Inside the Beauty Project by Selfridges

At 8h30 AM of a Thursday, I arrive at Selfridges, a department store in London (one of my favorites!), for an exclusive first look at The Beauty Project with a group of journalists – huge project that makes beauty the main focus of the store, in all aspects and in a very interesting way. Despite the fact that they have one of the biggest beauty halls of the city, Selfridges, that once in a while makes thematic projects that take over the whole store (there was one for jeans, for skate…), they had never done something special related to beauty.

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The front door – super, with this huge illuminated Hello beautiful! – and a bit of the beauty hall with special signs for the project, “celebrating all of beauty’s definitions”

I was excited to check The Beauty Project live since January, when the project was presented to the press, and it overcame my expectations. According to Mark Tranter, one of the beauty buyers for the store, this market is so saturated, and they came up with the idea to show their own interpretation of it – not only with lots of products (several different and/or exclusive things), but also with several cool attractions and relevant debates about what beauty is today.

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Varied thematic selections of products through the corridors – there’s color, face, eyes, world’s brands…

To start, think about the whole store dominated by… beauty (it’s hard not to keep repeating the word “beauty” in this text hahaha). You start walking around and it seems you’re in a treasure hunt, going beyond the normal section, that is always very large and it has a part with fragrances, a part with the big brands’ corners and, in the back of the store, there’s the Beauty Workshop, with several niche brands that wouldn’t manage to have a mega corner in the “official” part (actually, that’s a less known part of Selfridges that it’s always super worth to explore).

There are things in all the corners of the store, like a totem shaped as a gigantic lipstick, filled with e-ve-ry shade of MAC’s lipsticks, in the fast fashion part of the store on the first floor, and the Travel Shop, downstairs next to the handbags section, with miniatures, beauty bags and other travel items. Also close to the fast fashion section there is a studio for Face Gym, a new facial treatment that works the muscles of the face like exercise really, and a tattoo studio; in the male section there’s the Men Shop, with a selection of cosmetics for guys + a barber; in the Food Hall there is a selection of beauty food… And well, obviously all the brands for sale at the store also prepared something special for the occasion, services, exclusive products, etc.

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A bit of what’s spread through the store: a place where you can customize your Dove beauty bar (I did it! It’s the only soap bar I use heheh); a kit with all the shades of Dior’s nail polishes; YSL lipsticks forming a globe and the lipstick-totem by MAC

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Details of the Travel Shop

Besides the things more… material, let’s put it this way, I found the debate that The Beauty Project proposes quite incredible, going beyond the products to think about the cultural sphere, the society, the tabus. There are several lectures and debates every day in a space that they called “The Salon”, with subjects like how to be beautiful until you’re 100, relationship with the mirror, if the use of photoshop should be banned and a lot more. If you are in London between today and the 12th of June (when The Beauty Project ends), it’s worth to look at the complete calendar here on their website – and you can also follow a few of them through hangout on Selfridges’ Google +.

It’s great to see something so interesting, so substancial and so well done, full of incredible ideas that are able to inspire even the ones who cannot physically be at the store right?

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The windows of Selfridges are also incredible – and a few already have a little something to debate (if you click on the photo to zoom in and to check the details)

Experience at the Fragrance Lab

One of the most interesting attractions of the project is, without a doubt, the Fragrance Lab: created by the trend forecasting company The Future Laboratory together with the fragrance manufacturer Givaudan, it is a space where you can do an experiment (very crazy and totally different) to find a fragrance that matches your personality – and they’re not ready-made perfumes, they were created exclusively for the occasion. I did it and can say: awe-some! I was impressed with the whole thing…

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Details of the Fragrance Lab

It lasts 15 minutes: you start by answering a few questions in a questionnaire on an iPad, then you get some headphones that guide you through a way full of different corridors and rooms, with varied and multi-sensory stimulations and elements – how our relation with aromas is…. In the last room (that is inside one of the windows of the store and from where the people outside in the streets can see more or less what’s going on), you finally meet a person, that asks you some last questions and gives you some mixes to smell and then… he finds the perfect fragrance for you. This was mine, #249. I thought that the description was right in some aspects, I was impressed haha! And I loved the smell (and the package), I am super using it.

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Here in this link you can find more information about the Fragrance Lab and how to make an appointment, and there is also an express version, that it’s just the questionnaire in an iPad, without headphones and corridors, but for which you don’t need to make an appointment. This will be available until the 27th of June and costs £65 (including the perfume).

I totally recommend the “olfactory adventure” – and a visit to the store to check everything else as well!

{Translated by Ana de Almeida}