Movember may well be almost upon us but this year the trend for moustaches appears to have started without it. So popular is the ‘tache these days that it’s more ‘must-have’ than much-maligned. I’ll be posting about Movember regularly in the coming weeks but to kick things off here’s a piece I wrote for The Telegraph about why ‘taches are back on trend. Just click on the image below to have a gander.
Given the choice between a bath and shower I always choose a bath. Showers, to me, are rather perfunctory affairs, whereas a bath is ritualistic and more satisfying. And currently adding a few bubbles to my bath water is this Black Pearl & Green Fig Body Wash from acclaimed hairdresser Paul Edmonds. Launching later this month to coincide with his 30 years in the industry, it’s part of a brand new luxury body care range, and it smells fantastic – crisp and ‘green’ without being sickly sweet in the way that some fig products can be. What’s more, it works just as well as a bubble bath as a body wash. Well worth investigating.
Available later this month from the Paul Edmonds salon in Knightsbridge and on pauledmonds.com, priced £18 for 300ml.
Good news for fans of Chanel’s best selling Bleu de Chanel fragrance: at the end of this month you’ll also be able to buy an eau de parfum version (in both 50ml and 100ml sizes) as well as this rather fabulous palm-sized soap. The latter is a limited edition release, though, so don’t let it, er, slip through your fingers.
It doesn’t launch until September but since I’m getting old (and may well have forgotten I had a sneak preview of it by then) I thought I might as well give you the heads up on the brand new Aesop fragrance, Marrakech Intense, right now. Created by French perfumer Barnabé Fillion – a man who’s collaborated with the likes of Le Labo and who was the nose behind Paul Smith’s rather underrated Portrait For Men fragrance, it’s a rather clever “reinterpretation” of Aesop’s existing Marrakech fragrance.
Fillion (pictured) was brought in to give it a bit more oomph, reassembling it in the same way a musical track might be remixed in order to breathe new life into it and give it new meaning. Thus, Marrakech Intense is muskier and sexier than its predecessor and Fillion has fiddled with the top and middle of the fragrance, too, adding neroli, bergamot, rose and jasmine.
The distinctive clove, cardamon and sandalwood of the original is still there, but the Frenchman has added complexity and depth to Marrakech – making it much more nuanced – and in doing so he’s taken it from being a quirky apothecary scent and pushed it in the direction of a boutique fragrance with bags of character. Impressive.
Aesop Marrakech Intense will be available from September as a 50ml eau de toilette and a 10ml parfum roll-on.
Aw, am very excited today to have been High Commended in this year’s Fashion Monitor Journalism Awards for my male grooming column on telegraph.co.uk. One of the judges very kindly said it was the first time she’d actually LOL’d at a piece of beauty journalism which is just about the highest compliment I could have been paid because, at the end of the day, I write about deodorant and fake tan for a living. And if that’s not funny what is?
PS. Huge congrats to Joanna McGarry on her well-deserved win and a special mention to my pal Mark Smith who was also shortlisted in the online category. If you love spa treatments I implore you to check out his excellent blog, The Spa Man, which is one of my favourite online destinations.
Since my favourite sporting event, Wimbledon, is almost upon us, now seems like the perfect time for me to mention the special limited edition version of Lacoste’s Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Blanc fragrance. Although the fragrances in the ever-expanding L.12.12 range have always referenced the famous Lacoste polo shirt in the packaging this is the first time that the tennis association has really been referenced overtly, with the clean, white packaging brought to life with touches of eye-catching tennis ball yellow. I’ve always loved the understated simplicity of both the bottles and the boxes that house the L.12.12 fragrances and, unlike many limited editions, the changes in this particular edition only serve (if you’ll excuse the pun) to make it look even better.
Think of Acqua di Parma and you tend to think of light, fresh Mediterranean fragrances bursting with energy and packed with more citrus fruits than your average bottle of orange squash. And you’d be right of course. But in the last few years the company have also been exploring a much darker and more sensual side. Their new fragrance Colonia Leather is a perfect example of this and is as warm and sexy as the original Colonia fragrance is light and summery.
The leather accord is true and authentic smelling and there’s a touch of smoky oud in there too but not enough to overpower the fragrance and you detect it most three or four hours after applying. Other notes include orange, lemon, raspberry thyme and rose but as you might expect it’s the leather that dominates here.
The acid test of any fragrance, of course, is whether other people rate it when they smell it on you. So as a test I wore Colonia Leather the other night and a friend I was meeting instantly commented: “Wow! What are you wearing? You smell amazing!” Somehow, I think I’ll be wearing this sexy little number again.
Now let me get this out of the way first: I love Czech & Speake. When I was a teenager back in the Eighties, I eyed their products (and especially their No.88 fragrance) with a desire that bordered on unrestrained lust. I still adore No.88 and can heartily recommend it if you like woody, floral, barbershoppy fragrances that pack a punch and have serious longevity on the skin.
But anyway, enough about that fragrance and on to their latest one, Spanish Cedar. Warm, woody, fruity, spicy and smoky it’s a great evening fragrance but, in truth, not nearly as distinctive as some other C&S fragrances and certainly nowhere near as interesting as No.88. To me the cedar is slightly lost amongst the sweetness of the plum and blackberry notes and its longevity could be better but if you like your scents warm and spicy it’s certainly worth investigating.
Last night I had the privilege of attending the annual Fragrance Foundation Awards, widely regarded to be the Oscars of the fragrance world. In terms of men’s fragrance the night definitely belonged to Paco Rabanne’s Invictus which scooped, not one, but two awards – for Best New Men’s Fragrance and also the Men’s Health Reader’s Choice Award.
In fact, the corks must be popping all over the place at Paco HQ this morning since they picked up a third gong for 1 Million Intense which won the People’s Choice For Men Award. Without doubt Paco is the brand to catch at the moment when it comes to men’s fragrance. Other companies jealously eye up the success of their fragrances in the way a cat eyes up a mouse and the coherence of the Invictus marketing campaign was stunning, with everything from the eye-catching bottle, witty adverts, choice of face and Invictus Award initiative all coming together like one giant, unstoppable commercial glacier, pushing aside everything else in its path. Impressive.
Subject to an embargo stricter than anything the Russian military might impose to conceal work on a new super weapon, the press were finally given permission to talk about the new Lagerfeld fragrance, Karl Lagerfeld Pour Homme, this week.
Given all the hoo-hah, you might think that the Francis Rossi of fashion had come up with something truly earth-shattering. Alas, I find Pour Homme frustratingly pedestrian, smelling no different from about 75% of the fragrances that land on my desk each year. There’s lavender in there, there’s apple, there’s mandarin, there’s amber and there’s a faint whiff of a focus group. It’s fresh, it’s powdery it’s woody, but ultimately it’s all a little bit…’so what’ Karl?
This, to me, is a terrible shame because few designers on the planet have the power and authority Lagerfeld has. He’s one of the few people with the muscle to shake up the fragrance market with something edgy, dynamic and forward-thiking. But no. Not this time at least.
If you want to smell a truly great Karl Lagerfeld fragrance, however, skip this bland concoction and root out Lagerfeld Classic instead. Launched back in 1978 and one of my favourite fragrances of all time, it’s a startlingly sweet, sensual, long-lasting fragrance that fuses amber, woods and vanilla – with a hint of tobacco – to create a fragrance so intoxicating that a female friend of mine says she can’t smell it without it making her nipples hard. Which is not something you can say of Pour Homme. Even if you chilled it.