“I loved going shopping in London, like at Fortnum & Mason. They have these guys in uniform with white gloves there and they never rush you. They stand there forever. They’d say, “May I help you, ma’am?” and I’d say, “Mmm… maybe I’ll have this can of soup.” And they’d say, “Oh, that’s a lovely brand, ma’am—one of our most popular.” And they’d hold up the can of soup and follow you around for like an hour holding up cans of soup and boxes of biscuits and jars of all sorts of sauces… “And this one, ma’am, is so lovely with duck.” They’d go on and on. I couldn’t get over it.”
On October 25th, 300 people queued around the block of Liberty’s department store before 8.30am. Not for a new i-gadget, or a half price techy telly, or even a celebrity collaboration. No, they queued for make-up. Or more specifically, for the privilege of buying a £175 box of beauty products, albeit worth over £500.
Welcome to the frenzied, hype-commerce world of beauty advent calendars. A business that’s been booming for the last couple of years and is still growing (according to Google trends). (more…)
When I first happened upon the revamped Fortnum & Mason store in Piccadilly, I practically recoiled in shock. What had they done? In their effort to modernise, all the character had been sapped out of the poor shop. A few months on and I decided to give it a second chance. To my surprise I discovered a gem. Parlour Restaurant on the first floor is a darling little ice-cream parlour, designed by David Collins (Madonna’s decorator no less) and decked out American diner style with a 50s Italian twist.
The pistachio-green chairs work beautifully with the fondant-coloured china and floor-tiles, while neopolitan-hued lampshades coordinate very nicely indeed. But it’s not just about the decor. There’s a choice of fabulous ice-cream sundaes including a few alcoholic ones and great attention is paid to presentation. My favourite touch? The mini-sized ice-cream cones served with the capuccinos in their own little holder! Absolutely adorable.