André Balazs’s Chiltern Firehouse isn’t the only reason to visit what’s becoming one of Marylebone’s most intriguing roads, Chiltern Street. Not so long ago, I discovered Mouki Mou – a shop that’s a labour of love for Maria Lemos, better known for RainbowWave, the fashion agency that has helped shape the international fortunes of designers such as JW Anderson and Peter Pilotto. At street level, this bijou multibrand boutique belies a warren of rooms that fan out underground, containing under-the-radar shoes, jewellery and clothes that aren’t widely available elsewhere.
But when I visited, it was Susanne Kaufmann, an Austrian beauty brand I’d never heard of before, that immediately caught my eye. Liable to suffer from puffiness if products aren’t 100 per cent natural, my beauty regime is uncomplicated, and had hitherto consisted almost entirely of Aesop.
That day, I happened to be on the lookout for a facial wash for combination skin, and the pleasant fragrance of Susanne Kaufmann’s Wash Gel (£24 for 100ml, pictured), together with its cool packaging in both English and German, encouraged me to give it a go.
“I fell in love with the packaging first, too,” confesses Lemos, who carries more than 30 products from the collection, “then with the products themselves. My favourites are the bath oils and the teas.”
The gel contains a cocktail of ribwort and masterwort, herbs known for their soothing, antibacterial effect. With it, I can wash my face and remove eye make-up and my skin doesn’t end up feeling dry and squeaky.
The extensive organic range of more than 60 products can be found in its entirety at the Susanne Kaufmann spa concept, which the brand’s creator opened in 2003 at the family’s hotel in Austria – Hotel Post, in Bezau. But lately, word of Susanne Kaufmann has broken out beyond Marylebone and the valley of the Bregenz forest, where the hotel and spa are located, and the brand has found its way to Net-a-Porter.
“Susanne’s dedication to holistic skincare from head to toe is what drew us to her range,” says David Olsen, global vice president at Net-a-Porter. “The meticulous manufacturing process in the Austrian mountains means that only organic, energy-rich oils and locally sourced active plant ingredients are used; each product is of the best quality.” I’ll certainly second that.