’s top resorts…
FOR THOSE WITH A COMPETITIVE STREAK
The resort: Chamonix, France The crowd:With steep chutes, free riding areas and unprepared runs, this is one resort that’s best left to the pros. Advanced and adventurous skiers from all over the world gather here each year, braving the challenging slopes and boasting (join in if you dare) post-ski in one of the many mountain-top bars. In other words, leave grandma at home. The vibe:Packed with thrill-seekers, Chamonix has an electric atmosphere that’s perfect for serious skiers wanting to put their skills to the test. Although the slopes are far from peaceful, nestled beneath the tumbling glaciers is a charming town full of quirky boutiques, bookshops and galleries. Perfect for the less athletically gifted to browse for hours on end.
FOR BEGINNERS PRONE TO TAKING A TUMBLE The resort: Cortina, Italy The crowd:Renowned as one of the world’s most beautiful resorts, Cortina is perfect for beginners with plenty of well-groomed pistes and a number of instructors on hand to help. Expect skiers of all ages with a laid-back approach to the sport. Fall over as much as you want, there is no judgement here. The vibe:Horse riding and indoor tennis? We know, we know – this doesn’t sound like your average ski break, but hear us out. After a challenging few days on the slopes, chances are you might fancy ditching the piste to do something different. Cortina has a number of unique activities to get stuck into – plus you can confuse your Facebook friends with pictures of you on random horseback excursions.
FOR THOSE WHO LIKE TO INSTAGRAM The resort:Courchevel 1850, France The crowd:From footballers to F1 drivers, this exclusive five-star resort is a firm favourite amongst the jet set. Prepare to do some serious celeb spotting on the slopes – and in the bars, of course. The vibe:If skiing just isn’t your thing, we’re certain you’ll still fall in love with Courchevel. After all, who can resist a weekend of open fires, outdoor jacuzzis and copious amounts of mulled wine? We thought so. With Michelin-starred restaurants and revolutionary spa treatments, you know you need this kind of luxury in your life. The surroundings are second to none and the place really comes alive after dark, priding itself on its eclectic mix of high-end bars. Do it for the #travelgoals.
Ready for the reboot? January’s mix-up of iridescent prints and cutting-edge designs are simply made for movement. It’s time to sweat.
WEEK 1: GYM BAGS
Let’s get real for a second – fitting a killer workout into our day-to-day routine requires some serious packing prep. So whether you’re moving from dance class to desk – or from cardio barre to, well, an actual bar – these gym bags keep your style on point, even when your post-yoga ponytail is letting you down.
WEEK 2: SNEAKERS
From that must-have new investment to our favourite boutique hotel – here’s what’s on our radar this week.
Kickstart Janurary with this delicious recipe from Madeline Shaw’s new book, READY, STEADY, GLOW Fast, Fresh Food Designed for Real Life.
Pan-fried trout with cucumber, apple and dill salad (serves two)
1 cucumber, peeled, halved and cut into ½ cm semicircles 1 tbsp Dijon mustard1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped (or 1tsp dried)1/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar2 tbsp olive oil 1 large avocado, peeled and stoned1 apple, peeled and cored1 shallot, finely minced1 tbsp coconut oil or butter2 tbsp capers, plus extra to serve2 trout filletssalt, to taste
Do Dry January, they said, it will be fun, they said…
If you’re already regretting the decision to jump on the health bandwagon this season, then you’re not alone. Facing the Christmas comedown with nothing but green tea and a sad bag of kale chips may seem unappealing – but once you’ve sobered up a little, checked your bank balance and tried to squeeze into your jeans – you may feel differently.
Luckily, detoxing needn’t be dull, we promise. And while we’ve previously given up on day three, this year we have a solid backup plan so we can finally reach that elusive post-January glow. Hand clapping emojis all around.
So get in all the mulled wine and mince pies you can– because come 1 January, you’re totally joining us.
DRY JAN SWAP ONE: THE NIGHT CLUB FOR THE NIGHT SWEAT
When it’s time to get back on track…
Mince pies, mulled wine and one too many chocolates from the tree… all sounding a little too familiar? Come January, enough is enough and after two weeks of pure indulgence, it’s time to get it together.
So to help kick-start our new year reboot, we’ve called upon the help of holistic health coach, blogger, chef and all round wellness guru Madeleine Shaw.
Here’s a play-by-play of how she gets back on track. So much goodness.