A couple of lovely new brands/stores to tell you about today.
Firstly a new British fragrance brand Parterre, which is exceptional in that it is growing and distilling many of its fragrance ingredients at its historic headquarters, Keyneston Mills in Dorset. The seed-to-bottle philosophy of the brand is to create a unique product and to encourage customers to visit the beautiful fragrant gardens at the water mill, watch the botanicals being distilled on site and experience first hand what goes into making luxury fine fragrances.
The founders, David and Julia Bridger have created three very good fragrances for launch, A Tribute To Edith– a beautiful, grown up, boozy rose, Run Of The River – a soft, vibrant, herby green scent and Root Of All Goodness – a lovely rich, leathery vetitver. All will come as numbered bottles, since each botanical harvest will result in different qualities of distillation, so each year’s fragrance mix will be different, a little like wine.
The Bridger’s hope the Mill will become a real destination for its beautiful gardens, which are the largest privately owned botanical gardens in the country dedicated to scented and aromatic plants. I can’t wait to visit. They are growing and distilling English vetiver, which has not been attempted before and for this alone I am excited, but I appreciate this is a bit of a niche interest.
There was a delightful presentation recently to introduce the brand, where a selection of the plants grown were shown to us – including tuberose and a vast selection of scented geraniums – and everyone involved seemed so committed and enthusiastic, I really hope it does well. You can buy the fragrances at Fortnum & Mason and the gardens open on Saturday 18th November. There will be an interview with the pair on We Wear Perfume soon, if you want to know more.
And secondly, the luxury natural beauty brand L’Officine Universelle is about to open in Selfridges. I have met Victoire de Taillac, the impossibly chic co founder of the brand, a number of times now (see here) and she is terrific. Despite being French, she has a wonderfully relaxed – almost lazy – view on beauty. She concentrates on having good skin, clean hair, adds on a spritz of fragrance and a slick of lipstick and she’s good to go. My kind of girl.
She’s obsessed with the power of natural ingredients and all of Buly’s range of skin care, which comes in fabulously heritage-style packaging, is made from the finest naturals she could find. She’s picked up many beauty rituals indigenous to the many places she’s lived, including a love of clay and mud masks from Japan, which was a big influence on her. She suggested the Rose Hip oil for my dry skin and it is like smoothing on a layer of hydrating calmness, it’s like yoga in a bottle for my tired old face.
The Nigella oil is very good for spots and should be on the Christmas gift list for any pimple inflicted teen. Her beauty advice is remarkably sound, “Read, cook, eat well, look after yourself, take care of your skin. There’s no great secret”. She has just written a beautifully illustrated book to accompany the range, An Atlas Of Natural Beauty, which lists many natural ingredients and how you can use them at home to create your own beauty products. It reminds me of a more artful version of Vogue’s Beauty Bible circa 1970, my first beauty book, which taught me how to use witch hazel and rose water and other natural-based ideas. Victoire explained she was currently mad about sesame oil, which has been used for centuries as a healing oil for aching joints in India and as a daily mouthwash for sweet breathe and healthy gums. She suggests using it as a body oil (although note to all, some people are allergic to sesame, you’ll know if you are).
Another reason why I love this brand is their stores, which are like walking into a 17th century pharmacy, with wood wall panels, dried flower displays and old apothecary jars. I know I’m shallow, but a beautiful store pretty much guarantees I’m half way to buying. One is opening within Selfridges on 29th November, but there’s a new one in Le Marais in Paris (which is what I’m showing you here) which looks divine. it also has a coffee bar.
Both these brands have created immersive destinations to visit, which is what it’s all about for stores currently, as customers, we need the promise of a really exciting experience to get us off shopping on our laptops. More of this please retailers!