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Kate wore a pair of Shelley MacDonald earrings during her visit to Canada. Source: Getty Images
Yukon-based designer Shelley MacDonald on what it's like to have the Duchess of Cambridge as a client.
On a late summer day, it was business as usual for Carcross, Yukon-based jewellery designer Shelley MacDonald. A woman stopped by her boutique to buy a pair of earrings, and seemed especially curious about MacDonald’s story. It didn’t feel like an important moment for the designer at the time, but it turned out to be a stroke of serendipity.
The shopper who bought the earrings was Natasha Archer, stylist for Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Archer was searching for local brands to dress the DoC in, and picked the sculptural bronze ‘Modern Ulu’ earrings.
After photos surfaced of Kate Middleton touring Carcross and Whitehorse wearing the earrings, Shelley received a message on Facebook asking if she would be selling more. She didn't want to believe the earrings were hers until she knew for certain. “I zoomed in and they were mine,” says MacDonald.
Thanks to the “Kate Effect” (remember how fast her famous Issa engagement announcement dress flew off the shelves?) it’s not surprising that business is booming. “Since the start of this interview, I got three more orders on my Etsy store,” says MacDonald. But the designer isn’t about to let this change everything.
Many have asked MacDonald if the "Modern Ulu" earrings are going to be renamed after the Duchess, and whether the designer has would increase the price with growing demand for the jewellery. The answer to both questions is no. “I want everyone to be able to afford my jewellery,” she says.
The "Modern Ulu" earrings worn by the Duchess.
MacDonald grew up in the countryside, surrounded by nature. As a designer, she draws inspiration from the plants, flowers and landscapes around her.
“I’ve lived in many different places, and it seems like everywhere I live, my jewellery kind of changes,” she says. In Whitehorse, MacDonald has been experimenting with gold nuggets found in the Yukon, and she travels as far as Indonesia and Thailand to source gemstones.
At home in her studio, MacDonald crafts everything by hand herself, something that hasn’t changed despite the growing demand.
And while MacDonald was touched by the Kate Effect, her jewellery has its own effect – one that clearly made it worthy of Royalty.
You can order the same pair of bronze earrings, which MacDonald now engraves with a tiny letter K as a special detail, from her Etsy store.
Celebrity hairstylist Jen Atkin with James Dyson, founder of Dyson.
A $500 hair dryer, to be precise.
I rarely blow-dry my hair, if ever. After learning about the technological glory of the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer, I was intrigued enough to want one, but I didn't feel worthy. So at the launch event in New York City, I asked Jen Atkin, celebrity hair genius – see her work with Chrissy Teigen, Kim/Khloé/Kourtney Kardashian, Bella Hadid, etc. – and Dyson ambassador, to convince me otherwise. (Spoiler: She did.) Below is that conversation.
Maybe that’s because you don’t have a good blow dryer.
Honestly, here’s the thing. My personal friends have asked me: ‘Why is it $399 [American dollars]? Like, I’m not going to spend $399.’ I explained to them, we only own so many dryers in our life. And, P.S., they only say that until they actually see the dryer in person and then they’re like, ‘Oh shit, can you get me one of these?’
It’s just so revolutionary. I feel like the dryer needed to be reinvented. It needed a face-lift. It’s been so long since anything innovative has really happened! When I sat with them over a year ago, when I heard about the technology behind it, the facts – four and a half years to make, $71 million [in research] behind it – I was sold. That’s enough for me. I trust the name. I trust Dyson and I think that everything they put out is really tested and perfected.
When I first saw the size, I was like, ‘There’s no way. This is not going to be as good as my other dryers’ [because it's so small]. Then they plugged it in and I was like, ‘Can I take this home?’ It’s been so fun for me to teach my clients about the diffuser, because I think the diffuser has been long lost, but we need to bring it back.
Yeah, diffuser and mousse.
Well I think Gen Z and Millennials, they don’t even know about the ‘80s hairstyles. They’re like, ‘Cool, what’s this [a diffuser] called?’ It’s about teaching people that you don’t have to start from scratch and blow-dry your hair straight and get a curling iron to put wave in it. Most people can actually get natural wave, the effortless cool girl look, using a diffuser and wave spray or a mousse. For girls with really coarse and frizzy hair, we have three different nozzles.
100%. And by the way, don’t use the brush with the diffuser. I think people brush their hair too much. You just want to get life into it.
The dryer is so much shorter than the heavy, old-school bulky dryers, you can actually get to your hairline and get those annoying parts a lot easier.
No. That’s another thing: We’re all taught to turn it up all the way, so it’s all the way high [pressure], it’s all the way hot. People need to understand that different hair types need different air flow settings and temperature settings.
So for instance, with a diffuser, I would probably turn it down to a medium heat and a low to medium air flow setting, because you don’t want the hair flying all over the place. You’re actually trying to just cup [the hair]. It’s like cooking a soufflé. You want to gently.
I feel like most girls that I work with are actually pretty good at styling their own hair. I did send out a few Dysons to my VIPs and I got rave reviews.
Layers, more shaggy. I think girls that want to grow out their lob, the best option is to get a heavy fringe like we’ve seen on the red carpet a lot [recently.] Diffuse your bangs and let them be fuzzy and curly.
I do here and there. I’ll usually work to brinh a client’s natural texture out and then I’ll put a few bends with a flat iron in it if I need to perfect some areas. But I’m all about the girl on the go. When I’m doing hair, I’m trying to find ways to get really cool looks quickly.
I think I’m never done with anything because everybody has specific styles. For more formal events, I’m kind of inspired by the ‘90s. I love a good topknot with some fringe falling down. That’s very ‘90s to me.
I did Chrissy Teigen’s hair a few weeks ago for this Ellen performance that she had, and we just used a smaller curling iron and brushed it out, it was kind of like an old school roller set, and we actually loved it. It was supposed to be funny but we were like, ‘Oh my god, this actually looks good.’ And now we’re probably going to do it for red carpet.
You have to pay attention to what you’re wearing. If it’s a busy dress, don’t go crazy with the hair. Don’t have too many accessories. It’s one or the other.
It’s all about the styling concentrator. What I’ll usually do is spray hairspray and use the styling concentrator at the same time, just so that it gets that nice sheen and stays in place. It’s hard to do on your own. You need like three hands. Use a toothbrush to get those baby hairs down and then just blow-dry it with cool air. Not hot, cool.
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The filter’s in the handle. I don’t know one person in my life that’s ever cleaned their blow dryer filter, ever. And that’s really gross, because we only have a few blow dryers in our lifetime, so they’re probably disgusting. Because the filter's in the handle, you’re not going to get your hair caught in anything, nobody’s going to catch on fire. And you can actually twist it off and clean it. There’s a button that alerts you when it needs to be cleaned.
It’s just like a mess. It’s dusty.
After a day in the salon, I can’t breathe. It’s crazy. But yeah, the Supersonic is amazing. There’s nothing that they didn’t think of. They did a heat protector around the magnetic attachments so you can take the nozzles on and off really easily.
Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer ($500), at dysoncanada.ca.
Kenzo x H&M launches next week, but we're already wishing (and perhaps predicting) the next H&M designer collab.
How can the next H&M collab possibly match Kenzo? Tapping Marc Jacobs to dream up next-level clothes is a start.
Simone Rocha is no stranger to collabs (she offered up a ruffled take on denim for J Brand) and we’d love to see her feminine, pearl-embellished creations reach an even wider audience.
Fans of H&M’s 2011 Versace collab would have lots to get excited about if some embellished, risqué Puglisi designs hit the H&M floor. Just picture the gilded shoes and jewellery.
H&MxDVF has a nice ring to it, no? Much like Olivier Rousteing of Balmain, Diane von Furstenburg has the power to summon the likes of Kendall, Gigi and Karlie (see: the DVF Fall 2016 runway) for another collab with serious star power.
Sacai’s Chitose Abe ingeniously mixes techniques and materials for clothes that feel refreshingly off-centre, and with a Nike collab under her belt, she’s proven that her creations can have mass-market appeal. Are you listening, H&M?
Just think of the cool denim and edgy ankle boots that could come out of this Swedish double hit.
We can only imagine the sweet-yet-quirky pieces this collab would produce.
Massimo Giorgetti has been designing his cheery and sometimes-irreverent line MSGM for four years, turning it into a bona fide style fixture. A collab with H&M would bring his playful prints and wild accessories to an eager fan base.