The Most Important Debate Today

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by Rebecca Lumley

Today is the day that communities have been divided, fights have been started and everybody’s been tweeting furiously; all because of one dress. Forget the Oscars dresses or fashion week; this is the garment that has captured the world’s attention!

The middle image above is the dress in question, a dress that people just can’t agree on the colour of. Is it blue and black? Taylor Swift, Jaden Smith and Mindy Kaling think so.

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Or is it white and gold? Anna Kendrick, Cheryl Cole and Kim Kardashian would certainly tell you it is.

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Since the debate went viral, the internet has been awash with explanations of why people see the colours differently. Cones, wavelengths, rays- here’s how Wired.com explained the discrepancy.

“Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image … Without you having to worry about it, your brain figures out what color light is bouncing off the thing your eyes are looking at … This image, though, hits some kind of perceptual boundary.”

So there you have it, the dress is blue and black in real life but deceiving on camera. Either way, I’m not a fan.

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The Women Who Won 2015

by Rebecca Lumley

Though the Oscars may be over, the red carpets haven’t been rolled up and stored just yet. While the traditional awards ceremonies we see every year (Golden Globes, Emmys, Oscars) focus on a very specific section of society and a focused range of talents, magazine awards have somewhat broader horizons. Yesterday saw the release of Grazia’s “Most Inspirational Women 2015” and the announcement of the Elle Style Award winners. These awards seek to celebrate the talents and efforts of women from a range of careers in the public view, such as music, fashion, entertainment, sport and even political activism. Here are some of the women that won at life during 2014 and continue to do so into ’15.

Grazia; Most Influential Women 2015

Grazia chose a variety of women for their list with one central idea; they wanted to celebrate women who “inspire, empower and game change” in society. Now those are traits worthy of an award.

Most influential woman in FASHION- Victoria Beckham

Once known as Posh spice and now a phenomenally successful fashion designer, Victoria is no typical WAG and certainly isn’t afraid of hard work. Far from slapping her name onto a clothing line she had nothing to do with, Victoria is a hands on designer who is the true creative influence behind the designs her label churns out. She originally launched her brand in 2008 and was named “Brand of the Year” in the UK in 2011.

Victoria is a great example of someone who could have done a lot less. She could have rested on her former pop career and famous husband but she chose to pursue her passions and work incredibly hard to prove herself in one of the most critical industries there is.

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Most influential woman in ENTERTAINMENT- Emma Watson

The past year has been huge for Emma Watson. The former witch, Brown graduate and now UN Goodwill ambassador has been making great strides for women with her efforts to highlight the importance of feminism. The HeForShe gender equality campaign went viral after her eloquent UN speech, earning the actress serious respect from people everywhere. In an era marked by celebrity derailment, Watson has emerged as an intelligent, insightful and influential young woman. (Ps. I wish the rumours about her and Prince Harry were true, she would be the coolest princess ever).

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Most influential woman in CULTURE- Lena Dunham

You may know Lena Dunham as the sassy, self involved protagonist of the tv show “Girls” or as the author of the book “Not That Kind of Girl”. If you don’t know her at all, you should get to know her because she’s really cool. At just 28 she can list director, producer, actor, screenwriter and author on her CV and it’s undeniable that her kooky sense of humour, free spirited disregard of social norms and feminist ideals have made an impact on pop culture. In the pilot episode of Girls, her character, Hannah, called herself “the voice of a generation”, which, coincidentally, is exactly what Dunham has become.

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Most influential woman in POLITICS: Malala Yousafzai

This probably wasn’t the biggest award Malala’s won recently (she was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize after all). The young woman’s story is famous around the globe and her poise, bravery and dedication to change is an inspiration to people everywhere. In her own words, “I speak not for myself, but for those without a voice”.

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Having seen the highlights from the Grazia awards, we look briefly at the worthy winners at the Elle Style Awards.

Elle Style Awards

Woman of the Year- Taylor Swift

Also known as “T-Swift”, “T-Swizzle” or “T-dog” (these are actually just what I call her). Terrible nicknames aside, it’s been a great year for the superstar, what with the successful launch of her pop career and brand new album, 1989. Swift has come a long way from her curly haired country music days and is only growing in chart popularity. Her kindness and humour have endeared her  to a harsh public and her ability to “stay grounded” (excuse the cliché) has set her apart from scores of other pop stars. My opinion: T-swift probably won’t be going out off style for the foreseeable future.

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Other winners: 

Model of the Year: Rosie Huntington Whitely

Breakthrough Actress: Cara Delevigne

Rising Star: Rebel Wilson

So now you have it, the top women who won at life this year. Let’s let the diligence, dedication and creativity they encompass inspire us in our own quests for self-improvement or self-fulfillment in 2015.

Equality for All

by Keava O’Loan

With the Marriage Equality referendum set to take place on May 22nd, LGBT rights have never been more at the forefront of public attention. Unfortunately, as the Republic of Ireland seems to be taking a step forward, the opposite is true North of the border.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in Northern Ireland has proposed a motion to add an ‘anti-gay clause’ to equality laws, allowing businesses to refuse service to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people, simply on the basis of their sexual orientation.

DUP MLA Paul Givan proposed the motion after a lawsuit involving Ashers Bakery was brought to public attention. The owners of the bakery, devout Christians Colin and Karen McArthur, refused to bake a cake for Queerspace, a gay rights campaign group. The McArthurs said that the cake, which was to be iced with the message ‘Support Gay Marriage’, opposed their religious beliefs. The Equality Commission, which has taken the case against the business on behalf of Queerspace, alleges that the bakery’s stance is in breach of equality legislation. Givan said he believes this is wrong and wants the law to be ‘rebalanced’.

The ‘conscience clause’, as the DUP have named it, has gained the support of the Catholic Church. Although the relationship between the strongly Unionist DUP and the Catholic Church has been famously tumultuous, the two groups have become unlikely allies; both strongly opposing gay marriage and abortion. Givan is currently carrying out a public consultation into a Private Member’s Bill, before they bring the conscience clause into debate at Stormont. This consultation welcomes feedback from the public on the draft bill, with responses to be submitted no later than 5pm, Friday 27th of February.

Sinn Féin have said they would use a petition of concern – essentially a vote which requires that the bill has cross-community support before it can be passed – to halt the proposed amendment as soon as it is brought before the Assembly. A petition of concern requires the support of at least thirty MLAs; and with Sinn Féin’s twenty-eight MLAs, plus the additional support of the Green Party’s Steven Agnew and Basil McCrea of NI21, they have reached the number required to halt the conscience clause bill.

Although the bill is effectively dead in the water, it will still go to vote. A greater public response could be the push needed to ensure more Assembly Members vote for equality, and to prevent the future proposition of anti-gay legislation. A petition has been started to show public opposition to the bill. If you believe in equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation, please sign the petition.

Top 10 Beauty Enhancing Makeup Tricks

by Laura Horan 

  1. When applying eye shadow it can be very difficult to get that pointed look we all want without using really dark eye shadows, as well as being extremely difficult to get both eyes matching. SOLUTION! Cut a piece of sellotape no longer then two inches and pat it to make it less sticky so that the tape doesn’t remove your beautiful foundation. Then simply place the sellotape in line with the corner of your eye and the end of your brow or elongate the tape further if you wish. Then just apply your shadow and voila!

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  1. If you’re still waiting on this month’s grant money and you’re running low on stock, don`t panic!! Using a concealer a few shades lighter than your skin tone will do perfectly for your highlighting needs. Also using some brown and beige eye shadows will do for contouring. Although they can be harder to blend, they can come in handy when trying to decide between an expensive contour set and food!

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  1. This one’s an oldie but a goodie! Using a lighter on a pencil eye liner for about 3 seconds then allowing it to cool for several more seconds before applying will give it a much darker appearance and will also last longer.

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4. Using a baby’s toothbrush to exfoliate your lips before applying makeup will help get rid of the appearance of chapped lips (using a baby`s toothbrush is less rough on your lips than a regular toothbrush).

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5. Reuse your mascara brushes!! Most of the time the brush is better than the mascara so wash your brushes and keep them and use them with the liquid out of cheaper mascara bottles. Also they are great for brushing your eye brows in to shape and you can add colour to your eyebrows by dipping the brushes into some brown powder. Add hairspray to your brush to keep your brows in place all night.

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6. Before using your eyelash curler put the hairdryer on it for 3-5 seconds. This curls your eyelashes better in the same way it does for a curling iron.

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  1. For small eyes or for anyone who wants their eyes to appear bigger, use a white makeup pencil and apply it on the lining of your water line instead of a black pencil. This gives the illusion of larger eyes!

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  1. We all know the trouble of mascara… You apply all your makeup perfectly and all is left is mascara, oh no got a blotch of mascara on my perfect eye shadow and now it’s on my perfect foundation!!! SOLUTION! Use a plastic spoon to cover your eye shadow when doing your top eye lashes and cover your skin under your eye lashes when applying to the bottom. This way it’s much easier to get a thicker coat particularly on the bottom lashes.

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  1. If you suffer from large forehead syndrome like me, you will be glad to know there is a treatment! Using a much darker bronzer from your usual powder can give the illusion of a smaller forehead by applying the powder around the hairline at the top of the forehead. BUT MAKE SURE YOU BLEND IT IN!

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10. I am the worse person for leaving the lids off my mascaras and as a result they dry up quicker. But there`s a simple way to fix this! Add a drop or two of eye drops into the tube and then rub the brush around inside. This will make your mascara go back to normal just like magic!

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Your Definitive Guide To This Year’s Oscars Style

by Keava O’Loan and Bronwyn O’Neill

It’s finally that time of year everyone has been looking forward to, the main event in red carpet season. Well, we here at The Ink Ladies, at least, have been eagerly anticipating this year’s Academy Awards!

At this year’s Oscars, there was a backlash from some of the stars about the pressure put on women who step out on the red carpet. Lena Dunham tweeted: ‘Ask her about the causes she supports, not her support garments #oscars #AskHerMore’. It brings to mind Yves Saint Laurent, who famously said: “I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” We want to stress the respect we have for many of these women: strong, empowering, accomplished females who are so much more than just an outfit. Please remember when reading this post that not only is it a celebration of the craftsmanship that goes into these incredible dresses (custom-made, hand-sewn, painted – these gowns are a labour of love for the seamstresses and designers who create them), but it’s also just for fun! So without further ado, settle back with a cuppa and get stuck in to our Oscars style masterpost!

Julianne Moore

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Bronwyn:  Julianne really let me down here! There’s literally no shape to this dress. Such a shame, I had high hopes!

Keava: You are looking at over 80,000 hand-painted sequins here, people! This dress is beautifully crafted, in particular the sapphire embellished ‘belts’ which ran around the neckline, drop-waist, and base of the dress. I would maybe have liked a little more definition at the waist, but in general I just thought this was such a special, unique gown. Her deep side part and sleek side-bun was elegant and allowed focus to remain on the dress. The berry lip added some fun to what was otherwise a really classic, beautiful look.

Felicity Jones

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Bronwyn: Beautiful girl. Amazing actress. Bad fashion sense.

Keava: I always think Felicity looks so elegant, but this dress just totally missed the mark for me. The petals of fabric and crazy intricate pearl embellishment (think this is special, wait til you see Lupita!) definitely deserve a round of applause, but the heavy, Victorian-style skirt is just too much. I get the up-do to show off the high, collar-style neckline, but it’s just lacking for me.

Rosamund Pike

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Bronwyn: I still stand by my opinion that Pike should have just won every award this season. Well, she can win my award for smoking hot. This dress is absolutely flawless. The neckline, the overlay and the leg reveal can be summed up in one word. Stunning. If I had one complaint, I would have added maybe a bracelet or earrings.

Keava: After the shapeless horror she wore at the Golden Globes, I almost forgot how amazing Rosamund can look! A lot of people say you shouldn’t wear red on the red carpet; I think this look just proved them all wrong. She looks so unique, so special, so elegant. Apparently this dress took over 2,000 hours to make. I think it was worth every second.

Patricia Arquette

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Bronwyn: She looks incredible, so elegant. And her speech was amazing.

Keava: This dress was custom made for Patricia by her childhood friend, Rosetta Getty, fulfilling a promise they made when they were little that one day they’d grow up to become an actress and a designer, and that Rosetta would dress Patricia. She said it was ‘like wearing love’, which only makes this classic look more beautiful.

Emma Stone

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Bronwyn: I feel like this is a look you will either love or hate. I really love it. For me, Stone can do no wrong. This risqué Elie Saab flatters, showing that taking a risk can pay off. Especially when you’re Emma Stone. The colour, although repulsive to some, looks absolutely stunning next to Stone’s skin tone.

Keava: EMMA!!! I really love this. How did she match the colour of her dress to her shoes without looking try-hard? Because she’s Emma Stone, and she always looks effortlessly cool. Hair is gorgeous: side-swept, old Hollywood, glossy waves (are we sensing a hair trend yet?) and makeup is beautiful. In a dress that has potential to wash out us pale-skinned ladies, Stone’s coral pink lip and peach blush brighten up her face perfectly.

Dakota Johnson

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Bronwyn: Johnson hasn’t worn anything note-worthy the entire 50 Shades tour. However at the Oscars she is beautiful. This red dress, like so many others this year, has a daring slit up to her thigh.

Keava: I loved this sizzling red YSL gown on Dakota, but am underwhelmed by the hair and makeup – it’s just a little too safe for me. The ponytail feels a bit schoolgirl for the Oscars. One of her best red carpet outings so far though, and props for not wearing one of the 50 shades of grey.

Marion Cotillard

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Bronwyn: This quite went from ‘YES, SLAYYYY!’ to ‘NO, STOP!’ The front was gorgeous, but the back… not so much.

Keava: From the front, there’s a real Audrey Hepburn vibe to this. From the back, there was… a different vibe. I get it was an exaggeration of the drop-waist look from the 20s, but it just wasn’t flattering. That being said, if anyone could pull it off, it’s Marion.

Reese Witherspoon

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Bronwyn: This monochrome look is probably one of the most figure flattering dress of the night. Witherspoon lost out on Best Actress, she won on the fashion stakes. This gown is simple yet stunning. It pulls in her already tiny waist and draws the eye to her fabulous curves.

Keava: I am a major Reese fan, and this look only fuels my love. She never ages; her hair and makeup are so simple but yet so pretty; and a dress that should be kind of boring looks phenomenal. 10/10.

Meryl Streep

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Bronwyn: Streep is flawless and this beautiful look is no different. A step away from traditional gowns, shows Streep’s moving forward perhaps with her age. (Although if I looked this good at 65 then I will count my blessings) A lot of women have tried and failed to successfully pull of a suit-esque look. Streep slays this look.

Keava: Meryl always looks so graceful and elegant. She makes masculine tailoring look feminine. I do wish, however, that with such a classic, simple colour scheme, she had played with her makeup more: maybe a statement lip or stronger brows?

Naomi Watts

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Bronwyn: This is a no for me. Not a fan of the design of the dress, especially the cut-outs at the sides.

Keava: Naomi is always a red carpet favourite of mine, and last night was no exception. Her tousled waves teamed with this divine Armani Privé dress ares the perfect clash, and the lips follow the berry trend that dominated the carpet. Gorgeous.

Chrissy Teigen

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Bronwyn: This Zuhair Murad gown may be daring but she looks absolutely stunning from head to toe. Her man is sweeping up awards whilst she kills it on the red carpet. She hasn’t put a foot wrong this whole award season and dominating at the Oscars is a nice way to wrap it up.

Keava: Sticking to what she knows with metallic glitz and lots of skin on show (God, that front split is risqué!), Chrissy looked amazing. Her beautiful sideswept waves were Old Hollywood meets beach babe, and the berry lip added a nice twist to what could have otherwise been a predictable look.

Anna Kendrick

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Bronwyn: I wasn’t overly fond of Kendrick’s look last year, however this beautiful pink dress makes every fashion faux pas melt away. I cannot fault this Thakoon gown. Everything about this look is absolutely flawless.

Keava: This custom made peach wonder from Thakoon is amazing. I’m kind of over cut-outs, but the interesting placement keeps it current. The up-do is perfect to show off that amazing neckline, and her soft smokey eye keeps the look from being too cutesy.

Jennifer Aniston

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Bronwyn: Although Aniston may not have been nominated last night, she certainly looked amazing. The nude Versace gown hugs the 46-year-old’s stunning figure. The minimum accessories make sure all attention is focused on the statement gown. I don’t know if this look or her grabbing Emma Stone’s behind last night was Aniston’s highlight of last night.

Keava: I normally find JenAn quite boring on the red carpet (nine times out of ten, it’s a black dress), but I might need to reassess. I love everything about this dress. And how bangin’ does she look for 46?! My only (very minor) complaint is that I’m a little bored of her California, beachy blonde locks. But then again, is it really Jennifer Aniston if she doesn’t have her trademark hair?

Keira Knightley

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Bronwyn: Knightley is usually one of the most fashion forward stars. However this dress just doesn’t cut it and I won’t listen to the excuse that she’s pregnant. Jessica Alba looked flawless in 2008 even with a baby bump.

Keava: I love Keira, but I can’t defend this look either. It looks like it was made from my granny’s tablecloth instead of custom-made by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel!!! Hair and makeup are flawless though, and as always, she has the best brows on the red carpet by a landslide.

Lady Gaga

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Bronwyn: The dress, the gloves, the Adam’s family slick back. All of this is just a big no-no.

Keava: Ahh, the gloves that launched a thousand memes. This is the first time Azzedine Alaïa’s designs have been worn at the Oscars, though, which is very cool. I actually really like the hair and makeup! It’s so polished and glam – definitely a side to Gaga that I can get on board with.

America Ferrera

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Bronwyn: I’m not blown away by this look, really nothing special in my opinion.

Keava: This flowing Jenny Packham dress was a complete winner for me. An ombré effect from teal into sea-foam green, this gown is giving off major Grecian goddess vibes. Her beautiful, glossy waves are pushed back to show off those amazing earrings, and fresh makeup lets America’s natural beauty shine through.

Scarlett Johansson

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Bronwyn: I love ScarJo. I do. And it breaks my heart to see this beautiful woman in such a monstrosity.

Keava: It looks like there is poison ivy wrapping itself around her neck. I think that style of up-do needs to be a little more disheveled, as well. Definitely not my fave of her looks, but her figure is incredible: ultimate hourglass.

Nicole Kidman

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Bronwyn: I don’t know where to start with this look. So perhaps I will just leave the picture here and let you come up with your own conclusions. Too 1990s. Not Oscar worthy.

Keava: Disagree, Bron! I know exactly where to start with this look: amazing. Her haircut is so modern, the length and colour flatter her face perfectly. More than that, she just looks so happy and comfortable in herself. -I can’t remember the last time she looked this radiant. I think the dress is cool and fun; I like to see slightly older actresses pushing the fashion limits. The belt, although a bit weird on its own, breaks up the dress perfectly. Winner for me.

Jessica Chastain

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Bronwyn: There doesn’t seem to be anything right with this look. The colour, the beaded bodice, the matching shoes and the necklace… no.

Keava: Well, from the neck up, she looks amazing. I think she has such a beautiful face, and I love a redhead. She’s insanely radiant here, no? In terms of the dress, I want to like it because I really like her, but I just can’t. I think it’s the fact that her breasts look like they’re struggling to escape.

Lupita Nyong’o

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Bronwyn: I want to love it. It’s just that it’s beaded. After last year, I expected so much from Nyong’o.

Keava: Just like with Felicity Jones’ gown, I am in awe of the craftsmanship. There are a ridiculous 6,000 pearls on this custom Calvin Klein badboy! Imagine hand-stitching this. Overall… I just don’t know. I want to love it, but there’s something missing; I can’t put my finger on it. Not that Lupita could ever look bad, but this just isn’t my favourite red carpet offering from her.

Margot Robbie

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Bronwyn: It’s definitely better than last year. However, Robbie is still wearing the harsh black, goth-esque look. If it didn’t have sleeves I think it would have been one of the best dresses of the night.

Keava: I actually really loved this! It’s about as far as anyone pushed the fashion boundaries last night, and I think it paid off. Margot debuted a sleek lob, which obviously looked amazing, because she’s Margot Robbie. Her statement pendant was originally created for the Duchess of Windsor in the 30s, and really took advantage of the plunging neckline of her YSL gown. Orange-red lips completed the look. There were a lot of elements here that you wouldn’t think to team together, but it really works.

Jennifer Lopez

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Bronwyn: It’s beautiful but the neckline really takes away from this. Is it worthy to be one of the best dressed?

Keava: Normally I’m all for mixing up your style, but I dunno, a princess gown just looks a bit weird on JLo. Back to slinky, sexy, superstar, please.

Zendaya Coleman

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Bronwyn: Zendaya looked amazing, although I think there’s too much heavy material swamping her petite frame. Beautiful girl, but not my favourite dress for her.

Keava: Can you believe Zendaya is only eighteen? She has so much confidence and poise. Something about her kooky style and effortless way of making the weirdest things look amazing gives me major Rihanna vibes. The dreads are unbelievable, I love that she debuted them at the Oscars! Very reminiscent of Lisa Bonet, which is always a good thing in my book. Her Vivienne Westwood gown, which she said made her feel ‘goddessy’ is stunning, like something the coolest bride on the planet would wear.

Jennifer Hudson

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Bronwyn: JHud looks stunning! The colour of this dress is everything, and no-one rocks a short crop quite like her.

Keava: Oh, wow. Wow, wow, wow. I love this. Like really love it. I have such much love for yellow, I don’t know why it’s not a red carpet staple. The lemon shade absolutely sings on her skin, and the emerald jewellery is amazing. Easily one of my favourites. Maybe even my best dressed of the whole night.

Jenna Dewan-Tatum

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Bronwyn: OH MY GOD. This is just stunning. Woah.

Keava: I honestly think Jenna is incapable of looking anything less than spectacular. This Zuhair Murad gown fits like a glove and shows off her incredible body to perfection. The sleek hair, strong brows, and glossy orange-red lip bring this look to the next level. And can we please admire those diamond earrings?

Giuliana Rancic

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Bronwyn: Stunning. Flawless. SO MUCH WOAH.

Keava: So glad she’s ditched the harsh blonde, this is much more flattering. Gotta say, I’m loving all these red gowns on the red carpet! And the glossy red lips, which in theory should be too matchy-matchy, tie the whole look together. One of her best looks ever.

Kelly Osbourne

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Bronwyn: I think I should like it. However the uneven layers and the huge skirt just isn’t doing it for me. Or is it? I’m not sure!

Keava: Kelly Osbourne always wears too much makeup, and I think I’m over the lilac hair. It was cool at first, but now I just find it a bit dull. I’m also majorly over black lace sleeves and mullet dresses. Probably my worst look of the night – sorry, Kells.

It seems that deep side parts, tumbling waves, and berry lips were the call of the day for Hollywood’s leading ladies, but what about the fellas?

Eddie Redmayne

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Brownwyn: Not only did he win Best Actor, he also won on the red carpet. Love this blue suit.

Keava: Style wars between Redmayne and Ansel Elgort (below)! I think Eddie won this one. Handsome, classic, perfect. Also, the moment he won his Oscar was one of the cutest things ever.

Ansel Elgort

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Bronwyn: He broke hearts in The Fault in Our Stars and now he’s breaking hearts on the red carpet. And he brought his mom as his date.

Keava: Bonus points for bringing his mum, so sweet. I love a blue suit, as well. This is a well dressed man.

David Oyelowo

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Bronwyn: A red suit this time. The Selma star looks amazing!

Keava: It’s so refreshing to see men step up their style game on the red carpet – dress up isn’t just for girls. This sartorial risk definitely paid off.

Benedict Cumberbatch

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Bronwyn: British style, going for the James Bond look. Although most of the media focused on the fact he brought a flask into the awards, I still think he looks amazing. His wife also looked flawless.

Keava: The hipflask was so badass. Not a massive fan of white tux jackets, but he looked dapper and I respect that. Side note: literally couldn’t find a photo where he wasn’t attached to his new wife, Sophie Hunter. Very cute couple.  

Chris Pratt

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Bronwyn: Back to plain black suits for Pratt, however he still looks amazing.

Keava: This man can do no wrong in my eyes, and that’s all I have to say. That’s it for our Oscars roundup! We hope you enjoyed. Please share your thoughts with us – who were your best and worst dressed?

OSCARS: Which best actress nominee was best dressed?

by Rebecca Lumley

actresses

Although Julianne Moore was named best  actress for her role in “Still Alice”, the question remains; who won in the style stakes? Here are the talented nominees and their Oscars 2015 outfits.

1. Marion Cotillard

mar187th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

Marian went for a simple, chic, Parisian look in this classy white gown. The back, however, doesn’t really work and is both unflattering and unsightly. This detail, I feel, ruins an otherwise gorgeous dress.

2. Felicity Jones

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Jones, who was nominated for The Theory of Everything regularly looks as classy and timeless as the characters she plays. The high neckline on this dress is a staple of her wardrobe and the detail on the top half of the dress is lovely. The bottom half could do with less material, in my opinion, and looks somewhat clunky but overall, a nice, sophisticated look.

3. Julianne Moore

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Sticking with the light coloured trend we’ve seen with our two previous nominees, Moore dazzled in this embellished white piece. The material hung beautifully due to the heavy beading and the cut was simple, age appropriate and flattering on the Oscar winner. It’s safe to say that it was an all round successful night for Moore.

4. Rosamund Pike

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Rosamund looked ravishing in this lace, red number. The detail on the waist really pulls the eye in and emphasizes her dainty figure, while the slit and the bold colour add some sex appeal. Amy Dunne would be proud. (Bonus points for matching the carpet!)

1. Reese Witherspoon

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Reese is one of those celebrities who just doesn’t seem to age and can get away with looks she would have worn 20 years ago. For this year’s Oscars, however, she chose a simple, elegant dress which, in shape and colour scheme, wasn’t unlike Meryl Streep’s. Of course she looks gorgeous and her hair, makeup and jewellery are beautiful, but I think Reese could have gone for something a little more interesting. Just because she’s been transitioning to a more “serious actor” of late, doesn’t mean her clothes have to follow suit.

Verdict:

My personal favourite from this category has to be Rosamund Pike. The simplicity of her hair made sure the dress wouldn’t look tacky or overdone and her makeup was flawless. It’s unbelievably depressing to look at her and realize she only recently had a baby! She looks healthy, happy and her skin glows- not like she’s been up all night with a crying child. To top it all off, she triumphantly brought the fearsome Amy Dunne to life last year and truly proved what a talent she is.

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It’s Time We Saw The Reality Of Photoshop

by Keava O’Loan

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This week marks the 25th anniversary of the creation of Photoshop. It is also, coincidentally, the week which saw the release of unretouched images of Cindy Crawford in a spread for Marie Claire magazine, and over two-hundred unretouched photos of Beyoncé from a 2013 L’Oreal campaign. The most shocking thing about these images was not the fact that, like every other human on the planet, Beyoncé gets blemishes/has laughter lines/is in possession of pores, or that Crawford, at the age of 48, has wrinkles/has cellulite/has abs which are not quite as rock-solid as they were before she had two children. No, the most shocking thing was the public reaction – people are so accustomed to seeing edited and perfected images that we are now shocked by reality.

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Obviously we are aware of reality. We see ourselves every day in the mirror; we see our friends and family at both their best and worst. It is very rare, however, that we see a bare-faced, unretouched, totally true to life image of a celebrity. When these types of photos are available, there is a kind of public crucifixion: magazines circle blemishes and under-eye bags in their ‘hoop of horror’, the pictures go viral on the internet. Celebrities are meant to look perfect 24/7 because that’s the image they sell us. When the smokescreens and expert lighting come down, when we are ‘subjected’ to Beyoncé’s blemishes or Cindy Crawford’s cellulite, we’re disgusted. This wasn’t what we signed up for! We want escapism, glamour. We want to be able to believe that perfection is possible.

Thomas Knoll, the inventor of Photoshop, recently expressed concerns about the overuse of his program when discussing Photoshop with the press, saying: “Photoshop is a tool and like any tool it can be abused. A lot of stuff I’m not really happy with … especially the body image issues that it creates for a lot of women.” This is a sentiment that is shared by many, celebs included. Kate Winslet said of her heavily edited GQ cover in 2003: “The retouching is excessive. I do not look like that, and more importantly, I don’t desire to look like that.” Model Coco Rocha echoed this, saying:

“You see a model walk down the street and she’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt, no makeup, her hair down, and she looks like a regular girl. For me just to look ‘natural’ in a photo takes two hours of hair and makeup, good lighting, styling, and Photoshop – and six hours later, you have the picture. But when I go home, it’s just me with no makeup, pimples, and a pair of baggy pants. That’s life — the rest is fantasy.”

Crawford herself famously said: “Even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford when I wake up!” However, others are strongly in favour of the software. Jennifer Lawrence proclaimed her love for the editing tool when she spoke about her Dior campaign: “I love Photoshop more than anything in the world. Of course it’s Photoshop, people don’t look like that!” To a degree, Lawrence is right: when we live in a world so saturated with pictures that have been tweaked and perfected, of course we are aware that digital manipulation is at play. However, it is the oversaturation of these images in our society that causes the problem – when photos of people appearing in their natural state are considered to be grotesque, abnormal, or even brave, it conditions us to believe that perfection is the norm. Young girls shouldn’t grow up thinking that something is wrong with them if they have stretchmarks. Boys shouldn’t grow up believing that women don’t have body hair. They say the camera never lies, but it seems that has never been less true.

Fortunately, there is a silver lining to the leaking of these photos: it has opened up a public debate about the manipulation of the images we see daily. It gives us a chance to realise that an unretouched image doesn’t show us an ugly person; it just shows us a person. It gives us the chance to open our eyes to the media’s overuse of Photoshop and realise that nobody is flawless, not even Queen Bey. And that’s okay.

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Mixtape Memories: 5 songs that were on my very first mixtape

by Rebecca Lumley

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With the rapid technological changes that have taken place in the past few years, it’s easy to forget that just over a decade ago there were no iphones, ipods or even You Tube. The 90’s were a time of clunky aerial telephones, dodgy dial up internet and of course, mixtapes.

In 1999 I was four years old; “Family Guy” was first shown on tv, The Millenium Dome was built in London and I received my first mixtape. The tape in question was a present from my junior infants boyfriend (much romance, I know) and was filled with some of the biggest songs from the decade that still hold a special place in my heart.

The idea of the mixtape, to this day, still holds a certain romanticism. It was work to compile a tape like that as songs had to be recorded from the radio instead of downloaded in mere seconds from the internet. A mixtape was a personal gift, one that showed the person giving it to you knew you enough to pick songs for you. It’s a quaint, cute symbol of a less technologically driven time and the catalyst to romance in every 90s teen movie ever.

With that, here’s the top 5 songs from my very first mixtape that’ll bring memories of your childhood birthdays right back..

5. Mambo No.5- Lou Bega

We’ve all done the trumpet action when dancing to this.

4. Barbie Girl- Aqua

Naturally the lyrics to this mean something a little different now, but when I was four and thought it was about my barbies I adored it.

3. Wannabe- The Spice Girls

To this day I still have no idea what this song means but it’s one of the anthems to my childhood and was certainly one of the songs playing during pass the parcel at my fifth birthday.

2. U Can’t Touch This- MC Hammer

Classic.

1. Reach for the Stars- S Club 7

My absoloute favourite song when I was a child, this has to be number one. I’m still hoping for an S Club 7 revival!

Black Girl Problems

by Zainab Boladale

Foundation

Every time I visit the foundation aisle in a pharmacy or a beauty shop my shade of brown seems to be non-existent. I hope this isn’t a problem in countries that have a large black population e.g. the U.K and the United States.

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In many cases it is just that these retailers only order a small amount of darker foundation and they choose not to restock them once they are gone. This annoys me greatly as I always find myself wishing that the foundation shades available do not end at Caramel. Do they really expect me to pull off caramel foundation when I clearly need something that is three shades darker? I really hope not.

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Hair

When people ask me how long it takes me to get my braids done and I tell them it takes nine hours, it’s always the look of shock on their faces that amuses me. Their shock is always followed by “I could never sit that long”. In my head I am thinking “yeah, but if you counted how long it takes you to get your hair a certain way, you’ve probably collectively spent more than nine hours each week.

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Also, never spontaneously decide to touch a black girl’s hair. I mean, it’s just rude. Whether it’s her natural hair, braids, dreadlocks or a weave do not randomly decide to feel it. We spend a lot of money and time trying to get our hair a certain way and we will more than likely internally curse you for touching it. Even if you’re just curious.

Nude clothes

The fact that when I find myself in any clothing department there is only ever one shade of Nude available says a lot about our society. I mean, whose nude are we talking about here? It’s clearly not mine. If I want to buy nude tights or any other nude clothing items I should be able to find them easily and they ideally should be as close to my colour as possible.

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Token Black Friend

Just because I may be your only black friend does not mean I am the official encyclopedia for all things black. I do not speak or represent every black voice. Unless it’s a genuine logical question please keep your sometimes condescending questions and slightly racist comments and save them for this thing called the internet.

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The Top 10 Best Oscars Looks from the past 10 Years

By Bronwyn O’Neill

With the Oscars fast approaching, all of The Ink Ladies are waiting with bated breath to see who wears what. However, during the long, wait let’s look to the past and check out the top 10 Oscar dresses of the past ten years.

Gwyneth Paltrow (2012)

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Despite my disdain of Paltrow she looks stunning in the white number. It’s simple and figure flattering. With minimum accessories, this is definitely a great look.

  1. Beyonce (2005)

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Can Beyonce do anything wrong? Not even back in 2005 when there was a serious questionable fashion sense out there. This sleek black dress, with huge silver earrings flatters her figure.

  1. Amy Adams (2008)

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Although ivy green may not always be the most flattering colour, Adams rocks this look. It compliments her auburn locks and pale complexion. Although I’m not a huge fan of the bag, the rest of the look is flawless.

  1. Katherine Heigl (2008)

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The Rom-Com queen wows in red. The whole look is reminiscent of the glamourise fifties. Only the stunning Heigl could pull off this look.

  1. Jessica Alba (2008)

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Jessica Alba looks stunning in the plum look. 2008 was a year with amazing fashion. Alba looks drop-dead gorgeous, even rocking her baby bump.

5. Cameron Diaz (2011)

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This look is absolutely stunning. The glittering dress and accessories are perfect on this look. I don’t, however, agree with the red lipstick or nail polish- perhaps a nude tone would have went better with the whole ensemble.

  1. Amanda Seyfried (2013)

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The nude gown with golden design stands out against the competitors on the red carpet. Seyfried’s hairstyle compliments the high neck on this dress.

3. Jennifer Lawrence (2011)

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Jennifer Lawrence took the Oscars by storm in the sleek, sexy number. Back then Lawrence was generally unheard of, however she wowed people in this red dress and showed off her curves. Since then Lawrence went on to win an Oscar in 2013 and has already been nominated for two other Oscars.

  1. Mandy Moore (2011)

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This nude, sparkling dress is another one of my personal favourites. Once again, Moore wore minimum accessories (although the dress had enough bling to make for this). Her slicked back hair and 1950s inspired make-up leave this outfit in the runner up position.

  1. Lupita Nyong’o (2014)

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No one can say this gown wasn’t the most flawless look of the past ten years. Nyong’o came to the Oscars virtually unknown, however she stormed the award season. She won awards left, right and centre. If you don’t look at this dress and think she looks like a Disney Princess, you are wrong.