IT is said that there is a craze at Goldman Sachs for traders to wax their chests, then unfasten three buttons on their shirts so that their glorious, smooth skin is shown off. Which suggests that when Strip, the upmarket waxing chain, opens its first City store in One New change, it might not just be ladies lining up. “About 15 per cent of our clients are men,” says Danielle Featherstone-Price, who with her sister Maria-Louise Featherstone founded the store five years ago. “Mostly it’s for back-hair removal, but some do go for a Brazilian or a Hollywood. And they’re not all gay, either.”
The idea for Strip started when the sisters, who both worked in the beauty industry, decided to do something about the terrible state of waxing in the capital. After thorough research, they took their lead from Australia, where better quality wax and techniques mean a treatment that is, they say, 70 per cent less painful.
“We also wanted to inject a bit of fun into it,” says Danielle. To do so they changed the process from something grim and functional into a fun, sexy pampering experience. They introduced chocolate, strawberry and lavender waxes, and decorated the place in a slightly kinky boudoir style. “It’s a bit naughty. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s the pictures of burlesque dancers with nipple-tassels on the walls.” The lingerie for sale upstairs probably helps, too.
The fourth in the Strip empire – there are already stores in Soho, Notting Hill and Chelsea with fans including Victoria Beckham, Emily Blunt and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – will follow the successful template of the others, with their trademark Olive, Berry, Chocolate rooms making a reappearance at the City store. For men there is the Magnifico room, with a black leather chair and flat screen TVs on which you can (they say) keep up to date with your stocks and shares – so if you hear any squealing, no doubt that will be due to an unexpected dip in the cost of pork bellies.
So far the chain has been self-funding (“the business became profitable very early on”) and the sisters certainly know what they are doing – they want to open new stores, although they are aware that expansion can mean a dilution of the brand and are adamant that they want to avoid that. For now, though, they are just happy to be bringing a fun new service to the City. Boys, you have nothing to lose but your fuzz.
CITY STYLE | WINTER TRENDS
The City has always been better for men, in terms of fashion. There are shirt and tie shops galore, and plenty of places to go and grab yourself a bespoke suit. For women there has been less choice. Thankfully, things will change with the opening of One New Change, with Topshop, Karen Millen, shoe shop Office, Banana Republic, LK Bennett, Guess, H&M and others. We asked some of the new City residents for some of their tips for stylish autumn/winter 2010 looks.
Over at Topshop they are saying that the "snow queen" look is hot – or, rather, cool – this winter, with white feathers and fake fur, pale chiffon dresses and warm textured knits, all accessorised with crystals. The latest Kate Moss range will also be on sale, and there will also be a personal shopping service, complete with champagne and cupcakes. Wedge chiffon shoes £75; sheer skirt £25; Blouse £45; gilet £45; gloves £16; suede trapper hat £50; knee high socks £8
For a smart work look, this Karen Millen military knit dress is on-trend and the addition of the cable knit scarf should keep out those chilly winter winds. Military knit dress £135, cable knit scarf £69.95
Military is one of the themes for Autumn/Winter 2010, and for women this means coats. Banana Republic enters into the spirit of things with this camel wool military coat, accessorised here with a pair of cognac leather grommet gloves and a grey shearling hat. Military long wool coat, £175; fur hat £150; studded leather gloves £55.
PISTE STYLE | LOOK GOOD ON THE SLOPES
WHEN it comes to winter wear, for many in the City it’s as much about the slopes as the high-street. We asked the people at North Face what they recommend for the stylish skier this winter.
For those who want to cut a dash, this combat-style Monte Cargo Pant should get you noticed – as well as this Glo Green colour it also comes in Canary Yellow and Flare Orange. The HyVent exterior makes them waterproof, while vents mean that they should stop you overheating. Monte Cargo Pant, £129
For serious winter sports enthusiasts the Base Camp Hot Shot pack should give you scope for a serious day’s outing. The 30-litre volume pack has a padded sleeve that allows you to take a 15in laptop. The colours should get you noticed, too: as well as this black and citronelle green one, there’s also a yellow and a red or an orange and black version. Base Camp Hot Shot, £65
The Kizamm is a favourite for women snowboarders who like to make sure they are visible – this Safety Yellow, Grass Green and Black Cherry Purple version should make sure you don’t vanish in a snowstorm. There’s also a Fissure Green, Squid Red and Brownie Brown option. Kizamm coat, £179
For women, the Ice Queen boot is a stylish and green too – the outside is made of recycled plastic bottles, while the faux fur lining is manufactured out of recycled polyester. It comes in Shiny Foil Grey (pictured) and other colours including a bright red. Ice Queen boot, £95
As we all know, off-piste style is at least as important as the way you look on the slopes, and for men this Back-To-Berkeley boot harks back to North Face’s genesis in California in 1968. The styling might be retro, but the science is bang up to date, with a HydroSeal waterproof membrane and temperature-sensitive lugs. Back-To-Berkeley boot, £99