Anne Lee goes behind the scenes of Harper's BAZAAR Malaysia's Most Stylish Women shoot, and discovers the ultimate beauty secrets of the city's style trailblazers.
Black Lancôme bottles exchanging from one bejewelled hand to another, the sound of laughter filling the air as the soft tinkering of a baby grand sets the mood, while a delectable private afternoon tea is served in the living room of the BAZAAR Penthouse at The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur. Here, 15 of Malaysia's Most Stylish Women have gathered, lounging across the sofa in the season's best, Bvlgari's jewels providing the finishing touches, for a photographic weekend unlike any other.
Amid breathtaking views of the city centre, the beauty station on the second floor is filled to the brim with luxurious Lancôme treats, from high-tech serums and decadent creams to rich rouge lipsticks-- all lined up for pure indulgence.
The first order of the day? Smooth, luminous skin as the perfect base for flawless make-up. And what more efficacious way is there to fortify the skin than with Lancôme's Advanced Génifique Serum? Housed in a sleek amphora-like bottle-- known in some beauty circles as the little black bottle-- this iconic probiotic-rich serum contains biotechnology-mastered microorganisms at the heart of its formulation that works wonders for the skin's cell life. The lightweight concoction releases active ingredients into the skin, and helps reveal an instantly reinvigorated and visibly smooth complexion. First line of defence, check.
Next up, moisturiser-- but not just any cream, of course. Harper's BAZAAR Malaysia's Most Stylish Women of the year are some of the first in the city to experience Lancôme's latest Absolue Soft Cream, an impressive creation borne out of bold biotechnology processes. Delivered directly to the BAZAAR Penthouse the very same day it arrives at the Lancôme headquarters in Malaysia, the jar of gold is an immediate hit. It is love at first sight for most, as we unbox the Absolue Soft Cream and the women ooh and ahh, the delightful scent of roses filling the air.
"The lush, rosy scent is so calming, and the cream feels so soothing and luxurious at the same time," gushes Sophia Khan, co-founder of Classruum. "I'm so excited I get to experience it before its official launch in Malaysia!" Tapping into the regenerative powers of the Lancôme Rose-- a crossbreed of Centifolia Rose and Rosa Damascena created by Georges Delbard-- the Absolue Soft Cream features an exclusive active ingredient using the Grand Rose extract, essential oils, and concentrate. The thick-to-thin formula goes on rich and hydrating, but upon application, absorbs immediately and lightly veils the skin in a sensorial rose-scented pleasure. A hydration supercharger, its polymorphous texture prompts the hydrophilic rose molecules to release H20 into the skin, leaving it plump and supple, and promises regenerated and repaired skin in 16 days-- an absolute need for the modern day woman.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION
On the other side of the BAZAAR Penthouse, looking every bit the style star in her high pony and deliberately mismatched gloves, Misha Shah, managing director of Atelier Fitton, stands in the middle of a crowded set. Like a 21st-century Scheherazade, her expressive visage tells many tales, enticing the camera to come closer to her within each shot. But even more alluring than her emotive photographs is her flawless skin. Her on-set secret? Lancôme's Teint Idole Ultra Wear 24H Foundation, which fuses seamlessly with the skin and settles to a velvety-matte finish, staying put despite the hot camera lights on Misha, as she gets into her various poses. Having gone through five formulation improvements since its launch in 1997, the foundation is easily a second-skin confidence booster.
Back at the beauty station, fashion designer Ezzati Amira, dressed in Bvlgari chandelier earrings and a Max Mara turtleneck, pops in for a lipstick change. To complement Ezzati's Schiaparelli elegance, we have the intense Lancôme L'absolu Rouge Drama Matte Lipstick in Drama'Atic, a rust-red that spells edge and sensuality, applied in a few simple swipes. Created by Lisa Eldridge, Lancôme's creative director, and available in 24 shades of incendiary reds, flamboyant oranges, and piercing browns, this matte cult favourite also works as an emollient, keeping flaky lips at bay with nourishing oils such as jojoba. Spherical powders keep the lips Insta-ready at all hours, too, making this a true beauty masterpiece to carry in the bag, wherever, whenever.
As cameras flash, dramatic twirls are happening by the banister, beautiful women are decked in glistening diamonds, and sweeping embellished dresses have the Stylish Women at the centre of attention-- all in the presence of a full crew. With or without an audience, life should absolutely always be this beautiful.