Fortnum & Mason

What’s in the box: the business of beauty advent calendars



unpacking the business of beauty advent calendars

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…)



Coffee and cones



fortnum & Mason coffee and mini ice cream cone

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.