Wow, what a month May is looking to be for retail! Last week, Harrods opened its Pradasphere exhibition-café-shop-windows takeover, Fendi unveiled its 3-floor Bond Street flagship, Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium arrived in Mayfair and Selfridges just launched its summer ‘Beauty Project’.
An epic nationwide store concept (online and offline), The Beauty Project is a look at beauty, not just from a product point of view but in a wider sense, giving us experiential retail and discussions around how we see beauty.
There’s been a more meaningful approach to beauty brewing for a while, so it’s not surprising to see one of our most powerful department stores leading this new conversation. Most exciting for me are the salon discussions taking place in all the stores. In London, Sally Hughes is curating a series of talks and panel discussions (£15 each) which look at our changing ideas of what constitutes beauty today. I’m looking forward to seeing Kay Montano and Thandie Newton (from ThandieKay.com) speaking on a panel called ‘Pretty White Female – How Beauty Can Appeal to Every Woman’ on 10th June.
Meanwhile, at Manchester Exchange, Caryn Franklin will lead a debate called Who Are You Calling Invisible? Beauty And The Older Woman, while at Selfridges Birmingham, cricketers Laurie Evans and Richard Jones will discuss the issues surrounding male beauty. That’s just a tiny part of the programme. The powers of Google+ have also been employed to broadcast some of the talks as Google+ Hangouts On Air, so international and virtual viewers can partake too. (You can start by watching Charlotte Tilbury and British Beauty Blogger in this one tomorrow morning.)
If you like personalisation and fragrance, you’re going to love the can’t-miss service taking residence in the Wonder Room called The Fragrance Lab. Make an appointment for a personality profile and pick up your own bespoke fragrance for a mere £65. Apparently it’s very revealing and a little bit spooky! At the #beautyproject press preview I also saw a demo by Inge Theron who has just unveiled herself as the writer of How To Spend It’s Spa Junkie column. This dynamic beauty evangelist has launched Face Gym, an intense workout for the face that promises untold benefits. It’s not a facial but a proper muscle-stretching, face-aching workout. Sounds hideous, I’m dying to try it!
Finally, news just in: Selfridges has created an edit of exclusive hero products with a combined value of £120 that it’s selling for £30. No that’s not a typo. Click here to find out what’s in the box (clue: NARS, Laura Mercier, Kiehls for starters) and to get a heads-up on when it hits counters.
There’s a ton more going on with The Beauty Project so to find out more, or sign up for the Salon talks, click here.
Selfridges’ Beauty Project programme runs until 12th June in the London, Birmingham and Manchester stores and online.