Makeup artist and founder of her eponymous makeup and skincare brand, Charlotte Tilbury opened her first flagship location in North America at The Grove in Los Angeles on June 26th.
Founded in 2014, Charlotte Tilbury has grown to employ over 1000 people globally with an e-commerce business and over 100 department store counters worldwide. This location is the brand’s seventh standalone boutique including stores in London, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait.
Los Angeles could not be a more appropriate place for Tilbury who got her start in the early 1990s creating iconic looks for fashion magazine covers. She went on to become one of the top makeup artists in Hollywood with a large roster of A-list clients including Penelope Cruz, Sofia Vergara, Gigi Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Aniston.
A Dream Location
The delightfully enthusiastic Tilbury says she choose to open at The Grove because of its iconic status. “Launching at The Grove is a match made in retail heaven!” she says. “[It] is a world-renowned fashion, shopping and lifestyle destination and similarly embodies my passion for creating retail theatre, it is like a fantasy retail wonderland that makes you dream. The Grove played host to my first ever beauty festival in North America, Makeup Your Destiny Festival, in 2014.”
Tilbury’s store is in good company, just steps from anchor Nordstrom, which already has a Charlotte Tilbury makeup counter, Crate and Barrel, Apple, Diane Von Furstenberg, Barney’s New York, Vince and Le Labo as well as many other shops and restaurants.
Opened in 2002, The Grove is a 575,000 square foot outdoor marketplace in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles that encompasses part of the historic Farmers Market. More than a shopping center (and don’t call it a mall), The Grove provides a unique experience that’s popular with both tourists and locals alike, including a trolley running throughout and a “dancing fountain” with hourly shows.
Designed by KMD Architects, many of the storefronts were inspired by the mid-1900’s art deco style.
The nearly 1500 square foot location packs as much glamour into every inch of space as it possibly can. “When I opened my first Beauty Wonderland in London’s iconic Covent Garden in 2015, I wanted to completely revolutionize and disrupt the way women and men shop for beauty, to create a real beauty playground for everyone from 18-80,” says Tilbury. She calls her stores Beauty Wonderlands because of their theatrical, dream-like quality. “I see them as a world full of beauty zones, from Rock’n’Roll and Hollywood to Fashion and Magic, each created to make you dream. With my LA Beauty Wonderland, I wanted to awaken the senses from the moment you walked through the door, as you explore my different worlds through immersive play, exploration, consultation and Instagramable moments.”
Stepping into the space, it doesn’t feel like a throwback to another time so much as an updated homage. It is almost as if the store is a beautifully handwritten thank you note on customized stationary signed in perfectly un-smeared fountain ink. There is thought and intention behind every detail from top to bottom.
One of the most noticeable features are the golden art deco style palm tree chandeliers, which look as if they have been sourced from an estate sale and hand polished. They could have even been from a silent movie star’s dressing room. Some hang from circular tray ceilings.
The back area of the store has a vintage style boudoir area featuring a round burgundy settee. Each arm has USB ports for easy charging, connecting a style of past into the present day and assuring no selfie goes untaken.
Around the pièce de résistance are five matching art-deco vanities with chairs. Every color, shape, and accent reflects Tilbury’s branding. “With incredible Parisian blush nude pleated walls, old Hollywood mirrors and luxury night crimson velvet seating. This space is the perfect, intimate environment for everyone to discover, play and experience a Tilbury Transformation with my award-winning, best-selling makeup, and skincare,” the founder explains.
Tilbury’s style is inspired just as much by the world today as by yesteryears. The exterior of the brick building is painted in a variety of colors and patterns, reminiscent of Los Angeles’ trendy Instagram walls. There are mirrors all over the store including Tilbury’s Magic Mirror, which superimposes a face full of makeup using artificial intelligence.
Nearly every inch of wall is covered with something that is easily hashtag-worthy. This includes the oversized backlit close-ups of eyes, faces and punchy colored lips. The entrance to the boudoir has a simple (perhaps the only thing in the store that’s simple) gallery wall. There’s even a large giant neon logo on one wall. While these features give shoppers a heightened sense of brand awareness, there’s a sense of play and fun in the air. With just a bit of makeup, you can be a movie star, rock star or Instagram Star. You’re in the right place.
The Fountain Of Youth
One feature unique to the Los Angeles store is what Tilbury calls “The Incredible Fountain of Youth.” Inspired by her upbringing in Ibiza, the fountain is set in a rose quartz alcove, centered around a rose-gold etched image of Tanit, the Ibizan Goddess of femininity and power. “Tanit has been a continuous source of inspiration for many of my nourishing, revitalizing, best-selling skincare products and so, when my customers visit this beautiful fountain, I want them to play, discover and immerse themselves in the magic and power of my award-winning products.”