Real world: Reunion
31 Mar 2021
This week: Can you smell it? That’s the sweet scent of freedom in the air.
LIFE AFTER ZOOM
Reopening is real. Time to spruce up. People sure are behaving like they’re getting ready to see, and be seen.
• British salons will be back in 10 days. Beauty bookings platform Treatwell saw a 432% jump in anticipation of this wonderful occasion. Worldwide, the beauty industry is projected to beat 2019 sales levels this year, but forget the Lipstick Index. We’re talkin’ serums, moisturizers, and that “no-makeup, makeup” look.
• A pandemic rite-of-passage we’d rather leave behind? DIY haircuts. “No one really wants to run around with a raggedy head of hair,” said Neil Saunders, MD at GlobalData Retail. The Hair Bros – a salon launching April 12th in London with yours truly – sold out slots in a matter of hours: booking fifty days worth of back-to-back cuts in two.
• Google, as always, knows everything. Searches for high-heeled shoes are at their highest ever since last February. Fashion brands are also seeing a spike in sales of dresses, swimsuits, and even tuxedos. “It was like a switch went off and I realized, oh my goodness, I have to go back into the world,” a (recently-vaccinated) shopper told The Washington Post.
Remember street style? Dunno ‘bout you, but we crave some good old-fashioned people watching. “The SoHo streets roared on a Saturday night. Joggers and Allbirds were no longer in sight. Long-past solitude and endless fright, fashion returned in all of its might,” rhymed Web Smith in 2PM.
There’s much reason for hope. But we’re not exactly out of the woods yet. Mood: cautious optimism.
• The U.S. Senate just voted to extend the Paycheck Protection Program – giving businesses another two months to apply for funding – with $50 billion earmarked for small business aid. This time, it’s been redesigned to prioritise enterprises with fewer than 20 employees. We’re just relieved to see less propping up of publicly traded chains, and more of mom-and-pops.
• Out of the 100 biggest cities in America, 91 repurposed public space this past year – whether it was for outdoor retail or al fresco dining. What makes up 80% of all that public space? Streets. And in NYC at least, it looks like they’re staying open. “The summer of the ecstatic post-vaxx block party is (almost) upon us (hopefully)! So let us drink our martinis in the sun while we can,” noted New York Magazine.
• “Brunch is back,” reported The New York Times. There were no less than 56 new restaurants that have opened in the five boroughs this past month. Neighborhood anchors also reopened their doors. “I came up the stairs, saw the team, and almost cried,” said Roberta Delice, who made the “you’re re-hired” call to employees at NYC’s Balthazar restaurant, which welcomed diners back last week.
We’re not crying. Those are tears of joy.
Words by Amy Tai, creative consultant and native New Yorker now based in London.