Polished and Pampered

Edinburgh is a stylish city and a new Life & Style event to celebrate its fashion, beauty, travel and lifestyle offerings attracted well over 1,000 people earlier this month (July).

West End wonders, from accessories and clothing to cocktails and beauty products, were showcased at one of the city’s most stylish venues – The Royal Society on George Street – for the inaugural Life & Style Edinburgh event.

Staged by Essential Edinburgh (the city’s largest Business Improvement District – a vehicle to unite businesses and strengthen the economy) the collection of businesses involved represented some of the biggest names in fashion, beauty and lifestyle, many housed in landmark department stores such as Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Jenners.

Spread over 3 floors and two days, Life & Style Edinburgh grew out of Spa in the City held in St Andrews Square and Edinburgh Fashion Week. With the two events combined, there was a good variety of talks, fashion shows, hands-on experiences and pop up stalls and the £10 entrance fee was good value for money.

On arrival, a glass of Poco Prosecco or soft drink helped get the style crowd in the mood for some TLC, dramatic make-overs and lifestyle hacks, as well as some light touch pampering – there were a lot of hand massages on offer from the likes of Molton Brown, Arran Sense of Scotland, Clarins, Neal’s Yard Remedies and the Body Shop using potent and luxurious body lotions and creams.

My daughter, (Elise Stewart, header pic) her friend and I visited on the Sunday and were told that it was far quieter overall than the day before, with less queuing for treats like the massages, palm reading, hair styling and make-overs. Between the three of us, we had seven hand massages, a back massage, two brow shaping sessions, cheek shadowing and a lipstick application in vivid scarlet. In the hands of the professionals from makeup masters such as Estée Lauder, Bobbi Brown, Nude By Nature and Giorgio Armani, it felt like a safe environment in which to experiment with new shades and techniques.

My daughter declared afterwards that the make-up room was the “best part”. She was keen to learn how to make a bathbomb by Lush, however it proved to be a popular talk and was fully booked by the time we arrived. Sensibly, the cocktail-making sessions were not open to teenagers as young as my daughter, but everything else was clearly a winner for this age group. Her other feedback included: “great value for money”, “better to attend both days than one day” and “a good day out with a group of friends”.

The range of speakers over the weekend were impressive: from BBC’s ‘The Great Interior Design Challenge’ judge, Sophie Robinson, to Scotland Women’s Rugby Captain Lisa Martin. In addition, yoga sessions were held in St Andrews Square for those prepared to bring their own mat.

While my daughter and her friend opted for the talk called “Get the Natural Look” by the Nude By Nature make-up representative, I caught one of the fashion shows running throughout the weekend. With a mix of High Street and designer, including Cath Kidston, Laura Ashley, Oliver Bonas and LK Bennett, the clothes were very wearable and the models extremely professional.

As with any first-time event there were aspects which could be improved – it would have helped to have the times of talks and fashion shows in the brochure containing the floor plans. Meanwhile the “foodie” element was limited to Marks & Spencer handing out, among other titbits, cups containing one or two crisps which felt a little sparse, and delicious chocolates from Hotel Chocolat. Perhaps it is spreading itself a little too thin in covering all bases of beauty, fashion, travel and lifestyle. Or, on the other well-manicured hand, perhaps it’s the range of interests which will make Life & Style Edinburgh a firm favourite in the annual calendar of capital events.

Fashion Show image by Dominic Martin & Sophie Robinson image by Luca Sage


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