John Lewis Oxford Street has just opened a revamped beauty hall, Jane and I were invited along to the opening party and it was fabulous. We love John Lewis anyway, as you all know but it’s unusual for the company to do ‘fancy’ parties, it’s normally far to level-headed a retailer, so it was a joyous surprise to find we had wrist bands, celebrities and even a DJ as well as excellent cocktails. Although despite all the frivolity it was, as Jane said on the night, good to see John Lewis staff (wearing smart floral buttonholes and looking as if they were enjoying themselves) still being reassuringly informative and helpful, with the chaps trying to look ‘relaxed’ in their suits, hands neatly clasped behind their backs. Standards didn’t slip, we are pleased to say.
The new hall is terrific, much easier to shop and nicely laid out to show brand areas and product to its best. There’s a new Jo Malone London area, which is beautiful and other brands such as Sisley, Liz Earle, Origins and Clarins have areas that are more inclusive for customers, allowing you to poke about with the products rather than talk over a counter to staff.
There’s also a Topshop make up section, exclusive to John Lewis, which Topshop’s MD Mary Homer told us was to encourage a mother-and-daughter shopping experience (that’ll be daughter loves, mum buys). It’s a coup for John Lewis and is a well priced option amongst the beautiful but more pricey ranges from Chanel, YSL, Burberry (which is new to the floor) and Dior.
Opi nails, Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown have beautiful areas to potter-and-try in and there’s lots of aisle space. But it’s not all branded fabulousness, the store still does good quality beauty basics too, such as sponges, scrubbing brushes and make up bags.
We often find beauty halls a bit overwhelming, noisy and staffed by gorgeous-but-young assistants. This new hall could be a calmer, more supportive place for our 35plus market staffed to normally high JL partnership service standards.
On the night, we were wowed by the combination of new layout and amazing flower displays, which may not be quite so prolific on your visit, so to give you a feel of how lovely it looked, here are a few photos (more flowers than beauty, it has to be said) for inspiration.
Below is a proper make up utilities belt, as worn by the Topshop make up staff, I’d quite like ones of these….
Janet Street Porter looked great in printed trousers (has she been reading the blog?) below left and Mary Homer from Topshop is on the right, wearing a dress I coveted from Topshop Unique’s range last season.
Liz Earle’s flowers were a mix of wild hedgerow and country garden borders, all served up in cork vases, reflecting the brand’s love of a natural alternative. We like the manifesto philosophy board too, always nice to know where your beauty brand stands on sourcing etc.
While at Jo Malone London we had an early sniff of the upcoming Velvet Rose & Oud perfume, a limited edition number out in June…gorgeous! One for perfume geeks to take note of.
Delphiniums, white roses, hydrangeas and white peonies are the ‘hot’ flowers of choice currently.
We loved this squished delphinium flower plate used to serve up delicious canapes, we had to eat all the food to ensure a good picture for you, ahem..self-less to the last…..
Our favourite flowers of the night were from Sisley, where sweet peas, fox gloves and ‘snowball’ verbenas were all presented in a hand-tied easy manner. Lovely.
Tom Ford (left) and Gucci (right) had more glamourous displays of white, lilies, peonies and carnations.
The windows were also very floral and immensely decorative for John Lewis, well done the VM team! We loved the Burberry origami white paper flowers, below, which covered the floor of the window in drifts of white, to highlight the make up range (it’s VERY nice if you haven’t seen it yet). And of course the Jo Malone London window of plum blossom ( to promote the new fragrance we talked about here) which might remind you of something?
If you in London, pop along to see the hall and let us know if it’s still as lovely when you visit. And what you buy.