Creed to expand new Mayfair boutique

new creed storeYou know how I’m always saying how this or that fragrance is in my all-time Top 10? Well, Creed’s Original Vetiver is in my Top 3 and there are plenty of other fragrances from this most esteemed of houses I could recommend. The best way to find the right Creed fragrance for you, of course, is to sample them for yourself and you’ll soon be able to this in the opulent surroundings of a brand new lower ground floor at their stand-alone boutique in the heart of London’s Mayfair. Although often thought of as a French house, Creed actually started in London in 1760 (where it was known for its fine tailoring and one-off fragrances) before hopping over the channel to become one of the most respected boutique fragrances houses in the world, so it’s nice to see them expanding their home here.

The new lower ground floor opens at the Creed Boutique at 99 Mount Street, Mayfair, in October. Make sure you smell the Original Vetiver first!

Insider Interview – Barry Alford, co-founder of Alford & Hoff

AlfordHoffBarry Alford, co-founder of cult US grooming brand Alford & Hoff isn’t just someone who’s clearly managed to avoid the ugly stick, he’s also a man who could teach our jaded politicians a thing or two about conviction. His enthusiasm for the Alford & Hoff luxury skincare brand is truly infectious, though as an ex-athlete  there is no way you’d want to argue with him anyway. A big guy physically, he has equally big ambitions for the brand and so I was thrilled to eek out a few insights from him for this week’s insider interview…

 

GG: What’s men’s biggest mistake when it comes to grooming?

BA: Education. Typically, most men only understand the basics. Washing your face and shaving alone is not enough to fight off the harsh affects of the environment and ultimately aging. Showing signs of aging is becoming a major concern among business professionals in any field as they are realizing that they need every little tool to compete and that includes looking your best. Men must incorporate a healthy, daily grooming regimen into their busy schedules and stay consistent with it. They need to learn more than the basics. Men must understand how to “treat” their skin. This includes learning how to exfoliate and when. Also, what nutrients are good for the skin and why. What products work well together etc.

GG: 
What are your all-time  favourite fragrances?

BA: I have three. 1. Creed – Millesime Imperial. Beautiful fragrance from the opening thru the bottom notes. Puts me in a good mood.. 2. Gaultier’s Le Male –  very interesting for its time. First fragrance to introduce oriental spices with vanilla infusions. 3. Tom Ford – fragrances from the pachuli collection and black orchid. Tom Ford takes chances in his fragrances and are his personality. I like his taste.

productlineupGG:
 Biggest change in male grooming in the last five years?

BA: The biggest change in male grooming is that the word “metrosexual” has finally gone away. Men do not need a term to take care of themselves. I think male grooming is out in the open and it is accepted that men take care of their skin. Many big companies have since developed products specifically for men and are starting to engineer the products products to specifically have anti-aging benefits. Now the education must start because the customer is now there that wasn’t there before.

GG:
 Desert island grooming product? 

BA: 
Probably a nutrient-packed super charged serum with a nice fragrance and finished off with a light SPF. This way I could get a lot in one. A serum that could hydrate the skin…serve as an eye treatment…protect the skin and have a nice scent but not too strong. Is this possible!?

GG: Next big thing in male grooming?

BA: I think eventually everything that is offered in women’s beauty products will also be offered in the men’s category as well. Self tanners…make-up lines, high tech skin treatment…As a result we will probably see the shelf space in department stores and perfumeries consist of more men’s lines with a broader offering. We are already starting to see the shift now…

GG: 
How influential is the internet when it comes to male grooming?

BA: 
The internet is huge for men’s grooming. One thing we won’t change about most men is that they do not like to shop. The internet offers a great tool for men to educate themselves and buy product in the comfort of their own home. The “macho” man who uses products but too proud to admit is a big advocate of this tool. Some men do not like to go into the store and ask question about grooming? The internet is a great source to learn, read blogs about the latest grooming trends, purchase products etc.

Alford & Hoff is exclusively available at Space NK. The Grooming Guru’s favourite product from the range is Microdermabrasion

Oh, and look out for their own – rather fine – signature fragrance later in the year.

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Fragrance favourites

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As a Grooming Editor one of the most common question I get asked is what my favourite fragrances are. To me, scents are a bit like lovers – you can play the field and sample everything that’s on offer but you always retain a certain  fondness for your first true love. In my case, my ‘signature scent’ (i.e. the one I wear most and always return too) is Grey Flannel by Geoffrey Beene. Launched in the States back in 1975  it’s something of a curio in the UK these days. In fact, I’ve only ever met one other British Grooming Editor who’d even heard of it. But I love it now as much as did when I bought my first bottle of it back in 1985. A  simple combination of  violet, lemon, orange, oakmoss, sage and sandalwood it has a sweet, floral smell (think parma violets) that still manages to be masculine and quiet different from the raft of generic smelling fragrances around today. If you like something a bit different, give it a go. 

 

What else in on my shelf? Well, Tom Ford’s smoky Oud Wood is a recent favourite and is one of the warmest and down-right sexiest men’s fragrances you’ll ever come across. Creed’s Original Vetiver is another of my all time favourites and is as masculine as it is expensive. Not everyone likes vetiver’s grassy earthiness but I love it.  It has a strength and longevity that’s also present in Givenchy Gentleman, another classic men’s fragrance (which has also been around since the mid seventies) but this one’s signature note is patchouli. If you want something that lasts all day (and well into the night)  it’s an ideal choice!

 

And finally, in my desert island fragrance list there’s Czech &  Speake No 88 – for me the ultimate smell of the Eighties! Launched at the beginning of the decade, it’s a powerful mix  of fresh bergamot, geranium, vetiver and sandalwood and comes in a fantastically Gothic bottle. If you want proof that the Eighties wasn’t actually the decade that style forgot this it it!

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