This story first appeared in the February 12, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Beginning April 10, one of the country’s largest botanical displays, Longwood Gardens, will host a multisensory exhibit that explores the flowers and plants comprising iconic fragrances such as Chanel No.5. “Making Scents: The Art and Passion of Fragrance” will teach guests about scent composition and classification, plant harvesting and extraction methods, as well as the chemical combinations behind synthetic notes. More than 260 aromatic plants and flowers, like ylang-ylang, oriental lilies and scented geraniums, will be added to the Gardens’ existing collection of 5,500 species. Visitors will also learn about the science of smell and how the brain interprets scent molecules, which trigger moods, emotions and memories. 1001 Longwood Road, Kennett Square, Penn.
If you notice a flush of excitement come spring, don’t be surprised. Blush is making a comeback. “Blush is my favorite makeup-bag staple,” says Shiseido artistic director Dick Page. “Depending on the formula, color and placement, you can achieve a lot of different effects.” Shiseido’s Luminizing Satin Face Color, $30, is formulated with pearl and a dual optimizing powder for softness and vibrancy, while the colors in MAC’s gradientstyle Blush Ombre, $25, can be swirled together. Rimmel London’s Lasting Finish Blendable Blush and Highlighter, $4.99, offers a trio of hues for mixing; N.Y.C.’s Blushable Crème Stick, $3.99, goes on like a cream and dries to a powder. Make Up For Ever’s HD Microfinish Blush, $25, has mattifying, refl ective powders to blur imperfections. Says the brand’s Erin McCarthy: “Blush is the one product that can give women the instant illusion of youth and glowing skin.”
Wearing scent takes on a new meaning with the aroma jacket, about $630, manufactured by Italian men’s wear Label Luigi Bianchi Mantova. As its name suggests, the blazer’s fabric is infused with essential oils, which release their scent when the jacket is rubbed. Says Andrea Benedini, executive vice president, USA: “the smell of the fragrance is mild yet intense. The more intensely you rub the jacket, the more the scent will come out of the fabric.” Fragrance options include lavender, lemon, mint and honeydew, and the scent lasts through approximately five washings.
Upper East Australia
Following a $60 million renovation, The Surrey hotel on Manhattan’s Upper East Side can now offer its clients a spa experience they’d be hardpressed to find anywhere else. At the recently opened second-floor Spa, located at 20 East 76th Street, treatment rooms (there are three, as well as two suites) are outfitted in marble and earth-tone decor and contain a shower and a safe, as well as a hand-painted armoire to store personal possessions. But what makes the spa truly unique is its array of ancient Aboriginal healing practices, including the Kodo massage, a 60-minute, $150 service designed to realign the body’s energy “using a combination of 70 choreographed movements learned directly from the elders,” says Spa director Cheryl Jacobs. The Kodo, she explains, uses products from the Li’tya line, an Australian brand that incorporates an array of essential oils, plants and ingredients indigenous to Australia.
Home Sweet Home
The beleaguered economy has produced a bright spot for beauty’s at-home sellers—but it’s not just traditional companies such as Avon and Natura who are benefiting from the boost. Brick-and-mortar retailers and even dermatological services are getting in on the action. Studio BeautyMix, the influential Santa Monica, Calif.–based indie retailer, and British-based natural brand Neal’s Yard Remedies have both embraced at-home parties and direct selling. “Shopping has ceased to be the social outing it used to be for people,” says Robin Coe-Hutshing, founder and creative director of Studio BeautyMix. “The people who actually want to shop want to do it in
the privacy of their own homes.”
Neal’s Yard Remedies entered the direct-selling channel in the U.K. in April and has since registered 1,000 sales consultants and rung up sales of more than $3.25 million. “People are more willing to buy at home than in stores as they feel they’re getting real value for money,” says Denise Bonner, national training manager. “In a store, the customer goes to the counter, chooses the product and purchases it. They used to get their shopping fix doing that, but they don’t get that now. With at-home selling, they build a relationship with the consultant and they can try all of the products. And that relationship doesn’t end with the party.”
On the service side, the California-based Destinations Medical Spa offers at-home medical spa treatments, such as Botox. “The economy has made it more likely for patients to want to have treatments in their homes,” says Skyler Evans, chief operating officer. “People are having to work longer hours, which limits availability to go into a spa or doctor’s office.” While Evans notes her firm has had to come up with innovative ways to maintain business, including offering interest-free financing for many procedures, she adds women are unlikely to forsake injectables. They also enjoy the convenience at-home treatments offer. “We can accommodate a client’s schedule much more efficiently,” she says.
Beards Gone Wild
A hair-raising trend has cropped up among the hotties of Hollywood, rock and sports: full-on facial fuzz. Brad Pitt, Jeff Bridges, Sting, David Beckham and Spencer Pratt have all been spotted sporting beards gone wild.
Beckham attributes his look to “pure laziness”—he just can’t be bothered with shaving. Despite female protestation, “facial hair is here to stay, at least in some form,” says John Allan, owner of the eponymous upscale men’s grooming sanctuaries. “The Eighties shadow beard and Nineties sideburns and outlines have morphed into this expression of freedom. Freedom—it’s a bohemian thing,” he continues, before laughingly adding a caveat: “Let’s hope this doesn’t morph into a topiary-esque situation.”
Running a turn-of-the-century–style speakeasy and launching a new fragrance line may seem disconnected, but for beauty veterans Sylvie Ganter and Christophe Cervasel, the two pursuits are perfectly synergistic. Co-proprietors of the Raines Law Room, a chic, Prohibition-style bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district, the beauty execs (he was a founder of Selective Beauty, she, a veteran at Fresh) are now readying the launch of Atelier Cologne, five scents inspired by classic 300-year-old citrus-based colognes first introduced in Germany. “There is an authenticity here that is also in the colognes,” says Cervasel of the Raines Law Room. “[In both], we wanted something interesting, something that would make people happy, something that would make us happy.” The scents, priced from $145 to $165, will launch in late February at Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus; the Raines Law Room is at 48 West 17th Street.