Tuesday, 30 March 2010
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Tuesday, 9 March 2010
Friday, 5 March 2010
New York fragrance company Le Labo have just opened their first UK store, just off Marylebone High Street in London. Until now you could only get hold of their carefully edited collection of scents from hip stores such as Liberty’s, Colette in Paris and Barneys New York. I was first drawn to the brand in Colette: there’s something appealing about the scientific-looking little glass bottles with plain labels in a market that’s saturated with fancy flacons and flashy names. There are just ten key scents, from a heady, complex Rose to the more manly Vetiver. I’m always drawn to jasmine scents; I find the sultry yet sweet A La Nuit by Serge Lutens as close to perfect as a perfume gets. And Le Labo’s Jasmin 17 (the number tells you how many ingredients the scent contains) is just as intoxicating. Though these little bottles are not cheap (from £70 for 50ml), a little lasts a long time – must be the high quality of the essential oils which come direct from Grasse. I do hate the idea of Ambrette 9, the ‘most precious baby formula in the world’, though: the release rhapsodises about ‘A baby perfumed by Le Labo… How cool can you get?’ This kind of guff makes me feel a mug for falling for any beauty product, ever. And yet. Jasmin 17 is addictive, sensual and different. The body oils are a less pricey way of enjoying these beautiful scents (around £30). A store worth sniffing out.
28a Devonshire Street, London, W1, 020 3441 1535, www.lelabofragrances.com
‘The wise woman with a limited dress allowance will invest a great deal of it in underwear’ (from The Cult of Chiffon, 1902)
Airing your underwear in public is de rigeur right now, it seems. From structured corsets at Bottega Veneta to lacy slips at Dior and, naturally, bra straps sexily on show at D&G, there was plenty of slinking down the catwalks for spring/summer 2010. As underpinnings come once again to the fore, the idea is to be seductive and sexy, without being slutty….
The latest season of the ever-seductive ‘Mad Men’ (Wednesdays, BBC4, 10pm) adds fuel to this fire – all those curvaceous women peeling off their twin-sets to reveal the most perfect satin slips and coral-pink bras. Though as Madonna revealed in the 1980s in Gaultier’s iconic conical bras, it’s a trend to be picked up only by the most fearsomely confident/exhibitionist.
There are some glorious bits of retro underwear around – so satin-smooth and beautiful it seems rude not to show it off. Take a peek at What Katie Did, specialists in vintage-style undies. There’s everything from surprisingly glamorous shapewear through to super-sexy corsets (from £125) that scoop you in and lift you up for a real Jessica Rabbit silhouette. The Harlow Bullet Bra (£27.50) and 1940s-style Dolly Mixture bra (£30) are wonderfully authentic, at high-street prices.
Boudiche in Edinburgh (with a sister store in Glasgow) is one of the prettiest lingerie boutiques I’ve seen, a lush little boudoir decked with the best labels, from La Perla and Stella McCartney to their best-selling range, the weirdly named but very sleek New York label, The Lake & Stars Curveball (prices from £32). The ‘Franklin Romper’ (worn by Carrie, with jeans, in the first Sex and the City film, if you care about such things) is madly pretty in rose and mocha. The champagne-coloured chemise (£135) is bang on trend for this season, and really nails that subtle-sexy look. The website’s excellent, though we’d love a bit more information on fabrics: you don’t want to spend this much on underwear and then discover it’s 100 per cent polyester. This chemise is silk, though. Order online; free delivery for orders over £35.
Also modern in outlook is young English designer Clare Tough, stocked at Browns in South Molton Street, London. Inspired by vintage embroidery she found at Clignancourt market in Paris, her collection features classic modern underwear in nudes and oysters, teamed with transparent tops and light cardigans. Love her pretty lace slips (from £305) and sculpted bra tops.
Another store worth knowing about is Susan Hunter, just off Grafton Street in Dublin. Her silk lingerie and kimono dressing gowns have an elegant vintage look. (Free returns and free delivery on orders over £35). I’ll add more details when I go back to the store in Dublin in a few weeks’ time.
I’m really not convinced by Marc Jacobs and Cavalli’s take on this trend though – satin bras worn over vests (a string vest, in Cavalli’s case) and T-shirts. Can this ever be a good look? Sure, it’s cold at the moment, but if you’re going to do the ‘underwear as outerwear’ trend, shouldn’t you just go for it? Magazines can plug this look all they like, but it won’t be one I’m trying out any time soon…