Being the beauty buffs that we are here at 7x7, we couldn’t help but feel giddy about the news that Space.NK was opening in San Francisco. Founded by Londoner Nicky Kinnaird in 1993, the expertly edited British beauty apothecary has begun rolling out its store-within-store concepts inside of Bloomingdale’s department stores throughout the country. Well-seasoned travelers familiar with the boutiques abroad as well as locals looking for such hard-to-find exclusives as Eve Lom skin care, Neil George hair products, Jemma Kidd cosmetics and even exfoliating washcloths from Japan will love sampling the exotic goods at this new beauty destination. We sat down with the effortlessly chic Kinnaird at the SF Bloomingdale’s launch, where we learned about her Spanish childhood and, more importantly, what’s in her makeup bag.
How did you get hooked on beauty?
I grew up with a mother who was absolutely transfixed by fine fragrance. As long as I could remember she always had fabulous French perfumes. Her all time favorite was Millot’s Crepe de Chine, which is no longer made. Traditional fragrances from the 1920s, which had that blend of exotic ingredients.
I was fortunate as a child we’d spend three months of the year in Spain; It was very much about adopting local grooming habits like going to the supermarket and buying olive oil bars of soap and a liter bottle of orange flower and lavender waters. People at the end of the day would go home, splash themselves with these beautifully scented colognes, dress in their freshly laundered garments and do the early evening paseo along the seafront. As a kid, I remember sniffing those fabulous citrus fragrances that would follow in their trails.
In California, it’s Two Bunch Palms in Palm Springs. I love destination spas. In an urban environment, there are quite a lot of things you can do within the comfort of your own hotel bathroom in terms of bringing a little bit of home spa comfort. So for me, it’s the total escape when it comes to spas.
What’s in your makeup bag?
Vincent Longo water canvas foundation and his water canvas crème blush. Powder blush by Sonia Kashuk. An eyebrow pencil from a company Inoui in Japan that no longer exists. I bought five sets of refills because I wasn’t sure if I’d ever find it again. It’s like a work of art. Stay put eye definer by Jemma Kidd and her semi permanent lash tint in pitch black. It never smudges! Sonia Kashuk’s concealer palette. Nars multiple in South Beach. It’s a complete cheat—even if you look dog tired it makes you look alive. Nars Madrag— a beige and brown duo that works with everything.
Two signature fragrances we just launched. Champaca, which was inspired by a trip to Rajastan in the Indian countryside. You have these rolling green valleys and lakes and palaces built in the 1900s. It's such opulence but some have been converted to hotels. It’s this sense of earthy sensuality and decadence. …The champaca is a flower native to that region.
Something completely different is Jasamber. It was inspired by a long weekend in north Norway. Super clean snowy air. I spent four days learning how to play in the outdoors and learn to play with huskies. By the end of the day you were chilled to the bone and you’d retire to the hot sauna. It was inspired by the super clean fresh air and sugary snow.
What’s an effective new product on the market that you’ve found to be still under the radar for most American consumers?
Nia24 range that literally just launched at retail with us is going to be a big hit because it’s using the patented Niacin molecule, which is vitamin B3, but has fabulous results with skin that’s suffered from sun damage in terms of helping skin regenerate. They also have very good sunscreens to help prevent damage. What’s happened over the years is people are using more and more aggressive treatments on their skin, which then causes greater sensitivity, and it’s a vicious circle. If people don’t use sufficient protection, you’ll get worse damage than you would’ve had before.
What’s the breakthrough beauty trend of 2008?
We’ve seen every extreme. The cosmeceuticals market has gone strong over the past couple of years. Then there’s been this move toward more organic formulations. I think it’ll actually sit more in the middle in between. Performance is paramount, but if it can be achieved through naturally derived ingredients than great. But it has to perform. Particularly in these economic climes, products that can multitask are increasingly important. For example Eve Lom is a great facialist based out of the UK. Her cleanser is amazing. In one pot you have an eye makeup remover, exfoliant, cleanser and toner in one. You’ll see your skin more radiant in 10 days and it works on all skin types.