London life: Artist Residence Hotel, Pimlico

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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If you loved the glimpse of the Artist Residence Hotel I shot in recently (with Vanessa Jackman), here’s everything you need to know about it. Located in London’s genteel Pimlico, it’s the third in a trio of homely residences that feel more like a home away from home than a glam-but-impersonal hotel. The original Artist Residence was born in Brighton in 2008, followed three years later by Penzance. What they share is a mix of heritage-y reclaimed furnishings and fittings with artworks from up and coming talent and a laid back ambience.

At Artists Residence London, the ten rooms are spread throughout the five floor former pub, each one individually decorated to deliver comfort, charm and style in equal measures. We used the Grand Suite as our base, a spacious suite with high ceilings, gigantic windows and open plan bathroom (complete with claw-foot tub). The Loft Suite is smaller but I loved the cute window partition, tea crate tables and squashy velvet armchairs for sinking into. Throughout the hotel you’ll notice unique touches, from the parquet flooring reclaimed from an old schoolhouse, to Belgian work tables repurposed as desks. The young owners scoured antique shops across Europe and the UK, including DRG haunt, The Old Cinema and the excellent Retrouvius (browse their website at your peril).

To contrast with the cosy club chairs and lived-in lounge-y feel, there are modern artworks in the rooms and common areas – I spotted two by Eine, adding graphic colour to the reception area. The hotel can be private and cosy or jolly and convivial depending whether you want to hole up in your suite or hang out in the lounge or bar. The restaurant alone is proving a draw in the neighborhood, with its inviting awning and street view windows. The menu is a frequently changing one of small tasting plates serving meat, seafood and vegetarian fare (and breakfast for hotel guests).

In a vast city like London it can be hard to find smaller, characterful hotels that aren’t permanently booked. This one is slightly off the beaten track yet only five minutes from the throb of Victoria Station. Quite the perfect find then, just keep it to yourself…

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ARTIST RESIDENCE LONDON, 52 CAMBRIDGE STREET, SW1 4QQ. Bedrooms from £160

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Vanessa Jackman

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

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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 ShopStyle.it (to make Instagram shoppable) and a video technology partnership with Taggled.

ASK ALISON: WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
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 Net-a-Porter.com in January.

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Kovert

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

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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.

HOW IT WORKS
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. Continue reading

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: BURBERRY, VALEXTRA, GUCCI, VALENTINO, FORNASETTI

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

1. NAOMI CAMPBELL AND JOURDAN DUNN FOR BURBERRY SS15

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


2. VALEXTRA OPENS NEW YORK STORE

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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.


3. GUCCI’S GIFT GUIDE

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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.


4. SYNERGISTIC BRANDING: VALENTINO MEETS FORNASETTI

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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/Disneyrollergirl.net
Burberry image: Mario Testino

Daddy, please can I have a Dior coat?

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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. Continue reading

Gentlewoman style: Julia Roberts for Givenchy

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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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

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: OLYMPIA LE TAN, HARVEY NICHOLS, DOVER STREET MARKET, SOPHIA WEBSTER, BIRCHBOX

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

1) OLYMPIA LE-TAN’S DEBUT STORE

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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

Disappearing fast: Louis Vuitton Cruise 2015

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While here in the UK we’ve had an extremely mild autumn and stores grumble that they haven’t sold enough AW14 coats, the fashion-forward customer is onto other things. Namely, Cruise. The Cruise 2015 collections arrived in November and continue to sell all the way until June. It’s a well known fact now that Cruise (and pre-fall) collections sell more for stores than the more directional spring-summer and autumn-winter collections.

Last week I went to Louis Vuitton to check out the SS15 collection. The press day was help in the private ‘apartment’ on the top floor of the Bond Street Maison. Afterwards I went for a nose around the store as I haven’t been in since Ghesquiere took over from Jacobs. Although it wasn’t that busy customer-wise, the store staff were being very industrious keeping their regular clients up to date with new deliveries. As they explained to me, the Cruise collection had recently arrived and was flying out as soon as they informed their customers. Continue reading

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