Katya Edwards enters a world of cosmetic perfection at this new Soho store
Apothecary is a romantic word; reminiscent of peeling white labels, magical potions, and a bit of jiggery pokery. But that is about to change. Brummells of London, in the newly curated Ham Yard village, nestles between a very smart florist and a Tony Cragg sculpture. It is a new apothecary that has thrown out the fusty old concept and replaced it with a very slick, carefully curated shop is so smart it would make Tom Ford check the shine of his shoes before he walked through the door.
Mark Arnell, the founder of Brummells, is – as you can imagine – impeccably dressed and equally enthusiastic. He has a story as to why every single product in the shop was chosen. Choosing products is a complicated process, he explains, that involves making sure the packaging and branding is of the right quality, learning how the product is made and finally meeting the owners of each brand to make sure they will work well together.
Why the golden pineapple plopped in the middle of the store? Mark explains that it took six months just to find someone who could make it (they eventually found an artist in Delhi) and he wanted it because pineapples have for hundreds of years symbolised the world of travel and exoticism. Apparently, centuries ago, sea captains would place a pineapple outside their home as a signal of their return from a voyage. So, presumably, the products represent the exotic, carefully picked and delicious fruit. Bang on.
The brands range from classic to niche. Ortiga and Geo F Trumper sit beside Bamford and Eau d’Italie. And then there is the shop’s exclusive brand Rik-Rak, which actually smells better than anything else in the store. Although it’s a unisex destination, we’re quite certain women will be dragging their boyfriends/husbands in there to smell as delicious as the shop does. Think a less conceited, more male-centric Space NK.
Every label is beautiful, each bottle is designed to perfection and every smell is wonderfully understated. Perhaps then, Brummells is not throwing out the old idea of apothecaries, but simply making them less spooky; less Tim and more Sarah Burton.
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