On style, she rules

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 12 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 12 February, 2012, 12:00am


We just moved to Hong Kong and I cried when I found out I'm pregnant again. I'm happy, but didn't keep any of my old favourite maternity clothes by Isabella Oliver, the only brand that didn't make me feel like a whale. I checked the website, but I couldn't see if it's sold here. Just thinking about having to shop for more pregnancy gear is freaking me out.

Belly Ache, Happy Valley

The Dictator rules: What's the question? Is pregnancy affecting your ability to research, to see, or to control your feelings? How should I know? I'm not a doctor. I do know that the label, founded by Vanessa Knox-Brien, Baukjen De Swaan Arons and her husband, Geoff van Sonsbeeck, offers that rare combination of stylish, contemporary, well-made and flattering maternity clothes, but there's no need to get all emotional on me. I simply sent an e-mail to the brand's customer service team (via www.isabellaoliver.com) and received a swift reply from a certain La'Toya. She told me the brand is carried by Linea Negra (5/F, Pacific House, 20 Queen's Road Central, tel: 2522 7966) and Mother Court (33 Sharp Street East, Causeway Bay, tel: 2890 6288). Don't feel like elbowing your way through the stores? Well, the brand does have an online store. Express delivery to Hong Kong takes three to five working days and costs US$29.95, while it charges US$14.95 for standard delivery, which will take about two weeks. Those of you who like your weekly dose of celebrity gossip will be happy to know the Isabella Oliver line has a celebrity following, too, which includes Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani and Jennifer Garner. Another place to find fab maternity wear is Nine Months, which has countless international brands at its real and virtual stores (5/F, Tung Yiu Commercial Building, 31A Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2868 5988; www.ninemonthshk.com).

I've tried every waterproof mascara around but they all rub off on my eyelids. Is there any hope of me finding one that actually works?

Getting Lashed, Tsim Sha Tsui

The Dictator: Aha, you've inadvertently pinpointed the problem. You said 'waterproof'. What you need has nothing to do with water and everything to do with oil. Yes, I did just call you greasy. Before you protest, it's your eyelids I'm talking about. So you can buy all the waterproof mascara you want, but that's not going to change anything. Instead, focus on your lids. A make-up artist trick is to apply a smudge-proof eyeshadow or primer first. The Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base by Nars is pretty fantastic (HK$240; Faces, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, tel: 2111 9142). Made with a mineral powder and polymer, you might feel as if you were painting your eyes white, but it's actually light and dries quickly without caking, and it definitely helps to keep your eyeshadow, mascara and eyeliner from shifting. You could also try Paula Dorf's eye primer, which also has a version suitable for darker skin tones (HK$192; Beauty Heroes, 15/F, Eton Building, 288 Des Voeux Road Central, tel: 2850 5278). Silica is supposed to be a great anti-oil ingredient and it's used in MAC's Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder (HK$210; Elements, 1 Austin Road West, Kowloon, tel: 2196 8050). As the name suggests, you finish with it. In this case, that means applying foundation, eyeshadow and/or eyeliner, then the powder, then the mascara.