Farewell, Sonia Rykiel

What sad news about designer Sonia Rykiel, who passed away yesterday at the age of 86 after a long illness with Parkinson’s disease. It’s well known that she was no longer at the creative helm of her brand, but it was such a strong brand that it retained her striking identity throughout the numerous successive creative directors.

To me Sonia Rykiel will always be about chic girls in oversized knits, wearing boyish berets and long scarves. And the cheery, graphic stripes. And that copper-coloured triangle coif. Stylish, intellectual, independent…who wouldn’t want to be a Rykiel girl?

Sonia Rykiel by Dominique Issermann

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Dominique Issermann
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Christmas in July: Jo Malone Christmas 2016

Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection jumbo cracker with bespoke contents

Christmas in July has got to be the most mind-boggling concept if you don’t work in this industry. Traditionally it’s the time when brands and stores show their Christmas wares to long lead press, giving them ample notice to plan their pages (shoots are done up to five months in advance). But even bloggers get invited to Christmas in July events because they’ve become perfect photo-opps for feeding the social media beast.

I’ve found that my Christmas in July posts are among my most popular blog content. In particular, I’m talking about the Jo Malone London Christmas in July press day. A Jo Malone press day is a major happening, beautifully themed and styled with fantastic attention to detail. It’s unashamedly styled for social media, with calligraphed hashtags everywhere, fancy table settings and always a surprise experience begging to be tweeted, Instagrammed and Snapchatted.

All that aside though, what we really care about is the products. So here’s what Jo Malone Christmas 2016 has in store for us…

The candle and cologne There’s a delicious new candle launching for Christmas called Orange Bitters (below, £90 for 100ml) which you’ll love if you’re drawn to grown up citrus scents. It’s very sophisticated, so not a sweet, cloying citrus, just crisp and fresh (and apparently great combined with Pomegranate Noir).

To accompany that is the beautiful Orange Bitters candle (below, £120 for 420g), which this time is a ceramic-lidded candle. For the gift market this is killer. It’s Jo Malone, it’s a candle, it’s a new scent and it’s in a decorative, reusable vessel. That’s got to be a total sell-out!
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection ceramic candle and cologne in Orange Bitters
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection ceramic candle in Orange Bitters

The advent calendars Correct me if I’m wrong, but beauty advent calendars don’t seem to be on the wane yet. Jo Malone’s gigantic Advent Calendar (below) is exclusive to Harrods for the month of October, before rolling out everywhere else. Each day has a different mini product, from a cologne to a scatter candle. On a smaller scale is the House of Jo Malone London box (£130), consisting of six minis; a 30ml cologne, travel candle, lotion, body crème, hand wash and glass bottle of bath oil.

Jo Malone Christmas Calendar 2016

The crackers These really are the gift that keeps on giving, they make such no-brainer ‘cupboard gifts’ for those unexpected emergency gift situations. For £33 you’re getting a mini body crème, cologne and body & hand wash.

And then there’s the biggie, the supersized ‘bespoke’ cracker (below) containing a home candle, body & hand wash, body crème and 100ml cologne. You get to choose which scent you want in each of these products so this has to be the ultimate personalised beauty gift.
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection jumbo cracker contents

The gift sets There are tons of different gift sets from Jo Malone London every year, from cologne collections to bathtime coffrets (are we allowed to call them coffrets?). For a hardcore Jo Malone aficionado, I like the new miniature candle collection; five different scented 35g candles for £66 (below).

And I would certainly not object to the Bathtime Collection (£48, below) of bath oil, bubble bath and shower oil in three different fragrances, each one 100ml.

Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection candle set
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection gift set of shower oil, bubble bath and bath oil

The novelties If you just want something small and fun, go for the Jo Malone Christmas ornament (£22), this time in a magical harlequin print containing a Peony & Blush Suede 9ml cologne and a mini Grapefuit Body Crème.

Come December you can also pick up a personalized hand stamped bauble in certain boutiques when you buy two items.
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection personalised baubles with hand stamped initials
Jo Malone Christmas 2016 collection baubles

And if you can’t wait til Christmas and want to self gift now, I can recommend the Jo Malone London Cologne Intense Body Crèmes. Cologne Intense is my favourite type of Jo Malone fragrance and I’ve been using Oud & Bergamot Body Crème (£60) all month. Buy it at Jo Malone London and Selfridges.

WORDS AND IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here





Future Beauty trend report: Top 5 takeaways

Future beauty trends 3INA beauty concept

It’s ages since I’ve been to one of The Future Laboratory’s trend presentations and its Beauty Futures forum is always jam packed with insights, stats and mini Q&As. I recently attended the briefing for the next big things in beauty and wellness, so read on for my five top takeaways.

Look at the expansion of Covent Garden’s ‘beauty quarter’ and suddenly the old school department store beauty hall seems very old fashioned indeed. These days, beauty consumers are informed and well-researched, so want their beauty shopping environment to reflect that. So less of the hard sell and more of the try-before-you-buy experiential format.

Millennial-friendly retailer Sephora is streets ahead here. Its San Francisco concept store, The Beauty Tip Workshop (below) lets visitors play with product in a community environment, assisted by in-store experts. Social media sharing is, of course, encouraged. Newbie beauty brand 3INA (top) is equally experience-focused, with walls of colour and video content that inspires its ‘3INAMAKERS’ to interact and experiment.
Future beauty trends roundup Sephora The beauty TIP concept store San francisco

Unsurprisingly, we’re seeing this attitude most evident in youth-focused brands. The short attention span of this demographic values speed. Fast beauty means constant newness of trends, with instant results such as pacy, easy-to-follow videos. Hence the trend for dynamic screens in store and online that serve up snack-sized beauty trends and tutorials. This is a highlight of another newcomer, Milk Makeup (below), which has a heavy focus on personalities and brand advocates. But instead of celebs or bloggers, it‘s enlisted 40 creative professionals to deliver its message of instantaneous, low maintenance beauty.

Unlike fast fashion, this needn’t mean un-conscious consumerism. “Fast doesn’t mean compromising. Some of our products are tested seven times. As a new brand, you can question and affect the supply chain,” says 3INA’s head of marketing Helen McGee.

TAKEAWAY: Most beauty purchases are still made in store but research is done online. Make your physical store a dynamic, experimental destination with digital editorial that advises and inspires.

Unsurprisingly, much of the social growth has come from South Korea, where social media and beauty are twin obsessions of on-the pulse-consumers. Its favourite beauty influencer Irene Kim is one of the brand ambassadors for The Estée Edit (below), the social media-driven brand launched by Estée Lauder. Sold in Sephora stores and online, The Estée Edit is very much an attitudes-driven brand. Inspired by and catering to the Instagram generation, its products are designed to make you look as good on a phone as IRL. (News just in, Estée Lauder is also behind Flirt, a playful, social-driven beauty line with Amber Rose as its figurehead.)

The Estee Edit Kendall Jenner and irene kim

As the stats prove, the reflection we see in the screen is as important as the one we see in the mirror. Research by Dove reveals that 82% of women in the US believe social media drives the definition of beauty now. And in findings from Statista, social media accounted for 90% of beauty brand consumer interaction in 2015. Take the face mask craze; all those multi masking selfies were responsible for a 22% expansion in the UK face mask market in 2015. Last year also saw the online frenzy for Pat McGrath Labs, the influential make-up artist’s fledgling product offering (below). The first run of limited edition pigment kits sold out in minutes thanks to the stampede from her 500,000 followers. Part of the appeal is Tumblr-style e-commerce that’s focused on inspiration as well as product. It’s all about the emotional connection, not just flawless results.
Pat McGrath Labs website

TAKEAWAY: Use Instagram as your news outlet to create pre-release buzz to bloggers and customers. And use your visuals as an inspiration mood board, elevating it to the same level as products to create engagement. Remember, images matter more than words in a fast-beauty, social-sharing landscape, especially on mobile.

The wellness movement continues to flourish and it’s generally acknowledged that beauty is no longer limited to cosmetics and skincare. Example: Selfridges’ Body Studio, its new 37,000 square foot destination that encompasses sportswear, a Hemsley + Hemsley café (below), beauty supplements and an energising feel-good environment.

Hemsley + Hemsley cafe at Selfridges

We’re increasingly embracing holistic beauty, not for perfection but for self-improvement and overall wellbeing. It’s a mind, body and soul approach to beauty as embodied by Comfort Zone, an Italian luxury brand I met during the forum that combines holistic, sustainable beauty with scientific efficacy. Cinnamon Projects is another example. It’s a range of fragrances that you can layer throughout the day to reflect your mood in micro-moments.

Meanwhile, meditation and exercise are the new beauty treatments, with a move towards ‘drop-in mindfulness’ in which meditation is approached like a beauty treatment that you top up regularly. Studios such as The Den in Los Angeles offer urbanites convenient short bursts of meditation to fit around their day. (I like the sound of their ‘Just Chill the F*** Out’ class for a lunchtime reflection and relaxation break…) Beauty routines have long been considered me-time, but the convergence of beauty, wellness and fitness have elevated them to a sacred art. I can stand up and be counted for this one because I’m a recent convert to the calming ritual of putting on and taking off make-up, masks and cleansing balms. Beauty routine as spiritual therapy? I’ll take it!

The wellness enthusiast loves beauty products that let her sweat; the antidote to pore-clogging foundations. Taking a cue from the all-day-everywhere athleisure movement, Birchbox has launched Arrow (below), a line of high functioning products for pre, during and post gym beautifying. The collection includes a cooling cheek tint, a colour enhancing lip balm and a deodorant that’s kind to skin, however sweaty you get.

Birchbox Arrow

Of course, when something tips into major trend territory, all the parodies come out of the woodwork. We all had a good hoot at this one…

Takeaway: beauty is more than skin deep. As any beauty junkie knows, there are emotional benefits to pampering rituals and wellness routines. Expect a rise in products that work even harder. Especially those with high performing natural ingredients that aim to enhance our workouts and improve mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing.

If you want to engage customers, talk in positive tones. That’s the message we’re getting from the influence of fitness culture. Positive exercise language is infiltrating beauty brands with ‘energy’ the buzzword du jour being embraced by brands including Clarins, (whose Energy Booster serum promises to eliminate signs of fatigue) and Lancome (whose new anti-oxidant rich line Énergie de Vie is promoted with the hashtag #MadeOfEnergy).

The concept of beauty from within is also giving rise to food language used to sell cosmetics and vice versa. Evoleum’s ‘nutri-cosmetics’ include the Oleya range of organic vegetable oils called ‘culinary serums’ that are used in cooking while greatly benefiting skin. Sold in glass bottles with a pipette, they look like edible facial oils.
Evoleum nutri-cosmetics Oleya oils

TAKEAWAY: In keeping with the wellness movement, health food language is about fitness and vitality, not diets and calorie counting. Anti-aging and diet terminology are turn-offs to the Insta-good generation, so use positive fitness-inspired words to deliver a message of energy and renewal.

It was inevitable. As our dependence on digital and devices has grown, there’s a whole litany of ailments and remedies to go with it. Think ‘screen face’, ‘tech neck’ and digital dependency. While 2015’s main skin stressors were sun damage and pollution, 2016 is all about HEV (high-energy visible) rays penetrating us from our always-on device screens. Enter the skincare products and ingredients that aim to counter those effects, including MAKE Beauty’s Moonlight Skin Primer which uses marine algae to protect skin against HEV light.

Make Beauty moonlight primer uses marine algae to protect skin against HEV light.

Never ones to miss a commercial opportunity, beauty brands have identified ‘tech neck’ as the saggy, jowly results of looking down screenwards 24-7. And of course they have a hack for that (cynics look away now) … Targeting the so-called Y-zone (lower face, throat and décolletage), Yves Saint Laurent’s products such as Forever Youth Liberator Y.Shape Crème offer the remedy to the latest body insecurity to be invented targeted. Consider yourself warned (or just hold your phone at eye level – and exercise your arms at the same time). Although you’ll still have ‘screen face’, aka social media induced frown lines, jaw tension and knackered eyes. Remedy: sign up for FaceGym’s ‘phone face’ massage at Selfridges, or better still, an all-out digital detox. Or if you can’t manage a total digital switch-off, at least get out in the physical world and mix screen time with actual face time to save your eyes, skin and sanity.

TAKEAWAY: Digital detoxes and spiritual experiences are being employed to help us reconnect offline, but for brands, the advice from The Future Laboratory is never to completely unplug. We’re too far gone to realistically be wrenched from our devices so for brands to serve well, there should be no distinction between on and offline.

For daily insights from The Future Laboratory’s editorial division LS:N Global, check out the daily Briefing or subscribe to the full service here. To keep up with future beauty trends on Disneyrollergirl, sign up here to get a weekly digest of my blog posts in your inbox.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES – top to bottom: 3INA, Sephora, The Estée Edit, Pat McGrath Labs, Hemsley + Hemsley at Selfridges, arrow by Birchbox, Evoleum, MAKE Beauty by Garance Dore
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here






Talking with your hands

Karen Walker jewellery photographed by Advanced Style photographer Ari Seth Cohen

Wow, what a great set of editorial images from Ari Seth Cohen. These images are from Karen Walker’s recent jewellery shoot and feature the expressive hands of two of Ari Seth Cohen’s ‘Advance Style’ friends. I love the detail and styling here, and the amazing manicures.

The hands belong to two artistic, Calfornia-based ladies, Phyllis Sues and Roberta Haze. See the full shoot, and jewellery collection here.

Karen Walker jewellery shot by Advanced Style photographer Ari Seth Cohen
Karen Walker hands Advanced Style Ari Seth Cohen 3

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Ari Seth Cohen/Karen Walker
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here