Holiday Gift Guide Part 1 — Tempting Trinkets For The Glamorous Seductress Inside Every Woman
With only one week left until Thanksgiving, it’s officially time to kick off our Holiday Gift Guide spectacular! As we’ve done every year in the past, we’ll be rolling out multiple gift guide installments every few days, each with a uniting theme. For our very first round-up, we turned to the femme fatales immortalized in film, to the infamous courtesans of 19th century France, to the burlesque stars of the ’40s and ’50s, and to all the everyday women who embody sensuality. These gift ideas, then, are influenced by these bombshells but they’re also meant to bring out the inner temptress in any and all women. After all, what woman doesn’t want to feel like she can bring any man (or woman) she desires to his or her knees? Prepare to be enticed, bewitched, and magnetized.
Jurlique Limited Edition Glow Rose Body Oil, $68. Available at Jurlique.com
In life, you have to take the time to stop and smell the roses — and, if you’re a seduction expert, then you can entice your prey to enjoy your rose-scented skin. This limited-edition 200ml body oil smells like a handful of velvety rose petals, but its aromatic allure is only part of its appeal. The lightweight oil also nourishes the skin, balances its moisture levels, and makes skin appear luminous thanks to ingredients like safflower seed oil, macadamia seed oil, jojoba seed oil, rosemary leaf extract, lavender flower extract, birch leaf extract, and horse chestnut seed extract.
Amanda Pearl Francia Black Lace & Red Moiré Clutch, $1345. Available at AmandaPearl.com
Red is the color of passion. Embrace the intensity and ardor of the hue by carrying this cylindrical clutch, measuring 8 3/4″ in length, 2 3/4″ in width, and 2 3/4″ in height. Made in Italy, it features a red moiré base decorated with a black lace overlay and topped with a sculpted golden closure with Swarovski crystals.
BaubleBar Tundra Drop Earrings, $34. Available at BaubleBar.com
These iridescent glass-and-acrylic earrings measure 2.9″ in length, so that they graze the sides of the neck and practically kiss the shoulders. When a woman wears her hair up and dons these glimmering danglers, then, she’ll feel like an elegant swan — the very creature that Venus, the Roman goddess of love, found sacred thanks to its beauty and grace.
Those coy eyelash flutters will be way more effective when hairs have gravity-defying length. Lashes will reach for the stars when coated with the best-selling Benefit They’re Real! Mascara, which features an innovative brush with staggered bristles that lift, curl, and lengthen lashes while coating them in a glossy, jet-black color. This holiday season, Benefit has given the mascara a party-ready makeover, adorning its cap with shimmering Swarovski crystals.
Aquazurra Milla Jeweled Suede Sandal, $1295. Available at NeimanMarcus.com
These nude suede sandals feature an audacious 4.3″ heel, a loop caged upper with a self-tie front that winks to bondage-inspired designs, and round and teardrop-shaped crystal embellishments that feel opulent and majestic.
Maybelline New York Up in Smoke Palette, $14.99. Available at select mass market retailers.
Nothing says “bedroom eyes” like a smoldering, feline, smokey eye look. The new Maybelline New York Up in Smoke Kit features all the essentials for women to stage their own film noir, placing themselves in the starring role of femme fatale. The kit features two square trays that slide out: one that contains four eyeshadow shades (one a pearlescent white, another a satin silver gray, one a matte asphalt black with scattered specks of silver glitter, and a deeper matte carbon black) and a double-ended sponge-tip applicator and another that contains a cool, peony pink powder blush with a hint of shimmer, as well as a tiny blush brush. Behind these two trays, there are grooved slots that accommodate a wide black eyeliner and a mini lipgloss in a baby pink hue. When you slide out the two top trays, meanwhile, you discover a square pan with a velvety highlighter in a pearlescent pink champagne hue.
To get an idea of the come-hither eye looks that can be created with this palette, check out swatches of the four shadows therein:
Next, think of how cheeks can be played up and the face’s bone structure can be emphasized through the use of the blush and highlighter shades in the palette, shown here:
And last, imagine finishing the look with a touch of the demure pink gloss, pictured below:
How can the Up in Smoke palette not light your fire?
Cushnie et Ochs Lace-Up Stretch-Knit Cotton-Blend Dress, $1450. Available at Net-a-Porter.com
Picking a body-conscious dress that’s sexy but not scandalous, tantalizing without venturing into tawdry territory, can be challenging, but this Cushnie et Ochs gown manages to hit that pitch-perfect note with strategically placed open-knit panels above the hips and a plunging, lace-up neckline that reveals just enough skin.
Marquis by Waterford Brookside Pastel Aqua Ice Bucket with Tongs, $69.95. Available at Waterford.com
Who can forget the scene in The Graduate when Mrs. Robinson asks Benjamin Braddock to keep her company inside her empty house, pouring herself a glass of bourbon before announcing her husband won’t be home for hours? Would the scene have been quite as effective had it transpired elsewhere, far from Mrs. Robinson’s bar? Probably not. This aqua-colored Marquis by Waterford Brookside ice bucket will not only keep drinks cool, but it will help to set the stage for any night of passion. Cheers to that!
Amrita Singh Raiza Necklace, $275. Available at AmritaSingh.com
This lavish bib necklace — crafted using antique gold-toned brass and featuring clear cubic zirconia stones and faceted ruby red Austrian crystals — exudes such an incandescent energy and such a regal splendor that it feels like it belongs on the neck of Moulin Rouge‘s Satine.
Trish McEvoy Sexy 9 Blackberry & Vanilla Musk Eau de Parfum, $98. Available at BlueMercury.com
When you spritz this creamy yet mouthwateringly juicy aroma onto your wrists and inhale, you might just feel aroused — by your own scent, no less! This fragrance doesn’t have the word “sexy” in its name as some sort of marketing gimmick: it’s an olfactory ode to carnal pleasure, sinuously sensuous and subtly beguiling. The ripe and sweet scent of blackberries permeates the fragrance, which also includes romantic and feminine tiare and Amazon lily notes and, most importantly, a creamy vanilla base that feels inviting and tender, along with a velvet musk scent that augments the aphrodisiac-like quality of the aromatic composition.
Cosabella Box of Love 4 Pack Thongs, $89. Available at Shopbop.com
Who needs a box of chocolates? A heart-shaped box of thongs is way more useful and way less hazardous to the waistline. This special Cosabella set incorporates four stretch-lace, low-rise, semi-sheer thongs in various solid colors.
Michael Aram Black Orchid Vanity Tray, $80. Available at MichaelAram.com
Made of hammered silver-toned nickel plate, black nickel plate, and black vegan leather, this rectangular tray is the perfect place to store perfume bottles, makeup brushes, and other vanity table staples. Part of Michael Aram’s Black Orchid Collection, the tray was inspired by the gothic sensuality of this particular blossom, with the sculptural, blackened nickel orchids hovering above the tray creating a dark atmosphere that’s then countered by the luminosity of the tray’s hammered metal sides.
Keratin Complex Best-Ever Blowout Kit, $30. Available at KeratinComplex.com
Channel Kim Bassinger’s character in LA Confidential with soft 1950s waves. To achieve the look, rely on the Keratin Complex Best-Ever Blowout Kit which features a 3 oz. Keratin Color Care Shampoo and 3 oz. Keratin Color Care Conditioner, both of which restore elasticity to hair and help to prevent frizz. The star of this kit, however, is the Infusion Keratin Replenisher, a leave-in treatment formulated with hydrolyzed keratin, as well as: hydrolyzed soy protein, which helps the hair seal in moisture and improves strands’ tensile strength; hydrolyzed wheat protein, which can penetrate the hair shaft and “seal” any cracks in the cuticle layer, giving strands a smoother appearance; echinacea extract, which improves blood circulation within the scalp and stimulates hair growth; and rosemary extract, which also facilitates hair growth and also boosts shine.
French Connection Wednesday Stitch Maxi dress, $398. Available at USA.FrenchConnection.com
The “naked dresses” Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez donned at this year’s Met Gala (and in J.Lo’s case, the Billboard Music Awards and the Oscars after-party) may be way too risqué for your regular non-celebrity gal, but that doesn’t mean we can’t flaunt dresses that play with notions of sheerness and opacity in a more subtle fashion. This floor-length French Connection dress is a prime example since it features a knee-length, sleeveless, navy camisole-like slip shell that covers up all of one’s naughty bits, but it also incorporates a sheer overlay that creates the illusion of nudity. The long sheer sleeves feature perforated detailing that add to the mysteriousness of the design, while the floral embroidery and beadwork create a dark but romantic fashion fairy tale.
Buccellati Baroque Pearl and Diamond Necklace, $185,000. Available at ModaOperandi.com
Any woman would feel as worthy of adulation as Venus on the Half Shell when wearing this operatic necklace, which has 27.90 carats’ worth of rose-cut diamonds and 209 carats’ worth of gray Baroque pearls. Made in Italy, this Buccellati necklace features teardrop-shaped pearls dangling inside wreath-like stations comprised of thin golden flecks reminiscent of twigs, with iridescent diamonds nestled along inside each oval-shaped, open-center frame.
TOCCA Beauty The Naughty List Gift Set, $15. Available at Sephora.com
TOCCA fragrances are popular with some of TV’s strongest, sexiest, most powerful female characters — from How to Get Away with Murder‘s Annalise Keating to House of Cards’ Claire Underwood. This rollerball perfume gift set would appeal to women like Annalise and Claire, women who know that, as Billy Joel once said, the “sinners have much more fun.” First, there’s the Colette EDP, named after the libertine Parisian poet and novelist who penned Gigi, a scent that combines sweet but zesty citric notes of bergamot, mandarin, and lemon with spicy pink peppercorn, warm amber and incense, and creamy vanilla; Brigitte, inspired by screen star Brigitte Bardot, which features sweet tropical papaya and slightly sour rhubarb top notes that lead to an iris and saffron heart, all tempered by a sandalwood and musk base; and Cleopatra, an aromatic tribute to the Queen of the Nile that incorporates juicy grapefruit and watery cucumber notes, both of which were purportedly part of the icon’s extensive beauty routines.
BCBGMAXAZRIA Leather and Lace Gloves, $98. Available at BCBG.com
The push-and-pull between fragility and strength, between tenderness and toughness, is perfectly captured by the juxtaposition of leather and lace — just think of Stevie Nicks singing to Don Henley, “Give to me your leather, take from me my lace.” These black goat leather gloves, adorned with golden nude nylon lace, tap into that irresistible combination. The fleece lining, meanwhile, keeps hands warm and cozy.
LORAC Love, Lust, and Lace Pro Matte Lip Color Set, $24. Available at ULTA.com
Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond. Rita Hayworth as Gilda. Lauren Bacall as Amy North. All of these screen legends brought their respective femme fatale characters to life with a little help from some matte lipstick. Get into the glamazon spirit with the three matte lip pencils in this set, part of LORAC’s Love, Lust & Lace holiday collection. Each retractable lip pencil features a pointed tip for precise application, and the creamy formula glides right atop the skin without any scratching, tugging, or dragging. The Love, Lust & Lace PRO Matte Lip Color Set includes the Pink Taupe shade currently available within the Matte Lip Color range, along with two exclusive hues: French Rose and Mulberry. Check out swatches of all three shades below:
The perfectly on-trend Mulberry, a full-bodied wine hue, will bring out your inner vamp, while the perky and innocent French Rose, with its honeysuckle pink tone, will make you feel as giddy as a love-struck teen.
Baird & Baird The Cobblestone Clutch, $3800. Available at BairdAndBairdOnline.com
If you associate the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, Catalonia, and Provence with romantic strolls and stolen kisses under cast-iron, wall-mounted, bracket lamps, then you’ll cherish this unique 24k plated brass clutch, featuring raised, rounded but asymmetrical black onyx stones that create an appearance reminiscent of cobblestone.
Eve Lom The Award Winners Gift Set, $100. Available at Barneys.com
There’s nothing sexy about dull, sallow, fatigued-looking skin. That’s why all bombshells need to give their complexions the requisite TLC. The limited edition Eve Lom The Award Winners gift set helps to restore skin’s radiance. The much-lauded, balm-based Eve Lom Cleanser, designed to be used with the enclosed muslin cloth, features Egyptian chamomile oil, eucalyptus oil, clove oil, and hops oil that together decongest pores, remove dirt and bacteria, soothe skin, and promote natural exfoliation and cellular turnover while the cocoa butter in the formula hydrates and softens skin. The Eve Lom Rescue Mask, meanwhile, makes tackling breakouts, puffiness, and redness a breeze thanks to a combination of kaolin clay, camphor, and honey.
L’Agent by Agent Provocateur Estella Basque, $198, and Estella Brief, $50. Available at LAgentbyAP.com
Men might act like they’re indifferent to the type of undergarments their spouses, girlfriends, and lovers wear, but that’s only true of solid-colored cotton briefs and boring full-coverage bras. If you strut into your boudoir in the Estella basque, your boy toy will take note of what you’re wearing — and, most likely, he’ll take his time admiring you in it before stripping you down further. The glamorous piece features balcony style bra cups crafted out of black stretch corded lace, with straps of ruched lace forming apex shapes above each bosom before attaching to the ruched bra straps. Sheer stretch tulle panels and stretch lace panels comprise the basque’s body, their placement cleverly creating slimming, figure-flattering shapes. Satin elastic strapping further contours the female silhouette. Complete the look with the black stretch corded lace Estella Brief, which has an open rear with cheeky criss-crossed straps
Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry Peach, $40. Available at ReserveBar.com
Building upon the tropical taste of Caribbean oranges that distinguishes the original Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge cognac, the Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry Peach liqueur adds even more scrumptious fruits to the mix, incorporatingEuropean raspberries and rare red peaches from France’s Ardeche region to the original blend. The result is a sweeter iteration of the original cognac that lends itself to brunch-perfect cocktails. Try mixing it with champagne for a novel take on a Bellini.
A woman who loves, laughs, weeps, and lives with intensity needs a skincare regimen about which she’s passionate, and the products within the Fresh Skincare Affair gift set will elicit this emotional reaction. The ultra-gentle Soy Face Cleanser will lure her in with its creamy but lightweight consistency, the ease with which it glides over the skin, removing dirt and makeup without stripping the skin of any moisture, how it rinses off completely to reveal a softer and smoother complexion. She’ll be wooed by the Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil, featuring a hydrating, skin-firming, soothing, softening blend of omega acid-rich seaberry oil, cranberry seed oil, camellia seed oil, grapeseed oil, and sweet almond oil. She’ll savor every dab of the Rose Hydrating Gel Eye Cream, which will keep the skin around her eyes cool, radiant, and refreshed, even after long and steamy nights. Her lips will be caressed by every swipe of the Sugar Lip Treatment, which will keep her pout supple and soft thanks to the moisture-preserving sugar and nourishing meadowfoam and black currant seed oils in the formula. Her private indulgences will include sipping a glass of Sauvignon Blanc while letting the Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask work its magic for 10-15 minutes, later revealing a more luminous, bouncier, softer visage. Even the most seasoned seductress will find herself unable to resist the charms of these skincare products, finding herself in the unusual role of besotted.