Latest posts by Rebecca Mann (see all)
- Tequila’s new Mexican wave crests in travel retail - April 22, 2015
- Toni & Guy: A cut above at London Fashion Week - March 2, 2015
- All fired up for the real Dragons’ Den - November 21, 2014
Over the years this writer has been lucky enough to attend launches in all sorts of exotic locations around the world, but earlier this month L’Oréal came up trumps with a more local venue: Wellington Arch, on Hyde Park Corner. We must have walked past this monument 100 times, and never once realised you could actually go inside it. It’s one of the capital’s most visible hidden gems – and the view from its VIP terrace is simply stunning.
The launch in question was L.I.L.Y, the new signature feminine fragrance from designer Stella McCartney. Guests were treated to Champagne, mulled wine and canapés in an anteroom dramatically decorated with walls of living moss (a key ingredient of the fragrance, along with lily of the valley and truffle), before the designer herself delivered an in-depth presentation about the fragrance concept, creation and inspiration.
All fragrance houses insist that their fashion designer partners are heavily involved in the creative process, but with Ms McCartney, this was obvious from the outset. She spoke warmly and passionately about every element of L.I.L.Y, from the name to the juice to the advertising. The explanation of the former was particularly poignant. The fragrance name references not just the flower within the formula, but also her father Paul’s nickname for her late mother, “Linda I Love You”).
In short, Stella is not your average fashion designer. She is young and female, for a start. She juggles a successful career in fashion with a husband and no fewer than four children. She is smart and savvy. She has the most amazing legs. Somehow she is also, in the best possible sense, reassuringly normal.
There are no airs and graces, no affectations, no ridiculous demands, no entourage. At the L.I..L.Y launch she was warm, funny, engaging, interesting AND interested. She was happy to take impromptu questions, and gave serious thought to the issue of how best to highlight in-store the darker, sexier side of the fragrance, as raised by Debbie Ansell of World Duty Free Group. Girl crush? You betcha.
We’re sure L.I.L.Y will be another winner for L’Oréal. But way up high inside Wellington Arch, Stella was the star.