The entire month of December requires American Pharoah's stamina, Mother Theresa's patience, and Elizabeth Taylor's penchant for glamour. Hey, it's a marathon, not a sprint, right? So, if your calendar is full (or still filling up—have faith) rest assured that the inspiration-finding part of getting ready for any of the season's festivities is taken care of. We asked three women to style themselves for their ideal holiday scenario and write out the details for the rest of us—a bit of outfit and makeup wealth-sharing, if you will. Stylist Vanessa Traina (founder of The Line and one of the forces behind the Altuzarra NYFW shows) kicks off our three-part Holiday Party Look series today. Check back weekly for more looks to suit any and all of your office open bars, family obligations, and general merriment.
It's a bit early for me to have my holiday calendar confirmed, but I am a December baby, so I usually have some kind of birthday or holiday gathering. Generally I get a group of friends together for dinner, but in years past I've also done cocktails at home. My inspiration for entertaining always comes from my mother. She is the consummate hostess—every detail is considered and the entire operation appears seamless. When we were young she had these fabulous Christmas parties with my father every year at our house in San Francisco and even brought in snow machines so it looked like it was snowing outside for the entirety of the evening. I think the key to hosting is preparation so you can relax and enjoy your guests. And florals! For the holidays I love a more romantic bouquet filled with deep reds.
Dress. I suppose I'm a bit of an emotional dresser—I always dress for my mood. If I'm feeling relaxed I feel just as confident in jeans and a sweater than I would in a cocktail dress. I think it's just about conveying your mood and feeling confident in what you have on. For the holidays I take the opportunity to be a bit more festive...loud colors, rich fabrications and embroideries all feel very appropriate. I am particularly drawn to this Altuzarra dress not just because I love his clothes (although I am a bit biased seeing as I work with him) but it exudes holiday glamour and fun! Joseph really has a knack for sensual cuts and fits—he truly designs for a woman. His clothes are sexy yet slightly conservative at the same time, and you don't feel as though there's too much of a reveal. This dress is so luxurious with the red and the gold velvet devoré, and it also feels a bit referential of the 70s which is fun. I always like to feel balanced with my total look, and since the dress says so much, I would rather go with a quiet, more natural beauty look on my face and let the dress speak for itself.
Skin. I am a bit of a purist when it comes to my beauty routine. I prep my skin for about 10 minutes and then move on to my makeup. For my skin I start with Sunday Riley's Juno Oil which has worked wonders on my skin and then apply a multi-complex moisturizer from my dermatologist. I am completely obsessed with moisturizer, especially in the dry winter months! I've used these products for ages and am a big proponent of continuing with a product as long as it works and not switching it up too often. To continue with the moisturizing theme, I then use Balm Dotcom on my lips, almost obsessively. It's good prep for the cold weather and great for a natural lip look or as a primer for a lip color. I also love using it on my eyes to give a glossy and luminous natural look, like this one.
Makeup. I am a bit slow to catch on in the makeup department. As I've always erred on the side of natural, and my makeup artist Daniel Martin constantly laughs at me as I only just let him start using mascara on me a few years back. It literally takes him no more than 20 minutes to make me up. The eyelash curler has been somewhat of a foreign object to me...Daniel gave me the Surratt Beauty Relevée Eyelash Curler as a gift and it had been sitting untouched in the back of my dressing table for ages. I was in Los Angeles recently and Patti Dubroff was doing my makeup and could hardly believe that I didn't curl my lashes, so she gave me a tutorial—and the rest, as they say, is history. The eyelash curler is now my savior when I'm not wearing makeup—it opens up the face, like pulling up the blinds on your eyes. When I do my makeup for an evening out I use the curler and follow with MAC Haute & Naughty Lash. To highlight the eye, I like Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in 817 Apparence. It's particularly good just to add on top of your lid to give a hint of highlight, it's a great day to night product. I'll also use MAC Powder Blush in Sincere.
Hair. I take a pared back approach to really let the dress be the focal point of the look. In sticking to my naturalist approach, it's rare that you'll find me with an intricate up-do—I generally wear my hair down, in a ponytail or a classic chignon. That is not to say I don't love a hair accessory...headbands and ribbons can add just the right touch to finish off a look and lend a hint of femininity and whimsy. Something about a ponytail with this look feels right to me. I pull it back at the nape of my neck with an elastic and tie a black ribbon in a bow. I have a good collection of ribbons that I have amassed over the years— Mokuba is definitely my favorite resource. The particular ribbon is a simple black grosgrain. When you're very dressed up, you don’t want to look like too much effort went into your look. Balance is key.
Vanessa Traina photographed by Tom Newton in her home in New York.
We're getting into the holiday spirit, too: check this year's Gift Guide here.