Jul 202014
 

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad1It seems that every Fall, there are a handful of items that insiders identify quickly as the must-haves of the season. These have extraordinary quality, universal appeal, and are typically limited edition. Yves Saint Laurent’s Couture Leather Fetiche (Leather Fetish) 5-color eyeshadow palette ($60) is one of those items for Fall 2014. As I write this, the palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. I’m sounding the beauty alarm on this one–do not wait.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad2 I had just cued up some pictures of Yves Saint Laurent’s new couture line of eyeshadow palettes when this one arrived. Given the ephemeral nature of limited edition products, I’m moving this one earlier. To summarize that review (which will appear later), YSL has appeared to have decided to amp up the quality of nearly everything. Good for us all–innovation in the beauty space seems have moved over the past few years from new formulations of lipsticks, mascaras, foundations (this is still very much happening), and now I am seeing a wave of reformulated eyeshadows that is truly extraordinary. This YSL Couture Leather Fetiche is a “best in class” for that category.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad5

The design evokes YSL’s fashion inspiration drawn from Piet Mondrian.

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadow quad a1

 

 

Close-up:

Yves Saint Laurent YSL Leather Fetiches

 

Every shade here is a winner–buttery, pigmented, blendable, gorgeous. The highlight and carmel shade on the right are extremely flattering shades. The deeper browns work beautifully worked into the lashline or smudged into the crease. The blue is an extraordinary and rare shade (echoed in this leather-textured Bleu Galuchat nail polish) that is inky, edgy and interesting (and also draws the palette into the universal “works on cool skin tones too” territory).

YSL Leather Fetiche eyeshadowOne more swatch set.

YSL Leather Fetiche PaletteOverall, the Yves Saint Laurent Leather Fetiche palette is one of the must-haves of the upcoming Fall ’14 season. The palette is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Yves Saint Laurent online, and Neiman Marcus. I had ordered mine from  Saks Fifth Avenue, but it appears to have sold out there. If it sells out soon, I’m very sorry!

piet_mondrian

Yves Saint Laurent’s 1965 Mondrian-inspired dresses (1965)

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Jul 112014
 

Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows All ShadesHere is an entire line of the new formula NARS Dual Intensity Eyeshadows ($29 each/0.05 oz.), which has a mix of a unique texture, wearable colors with a touch of NARS-edge, and gorgeous reflectivity.  I’m posting this from Colorado using pictures that I took in the drought-million-degree temperatures of California, and playing with these shadows every day as I ready myself for a day of conferencing. Part of this is my excitement of this new line, and the other part is that I genuinely love you all and don’t want you to miss out on these beautiful new shadows. These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New YorkBloomingdaleand Nordstrom.Nars Dual Intensity Shadows All 31 The shade names have a celestial inspiration, which is appropriate given that these resemble stars. What is difficult to understand from a single static image of the line is the amazing way that these eyeshadow interact with changes in light, and yet still retain their ability to hold onto their beautiful color. So my reviews of these shadows will include more pictures than usual to convey how they look when you are holding and using them. All shadows are in the same order as they are in the pictures above: Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows05According to the line, these shades can be applied dry for a sheer finish, or wet for more intensity. All swatches in this post are dry, and in many cases with a few swipes. So you can see that you do not have to use these wet to get intense colors. With many, I got intense color with a soft brush and a single pass. The other aspect of these is how beautifully these shadows coordinate together. I put together a few “quads” (groups of four) without much thought, hoping to show that these are a well-thought out set of colors that integrate well together. Here’s a mix of cools and warms:   Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows09 I love the way that these colors play off of each other for a beautiful mix:Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows08 This mix has two metallic shades–Dione and Himalia-which are extraordinary accent colors that will coordinate well with the satins and mattes that you likely already have in your collection.Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows10 Here are some sets of swatches of all shades. First up is the satiny, complex black NARS Syncorax and the deep starry navy Giove that has pink-purple reflects. This set also includes two ephemeral highlight shades, which primarily reflect color. Cassiopeia reflects pink, and Andromeda reflects a soft gold similar to the NARS Alabaster highlighter for face. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows15a Swatches: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Another: Nars Sycorax Giove Cassiopeia Andromeda Here is another set. It was important to me to swatch the last three shades (Subra, Phoebe and Desdemona) together, because there are some similarities looking at their pans in that there are violets/mauves/purples throughout all. As you can see, on the skin they are completely different. First is the soft peach-with-a-touch-of-pink Europa, a beautiful highlight shade that is a smoother version of many soft highlight shades. NARS Subra Nars swatch shadows3 Here are the swatches (please note that these are a different order than the picture, above, but properly labeled in all pictures). You might click on this one to enlarge it so that you can see the complexity of these shades.

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe1a

Another, slightly tiling away from the (blazing!) sun. Of these, shimmery Phoebe changes the most when moved in the light:NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe2a

 

One more:

NARS Subra Desdemona Europa Phoebe3aFinally! The gorgeous metallic shades. These will not look “soft and buttery” in their pans but let me tell you that if you place a brush on these and sweep them across your lid these are heaven. The pigment is highly layer able, so if you want a subtle “sheen” on your lid, do a single sweep (use a soft neutral matte in the crease, and you have an amazing eye). You can layer these up to full metallic intensity if you keep building them up. On my eye, I do one or two sweeps. For evening and on my arm, I built up three to four layers.Nars swatch shadows2All of the above shades have the same metallic qualities. Nars Callisto has soft pink/mauve undertones and pairs well with Phoebe and Subra. NARS Himalia and Dione are currently both killing it with soft golden tones. Himalia is more of a soft true gold, and Dione is a “cool gold.” Because I have been searching for years to find a pretty cool gold, I’m delighted to see it in this collection. NARS Lysithea is a remarkable silver with a slight sage tint, which looks remarkably good on warm tones (and of course is made for cool skin tones as well). Lysithea looks amazing with Sycorax smudged into the lash line, by the way. Nars Callisto Himalia Dione Lysithea If you think that all of these look too good to choose between them, you are right. In my opinion, you need them all. They are different enough that they aren’t really substitutes. If you have to cut out one, I’d get Dione if you have cool skin tone, and Himalia for warm. Yet I am  not taking my own advice, because I’ve worn Dione for several days and I cannot seem to stop (I have warm skin tones). More: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaTilted away from the California sun: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaThe NARS dual intensity metallics change the most in the light. Here are the same swatches in shade, you can see that these are far more subtle: Nars Callisto Himalia Dione LysitheaOverall, I adore these. They are all winners, honestly. The question is going to be which to get first, and when to get the rest. I’m going to keep playing with these and update with another post focusing on the individual shades. Nars Dual Intensity Eyeshadows06

These are currently available at NARS online, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s New York, Bloomingdales and Nordstrom.

These were provided to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

 

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Jun 042014
 

MAC Pedro Lourenco1MAC has another designer-inspired collaboration, and I just cannot seem to resist taking a look at these. This time features Brazilian designer Pedro Lourenco, who has created a nude, metallic and red collection that has a few times that are worth your time. PedroLaurenco_001_1366.320x480This collection has specialized packaging, which mirrors the minimalist style of the designer.

MAC Pedro Lourenco2a

The one item that really stands out in my mind is the MAC Pedro Lourenco Nude Quad ($44). I occasionally get reader questions looking for a lovely textured, neutral eyeshadow palette. Readers, take note of this one. MAC Pedro Lourenco4 Although it’s entirely plausible that many have similar shades, this is the one that I’ll be packing for a two-week seminar that I’ll be attending later this month. The textures are excellent, the quad (which contains two shimmers and two mattes) is going to give me all of the looks that I’ll need for this work-friendly venue. MAC Pedro Lourenco6Two shades are MAC permanent (the top right All that Glitters, and the bottom right Sable), and the two mattes are limited edition (the top left Pink Sands, and the bottom left Rose Cloud).  All four of these shades are winners, and they all coordinate beautifully together. If you need a good, sturdy, modern quad that allows you to make a look with a single piece MAC’s Pedro Lourenco Nude is worth picking up. MAC Pedro Lourenco7 The other item that I got was the MAC Pedro Lourenco Corol Powder Blush ($26). This is an unusual blush duo, with a soft, matte light pink-coral shade, and a pigmented pink-plum. I really owe my love for this combination to a few people on Specktra.net (shout out to Liba and Mac-Guy), who posted helpful impressions of this product. MAC Pedro Lourenco3 The Pedro Lourenco Corol blush is a love-hate product depending on your skin tone, and for my skin tone (MAC NC15-Chanel Ivoire), it’s love. The light matte shade shows up as a light pink blush when I use a stiff blush brush. Here’s the secret-after I apply this as a blush, I can use the lighter shade as an all-over matte beauty powder/complexion brightener with a softer brush (gorgeous! and really cool looking in the summer heat). The deep pink-plum shade is a beautiful blush/contour. Really, the combination is very pretty. MAC Pedro Lourenco5 These are both “blink and you’ll miss them” micro-release products. The quad is currently online at Nordstrom, MAC and Macy’s. Miraculously, Macy’s still has the Corol blush.

It’s uncertain whether these will be in all stores that carry MAC in store. I called several department and MAC stores on the West Coast yesterday, and got very inconsistent responses. If you’d like to find these on counter, I strongly suggest that you call ahead and check.

I hope that you enjoyed this quick look at this micro-release. I always hesitate before doing these posts, because I know that stock may go out very fast. However, since I had a moment and these showed up on my doorstep, I thought these were worth sharing.

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May 132014
 

This summer, Nars has released the Adult Swim collection. Never afraid of a little edge, Francois Nars had added some quirky–yet surprisingly workable–eyeshadow duos to his line. One is Nars Lost Coast ($35), a duo that excels because of its subtleness. This is All About Eve with a twist because the effect is brightening, illuminating, and enhancing of one’s own natural beauty.

Nars Summer Eyeshadow Duos13This duo has a soft brown-beige and a cool soft lavender. This one is very easy to miss-but don’t. The magic is in the application. It doesn’t get any more daytime-friendly.  Other makeup companies just don’t do this enough–Nars seems to know how to design colors that do not look like they should work together, yet somehow do in a really beautiful way.

Nars Summer Eyeshadow Duos18Here is Nars Lost Coast applied lightly on Liz. Here, she simply applied the beige shade, then added the pink shade directly over the beige:

nars Lost coast close up a

This adds a touch of mauve shimmer to Liz’s lids, which is both flattering, simple, and sort of genius:

lost coast a

Nars Tropical Princess ($35) is a high-metal modern duo that combines silver-white and chartreuse. Okay, this is going to sound odd but ever since I’ve seen a punk revival, I’ve been hoping for a really good chartreuse. You know, there are days when I just get really really tired of rules, in general. Tropical Princess  is remarkable for its formulation–in other lines, shades this light tend to look cakey or frosted.  Somehow, the pigment in Tropical Princess stays true-to-texture with a super-light coating of powder. It seems a little magic, but I suspect that Francois Nars was very precise and demanding in this formulation. Tropical Princess does some amazing things with its high-reflectivity with a remarkably thin layer of powder. Something about this formula is just right for using a very subtle touch of this electric shade.

Nars Summer Eyeshadow Duos03This one is pure fun. Tropical Princes in the light:

Nars Summer Eyeshadow Duos11Nars did a gorgeous video using this duo–really, if you need a touch of metal in your makeup wardrobe this is truly a “best in class” beautiful and unusual duo of this summer.

Swatches of all shades:

Nars summer duosa1Bottom line–Nars Lost Coast is not to be missed. If you have a touch of rebellion in you, pick up Tropical Princess as well. These shades are available at Nars online site, Nordstrom, Barneys, and coming soon to Sephora. If you order from Nars online, you can  receive a Complimentary mini Laguna Bronzer with any purchase with the code MAYMINI14 at checkout.

These were sent to Cafe Makeup without charge for consideration for review. This post contains affiliate links (for more information, see About Cafe Makeup).

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Apr 012014
 

 

Givenchy cream shadows01

I’ve been playing with some of the colors from Givenchy’s Ombre Couture cream eyeshadows ($23 each)(available from Barneys.com and Sephora.com).

Givenchy cream shadows13

I chose six colors from the line:

  • No. 1: Blanc Satin top coat, a white sheer shimmer that can be alone or over the top of the other colors

Givenchy cream shadows14

  • No. 2: Beige Mousseline, a soft peach-beige

Givenchy cream shadows15

  • No. 3: Rose Dentelle, a greyed-down rose that looks surprisingly sophisticated

Givenchy Rose Dentelle1

  • No. 4: Bleu Soie, a blue with a healthy dose of violet (despite its blue appearance in the pot. This has a bare hint of sparkle, which is almost undetectable on skin.

Givenchy cream shadows17

  • No. 6: Kaki Brocart, a green khaki with a hint of gray

Givenchy cream shadows18

  • No. 9: Brun Cachmeire, a rich soft brown

Givenchy cream shadows19

Swatches:

Givenchy Ombre Couture Swatches1

Unlike some color cream shadow, these Givenchy Ombre Coutures are more of a sophisticated whisper than a shout. They sheer down in a beautiful way–even the deepest color can be applied with the softest touch to give the barest hint of color. Certainly, it is easy to apply them with full force. However, even at their most dense, the color range seems infused with a soft gray undertone which keeps the color from being too much. Here are all colors with the No. 1 Blanc Satin applied, which gives them a little twinkle that is hard to pick up under our cloudy California skies (same order as above).

Givenchy Ombre Couture Swatches3

The texture of these is very fine. As you might expect from Givenchy, they melt onto the lids and never emphasize any lines or imperfections. The pigment is in a very efficient base–there’s no caking to be found even when these are applied as strong colors. I’ve been using my fingers to apply them. They blend well, including blending with powder shadows.

Givenchy cream shadows05

Overall, recommended for those interested in a sophisticated version of a cream shadow.

Available at Barneys.com (free ship always and Sephora.com (free ship w/ VIB Rouge or $50 minimum)

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