Monday, 4 March 2013

In Scents

As the days gets lighter (at last) I tend to turn to scents that are uplifting, refreshing and generally green – L'Eau by Maison Martin Margiela and Chanel No.19 being two eternal favourites. Today this chic new scent, Lune de Givre by Cloon Keen Atelier, launches instore at Arnotts, Dublin, and is also available online and from cult perfume boutique Les Senteurs in London, which stocks only the most interesting and exclusive brands. Galway perfumers Cloon Keen produce the most beautiful and intriguing scents and candles at their tiny but perfectly formed perfumery in Galway. Owner Maggie Mangan describes the mix of angelica, galbanum (the resin that's also key to Margiela and 19), iris and vetiver as having a "vintage feel, but not heavy – it's something a Hitchcock blonde would wear". In fact, all the elements are derived from roots and seeds. At 70 euro, Cloon Keen's scents are very well priced – in fact something of a bargain if you consider the quality, the presentation (the bottles are based on vintage ink bottles, and the top flips up) and the fact that iris and angelica are among the priciest of perfume ingredients. It's understated, fresh and beautifully green and draws you in all day – you find yourself walking round with your wrist by your nose, which looks a bit odd. The perfect daytime scent.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Lancôme x Alber Elbaz

Roll on June 15 for the launch of the latest beauty collaboration: Lancôme and Alber Elbaz. See the teaser video here. Can't wait to see the Lanvin designer's first venture into make-up. His quirky drawings will make for some great packaging – and there has to be a brightly coloured bow-tie motif in there somewhere. As team-ups go, it has to be up there with last year's Karl Lagerfeld for Shu Uemura. Yet another reason to wish for summer....

Friday, 21 December 2012

December in Paris

Paris just knows how to do December. The decorations are chic, never gaudy, and even if you don't go inside the stores, the window displays alone are dazzling. The incredible Dior display in the windows of Printemps beauty store (below) features hundreds of tiny marionettes wearing Dior fashion specially made by the fashion house's own atelier – they all move and dance and float. You have to venture into Colette though – push past the crowds of hipsters who spend hours thronging the pavement outside (even in the rain), perhaps hoping that some of the store's cool will waft out of the doors and infuse them – the beauty edit is brilliant, from US pharmacist brand C.O. Bigelow and English natural ranges REN and Burt's Bees to Topshop make-up. Also recommend Germain restaurant on rue Baci over by the Marais where you can follow your steak and chips with a banana split or comically large chocolate eclair. Staff are ludicrously good-looking – in fact everyone in there seems to have fabulous hair and a figure that you do not get from eating banana splits and comically large chocolate eclairs. But the food's great. Perhaps the most Christmassy thing to do, though, is stop for hot chocolate in Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli, where Chanel and Audrey Hepburn both hung out – it's legendary for good reason. 

Sunday, 25 November 2012

At Liberty

Brown Thomas in Dublin ( is one of the loveliest shops we know – not as sprawling as Selfridges, but with a great fashion and beauty edit and friendly, helpful staff – but in London it has to be Liberty. For all of us who can't get there easily, there's £30 off on their website this weekend plus free UK delivery. There is really nowhere better to buy beauty, from Frederic Malle (try his candle, above, £58) and Byredo perfumes to cosmetics by cult brands such as Hourglass (the 'best of' box below includes their brilliant mineral primer) and Aesop. A set of glass tumblers (£6.50 each) by the brilliant North East shop Re-Found Objects, who have popped up in Liberty, makes a stylish gift, while the Ally Cappellino leather bags are practical and built to last.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Night fever

Gatsby Classic Cotton Pyjamas, £100

Love these cool classic pyjamas from, which have names like Bardot, Grace and Mitford to channel that idea of timeless beauty and glamour. They're made in India by ex-journalist Lucy Archibald who's now based there, and they're selling out fast – the cool striped nightshirt which has a gorgeously worn quality has already disappeared and we're really hoping they restock soon. This mannish style in midnight blue silk would make the perfect Christmas present....

Audrey Classic Silk Pyjamas, £200 

Friday, 21 September 2012

Karl for Shu

No humble HBs for Karl Lagerfeld - the designer uses Shu Uemura eyeshadows to colour his fashion sketches. Which is what's led to him creating a beauty collection together with the Japanese brand. It launches on October 14 in Selfridges, Harrods and Brown Thomas Dublin before going nationwide in November. Harrods, incidentally, will stock the only pair of false eyelashes made with real rubies. So if you have a spare £900 you're in luck.

The little manga comic-style motif of the collection, Mon Shu, dressed in Lagerfeld's own trademark black and white, is cutesy (though also a little sinister), but the make-up colours are as sophisticated as you'd expect from Shu. 

The eye colours are really silky with great strong colours, while the four lipsticks (including a fab pinky-red) are creamy and luxurious. I like the reinvented eyelash curlers – still the best in the business – and the fact the prices haven't been hiked up to cash in on the Karl link. It's a fun and collectable collection (we'd love the make-up box – which is pricey, but will last for ever – and the mini make-up brushes).

Shu are always so visual about their packaging – here's the Mamechiyo collaboration they did earlier this year:

And don't forget their brilliant Cleansing Oil, in a mini sample you can sometimes get from counters if they're in stock – if you've never tried it, you'll find it's the most lovely, gentle, pleasurable way of cleaning your skin. There are different varieties to suit your skin type. 

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Starting this Friday at 6pm, you can take part in the upcoming fashion weeks as never before: will be broadcasting live commentary on the shows as they happen, with panels made up of fashion luminaries such as Jane Shepherdson, Daphne Guinness and Colin McDowell. Colin will be kicking off with Mrs Beckham's show in New York on early Sunday evening. Don't miss it – this will be THE place to get the most informed, honest, opinionated and downright entertaining coverage of spring 2013's fashion as it unfolds. Can't wait...