The male grooming market is growing and booming (is this where the portmanteau ‘grooming’ comes from!?) at twice the race of the women’s in the UK.
The resurgence lately of grooming barber salons in London such as Murdock,
Ted Baker and Pankhurst and the fact that Men’s Health is the best-selling title in the men’s magazine market are obvious evidence. When moisturisers and nose-hair trimmers are old hat, it’s time for ‘complexion perfection’.

Two behemoth (and hunky) fashion designers have caught up on the trend and have taken this sybaritic primping and peacockery to another level and are not targeting the retrosexual men or the gaysters but this time straight metrosexual men who not only want to disguise the signs of ageing but also want to openly and confidently smarten up their act, look their best and age gracefully.

Keys, wallet, iPhone…concealer. Let the battle of the manscara begin.

The designer/director/tastemaker Tom Ford is expanding on his 2011 collection of women’s beauty products and will be releasing worldwide tomorrow a skincare collection for men. Here is a short promotional film featuring Cuban male model Juan Betancourt (since you asked) and Ford’s suave voice.

The line is composed of six multi-functional skincare and grooming products designed to purify, calm and revitalize skin. It includes a face cleanser, an oil-free moisturiser, an anti-fatigue eye treatment, a hydrating lip balm, a purifying mud mask, a skin revitalizing concentrate, a concealer and a bronzing gel, the last two coming in three shades to match different skin tones. Two new fragrances for
Tom Ford’s Private Blend collection will follow suit.

“Tom Ford For Men is based on my own personal grooming regiment. It is born from my deep conviction that fine grooming doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. It should be simple, straightforward and intuitive”, Ford explains.

Tom Ford’s Men’s Grooming products are now available online at Harvey Nichols

“Boy tested. Girl approved”

Fresh from his departure at Louis Vuitton (see A-Gent of Style‘s review of the last fashion show here), Marc Jacobs and has launched in a bold new venture a brand new make-up line in conjunction with Sephora consisting of 122 different products, three of which only are unisex and targeted at the metrosexual: a brow tamer, a color corrector and a lip balm.

Time for A-Gent of Style to polish his look.



Merveilleuse: marvellous, eccentric and elegant woman”

Ladies (and some gentle-men), if it is a new sybaritic experience you are after this autumn, look no more. Ladurée, the internationally famous French luxury patisserie renowned for its macarons, has extended its beauty range to another level of blissful vanity and created Les Merveilleuses Ladurée.

Last autumn, before launching Les Marquis de Ladurée (a line of gourmet chocolate-only delicacies that A-Gent of Style was ‘forced’ to review from Paris last spring from their boutique), Les Merveilleuses Ladurée was created and opened their first stores in Japan only; the range contained liquid foundation, lip colour, and 20 different blushes in the form of cameos inspired by the colours of their macaroons. Europe has now followed suit (no store or retailer in London yet) and soon the US will too. Their new extended collection now includes lipsticks, brushes, foundations, cream and powder blushes and powders which come in white-and-gold or two-toned purple containers resembling Fabergé eggs or egg cups, vintage hatboxes and more. The powder compacts even come with lace sifters and the fluffiest powder puffs. Trust Ladurée to come up trumps once again with ravishing feminine packaging imbued with pastel colours and delicate, elaborate patterns, all evocative of Romanticism and the Rococo movement.




“What is really beautiful can intrinsically enchant women by exciting their five senses in an overwhelming manner”Ladurée professes.

Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée was inspired by Les Merveilleuses of 18th C France, who were known for their extravagant, decadent behaviour and fashion styles inspired by the ancient Greek and Romans. Which made me think incidentally about Glenn Close and her wonderfully evil character La Marquise de Merteuil in Stephen Frears’s 1988 movie Dangerous Liaisons ( itself adapted from the French classic novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos) who would have undoubtedly worn Les Merveilleuses de Ladurée.

Ladurée developed a makeup line that combined beauty with quality.
The line places a great emphasis on blushes with three different formulas, as during the age of Les Merveilleuses, blushing the cheeks was the main means of playing up one’s feminine allure. What Les Merveilleuses valued the most is the whole expression of the face and believe that the most important part for expression is the cheek area. In 18th C France, cheek colors that determine the whole expression of the face were the only representational art noble women were allowed to use on their faces to make them look more attractive. An absurd and frightening proclamation no doubt for any TOWIE character or fan.

These new dainties look as delectable as the edible morsels Ladurée excels at making. One could almost imagine Marie-Antoinette hiss: “Let them eat…blushers!”

– thank you to Identité Book for their images –



The name of René Gruau has been synonymous with fashion, beauty and advertisements since the 1940s and beyond, and its recipient famous for some of the most iconic and enduring illustrations of the 20th C.

A-Gent of Style was in France last week and was flicking through old fashion magazines until he came across an advert for Guerlain’s Eau Sauvage by Gruau and was amused by its, ahem, cheekiness (you’ll immediately see what I mean when you scroll down the retrospective later on). This prompted A-Gent to look further into the world of the illustrious illustrator.

The famed artist, born in Italy but raised in France, is particularly associated with the house of Dior and its 1950’s ‘New Look’ and probably most remembered for his sublime depictions of fashions from the ‘Golden Age’ of haute couture through his collaborations with Dior and other fashion houses like Schiaparelli, Fath, Balenciaga, Chanel, Balmain and Givenchy, music-halls such as Le Moulin Rouge and Le Lido ( Gruau was influenced by Belle Époque artist Toulouse-Lautrec) and his colorful and vivacious portrayals of women in fashion magazines like Elle, Marie-Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Flair.

But Gruau also revolutionized the concept of masculinity and the imagery of the modern man and this is what A-Gent of Style would like to focus on today.

His advertising campaigns either captured elegant, debonair gentlemen for magazines like Club and Sir: Men’s International Fashion Journal or the carefree everyday through a bold color palette (he very often used the sacrosanct trilogy of black, white and red or orange), relaxed lines, slim silhouettes and a touch of humour depicting the modern casual, confident man with humour and sex appeal . Some of his images of partial male nudity were considered shocking even revolutionary at the time, like for instance the 1966 adverts for Guerlain’s Eau Sauvage after-shave featuring a man in various states of undress. Oh la la.

René Gruau is now the subject of a beautiful book Gruau: Portraits of Men that was published last year by Assouline, renowned for its luxury lifestyle titles, which regroups the artist’s oeuvre and previously unpublished work from Gruau’s personal sketchbooks.


If you want to treat yourself twofold, why not go and pick up your copy at Assouline‘s newly opened, first London boutique at the opulent Art-Deco Claridge’s. And once you are there, why not undulge in an Afternoon Tea in the Foyer or a cocktail at Le Fumoir (A-Gent of Style’s favourite London bar) whilst feasting on your new glossy hardback! That’s A-Gent of Style’s plan for this Saturday afternoon.

Decadence at its best.




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