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

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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. At the press launch, ShopStyle CEO Brian Sugar told me: “There’s an evolution happening with brands that want to tell their story through content curators instead of more traditional media. Brands are looking at native advertising to target the audiences they want to reach.”

In his presentation, Sugar described ShopStyle’s four key business priorities as mobile, global, discovery and personalisation, adding that shopping via the new ShopStyle app will be a whole lot more personal and social with initiatives such as (to make Instagram shoppable) and a video technology partnership with Taggled.

Are we looking at a new era of synergy retail where mutually beneficial partnerships like this one work in tandem to reach new audiences? Well yes, ShopStyle has identified the way that consumers ‘snack’ on visual inspiration on their mobiles and made it instantly shoppable via a network of the industry’s top style influencers. At the same time, American Express is facilitating the platform and itself reaching a new audience – the younger, notoriously picky millennials – and doing it in a credible way. The challenge is to keep the content and contributors original and fresh so they don’t get lost in a vast sea of sameness.

Follow ALISON BISHOP on Twitter, read her previous guest posts on Disneyrollergirl and discover more of her retail insights on her blog, The Retail Planner.

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.

“I decided to create a range of connected jewellery that tries to offer a shield from today’s always-on, hyper-connected world of emails and social media updates,” said Unsworth at the press launch two weeks ago. “It’s about having time out for reflection, some ‘me-time’, but still being available to key people in your life if it’s an emergency or there’s something important going on.”

Her solution is a capsule line of ‘smart’ jewellery (rings, necklaces, bracelets) whose standout feature is a removable ceramic stone that’s actually a programmable micro tech pack. Key words or names are coded to produce discreet vibrations when the wearer receives a relevant message, meaning that you can leave your phone behind, but wear this for absolute emergencies.

Think it has potential? There’s certainly been a lot of buzz and you can decide for yourself when it launches exclusively at in January.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Kovert

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

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YSL-before-and-after-Google-Glass JPG

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.

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.

At the end of your make-up appoitment, the video is emailed to you so that you can watch it back, re-learn the steps and buy the products. (There are links to all the products – this is after all a sales tool at the end of the day.) To save time, the video is limited to ten minutes overall. This means that the make-up artist will do half the makeup without filming, like a normal consultation, so this part is slightly more relaxed. After doing the first half, they do the same thing again, this time in ‘demo mode’, filming you live and keeping up their running commentary. For the makeup artist it’s maybe a little like being a vlogger!

Here’s Fred Letailleur in action!

It’s hard not to feel like you’re a model in a Youtube video, cos you kind of are. Fred was talking throughout the demo, explaining which products he used, what they did and how to get the best out of them. He went into detail describing application techniques and brushes (my current obsession) and despite all the hustle and bustle of the store environment (as you can see in the video), was extremely focused, making me feel the centre of attention.

I didn’t really ask any questions during the video as I had asked them during the first half and also I was aware of the ten minutes ticking away. I really liked how easygoing the experience was though. Even though a lot of products are used, there’s no hard sell. For example, talking about brushes, Fred described what he was using but also said, ‘just use what you have at home’. But when you watch the video back there’s a wealth of information there. (In my video I look a bit weird and I think it’s because I already have half a full face of make-up. Plus I’m trying to smize through my bitchy resting face…)

Overall, this is a pretty simple idea, executed very well. I was impressed. And it’s early days, I’m sure there’s huge potential for other educational beauty services that could be offered this way. My Yves Saint Laurent Beauté takeaways were as follows:

SERUM: gently apply it and then let it sink in, your skin will take what it needs, you don’t have to rub in every last drop

TOUCHE ECLAT: I usually apply this with fingers, but a flat foundation brush used with long movements will give more control to create a texture that’s not overdone

KISS & BLUSH: This cream-to-powder lip and cheek tint can double as a contour. First apply a small stroke to the cheek, then using the tip of a flat foundation brush, roll the brush and blend well to create a subtle, natural contour

The Yves Saint Lauent Beauté Google Glass make-up lesson is available at Selfridges, Oxford Street now – booking details HERE. I trialled the service as a guest of YSL.

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,


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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


Burberry-Naomi-Campbell-Jourdan-Dunn-Spring-Summer 2015-Campaign

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 (with the rest of the collection on sale globally from January 5th).



Well, hello sexy new Valextra New York store. A first for one of my favourite stealth-luxe brands, the Madison Avenue store aims to appeal to a US and global customer “who enjoys a private sense of luxury,” says executive director, Marco Scarpella. Valextra is raising its visibility from small, in-the-know brand to something a little more high profile. According to reports, London will see its own Valextra store next year.



All tongues were a-wag about the imminent departure of Frida Giannini and Patrizio di Marco at Gucci this week (weird as the SS15 collection was my favourite for a while). But in more upbeat Gucci news, thank you Rachel Arthur for the heads up on this cute Gucci gift guide video.



Is this the ultimate collaboration? Luxury purveyors Valentino and Fornasetti have joined forces on a capsule line mashing up their respective aesthetics. Valentino camo meets Fornasetti’s hand drawn lips – if you’re a fan of both it’s like the best kind of BOGOF (buy one get one free)…

Words: Navaz Batliwalla/
Burberry image: Mario Testino

Daddy, please can I have a Dior coat?

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

1 Dior-Pre-Fall-2015-show-Tokyo-Thomas-Lohr

The coats! The coats! The Dior pre-fall 2015 pics are in and it’s all about the coats. And they’re not prissy couture coats either but outdoor-friendly(ish), utility-luxe offerings for rainy walks on the Welsh hills or motorbike rides around Tokyo. Or so we’re led to believe.

I love the storm coats in shiny Stone Island-esque materials for chucking on and off, and especially the wet-look A-line zippy affair juxtaposed with snazzy sequins (sorry, pailettes). And when the familiar Dior structured cuts come into play, they’re reimagined in a younger, streetier finish than we’re used to. Word is that the Dior customer wants more day wear, and by that I mean day wear as you and I know it. (Perhaps more bloggers who brunch, than ladies who lunch?) Hence the urban edge but with Dior’s signature femininity at the heart of it…

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A word for the beauty look. With influences coming from sci-fi movies (reminding me yet again that I haven’t seen Bladerunner – the shame), we saw Princess Leia hair braids matches with manga-cartoon eyes. Another masterstroke from Peter Philip, they were achieved by applying oversize silver sparkles in the center of the eyelids along the lash line where they would catch the most light. Out of this world…


Words: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
Images: Thomas Lohr; Dior; Vogue/Taylor Jewell

What he wants: a classic watch (that won’t break the bank)

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Certain men are a nightmare to buy gifts for. I know, I live with one. But one of the safest things you can buy is a classic watch. They don’t have to be expensive, there are a few brands I like a lot that plug the gap between high street and luxury, are nicely designed and well made.

Uniform Wares is interesting because it has recently adapted its business model. The UK-based brand of clean, unisex timepieces is now positioned as a progressive luxury quartz brand, bridging the gap between mass market quartz brands and the quartz offerings by the likes of Tag Heuer, Cartier and Chanel. Continue reading

Gentlewoman style: Julia Roberts for Givenchy

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A refreshing change from Givenchy: here’s Julia Roberts modelling in the ss15 campaign by Mert & Marcus. Rather liking the subdued, gentlewomanly styling and intense stare. You?

VIDEO: On YSL, Google Glass and the future of beauty retail

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Yves Saint Laurent Google Glass

You’ve got to hand it to Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, it has come up with a really smart way of using Google Glass. Back in September it introduced its hi-tech take-home tutorials to Bloomingdales (below), in which its make-up artist wielded his magic paints and brushes on customers, while simultaneously filming the one-to-one consultation using Google Glass. Continue reading


Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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



I just saw that Olympia Le Tan has opened her first store in Paris. I love this girl. Everything from her book-shaped minaudieres to her RTW and even her Tumblr are beautifully executed. The store is located at Passage des Deux-Pavillons, just behind the Palais Royal and houses everything from clothes, to bags (of course), accessories and jewellery. Continue reading

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