Chanel is one of the few top-end luxury brands that still values an in-store experience over the convenience of online shopping. This goes for beauty as well as fashion, so much so that is has invested in standalone beauty destinations – the Covent Garden store is beauty heaven and the Heathrow pop-up was a crowd puller.
Making its limited edition products in-store-only adds to the excitement and must-have buzz of the launch – clever thinking from Chanel. Plus, with the expensive items, maybe you do need to see them up close to be seduced into parting with cash. Example: the Dentelle Précieuse compact. An illuminating powder decorated with an intricate lace embossed pattern inspired by Chanel’s 2013-2014 Cruise show, it’s designed to sculpt the face with flattering beige, pink and bronze tones. It does look and sound impressive (I totally trust Chanel when it comes to illuminating products) but I wonder, do people buy these to keep or collect? I just could not see myself ever sweeping a brush over that surface!
Either way, if you’re interested, it arrives in the Covent Garden beauty boutique and selected UK stores (£46) on April 25th…
On this week’s DRG STYLE INDEX, these are the brands that caught my attention…
1. BARRIE TO LAUNCH READY TO WEAR (AND A STORE IS IMMINENT TOO)
The Made in Scotland ethos is gaining momentum with the launch of a new Barrie RTW collection next month. Designed by Chanel’s Odile Massuger using premium cashmere fibre, we’re promised twenty silhouettes merging clean lines with adventurous motifs and colours – I’m particularly intrigued by the description of handpainted porcelain buttons! Chanel acquired Hawick-based Barrie in 2012 as one of its métiers d’art (if you’e into factory porn, Susie Bubble has a heap of photos here). According to this BBC story, there are also plans to increase the workforce by 100 staff over the next three years, while a Paris store is rumoured for June. Exciting plans indeed…
2. KILGOUR’S RETURN
Carlo Brandelli is back at Kilgour and planning to re-establish it as an innovator is menswear. For an early look at the new Kilgour direction (concealed fastenings feature), head to Mrporter.com which also has an interview with Brandelli.
3. HARVEY NICHOLS REVAMPS ECOMMERCE
It’s been a slow slog but the long-promised redesigned Harvey Nichols ecom site is finally here. The homepage leads with bold, bright editorial and it’s big on multi channel retail, promising an equally efficient mobile and instore experience. And customer service has been ramped up too. You can contact style advisors online for instant advice, or arrange to have potential purchases held instore, alongside additional outfit recommendations. Personally I’m more of a ‘bricks’ than ‘clicks’ shopper so I’ll be interested to see if this changes my approach…
4. A.P.C TO OPEN IN LEXINGTON STREET
A.P.C stores don’t stay in place for long. The Notting Hill branch was my go-to for years, then they disappeared from the West London scene, opting instead for Redchurch Street in Shoreditch. Then we had a Dover Street store for a while (until being ousted by Jimmy Choo) and now we’re in line for a store on Lexington Street, W1. This is good news for me as the streets around Carnaby Street are where I’m most likely to actually part with cash. I love A.P.C for its timeless products but equally for Jean Toitou’s unfashiony approach to the fashion biz. He also has great instincts so when he chooses a location for a store, that’s news in itself. All eyes on Lexington…
5. MULBERRY’S MIXED BLESSINGS
I’m really hoping for a positive outcome for Mulberry. Last week we heard that its entry-level bags will be lowered in price by about £100 from June onwards as Godfrey Davis (its interim chairman) looks at ways to return the British brand to profit. I admit Mulberry lost my attention for a few seasons as its bags felt overpriced considering their ubiquity. (If you’re spending £1,000 on a bag, surely you want something special, not the same bag dangling from every socialite’s arm?) That said, I love an underdog, and I’m liking the new calf leather Kensal bag, an understated multi-pocket bag named after my very own neighbourhood. At £1,250, I’d be happy to see it drop in price by £100 – or more.
“I often as a CEO say, ‘Let’s not be too commercial and please that segment of the market. Go to your own sensitivities, go to your own art, and do something that you think is relevant at this moment.’”
[Image via Slow And Steady Wins The Race]
The arrival of a new Fornasetti Profumi product is always a big event in my book and the latest, Giardino Segreto is no exception. Unveiled in a ‘secret garden’ bursting with roses, hydrangeas and spring foliage, it evoked the mysterious, dreamlike world of the Fornasetti garden in Milan. Continue reading
Beauty bits: Marc Jacobs Beauty, Allure Youtube, Tom Ford, Lipstick.com, contour mania, the Taviettes, Diptyque, YSL
MARC JACOBS BEAUTY COMES TO LONDON
So Marc Jacobs Beauty arrived in London a couple of weeks ago and no one knew. Not even British Beauty Blogger! I stumbled upon the entire range of it in the Marc Jacobs Mount Street store (after a quick recce of Celine – retail heaven). It’s not cheap but the colours are stunning and the lipstick packaging is right up there with Chanel’s push-click cases. The staff are super helpful and encourage you to try the products, but I haven’t yet. I definitely will soon though… Continue reading
Introducing the DRG STYLE INDEX, a ranking of the brands on my radar each week. In order of impact, these are the brands grabbing my attention right now…
1. CELINE’S RETAIL WOW FACTOR
My first foray into the Mount Street store (above). Um, wow. The smell! The flooring! The merch! The ratio of sales staff to customer (3-1 on my visit)! At the till, mulling over a two-tone luggage Tote, was a Ghanian lady in full Vlisco-print gear, including headwrap. Oh to photograph her printed skirt against the patchwork marble floor tiles… But alas no, I got the feeling it’s a No Photos kind of store… Continue reading
There’s just no stopping Nike. Or Liberty. And as for the Nike X Liberty collaboration, it’s now in its 9th season and going stronger than ever. At a special presentation in the Liberty store, I was told that managing the demand is quite a feat, a fine balance between creating interest for the product and over hyping it. (I guess they need to try harder, the collection was almost sold out within three days of hitting the shop floor.) Continue reading
A GUEST POST FROM MR DRG…
DRG was recently gifted a rather fine Kaweco AL Sport fountain pen, ownership of which has rapidly transferred to me…
How I wasn’t aware of these pens I’ve no idea. They’re a design classic that has remained pretty much unchanged since the 1930s and are the absolute embodiment of the minimalist, utilitarian German industrial design that I love. Continue reading
I spent last week doing the AW14 press day rounds and my early highlights include all the art-fashion collections emerging. Each X Other is an interesting collective of artists, musicians, designers and other creatives who translate their work into something wearable, beautiful and often poetic, the idea being that art is always around you. For AW14, they have teamed up with New York artist Maripol to produce these simple pieces printed with her recognisable Polaroids and club flyers…
Having seen the evolution of fashion blogs over the last seven years (this blog started in 2007), I’m interested in the shift from blogs to brands. Many of the fashion blog pioneers have extended their remit, transforming their blogs into successful creative businesses.
And this approach has spread beyond the bloggersphere to the wider world, hence these days, far from simply aspiring to ‘be a celebrity’ (how 2010!), everyone wants to ‘be a brand’. This thought was crystalised last weekend at the third Vogue Festival (in association with Harrods) at the Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. Vogue, one of the biggest publishing brands is not content with being a print publication. It wants to be a multi platform destination, an event, a lifestyle brand. And as such it has created a means to engage with its future customers, who themselves have become pretty well versed in the stepping stones of brand-building. Continue reading