Given the amount of hype around what feels like every beauty launch, it's fair to say that when a new luxury beauty brand slips off my radar, I get curious. Take for example one of beauty's most recent brand launches—Dries Van Noten. I have known for some time that the fashion brand was planning a beauty launch, but beyond marking the launch date in my oversaturated calendar, that was about as far as things went. In fact, it wasn't until 10 days after it launched that I even realised it was available to shop.
And let me tell you something—few things that go on in the beauty industry pass me by. I'm nosy as hell. Not only am I religiously following every big name in beauty, I also work with all of the top beauty editors in the game and read every major (and minor) beauty site every single morning for research purposes. So for the launch of Dries Van Noten beauty to pass me by for 10 whole days is really quite something.
Since its launch at the end of last month, Dries Van Noten hasn't clogged up my Instagram feed. In fact, I have seen just a handful of posts from people I follow talking about the launch. And this surprised me in all of the right ways. How refreshing it is for a new brand to launch with minimal fuss and without saturating our social media feeds with tough sells or paying influencers to sing its praises. Instead, what I had seen was a handful of totally organic, glowing reviews from people whose opinion I really respect (everyone's favourite manicurist Harriet Westmoreland was the first I saw to really shout about DVN beauty on Instagram). And that made me want to try it even more.
Comprising 10 fragrances, 31 lipstick shades, four lipstick cases, hand cream, soap and a few other beauty accessories, Dries Van Noten's beauty collection is impressively tight and refined. While other luxury fashion houses launch into beauty with vast makeup collections and bring out variations of the same fragrance every other season, Dries Van Noten has stuck to what it knows—luxury craftsmanship that has been carefully considered.
I'll admit, the first thing that lured me in was the way the products look. I have, hand on heart, never seen a collection of perfumes that looks quite as chic as these. They look like works of art. They're the sorts of bottles I will keep out of my shelf long after they're empty. The lipsticks are equally as chic. With four case options in various patterns and designs, they ooze luxury and expense.
Then we come onto the brand's eco credentials. Each fragrance is made up of over 85% natural-origin ingredients and is encased in a bottle made up of responsibly sourced, recyclable materials. The lipsticks are refillable—the cases are lightweight while the lipsticks themselves are small and (of course) animal-friendly. Most impressively though, the external packaging is a stroke of genius. Using FSC-certified paper and renewable natural wood fibres, there isn't a single unnecessary packaging component that could be deemed a waste. Needless to say, it's all recyclable too.
Shannon wears Dries Van Noten Matte Lipstick in Archive Red.
But, of course, no beauty launch is worth writing about unless the formulas themselves are worth it. And trust me when I say these products are winners. Truly, I have never come across a beauty collection quite like this. It is, for lack of a better word, the best beauty collection I've ever experienced. In fact, just this afternoon when I posted that I was writing this worthy review on my Instagram I had a number of other beauty insiders message me in agreement (Westmoreland included).
No, there isn't a tonne of products on offer, but what Dries Van Noten does offer, it does exceptionally well. For starters, the lipsticks are easily the best I've ever tried. Each one contains rosehip oil to leave lips feeling soft and comfortable. The matte formula in particular is a work of beauty genius. It leaves a matte, soft-focus blur of colour without causing even a hint of drying discomfort. I can't recommend them enough.
Then we come onto the fragrances. Trust me when I say you will never experience perfumes like these. They are rich, mouth-wateringly delicious and have the power to turn every single head you walk past on the street. And they do all of this without being too much. They're not heady but also don't dilute on the skin into watery nothingness. They're expensive, yes, but the quality also oozes expense. It's as if the brand has taken every attribute of the chicest, richest women on the planet and rolled it all up into one hell of a fragrance collection. Seriously, Dries Van Noten beauty is the chicest, most exquisite beauty brand in existence.
Shop Dries Van Noten Fragrances
Key notes: myrrh, smoked wood, pink pepper, cypress, suede, benzoin
It's woody, smoky, and a little bit spicy—but unlike any other perfume I have tried. Equally as great for men and women alike, it has a depth to it that will have every single person you meet asking after it.
Key notes: fig, santal, bergamot, grapefruit, violet leaves, white musk
This might just be my favourite fragrance ever made. It's fresh and warm in a way that has you going back for more over and over again. Imagine you're lounging on your veranda while on holiday in the Med. You've covered your body in sun cream and the scent of the wood that surrounds you mixes with the aroma of your skin and the trees—that's Santal Greenery.
Key notes: chestnut, fig, bergamot, blackcurrant, rose, silk
I won't lie, I actually cried when I first smelled this. I was feeling hormonal, sure, but I think it's also testament to just how great it smells. I described it to Who What Wear Editor, Emma Spedding, as all of the nice, happy things in the world in one bottle—like warm biscuits, spice-filled cakes, and exotic holidays.
Key notes: osmanthus, suede, peach juice, amber
Never, in all of my years as a beauty editor, have I smelled a perfume that captures the aroma of suede quite so expertly. Like shoving your nose into a leather handbag that has housed your favourite perfume for the night, it's the perfume equivalent of dirty, stinking rich and totally unbothered.
Key notes: orange blossom, santal, jasmine, ylang-ylang
Few things in life make me happier than smelling a really great orange blossom perfume—and this one trumps them all. Orange blossom sometimes risks being sweet and sticky-smelling but this blends it expertly. The depth and woodiness of santal and the floral warmth of jasmine means it lingers richly but without a hint of sickliness.
Key notes: pink pepper, black pepper, rose, cashmeran, musk
If you think you hate rose perfumes, think again. This stuff is sweet, effervescent and inexplicably fresh-smelling. Think rose reimagined—it's light, fun, and possesses a youthful joy you'll struggle to find in other rose scents.
Key notes: cannabis, patchouli, sage, vetiver, musk
My boyfriend used up the entire vial of this before I even had a chance to wear it myself. It's certainly not a scent for the faint-hearted, mind you. It's earthy and rugged at first—almost startlingly so. Then a creamy softness comes through (thanks to the vetiver and musk) that has a sweetness lingering on the skin all day long.
Key notes: rosemary, patchouli, cannabis, rosemary, cedarwood, sandalwood
This is the kind of perfume that you can get totally lost in. The first time I smelled it I closed my eyes and a rush of memories flooded my brain. It's playful and cosy at first but soon dries down into a deep, lingering night-time scent that can only be described as seriously cool. It's as though it draws you in with its sweet and playful side before quickly turning into a dark entity—like some sort of voodoo, if you will.
Key notes: mint, iris, musk, ambroxan
Iris is without a doubt my favourite olfactory note, closely followed by mint, so it makes perfect sense that I love this perfume with all of my heart. With the fresh soapiness of iris and the fizzy, zinginess of mint, it makes for the ultimate summer spritz.
Key notes: rose, vetiver, pink pepper, patchouli
I know I said this about the last rose perfume, but seriously if you usually turn your nose up at rose scents, I urge you to give this a go. Unlike Raving Rose, this perfume is undeniably grown up. It's multi-layered, comforting and soapy. I want to nuzzle my face right into this aroma and never leave.
Shop More Dries Van Noten Beauty
I have never come across a matte lipstick formula quite like this. It's soft and creamy but delivers a blurry, powdered finish—just without any flaking or drying. If you were to invest in just one Dries Van Noten lip product, I'd suggest making it a matte lipstick.