BY KAREN YOUNG
There’s a myriad of reasons why Bloomingdales is not your ordinary department store. The affectionately iconic Bloomies and the Big Brown Bag have a certain cache where personal service, innovative lines, and choice events are involved.
So no surprise that while walking through the newly renovated make-up department on the first floor, I found Space.NK Apothecary — which exists as its own skincare/beauty/home fragrance mecca amidst the other single name make-up counters.
Fun gift ideas, skincare expertise and unique brands from around the world fill the cleanly lit, well organized shelves of SpaceNK. It’s a product paradise in a condensed form — an open air beauty closet for perusing, testing and educating. For 818ers in need of a beauty and apothecary fix with personalized service by highly trained and knowledgeable staff, this one’s for you.
Space.NK is a European import exclusive to Bloomingdales in the United States. The initials NK stand for Nicky Kinnaird — beauty guru and one of the top visionary business women in Europe. NK also symbolizes that products are free of harsh ingredients such as parabens, sulfates, glycols, mineral oil, petrolatum, PEG, DEA, TEA, synthetic colors, silicones and pthalates.
Space NK made its mark in New York’s Soho District in the summer of 2007. By December of 2008, Kinnaird had made a groundbreaking deal with Bloomingdales and opened nine Space NK stores within its department stores across the nation.
I had the fortunate opportunity to meet Nicky Kinnaird when she visited Bloomingdales Sherman Oaks a couple weeks ago. Natural, gracious and understated, she wasn’t at all what I imagined the founder of a 62 store European beauty empire would be like. She is very matter of fact in her approach to skincare and lifestyle. She’s not an advocate of cosmetic surgery and that is part of her motivation to fill her store with products that can truly make a difference.
Kinnaird has spent nearly two decades shopping the world for the best beauty products and gathers them all in her shops. Space NK in Bloomingdales is what Kinnaird deems as the “select best of the best from products all over world.” She does not advocate for one brand, but brings in products from 50 to 60 lines (with about 50% from Europe). Kinnard also points out the most of the brands she carries are not freely advertised in print and television.
“I wanted to create a space where people can gather and find out about brands from an educated, unbiased staff,” said Kinnard. “ Space NK isn’t about pushing particular brands, but about finding the best products available in the global marketplace.”
Kinnaird resides in London, but was born and bred in Belfast, Ireland. She also spent a good amount of her formative years in Valencia, Spain. Living there, she said, exposed her to various natural fragrances, such as lavender and orange blossoms, which has inspired her taste and the creation of her signature line of products at Space NK as well.
Prices run the gamut at Space NK, so there is something for everyone. Among Kinnaird’s favorite products are Bakel’s line of six serums from Italian skincare researcher Dr. Raffaella Gregoris packed with active anti-aging ingredients that are scientifically proven to work. You pick your serum based on your age and what you want to do —like the Firming Formula for 40 and over, or Brightening Solution for the over 20 set. The ingredients are pharmaceutical grade, yet free of chemicals. ($140)
If you are on a budget and looking for one overall product, Kinnaird recommends Eve Lom cleanser ($95) — an all-in-one multi-tasking product that can be used as an eye make-up remover, cleanser, toner and exfoliant. It contains four aromatic oils — chamomile, clove, eucalyptus and hops, and according to Kinnaird, it’s a tool that will transform your skin.
Although on the pricey side at $160, Zelen’s Eye Intensive Triple Action Eye Cream is worth the splurge according to Kinnaird, who explained that it consists of 34 active ingredients, including Japanese Shiso, a mint leaf with anti-oxidant and anti inflammatory properties. All ingredients in the Zelens line are scientifically chosen by Dr. Marko Lens, a plastic surgeon and international authority on skin cancer and skin aging.
Another great line is Labatti Skincare which ranges in price from $32-$59. Developed by renown facialist Tracey Malone and inspired by Madame Labbatti, a respected skincare specialist and homeopath, the products are infused with green tea extract, vitamin E and natural oils, such as almond, orange, jojoba and avocado.
For sun damage protection, Kinnaird recommends Nia24 ($45) — a SPF 30 oil-free, mineral sunscreen treatment with 5% pro-Niacin. Developed by husband and wife award-winning chemists from Arizona, the pro-niacin helps repair past damage and promotes skin health without leaving a white residue.
Kinnaird explained “make – up trends are set on the catwalk” and that “this winter it’s a return to the Hollywood glamour with red lips and a move into lipstick, rather than gloss.”
That being said, one of her favorite lip brands is The Lipstick Queen by Poppy — a unique Australian line that comes in sheer and opaque ($18) or the lines’s Big Bang Theory Lip Plumper with light reflecting pigments gives the illusion of fuller lips without chemicals ($20). Also, not to miss is the Retractable Invisible Lipliner ($18).
As for eyeliner, look no further than Jemma Kid Define StayPut Eyeliner with added Vitamin E ($20) which Kinnaird has declared as the “best in the business.” Rococo Nail Apparel is a lacquer line free from chemicals ($16) . A really fun lip gloss to gift because it’s packaged in pretty little tins is Lip Delight Gloss by MOR ($14).
Space NK also carries its own very reasonable signature line of everyday essentials including Life which has luxurious lotions, shave creams, bath gels, candles and moisturizers for a very reasonable price point (averaging $15-$35).
Not to be missed are the NK 60 Hour hand poured candles which Kinnaird said she created to “fragrance a room so it smells like a garden;” they are freshly scented with oils absent of false chemical aromas often found in home fragrance lines ($60).
Whether it’s hair issues, skincare, make-up or home fragrances, the odds are you’ll find the answer at SpaceNK. “If we can make someone feel better and educate them, we’ve done our job,” said Kinnaird.
SpaceNK is located in Bloomingdales at the Westfield Fashion Square in Sherman Oaks, CA (also available in Century City).
Karen Young is the Editor/Publisher of My Daily Find