Business of fashion

Jo Malone London ups its luxury game with Rare Teas

Jo Malone Rare Teas Collection

Jo Malone London has been a tad hit and miss for me in the last year, but things have picked up with its latest release, Rare Teas.

I’m currently doused in Darjeeling Tea, one of the new limited edition Rare Teas colognes, which retail at a premium £ 240 for 175ml. The essence of this collection is taking six revered rare teas from exotic locales including Morocco and Japan and infusing them straight from the leaf into a fragrance. It’s a ritualistic process and actually unheard of in fragrance until now. Each tea is blended with other ingredients to create a completely new but tea-centric concoction.

It might sound like an odd notion but one of my favourite summer scents of the last few years is & Other Stories’ Moroccan Tea eau de toilette. Fresh, light and a little bit sweet (imagine a mint-meets-amber infusion), it’s a good example of how well a suggestion of tea works as a perfume. (Note: It’s consistently sold out, but there’s a body mist available here.)

With Jo Malone London Darjeeling Tea, I don’t smell much of the ‘tea’. It’s more of a citrussy floral scent (actually it’s apricot) but that’s OK, you’re not meant to take it literally. So it’s about the idea of what tea represents – slowing down, mindfulness – than smelling like a cup of best builders’ brew.

The other cologne I love from this collection is Midnight Black Tea. A sensual, woody cologne (it’s Chinese Puerh tea with a hint of vanilla), it lasts well and leaves you with the same sense of calm comfort as, well, a reassuring cuppa. At £240 these fragrances are expensive but you get what you pay for. The raw tea ingredients are indeed rare (puerh tea takes years to mature), the weighty glass bottles feel extravagant and the tops close with that sexy magnetic click that only the fanciest bottles have. All this, plus a new logo, point to a new uber-luxury tier being trialled by the brand.

The Jo Malone London Rare Teas collection is on sale now in 15 UK stores and will be online by the end of this week.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGE: Jo Malone London
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples

How Levi’s helped define these cool young brands

re/Done upcycled jeans

Oh I do like a happy marriage! What could have been a fraught, competitive relationship has ended in harmony with Levi’s and RE/DONE joining forces recently at Coachella for a bit of a denim-ed up love-in.

If you remember, RE/DONE launched its denim brand last year on the basis of repurposing old Levi’s 501s by re-cutting them into a slightly more contemporary fit. The success of RE/DONE arguably led to the Levi’s 501 revival (ahem, have you seen me in the current campaign?) and happily both brands have seen fit to align in a formal collaboration, rather than compete.

Let’s be honest, RE/DONE had heaps more style cred than Levi’s at the time of launch. (Co founder Jamie Mazur is engaged to supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio and naturally had a host of readymade stylish brand ambassadors on tap.) And on their part, Levi’s had the unique heritage, archive and fantastic product knowledge. Could there be a better match?

Re/Done upcycled denim

Another brand that has accelerated up the cool charts, in no small part thanks to its upcycled Levi’s jeans, is Vetements. Would it have been quite so speedily successful were it not for its signature cut-n-sew jeans, that retail for eight times the price of a pair of off-the-shelf new Levi’s 501s? Who can say, but the jeans will definitely be up there as a decade-defining moment when we reach the end of the 2010s.

Vetements upcycled Levi's Jeans by Tommy Ton

About the price of those Vetements and RE/DONEs. Vetements go for £880, RE/DONEs cost £300. Why? Because each pair has to be individually sewn. For Vetements, the hand-sewn limited edition nature imbues them with a higher ‘value’ and for RE/DONE, it’s the cost of the time taken to measure, cut and stitch. However, having seen the demand for a slimmer, ankle-flashing cut, Levi’s has upped its own game, altering its new 501CT design to reclaim its product.

Which means that in time, the masses will be happier buying into the original authentic product at a reasonable price, rather than seeking out a modified but high-priced version. Already RE/DONE is wisely evolving into other non-denim products, while Vetements’ new ‘It’ item is another normcore subversion; the DHL tee. Levi’s is the ultimate winner here but for now, it knows there’s no harm in keeping tight with the cooler, younger set.


WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
MAIN IMAGES: RE/DONE x 2; Vetements by Tommy Ton
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples


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

Grace Coddington for Tiffany
Ok calm down, Grace isn’t heading into a permanent role, but she has been hired to work her magic on a Tiffany ad campaign. According to WWD, she has gathered and styled a raft of celebrity influencers to star in the Tiffany autumn campaign, which will appear in the September issues. I’ve gotta say, there’s nothing new about this style of influencer-as-model campaign, but if anyone can make it look uber-luxe yet modern, it’s Grace. (Alas, no news yet whether the former model will be starring in it herself.)


100 year old Harvey Nichols model
Props to Harvey Nichols for featuring 100-year-old model Bo Gilbert in a campaign to celebrate Vogue’s 100th anniversary. I love the non kitsch, non patronising photography and styling. Just a great, chic portrait of a woman in an amazing, flattering outfit than anyone would look wonderful in. Brilliant!


Warehouse reinvented by emma Cook for aw16
While the high street gave us depressing news about Austin Reed and Bhs, one brand is being reinvented. At the Warehouse press day, I was shown the new vision that creative consultant Alasdhair Willis has dreamt up along with design director Emma Cook. Debuting for aw16 in September, the brand has been completely overhauled. Despite celebrating its 40th anniversary, there’s not a ‘heritage’ reference in sight; instead it’s all about a brand new vision that embraces British creativity and eclecticism. To me it feels like the Warehouse woman has grown up and is being positioned in line with Jigsaw, Whistles and Cos. Shapes are more interesting, fabrics are better and the overall vibe is creative but sophisticated. Expect to see this wildlife jacquard coat a lot in the press and ‘shoulder-robing’ (do people still do this? Oh, yes they do) ‘key influencers’ during LFW. The stores are getting a major revamp too.


Finery Forever Pieces
Finery is a newish brand that has definitely tapped into the Cos/Whistles/Jigsaw space, giving the creative-minded career woman something to wear that’s fashion-forward, wearable and well made. I like this collaboration with six of its favourite people, who co-created ‘Forever Pieces’ that represent their personal style. Polly Vernon’s classic leather biker jacket is my favourite. I had a look at Selfridges (where the capsule collection is being sold exclusively) and the leather is beautiful. At £295, it’s a faultless buy.


J.Crew Save the Bees T-shirt illustrated by Marcel George
J. Crew has long campaigned for bee-saving and this season it’s giving us an easy way to support the cause. Just landed are three bee-themed tees and a pocket square by illustrator Marcel George, with 50% of the retail price going to benefit the conservation charity Buglife. Buy them at J.Crew.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples


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


French brand Ami opens a London store in Duke Street
It’s open! The long-promised Ami menswear store in Duke Street is finally a reality. Alexandre Mattiussi’s menswear brand is like an elevated version of A.P.C and I must say, it looks just as good on a girl… (more…)