Buy it now: Karl Lagerfeld X Maison Michel

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Kendall hat by Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel

I’m surprised how much I love these hats by Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel. Each named after one of his celebrity model coterie (there’s Kendall, Poppy, Anja, Karlie and Cara), the shapes are classic Maison Michels, with added flourishes by Karl.

The best ones are the ‘Karlie’ peaked caps with a silk lace or chiffon mini-veil (below). What’s genius is that you can wear them multiple ways and you know I’m a sucker for a fashion multi-tasker. Wear the lace over your face as a veil; spin it back to front, legionnaire-style; or tuck the lace underneath so it’s invisible and just wear it as a casual cap. Three for the price of one, not a bad deal…

Buy Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel at Selfridges and Maison Michel, Burlington Arcade, W1

Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel -Karlie hat-Photo By Karl Lagerfeld
Kendall hat by Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel - Photo By Karl Lagerfeld
Poppy hat by Karl Lagerfeld for Maison Michel - photo by Karl Lagerfeld

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
IMAGES: Karl Lagerfeld

Making transitions

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

transitional dressing for Spring

So the clocks just went forward and April is in sight but I’m still welded to my winter woolies. April is a transitional month for me, when I want to break out lighter, brighter colours but I’m not quite ready to detach from my cashmere layers. Plus, it still rains bucketloads, so a sensible top layer is non-negotiable.

Some things I swear by: Hanro vests and camisoles (there’s a new one out – ‘Ultralight’, 70g of mercerised Pima cotton, half the weight of the classic Hanro camisole. Can’t get enough of these), Levi’s 501s (there are the new C&Ts if you want the fashion version, or the old school ones in mid-blue are my go-to), cashmere socks (in pastel colours, from Paul Smith or Johnstons of Elgin) and Church’s shoes (new service launching soon – take in an old pair and get £40 off a new pair or a repair).

But on my transitional want list are J W Anderson merino knits, a Tim Coppens jacket, Charlotte Olympia’s kitty bag and the signature J Crew lipstick. Shop the edit below…

Words: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
Main image: Miranda July by Stella Berkovsky

On scent, service and the science of perfume shopping

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Avery Perfume Gallery London

Scent discovery has become something of a recent fascination of mine, odd because I never saw myself as a ‘fragrance person’. Maybe that’s because the fragrance experiences of my youth were really rich and over powering (Dior Poison, YSL Paris, The Body Shop Dewberry – remember those?). And also because perfume was mostly seen as a grown up, luxury pursuit and in my anti-glamorous youth, luxury was far from accessible or cool. Things changed a little in the 1990s when the gender-neutral scents of Helmut Lang, Joseph and Calvin Klein helped to round out my identity, an effortless and discreet addition to my Levis-and-Agnes-B-tee uniform. But then that was the thing, you would own one or two signature fragrances and that was it.

These days, fragrance has become a main part of the image industry that incorporates fashion, music, sport, entertainment, beauty and even art. Now we’re overwhelmed with choice and temptation – how do we choose, and how many?

This is where the changes in retail come in. To facilitate in the decision-making, perfume selling is moving away from the mass beauty hall model and the attendant commercial fragrances (and much feared tester-wielders). For the newly curious perfume connoisseur, there’s a more service-oriented offering and focus on discovery. Look at Liberty with its small but perfectly edited (and always rammed) perfume department, selling niche favourites Le Labo (below), Byredo and Frederic Malle. (Although Malle has just been snapped up by Estee Lauder so may not be so niche for long.)

Le Labo

Liberty’s discerning customer gravitates towards the knowledgeable staff and non-aggressive service, helped by the stream of self-education that comes from online editorial and fragrance blogs. Lesser known fragrance brands have another appeal; namely that without the huge ad campaigns of their megabrand competitors, the customer feels less prescribed to. The discovery journey feels more genuine without the brute force of advertising and branding.

But then there’s Harrods, which unveiled its Salon de Parfums to great fanfare last October. While its main ground floor perfume hall is still the bigger sales driver, on the 6th floor is Harrods’ grand 5,000 square foot niche-meets-mass scent destination. Here you have eleven custom designed fragrance boutiques for the likes of Dior, Chanel and Tom Ford, alongside Henry Jacques and Clive Christian, a.k.a the spendiest of luxury fragrance houses.

The result is an intimate setting that’s tailor-made to suit the store’s wealthy overseas clients, many of whom prefer to shop discreetly and privately. Here you find the best and the rarest that these brands have to offer. At Clive Christian, the star buy for the opening was a gold and diamond covered Baccarat crystal flacon filled with an ounce of the brand’s No. 1 perfume – a steal at £143,000. Meanwhile, I was captivated by Dior’s Musc Elixir Precieux (below), one of four highly concentrated perfume oils designed to be massaged into the skin (one small drop can linger for three days). It costs £225 for 3ml but that 3ml is presented in a very seductive and substantial, heavyweight bottle. The idea is to add your favourite Collection Privee perfume on top to make your own personal combo, a bit like a secret recipe. This sort of fragrance layering is popular with cash-rich types who don’t have six months to wait for a properly bespoke fragrance to be made.

Dior’s Musc Elixir Precieux Harrods Salon de Parfums 2
Dior’s Musc Elixir Precieux Harrods Salon de Parfums

Harrods head of beauty, Mia Collins, who masterminded the ‘Salon’, says the space is meant to encourage a conversation about fragrance and offer the sort of elevated service you might expect from a diamond jeweller. Although with the focus on huge money-spinner brands there’s an underlying feeling that these corridors of extreme luxury have almost been ‘SEO’-ed to deliver the obvious and flashiest brands, not the most interesting.

Which brings me to the Avery Perfume Gallery (below). This unusual concept lives in Avery Row, Mayfair, a standalone boutique with a personalised olfactory experience at its heart. Owned by Intertrade Group, the Italian-owned platform for contemporary artisan perfumery, it’s all about experiential retail and discovering a fragrance that you can call your own. You won’t find the likes of Chloe, DKNY or Intimately Beckham here. I loved the boutique-y feel and learning the stories behind the brands. Avery Perfume Gallery sells Nasomatto, my favourite niche brand whose owner Alessandro Gualitieri doesn’t reveal the notes or ingredients, letting the scent itself do the talking. On my discovery trip to the store (there are another eight stores globally), I was also introduced to Roads, Santa Eulalia and Re Profumo.

Avery Perfume Gallery London
Avery Perfume Gallery London

Roads is part of a three-pronged lifestyle brand based in Dublin that also encompasses book publishing and cinema. My favourite scent sample was ‘Harmattan’ a smoky, spice-fest, while ‘White Noise’ is a cool citrus, inspired by modern technology. All Santa Eulalia’s scents are unisex as is the modern way. (According to a recent quote by Holt Renfrew’s Wayne Peterson, gender-based marketing is old hat – why impose restrictions?). I warmed to the soft powdery notes of ‘Albis’ and the comforting sweetness of ‘Obscuro’. ‘Citric’ reminded me of A.P.C’s Orange Blossom cut with my favourite D.R Harris cologne – light and summery.

Although Avery Perfume Gallery likes the scent to dictate all, the bottles are as beautiful as the fragrances. Re Profumo presents its eau de parfums in the most handsome, majestic bottles. The brand is the brainchild of Italian writer Fulvio Fronzoni, who bases all his fragrances around a story set in Venice. Hence your bottle comes packaged in a box shaped like a book, it’s all part of the storytelling of course. All the scents I tried from Re Profumo boast an elegant Italian sexiness, from the subtle wood notes of ‘Adone’, to the punchy combination of lily, citrus and musk in ‘Sogno d’Amore’.

Re Profumo

Fragrance shopping is a personal experience and the moment of discovery has become an important part of that experience. It’s why I would never buy a new fragrance online, although I might if I’m simply restocking. We’re also more knowledgeable and keen to learn about the craft and science behind what’s in our bottles. Thus, we’re seeing some very creative and even conceptual examples of fragrance marketing. In May, Harrods is exhibiting at the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea Flower Show for the first time, installing a concept ‘Fragrance Garden’ (below). It will portray the art of perfume making on one side – all test tubes and oil extractions – with giant paper blooms ‘growing’ on the other, plus a visual digital component too. It’s an unexpected way for Harrods to market its perfume selling heritage, and a memorable one. And it’s as far from a generic department store hall as you can get.

Chelsea Flower Show Harrods Fragrance garden

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl; Le Labo; Avery Perfume Gallery; Re Profumo; Royal Horticultural Society

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: THE CORNER, PORTS 1961, LVMH PRIZE, MARC BY MARC JACOBS

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

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


1. PORTS 1961 GETS A REFRESH

Ports 1961 aw15 by new creative director Natasa Cagalj

I was invited to the Ports 1961 press day last week to see the debut womenswear collection by new creative director Natasa Cagalj. The brand is undergoing a bit of a reinvention thanks to Cagalj, who is set on delivering wearable, adaptable wardrobe solutions for women. She’s doing this with fantastic coats, jackets and shirts that have a little bit of masculinity in their tailored construction but not too much. I also loved her styling. She has paired these cool, intelligent pieces with idiosyncratic footwear and hats, such as the knotty skate shoes (‘a nod to Romeo Gigli’) above. These early prototype samples got a lot of love on my Instagram.


2. THE CORNER GOES GENDER NEUTRAL

The Corner introduces gender neutral section on its site

So the Selfridges ‘Agender’ effect is seeping through to other areas of retail already. Ecommerce site, The Corner has announced that from June it will incorporate a gender-neutral section on its site. Called “No Gender”, it will sell non-gender-specific pieces from brands including Rick Owens, Rad Hourani, Hood by Air and Ann Demeulemeester.


3. FAUSTINE STEINMETZ AND MARQUES’ALMEIDA IN LINE FOR LVMH FASHION PRIZE

Faustine Steinmetz Aw15 by Disneyrollergirl

Major news from the LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize. London has scored very well with three out of eight candidates in the final lineup (why does this feel like Eurovision?!). Congrats to Faustine Steinmetz (above), Marques’Almeida and Craig Green, whose singular visions, creativity and business nous have done them proud in a hugely competitive market. Here’s my first piece on Faustine from 2013.


4. MARC BY MARC JACOBS IN JEOPARDY?

Marc By Marc Jacobs -photo via Dazed  Lea Colombo

Rumours are swirling that Marc By Marc Jacobs is being killed off, or rather, folded into the main Marc Jacobs line. According to WWD’s Bridget Foley, it’s a cost cutting exercise in preparation for the impending IPO. But where will it leave Luella Bartley and Katie Hiller?

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl
MARC BY MARC JACOBS IMAGE: DAZED by LEA COLOMBO

What to buy from Selfridges Agender

Posted on by Disneyrollergirl

Sefridges launches Agender campaign
Is ‘Agender‘ the new normcore? It’s a new word to get our heads around but it’s essentially not a new concept. It’s Selfridges‘ description for the current vogue for gender-neutral dressing, in which we take away the gender stereotypes around clothing and just wear what we feel like. Not ‘he’ or ‘she’ but ‘me’. Continue reading

THE DRG STYLE INDEX: WESTFIELD, APPLE WATCH, GOOGLE, FARFETCH

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It’s all about the tech this week with updates from Google, Apple, Westfield and Farfetch. Read on for my latest weekly DRG STYLE INDEX ranking, rounding up the brands buzzing on my radar…

1. WESTFIELD TO LAUNCH FUTURE FASHION EVENT

Westfield future fashion digital retail theatre

Westfield is always forward thinking when it comes to experiential retail. Coming soon is its London Future Fashion event, bringing the SS15 trends to life using virtual reality and ‘interactive fashion avatars’ (above). Continue reading

Nail news: Givenchy’s matte nails and Dior’s cult nail creme

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Givenchy matte nails in Rose Evocation and Jaune Expression
I can’t pretend I’m not thrilled that beauty is going through a natural phase for Spring. I much prefer peachy cheeks and a balmy lip to labour-intensive make-up theatrics. That said, it’s not all nude lips and smoky eyes, Givenchy’s spring palette is unapologetically candy-coloured with some fun tricks up its sleeves. Continue reading

Style Forever: Q&A with Alyson Walsh from That’s Not My Age

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Style Forever By Alyson walsh

This is a major week for a good friend of mine, Alyson Walsh who you may also know as the writer of That’s Not My Age. After blogging about age-inclusive fashion for almost seven years, today sees the publication of her first book, Style Forever (Hardie Grant, £12.99). Continue reading

Chanel Rouge Coco – new and improved

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Chanel Rouge Coco lipsticks relaunched

Let’s be honest, it’s always an event when Chanel launches a new makeup product. They’re just consistently on point with their textures, colours and packaging. Continue reading

Top 5 styling moments from Dior AW15

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Dior RTW Fall Winter 2015 Paris

The verdict on Dior AW15 is that these highly commercial RTW pieces wll fly off the rails. I’m quite taken with the accessories and beauty direction too. Here are my favourite styling elements…

1.WALKING-ON-AIR BOOTS
These ankle gripping boots with Lucite heels were unmissable, giving the illusion of walking on air. Continue reading

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