Lara Djandji, Menswear Buyer, Harvey Nichols
“From Raf Simons, SS18 saw the re-launch of key pieces from Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’ album and I can’t get enough of the entire collection – my favourite piece being this jacket - it’s the perfect mix between fashion and music. For real fans, we’ve also bought the cap to complete the full look.”
Left - Raf Simons - New Order Oversized Denim Jacket - £1135
“Amiri’s exceptional quality and craftsmanship of each pair of jeans makes it easy and chic to wear them everywhere – from a flight to a night out.”
Left - Amiri - Broken Black Distressed Skinny Jeans - £645
“I love this iconic Dries Van Noten look – it’s so effortless yet still elegant and can easily be worn with the signature boxed shoulder coat to transition between seasons.”
Below - Dries van Noten - Reedley Checked Wool Coat - £1010, Carlton Printed Ramie Shirt - £565, Patrini Checked Wool Trousers - £390
“I love this vintage inspired jacket by Dior. Designed by Kris Van Assche, it references the punk and rave designs of the 70s and 80s, but also makes anyone looks instantly cool.”
Bottom - Dior Homme - Jacket - £490
This year’s limited-edition range of Jo Malone scents is inspired by English fields. “Sunlight skipping across golden fields. Plentiful. Rich with precious grains. Hearty oat. Fluffy barley. Earthy rye. A warm and wholesome celebration. Cooled by the freshness of flowers. Poppies. Primroses. Cornflowers. Alive with colour. Dancing happily to the hum of crickets. The buzz of bees. The essence of the English landscape in five captivating scents,” or so the blurb goes. I can feel a Sting song coming on!
Left & Below - Jo Malone - English Fields - 30ml - £47
TheChicGeek says, “ The five scents are; Poppy & Barley, Primrose & Rye, Oat & Cornflower, Honey & Crocus and Green Wheat & Meadowsweet. The middle, gourmand three are the most interesting; the other two I think you can find elsewhere.
Primrose & Rye is pure holiday sunshine. It has that dry sun-tan lotion smell - a bit like Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc - from the mimosa and vanilla. The Oat & Cornflower smells really oaty with a hint of hazlenut, while Honey & Crocus, many people's favourite, smells like an almond biscuit, in a good way. The honey and almond milk will certainly get those saliva glands operating. I think they need to pump this into supermarkets to make us buy more!
This is a really fun collection and, like I’ve been saying for ages, these small sizes make it more playful and something you take away on holiday, plus they run out before you get bored. They just need to make the names on the bottles larger as you really need to concentrate to read them.”
Like Jo Malone? Have you seen the latest Cologne Intense fragrance? here
Whether religious or not, Lent is that perfect time of year, and a decent length of time, to challenge yourself to give something up or try something different. I’ve been thinking of trying vegetarianism for a while now and while I could have easily done it, after Christmas, as a New Year’s resolution, it could've felt a bit like jumping off a cliff edge, after the indulgence of Christmas, and I wanted to give it a proper go.
Lent is perfect, being in the middle of February, you feel mentally prepared and can block off the next 6 weeks as you countdown to Easter.
Christians traditionally abstain from animal foods in remembrance of Jesus' 40 days of fasting in the wilderness and with Vegetarianism and Veganism growing in popularity, it felt like the right time to give it a go.
A few of my friends are vegetarians, so I’m going to tap them up for recipes and advice. I’m going to put some Quorn in the fridge for those days I may need something meat-like. My main worries are getting bored and also feeling hungry quickly after meals. I also don’t want to pig out on carbs or turn to sweet things to fill me up. I think I’m going to have to be more organised with my meals and less lazy with the snacking.
If I lose loads of weight and feel like a bag of bones, I’ll think about stopping. But, the main driving force is, it’ll be healthier for me and for the environment, and I want to take more vegetarian options into my everyday and maybe find a few things that I will enjoy and carry on eating. I’ll keep you updated.
See Part Two - here
Bulldog Skincare For Men has added a fragrance-free and gentle face scrub to their ‘Sensitive’ range. The new, skin-smoothing scrub contains sustainably sourced quinoa husk - a by-product of the food industry - sweet almond, baobab and oat oil, and willow herb. It helps to improve skin texture by removing dead skin and leaving a fresh complexion.
Left - Bulldog Skincare For Men - Sensitive Face Scrub - £5
Baobab oil has a high emollient power and is known for its skin smoothing and moisturising properties. Oat oil, grown and harvested in the UK, is known for its effective skin emollience and natural skin softening properties. Canadian willow herb, a unique plant from the Northern Canadian prairies, has developed strong multi-functional phytochemical properties to survive the harsh climate.
TheChicGeek says, “This looks and smells good enough to squirt on your breakfast cereal. The recommended usage is once to twice a week or pre-shave, but I’d say you can use as often as you like.
It’s soft and gentle and being ‘sensitive’, it’s less likely to irritate even the most sensitive of skin. You can feel the ‘beads’, but it’s not coarse at all. If you like your face scrubs like sandpaper then this probably isn't for you.
I also like the fact Bulldog’s new packaging is now made from sugarcane."
French beauty company, L’Occitane, opened their huge - the largest in the world - new flagship store on London’s Regent Street last night. This isn’t just another standard branch, it’s spacious, has a luxurious yet homely finish and even has a Pierre Hermé macaroon counter to boot. It feels like a cross between an airport lounge and a store. It’s definitely somewhere you could happily spend time in.
Left - Upstairs at L'Occitane Regent Street February 2018
Anyway, chatting away, somebody mentioned their boyfriend had come into the store previously and was looking for hand cream. The sales assistant said it was upstairs. As he went upstairs another sales assistant came over and said, “You’re looking for hand cream?”.
Mind reading is a skill that modern retail needs. Clearly, the sales assistant, downstairs, had radioed ahead. Not only is this great service, it’s also a form of human cookies - the chain of information your internet journey/history leaves behind allowing brands to track your movements and also recommend appropriate stuff.
It’s not magic, it’s just clever data, and I, for one, don’t mind having things recommended for me or being reminded I looked at something previously. You can clear your history every now and again if it becomes annoying.
What this shows is a linked up journey in a physical store. The customer is looking for something and rather being lost somewhere on the journey or not finding what they want, the sales links became strong and would obviously have more conversion in sales with the added bonus of wowing the customer and making them feel they had received great service.
Right - The flower filled ceiling installation from above inside the new L'Occitane Regent Street store
This is what physical stores need in order to compete with online: sales assistants quickly talking to each other, directing the consumer and having that want to please and fulfil expectation.
I understand many stores are too busy, some of the time, for this type of individual attention, but many luxury brands can offer this type of service if the sale assistants are motivated. It’s about a personal, human touch, which in the future we will miss from online shopping and something that can become a physical store USP.
‘Human Cookies’, as a concept, would definitely put new meaning into a physical store’s customer journey.
Business geek gets his professional head on in a new Remus Uomo suit. Throwaway that skinny fit and go for something for classic, more grown-up and generous. This blue Remus Uomo suit has a subtle micro check with handsome pocket highlights.
Express your personality through your choice of shirt, socks and accessorises. Think pink in a classic work shirt and matching socks, while a timeless leather briefcase is given an injection of fun with a crocodile bag charm. Snap!
Left - Credits - Suit - Remus Uomo, Pink Shirt - Remus Uomo. Kipper Tie - Vintage from eBay, Socks - Pantherella, Shoes - Dune London, Bag & Bag Charm - Furla
Inspired by Epigenetic - (Dictionary definition) relating to or arising from non-genetic influences on gene expression - science, QMS’ EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum has been specifically designed to address the damage increasing levels of pollution is having on our skin.
Central to its formula is the innovative Epigenetic-Peptide which mimics the function of Royalactin (royal jelly protein), this has a positive effect on the regeneration of the epidermis and in combination with the other advanced-performance ingredients delivers targeted action against the impact of pollution on the skin. Key ingredients include PCW-Skin Relaxing Extract from the Swiss stone pine which reduces local redness and age spots, resulting in a more even skin appearance, Matrikine Complex, a special messenger peptide (matrikines) playing a role in skin repair processes and GCI-Peptide which maintains genomic integrity by protecting and repairing DNA damage.
Left - !QMS - EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum - 30ml - £167 (30ml)
TheChicGeek says, i “I hadn’t heard of QMS before, so this was the first product I’ve tried. I was fortunate to meet the brains behind the brand, Dr. Erich Schulte. A plastic surgeon from Germany, he founded QMS to get his patients’ skin into tip-top shape before they went under the knife. Ouch.
He says one of the biggest stressors of skin, after UV damage, is pollution and with London’s current problem, this is easy to believe. The rising levels of microscopic pollutant particles in the air can lead to skin irritations, increased sensitivity, hyper-pigmentation, premature skin ageing, clogged pores and acne. These particles are so small they can penetrate right down to the epidermis and this is where the damage starts.
Schulte says, “The highly innovative active ingredient complex in EpiGen Daily-Detox Serum helps to deactivate the negative chemical markings that are having a detrimental impact on the skin whilst accelerating epidermal regeneration, activating the cellular cleaning process and delaying skin aging.”
This goes on once a day, in the morning, under your moisturiser. It’s probably one of the most expensive products I’ve tried - £167 for 30ml!!
It’s good, but it’s hard not to be shy with it when you think about how expensive it is. Though, as it’s once-a-day, it should last a reasonable amount of time.
QMS stands for 'quick magic skin', and Dr. Schulte says the exclamation mark, before !QMS, was inspired by German designer, Wolfgang Joop - JOOP!. He thought it would intrigued people to know more about his nascent skincare brand.
These Doctor brands just keep getting bigger and bigger, as people want to pay for the science rather than the packaging, brand and marketing campaign. This is definitely one to keep an eye on.”
Created by Antoine Maisondieu and Olivier Pescheux, who set out to reveal “the charisma of the wearer”, Montblanc Legend Night is a woody fragrance with aromatic notes of clary sage and peppermint, enhanced with cool spices (cardamom) and sparkling bergamot.
The middle notes contain cedar wood blended with floral lavender tones, and slightly powdered violet.
"In the base notes, we wanted a strong and memorable signature, full of contrasts,” explain the two noses. “On one side some dense and vibrant woods with a duo of Vetiver and patchouli wood, and on the other, the enveloping depth of musk and velvety black vanilla.”
Left - Montblanc Legend Night 100ml - EDP - £67
TheChicGeek says, “The first Legend arrived in 2011, and has proved to be a commercial success. This is the third in the series after Legend Spirit.
It starts off fairly standardly and unmemorable, but then warms into a soft, vanilla wood with a background of violet. There’s nothing especially distinctive here and it doesn’t feel particularly ‘night’. Maybe not heavy enough?
I think Mont Blanc as a brand could go for a more upmarket feel and better quality ingredients with their fragrances. There’s a disconnect between a £500 pen and a £67 fragrance available from The Perfume Shop and, I think, as consumers become more used to nicher, quality fragrances, the people running these brands should take note and aim to copy or emulate the finish and feeling or get left behind. I do like the ombré bottle, it has that 80s ‘Fahrenheit’ feel, but I’d probably stick to the original Legend."
Montblanc Legend Night will be available exclusively at The Perfume Shop from 12th March 2018. Nationwide from 3rd April 2018.
JF Man has been created by the experts behind one the biggest and instantly recognisable hair brands, John Frieda. Drawing on three decades of experience in transforming hair, JF Man is a dedicated men’s collection - their first - of care and styling products that work together to tackle some of modern men’s most challenging hair concerns.
“Our research revealed a clear demand for dedicated men’s hair care and styling products, with Mintel forecasting +11% growth in the Men’s haircare category through to 2020. The result is two ground-breaking collections that are designed to combat the frustrating natural tendencies hair has as it grows, helping men manage their hair between barber visits, getting them closer to that fresh-cut feeling, every day,” says Karolina Tlalka, Marketing Manager, JF Man.
Left - Lift System Energising Shampoo - £7.50, Lift System Lifting Clay Crème - £9.50, Lift System Humidity Blocking Hairspray - £7.50, Control System Taming Shampoo - £7.50, Control System Calming Conditioner - £7.50, Control System Grooming Gel - £9.50, Control System Sculpting Paste - £9.50, Control System Smoothing Crème - £9.50
TheChicGeek says, “This range is split into two: LIFT for thin, flat hair that needs lift and support; and CONTROL for unruly, dry or thick hair. I’m firmly in the ‘LIFT’ category - the blue accented products - and I already like the way there isn’t a conditioner option. It makes me feel like they know what they’re doing, instead of that annoying thing of a ‘shampoo/conditioner’, because men are ‘lazy’, when, if you have fine hair, you don’t want a conditioner making it lank and greasy.
Within the LIFT option there is a shampoo, clay crème and hairspray. It all feels really light, which is what you want with thin and flat hair. The shampoo has a great texture and contains Keratin Protein and Vitamin B5. The ‘Humidity Blocking Hairspray’ is a non-sticky spray that is truly non sticky and has hold without it feeling too rigid. The ‘Lifting Clay Crème’ is light and doesn’t feel like it’s weighing down your hair.
I like this range because it feels like it’s been produced by somebody who understands the main two differences in men’s hair. The sizes are big and offer good value. You probably don’t need the hairspray and the creme, but at these prices you could easily get both and each of these products will happily last you for months.”
Launching exclusively with Boots
There’s something wildly indulgent, no, scrap that, ridiculously indulgent about a white Mackintosh. This option is part of a limited-edition collaboration with Maison Margiela and the Scottish rainwear specialists, Mackintosh.
Trust the house of Margiela to offer something impractical yet extremely desirable. One part lab coat, one part asylum, this will mark like crazy, but you’ll wear those marks with pride and it’s all part of the 'process'.
They are limited to only 250, with each one featuring Margiela’s signature stitches at the back and individually numbered.
Left & Below - Mackintosh X Maison Margiela - £1865