It feels like Selfridges has been tweaking its third floor Designer Galleries for ever! Finally its finished and the verdict is quite the A-Z of modern luxury fashion. In short, the Selfridges buy has been Dover Street Market-ified. (And that sentence right there gets the award for clunkiest sentence of the year. Soz.) I still remember the third floor as it was eons ago – contemporary labels like Anglomania alongside A.P.C, Whistles and Joseph. Pffft, this is so not that. Contemporary and denim have all been shunted up to the fourth floor, leaving gleaming aisles of expensive statement-wear. Of course, I can’t actually afford any of it.
It’s a textbook exercise in taste and wealth though. At one end you have the cash cows – generous amounts of space given to Chanel, Prada, Celine, Dries Van Noten et al to set out their stalls to best demonstrate their vision. Celine’s is bright and spare, all the better to show off its pops of primary-hued handbags amongst the discreet neutrals. Dries is tactile and opulent. Louis Vuitton gets the top spot, its area is part of a dedicated three-storey fit-out complete with its own swivelling lift. Alaia, Saint Laurent and McQueen round out the offer.
In the middle section there are the new gen giants – think Givenchy, Balenciaga, Tom Ford. And also the Brit brigade – Roksanda, Pilotto, Kane and Preen all representing. These are the brands adored by today’s luxury millennials, they’re seen as edgy and cool but unmistakably expensive. Look at those embellished sweatshirts and know that this is not your mother’s Givenchy. And the Dover Street Market factor? It’s there in those squishy Loewe pouffes and geometric handbags. And there in the Sacai hybrid outerwear. And most definitely there in that wall of Rick Owenses, not to mention the rails of J.W. Andersons and Simone Rochas. There’s not one dud piece in all that lot that I wouldn’t snap up tomorrow if I won the lottery.
Of course, should you just want something clean and classic, you’re not neglected. The opposite end of the floor has Jil Sander, MaxMara, a ton of Chloe, plus my secret fetish – Brunello Cucinelli. If Chanel and Rick Owens are for the rich kids, I suspect this is the moms’ playground.
It’s certainly the dream retail experience for the monied international customer, with a killer buy from the important brands. It’s presented beautifully with service to match (attentive but not pushy). And increasingly, the online inventory is starting to replicate the store offer. Yes, a few brands resist; there’s no way to buy Celine short of getting your butt into a bricks & mortar store. But others I guess know that having their product on a site like Selfridges.com ups brand awareness as well as giving a better idea of the riches that await you when you visit. For starters, there’s a full complement of Dries and a fair bit of Comme. Here’s my fantasy edit…
Aerin Lauder is really getting into her stride as a flag bearer of no-brainer beauty, a slightly girlier version of Bobbi Brown if you will.
Where Bobbi is all about the everyday make-up in graphic, black packaging, AERIN does the same job but with luxe golden compacts and pastel-pink or pastel-printed boxes. The prints are a really nice (and original) touch that have become a brand signature. If you know anything about Aerin Lauder (not that I’m obsessed or anything), you’ll know she’s all about the NY-Hamptons lifestyle, with plenty of outdoorsy inspiration driving the brand aesthetic.
Product-wise, I like how sensible and practical everything is. For autumn, AERIN has launched the Essentials collection which includes a Weekday palette and a Weekend palette (£48 each). Both are well thought out, featuring neutral powder blushers, eyeshadows and multi-tasking lip-cheek colours in a decent-sized gold palette with a big mirror and brush/sponge applicator included. To be honest they’re pretty interchangeable, but the weekday one in slightly more colourful. If you’re a beauty minimalist, these shades are spot on and will get plenty of wear. There’s also two new nude lip glosses, two eyeliners and a rose-tinted lip balm. (Actually I can’t detect much colour from the lip balm and though it feels lovely on, I’m not sure I’d fork out £25 for it.)
The fragrances have been very well received and for good reason. The packaging is stunning (those pebble lids!), the size is just right and the scents are distinctive but not overpowering (I’m so over generic fragrances). New to the collection for autumn is Waterlily Sun (actually smells like summer to me) and Iris Meadow (clean and meadow-y with a hint of musk). Both come in the famous painterly boxes and cost £85 (for 50ml eau de parfum).
The five original fragrances now also have accompanying body creams, all in lovely printed tubes designed by Lee Jofa. They’re quite spendy at £40 but then
I’m a bit of a cheapskate where body creams are concerned they’re very pretty and super gifty.
This year’s British Fashion Awards is set to be the most exciting yet, for me anyway.
Anyone want to place bets on the following?
Emerging Womenswear Designer. Aargh, how can I choose between Marques and Tait? I’ll go for Tait though in light of his LVMH prize:
Thomas Tait Continue reading
Seriously loving Topman’s current coat campaign. This winter its focus is on classic men’s coats that have their roots in menswear tailoring heritage. The updated navy mac (£90) and houndstooth single breasted number (£90, above) are my favourites, and the camel overcoat (just don’t call it a Crombie) would be perfect if it was a bit longer. Note that Topman sizes start at an XXS (just saying). Continue reading
Autumn – ugh, hate it! A precursor to winter, I can’t join the brigade who wax lyrical about their love of layers and wet weather wear. Sorry, no. I’m in denial and much prefer to ignore the entire season. It turns out agnès b is a fellow autumn refusenik and she’s so obsessed she has initiated a whole Instagram campaign around it. To take part, upload a photo that shows how you forget autumn, and tag it #agnesbautumn @agnesb_officiel.
To entice you, there’s the promise of a Polaroid X agnès b camera, which will be won by the 5 most-liked Instagrams every week. Find out more on the How To Forget Autumn microsite.
So, how do I forget autumn? By dreaming of my next escape with a little beach photography (via Massimo Vitali’s brilliant book) and some motivational reading. Head over to Instagram and show us your #agnesbautumn…
WORDS AND IMAGE: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
*THIS POST WAS PRODUCED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH AGNES B*
Funny to think Farfetch.com has never had a Japanese store in its community of international retailers. Now it does, Tokyo based Restir is the winner of the Farfetch Superstore prize and its edit of upscale ‘indie’ brands has just gone on the site. Continue reading
Bally’s not holding back with its slick new vision. First came the collections, overseen by creative director, Pablo Coppola, followed by the relaunched website. Now the biggie – this week sees the unveiling of a brand new Bond Street flagship store, repositioned on the opposite side of the road to its previous premises and at 4,320 square feet, much bigger in scale. Continue reading
Why on earth would anyone want to start their Christmas shopping now? Er, maybe because if you don’t, all the funnest goodies will be gone?
The limited edition novelty beauty gift has become quite the mini industry in recent years – the legendary Selfridges advent calendar (yep, sold out already), the This Works tree bauble, the Jo Malone cracker (arriving on counter November 1st) all spring to mind.
And then there’s the curve ball. That thing that pops up that isn’t strictly holiday-flavoured but just happens to perfectly suit the festive season. So here’s my prediction for the there-will-be-tears 2014 scrum – it’s from Chanel of course…
The life of a fashion designer is more fascinating (and varied) than ever. Researching and designing the collections is the creative bit but then come the extras; production, promotion, collaborations, not to mention the social media and editorial that have become such solid components of building a brand.
Harrods has decided to explore the mystique around designers and their processes by giving us a behind-the-curtain peek into four British designers and their businesses. Continue reading