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The 31 Best Beauty Instagrams of 2015

2015 is coming to a close, leaving a stream of memorable, inspiring, and transformative beauty Instagrams in its wake. Each week on, we share our favorite recent beauty moments as seen on the app, from behind-the-scenes runway snaps to beach-day selfies (or #belfies, as the case may be)—after all, it provides an instant glimpse into the lives of the models, makeup artists, and style influencers who pioneer beauty trends soon to be seen around the globe. And, like a well-edited beauty yearbook, a quick backward glance at our chosen photographs makes identifying the looks that defined the year as easy as a simple scroll.

Kendall Jenner at the 2015 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

Images: wedding dress adelaide

All things gilded and opulent were in favor these past 12 months, a trend owed in large part to makeup artist Pat McGrath. Hairstylist Luigi Murenu captured one of McGrath’s mothlike mask creations—crafted from an ethereal medley of pearls and lace—backstage at Givenchy’s Spring 2016 show, where Murenu finished off the artfully regal look with a metallic gold headband wreathed around a slicked-back bun. McGrath continued her reign with a takeover in the Tuileries, where she dusted her newly released, high-impact fairy dust—the Pat McGrath Project in Gold 001—on the eyes of Bella Hadid, Imaan Hammam, Lily Donaldson, and more. Offbeat trendsetters like Sky Ferreira and sisters Simi and Haze found streetwise ways to embrace the sparkle on eyes and lips alike.

When it came to hair, romantic plaits and waves were defining factors this year. Brushed-out, Marcel-inspired waves saw a resurgence at Lemaire, a look mirrored in modern fashion by model Frederikke Sofie—who paired her signature peroxide mane with a pair of rounded black spectacles worthy of Woody Allen—andFernanda Ly, whose pastel pink shade recalled a cotton-candy cloud. And braids took on new life: From Mary Charteris’s woven, paisleylike crown to Georgia May Jagger’s mini buns (an homage to Minnie Mouse) to Lisa Bonet’s baby braids, interwoven styles felt fresher than ever. And last but not least, Kendall Jennerarranged her glossy mahogany mane into a halo of hearts, resulting in the most-liked Instagram photo of all time.

From memorable manicures—Caitlyn Jenner’s sky blue thumb against a Starbucks cup was proof that a picture is worth a thousand words—to the return of Derek Zoolander, this year’s best beauty Instagrams reminded us to have fun, smile more, and think outside the box. Here’s to embracing beauty in all forms in 2016.

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Fashion notes: Flats are fab, but don’t get too comfy

In November, vice president of global buying at Net-a-porter, Sarah Rutson, made a visit to ­Dubai. At an intimate gathering at Jean-Georges restaurant, she gave a presentation on her top 11 trends for spring/­summer, and a theme that became rather recurring throughout many of the trends, was the flat shoe.

It was enlightening to hear a top international fashion ­figure chat about the trend ­appeal of flat shoes – a refreshing change from the stereo­typical picture of snobby fashion editors and sky-high stilettos. While a big part of me is overjoyed to hear this, there’s a little voice in the back of my head anguishing over the depletion of heels in the market. It’s no grass-roots fad; the flat-footed trend has swept up the fashion elite.

Fashion notes: Flats are fab, but don’t get too comfy

Images: royal blue bridesmaid dresses

The fact that designers have taken to dressing their models in flats on the runway goes to show the power of the heelless shoe. It marks a certain drift from the typical high-heeled definition and portrayal of femininity to a more laid-back, pressure-less style, which somehow retains and can even add to the wow factor of a look. A good pair of metallic brogues, taupe loafers or even Nike trainers can certainly work wonders for an outfit.

When I get ready in the ­morning, sometimes the ­process of deciding what shoes to wear with my outfit becomes dreadfully time-consuming. Pointed flats or strappy sandals? T-bar wedges or printed Oxfords? For fashion girls, it’s vital that your shoe game is on point. Take a look at the ­image on the right. Which shoes would you pair the rose pink sweater and accessories with? Do you automatically gravitate to one or the other? Or would it depend on the kind of mood you’re in, or the type of event you’re attending?

Heels and flats are becoming more and more intrinsically interchangeable. And while flats are becoming increasingly acceptable in all aspects of fashion, you have to admit, they don’t always evoke the same overall image as heels do. If you know me at all, you’re aware of the fact that I hardly wear heels, and practically live in trainers. I’m not one to trudge around airports, shopping malls or the office in products that pinch my toes and make my heels sore. But I also appreciate that romantic and powerful attitude that high heels can project onto a wearer, and I don’t think that we should do away with them altogether. By all means, splurge on stylish flats, but at the same time, preserve your heeled beauties, too, and ­recognise when they should be worn.

After wearing only flat-heeled shoes for many months, when I tried out a pair of heels the ­other night, I just couldn’t take it. I felt like a clumsy ­kitten learning how to use its legs, and was so ashamed of my awkward walk that I kicked them off and put on a pair of ballerinas instead. Footwear can make or break a look – and these flats definitely broke mine. Worse, I turned into a ­depressed, snappy ­monster and was slightly insecure about my outfit throughout the night. I saw other women turn up in their Manolo Blahniks, ­Jimmy Choos and Zara ­renditions and wish I had just soldiered through my high heels – ­pinches and all.

Footwear really makes all the difference in an outfit – and while flats are appropriate for most occasions, there are some events, particularly evening ones, where heels hold all the magic. All I ask is that you give both a fair chance – and if you ultimately decide on flats, ­maybe carry a pair of heels with you in the car just in case you change your mind.

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Express's Holiday Collection Will Have You Dressing Like a French Girl This Season

Get ready to celebrate, because the season of stylish soirees and blowout bashes has arrived. And while planning outfits for such occasions may seem like a daunting task, fear not. Thanks
to Express’s new high-end Edition collection, which includes nearly 60 pieces of ready-to-wear and accessories, finding a fete- appropriate ensemble has never been easier.

sole sisters 01

Just ask 20-year-old twin models Kelsey and Baylee Soles, who tried out some of the line’s suit-inspired separates and dazzling black informal wedding dresses for our shoot. “I would definitely wear these pieces to holiday parties,” says Baylee, the brunette of the duo. “They look and feel like they’re by a luxury brand!” Considering she’s an expert in quality clothing— in fact, both sisters have walked for Miu Miu and Saint Laurent and appeared in a Lanvin campaign—we’ll take her word for it.

If you’re going for stronger more structured look this season, Express has got your back. Their new lineup boasts a ton of borrowed-from-the-boys styles that have been infused with a feminine twist. Take inspiration from both of Baylee’s looks and layer the oversized tuxedo vest or military-inspired jacket on top of a gauzy shirt for a strong, standout ensemble. Want to add a touch of rock n’ roll? Easy—just throw on a pair of leather pants, grab a statement clutch and we guarantee you’ll be turning heads.

You’re more drawn to Kelsey’s feminine outfits, you say? The collection has a stunning black princess wedding dresses for every taste—from glitzy and body hugging to long and flowy—so you’re in good hands. Top any of them off with the line’s luxe maroon faux fur and brimmed black hat and you’ll achieve a Saint Laurent-esque look that’s the perfect balance of glamorous and edgy. Hedi Slimane would approve.

Although we love both of the aforementioned aesthetics equally, the latter seemed to strike a chord with of the twins, who both chose the black lace minidress as their favorite piece from the collection. “It goes along with my personal style really well—Baylee and I are actually pretty similar and share a lot of clothes,” explains Kelsey. “Yeah,” adds her sister, “we love ’70s and ’90s style.”

The best part about being twin models aside from sharing wardrobes? The lack of career
rivalry. “At the end of the day,” Baylee explains, “if Kelsey
books something and I don’t, it’s still kind of my face, too.”

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