04.10.2018

The Night Shift


Triumph & Disaster started out as a distinctly masc. grooming line. But the appeal of simple, super effective products, laden with ingredients from nature is a universal one. So over the past couple of years, the internationally-loved New Zealand brand has consciously become more unisex, developing more high-functioning skincare products and presenting them in more pared-back, contemporary packaging. Highly approve.

They’ve just launched two new heavy hitters – Dichotomy eye serum and Dark Moon night cream.

Get you skincare that can do both –  look beautiful on the outside and be beautiful on the inside.  These two fit the bill, with their minimalist, modern, monochrome (all the M’s) aesthetic, and – more importantly – the ridiculously good formulations that have taken Dion and his team a year to develop and refine. The science they use is clinically proven, the ingredients traceable and sustainable.

Dichotomy Eye Serum is stacked with the supernatural benefits of ingredients like Kakadu Plum (a Vitamin C superhero for brightening and tightening), Norwegian Kelp, Persian Silk and Gotu Kola (combined, they work to firm and lift sagging skin), Swamp Maple (the bark extract is clinically-proven to increase collagen production and improve skin elasticity), and Horopito (found only in New Zealand, it’s one of the world’s oldest flowering plants, surviving for over 65 million years thanks to its natural chemical defence system. Rich in antioxidants and an amazing toning and conditioning agent). I could go on. Suffice to say, this little black bottle flexes big.

Dark Moon was designed to work with our body’s natural rhythm, applied when our skin is putting in its best recovery and repair work – on the night shift. More than a hydrating cream, it’s been scientifically-engineered to deliver powerful antioxidants to your skin, and to enhance collagen production using ingredients like Kakadu Plum (Aborigines have used this superfood medicinally for thousands of years – it has 100 times more Vitamin C than oranges), Swamp Maple, Rosemary and Horopito. It feels effortlessly fresh and light on the skin, and a little will go a long way. Oh, and it looks beautiful on your bedside table.

A New Zealand brand, delivering a beautifully-designed product, that’s also beautifully-considered on the inside. Not at all sponsored. Just my idea of perfection.

04.06.2018

The Luxury of Sleep


This is another of those products where the beautiful design on the outside is bested only by what’s on the inside, and how it came to be.

The story starts with New Zealand marketing professional and mumma Claire Beatson, and her own often-desparate search for deep, relaxed sleep. She found her options weren’t really options at all – natural formulations were too mild to be effective, and pharmaceuticals were too addictive. So Claire began a three year journey, working with New Zealand’s top medical herbalist, to craft a potent (significantly stronger than anything else on the market), #plantsnotpills sleep drops formula. It’s transformed Claire’s nights – and her days, too. She says Nod is her fourth baby, the only one she’s raised that let her sleep through the night.

Each little bottle of Nod is a blend of clinically-effective levels of super-sleepy sedatives including Californian Poppy, Passionflower and Valerian, with calming herbs like Chamomile, Lemon balm, Manuka and Organic Rosewater. The botanics are distilled the old-fashioned way, in copper stills, bottled in top GMP grade facilities, then blended in small batches. The result is a very potent, nothing-but-plants formula that promotes sleep, supports relaxation and relieves anxiety for a deeper level of uninterrupted Z’s. And you’ll wake up refreshed – no sleeping pill hangover.

The whole brand experience was designed to be as luxurious and thoughtful as possible. From the imagery (all shot during early evening and at night), to the way the Nod packaging opens (the box slides out, your Nod laying inside as if in a bed). The bottle itself is beautiful – a lovely heavy black glass, with as little printing on it as possible. Everything has been designed to be quiet and restful and beautiful, like your sleep on Nod. And did you spot the little waxing moon in the Nod wordmark? Nice.

Kudos for the visual identity goes to Claire’s partner, Art Director Tony Bradbourne. Dream team.

Nod online store

31.05.2018

Beauty Inside and Out


Intensive Omega Treatment Oil packed with essential fatty acids for intensive hydration. Use on its own or add a drop to your moisturiser for a boost of lipids

The Multi-Vitamin Body Oil has a gorgeous bespoke scent (green fig and tea leaves) that Maryse had specially formulated Grasse, France

Some of the most beautiful skincare packaging I have ever (ever ever) seen.

Illuminating dew for your glow up

The brand’s debut product is a potent blend of botanicals designed to keep skin supple and soft, hydrating and conditioning whilst also delivering powerful antioxidants.

 

Come for the stunning minimalist packaging, stay for the even more stunning formulations inside.

While natural beauty specialist Maryse O’Donnell loved the skincare brands she worked with over her career, she felt there was something missing – a space for super effective, natural and organic skincare preparations, made in New Zealand. So she created them herself – formulating a family of eight products each packed with highly-concentrated, highly-nutritive ingredients from nature.

Ingredients like manuka leaf – harvested from wild-growing native manuka trees here in New Zealand. Manuka leaf is exceptionally antibacterial and massively beneficial for the skin due to its detoxing properties – it’s included in the Maryse exfoliating polish.

Even as the brand has grown (now sold internationally – including in the US, Switzerland and Australia) Maryse still formulates everything by hand herself, in small batches, right in her studio in Ponsonby, Auckland. She is currently deep in development on new lip and cheek tints in various shades – all organic, super subtle yet buildable colours, for a hint of glow in a pink and apricot hue. Yes please!

The packaging was designed by Maryse’s partner, Art Director Campbell Hooper. Maryse wanted the brand to feel simple yet effective, clean, and modest – no tricks. Just like the skincare inside.
 
 

Maryse Beauty website  /  Instagram

 
 

Maryse is available online from our friends at Blackbird Goods, as well as from Everyday Needs and Simon James Design. Contact Maryse for your closest international stockist.

Image via Blackbird Goods, our fave NZ stockists of Maryse

17.05.2018

Protect What You Love


 

An international project with its roots very much planted back here in New Zealand – Activist Manuka is a new Manuka honey brand founded by LA-based New Zealand couple Luke Harwood and Gabrielle Mirkin.

It’s the visual identity that first caught my eye, but I then discovered Luke and Gabrielle’s story is a very inspiring one…

They’ve each traded their individual fast-paced fashion careers in New York (Gabrielle as a senior designer at Vogue, and Luke managing US market development for Stolen Girlfriend’s Club, a brand he co-founded) for a much more chill existence in California. Gabrielle became very very sick with Lyme disease, and the couple moved home to New Zealand for a year, putting everything aside for rest and healing, which they did from a piece of land they own in Coromandel. Friends asked if they could put some hives on the property, and the couple fell in love with bees…

Returning to America, the couple settled in beachside California, and began work on starting their own honey company.

The name – Activist – not only derives from the active natural antibacterial properties of the Manuka, but is also nod to New Zealand’s proud history of activism, paying respect to those who dedicate their lives standing for something they believe in.

Activist works more in partnership with their New Zealand bee-keepers and land owners, to give Americans access to potent, A-grade NZ Manuka honey (raw, unprocessed and from small batches), not the mass-distributed and mass-white-labelled commodity the country has traditionally had presented to them: “We believe it’s important that New Zealand and its resources are represented authentically on a global scale, rather than sold off to international companies to be rebranded and diluted. If that means building a slower growing, sustainable business, that’s cool with us.”

(Doing good by doing good – you guys know that’s one of my fave things).

They enlisted the branding prowess of their friend and fellow Cali-based New Zealand, Art Director Fred L’Ami. The brand also features beautiful New Zealand imagery from another friend, fine art and documentary photographer Derek Henderson.

My US readers (I see you there on Google Analytics!) – contact Luke and Gabrielle at Activist to find the closest stockist in your area. New Zealanders, Activist is available here exclusively from Simon James Design at this stage.

 

Activist   online store  /  Instagram

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