Buy it now: Spring picks



I’m cautious with spring shopping as I don’t like to get too optimistic about the weather. So with the Fendi sleeveless blouse there’s a Thomas Tait leather jacket and to accompany the Theory shorts, an Ostwald Helgason sweatshirt. The Dries Van Noten lace-ups are an all-year-round option, as is the Chloe ring. (P.S, you might like to know that there’s free shipping on full-price merch over £100 at Farfetch until Thursday…)


ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT:
TOP: Olympia le Tan bag; Dries van Noten shoes; Fendi blouse
MIDDLE: Ostwald Helgason sweatshirt; Chloe ring; Theory shorts
BOTTOM: Thomas Tait jacket; Marc Jacobs Dot eau de parfum; Topshop platforms



On Fornasetti incense and preserving the ancient art of Kodo



You may know Fornasetti for its distinctive ceramics and homewares. I certainly have an unhealthy preoccupation with the ashtrays and cabinets – especially those depicting the classical features of Lina Cavalieri, the 19th century opera singer and muse of Piero Fornasetti. But a more recent departure for the brand is its entry-point home smellies – the Fornasetti Profumi scented candles in their lidded jars (that are regarded not merely as candles but as decorative objects) and the delightful illustrated incense boxes.

Just like the boxes, the incense inside is an artisanal product. Created in Japan, it’s produced by Nippon Kodo, who have been making incense to exacting standards since 1575. At a workshop hosted by The Conran Shop to celebrate the Art of Kodo and the ritual of incense appreciation, I discovered that like calligraphy and tea ceremonies, ancient Japanese traditions are gradually going out of fashion. Globalisation favours teaching primary school kids English, not calligraphy, we were told by our Japanese Kodo master. And yet, as he demonstrated, the precise and meditative ritual of Kodo is something to be savoured, perhaps more so than ever in the information-overloaded 21st century. In a strange twist, it’s the western cultures that are learning to appreciate the age-old traditions and crafts of the East – as I’ve noticed with the recent flurry of ‘save our artisans’ retail workshops. So maybe all’s not quite lost… yet.



Beauty social networks ‘are a marketer’s paradise’…




I often trawl The Fashion Spot forums to research new fashion ad campaigns and magazine editorials but I’m not so well up on the beauty forums. The New York Times has an interesting piece on beauty review sites like She Said Beauty and Pampadour, which let consumers talk to each other about beauty products before they buy. Sephora’s beauty network, Beauty Talk gives its super-users advance info on new products which is a nice perk as well as a good way to keep them contributing to the site (unsurprisingly, Beauty Talk members spend more money on the site than regular customers). Read the story here