It’s all in the edit: Mr Porter launches dedicated area for male grooming

Grooming at MRPORTER.COMIt was the worst kept secret in the industry: that Mr Porter was going to start selling grooming products alongside its fashion brands. And finally the day has come.

With Mr Porter, of course, it’s all in the edit and they’ve managed to bring together a range of brands that embrace both traditional, gentlemanly reliability and uber-cool modernity. Amongst the usual suspects (Baxter of California and Malin + Goetz  amongst them) are some of my personal favourites like Aesop, Czech & Speake (I’ve been wearing their No88 fragrance since the Eightes), Le Labo and Santa Maria Novella.

The latter is a truly inspired choice. A fantastic Italian brand that’s nearly 800 years old it’s been difficult to track down in the UK, and if you’ve ever been to their shop in Florence you’ll know how difficult it is not to blow a small fortune on it.

It doesn’t appear to be available to buy just yet (I’m told it’ll be online from November) but is the one to look out for – especially for the candles, shaving products and amazing soaps –  so make a note in your dairy.

Dirty things up with Dreckig bleiben!

dreckig_bleiben_2As a journalist and blogger I get approached all the time by people thinking I will “just love” a certain product. About 80% of the time they’re being wildly optimistic (an essential quality if you’re a PR I suspect) but very occasionally they’re spot on, as is the case with German boutique fragrance Dreckig Bleiben.

Meaning “stay dirty” (a name which only makes me love it more) I got sent a sample a while back with a note from the company saying they thought I’d like it. And they were right. Created by perfumer Mark Buxton, a man who’s worked with the likes of Le Labo, Givenchy, Cartier and Burberry it’s fantastically warm, smoky, woody and earthy and you can see immediately why he also has Commes des Garcons on his CV. It’s actually very Comme in its feel (well, Comme back in the day, when they were in the zone, fragrance-wise).

It’s certainly interesting and the more I smell it, the more I think there’s something faintly industrial in amongst the natural woodiness (think an oily factory floor). Anyway, it could simply be that today’s teensy hangover is affecting my nasal receptors but if it’s intentional then it’s a juxtaposition I love.

Seemingly, the brief for the fragrance was to come up with something that rejected superficiality and Dreckig bleiben certainly has depth, while little details like the fact that the wood of the lid is made from centuries old reclaimed housing timber and the fragrance itself is limited to just 999 bottles certainly adds to the allure. A dirty pleasure? Absolutely.

Dreckig bleiben is available from dreckigbleiben.com

 

The notes

Top: Calabrian bergamot, Tunisian neroli, Sicilain Mandarin, Chinese Ginger

Middle: Cistus, Gurjum Oil, elemi

Base: cedarwood, oil of guaiacum, sandalwood, vanilla.

Anna Friel clearly has good taste!

I’m not normally one to name drop. In my career as a journalist I’ve met lots of famous types and non-famous types and the latter are generally by far the most interesting. But when it’s fragrance-related, I can’t resist sharing. And I hope she doesn’t mind the indiscretion (and I can live with the naffness of divulging).

Last night some pals and I got talking to actress Anna Friel in a restaurant and at the end of the evening she briefly came over to our table to share with us her current favourite fragrance, one she’d recently purchased from Liberty.

Spraying it on my pal I think she expected its identity to remain an enigmatic mystery. Alas, spoilsport Kynaston here recognised it immediately as Le Labo Patchouli 24.

One of my favourite fragrances, this unisex delight is instantly recognisable and possibly one of the longest-lasting fragrances I’ve ever come across (as my pal observed for himself this morning).

It’s a wonderfully earthy, sexy scent and I wrote about it here back in 2009. If you fancy  discovering why it’s so great for yourself you can find it here.

Le Labo – a real fragrance find

aw07lela795005198-nocolourIf, like me, you’re bored senseless by the generic men’s fragrances churned out by the big fashion houses then here’s a suggestion for you – check out Le Labo. A bespoke fragrance emporium tucked away on Elizabeth Street in New York’s terminally hip NoLita, it’s chock full of wonderfully ballsy, characterful fragrances that smell like nothing else out there and which epitomise modern luxury.

I stumbled upon the uber-cool shop whilst pounding the streets in search of David Bowie’s New York abode (which I don’t think I found – unless he’s chosen to live above a Kebab shop). Anyway, not only is Le Labo worth checking out just for its cool decor, all the fragrances are ‘compounded’ in front of your very eyes and you can even have the label personalised to include you name.

My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait
My fragrance is 'compounded' and personalised while I wait

Of the scents on offer, Ood 27 knocks your socks off and the Neroli is to die for but the one I fell for is Patchouli 24, a fantastically sexy, smoky number with an unabashed viagra-like staying power.

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy schlepping all the way to NY to get hold of a bottle though – Liberty stock much of the ready-made range. It’s not cheap (a 100 ml bottle of perfume strength fragrance is £120 but it’s worth every penny).

To visit Le Labo’s site click here.

The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos
The writing on the wall (literally) explaining the Le Labo ethos

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