Beauty destination: Aesop opens its first New Zealand store

Legendary skincare name Aesop’s first New Zealand store officially opened on Tuesday night in Newmarket, Auckland and good god she is beautiful. I was unable to attend official proceedings due to being fresh out of hospital, but a sneaky reccy I did prior to my surgery filled me with awe and delight.
Aesop is not your regular high-end skincare company. There are no big promises, no celebrity endorsements, no glossy packaging and no advertising. As a brand, they are committed to celebrating science by integrating both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients, and the efficacy of their product formulations is world renowned. An interview with Aesop General Manager of Retail and Customer Relations Suzanne Santos told us “you need a blend of well-chosen man-made ingredients with exceptional botanical ingredients to make remarkable products”, and I personally have never met an Aesop product I didn’t like. I first encountered the brand many years ago on a trip to Sydney and after washing my hands with their premier luxury soap, I was irrevocably hooked. 
Aesop’s blend of science and nature slaps aside the ridiculous hyperbole that defines much of the beauty industry. All of its products are paraben-free and largely ‘botanical’, drawing heavily on antioxidant-rich parsley-seed extract. Its trademark, apothecary-style brown-glass bottles keep ingredients fresh for longer, and just feel so right in my bathroom cabinet in the most understated way. The less-is-more approach appeals to the type of consumer who doesn’t need fruity surroundings and overbearing retail staff to tell them what is wrong with their skin, but those who are happy to pay slightly higher prices for authentic top-quality products that just make you feel good – and work.
Aesop’s founder Dennis Paphitis has famously been quoted as saying: “Luxury is an attitude, a spirit, a celebration of the everyday; it is certainly not an overpriced, monogrammed handbag that’s distributed as widely as fast food,” and their stores around the world reflect this value.
Created in collaboration with Patterson Associates, the new Newmarket retail space was inspired by the region’s architectural heritage and is a haven in the madness that is the popular shopping precinct.
The interior echoes the raw simplicity of a traditional New Zealand washroom or old school bach or holiday home. Recycled Rimu timber folds up the walls, creating a refined version of the horizontal boards found in early colonial washrooms. Similarly, large windows prompt an immediate relationship with the exterior, allowing an abundance of natural light and fresh air to filter through the space.
As an ode to the domestic ritual of washing that is integral to Aesop’s philosophy, a large concrete tub sits as the centrepiece of the interior. The shelving surfaces are reminiscent of oven trays, subtly paying homage to the site’s original use as a commercial bakery.
Clients can explore and select from a complete range of skin, hair and body care products, distinguished by botanical and laboratory-generated ingredients of the highest quality. The store’s trained consultants are able to offer advice about products best suited to individual needs and like the brand, are intelligent, informed and delightfully understated in their approach. In other words: the new Aesop space is a winner, and I look forward to becoming a regular.

Aesop Newmarket
Shop 2, 2-8 Osborne Street
Newmarket 1023
+64 9 522 2774


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