French beauty boutique L’Occitane’s new flagship Melbourne store isn’t designed to channel customers to the counter. Outside on Collins Street, shoppers and city workers rush by, but in here the pace is leisurely. You’re encouraged to linger.
The shop is filled with greenery, and overhead there’s a heritage-listed ceiling mural painted in 1907 by artist Phillip Goatcher (commissioned by the tenant at the time, the Singer Sewing Company). While you peruse the skincare range, choose from three complimentary “encounters”. There’s a 15-minute hand and arm treatment that includes cleansing, exfoliation, a mask and massage; an express facial; or walk through the perfume range to find your signature scent – maybe cherry blossom, musk and freesia or pink pepper, honey and lavender.
Slow things down even further with an escape to the tiny day spa downstairs. The five treatments all make good use of L’Occitane’s skincare products, from a facial with a focus on anti-aging and regeneration, to a massage that combines Chinese acupressure, Swedish effleurage and Balinese massage techniques.
On your way out, you’ll be encouraged to linger with complimentary post-treatment cake from Le Petit Gateau. The cakes – in lemon, cherry blossom or lavender – reflect some of the key ingredients found in L’Occitane’s products. Then grab a glass of wine (from Le Plonque in Bordeaux) or Perrier-Jouët champagne, or a warming herbal tea. In the lead-up to holidays there’ll be bouquets of flowers from The Road Stall to purchase, which you can incorporate into gift wrapping.
L’Occitane is based in Manosque, France, and almost all of the ingredients that go into the label’s skincare and perfume ranges are sourced from Provence in the south of France (the company sources fair-trade shea butter from women’s cooperatives in Burkina Faso).
Since launching in 1976, L’Occitane has gained a following in Australia for its body lotions, hand creams and delicate French fragrances, and has opened flagships in Tokyo, London, Paris and Hong Kong.