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FASHION A TO Z: An Illustrated Dictionary

By Alex Newman & Zakee Shariff

MANILA, Philippines - Any student of fashion — especially those who work in the industry — should own Fashion A to Z: An Illustrated Dictionary by Alex Newman & Zakee Shariff. Artist/designer Shariff’s fashion illustrations (pity they’re only in four-tone and not full color) raise this far above the average boring reference book, and you’ll have fun learning all about raiment (look it up) or distinguishing panné satin from panné velvet.

The only thing missing — and this is a pretty big omission — are entries about fashion designers. You can’t look up seminal designer Paul Poiret, for instance, or find out what made Madeleine Vionnet so genius.

But I guess that would have made this compact little volume a whole different animal.

Author Newman seems reluctant to overstep the boundaries of his jurisdiction — the fashion terms most commonly used in schools and the industry — which makes Fashion A to Z more of a look book than a line sheet.

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HOW NOT TO LOOK OLD: Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10

Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better

By Charla Krupp

Pop quiz! Look at yourself in the mirror right now. Are you wearing: a matchy-matchy outfit… dark lipstick… glasses hung from a chain around your neck… too-short bangs… baggy jeans… a mask of foundation… blue eye shadow?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the above, you’re screaming “Old Lady” (OL) to the world, according to How Not to Look Old by Charla Krupp.

You might have already seen Krupp guest on shows like Oprah, Today and Tyra, dispensing beauty advice to the stylistically challenged. Here she compiles all the knowledge she’s gained from being a senior editor at InStyle to show you how not to be OL and become Y&H (Younger and Hipper). It’s a wealth of information: 19 chapters tackle everything from sexing up your wardrobe (tastefully and age-appropriately) to youth-ifying your makeup to learning to love shapewear. “Nothing ages you like VPL, back fat, spillage, or a uniboob,” Krupp says. “Even Gwyneth wears it.”

Krupp takes the fun, InStyle approach to lighten up the somewhat dense text. This soft-cover is packed with quizzes, Top 5 lists, and before-and-after photos of celebrities held up as inspiring examples of Y&H (showing you how to pull off bangs like Salma Hayek’s or carry jeans like Claudia Schiffer). I agree with Krupp’s stance against the mega-aging results of plastic surgery (seen Joan Rivers lately?) and how she prefers the many non-invasive dermatological procedures available today. I also like the “Brilliant Buys” section at the end of each chapter. As a former beauty director of Glamour magazine, Krupp has tested over a thousand products and here she shares what really works, without the gloss of advertising hype.

Overall How Not to Look Old is a valuable resource for women who want to embody today’s “50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 30” (and so on) aesthetic and, rather than treating aging as a source of panic, with Krupp as your mentor you’ll enjoy turning back the clock every step of the way.

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BOBBI BROWN MAKEUP MANUAL: For Everyone from Beginner to Pro

By Bobbi Brown

In her 20 years as a professional makeup artist, Bobbi Brown has released a total of five books on makeup. If you had to pick just one, I’d recommend her latest, Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual. It distills all of the information and not a few of the photos from her previous books (Bobbi Brown Beauty, Teenage Beauty, Beauty Evolution, and Living Beauty) and, as the title suggests, anyone — no matter how intimidated by or enamored of cosmetics — will put this book down knowing how to apply makeup like a pro. If you’re a total newbie, part one contains all the basics, from what tools you need to how to care for your skin so it becomes the ideal canvas for makeup. Then Brown has chapters on every part of the face, illustrating makeup application on each feature through step-by-step photos and instructions. If you’re somewhere between greenhorn and pro, like I am, you’ll likely skip ahead to the big reveal, Bobbi’s “10-step Guide to Perfect Makeup,” which shows you how to apply the clean, natural, beautiful look Brown is known for in five to 10 minutes flat. Yes, it’s possible if you have an organized makeup drawer (a lesson Brown teaches you as well). “Practice is the key,” Bobbi says.

If you’re a professional makeup artist or aspire to be one, part two of the book is about artistry: essential equipment for the pro, advanced makeup applications, how to break into the business (though it deals with the American scene, advice like “always arrive on time” and “be nice to everyone” applies universally, I think), even a chapter on the history of makeup and short bios of the best makeup artists working today. Brown’s willingness to recognize and praise the inventiveness of competitors like Laura Mercier, François Nars and Pat McGrath shows her humility even in success, and how she follows her own piece of advice: “Never stop learning.”

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All titles are available at National Book Store.  — Therese Jamora-Garceau

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