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Toga talk

Toga AW16 green dress

When people ask me my favourite designer label, my mind tends to go blank. Because ‘Celine’ or ‘Raf Simons’ or ‘Helmut Lang circa 1995’ is not very original and also because (shhhh,don’t tell), I hardly ever buy designer clothes these days.

But here’s a good one: Toga. I love Toga for its sweet spot between interesting and wearable, and dressy but not trussed up. The proportions are off-kilter (I’m very much feeling the voluminous sleeves), the quality is amazing for the price and I like that it’s not overexposed.

Toga is known for its cultish Toga Pulla shoes and brilliant knitwear. It’s designer Yasuko Furuta also makes the most wonderful mannish coats and deconstructed shirts. Her LFW shows are a highlight for the poetic layered styling and standout accessories. I could go on, but I’ll let Matches do the rest.

Toga AW16 is in the ‘coming soon’ section of Matches Fashion, so have a nose below (I’m especially partial to this little green number) …
Toga aw16 tulle dress
Toga aw16
Toga aw16 asymmetric sweater
Toga AW16

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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Vogue.co.uk
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

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How to discover niche fragrances

Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor

Perfume departments are becoming all about discovery, mimicking the feel of concept stores like Colette and The Avery Perfume Gallery. Selfridges has taken its cue from this, with a new fragrance and home scent destination on the ground floor, dedicated to a mix of niche brands old and new. It’s a far cry from ye olde big brand approach. For starters, no-one will assault you with a flacon of Angel. Instead, there are islands of products, with the cult faves Fornasetti, Diptyque, Penhaligon’s, and Frederic Malle rubbing shoulders with lesser-known brands, many of which are very new.

It’s a place to linger and lose yourself, learn about what tickles your senses and find original gifts for difficult-to-choose-for people. (Tip: no-one could be disappointed with Cire Trudon’s zingy new Cyrnos candle or a Fornasetti trinket tray.) And the best bit of all, there’s zero hard sell. It’s all the brainchild of new director of beauty, David Legrand, who arrived from Sephora to help Selfridges become less about brands and product and more about experience.

Read on for some of my highlights…

JUSBOX I admit it; I smell with my eyes. And the first thing you notice about Jusbox (pronounced ‘juice box’) is the bottles with their vinyl record shaped stoppers and graphic packaging. The brand is centred around the icons, emotions and social environments of music, with scents such as Beat Café (a warm and woody ode to counter culture) and Use Abuse (a cocktail of white tuberose and sandalwood notes dedicated to eighties excess). And in a cute retro riff, they come in 78ml bottles.

THE FRAGRANCE KITCHEN The Fragrance Kitchen (or ‘TFK’) has been around since 2012 but is new to Selfridges. There are six lines including ‘Self Portrait’, a tribute to inspiring artists; ‘Modern Heritage’, blending old with new; and ‘Signature’, fresh unisex scents for every day. The founder is Kuwait’s Sheik Majed Al-Sabah, who watched his grandmother mix perfume by hand and decided to continue the tradition. Blending Middle Eastern ouds and Taif rose with the expertise of Grasse perfumers, the result is an original brand with an engaged millennial following. It’s not uncommon for the Sheik’s Snapchat followers to come in requesting perfumes they’ve seen on social media.

FREDERIC MALLE Liberty may have monopolised sales until now but Selfridges finally has its very own Frederic Malle corner. I have the Dries van Noten perfume which is one of my most worn scents. But there are plenty of others to discover from one of the world’s best loved perfume brands.

LOLA JAMES HARPER I first spotted Lola James Harper in Colette in Paris a few months ago, seduced by the simple packaging and typography. And also the feel-good, narrative names, such as The Coffee Shop of J.P, derived from founder Rami Mekdachi’s own family, life and travels. The scents are lovely – evocative, familiar and sophisticated. Newest to the line is a range of six eau de toilettes (£75), designed to stand the test of time in tall, slim deco bottles. I’m enjoying Little By Little With Joy, a gentle cloud of orange blossom that instantly reminds me of my French BFF, Virginie. I also love the sound of Just Say Yes, a romantic rose-based eau de toilette and Everything Will Come Together, a reassuring hug of vetiver.

GRI GRI I wrote about Gri Gri the fragrance ‘for tattooed skin’ a few weeks ago. Founder Anais Biguine has a fascination for tattoos and the type of people who have them, so created these fragrances as something of a tribute. It’s for adventurous, spiritual types so expect exotic notes of dried grass, green tea and herby spices delivered in refined glass bottles.

FORNASETTI Fornasetti is about both the olfactory experience and the beautiful object. As well as the heady scented candles and incense, there are divine trinket trays for keeping desk side.

AVERY PERFUME GALLERY This concept store has outposts all over the world and sells a number of niche fragrances (I love Re Profumo) alongside its own recently launched collection. The brand’s ceramic animals make up part of the enticing displays that draw you into the new Selfridges fragrance department.

Jusbox at Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor

Jusbox at Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor
Frederic Malle Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor
Lola James Harper at Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor
Fornasettti at Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor
Fornasettti at Selfridges fragrance concept space ground floor

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WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: top to bottom – Selfridges fragrance space; Jusbox x 2; Lola James Harper; Fornasetti x 2
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

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What to buy from The Estée Edit

The Estee Edit on trial

Despite my age, in some ways, I consider myself very millennial. In others, I’m soooo not!! Of course, I love social media, start-up culture and coffee shops. Selfies and reality trash TV? Nah, not so much.

The new Estée Edit line from Estée Lauder is aimed at millennials on the face of it, but dig deeper and it’s got universal appeal. For starters, there’s the packaging, taking the signature blue element from the traditional Estée Lauder branding and refreshing it with bold Klein-blue-and-white graphics. The result is fresh and dynamic with ‘The Estée Edit’ written in a handwritten flourish. In millennial-ese, blue is recognised as perfect for Instagram as research says that blue-toned images get more engagement than, say red (who knew?). And the handwritten font is personable and energising, nodding to the motivational phrases that define Pinterest and Insta.

The Estee Edit at Selfridges

So well done branding team for the eye-catching graphics. But what of the products? Well, it’s a mixed bag with mixed reviews. It’s a big collection of 82 products and while a lot of thought has gone into cute concepts, some are more successful than others. For me, the yellow ‘Lip Flip’ lipstick has limited appeal (some call it ‘gimmicky’), and some of the palettes aren’t my bag, shade-wise. The Beam Team Hydrate and Glow has potential as a moisturising highlighter but doesn’t quite deliver. It’s just too subtle. It has a secret solid reserve of shimmery balm in the lid, which is a fab idea, but again, the product is too sheer. But that aside there are still plenty of winners in the line. I’ve had a good play with my samples and my most-used products are:

Pore Vanishing Stick An oil-controlling, blur balm in stick form (£21, below), this can be used under makeup but I use it on top to blur pores and de-shine. I like the size of this for on-the-go grooming.

White Mud Exfoliating Scrub and Mask I love the texture of this mask (£28, below). It’s very thick and creamy, so you don’t squeeze out too much and it feels luxe. It contains small Jojoba beads to massage in gently and leaves skin looking noticeable brighter and less congested.

The Estee Edit pore vanishing stick

The Estee Edit White Mud Exfoliating Scrub and Mask

Dissolve The Drama Make-up Remover This isn’t pictured as it’s in permanent use in my bathroom but it’s a great buy if you love oil cleansers. It’s not perfect – the oil is runnier than most and doesn’t come out easily from the bottle, so it can be messy. But it’s very effective for end-of-the-day make-up removal, including eye make-up. And I love that it’s a big, 200ml sized bottle; for £22 I think it’s good value.

Flash Photo Gloss There are lots of supposedly selfie-friendly products here, including this slightly blue-tinted clear lip gloss (£15, below) designed to ‘help your teeth flash selfie-white’. Um, I can’t say my teeth look super-white but as a clear gloss, I really like it.

The Estee Edit flash photo gloss

Flash Illuminator (in 04 Day Light) To me, this is like a paler, liquid-cream version of my holy grail Estee Lauder Shimmering Nudes Allover Illuminator. It’s great for adding subtle iridescence to tops of cheekbones on a minimal make-up day. But you know what? It’s even better for a rose gold glow on forearms and shoulders (£22, below).

The Estee Edit Flash Illuminator

Skin Glowing Balm Millennials, it seems, can’t get enough of illuminating, shading and glow-giving products, so the scope for tinted moisturisers and glow balms is pretty huge. Skin Glowing Balm (£26, above) is a sort of tinted moisturiser for those days when your skin doesn’t need coverage but you want to look like you’ve caught the sun. The trick is to apply sparingly and blend. It leaves a lovely sheen and a just-tan-enough tint. It works on darker skin tones too, on which note, I love how the Estée Edit shows its products on different skin tones on social…

Saturday night, all right. EDGIest Kohl Shadowstick has 24 hour wear so it won’t budge, transfer or fade. #theesteeedit

A photo posted by The Estée Edit (@theesteeedit) on

Swatch out! Flash Illuminator shades are 🔥 #theesteeedit

A photo posted by The Estée Edit (@theesteeedit) on

 

And so to the overall concept. Being a millennial-tailored brand, The Estée Edit isn’t just about product. Remember, millennial beauty is experiential beauty, so it’s also about social media, endless content and fun personalities. The brand launched with Sephora as a partner, tapping into the beauty retailer’s insights into the very specific ways this customer likes to shop. As the name suggests, the brand relies on guest ‘editors’ to help curate and promote the product. So for launch, we have Kendall Jenner and Irene Kim creating videos, appearing in social and generally making us want in on the Estée Edit way of life. “They are guest editors of the collection and the idea is that the clients are inspired by their attitude, their style, their point of view,” says Jane Hertzmark Hudis, group president for The Estée Lauder Cos.

It’s also an inclusive, global vision, which means that racial diversity extends from model casting to darker foundation shades, and I notice that the social editors make a point of engaging with commenters and giving advice. Yes there is some great product and yes, there’s room for improvement, but in the long run, I think it’s the brand ‘personality’ that fans buy into. As Estée herself used to say, ‘beauty is an attitude’, and for The Estée Edit that has plenty of potential.

Buy The Estée Edit at Selfridges and Sephora. Later this month it will be sold online at Estee Lauder.

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WORDS AND IMAGES: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

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THE DRG STYLE INDEX: DIOR, VOGUE, PRADA, SONIA RYKIEL X LANCOME, CHAMPION

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

1. DIOR FINALLY NAMES ITS NEW DESIGNER
Maria Grazia Chiuri heads to Dior as artistic director
An exciting week for Dior, who finally named Maria Grazia Chiuri as its incoming artistic director. I wasn’t convinced by the other suggestions but I love Chiuri’s work at Valentino and it will be interesting to see her take on modern femininity at Dior. Oh and let’s not forget possibly the real reason she’s been hired. Accessories, baby! Dior’s shoes and bags are about to get a lot more attention. We won’t have long to wait to see the results, Chiuri starts next week with her first show slated for September 30th.


2. VOGUE ARABIA LAUNCHES

Vogue Arabia
Just when you thought the magazine industry was dying on its knees (that’s all I’ve been hearing lately), Condé Nast reveals a new launch. Vogue Arabia is in the works (to be edited by Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz, above) but the interesting part is it’s launching with a website first, with print to follow later. Style.com Arabia has the story.


3. PRADA IS COMING TO NET-A-PORTER

Prada by Virginia Arcaro via Dazed
‘Luxury brand embraces e-commerce’ so shouldn’t be news, but, well it is. Prada is set to launch on Net-a-Porter, Mr Porter and Mytheresa, with Net-a-Porter’s delivery coming as soon as next week (diarise Friday 15th).


4. SONIA RYKIEL X LANCÔME

Sonia Rykiel X Lancome collab
Coming very soon: this colourful collab from Sonia Rykiel X Lancôme. Tapping into the signature stripes and playful élan of Rykiel, I’m all about the illustrated packaging. The Sonia Rykiel Draws Paris for Lancôme collection launches in August.


5. THE CHAMPION EFFECT

Vetements X Champion collaboration for SS17
Normcore fave Champion was thrilled to work with Vetements as one of its favoured best-of-the-best brands to partner with for ss17. Racked has an interview with Champion’s Chief Global Design Officer here to explain its enduring appeal.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Prada by Virginia Arcaro for Dazed
NOTE: Some posts use affiliate links and PR samples. Please read my cookies policy here.

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