There are two great ways to update your existing wardrobe -- accessorising is one, but sometimes make-up is even better.
Experimenting with a vibrant lip colour or a brighter blush can transform a woman's whole appearance. "You can take a simple black dress and you can do so much with that black dress to revolutionise it -- through changes to your make-up," advises Annie Gribbin, owner of the Make Up Forever store on Clarendon Street in Dublin.
As one of Ireland's leading make-up artists, Annie (Pictured above, main photograph) knows all too well the transformative as well as uplifting properties of make-up.
I am reminded of one of the beauties of make-up, when Annie tells me about the time her company teamed up with Action Breast Cancer to give makeovers to 13 very sick women of varying ages who were undergoing treatment.
"It started off being very sad, but make-up is such a powerful tool. You want to have seen the difference in these women from when they arrived to when they left. They were so much happier and more confident."
As the sole Irish distributor of Make Up Forever (a successful French brand) in Ireland, and actually one of the first distributors in the world, Annie has worked with all the big names including Kate Hudson, Robbie Williams and Yoko Ono.
She went on to create her own easy-to-use make-up range, Face 2. A trailblazer in the industry, Annie opened the channels for make-up artists to work with photographers and stylists. She recognised the importance of make-up in fashion and helped to turn it into a newsworthy topic within the media world.
But in saying that, when it comes to making up women on a day-to-day basis, she's about the "beautiful" rather than the "trendy".
"Really, only very young people can wear trends. I think women in general need a formula. They open their bag, there are 10 products and those 10 products work for them in a certain way. Some days they have time for the 10 products, other days they may only have time for three or four. That is where I have always come from in my business," she explains in her strong Northern tones.
What many people don't realise about Annie is that she is also an educator. Over the years, in her successful make-up school, she has trained some of Ireland's best make-up artists.
"I have been 21 years in business. I feel as if I am only starting out", she says. "As a 51-year-old woman, I have so much energy. My poor auld' body is not as fast as my head sometimes, but I just feel that I want to take on the world at the moment."
It was the celebration of this 21-year milestone that spurred Annie into organising an edgy, sexy, rock-chic shoot in which female empowerment is the key, and rather than using fashion models, she and her staff chose to play the parts.
A very direct woman with a great propensity for chat, Annie is vocal about her philosophy. "How you put your best face forward is very important, even more important in times like this. It is all about perception, the few minutes you meet someone, you gather something in those few minutes that will leave an impression on you. When a person is a bit thrown-together, your mind is taken away from the message that's being delivered. We are judgemental like that."
On the subject of Botox and other cosmetic work, Annie is refreshingly honest. "I would be lying if I said I had never tried anything. You shouldn't be talking about things unless you have tried and tested them. I tested Botox. I have tested filler once." But, much like a lot of women out there at the moment, Annie doesn't think she will be returning to Botox any time soon. "I think what I would love to do is grow old a little gracefully."
Never one to rest on her laurels, Annie is always looking at ways to improve her business. She's in the process of launching a new make-up line, Annie G. Also, she's going "back to basics" with what she calls "class make-up". "It's bringing education into the home. You get your friends together -- eight of you -- you sit with your mirror, and we'll teach you steps in make-up. But instead of selling, we're going in to show people how to use it. That's the biggest problem of all, people don't know how to use their make-up".
Above all else, what's really admirable about Annie is her attitude.
Yes, times are tough, but she's hellbent on remaining positive. "We can't be the victim. We've got to get ourselves out of that complex. It doesn't help matters," she says.
Photography: Maciej Pestka www.maciejpestka.com
Styling: Maria Fusco, www.mariafuscofashion.blogspot .com or email email@example.com Hair: Maurica Flynn
www.mauriceflynn.net Make-up: the Make Up Forever team
Shot on location at The Mezz Bar, Eustace St, D2
Make Up Forever, 38 Clarendon St, D2 tel: (01) 679-9043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
STOCKISTS : Om Diva, 27 Drury St, D2, tel: (01) 679 1211
Bow Boutique, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, D2 tel: (01) 707 1763. Paula Rowan, Westbury Mall, D2, tel: (01) 674 6662. Loulerie, 14 Chatnam St, D2 tel: (01) 672 4024. Bertoni, St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, D2 Tel: (01) 478 1906.
Harlequin, Castlemarket St, D2 tel: (01) 671 0202.
Bonzie Crotty, see www.bonziedesigns.com.
Jenny Vander, Drury St, D2 tel: (01) 677 0406
Sunday Indo Living