Tops from CMND-Z at Bryan Lee.
Courtesy Photo

Au Courant

Beautylicious: Product snobs rejoice! And I use that term with love—searching out high-quality potions for our skin and hair and stuff should be every bit as high on the priority list as locating hormone-free beef and fair trade chocolate, doncha think? After all, this stuff goes On. Your. Face. The Cos Bar, a luxury beauty emporium with locations in towns where few would blink an eye at the phrase “luxury beauty emporium,” has launched an outpost in Montecito (1253 Coast Village Rd., Ste. 203). The mini-chain (the Montecito location makes 12) is famous for the fact that, since the first shop opened in 1976, owner Lily Garfield has hand-picked and tested every single item. Inside, expect to find a skincare, makeup, and fragrance collection as meticulously curated as the collection found on the walls of any museum—and goods from the likes of Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Clé de Peau, Dior, La Mer, Lancôme, Laura Mercier, Nars, Yves Saint Laurent, and Hermès.

You Wear Art Well: Any StylePhile worth her wardrobe knows that the best art is the kind you can take with you—on your back (or your legs, or your feet … ). And S.B. artiste Lindsey Mickelson’s designs are just that. Inspired by her paintings, her tops are all one-of-a-kind–in fact, there’s a fine art version of every piece, as she worked on canvas before she worked with cotton—with killer graphics and shapes that are stylishly reminiscent of Flashdance. (What a maniac!) For now, the duds from Mickelson’s CMND-Z line are exclusively on the racks at Bryan Lee, where her art also graces the walls.

Movin’ On Up and Movin On: In happy news, vintage, one-off, and otherwise unusual wares for the home and the bod have a new home on State Street, in the form of Carp transplant Punch Interieurs (1223 State St., Ste. 1). The new location is the perfect place for a shop like Punch, which rewards those for whom perusing never gets old: It’s tucked right next to Arigato, and you’ll have plenty of time to work up an appetite while checking out the goods … And in news of the bummer variety, Arcobaleno Trade is no more. Owner Amesia Doles Garcia has opted to return to San Francisco, leaving a monstrous void in the fair trade space—but, thanks to the space-sharing deal she had with bean-slinger French Press (1101 State St.), at least we can nurse our disappointment with a piece of their killer blueberry buckle. And then make our way to the other end of the block, where the brand-new Free People shop (1127 State St.) promises to use its breezy, bohemian wiles to make us forget all about ole what’s-its-name.

Shop This: Or should I say plant this? For all you Anthropologie-variety earth lovers, the shop has a little treat in store, in honor of Earth Day. Stop by 1123 State Street next Wednesday, April 21, 2-5 p.m., for a container gardening workshop, “tailored to space-starved urban botanists.” And if your thumb isn’t as green as you’d like, well, I’m sure you can find a lovely top that is.

Spotlight On

The Face-Lift of the Ancients

Everyone wants to look young. But not everyone is willing to go under the knife. Or the needle—especially when that needle comes loaded with chemicals or, you know, poison (yes, botox, I’m talking to you). But there’s another kind of needle that’s being wielded to fend off the effects of Father Time, and licensed acupuncturist Patricia Pilot believes her hair-thin needles are powerful enough to get women to stop resorting to such drastic, unnatural measures altogether. Canadian-born Pilot is enthusiastic and passionate, although she describes her foray into acupuncture school as somewhat accidental—she was visiting her mom, looking for warmer climes, and, well, one thing led to another. (She also has her mother to thank for her remarkably light touch, a side effect of years of using her über-sensitive mom as a guinea pig.)

After the four years of the intensive schooling required to earn her acupuncture license, her announcement that she wanted to focus on anti-aging work was met with scoffs from her teachers. Pilot went for it anyway, and, upon meeting her, I promptly decided it was a good move: Her skin is perfect. And her philosophy makes perfect sense: The itty-bitty needles she uses on the face wake up the skin and its underlying mechanisms. As Pilot says, “It’s like, ‘Foreign invader!!’” And the body deals with it accordingly, sending all sorts of healing energy its way.

The needles themselves stimulate collagen and elastin production, while lifting and toning muscles, diminishing wrinkles in the process. In addition to the facial acupuncture, her “face lift” treatment includes an ancient Chinese herb mask, which calms redness and evens skin tone; a jade roller lymph treatment, which helps to diminish puffiness and bags; a pearl powder mask, which stimulates collagen and treats sun and age spots; Tui Na facial stimulation and acupressure, which improves circulation and detoxifies; and a Gua Sha treatment, which further detoxifies. Everything she uses is meticulously sourced.

While a treatment or two won’t give you the same results as Joan Rivers’s surgeon’s scalpel might (um, thank god), she said her clients report a lot of what’s-your-secret?-type comments from friends. Being the intrepid reporter that I am, I decided I should probably see for myself. The nearly two-hour treatment was simultaneously relaxing and energizing. A scar leftover from a youthful indiscretion (college-era eyebrow ring—though I hasten to add that this was the late ’90s, I was totally ahead of the curve) gave Pilot a chance to practice a new passion: scar treatment, which she’s beginning to use—to dramatic effect—for those who have more serious scars. She threaded needles all around the scar, and, by the next day, its appearance was significantly diminished—as were any number of fine lines, which paired well with my sparkling eyes and glowing skin. But don’t take my word for it: I ran into some friends the next day. “You look great!” they said. “Did you do something to your hair?”


Pilot takes appointments on Mondays at Skin Essentials in Montecito, and makes house calls, too. To book, call 636-6522.


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