A walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ at Harrods

Ever wondered what it would be like to live inside a brand? If you could pick any brand why not the ultimate brand (in my opinion) CHANEL – well of course if any store could make this happen it would of course be Harrods…

Yesterday I took a walk through ‘The world of CHANEL’ in Harrods. It is a takeover of such immense scale it is amazing how it has been so cleverly kept secret until now.

Even from the walk along Brompton road you get a sense of what lays ahead as the Harrods flags have turned monochrome with just CHANEL fluttering away along the iconic building’s length, all it’s 23 windows along the stores front have been utterly transformed into Karl’s AW ready to wear catwalk show, suddenly walking along the pavement you can be front row of the ultimate fashion show. Take in the fantasy ethereal forest dream – where animals meet haute couture! I wasn’t even inside yet and it had taken my breath away!

Entering through Door 6 and into the stores Colour Hall (formerly the Lifestyle room) I discover a new pop up neighbour for MAC a PINK, yes you read correctly, CHANEL beauty boutique offers itself like a grown up sweetie shop – that you just have to discover! From giant 900ml bottles of No5, which yes you can buy money permitting, to a gorgeous EXCLUSIVE Collection created by the master, Peter Philips – Creative Director of CHANEL Makeup just for this installation and named ‘The Harrods Collection’ the star of the collection, none other than a pretty pink powder blush compact ‘Brompton Road‘ for £46, this is a great way to own a little limited edition piece of this fantastic take over.

But if that is not all, the space plays host to a whole 3 weeks of celebrity makeover events, I was lucky to spot Mary Greenwell and Sophy Robson who were giving expert makeovers and manicures respectively using the CHANEL new AW collection. Once made over I could not resist indulging in some CHANEL photobooth fun (not only is there an in-built wind machine, so you can create that hollywood glamour pose, but the miraculous booth even airbrushes you so your photos arrive picture perfect in a lovely CHANEL folder) now if only all my passport photo posing experiences where that good!!

A stroll along the ground floor and suddenly I feel and see tweed underfoot and I know I have entered something special. If like me you have ever felt a bit too intimidated to enter a CHANEL boutique now is your chance to experience the absolute wonder and awe of it. Another pop up boutique this one on a grand scale for the Ready to Wear Collection, Handbags, Accessories and Les Exclusif CHANEL fragrances. It is a little CHANEL curiosity shop – there is no other explanation for the dream you will feel you have entered. You will indulge your eyes in some of the ultimate visual merchandising you will ever witness as well as being able to touch, see and feel iconic CHANEL products. As well as some EXCLUSIVE products that you may recognise….

The iconic Harrods tote has been pimped up CHANEL stylee with a uber luxe chain, golden CHANEL logo and quilting effect. CHANEL’s biker boots have been given a wash with Harrods green as well as their classic overnight holdall. For those with slightly more disposable income there are also limited edition Classic handbags too!

The pure attention to every detail is brought to your attention at every turn, and no more so as you take in the mural wall and ceiling hand drawn in chalk to create a CHANEL forest backdrop to the latest AW fashion pieces.

With my eyes already starry and feeling like I am in the best luxe dream I went further into the world of CHANEL….. up another 2 floors to the 3rd Floor in Harrods, past illustrated maps of the world, to the entrance to ‘Une Promenade’ the most stellar installation and creation of a brand yet.

Through a wall of pearls you disappear and enter another world (I can only imagine that this is what stepping through those fur coats in Narnia would have been like – had it been real) but thanks to Karl & the CHANEL team sometimes fiction and dreams obviously do come true!

You move through the promenade with a CHANEL guide or alone if you prefer, through the making of 2.55 handbag – watching a multitude of screens as the Ateliers work their magic to create the dream handbag for girls worldwide.

My favourite room has to be Karl’s CHANEL doll house, hosting CHANEL Bearbricks – which if you follow the cult of Bearbrick life you will instantly want to own but alas they are not for sale! They stand over Harrods bears in their hand-made CHANEL suits (and boots) and you just wish that Karl Lagerfeld had designed your childhood bedroom.

Then onwards to Gabrielle’s apartment, featuring printed Coromandel screen walls, Haute Couture dresses, replica furniture from Gabrielle’s original apartment – you can feel like you are in 31, rue Cambon, PARIS.

No CHANEL world is complete until you see and even feel a bit of TWEED, and this world does not disappoint – enter the 54 room (named for 1954 – the year of Gabrielle’s return post war and the entrance of the tweed CHANEL jacket) stand and take in the hand drawn jacket designs on floor to ceiling scale on none other than tweed canvas by Karl himself. I never in a million years thought I would come face to face and touch one of his hand drawn designs.

A CHANEL world also naturally must pay homage to the world’s most iconic fragrance – that of course is none other than No5. A fragrance that is a brand in itself, step inside Andy Warhol’s famous prints of the mystery bottle. Watch the No5 films played on none other an immense No5 bottle.

There is of course lots more – such as a 2.55 handbag the size of your double bed (you could literally live in it and to be honest I would be more than happy to do so)…

Why not enter the world of CHANEL at Harrods too… explore from 5 – 24 September at Harrods, Brompton Road, London. I think I need to go again just to check I have not dreamt it!

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A new fragrance star is born

Stellar crystal gurus Swarovski are about to add a touch of sparkle to the fragrance world with the launch of their first perfume Aura.

When I first heard the whisper of a collaboration with Clarins Fragrance Group I started to get very excited with visions of Crystal fortresses and amazing creations littering my imagination. So when my invitation to the Swarovski Crystallised lounge arrived back in November for the exclusive reveal I was more than a little curious…

Famed for its heritage in crystal figurines and beautiful Jewellery you’d be forgiven for not paying homage to their hollywood status, from Kate Hudson’s crystal red carpet dress to arguably one the most famous pairs shoes, I’m talking about Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers in the original Wizard of Oz to Audrey Hepburn’s necklace in Breakfast at Tiffany’s Swarovski has helped keep the sparkle and glamour in tinsletown over the years.

And so when Robin Vincent MD of Clarins UK made the reveal I was a little surprised at the understated glamour and sparkle of the bottle. The design is however beautiful and the juice a gorgeous dusky pink that is both classicly chic and feminine. So the most important part… what does it smell like?

The perfume is a real classic – you’d be forgiven for thinking Swarowski had a heritage in fragrance as this first scent is one that I think will be here to stay, it won’t be for everyone and is quite a grown up fragrance.  At its heart a  fusion of amber, benzoin and white musk,  blended lychee, white tuberose and pink pepper. The perfumes composers are Firmenich’s Jean-Pierre Bethouart and Olivier Cresp.

In line with the Clarins Fragrance Groups commitment to responsible development the bottles are all refillable with a perfume source available in stores similar to those by Thierry Mugler Angel and Alien.

In addition to the fragrance itself is a full line of sparkling iridescent makeup jewels – this is where this launch makes its mark and sets itself apart from the pack – the jewels are filled with luminous powders made up of mineralized Swarowski crystal no less! The fragrance and Makeup jewels hit the High Street on the 31 March – perfect timing for that Mother’s Day shopping trip…

Tell me what you think? It’s sure to be one of debate… is it sparkly enough?

Hot on the High Street….

Girls (and guys) it’s time to get out your diaries and make some room for some all important beauty perk up time! Whether you’re a 5 minute lunchtime treat shopper, a sneaky online buyer at work or simply love a weekend trip around the beauty and fragrance aisles

Here’s my top pick of what not to miss…

Find your Mr Bright at Benefit – 19 March

Benefit Finding Mr Bright

This spring is dominated by hot brights as seen on the catwalk and now hitting the high street but the thought of really living this trend can be a bit daunting especially for those of us like me still clinging to their safe dark (aka black) winter wardrobe, now there is an answer! Thanks to Benefit you can give your make-up bag a spring over with their latest offering Finding Mr Bright.

My photo does not do the dayglo palette justice,  the oh so cutely named ‘brightening MANual’ comes with all your Benefit faves:

Girl Meets Pearl (which I love to twin with Nars Orgasm Blush – the two in combination give you a gorgeous pink flush with a pearly luminous glow!)

Posietint – I prefer this version than the original Benetint its shade is far more wearable and I find much easier to blend too, again you can easily mix this with Girl Meets Pearl for a similar effect as above.

Erase Paste – I like to think of this as industrial strength concealer, I tend to save this concealer for those post work drinks or nights out you know you need that bit extra coverage or brightening! Can be a god send on those mornings after the night before too….

High Beam – this product is the one that is in my most memorable make-up line up, it was THE thing to own when I was buying premium make-up for the first time.

It is a very cute palette and has a great dating make-up lesson that comes with it too, however I do have a few negatives namely that the palette isn’t that portable, it’s not huge don’t get me wrong, but for it to be a carry around palette I would have substituted High Beam for an Ultra Shine Lip Gloss – maybe even California Kissin’ to cover all your needs on the go – however this is just my opinion and does not distract from the fact this is a fab & fun little kit!

If you have time do check out the really fun dating video on Benefit UK’s YouTube Channel

(I picked James from Finance for Gabbi… you’ll understand when you watch it!)

Step into the world of CHANEL exclusively at Selfridges Oxford Street – 22 March

Keira Knightley for Chanel

I am always in awe of the truly amazing Chanel installations and creative design and to bring every beauty gals dream to life from 22 – 30 March you can step inside a supersized bottle of CHANEL’s Coco Mademoiselle – where you will find Chanel’s very own cinema!

You’ll be able to be one of the first to see the new Keira Knightley Chanel film for Coco Mademoiselle and take part in their interactive journey for your chance to take away samples of this coveted fragrance.  For Coco Mademoiselle lovers you can also get your hands on the limited edition 200ml bottle exclusive to Selfridges

I saw the amazing new film last month in a private CHANEL boutique courtesy of Chanel UK HQ and enjoyed being transported on a Parisian adventure… if you can’t wait till the 22nd you can also find a mini preview on Chanel.com and Chanel’s YouTube Channel