The Beauty Boutiques In London, Paris and Amsterdam That Are So Much More Than A Store - The Gloss Magazine

The Beauty Boutiques In London, Paris and Amsterdam That Are So Much More Than A Store

These forward-thinking boutiques are offering so much more than just stuff, these are fabulous new ways to shop… 

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Buly, Haut-Marais, Paris

One of my favourite ever shopping experiences was at Buly, in the Haut-Marais district of Paris. There’s an otherwordly atmosphere to this store, which offers far more than just the brand’s lovely perfumes and bodycare. A traditional zinc bar lines one side of the shop, where white-aproned baristas serve steaming espresso. You sit up at a stool and listen to the opera blasting out, breathing in the brand’s exquisite scents and body creams. It’s hard to resist treating yourself to a lip balm (€41), in a personalised case, on your way out.

Out the back is the tiniest treatment room, for great massages. It’s an all-senses-involved experience that represents the polar opposite of “Add to Basket”. It does immerse you in the brand, but with subtlety – the beauty and elegance certainly encourage you to linger, something that not every boutique does.

We don’t quite have a Buly here yet. But independent stores are increasingly adopting the idea that they must offer more than just “stuff” to entice us in from our sofas. The idea of having something other than product in the front of the shop, to draw us in, is one that fashion line Rixo embraces in their London store on King’s Road, where there’s a full bar plus coffee station alongside an alterations section.

House of Rituals, Amsterdam

In Amsterdam, Rituals’ flagship store, House of Rituals, takes the idea to a new level, with an in-house restaurant, a Body Spa for treatments, a “Mind Oasis” for relaxation, meditation sessions in a light-filled room, a perfume bar and much more. It has a wonderfully calm atmosphere where you’re encouraged to take time and linger, browsing beauty and homewares (you’ll find everything from Rituals laundry soap to umbrellas, velvet robes to cushions, bedding and jewellery), plus beauty ranges that are exclusive to the store, such as the elegant Amsterdam Collection.

Aime, Paris 

French skincare line Aime has a store in Paris that’s “much more than a boutique”, offering collagen lattes at its cafe, as well as face and body treatments, a hair and scalp treatment and including an infrared sauna and LED bar, where “cold light” is used to boost collagen production in the skin.

Glossier, Covent Garden, London

I stopped into the Glossier store in London’s Covent Garden last week, in a fabulous building on the Piazza, but found it disappointing. They try to make you queue to enter the store – always off-putting. And while you are encouraged to try out the testers, and there is plenty of merch available, it really operates as a posh Argos – you fill in a form to order your purchases, which is gimmicky and annoying. While it puports to be a “travel destination” where friends can meet up, there’s nothing really to lure you beyond product and lots of pink.

Back in Dublin, the Indigo & Cloth store has offered coffee as well as stylish clothes for men for years, as has Tamp & Stitch in Scarlet Row, Temple Bar. I always loved the original Seagreen in Monkstown, with its spacious café alongside the fashion boutique. And there’s now a great vibe at Dylan Bradshaw’s newly renovated salon, which has a café and lifestyle store at the light-filled front of the building. You don’t need to be booked in for a blowdry to enjoy a Cloudpicker coffee here – though a great coffee certainly adds to the hair styling experience.

We’re also planning a trip to The Wilds in Enniscorthy, with its lifestyle store plus highly rated healthy food café. And Revel in Clonakilty is a (dog-friendly) lifestyle store plus café that’s worth a visit.


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