retail concepts

Muji – the regeneration

Muji New York Flagship on 5th Avenue

Before Uniqlo there was Muji, an emporium of well-made Japanese utilitarian basics where I religiously stocked up on winter camisoles (until they tweaked the ones I loves and I defected to HeatTech). Over the years Muji’s clothing offer has been sidelined by the might of Uniqlo, but it’s fighting back with its New York super store.

In another life I think I’d love to have a store specialising in Japanese brands – fashion, homes, stationery – interspersed with books on Japanese lifestyle. Let’s just say we really do rate the Japanese aesthetic in London. New York has tapped into it too with its 12,000-odd square foot Muji flagship, just opened on 5th Avenue opposite the New York Public Library. According to WWD, it has everything from a Cafe Grumpy, to a make-your-own-home-fragrance scent station, to a Green Fingers plant store, to its ‘Found Muji’ section that showcases artisanal everyday product from other regions.

Fashion-wise, the store has the biggest clothing offer of all the U.S Muji stores, including organic knitwear, $200 wool coats, flannel shirts and down gilets (take that Uniqlo). I also like the sound of the travel section which sells New York travel books and luggage designed by Muji’s design guru Naoto Fukasawa. And on the subject of books, this store is the only one selling a selection of books on Japanese lifestyle, culture and design (sample title: Leonard Koren’s ‘Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers’).

I think it’s time we gave Muji a bit more love than just stockpiling the (admittedly amazing) acrylic storage drawers so beloved of beauty vloggers. I’m hoping we’ll get a taste of the rejuvenated Muji UK-side soon…

Muji New York Flagship on 5th Avenue
Muji New York Flagship on 5th Avenue
Muji New York Flagship on 5th Avenue

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

Fenwick beauty favourites

Fenwick beauty hall favourites

As we descend into the Christmas shopping season, the department stores are going full guns ablaze for your beauty dollars. If you want to bypass the chaos of tourists and overzealous scent-spritzers but want to shop in London, Fenwick is a pretty good place to start.

This year, Fenwick has overhauled its ground floor, giving the full entrance space over to its beauty offer. I went to a press event there last month designed to flag up its credentials as a place where you can buy all your makeup, skincare and fragrance favourites. (And discover some new ones too – there’s a focus on niche brands including Artis brushes and tea-centric Bohdidharma fragrances from Michael Boadi of Illuminum fame).

What they did for press was really cool. We were given an empty bag and let loose on a ‘trolley dash’ to pick our eight favourite products including a skincare and fragrance product. Easy, right? You’d think! But being faced with a whole beauty hall incited a severe case of ‘this or that?’ indecision.

Fenwick beauty hall Bond street

Finally, after about fifteen circuits I went for the following:

Chanel Hydra Beauty Micro Serum
I first tried this in the summer. It has my perfect serum texture for morning moisturising – gel-like but not too ‘wet’ or sticky. And the pump pushes out exactly enough for one application.

By Terry Serum Terrybly Sunbooster
Another moisturising gel, this is really a summer product but I love it because a) it smells beachy and b) it adds a tiny bit of revitalising colour and has the minutest bit of shimmer to give you a bit of a glow.

Hermes Eau D’Orange Vert eau de cologne
This elegant citrus scent is so deliciously fresh and uplifting. I wear it if I need to focus on something because it seems to sharpen the senses.

MAC Brow Set gel
I have ridiculously badly behaved brows so this is what I use to glue them in place. It doesn’t flake or go hard but valiantly keeps them in place all day.

YSL Touche Eclat
I had the loveliest chat with the YSL on-counter fellow. He wanted me to try all sorts of other products and was telling me about his Youtube channel but alas, I only had time for my YSL Touche Eclat. Although I also love the Estee Lauder and Charlotte Tilbury equivalents, the YSL is slimmer for carrying in my bag.

Clinique Lid Smoothie
This is hands down one of the easiest eyeshadows to wear. It’s a cream eyeshadow that blends in smoothly with a clean finger and Currant Affair is a subtle shade for everyday if I just want to look a bit groomed.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine Lipstick
These lipsticks are amazing if you like sheer pinky-corals (I wear Insoumise) or 60s pale, kittenish pinks (try Flirt). They have a little bit of irridesence that allows the colour to stain your lips without them feeling completely dried out.

By Terry Baume de Rose
I’ve been meaning to try this for yonks. I love the little frosted glass pot and the tinted pink balm (in ‘Rosy Babe’) as well as its distinctive rose scent – a new favourite for me.

WORDS AND IMAGES: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl


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


Tiffany X Dover Street Market
Who knew that Rei Kawakubo was such a big Tiffany fan? According to her husband (and Comme des Garcons CEO) Adrian Joffe, she always drags him into a Tiffany store if they’re passing by, hence the latest – albeit unlikely – Dover Street Market collab. Just launched in London (and Tokyo and New York), the Dover Street Market X Tiffany collaboration features products from the Tiffany archive updated with a 2015 tweak. Think 70s cufflinks converted into earrings, a sterling silver party hat, or an agate and gold bracelet from 1975 reimagined in gold and rosewood. The visual merchandising is lovely, nodding to the vignettes created by VM whizz Gene Moore for Tiffany’s famous windows back in the day.


sephora launches Teach, Inspire, Play conceptb tore stations to San Francisco store
Loving the sound of Sephora’s TIP workshops. ‘Teach, Inspire, Play’ is the mantra that Sephora is aiming to roll out in its stores, with group workshops that let customers try out makeup looks in a central workstation, aided by iPad, USB ports, and WiFi. It’s all part of the experiential bricks and mortar story that’s playing out in retail right now. As Calvin McDonald, CEO of Sephora Americas, told WWD; “When a client comes in and experiences Teach, Inspire, Play, she’s going to experience it on her own, she’s going to experience it through cast members, and she’s going to experience it through technology, and that’s where we really see our differentiator being and how we’re going to continue to innovate.” Bustle has the story here


Agi and sam X Jaeger knitwear collaboration

When Agi & Sam’s PR sent me over the pics of the Agi & Sam X Jaeger knitwear collab I had to double check that they were the right ones. The collaboration is a capsule knitwear line spun from Gostwyck yarn (I Googled it, it’s a luxurious, sustainable wool). I love the simple colour blocking ad graphic colour palette – definitely one for women to steal too. And the price point is not bad at £225. Buy it HERE and in Jaeger stores…


Is anyone else getting fabulous Isabella Blow vibes from Smythson’s eccentric new Quentin Jones Christmas film? ‘Wonderland’ is a celebration of the childlike novelty of Christmas, and Jones is the perfect person to conjure up its playful spirit with her stop-motion collage filmwork. Check it out above and HERE. (P.S: In other news, you can also buy Quentin Jones X Smythson Christmas cards HERE.)


File under accessories for your accessories. Fendi is getting rather good at creating cute little doodads to accompany your handbag. To one-up the furry Fendi bag bugs it has just launched its ‘Strap You‘ accessory, which is essentially, a bag strap. But a reversible one, that gives you different colours/skins on each side, ‘and it can also be monogrammed’, so I’m informed. Not really an essential, but it’s quite a fun concept, no? (And I do really want a python one…)

WORDS: Navaz Batliwalla/Disneyrollergirl

How high street brands are disrupting the beauty industry

Topshop makeup and H&m Beauty - affordable and high quality make up on the high street

High street beauty has officially gone premium. Topshop’s beauty is five years old and thriving, J Crew’s lipsticks are a cult buy and H&M is going large on its beauty offer with a litany of launches happening in the next few months.

While Topshop kicked things off five years ago, launching its in-house make-up line on the LFW catwalk, the game changer was arguably & Other Stories in 2013, which paired a luxury Scandi aesthetic with an inviting experiential retail model. In fact, & Other Stories was intended as a beauty concept but was so appealing, it was extended to fashion. (more…)