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Q&A with PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog winner: Kim Dao

kim dao
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“I’m just an ordinary girl who absolutely loves make-up, fashion, and traveling! I first started blogging in 2011 as a way of keeping track of all my amazing memories while vacationing in Japan.  I fell so deeply in love with the country and culture that I wanted to make sure I preserved every part of the trip.  Over time, I started attracting a lot of attention from readers who enjoyed my blogs.  This led me to create a YouTube channel where I share videos about my travels, makeup, fashion, and my everyday life.”

Kim Dao, as our overall winner for the PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog Awards this month, there’s USD$300 heading your way as we speak. But before you nip off to book your next flight, we just have a few questions for you.

  1. What’s your favourite holiday destination?

Europe, especially France. I love exploring and seeing the beautiful architecture. There are just so many countries you can visit that are so easily accessible.

  1. Which airport did you last visit?

Copenhagen Airport

  1. What’s the best thing you’ve bought at an airport?

Water! I always have to have water on me when I board a flight because it gets so dry in the air. I always have to buy one after I pass through security!

  1. What’s the one thing you always take with you when flying?

I always have to bring a small skincare kit with me while flying. My skin is very dry and especially in the air it gets worse. I always make sure to carry a face mask and a small sample-sized skincare kit to help my skin stay hydrated.

  1. Which is your favourite airport and why?

Singapore Changi Airport. It is my favourite because it is so big and there is always something to do. I’ve had long layovers at Changi Airport before and I never get bored of the place!

We couldn’t agree more– dehydration can be a real issue when flying and who doesn’t love Changi?

Thanks so much for taking part, Kim and congratulations on winning. We hope you celebrate with another trip soon.

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A vision of beauty: How François Nars makes the world look good

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Make-up artist, photographer, businessman, creative director. François Nars makes the make-up that make-up artists love. He should know what he’s doing having worked as a successful make-up artist himself before setting up his eponymous company in 1994 with a collection of 12 lipsticks sold exclusively in Barneys, New York.

The success of this initial collection spurred Nars on to create an entire range and NARS Cosmetics was born. A cheeky way with names ensured his Orgasm range was splashed across the glossy pages of fashion and beauty magazines giving the NARS matte black rubberised packaging global recognition, but it’s not all hype. The brand’s focus on quality of colour, purity and texture (and the fact that the products work for all skin tones) have made it a worldwide success.

PretAirporter Associate Editor Clare Austin with François Nars at the Ritz Paris

Legend has it that the budget for the brand’s first advertising campaign was so limited that François Nars decided to step in himself, so igniting a passion for photography and a talent that has seen him shoot every campaign since. Nars is no slouch at championing the genius of others either as the brand’s love of collaborations shows. Recent collections have borrowed from Andy Warhol, Sarah Moon, Steven Klein and most recently Charlotte Gainsbourg. François Nars also enjoys a fruitful professional partnership with renowned creative director Fabien Baron who takes credit for the brand’s sleek packaging.

NARS Cosmetics was sold to Shiseido in 2000, reportedly earning its founder enough to buy his own island in French Polynesia but François Nars remains very much the hands-on director of the brand.

Listening back to my recording of the interview, the tape is full of laughter: Despite his success, François Nars is a man who by his own admission doesn’t take the business of make-up too seriously.

Walking into Nars’ suite at the Ritz, I am greeted by his latest campaign image for NARS Cosmetics: Bella Hadid wearing Powermatte Lip Pigment. “She looks like a rock star, no?” says the man who not only created the product and founded the company but shot the image too. Oh, and the New York-based Frenchman has just been awarded France’s highest decoration: the Légion d’honneur.

PretAirporter: Congratulations on being awarded the Légion d’honneur. What did receiving it mean to you?

François Nars: I was surprised and proud. I’ve actually brought it on this trip to Paris because my parents were not in New York when I got it so I had to bring them the actual medal. They are very proud. It’s such an incredible honour, the highest you can get in France. I never thought I would receive the Légion d’honneur even though I tried my best to represent France as well as possible in the United States and all over the world. And it’s a beautiful medal on top of that! Once in a while I look at it and say: ‘Is that really mine?’. I must say it’s kind of strange because I have got awards before but never anything like the Légion d’honneur. It feels great, definitely feels great.

Bénédicte de Montlaur Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy hosted the ceremony in New York at which François Nars was presented with the Légion d’Honneur
Cultural Counselor of the French Embassy Bénédicte de Montlaur hosted the ceremony in New York at which François Nars was presented with the Légion d’Honneur

Your latest collaboration with Charlotte Gainsbourg has been very well received.

I am very very proud of it and very happy. There was total trust on her side and on my side so what else can you dream of? She is the perfect muse.
I gave her carte blanche, total power so she was able to do anything. I told her: “The collection has to be you Charlotte, it has to resemble you, it has to look like it has come from you. This is not a collaboration that I will just put your name on and then we do everything behind your back and we will just show you it all at the end.” No, from day one she decided the colours, the packaging, everything. I mean really everything you saw in that collection was hers even to the names for each colour. I wanted it to be so personal. And that’s how, to me, a collaboration with one person has to be.

French polish: The NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection for Summer 2017
French polish: The NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection for Summer 2017

Why did you decide to choose to create a make-up collection with someone not known for wearing a lot of make-up?

I love women who don’t wear too much make-up. I also love very eccentric women who wear so much, Anna Piaggi for example (the late, celebrated Italian fashion journalist). I love women who really know what they love and have a strong sense of style and what’s right for them. Charlotte is not a person who wears lots of make-up but she does love make-up. She knows what looks good on her and that’s why I trusted her. She knows what will work for her and will work for many many millions of other women because some women are afraid of make-up. Not everyone is like Kim Kardashian, some women are very scared and afraid.

I love women who don’t wear too much make-up

All the colours and formulas that Charlotte picked are very easy to use for anybody and the collection had an incredible response.

Creative collaborators François Nars and Charlotte Gainsbourg
Creative collaborators François Nars and Charlotte Gainsbourg

Of all the NARS collaborations, which has surprised you the most?

I would say the Sarah Moon collection. It was so feminine and delicate, very different from the previous Andy Warhol, Steven Klein and Guy Bourdin collaborations which were much more colourful. Sarah’s collection was so surreal and transparent. I was very thrilled when I saw everything. Also, because Sarah is still with us, thank God, I had that direct contact and we did it together. It maybe wasn’t the biggest seller but the result, to me, was fantastic and it looks so beautiful.

Ephemeral beauty: Compacts from the recent collaboration between NARS Cosmetics and photographer Sarah Moon
Photography archive: In 2013, NARS Cosmetics launched a collection inspired by French photographer and artist Guy Bourdin, an early influence on François Nars himself

When I type N-a-r-s into social media, it automatically auto-corrects to NARS – how does it feel to have your name become so synonymous with make-up?

Thanks to the women. Really. Thank you to all the women out there on the planet from Asia to South America to the United States to Europe, everywhere. Thanks too to all the people around me that work so hard to make it that way. Thanks to myself a little bit too for having the original idea to do a make-up line I guess! It was a lot of hard work on everybody’s part including myself when I first started. It’s pretty incredible. It’s a very abstract feeling at the same time: When you realise your name is all over the planet and that when you go to sleep, people wake up on another side of the world and start wearing your product. It’s a very funny feeling but very thrilling.

The photographer’s muse: François Nars shoots all of the brand’s campaigns including this just launched image of Bella Hadid for NARS Cosmetics Powermatte Lip Pigment

Which is your favourite NARS product of all time?

You know, they are all my children, I can’t say I love one more than the other but I really love Velvet Matte Lip Pencil because I would have loved to have those in my kit when I was working as a make-up artist.
I love the Liquid Blush that just came out and is doing so well. Both are amazing because they contain so much pigment and they are so rich and perfectly matte.
I love the Multiple Stick because it’s really such a great product to have: Five minutes to give a great glow. Those are my top three but now we are launching a new matte gloss Powermatte Lip Pigment and and it’s amazing. Fabien Baron has created a beautiful packaging for it, Bella Hadid is the face of it. It’s a very velvety matte gloss, not dry, stays on all day and it has every shade from light to neutral to strong red.
That is the good thing about being a make-up artist and having a make-up artist line. I’m not just a chemist in a factory creating a product who doesn’t test it necessarily on real women. I am very critical, very tough on whatever comes out. If I don’t like the texture, the formula, the colours, I make them re-do it until it’s perfect. Quality, quality, quality.

The product that launched a thousand quips: The best-selling Multiple Orgasm

Has the rise of selfies and social media changed the way you create make-up because you know that women are going to be constantly photographing it?

No absolutely not. It doesn’t influence me in any way because make-up is universal. I create make-up for women all over the world. The ones who do selfies, the housewives at home who do no selfies, grandmothers who will maybe do a selfie with the grandchildren.
Women inspire me, that’s all, I don’t ever think about how make-up is going to photograph when I’m creating it, certainly not for selfies. That’s not my job, my goal. What I care about with make-up is how women are going to look in real life.

How has the rise of the beauty vlogger and online tutorials affected the way you work as a creator?

There has been an incredible evolution of the access to beauty not only because of social media but also because there are so many more choices in make-up. Women are learning and experimenting more and magazines, professional artists and the freedom of fashion are helping them to explore these options and make fewer mistakes along the way.

You have talked about make-up being ‘an enhancement, not a mask’. Do you think the current trend for a very artificial look: contouring, Instagram filters etc. has gone too far in camouflaging reality?

Make-up is to enhance beauty and I believe trends should not be followed blindly because someone tells you to. You should look in the mirror and know what makes you look good. Even if you feel that you don’t know what to choose, in the end you always know what’s going to make you look and feel great. It is very important that you really believe in yourself, believe in yourself first, but also believe in your own beauty.

The new Powermatte Lip Pigment, shown here in Don’t Stop, with packaging designed by the renowned Fabien Baron

Do you think make-up for men will ever become mainstream?

It’s hard to tell but I believe only a very limited percentage of men want to wear make-up: Actors, rock stars, David Bowie. But, real men, real-life men: Doctors; dentists; workers in factories? I really don’t believe they will ever wear make-up. The only make-up I think they would wear would be tinted moisturisers. An easy, single product for evening out skin tone. Maybe a lip balm, neutral, no colour so it’s not really make-up.

I might be wrong. The Egyptians wore make-up like crazy regardless of their sexual orientation or anything else so you never know. Anything could be possible. But I don’t see it happening. All the make-up lines that have been created for men have failed so I think that’s the proof that it’s probably the wrong thing to do. I do believe in skincare for men, that is a great market as men become more and more aware of their skin and want to make their skin look great.

How do you come up with the names of your products?

I keep a little Hermès book that I write in 24 hours a day, even in the middle of the night. It is important that the colours have an identity and the names help give them that identity. It makes you dream a little bit.

The chosen one: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil (shown here in Dragon Girl) is one of François Nars’ all-time favourites

Make-up is an art form steeped in history and utterly creative. As an art form do you think it is understated?

No, not at all. I remember seeing Guy Bourdin’s work at a very young age, around when I was ten or 11 years old in the French Vogue magazines my mother read in the late ‘60s, early ‘70s. The magazine was extremely creative with works by fabulous photographers such as Helmut Newton and Man Ray. All those images woke me up to a certain sense of colour, make-up and artistry. I didn’t know anything about art at the time, but I had a very, very strong attraction to those images because of the strong colours and make-up looks. It was around that time that I knew that the fashion/beauty world was something I wanted to be a part of and make mine. It was from that age that I knew I wanted to become a photographer or make-up artist. Today, I would say that there has been even more of an evolution in make-up in everything we do and the art form is more prevalent now than ever.

I believe only a very limited percentage of men want to wear make-up: Actors, rock stars, David Bowie. But, real men, real-life men: Doctors; dentists; workers in factories? I really don’t believe they will ever wear make-up

You have described yourself as a shy person: Do you see make-up as a way of creating an armour to face the world?

Yes, in a way. Make-up is a great tool for transforming yourself. It’s fun to play with, you can become somebody else or find yourself in a look. There are so many different ways to achieve a look, so many tools and colours to use and play with. You can always take it off, so play with it, it’s fun.

Of all the photographers you have worked with, who has had the most profound impact on you?

It’s hard to choose only one! I have already worked with so many incredible photographers that inspire me, most recently Steven Klein and Sarah Moon. I loved working with Avedon, Penn, Newton, Meisel. Many times (Steven) Meisel would invite me behind the camera and that helped me when I began photographing our campaigns.

I create make-up for women all over the world. The ones who do selfies, the housewives at home who do no selfies, grandmothers who will maybe do a selfie with the grandchildren

How do you treat your skin when you travel long distance?

I love getting facials. My all-time favourite spas are the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort Thalasso Spa and the Imperial Spa at the Hôtel du Palais in Biarritz.

You have said that you very inspired by travel. Is it the journey or the destination that inspires you the most?

I would say both. There is so much inspiration in my life that comes from so many different sources. I do love travelling: I pick up many different ideas from all over the world. I love learning from unique cultures in each city that I visit.

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WHAT’S IN MY CARRY-ON BAG? – OLIA HERCULES, CHEF AND FOOD WRITER

FEAT. Olia Hercules
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After training at Leith’s famous cookery school and working for the likes of Yotam Ottolenghi, Olia Hercules is a rising star of the culinary world. Working as a recipe writer and food stylist, Hercules contributes to top food magazines and has made several TV appearances on shows such as Saturday Kitchen. Her debut cookbook Mamushka: Recipes from Ukraine and Beyond brought us the gastronomic delights of her home country Ukraine to much critical acclaim, and her next book Kaukasis: A culinary journey through Georgia, Azerbaijan and beyond is out 10 August 2017.

Needless to say, all this first-hand research has made Hercules a rather frequent flyer, so we asked her to share her five inflight essentials.

Omorovicza Limited Edition Queen of Hungary Mist

“I really like the Hungarian brand Omorovicza. Their cleansing mask is amazing and so is their hydrating spray. I take it with me when I travel. I often take an old-school Soviet sleeper train from Kiev to my home town (it’s a twelve hour journey after the 3.5 hour flight from London). In winter they really crank up the heat in the carriages so your skin needs a lot of help!”

Jurlique rose hand cream travel exclusive size 100ml

“I miss the times when I had perfectly manicured hands, but those times are sadly gone. I have worker’s hands now. I cook a lot and my hands have become quite veiny and dry and covered in burns, and my fingertips have gone completely asbestos. I do try to keep them moisturised as much as I can though. I squeeze a bit of the rose hand cream into a small jar and use it throughout my journey. The smell makes me relax too.”

Birkenstock Arizona sandals

“I can’t have my feet feeling uncomfortable. So it is always Birkenstocks in the summer and Blundstone boots in winter especially when I travel. I am on my feet a lot. When we were shooting my second cookbook in the Caucasus we’d work from 6am to 10pm for ten days in a row or longer. I’d stand no chance without comfy footwear.”

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“My father’s friend is originally from Orenburg in Russia where they make the most beautiful goat lace shawls. It is an essential on a plane (when aircons can become extremely fierce). I’ve got one hand-made by our friend’s mother, that I’ve been using for the past ten years (it has travelled with me to the weirdest places). It’s light and compact and incredibly warm.”

Bose Quietcomfort 35 Wireless Headphones

“I have been using Bose headphones for about 15 years. I love proper, chunky ones. If you are tired they are excellent at cancelling the noise out. I will never be the person that unsympathetically tuts at your toddler for throwing a tantrum on a plane…I make sure that I cannot hear them (I highly recommend that). I now have a wireless pair that I do not leave the house without.”

“I have a five-year-old son so reading books at home is very rare for me, which I miss so much. I always take a book with me if I travel alone. I have just finished Stories I Stole from Georgia by Wendell Steavenson – an excellent account on life in raucous 1990s Caucasus.”

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Q&A with PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog winner: The Whisky Lady

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“My mission is to remove the dusty cliché that whisky is only an old man’s drink. Also working as a freelance representative for distilleries in France and estimating bottles for whisky auctions. Many of my friends say I have the best job in the world, I try to believe them but honestly, if it was true, my daily tasks would also involve free shopping sprees and cuddling kittens…”

Well, we can’t help on the kitten front, but we can certainly help with the shopping spree. Anne-Sophie, as our first overall winner for the PretAirporter Travel Shopping Blog Awards, there’s USD$300 winging its way to you as we speak. But before you dash off to the nearest bottle shop, we just have a few questions for you.

What’s your favourite holiday destination?

I have to say Scotland, of course. You’ll probably guess why…

Which airport did you last visit?

London Gatwick Airport last week during a quick stopover in London to judge the IWSC ‘Spirit Communicator of the Year’ award.

What’s the best thing you’ve bought at an airport?

That has to be whisky. You probably know many distilleries release travel exclusive bottlings. For instance, I got my hands on a very nice Port Charlotte 2007 CC:01 last week – a killer dram.

What’s the one thing you always take with you when flying?

My notebook. I like writing articles the old-fashioned way when flying, it’s this one moment where I can really be focused and alone without being distracted by my phone notifications or e-mails.

Lastly, which is your favourite airport and why?

Tough one… I like Dubai Airport for its incredible shopping experience, but I’m more familiar with Amsterdam Schiphol and really like wandering around the halls before catching a flight – it hosts nice foodie spots, a World of Whiskies shop and The Johnnie Walker House which is a recent addition but worth checking out.

What the Whisky Lady doesn’t know about the water of life, frankly, isn’t worth knowing

Thanks so much for taking part, Anne-Sophie and congratulations on winning. We hope you enjoy a wee dram to celebrate!

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What’s in my carry-on bag? – Vivienne Tang, Wellness Editor

FEAT. Vivienne tang founder of destination deluxe (2)
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Vivienne Tang wears many hats. When she’s not busy judging the Mr & Mrs Smith Hotel Awards, or running The Sanctuary in Hong Kong, she can be found writing and reviewing exotic spa retreats for Destination Deluxe, the travel and wellness publication that she launched in 2016.

As such, Tang spends a lot of time on the road – or more specifically, in airports. So who better to kick-start our new interview series? Without further ado, here are the five travel essentials that Tang swears by when travelling.

Subtle Energies Facial Blend

“It is deeply hydrating and promotes collagen and elastin production.  I always slather it on when I’m flying.”

Dr. Jackson’s Coconut Melt

“It’s 100% certified organic coconut oil and therefore solidifies in cooler temperatures. Perfect for dry lips and hands. This small 15ml is a great companion if you’re on the go.”

i.am+ Buttons earphones

“They’re not only super stylish, they’re also really comfortable. I always carry them with me.”

Charlotte Olympia Cat Nap Eye Mask

“This beautiful and quirky eye mask is silky soft. Ideal when you’re trying to get some shuteye.”

Pashmina

“I got mine in Turkey. It was a great souvenir and now accompanies me on all my travels. It keeps me warm on cold flights and doesn’t take up too much room in my bag.”

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NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg deliver a lesson in French style

Charlotte Gainsbourg for NARS - Francois Nars and Charlotte - jpeg
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Clare Austin introduces the NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg collection and talks to Charlotte Gainsbourg about her role in its creation. The entire collection will be available to travel shoppers in Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa from May.

Column inches and entire books have been written trying to capture the formula behind that globally-recognisable brand of insouciant French-girl chic. François Nars has very cleverly gone straight to the source. In what at first glance could seem to be a partnering paradox – a make-up line designed by a woman known for her natural look and lack of make-up – lies beauty holy grail. The art of looking fabulous seemingly without trying.

Charlotte Gainsbourg photographed in New York by François Nars

An “actress, musician and creative spirit”, Charlotte Gainsbourg is something of an artistic Renaissance woman. Known for her work as an award-winning actress (with a CV ranging from art house films to Hollywood blockbusters); a critically acclaimed singer; a fashion icon; the face of brands including Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga; Gainsbourg has inhabited the cultural zeitgeist from the moment she was born as the daughter of French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and English actress, singer and muse Jane Birkin (yes, she of the Birkin bag), the artists behind the controversial love song ‘Je t’aime…moi non plus’.

Explaining his choice of Charlotte Gainsbourg as collaborator, François Nars said: “Her allure is all in the uncompromising power of her personal style. It’s very cool and authentic, very French. But there is real inspiration in how she moves through the world. Like her lyrics, her voice, her mix of presence and humility, she is herself, through and through. Her work reflects her soul more than anybody I know.”

Charlotte Gainsbourg repaid the compliment, saying of Nars: “He made me feel so comfortable, I could do anything I wanted as long as it came from me, something personal. So that’s what I did, created this collection around my exact beauty needs.”

Before we even get to the range itself, let’s talk packaging. It’s gorgeous. Cleverly combining the androgynous appeal of Ms Gainsbourg, a masculine, military-esque khaki is the unexpected signature shade of the packaging, softened by gold detailing and feminine shapes. It works beautifully, and at once sets the tone of the collection: pretty with an edge.

‘Effortless, Elegant, Eclectic’: The Charlotte Gainsbourg for NARS collection

Inside the packaging, the NARS x Charlotte Gainsbourg Summer 2017 collection is a limited-edition edit of ‘lived-in colours’ channelling Gainsbourg’s signature look of smouldering eyes, flushed cheeks and lips ‘bitten with soft colour’.

My references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running – things that move me

The 18 products include: Lip Tint; Hydrating Glow Tint; Multiple Tint; Velvet Matte Lip Pencil; Velvet Duo Eyeshadow; Kohliner and a Brush Roll. Our highlights are Charlotte Gainsbourg’s version of the iconic NARS Multiple in a sheer tinted format to give lips and cheeks a dewy, natural look, and, the Kohliner in Zinc (slate grey), Cours Du Soir (deep moss green) and Nuit D’Encre (deep navy) which all deliver the perfect Charlotte smoulder.

Charlotte Gainsbourg had full creative control of the collection which François Nars wanted to be “a complete reflection of who she is – an extremely talented and sensitive artist”

Charlotte Gainsbourg’s heritage is rooted in both Paris and London, a link which is evident in the names given to the colours of the collection. For example, the limited-edition Velvet Duo Eyeshadow comes in Old Church Street (golden champagne and deep slate teal) and Rue Allent (shimmering frost and deep forest green).

And so to the woman herself: we grabbed five minutes with Charlotte Gainsbourg to talk make-up and travel.

In an interview with Interview magazine, you said: “…it’s always collaborations, and that’s what I like. I don’t like being on my own. I’m happy meeting people and collaborating”. You must be approached regularly to get involved in projects. What made you say ‘yes’ to NARS?

How could I say no? I was flattered and quite excited because it was such an unusual request for me, I don’t typically wear a lot of make-up so I was surprised that François Nars chose me for a collaboration.

You and your mother and sisters are known for looking great while not wearing a lot of make-up. How do you feel about make-up?

I like anything that will seem natural, erasing a few signs of age.

What is your own make-up ritual?

I tend to use a skincare called Biologique Recherche. I come back to it each time I wander off and try out new things. I should know by now that that never works for me. Then it’s really just a question of camouflaging dark circles a little (not too much), spots and giving myself a little life in the cheeks. In the morning it’s too early for me to enhance lashes or lips, that can happen later in the day.

How did you decide on the products and shades for your NARS collection?

The colours actually came after the make-up type. First it was a question of what kind of product. I couldn’t go toward something that was opposite of me, so it had to be quite natural. And, in the end colours were sort of obvious for me, nothing flashy, just tinted. Emotional if possible, my references had to do with actresses in films, so a natural cheek, redness from crying, running – things that move me.

What is your favourite product from your NARS collection?

The brushes are my favourite.

What make-up lesson would you pass on to your daughters?

Don’t put too much on.

Which art form do you feel best able to express yourself in: music, acting or design?

I would say I am an artist.

What is your favourite city to visit?

Japan.

What is your favourite travelling experience?

Any time I’m with my kids.

What make-up essential do you always pack when you travel?

Smith’s Lip Balm.

True colours: The limited-edition Lip Tint formula offers a natural tint in three colours Double Decker (ruby red); Éphélide (antique rose); Promise (red plum)
Charlotte’s favourite: In the Au Poil Brush Roll each one of the five limited-edition, full-size brushes has its own unique handle
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Undressing Mr. Burberry: Eau de Parfum campaign unveiled

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This week saw the unveiling of a new Burberry campaign for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, an intense interpretation of the original Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette. These days any new campaign from the British fashion house is big news as the brand enjoys a golden era under the direction of Chief Creative and Chief Executive Officer Christopher Bailey.

Josh Whitehouse, British actor and musician, returns as the ‘face’ of Mr. Burberry with perfumer Francis Kurkdjian continuing his collaboration with the brand as the creator of the fragrance.

The inspiration for the fragrance itself is the pulsing energy and frisson of excitement that buzz beneath a city, in this case, London. It tries to capture the anticipation of a night unfolding, the thrill that anything could happen. In a nod to the brand’s British heritage, the Eau de Parfum draws on classic scents of British male perfumery: Top notes of fresh tarragon blend with comforting, spicy cinnamon layered over rich patchouli with a base of dense, woody amber and smokey vetiver.

Tales of the city: The new Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum is inspired by “the anticipation of London at night”

As with the Eau de Toilette, the bottle uses elements of the iconic Burberry Heritage Trench Coat in the design details of the dark lacquered bottle: The weighted cap is modelled on the horn-look buttons of the coat while the hand-tied bow around the neck of the bottle is English-woven gabardine in honour of the fabric invented by Thomas Burberry over 100 years ago.

Josh Whitehouse is no less well-dressed in a Burberry slim fit wool mohair tuxedo with satin lapels and satin-covered buttons and a handmade silk bow tie, woven and crafted in England.

A monogramming service which personalises the 100ml or 150ml Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum bottle with up to three initials is available on Burberry.com and in selected Burberry stores.

The Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum range also introduces three new limited-edition grooming products all infused with the fragrance: Aftershave Balm; Face Scrub; Hair and Beard Clay.

Q&A with Mr. Burberry ‘face’ Josh Whitehouse

Mr. Burberry is referred to as a ‘man of contrasts’. In what ways are you a man of contrasts?

JW: I am generally quite a quiet person in my day-to-day life and more of a thinker than a speaker. However, I am also a performer so when I’m up on stage with my band I become quite the opposite. In fact, while performing in general – be it acting or music – I, like many other creative people, find that this often becomes something of a release. It is certainly one of my own personal contrasts.

Mr. Burberry is inspired by London. How would you describe the energy of London?

I find the energy of London to be almost frantic: crackling with the busy feet of the busy people running here, there and everywhere. It is a place that is beaming with creativity and life from every corner.

What three words would you use to describe London at night?

Beautiful. Fun. Invigorating.

Would you say that London is different at night versus the daytime?

London at night is like a new city: more romantic, full of fun and flair. It’s when people are out to dress up or relax and have a good time, but the hustle and bustle of all walks of life are still all around you. London never sleeps.

Describe your perfect London night.

My perfect night in London would be with close friends on a nice summer evening, having early evening drinks in Islington or Soho, then off somewhere nice for a bite to eat, followed by bowling or going to see a comedy, a play, a film or to watch a band.

What are your favourite London views at night?

One of the best views I have seen in London at night was overlooking Piccadilly Circus from the rooftop of Hotel Café Royal, where we filmed the Mr. Burberry campaign. You can see all of the rooftops for miles, and all the madness of the streets below.

You can create your perfect night with anyone (living or otherwise), doing anything and being anywhere in London. Describe it.

I would have to skydive onto Dalston Roof Park with my band, eat a hearty steak, and drink some tasty wine. Play a gig on its rooftop, then abseil halfway down, jump and land on one of those big, squishy nets and then head over to a Northern Soul night somewhere and have a dance.

The campaign for the new Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum is about the anticipation of a night with a love. How do you get ready for a night out, and what’s the best part of anticipating such a night?

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of being excited for a night out, especially if you are anticipating spending it with someone special. The best part of looking forward to it is just that: when it’s nearly time to go, you are getting ready and walking out of the door. You know you have the whole night ahead of you to enjoy.

What do you like about the Mr. Burberry scents?

I love the smell of both fragrances. The Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette is brighter in smell: morning fresh, almost, yet zesty and light. The Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum is a deeper, woodier fragrance – it’s almost more of a romantic scent.

In three words how would you describe the new Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?

Woody. Romantic. Warm.

How do you think a man should wear fragrance?

If a man enjoys wearing a fragrance, I think it’s nice to have a day scent and a night one. I would apply Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette in the morning around the neck and chest area just after a shower. Then if I’m going out later, I’ll wear Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum.

There are some new grooming products in the Mr. Burberry line: Aftershave Balm, Face Scrub and Hair and Beard Clay. Do you have any favourites of these?

My favourites are the Mr. Burberry Face Scrub and Mr. Burberry Aftershave Balm; they smell amazing and are not too strong, just this lovely hint of the fragrance on your skin.

Do you feel British men have a distinct style, attitude and outlook versus, perhaps, men from other countries – and what do you think the difference is? Does this refer to you too?

I think British men are not afraid of being who they are and looking how they want to look. They don’t take themselves too seriously and can be quite irreverent, and I think this characterises their style. I’d like to think this applies to me too.

Q&A with Mr. Burberry Perfumer Francis Kurkdjian

You said that when you started working on the scent for Mr. Burberry Eau de Toilette, Christopher Bailey asked for ‘irreverent’. What did he request for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?

When I met with Christopher Bailey to discuss the inspiration for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, he asked for it to be even more irreverent than the Eau de Toilette – a more intense, deeper fragrance.

What was the inspiration for Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?

The Mr. Burberry fragrances are inspired by London and its moments, and Christopher Bailey wanted Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum to capture the essence of London at night. It is inspired by the heritage of British male perfume and is constructed to embody the Burberry man.

How do you create a fragrance within the same family, but with a stand out contrast?

Raw materials for a perfumer can be compared to colours for a painter. You can play with them and balance them with each other to create the harmony you want to express. It means you can play with the raw material, but also choose how much of it you put in the fragrance.

Tarragon, cinnamon, patchouli, amber and vetiver are the fragrance notes within Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum. What role does each of the notes play?

These fragrance notes help to increase and underline the contrast between freshness and warmth. They bring depth and texture to the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum fragrance.

How did you approach making the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum?

When I was creating the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum, I tried to capture the intense moments and the sensual vibes of the Mr. Burberry film. I immersed myself in the formula to highlight and emphasise the darker and more sensual part of the scent. The idea was to keep the masculine Britishness, but to infuse the fragrance with warmer and deeper undertones.

As a perfumer, how do you capture the energy of London at night in a fragrance?

It’s a creative process. I use my imagination, my feelings and my intuition, all together. It’s all about capturing a feeling, vibes and a sense of what you feel while in the city and to translate it to the fragrance so it has the same type of feeling.

Fragrance is great for evoking memories and your senses. What memory does the Mr. Burberry Eau de Parfum fragrance evoke for you?

The world of fragrances has been related to work for me for the past two decades. It’s a passion, but it’s also my day-to-day life. Whenever I smell a fragrance that I have created, it reminds me of the period of time when I composed it.

What is your favourite memory evoked by a scent?

The smell of mimosa is my favourite scent memory as it reminds me of the house I grew up in.