The pink frill of the chase

Hannah Booth rediscovers her inner schoolgirl in the kitsch surroundings of Pout’s flagship store

Pout, one of the prettiest, girliest cosmetics brands on the block, has turned even girlier. Its original and only UK store, in London’s Covent Garden, has undergone the sort of interiors treatment that would make a teenage girl green with envy. Or should that be pink?

Pink is Pout’s colour. Its trademark sugar pink, fishnet-and-doily-look products are available in department store concessions the world over – which isn’t bad for a British brand that’s only three and a half years old. Pout is stocked in Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdales, Sephora, Victoria’s Secret and Canada’s Selfridges equivalent, Holt Renfrew, among many others.

But as the group’s only standalone store, and next door to Pout’s small head office, the London site is Pout’s calling card. It’s like stumbling into the bedroom of a Pink Lady from the film Grease. Pink lacquered units with decorated, rotating triptych mirrors display Pout’s own-brand products, and feature crystal drawer knobs with violet-coloured tassels. Trying on make-up is encouraged. Aqua-coloured counters lining the walls stock top-end, ultra-feminine branded goods, including Lola, Cargo and Jessica Simpson’s new brand, Dessert.

Giant filigree graphics in, you’ve guessed it, pink, form a backdrop on the walls, based around Pout’s identity, and an oversized pink hand-written ‘P’ goes almost unremarked on the ceiling. At the rear of the store are individual counters for personal beauty treatments, advertised with cheeky irreverence on a board. The names – Hand Job, Get Plucked and Quickie, among others – are likely to appeal directly to the younger end of Pout’s target audience.

Although the interiors are fun and girly, they’re not teeny or trashy – the style could apply equally to an older woman’s decadent boudoir as much as a teen’s bedroom. The dark-stained wooden floor adds some weighty relief to the sugary pastels and makes the space seem even bigger.

The original guiding hand behind Pout’s interiors belongs to creative director and co-founder Chantal Laren, whose ideas fed the store’s concept and who designs the product packaging. But ironically for such a feminine brand, there’s also a male presence behind the site at 32 Shelton Street, London WC2.

APA head Angus Pond, a former associate director at Future Systems, was commissioned to work closely with Laren on the retail interiors. According to Laren’s co-founder, Emily Cohen, a former celebrity PR, Pond came up with so many wacky ideas (‘things suspended from the ceiling’) that they had to tell him to tone them down a touch. But they ‘loved his creativity’. It’s a step away from the minimalism of MAC or Space NK, says Pond. He’s not wrong there.

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