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August 31 2014

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The Sports Massage—For Your Face

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TomPecheuxBackstageHow many times have you heard the adage that great makeup starts with fabulous skin? It’s repeated because it’s true, and Balmain’s Spring 2014 lineup is proof. Though lead makeup artist Tom Pecheux barely applied more than a light dusting of powder and a touch of concealer to the models, he did insist on mandatory pre-runway face massages. But this was no backstage-turned-pampering session. The type of facials that get you a healthy, youthful complexion are actually pretty aggressive, and they’re popping up on spa menus around the world. Think a deep-tissue sports massage for your face—often with a side of electric current. But these rough-and-tumble treatments are well worth it for their rejuvenating results. The hard pressure helps to rid your face and neck of built-up fluids that can make you look puffy and boosts blood flow to promote collagen production. You’ll leave the table looking younger and feeling refreshed, and for those reasons we’re willing to lay our heads in these expert hands. Click here to view the slideshow.

Photo: thecarousel.com

Patou Returns to Its Roots

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patou

The house of Jean Patou was founded exactly one century ago, and despite the vagaries of history, fashion, and ownership, this month the brand is celebrating a return to the place it all started: rue Saint Florentin, just off the Place de la Concorde. At its height, the Patou family owned three adjacent buildings, at numbers 7, 9, and 11, and counted one thousand employees in its fashion and fragrance businesses.

The couture salons—which were previously directed by Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, and, lastly, Christian Lacroix—shuttered in 2001. But the fragrance business lived on, most notably with Joy, that heady Grasse rose- and jasmine-based juice renowned as the costliest perfume in the world. “When I looked at the original formula, I was stunned,” observes perfumer Thomas Fontaine. “It’s maybe sixty times more expensive than most perfumes.” One ounce of Joy takes 10,600 jasmine flowers and twenty-eight dozen roses, so it’s no wonder a 15-millilter bottle of Joy goes for a steep 300 euros.

Meanwhile, Fontaine has been quietly delving back into the house’s fragrance catalog of forty-odd scents. Three heritage juices—Eau de Patou, Chaldée, and Patou Pour Homme—were rereleased last September. This fall, Patou’s very first fragrances, a trio from 1925, will be back on-counter: the fruity chypre Que Sais-Je?, the green floral Deux Amours (formerly known as Amour Amour), and the gardenia-based Adieu Sagesse. (These, Fontaine notes, were formulated for brunettes, blonds, and redheads, respectively). And Fontaine has rejuvenated the 84-year-old Joy for a new generation, thanks to powdery iris notes, amber, and an amber-woody base (cedar, sandalwood, and rosewood). In other words, Joy Forever hangs onto the original idea but takes its headiness down a few notches.

There are still finishing touches to come on this bright new boutique. Some Patou family furniture will be brought in this week, for example. But already, the angular Art Deco aesthetic of the house’s heyday is well in evidence, along with the occasional heritage items. And it’s a fair bet that this is only the beginning.

9 rue Saint Florentin, 75001 Paris; jeanpatou.com

joy-forever

Photo: Espace

Annick Goutal Opens an American Outpost

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annick-goutal

French perfume house Annick Goutal has already established itself as a valuable player in the luxury fragrance market throughout U.S. department stores. And now it’s hiking up its presence across the pond with the opening of its first-ever stand-alone American boutique. With twelve brick-and-mortar shops in Europe, this original New York space marks a milestone in the brand’s storied 33-year-old history.

“It was one of my mother’s dreams to have a shop in New York, so after all this time I’m very happy to have it,” said Camille Goutal, daughter of Annick, who grabbed the reins of the perfumery after her mother’s passing in 1999. Opening next door to Magnolia Bakery in the West Village makes this location a literal feast for the senses. “This area was my first choice,” revealed Goutal. “I wanted a scene that was trendy, and this neighborhood looks a bit like France in a way, with the small buildings and nice shopping.”

Inside, one-of-a-kind furnishings reflect the contemporary spirit of the Big Apple, while still preserving the brand’s romantic Parisian roots. “It’s a unique design, but everything comes from France,” she affirmed. Decor highlights include a floating, sculptural steel table and a gold butterfly-emblazoned moucharabieh screened wall. “The butterfly is the symbol of the brand, so it was important to have [that screen] specially made for us,” explained Goutal. The pretty papillon motif can also be found in carved decorations that form the backdrop of the fragrance displays.

As for future plans, Goutal says she anticipates Annick Goutal’s continued expansion throughout NYC but isn’t interested in world domination anytime soon. “Maybe we’ll open a second [spot] on the Upper East Side one day to appeal to our more classical clients, since this store caters to the very trendy ones,” she suggested. “But there’s no timeline on that. We prefer to take our time and go step by step.” Similar to the life cycle of a butterfly, the brand’s mascot, all beautiful things take time.

397 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; annickgoutal.com

Do You Know How Old Your Skin Is?

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SK-II-machine
I have always been terrified of the high-tech machines (normally found in skincare labs and a handful of doctor’s offices) that scan the surface of your complexion and spit out horrifying pictures that show how much sun damage you’ve incurred, or the fine lines and age spots that are hiding just under the surface waiting to rear their ugly heads. In order to educate consumers (and prevent those wrinkles from forming in the first place), SK-II developed the Beauty Imaging System, which provides the same service as the aforementioned clinical device minus the shock value (thank God). The futuristic tool essentially acts like a digital camera with X-ray vision, snapping a close-up photo of the left side of your face and analyzing it based on five dimensions—texture refinement, firmness power, wrinkle resilience, radiance, and tone—then providing a percentage for each category (which is calculated by measuring the state of your skin against others in the same ethnic group). To simplify the results, your skin age is also generated for each bracket. For example, while I’m 24 in terms of texture refinement, my spot-control ability matches that of a 15-year-old (although the blemishes on my cheek beg to differ). Starting tomorrow, you can stop in at the brand’s pop-up studios in New York City and San Francisco and experience the technology for yourself—and maybe even boost your mood by discovering that your skin is still young at heart.

SK-II Pop-Up Studio; April 4 through May 23 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday through Saturday) and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Sunday); 468 Broome Street, New York City; 117 Post Street, San Francisco

A Little Piece of Heaven: How to Bring the Spa Home

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body-scrubThe last thing you want to do while relaxing at a lavish spa is lift a finger (save for grabbing a handful of mixed nuts while you wait for your therapist), but the latest trend hitting spas might give you some incentive to expend just a little bit of energy beyond turning over halfway through your massage. L’Auberge de Sedona just opened L’Apothecary, an area within the Arizona retreat where you can concoct your own bath salts, scrubs, oils, and masques using local elements like rosemary, clay, piñon pine, and juniper. At the Laniwai spa at the Aulani resort in Hawaii, there’s an outdoor mixing station to personalize a take-home body scrub. And the Chill Spa at Hotel Terra in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, boasts a blend bar that allows spagoers to customize the scent used throughout their treatment. Now if only there was a doggy bag big enough for the masseuse…

Photo: CN Digital Studio