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Friday, 7 September 2012

Shop until you beauty drop


Shopping for beauty should be an exciting experience, never feeling like a chore or mundane, which is why concepts such as Space NK which launched back in 1993 has been such a bounding success.


Walking into the new shopping space that is BeautyMART on the third floor of Harvey Nichols brings on a very excitable feeling. It brings the feeling of discovering a new product that will somersault your life – or at least your beauty routine. The beauty brainchild of Millie Kendall and Anna-Marie Solowij, these are two women with impeccable beauty pedigrees. Millie introduced Shu Uemura into the UK back-in-the-day along with creating her own brand, Ruby & Millie and Anna-Marie is the former beauty director of British Vogue. A passion for everything beauty combined with business savvy is a pretty dangerous weapon to behold!

Looking around this retail space it’s easy to get carried away. Colours are riotous with stations for lips and nails, eyes and face that are adorned with products that just beg to be played with. Shelves are stacked with old school classics such as Anne French jostling for space alongside Paul & Joe make-up, Astalift skincare and Tangle Teezer hairbrushes. There are also brands you have probably never heard of but you know are just part of the cool and the good.


“There’s no school to tell you about cosmetics,” says Millie, “we both went on gut instincts when it came to editing and what we thought people would like.” With 101 brands and near to 6,000 products this is some expert edit. They don’t put anything on their shelves they don’t believe in and there’s no price snobbery here. Mass market names such as Bourjois and Revlon show-pony, although not complete lines. Just the hero products for these beauty two-some. In fact, the whole philosophy is very much like cherry picking from the pages of a magazine. The concept is arresting and different, “I’ve been developing brands for 15 years but it’s nice to finally put products that I love in an environment that’s my vision. I’m a shop girl at heart having (Millie was actually filling shelves as I was interviewing her) launched Shu Uemura at Harvey Nichols and it feels like coming home,” says Millie. With well edited stock, relaxed browsing and insider staff, I’m sure a lot of beauty junkies will be making it their second home anytime soon.

 BeautyMART is now open in Harvey Nichols.

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