Walk through London's Knightsbridge at any time of year, and there's no way you'll miss the beacon that is Harrods. Just like many of its customers, the building is dolled up to the nines 24/7, its high walls swathed in sparkling golden lights that illuminate it to Disney palace degrees as soon as dusk descends.
The store is always one of the main stop-off points for London tourists – the food halls full to the brim with discerning eaters, clothes halls attracting the fashion elite and don't even get us started on the Christmas shop. The last couple of years, however, have been Harrods' years of beauty.
Not only did the shopping behemoth opened the doors to a glistening skincare emporium last year, boasting some of the most lusted-after beauty brands around, but Harrods has made a big move this month to increase its beauty reach beyond the M25 and into those Harrods-starved counties of the UK. The first H Beauty stand-alone store will officially open on the 17th September 2020.
Speaking to Grazia, Annalise Fard, Harrods' Director of Beauty, says 'We've been nurturing this for a while, it's been somewhat of a pregnancy! We're launching the first ever Harrods beauty retail specialist store outside of London. It's going to be fairly significant in size, 23,000 square feet, and will be located in Essex's Intu Lakeside shopping centre, with another location soon to follow in Milton Keynes.'
'It's called H Beauty. Here in the UK, we're very au fait with everything fabulous in beauty coming out of Korea and Japan, which we term K and J Beauty over here, so consider this the Harrods version.'
What We'll Find Inside H Beauty
So how would Annalise spend a H Beauty visit as someone in the know? 'I’m a big believer in the mantra that buying beauty should be fun and playful, so my ultimate trip to H beauty is the perfect opportunity to explore the newest, most experimental products on the market and stock up on some of my must-have favourites. The first thing I would have in my basket are sheet masks – especially 111Skin’s Rose Gold Illuminating Eye Mask which transforms the eye area. Atelier Cologne’s Rose Smoke fragrance, the Bioeffect EFG Serum and Gucci’s Rouge a Levres lipsticks are also some of my absolute favourites. The fast facial’s available at the Skincare Station are an absolute must for me for a moment of relaxation. I love to have glowing complexion, so regular facials are the most important step in achieving this – Sisley’s express facial is definitely not one to miss! In the essence of simplicity, I would order myself some new pieces from Gucci and Saint Laurent’s latest collections or maybe some new Jimmy Choo’s from Harrods.com to pick up from the click & collect service. At the end of my visit, you’ll find me at the Champagne Bar enjoying a glass of fabulous cuvee or cocktail and the finest patisserie handmade from Harrods in-house pastry chefs. I had the amazing opportunity to try out the menu and I can say I am definitely loving the Lakeside Fizz, an amazing new cocktail created especially for H beauty and of course, the pink champagne macaroons.' Duly noted. For Harrods inclusivity and self-acceptance lies at the heart of this new venture and it's sure to tap into what beauty obsessives country-wide are on the lookout for.
The H Beauty Campaign
For Harrods inclusivity and self-acceptance lies at the heart of this new and exciting venture, and that's apparent in their 'My Beauty' campaign that accompanies the launch of the first H Beauty store, Annalise explains, 'to celebrate the opening, we will be debuting our first digitally lead campaign called ‘My Beauty’ which is a new and exciting direction for Harrods. Beauty lovers around the world are engaging with content in an increasingly momentary and fast-paced manner, and so we wanted to deliver something truly unique and innovative for this launch. I am so fortunate to work with an incredibly talented team and we saw ourselves in an exceptional position to be able to empower our beauty community and encourage them to celebrate self-identity. For ‘My Beauty’, we partnered with seven individuals across the UK who all have different relationships with beauty and have brought their experiences to life on screen. It was very exciting to work through the process of street casting, listening to their personal beauty stories and providing them with a platform to amplify them. The cast even did their own make-up and styling, making it so incredibly genuine and authentic.'
And a final word from Annalise? 'We really feel that H Beauty is a game changer.' We're inclined to agree.