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These type of posts are not my favourite. I love reviewing some newly (about to be released) make-up or skincare product or perfume. However, as a blogger, I feel that it’s only right to highlight a product which fails the customer on every level and disappoints, especially when it’s allegedly  ‘new’ and updated with a formula or colour change. If not simply to share the experience but to warn other consumers of the effects.

Consumers have a myriad of hair colour options foisted on them. Take a walk down the aisle of your local Superdrug or Boots store and see dozens of options from semi-permanent, to permanent and wash-in, wash-out choices, in simply hundreds of colours. Which is why, as a consumer, when you have carefully honed down your choice of colour (over years of trying and experimenting with various brands and colours), you remain true to a brand and shade, spending literally hundreds of pounds.

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Then just how vexing is it to be at the end of product development colour changes; often not particularly apparent. ie When colours are ‘updated’ or ‘improved’. To minimise marketing information changes & expense, hair dye boxes are almost always identical with indistinct copy changes and boasting replica claims even with the same colour hair swatch in the picture and the same colour shade names being used.

As a marketer, I know that the first rule of marketing, especially with a category such as hair colour, is to attract and retain customer loyalty. Thus, the reason why there are so many colour shade hair deals. ie. 2 for £11, introductory price offers etc.

Women who home-dye know the anguish of trial & error and also the time and energy this takes – and the expense of any mistakes. So, when they hit upon the right product for their hair type and shade, they are brand and shade loyal to the utmost – keeping any changes to the minimum. Go in. Grab the box. Take my money = customer loyalty.

And then…we have the dreaded new formulations.

At this point, with bright orange roots and with garish orange-red hair, I have had the tears and the shock . Now, I’m just angry. Annoyed that instead of my usual rich tones that L’Oreal’s Casting Mahogany (shade 550) have given me after years of loyalty, I now have horrid hair that will need serious work in time and money to sort out, neither of which I can afford, and especially when I needed a much-needed boost. And all because the L’Oreal Casting  product has inconspicuously changed to Mahogany Henna* (354). (*Please note the changes in tone and the disaster in the pics enclosed. From my usual natural feel shade to, well…this).

I say ‘inconspicuously’, as very little has changed re the box and information (see above). There’s ‘New’ printed in a small pink box and the name ‘Mahogany Henna’ giving the appearance that the product has been revamped a tad, especially as the same colour name shades are being used. Highly misleading to the consumer. 

There is no hint that this is a completely different shade and product – especially as there are various other ‘henna’ shades in the casting spectrum such as ‘chocolate’ etc. These are all being pushed and stacked high by in-store promotions. A simple ‘shinier, glossier’ look was expected by the customer with the word use, ‘henna’. Not a serious colour shift.

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And the horror! The most worrying aspect of this new ‘henna’ colour and updated product development has been the effect to the grey in my hair.

Be warned L’Oreal Casting customers, this new updated version does NOT “blend away greys” as it says (as it always has) on the box. Instead, it has turned any grey hair, bright orange in tone. Quite unlike the former 550 Mahogany shade which blended so well and had my undying loyalty.

I have spoken to two reputable hair stylists and salons about this who have both said independently that it appears that the base colour appears to have been diluted and altered (comparing the original 550 mahogany to the new updated ‘mahogany henna shade), which means that the brand is relying on the henna to add the gloss and colour. What this means, in effect, is that any grey or lighter shades become translucent and ugly. Not quite what you expect from a product that says it should ‘blend away greys’.

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At the time of writing, I telephoned L’Oreal SIX times (being sent all around the houses) and ended up in Customer Services – which took three of the six calls. The original junior who took the call simply put the phone down on me after advising that I use a clarifying shampoo for 10 minutes for a few times initially to dull down the colour.

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I finally spoke to a helpful and polite customer services manager. My main points being a) the usual product has changed using the same shade terminology without flagging the effects of this change to the consumer. b)  The product boxes are nigh on identical in terms of copy (from the old style 550 one to the new 354 version). c) The claim to ‘blend away grey’ is now clearly untrue as the henna addition simply highlights the massive difference in tone between grey and any colour density. d) That loyal consumers in their thousands (with greying hair) will go through this same experience and L’Oreal have a duty of care to clearly inform the customer of the difference in product – the same colour shade terminology should not be used for a vastly different product.

I noted to the customer services manager that I had also flagged this up in social media channels but have yet to have any response from L’Oreal. As L’Oreal Head Office have a no contact name, no call through rule, it’s been impossible to get in contact with a PR representative from the brand for a quote. And the social media shout-outs have been ignored (so far).

I’m putting this down to my nightmare Friday 13th experience.  My poor hair may never recover.

Have you had any similar experiences from product development changes and updates to your home hair-dye? Please let know, below, in the comments section.

 

 

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chanelgabrielle

It’s a HUGE thing when Chanel launch a newbie to the Chanel perfume fold, with billions banking on its success. Years in development (five) for the bottle ALONE and you get the picture.

Created by Olivier Polge, Chanel’s in-house perfumer and son of blockbuster ‘Chance’ creator, Jacques Polge, the creation of ‘Gabrielle’ is meant to embody the free spirit, innovation and rebelliousness of her namesake. Surprisingly and piquantly, it has  resulted in a sophisticated dazzling little beauty, very much in the Chanel house style with shimmering distinction.

Gabrielle radiates light and luminosity with a sheer veil of tingling mystery that whispers ‘how do I do that?’. It isn’t rebellious or confrontational to the norm (as I’d wrongly assumed) but instead sneaks up to surprise with its playful yet ladylike chutzpah even when you’re wearing it. This is an uber white bunch of ultra modern florals in an architectural sculptured form that’s bang on target for the Instagram genre.

I’d call it young womanly, but that is probably viewed as a negative rather than a compliment. Not quite as gutsy as the Gen X’ers Coco, but a more sedate yet classy number that grows and takes time to develop. Just like its social media savvy little consumers. A whole new realm of tamed-down expression and inspiration that’s quite different from the dark, sexy and in-your-face originality of Coco. Still, as a marketing tool and spearhead for the new generation of Chanel lovers and fronted by Kristen Stewart of Twilight saga fame, Gabrielle does it’s job well and may yet appeal to their aunts and mothers.

Gabrielle struck me like a younger sister to 1990’s ‘Allure’ when it launched with its squeaky clean, new-look Chanel, sparkling, lean and punchy. The fresh first burst of clean orange notes almost overwhelms the white florals of ylang-ylang and jasmine. There’s a touch of tuberose in there (somewhere) but the beauty of this perfume is its second hit – there’s a warm creamy embrace of sandalwood and musk that’s been added to coat the white florals in what seems like soft kid suede or cashmere if not velvet. This approach makes Gabrielle so much more sophisticated than its hype that you wish it had kinda’ kicked off like this.

And the surprise? That delicate, powdery, stem-green freshness that manages to combine an old school charm with a  contemporary twist. In terms of hold, Gabrielle keeps going  – a pleasant surprise for this wearer when complimented on the fragrance and had to think ‘what had I sprayed that morning? Ah! Gabrielle!’.

As big hitters go, I’m certain that Gabrielle with it’s beautifully designed, golden hued, square bottle and it’s equally beautifully designed contents will be a smash hit for Christmas and on the top of younger consumers gifts list. It may not be the new No.5 but will certainly give Chance a run for its  money.

Gabrielle by Chanel is available in both 50ml and 100ml EDP versions priced at £79 and £112 respectively. Available from Chanel stores and counters nationwide.

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MUGLER Les Exceptions Hot Cologne

Mugler’s Les Exceptions range had completely bypassed my radar until I caught sight of an artfully minimalist  yet chunky bottle on social media a few weeks ago and tracked them down. These, I have to try, so I’m kicking off in reverse order with the 8th member of the range, Hot Cologne. A smooth, fresh beast of a perfume that is equally right for a contemporary man or woman.

The Mugler Les Exceptions collection, made in collaboration with  perfumers Oliver Polge and Jean-Christophe Herault, is an upmarket, tight range of couture perfumery with the name of each fragrance evocative of its olfactory direction.  The look and feel of the chunkily designed, heavy silver and glass Art Deco inspired bottle, says ‘statement perfume’ for a chic urban dweller. The weight of the bottle is decidedly masculine and made for bathroom shelf boast-posting and not tote handbag carrying – unless a girl would like to dislocate a shoulder. But the smell…oh blimey, the smell…

Hot Couture is as jagged and clean and fist punchingly spectacular as Mugler’s early, glorious design days.  With Hot Cologne, Jean-Christophe Herault has captured Mugler’s  1980s architecturally structured largesse and distinction with a sexy cleanliness that is under-written with a soft, purring green coffee note. This surprise element jars and juxtaposes with the sharp fresh of lemon, petitgrain and neroli heart eau de cologne. Green coffee mixed with spicy ginger and cardamom throws this otherwise sparring eau de cologne off balance in a bold move. Mugler’s Hot Cologne is a sexy, high-heeled wobble that you notice all the more, as it’s just a little off-kilter. Yet it’s reminiscent of classic, fresh, spiced masculine fragrances such as the exemplary Monsieur Balmain, still top of the list when it comes to downright clean sex appeal with a twist.

As my opening gambit with Les Exceptions, Hot Cologne has more than impressed, with it’s difference and staying power. I can only guess at the seduction of others in the range such as Chyprissme and Oriental Express. I’m on board.

Mugler Les Exceptions Eaux de Parfums are priced £135 for 80ml exclusively from Harrods, Harrods.com and Mugler.com

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Jo Malone London Myrrh & Tonka 50ml & 100ml Cologne

Perfume floozies all know that Jo Malone is synonymous with quintessential fresh English fragrances that encapsulate the best of British lifestyle. Whether it be urban living (as in the recent Bloomsbury Set limited release) or country, with its prolific use of garden flowers and herbs in its make-up – Step forward Lime, Basil & Mandarin, English Pear & Freesia and Pomegranate Noir, three of its global best sellers. However, it’s always when this Estee Lauder owned perfume house steps outside its careful boundaries and into the murkier waters of its Cologne Intense range that my interest is piqued.

Maybe its because I’m attracted to the dark side and to intensity (whether men, alcohol or perfume) that I much prefer these releases – often geared to a heavy scent loving Middle Eastern market. Or, perhaps it’s just because the brooding black bottles always hold such seductive Eastern promise within. Jo Malone’s latest release (January 2017) is case in point. Myrrh & Tonka is a grown-up hedonistic delight of a fragrance with its largesse and its come-hither’ness. A warm, cosy, sophisticated slap of olfactory delight in the midst of cold, hard winter sunlight.

Master perfumer, Mathilde Bijaoui, has managed quite a feat in this one. To make both a strong addictive fragrance that appeals to the hippie-loving  ‘them-heavy people*’ amongst us, while being subtly approachable to those scardey-cats who like to dip a curious toe-in-the-water of Middle-Eastern type fragrances.

Says Bijaoui, “There is an atmosphere of addiction and carnal richness to this fragrance which appeals to both men and women. At the top there is a hint of lavender and a floral note, creating a comforting and voluptuous opening. The big, rich heart and base note of myrrh is sensual. And the tonka brings generosity. It’s captivating and mesmerising.”

This is a warm hug of a smoky scent that envelops a soul and instantly makes one relax. Like wandering idly into a crystals and mysticism type store, to be seduced by its aura of incense, strangeness and the unknown. Myrrh & Tonka hints at sensuality and carnality in a ‘before the 9 o’clock TV watershed manner. “Be not afraid,” its big, rich heart and base of myrrh and tonka die-down says, “This way,  beauty lies ahead.” And oh, it does.

Myrrh and Tonka grows on the skin to a mesmerising beauty. It’s one that even the clean, light floral lovers may enjoy. Be brave! Test the water.

Available from January 2017, Jo Malone’s Myrrh & Tonka is available in 50ml (£74) and 100ml (£105) Cologne Intense.

*Lyrics from Kate Bush’s ‘Them Heavy People’, The Kick Inside.

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Trump Meets with LVMH Chief Bernard Arnault

by Katie on January 10, 2017

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Fashion Twitter was in a froth yesterday as news rolled in of yet another of President Elect Trump’s huge overblown statements. “We are going to have an unbelievable , perhaps record-setting turnout for the inauguration, and there will be plenty of movie and entertainment stars. All the dress shops are sold out in Washington. It’s hard to find a great dress for the inauguration.” said Donald J Trump. Then again, it could just be that Melania Trump’s search for designers to dress her is proving difficult with known American fashion stars like Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, Derek Lam and Phillip Lim refusing to answer the call. The majority of the USA’s arts and entertainment industry being un self-consciously liberal and distancing themselves from the new direction of power in Washington.

Due to Trump’s constant stream of hot air, this gargantuan gem was nearly lost amidst his backlash against ‘Hillary flunky’ Meryl Streep’s beautiful, heartfelt plea to support American journalists and to stand up against the powerful, like Trump, who their positions of power to bully and undermine.

President Elect Trump naturally reacted to Streep’s speech in the only way known to this thin-skinned, over-tanned, non-statesman like wounded solider by brandishing her “one of the most over-rated actresses in Hollywood.” I’m sure Ms Streep is consoled by his hurt feelings whilst also being privy to every fashion designer and ‘dress shop’ she sets her heart on. And rightfully so. It takes a brave, righteous, Hollywood royalty actress to call out the most powerful man in the world when the world’s media is upon her. It’s a pity that fashion royalty isn’t doing the same thing. Hot on the heels of Trump’s claim that his inauguration would be a huge spectacle and that ‘the dress shops are sold out in Washington,’ Trump met with LVMH boss Bernard Arnault – HUGE in terms of the fashion industry and its potential repercussions

Meeting at Trump Tower in Manhattan, LVMH Chief Arnault is said to be looking at sites in North Carolina, Texas and the Midwest for LV production. Arnault’s son, Alexandre, was also seen at the meeting which could signal the beginning of a beautiful relationship. At least that would solve Melania Trump’s dress crisis. So which of LVMH’s designers could we see the next first lady sporting? Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Donna Karan, Fendi? Seems that Trump may have oiled the wheels behind the scenes to support his first lady.

It is the first time Trump has met with a high profile fashion executive and is said to form part of his campaign to bring more jobs to the U.S.

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Carven’s L’Absolu and L’Eau Intense

by Katie on January 9, 2017

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One of the rubbish things about no longer being in the epicentre of the world (ie London) and moving to the cold hard North is that one tends to drop from press lists like an X Factor contestant dropping their inhibitions and their conscience. Throw in the constant turnaround in agency PR staff and your contact lists soon become as out-dated as selection boxes on the 28th December.

It’s a shame as I’ve missed a number of great perfume launches, namely Carven, a brand that I not only admire (from the days of ‘Ma Griffe’) but whose house ‘nose’ is none other than the perfume wizard, Francis Kurkdjian alongside newbie, Jerome di Marino.

Delving into its sublime haute couture history and its reworking and relevance by the in-house designers, Alexis Martial & Adrien Caillaudaud, (who have now since ceased the label since October 2016), Kurkdjian has added a soupcon of contemporary magic: a beautiful fresh  floral veil of whiteness hits the nose with a sparkling of background uplifting greenness courtesy of mandarin essence. The blousy big seductive reach of ylang-ylang is intensified and added to by the addition of Egyptian jasmine with a smidgen of heady tuberose and the holy grail of perfumery, iris. Carven’s L’Absolu does not so much as die done as stretch itself further with its base of patchouli, sandalwood and Spanish absolute cistus.  Deep joy. This contemporary in-your-face little floral oriental chypre is  worth  toying with and may just lead you astray. As a ‘my first real perfume’ for Carven’s youthful following, it’s a sophisticated nod to the elegance and femininity of days past. I liked it a lot.

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Quite the different beast is Carven’s male counterpart L’Eau Intense. Graphically restrained, minimal and chic, L’eau Intense bursts forth like a pheromone ridden young stallion in Parisian pose. Less my kinda’ male fragrance as it comes across too needy (as many young men do) and straddles the ultra minty fresh, ultra spicy generation of new fragrances.

Named ‘an olfactive oxymoron’ by the perfumers, Jerome di Marino under the guidance of Kurkdjian, this seems more of a trial and error type of fragrance. Yes, it will appear to zestful youth in line with Carven’s new menswear design ethos under Barnabe Hardy, but to me, it’s still rather ‘me-me’, clamouring for attention. Top notes are bergamot, grapefruit and mint while middle notes are lavender, moss, birch leaf and ginger dying down to a cardomom and amber base.

Carven has incredible potential due to its fashion heritage and its eagerness to gain a contemporary, hip young following. The fly in the ointment is the constant musical chairs of its in-house designers and its management which only serves to diminish the label’s value when selling the brand ideal  and buy-in point of luxury perfume. Rectify this with some consistency of tenure and there’s real possibilities of another Carven classic. Especially when Monsieur Kurkdjian is involved.

 Carven L’Absolu is available in 30ml (£42), 50ml (£58) and 100ml (£75) EDP spray and also in perfumed bath & shower gel, deodorant spray and body milk.

Carven L’Eau Intense is available in 5oml (£50) and 100ml (£70) EDT sprays from John Lewis and Debenhams.

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Timed to diminish January’s over-bearing dullness and the less than joyful end to London Fashion Week Men’s, Fashion East Store in Selfridges’ Designer Studio is a huge smile on the face, one-stop pop-up shop of the brightest and best in British design, featuring Fashion East’s current line-up of designers.

Lulu Kennedy’s school of bright futures, Fashion East, has kick-started the careers of such alumni as  Simone Rocha, Roksanda Ilincic, Marques Almeida, Gareth Pugh, Kim Jones, Jonathan Saunders, Grace Wales Bonner, Craig Green and J.W. Anderson. Founded in 2000 by The Old Truman Brewery and Lulu Kennedy to nurture young designers, the non-profit initiative is integral to London’s reputation as a crucible of young talent and creativity.

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Hot to trot Selfridges invited Kennedy to set up a Fashion East store in the new Designer Studio, the legendary talent scout invited past and present alumni to create exclusive products for her.

The store stocks clothes, gifts and quirky collectibles from the likes of Craig Green, Ashley Williams, Charles Jeffrey, Richard Malone, Caitlin Price, Mimi Wade, Matty Bovan, Rottingdean Bazaar, Per Gotesson, Art School and Christopher Shannon, as well as Fashion East’s first own merchandise outing.

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Lulu Kennedy, Founder and Director of Fashion East: “It’s a massive buzz and privilege to be calling Selfridges home for a few months! We look forward to our first retail venture and showing off our gorgeous alumni in such a brilliant fresh space.”

Sebastian Manes, Selfridges’ Buying Director: “You only have to walk around the fashion floors of Selfridges to see the amazing success and influence of Fashion East. In store for SS17 we have more than twenty Fashion East alumni and designers across menswear and womenswear – from new talent like Richard Malone through to Roksanda or Simone Rocha, who are some of our best performing ready-to-wear designers right now, or Craig Green who brings so much energy to men’s designerwear.”

Fashion East at Selfridges opens Monday 9 January in The Designer Studio on 3, Selfridges London.

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cristophershannon

I didn’t attend LCM this season. Or should I say, I didn’t attend LFWM. And that’s part of the problem right there. Just as designers and brands have begun re-thinking their show strategy and the profusion of collections (which includes two RTW seasons, resort and either couture or bespoke for both mens and womenswear lines) which often results in rush job, unclear messaging with resultant poor buyer pick-up, the poorly timed and mis-directed BFC have elected to re-strategise. London Collections Men’s is now London Fashion Week Men’s.

It may just be a name change or an upping-of-the-supposed-ante for menswear to dig a stake in the ground as deep as that of womenswear but, whereas one would have expected a great hoo-haa to defy these uncertain Brexit times, the opposite has occurred. Brands such as Burberry, Gieves & Hawkes, Tom Ford, Paul Smith and umpteen stalwart Savile Row types have elected to give LFWM a miss with other plans in the pipeline. Or have opted to show menswear within their womenswear collections come February. Coupled with increasingly expensive post-Brexit production processes, a nose-diving £ and the ruffled feathers of lucrative European buyers, London is up against it. Pity. There’s a lacklustre energy, a quieter, more sombre mood, less good time parties (naturally) and, and I may be shot down here, much poorer collections – not all, but a definite shrinking in ‘balls’ re creativity and commerciality. Dystopian black is back.

Catching the shows via social media feeds and the uploaded imagery from trusted fashion websites and their worthy show reviewers (about three of whom I trust), comments have been captured and my thoughts running wild re the state we are in re London Fashion whether Men’s or Womenswear. Social media reviews and coverage (or lack of, thereof) have only added to my conclusions which are as follows:-

1. THE MIS-TIMED RE-BRAND & LAUNCH OF LFWM WITH A DEPLETED SHOW SCHEDULE– Post Brexit, nervy brands and nervier buyers are contemplating their futures and their customer appeal, slashing budgets and streamlining.  While the BFC is to be applauded on concentrating on giving menswear the attention it deserves in a country that defines bespoke menswear  as well as London verve & creativity, their timing is mis-judged, only serving to highlight big designer brands’ reluctance to commit, much like a long-term relationship that balks when marriage is mentioned.  We’ve already seen the shift to show joint menswear and womenswear collections not only twice a year, but also in resort. Makes perfect sense.

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2. PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE  – Part 1– While the menswear shows can throw us a delightful curveball (step forward Charles Jeffrey Loverboy who upped his game and gave London hope), the air of disconsolateness has been rife in the collections and in the attendees. The Dad’s Army’s prophesy “We’re all doomed” has never been so apt and the focus of some designers such as Matthew Miller and Christopher Shannon. Two worthy individuals whose cerebral political voices are heard in regular collections but this time, it felt a bit much wearing our broken hearts on our sleeves. (Especially the tongue in cheek ‘Loss’ instead of ‘Boss’ logo sweats). I know we’re f*cked, you know we’re f*cked, but do I want to spend hard earned cash from my depleting security income on items that re-iterate ‘we’re f*cked’? Our youth and our middle-aged yoot’ wannabes have been kicked in the teeth enough.

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3. PLUS CA CHANGE, PLUS C’EST LA MEME CHOSE – Part 2 – I know. I know….it’s tough out there. But do we really need season after season of FROW’ers who comprise of ex models, their sidekick stylists and crass, self-promoting wannabes seeking micro-celebrity status to raise their profile if not their game? It’s no wonder huge designers seem to balk at this bunch who wouldn’t know an Oxford from a Derby shoe. And even the gorgeous Gandy Candy has been absent from this year’s line-up. Let’s face it kiddos’, there’s only so many Getty images pics you can see of the same FROW’ers, endlessly repeated on social media, without wanting to open a vein.  Where’s Redmayne? Where’s Cumberbatch? Where’s Hardy? WORKING, that’s where. Advice to the BFC and PRs? David Furnish was a welcome addition as an official ambassador,, but good-looking (and often badly dressed to boot) unofficial bums on front row seats is done to death. Especially when the journalists sitting alongside them are a) much better dressed, b) clued up and c) focus on what’s actually important – promoting the British designers rather than themselves.

4. THE BFC’S OBSESSION WITH THE NUMBERS GAME RE SOCIAL MEDIA – Way back when I was first asked to advise the BFC re social media with some other well-known blogger counterparts, we were all unanimous that numbers didn’t mean jack when being considered for accreditation. It was about quality, knowledge, original informed copy, the promotion of the designers’ collections and an original viewpoint. As well as a constant and consistent approach…not just on the weeks before a trade show such as LCM or LFW.  That’s why ’even the journalists’  *clutches pearls* followed us. We could say what we liked as unencumbered by advertising or politics or an editor.

Cut to 2017 and it’s all about the numbers. In theory, an unknown self –promoting, selfie-obsessed instagramer seeking status and freebies, who terms themself a blogger or better (and this really gets my goat) a ‘magazine’, can either buy a following or, as many do, simply follow 8k people to get a +10k following across different forms of social media and Bob’s your aunt – instant accreditation.  What this results in is endless pics of shoes, selfies and ‘me-me’s’ at shows or, of the fleeting glimpse of the lesser-spotted-celebrity. Any focus on the designer, the show, an informed review, a reason why this was designer was a cut above or below par – gone. Whoosh! In one fell swoop. Have you tried to tried to gain accurate informed info from feeds without falling back on say, friends such as The Chic Geek or Clothes Make The Man? There’s a reason why we attend. Or used to, before being bumped despite years of experience. At this point a ‘rolls eyes’ emoji would be appropriate. Which naturally leads to…

5. THE SHIFT TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOCUS ABOUT ATTENDEES OUTFITS & THE BFC AMABASSADORS RATHER THAN THE DESIGNER’S WORK – I get it. I do. Fighting against the big wigs like Milan, Paris and New York for attention, London and the BFC needs to do everything it can to boost its media presence globally. It’s just that this need to increase social media hits has dumbed down accurate informed coverage of the designers showing, their work and their originality. Focus has been on the famous or (as said before) not so famous bums on seats, often that don’t resonate with the designer these FROW’ers attend. There’s a huge mis-match here as well as a juxtaposition of need. The need to show London as hip and happening and relevant is highly misplaced by many of the ‘famed’ attendees. While the huge numbers social media types are too busy documenting their ‘being-there’, their sponsored outfit or the (dubious) street fashion, they forget about the reason for attending – the designer. I think I preferred it when it was a seasonal trade show where the industry would convene to pass judgement as well as get behind the new..in ye olden days of the newspaper. I may have my eyes poked our or my tippy-tappy fingers removed for daring to speak my mind. But hey, as I said, remember the value of the true blogger? Original, informed opinion or a source of discussion that pushes boundaries?  Q.E.D. Let’s see if accreditation appears for LFW in February.

Catwalk images kindly used from www.vogue.com

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PA2016_01_0007

It’s November and they’ve started. The Christmas TV ads. The ones you either secretly enjoy or love to hate. Either way, come 24th December and by their several hundredth run, you’re crying out for the flip to Summer holiday ads. It’s also the time for huge departments stores and perfume brands to get behind their latest release or regular cash-cow and let the world know that a Christmas without fragrance is a world without joy. True for any perfume lover.

Chanel have upped the ante this season with their spectacularly clever Chanel No.5 L’Eau ad that not only perfectly encapsulates the brand and its direction but the new fragrance and its vitality. Its difference yet its sameness. Its freshness yet familiarity. #youknowmeandyoudont

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Featuring muse, Lily-Rose Depp, the ad is a breathe of contemporary, visionary fresh air with the familiar black and white, composed elegance of Chanel, shot through with a bolt of light, with several flips to Technicolor. Completely capturing the essence of No.5 L’Eau, one of the most important and intelligent releases for the label in recent years.

Perfumer Olivier Polge has masterfully managed to re-configure Chanel No.5 that will see it extend past the youthful, fresh-faces it will surely appeal to, and captivate a whole new audience of older, stalwart Chanel No.5 devotees able to smell the differences and love them the more for it.

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Younger, fresher, vibrant and vital, Chanel No.5 L’Eau doesn’t try to replicate so much as take the fragrance in a new direction that’s fitting for youth as well as lighter days and moods. Polge’s genius combines balance and daring. Taking No.5 beyond the expected, while charming the pounds from the purses of its fan base and appealing to a whole new audience of young ladies aiming to lunch, or rather, kick up their heels.

There’s an energy to No.5 L’Eau that is much needed within the perfumery house of Chanel that’s directly in sync with the ready-to-wear and couture offer of Monsieur Lagerfeld. That’s why  this offer is so ingenious. Polge has stayed true to the most iconic, famous fragrance in the world while injecting a veil of gossamer, sparkling lightness that oomphs with energy. A feel-good fragrance in a bottle that appeals to all ages and all types of women.

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Evanescent citrus aldeyde top notes combine with a floral heart that’s greener, crisper and edgier while ylang-ylang swirls into rose, ending on a soft trip of cedar and vetiver woody notes. No. 5 L’Eau’s staying power on the skin is strong for such a light fragrance, almost glimmering with sparkling, diamond bite.

This is a classy, non-showy offer that has been created, positioned and  thought-through at every step. From its purity of composition and the crystalline transparency of the fragrance to the contemporary, bold, new graphic typeface, No.5 L’Eau rocks. I’ve no doubt Mlle Chanel would wholeheartedly approve.

Chanel No.5 L’Eau is available from Chanel counters and stores priced £68 (50ml) and £96 (100ml)

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Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Formal Jacket -ú120, Formal Flat Front Trousers -ú79, Leather Trainers -ú89

With the recent release of sales figures from retail giant Marks & Spencer that saw the biggest clothing & homes sales fall in 10 years, many have sought to say what’s wrong about the retailer and failed to focus on what’s right.

Smaller stores, focussed streamlined collections and less confusion for the consumer as well as keener, more competitive pricing modules all sound like an answer as well as the current brave decision to back great British menswear designers at LCM.

Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Price of Wales Check Mac -ú199

Wouter Baartmans and Amber Siegel’s luxurious menswear caught KatieChutzpah’s eye early on in their label’s life, and we’ve championed the London-based brand since those early days.

With a River Island Design Forum collection already under their belts, the London College of Fashion graduates’ talent for high-end-yet-accessible clothing has now been snapped up by iconic British high street retailer Marks & Spencer for a capsule collection of winter staples.

Plain Stretch Shirt -ú39.50, Colour Block Crew Neck Jumper -ú49.50, Boucle Coat -ú199, Formal Flat Front Trouser -ú79, Leather Trainers -ú89

Carrying their focus for texture and tailoring over from their signature line, the self-described “modern traditionalists” collaboration with M&S includes block stripe knitwear, high-shine leather trainers and some seriously statement-making outerwear, including a navy-and-black Prince of Wales check raincoat.

Zip Rib Jacket -ú59, Prince of Wales Check Bomber Jacket -ú149, Formal Flat Front Trousers -ú79

Tapping into the luxury sportswear trend, but still ageless and beautifully crafted, the twelve-piece collection is available from Marks & Spencer stores across the country and www.marksandspencer.com Prices start from £49.

Reviewed by Lee Clatworthy (@bombfashion) & @katiechutzpah

 

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