CULT CANDLES: A.P.C, Bella Freud, Diptyque (and the rest)

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So it seems the world is divided into those who love fancy scented candles and those who don’t get the fascination. If you do, they can become something of an addiction (ahem). If you don’t, well, you may as well stop reading now. But not all posh candles are created equal. Some (many) are just an easy add-on to a brand’s beauty output; others are so powerful, that they become cult objects in themselves. Yes I’m thinking of the Pinterest cliche of everyone’s favourite Diptyque Figuier arranged on a silver vanity tray alongside a posy of roses for optimum effect. My absolute favourite are the Fornasetti Profumos in their collectable ceramic holders. What’s yours?

FESTIVE: MILLER HARRIS BOIS NOISETTE
I like mulled wine-scented candles just as much as the next person but sometimes, something less obvious is called for. I recommend Miller Harris’s Bois Noisette candle for its comforting, gentlemanly qualities. It’s a cheery blend of fruity berry (pimento berry to be precise) meets dark chocolate, underscored by ginger absolute which gives it a hit of sharpness. At £70 it’s a luxury candle but the scent is intense enough that you don’t need to burn it for long to get the full effect.

FESTIVE: FORNASETTI MALACHITE
This is the opposite of rich and warming, it’s a different kind of scent than you’d expect from Fornasetti. From the green and gold malachite-effect holder to the sharp pine-y notes, Fornasetti’s Malachite candle is wintry and fresh smelling. The green notes hit you first, then you get the cedar wood and patchouli heart, followed by the sandalwood and amber base. The holder itself is a thing of beauty and this is my number one choice for luxury-lovers.

UNISEX: BELLA FREUD GINSBERG IS GOD
An oldie but goodie, I love this herby fig leaf and tomato candle in its cult black pot. It’s definitely a cool candle and a great one for gifting to couples.

UNISEX: JO MALONE LONDON OUD & BERGAMOT
I’m not a traditional oud fan but in this candle it’s combined with bergamot and orange granite so you get the lovely mysterious warmth of oud cut with a twist of citrus. The dark packaging of Jo Malone’s Cologne Intense line is also a little more blokey than the classic cream and black.

UNISEX: MALIN & GOETZ VOTIVE SET
This trio of teeny votives by Malin & Goetz is another good unisex choice with its masculine notes of dark rum, tobacco and vetiver. It’s also fairly affordable at £34 for three. (Currently unavailable in the UK online, but I’ve seen it in SpaceNK stores.)

CALMING: AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES NIGHT TIME RITUAL SET
This is a candle with a rather nice bath oil attached. I think we can all agree that Aromatherapy Associates makes quite the best relaxing bath oils. The candle is an added bonus that will make bath time the most blissful pampering treat ever. (And I noticed it’s in the sale if you buy from Birchbox #winning)

CALMING: A.P.C ORANGE BLOSSOM
Not sure if it’s just because it reminds me of my happy place but I find this sweet orange blossom candle so relaxing. It’s definitely eau de A.P.C, I spend enough time in their stores that I’d recognise it anywhere and I always fine the stores themselves quite Zen-like. One for the wannabe Parisian minimalist.

EVOCATIVE: ASTIER DE VILLATTE
Astier De Villatte candles are all named after places and very evocative, so a lovely choice if you want to be reminded of somewhere special. They’re expensive but the handmade ceramic holders are a big part of the appeal so one for artisan-appreciators. For the best experience, go to Liberty and browse all their other ceramics as well.

EVOCATIVE: DIPTYQUE FIGUIER MINI CANDLE
The Diptyque Figuier candle is the one that started it all off and its green, fruity smell still has the power to perk up a blah mood. The £20 mini candle is a good one for travelling or as an affordable gift option.

EVOCATIVE: CIRE TRUDON
These power-packed churchy candles are not for the faint hearted. They’re proper scented candles for those who want fragrance wafting through every nook of the house. I love the reverent woody-meets-citrus notes of Odalisque, deliciously blended with hints of vanilla and orange blossom.

UPLIFTING: ACQUA DI PARMA
The traditional citrussy smell of Acqua Di Parma’s signature cologne is so unique and sophisticated, it never gets old. The accompanying candle in its understated frosted holder is equally timeless and reassuring.

UPLIFTING: TORY BURCH
If you buy into the Tory Burch lifestyle you’ll love the classic orange design of this cult candle. Its notes of citrus, sandalwood and jasmine sum up the Tory Burch brand of uptown tomboy elegance. One to place next to the stack of rare photography books and vintage Hermes ashtray.

SHOP THE POST BELOW

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
MAIN IMAGE: Hawaiiancoconut.tumblr.com

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: JIGSAW, LOUIS VUITTON, INTO THE GLOSS

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1. JIGSAW PROFITS END THE YEAR ON A HIGH

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Nice news to end the year on for Jigsaw. The FT reports that sales and profits are up at both Jigsaw and DRG fave The Shop At Bluebird (where sales up up 39% this season –wowza). According to the FT, the uptick is thanks to better product, quality and customer service. I haven’t paid much interest to Jigsaw in recent years but there’s been lots to love in their winter coats and cashmere knits this season. And The Shop At Bluebird continues to delight in its offer of, well everything to be honest, that store bricks-and-mortar heaven for me!


2. LOUIS VUITTON EMBRACES AIRPORT FASHION

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In time for the mass exodus of the 1% to warmer climes, Louis Vuitton has opened its latest store – at Heathrow Airport terminal 5. Crucially, this store isn’t just aiming to push the usual fare of small leather goods, watches and sunglasses. It’s a serious store selling ready to wear in recognition of the fact that the airport has become as much a shopping mall as any high street. (In Korea, ‘airport fashion’ is a major thing where people dress up to stalk celebs in the departure halls.) Cue the Cruise collection of Ghesquiere’s porthole sweaters and maritime flares, in addition to all the travel goods you could wish for.

3. INTO THE GLOSS 2.0

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This has been quite the year of Into The Gloss, Emily Weiss’s blog-turned-site-turned-beauty-brand. In a recent interview with WWD, she talked about the success of her product line, Glossier, promising us colour cosmetics soon (and hopefully some European distribution)…

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

First look at Chanel Burlington Arcade – the beauty boutique

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Oh yikes, Christmas is only four days away and the cut-off for most online deliveries has pretty much passed. This article in the Evening Standard made me chuckle as I’m such a grumbler about the inconvenience of online shopping, it just isn’t quite there for me yet. So if you still have shopping to do, there’s no option than to hit the stores. And this is where Chanel Burlington Arcade comes in.

Burlington Arcade is quite the prettiest shopping arcade in London. There’s been a bit of a rebranding of it lately, it’s become more of a mini Bond Street, with luxury newcomers such as Barrie knitwear and Maison Michel (both owned by Chanel) moving in, and last Friday’s opening of the latest Chanel beauty boutique.

I think if you’re going to buy Chanel beauty, why not buy it from a Chanel store to get the full luxury experience? And this one is so nicely done with its witty wall reliefs and double-C window display (the Cs are made up of actual Chanel perfume bottles – well of course they are!). You can buy make-up, perfume and skincare here and there are two floors above which I imagine will be for private consultations etc once it’s fully opened…

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Chanel, 54-55 Burlington Arcade, London, W1J 0LB

London life: Artist Residence Hotel, Pimlico

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If you loved the glimpse of the Artist Residence Hotel I shot in recently (with Vanessa Jackman), here’s everything you need to know about it. Located in London’s genteel Pimlico, it’s the third in a trio of homely residences that feel more like a home away from home than a glam-but-impersonal hotel. The original Artist Residence was born in Brighton in 2008, followed three years later by Penzance. What they share is a mix of heritage-y reclaimed furnishings and fittings with artworks from up and coming talent and a laid back ambience.

At Artists Residence London, the ten rooms are spread throughout the five floor former pub, each one individually decorated to deliver comfort, charm and style in equal measures. We used the Grand Suite as our base, a spacious suite with high ceilings, gigantic windows and open plan bathroom (complete with claw-foot tub). The Loft Suite is smaller but I loved the cute window partition, tea crate tables and squashy velvet armchairs for sinking into. Throughout the hotel you’ll notice unique touches, from the parquet flooring reclaimed from an old schoolhouse, to Belgian work tables repurposed as desks. The young owners scoured antique shops across Europe and the UK, including DRG haunt, The Old Cinema and the excellent Retrouvius (browse their website at your peril).

To contrast with the cosy club chairs and lived-in lounge-y feel, there are modern artworks in the rooms and common areas – I spotted two by Eine, adding graphic colour to the reception area. The hotel can be private and cosy or jolly and convivial depending whether you want to hole up in your suite or hang out in the lounge or bar. The restaurant alone is proving a draw in the neighborhood, with its inviting awning and street view windows. The menu is a frequently changing one of small tasting plates serving meat, seafood and vegetarian fare (and breakfast for hotel guests).

In a vast city like London it can be hard to find smaller, characterful hotels that aren’t permanently booked. This one is slightly off the beaten track yet only five minutes from the throb of Victoria Station. Quite the perfect find then, just keep it to yourself…

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ARTIST RESIDENCE LONDON, 52 CAMBRIDGE STREET, SW1 4QQ. Bedrooms from £160

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Vanessa Jackman

Quote of the day: Raf Simons on fast tech

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“I have a huge disinterest in technologies that accelerate cultural speed. Immediately, they make me uncomfortable. But I’m fascinated by what society is becoming, and its evolution. I am watching the behaviour more than the thing itself…I am more interested in mystique and romance, what’s difficult to find, aesthetics that are not in your face. There are things you immediately know are surface, and other things the opposite, and I’m more interested in the opposite. When you find everything so easily, you don’t look deeply anymore and you don’t investigate anymore. And you get bored.”
Raf Simons, Style.com

Ask Alison: Shopstyle and American Express collaborate for ‘Style Inspiration Hub’

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Shopstyle Inspiration Hub

Here’s the latest ‘Ask Alison’ guest post from retail expert and DRG contributor, ALISON BISHOP, on the new editorial ‘hub’ from ShopStyle.

It seems like the whole *social-curation/discovery-commerce/influencer-marketing (*choose your term du jour) trend has been crystalised with a new collaboration between ShopStyle and American Express. After a soft launch in November, the Style Inspiration Hub will be live for six months and hosts a range of curated content from fashion and beauty bloggers, industry insiders and online retailers. Susie Bubble leads the charge, writing about her signature eclectic style.

Of course everything is instantly shoppable and there’s new ‘style influencers’ content every week. Continue reading

Kovert jewellery to the rescue of the over-connected and tech-tired

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2015 might be the year I stage my own digital detox intervention. I seriously don’t think I can take one iota more of online over-stimulation. To help us all, there’s Kovert, a line of fine jewellery designed to assist us in managing our tech-obsessed lives. Launched by tech-consultant-turned-entrepreneur, Kate Unsworth, it’s the ‘wearable’ for people who want less, not more connectedness. Continue reading

On trial: Google Glass for Yves Saint Laurent Beauté make-up lesson

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Last week, I donned my beauty editor hat to try out the new Google Glass makeup lesson service at YSL Beauté in Selfridges. The service launched earlier this year in the US and has worked its way to London, exclusively at Selfridges.

HOW IT WORKS
You book an appointment which costs £30 (redeemable against purchase). I had my appointment with the charming Fred Letailleur, YSL’s head of make up for northern Europe, who is not only an expert make-up artist, but is now a master Google Glass user. Which is a considerable combination that needs extreme focus. Not only does the make-up artist have to concentrate on what they’re doing to your face, but they’re also operating a tiny camera (embedded inside the ‘glasses’) with discreet movements, and engaging with the customer – answering questions, making you feel at ease etc. Continue reading

Quote of the day: Suzy Menkes on fashion’s merry-go-round

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“In my heart, I would wish for young designers not to get hooked on this fascinating but dangerous game. There may be an instant buzz, but I think that a long and steady read – for example, as for Alber Elbaz at Lanvin – is the way to lasting fashion happiness.”
Suzy Menkes said it best. As Frida Giannini vacates Gucci, Menkes laments the fashion merry-go-round, Vogue.com

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: BURBERRY, VALEXTRA, GUCCI, VALENTINO, FORNASETTI

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Here’s the latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, a round-up of the brands currently buzzing on my radar…

1. NAOMI CAMPBELL AND JOURDAN DUNN FOR BURBERRY SS15

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Oh to be a fly on the wall of the new Burberry ss15 campaign featuring Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn. I love the colourful energy of this campaign and – note to Santa – as a key focus of the collection, the trench coats are being made available to buy from today at Burberry.com (with the rest of the collection on sale globally from January 5th). Continue reading

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