on style, she rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 February, 2008, 12:00am

I've heard art dresses are big for summer but where can I find one and will it cost as much as a Rembrandt?

Art Lover, Southside

The Dictator rules: You've got the wrong end of the stick. The art-inspired fashion of spring/summer is more modern - think Jackson Pollock, for example - than Rembrandt. Expressive paint splashes, such as on Yves Saint Laurent's printed silk dress (HK$10,200; Lane Crawford, IFC Mall, Central, tel: 2118 7777), are in. Marni started this trend a season before everyone else and has continued this spring with abstract prints on dresses (from HK$6,900 to HK$7,500; shop 214, The Landmark, Central, tel: 2845 7632). Rebecca Taylor puts splashes of moody colour on dresses at a lower price (HK$3,400 each; Sistyr Moon, shop 113, Lee Gardens Two, Causeway Bay, tel: 2576 1930). For a touch of Asian art, Vivienne Tam's dresses (from HK$3,400 to HK$3,800; shop 215, Ocean Centre, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2117 0028) feature black brush strokes reminiscent of Chinese calligraphy.

Where can I find coloured lip gloss that does not contain petroleum? It makes my lips dry but I never know it's in the gloss until it's too late.

Petro-fied, Clear Water Bay

The Dictator: Aren't you a Sensitive Sally? Why do I have a feeling you'd notice a pea under the mattress too? Burt's Bees has a Lip Shimmer (HK$88; Mannings, shop 1011, IFC Mall, tel: 2523 8326; www.burtsbees.com) in various colours made from 100 per cent natural ingredients such as vitamin E and coconut and sunflower oils. Shea butter is a good alternative, so try the limited selection (HK$115 each) at L'Occitane (24 Russell Street, Causeway Bay, tel: 2591 1681). Aveda is committed to developing sustainable-plant-based alternatives to petrochemicals. Its Lip Shine or Lip Glaze (HK$160; Faces, Ocean Terminal, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 3188 1538; www.aveda.com) is naturally coloured by beetroot, beta carotene and berries.

Dr Hauschka's Novum Lip Gloss (HK$200; Lane Crawford, Pacific Place, Admiralty, tel: 2118 3668; www.drhauschka.com) contains antioxidant, vitamin-delivering sea buckthorn oil. In addition to petroleum and petrolatum, you should avoid propylene and butylene glycol. You'll love the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website (www.cosmeticsdatabase.com), which lists ingredients and potential toxins in more than 25,000 products. (Hint: ingredients are usually listed on the box rather than the product itself.) Note: you could make your own lip gloss at home with beeswax, coconut oil and other natural ingredients.

What do magazines mean when they say shoes are made of 'exotic skin'. Where can I buy some?

Exotic Pleasures, Central

The Dictator: I love this question. You're basically saying, 'I don't know what it is but I want it.' Did someone say fashion victim? Rather than the usual pig or cow, exotic skin refers to the hides of more unusual animals, such as snake, lizard, ostrich, crocodile, alligator and stingray. Snake, particularly python, is popular. We love the flats by Lanvin (from HK$6,700 to HK$6,800) and Magrit (HK$2,950; both at Lane Crawford, tel: 2118 7777). Jimmy Choo has some fabulous snake-skin flats and heels (from HK$5,290 to HK$7,800; shop 213A, The Landmark, tel: 2525 6068). We'd even be happy with the cream and black Mary Jane-style flats or classic pumps (from HK$399 to HK$599) at Vickie (G/F, 6 Li Yuen Street East, Central, tel: 2522 9013). For dangerously sexy heels, look to Sergio Rossi's pointy-toed pumps (HK$4,900; shop 255, Pacific Place, tel: 2918 0872) in metallic or solid colours or let Christian Louboutin snake another pair (HK$8,950; G/F, 7 On Lan Street, Central, tel: 2118 0016) into your wardrobe. You could have some custom made by Mayer Shoe (shop M3, Mandarin Oriental hotel, Central, tel: 2524 3317), which has samples of, for example, baby crocodile hide.