Hit & Run: A model makeover?

If you need a photo taking, where do you go? Mario Testino is busy, passport booths make everyone look like a government anti-crack campaign, and Snappy Snaps can be a bit harsh. My friend went recently, and when she suggested that the results weren’t exactly Holbeinesque, the ‘artiste’ responsible replied sullenly that “the camera never lies”. Then there’s the average makeover studio, where subjects submit to transvestite make-up and a tight perm before being photographed sitting backwards on a chair.

Enter Harrods’ new portrait studio, which aims to put a classy spin on the makeover. “This is the first of its kind,” says the salon’s CEO George Hammer. Dubbed ‘Lights, Camera, Beauty’, its new package recreates a photoshoot, as you pick a designer dress and jewellery, (I reached for the what I thought was the one avant-garde dress on the rail only to find it was the hairdressing cape) sip champagne while your hair and make-up is done and ‘reportage’ pics are taken, then sit for the portrait or “hero shot” (not to be confused with the money shot). Costing a lip-smacking £1,450 with fashion photographer Tony McGee, and £595 for an artistic director, there is a waiting list before it opens on 1 November.

Anyone who loves being the centre of attention will thoroughly enjoy it, but your uptight correspondent had trouble surrendering to glamour, Harrods-style. The photographer decided I was a bluestocking, and quipped, “when your novel wins the Booker I’ll take the author photo,” I sighed with relief. “This isn’t literature, it’s fashion and beauty!” McGee announced, and the wind machine appeared. After vetoing the “gentle breeze”, and flattening my hair, I was fairly happy with the result. And that’s as good as it gets for us fussy fashion writers.

Carola Long

Ego-readers make a name for themselves

It's hardly My Very Own Fairytale, in which your nipper's name is inserted into a book's narrative so they become the hero, whether they're slaying the dragon or helping Santa to deliver his gifts. More a sauce-filled, personalised journey into the heart of Mills and Boon. U Star Novels is just part of a growing trend in which adults can log on to a website (in this case Ustarnovels.co.uk), insert their name, that of a friend or paramour and – voilà – they become the central character in a romantic novel. Sample text: "Marmaduke's tongue found the chocolate on his cheek...he scooped two fingers into the ice cream and daubed Sheherazade's nose".

The books are proving a hit with forces sweethearts missing their loved ones. What's more, just in time for Christmas, Firebox.com has launched the opportunity to do the same with the classics, so anyone can have their own "ego-read": Dracula, Frankenstein, Romeo and Juliet, Pride and Prejudice and even Alice's Adventures in Wonderland are available to tinker with. "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Tracy is the sun."

Rob Sharp

Definite case of oversharing

Posting status updates on Facebook can be a dangerous business. Telling the world you're pulling a sickie is a one-way ticket to sackedville, while whining about your mother-in-law in cyberspace is just as ill-advised. Some people, though, take it to a whole new level. Today's prize for over-sharing goes to Maxi Sopo, a fraudster on the run with $200,000. Instead of lying low and avoiding the attention of the US authorities, who were keen to track Sopo down, the Facebook fan posted a series of status updates telling everyone what a splendid time he was having in Cancun, Mexico, boasting that he was "just here to have fun". Unwise, perhaps, but not as idiotic as inviting a former US Justice Department official to his friends list. Said official put a swift end to Sopo's jaunt and, presumably, his access to social networking sites for the foreseeable future.

Rebecca Armstrong

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power