Versace’s Dylan Blue delivers a knockout blow to decent fragrance advertising

versace (1)Creating the story and campaign for a new fragrance is never easy. Having helped create a few of them myself in the past I know this all too well. When they succeed they do so because of clarity of thought and of message and because they tap into the current zeitgeist. So how well the new Versace fragrance Dylan Blue campaign will fare remains to be seen because messages there are aplenty. And none of them are all that great.

Looking at the campaign as a whole (one lovingly shot by Bruce Weber, in a masturbatory style that’s steadfastly Nineties) it’s a bag of contradictions: on one hand we have the ‘modernity’ of a same-sex kiss (the inclusion of which we’re  either supposed to shocked by or grateful for, I’m not sure which) and on the other some woefully archaic views about women (“As dad always used to say… you can’t live with women and you can’t live without them”). There are a couple of corkers about men too, including the cringeworthy “I learned at a young age not to show any weakness”. The video meanwhile lacks but one thing: the kitchen sink. It’s hetero yet homo; violent yet tender; old-fashioned yet throughly modern. It has girls, it has boys. It has boxers, it has bikes. It has… oh well, you get the picture.

Personally, I find much of this mind-numbingly naff and I’m at a loss as to why a campaign for a fragrance ever needs to show a woman kicking a man down a flight of stairs or feels the need to use the words “she doesn’t seem to know I exist except when she’s kicking me in the head”. But just in case this woman –  called Gigi – has men quaking in their boots/slingbacks the campaign takes pains to reassure them she has her limitations. “She can out kick-box any of the smaller guys,” says the blurb (the bigger ones clearly being too much of a challenge of her).  Billie Jean King would not be pleased.

To me, the apparent “kiss and make up” theme of the campaign also has uncomfortable associations with the destructive hit me/kiss me cycle in much domestic violence (the boxer kisses his opponent before delivering a knock out blow and Gigi can kiss as good as she can kick). Am I’m being over sensitive? A bit too PC for my own good? Perhaps, but  following on the heels of the appalling marketing of Azzaro Wanted I’m seriously beginning to wonder where fragrance advertising is heading right now. “Dylan Blue is the essence of the Versace Man today,” says Donatella Versace. Well, if that’s the man of today I’m truly fearful about what the one tomorrow will look like if he buys into this particular kind of advertising.

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Mr Porter’s 2016 Summer Grooming Kit lands

MR PORTER SUMMER GROOMING KIT (1)Grooming Boxes (collections of skin care and hair care products compiled as kits) are, at best, a bit hit and miss. Many I have encountered are skimpy, over-priced and badly curated. These are criticisms it’s impossible to level at Mr Porter‘s grooming boxes, however, because they’re by far the most artfully edited boxes out there. Their brand new Summer Grooming Kit, for example, features well-known brands like Clinique For Men, Tom Ford and Lab Series alongside cult ones like Bumble & Bumble, Czech & Speake and Baxter Of California and lesser known luxury brands like Patricks, which you may not have heard about but should definitely become acquainted with. All in all the kit features 13 full and travel-sized products (there’s a Perricone MD Cold Plasma sample which isn’t in the pic because I used it straight away) and costs £75. If that seems like a hefty initial outlay, consider this: the Clinique, Lab Series and REN products alone are worth £97. If you fancy getting your hands on one, though, don’t spend too long thinking about it – they tend to sell out faster than tickets to see Adele.

Mr Porter’s Summer Grooming Kit is available now from mrporter.com

 

 

Shields up! Protect your skin this summer with FIT’s new Sun Protect Serum

unspecifiedFor men, the quest to find the perfect sunscreen isn’t always as straightforward as one might think. With our skin both oilier and hairier than women’s, the texture and stickiness of products if often a deciding ‘factor’ (if you’ll forgive the pun) in our choices; the ideal product being something that offers high SPF, broad-spectrum protection but which is lightweight, non-greasy and transparent on the skin. And

in terms of what men need from their suncare FIT Skincare‘s new Sun Protect Serum is a product that ticks every box.

FIT SUN PROTECT 2 (1)The first sunscreen serum created for men, it offers a broad spectrum, five star UVA rated, SPF 50 sunscreen to protect you from both the sun’s burning UVB rays and the UVA ones that age your skin; it leaves absolutely no greasy or unsightly white residue (if anything it leaves skin with a matte finish) and has a barely there fragrance that vanishes altogether after a couple of minutes. This last bit is a big bonus in my book since I’ve worn sun products in the past that smelt of everything from Digestive biscuits to – nightmarishly – curry powder. The scent of one I road-tested a couple of years ago mysteriously attracted so many flies I looked like Pig Pen from Peanuts!

FIT SUN PROTECT 2 (2)On top of these pluses FIT’s Sun Protect Serum uses cutting-edge ‘micro encapsulation technology’ that helps provide more evenly spread protection and also  contains antioxidants, hyaluronic acid and FIT’s unique OXY-FIT-10 oxygen delivery system – a few bonus features that help defend against the dehydrating and DNA-damaging effects of the sun. In terms of summer skincare it way well be your ultimate defence shield.

FIT Sun Protect Serum SPF50 is available now from fitskincare.co.uk

A Grooming Guru/FIT Skincare For Men Sponsored Post 

Thinking ahead to Father’s Day? How about this grooming set from The Scottish Fine Soaps Company?

SCOTTISH FINE SOAPSI’m so used to seeing men’s skincare products housed in predictable black, silver or grey packaging that the Thistle & Black Pepper Men’s Grooming range from The Scottish Fine Soaps Company instantly grabbed by attention recently. An eye-catching metallic orange (‘amber’ if you’re being fancy) the range features everything from an Eau de Toilette to a Bath & Muscle Soak.

Also available is the Luxurious Gift Set – an absolute snip at just £11.50 – which features four products (a Body Wash, Facial Wash, Aftershave Balm and a Luxury Soap) all infused with a fragrance that blends black pepper, tonka bean and sea buckthorn with lavender, sandalwood and amber. For good measure (and make it a double) there’s even a dash of whiskey in there too. All in all a great gift for Father’s Day, one that’ll look great in any man’s bathroom and one that won’t break the bank either.

For information go click here.

Biotherm Homme signs up David Beckham as brand ambassador

David Beckham official shotBiotherm Homme have a bit of a chequered history in the UK. Big on the continent, they made a concerted effort to crack the British male skincare market several years ago before slinking back into the shadows, to the point where a drop down menu of countries on their site doesn’t even include the UK. Which is a great shame because the products are really rather good and sometimes extremely innovative (the Total Recharge range is great). You can still track down the products online  – on Amazon for example – and you might want to investigate them when you’re abroad and the brand is to get a bit of a recognition boost thanks to the addition of none other than David Beckham as their brand ambassador. Check out the video below…

Perfect your summer skincare

muradNow that the sun’s finally made an appearance it’s time to think about protecting your face from it a way you might not have done back in miserable old February. Finding a face product that contains a broad spectrum sunscreen but doesn’t leave a smelly, white residue can be easier said than done, though. With sun damage one of the main causes of premature ageing, however, factoring up on a daily basis is essential. So if you’re looking for something that’s going to make you look better right now as well as ten years down the line you might want to check out Murad’s Invisiblur Perfecting Shield. As well as mattifying skin (handy in the summer, given that heat can stimulate skin to produce oil) and ‘blurring’ surface imperfections so skin looks more even, it also packs an invisible, broad spectrum SPF30 sunscreen. There’s no greasy residue (it leaves the skin supple but matte), no white sheen and the fragrance is minimal, making it just about the perfect product to throw in your work bag this summer.

Available now, priced £55 for 30ml. 

 

Add some discipline to your grooming routine with Ron Dorff

RON DORFFWhy it’s taken me so long to discover premium Swedish/French sportswear and lifestyle brand Ron Dorff  – the creation of Claus Lindorff and Jérôme Touron  – I don’t know, but I’m glad I have. As well as producing sportswear that fuses style, functionality and a quirky sense of humour the brand also features an excellent range of skincare products created for both men and women (with, perhaps, the exception of the Beard Conditioner).

Dorff’s clothing is characterised by its clean simplicity and the Skin Discipline range is no exception. As you might expect from a range hailing for Scandinavia the pachaging design and attention to detail are impeccable whilst the products themselves are superb quality, though this is hardly surprising given that they’ve been specially made for the brand by cult cosmetics house FACE Stockholm.

493X375DDWhat gives the products added interest  is its use of ingredients focused on Northern Hemisphere botanicals, like Arctic Juniper and Arctic Roseroot, but for me the best thing about them is the smell. An exercise in restraint the fragrance is never intrusive: the Body Scrub smells like a towel you’ve used to wipe yourself down after a dip in the sea whilst the scent of the Beard Conditioner is, like a pair of Dorff’s skimpy swimming trunks, barely there. This kind of minimalism is truly refreshing – and a real antidote to some of the overpoweringly scented body products out there at the moment.

Discipline is certainly not a dirty word when it comes to personal grooming so do  check out the range. And if you’re in London make sure you pay a visit to Dorff’s first stand-alone UK boutique which opens in Earlham Street in London’s Covent Garden in March.

For more info go to rondorff.com