Apr 262010

Chanel seems to have a tradition of micro-releases that are regional, edgy and sometimes ground-breaking.  Chanel’s Black Velvet nail polish ($25) (Le Vernis Nail Color Black Velvet 430) is part of Chanel Orient Extrême, an exploration of new textures.  I must admit that I have a high tolerance for just such experiments– for me, tried and true formulations evoke yawns and “I’ll catch it some other time.”  Makeup is all about play, excitement and trying something new.

Black Velvet is an unusual texture–not matte and certainly not  shine or shimmer.  To warn you (and to separate Black Velvet from the others Chanel’s in your stash), the bottle is a matte texture and uses a stick-on label with gold lettering, rather than the traditional painted-on white lettering.  All other aspects of the bottle are familiar–the same square shape and brush are the same as the rest.

The nail polish is  a black with soft, near-matte texture that evokes the same look at a soft leather or lambskin.  It’s going to look amazing with layers of textured blacks–perhaps a mix of patent black leather, wools or silks.  It looks both new, and soft, yet dramatic.  Is this appropriate for Spring?  Chanel doesn’t seem to care–those who are looking for something different will wear it anyway, because it’s all about making your own rules at this point.  Certainly, the color can wait for fall and winter for everyone else (although, unless its re-released, it will likely be sold out by then).

Comparison, with Chanel’s shinier Black Satin (U.S. version) and OPI for Sephora’s Where’s the Tire, Jack? (matte):

A few practical considerations:

  • This polish exhibits tipwear typical of black polishes.  Using a topcoat destroys the central value of the polish–the texture.  It does not seem more fragile (or more robust) than other black polishes, but unlike a sheer this black will not look pristine after three days of typing.
  • This polish did not apply well on a sticky basecoat (in my case, CND Stickey).  A smoother basecoat will be your best option.
  • This might be fun to try as a reverse french manicure with a gold tip.
  • Available now on Chanel.com and at Chanel Boutiques.  As with other Chanel highly limited edition releases, these are not currently available at department store counters.  (But I have to wonder, will these be back next Fall?)

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Apr 132010

Chanel’s Summer 2010 collection includes the “it” polish– Novelle Vague ($23) (Le Vernis Nail Color), which has a refreshing blue look that blends in a touch of green and silver for summer nails.

After wearing this for a few days, I’m loving its refreshingly different take on the summer classics.  Based on the French phrase that connotes “new wave,” this polish attracts attention.  The polish color does not go so far as some of the more striking neons available this summer, rather, it’s a soft-yet-strong blue that evokes the freshness and classicism of a Tiffany (or perhaps even robin’s egg) blue.  The silver microsparkle gives the polish dimension so that it does not look flat or cartoonish.  Although it’s a brighter shade, I feel completely confident wearing this without being concerned that its over the top.

I’ve read that this color is similar to China Glaze’s “For Audrey” polish, although For Audrey is a less dimensional creme formula that lacks any sparkle or shimmers.

Although Nouvelle Vague is a strong, light color, I found application was quite easy.  Nouvelle Vague requires 2-3 coats to reach full opacity, although it seems slightly more pigmented than last fall’s Chanel Jade.  Nouvelle Vague is going to look nice with a lot of the colors that I wear for summer–pinks, peaches, khaki’s, bronzes and greens.


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Mar 312010

Chanel’s Rouge Coco line includes a Neiman Marcus exclusive called Gardenia ($30), which I discovered from reading The Beauty Look Book . Because it looked like a refreshing pink, I called one of the Neiman Marcus stores to order one.  At the same time, I added a nail polish from the same collection, Rose Paradise ($23) as a coordinating nail shade.  They arrived very quickly with some generous samples.

Gardenia is a beautiful shimmering pink, with the same moisturizing formulas as the others in the Rouge Coco line.  Unlike some, Gardenia has a beautiful shimmering quality, which I far prefer to the older Aqualumiere formula.  Gardenia’s shimmer is much more refined, giving just a glow to the lips.  In some colors, the Aqualumiere shimmers seemed larger and the formula more dry.

As you can see in the swatch, Chanel Rouge Coco Gardenia is a pretty neutral shimmering pink.  Here, I compare it to Rouge Coco Mademoiselle, and a few of my favorite neutral Rouge Allures.  Troublant was originally released in an Asian-only collection, and Naive is one of my standbys that seems to look good when I can’t decide what else to wear.  Naive and Gardenia have a similar pleasant pink tone, although Gardenia’s pink is stronger and the formula is more shimmery.  Click to enlarge:

Here is a quick swatch of Rose Paradise nail polish.  I have a very difficult time describing this color –it’s a pink that seems to have some peach or gold undertones.  Really, it’s a complicated color for a pink-neutral.  It’s a very conservative color, I’m sure it would look appropriate for the most formal daytime occasions.  The formula applies very easily–this is two coats over CND Sticky basecoat and under a Poshe topcoat.

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Mar 272010

From Lushious Beauty is the word that Chanel will be releasing a very limited collection in its boutiques in May 2010.  This collection, called the Chanel Orient Extreme Exclusive collection, was developed by Chanel’s artistic director Peter Philips based on  the famous Terracotta Army that was found in the Chinese city of Xi’an.

First, an eyeliner in Jet-Gold looks very intriguing:

Three polishes look made for the black and gold manicure that the model is wearing. Here is Black Velvet, described as deep, intense, velvety black (not glossy, not matte):

Here is Gold Lame, described as a painted gold:

Illusion d’Or a white lacquer with gold and purple / blue glitters, which looks more gold in the picture.  I’ll be curious to see how it looks when it arrives:

Here’s another promotion picture:

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Preview – Zoya Flash Sparkle Summer 2010

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Mar 052010

I love Zoya’s nail polishes.  For $7, they are a 3-free brand (no toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate) and have over 300 choices.  They are easy to apply, long-lasting and supported by a website that pretty reliably tells the answer to that all-important question— how sheerly/opaquely the polish applies.  As we all know, a sheer light pink bears almost no resemblance to one that is bullet-proof opaque.  The effect is completely different.

Zoya just released information about the Summer 2010 Flash / Sparkle collection. It includes colors that are described as “mermaid green sparkling metallic” and “soft tangerine creme.” Sign. Me. Up. Now.

The Flash collection is all about cremes and includes:

  • Robyn- perfect turquoise cream
  • Perrie – soft lavender cream
  • Dana – american rose cream
  • Jolene – summer pink cream
  • Maura – electric crimson cream
  • Jancyn – soft tangerine cream

Sparkle looks like it’s all about the depth–intense colors plus some glitter:

  • Ivanka – mermaid green sparkling metallic
  • Charla – tropical blue sparkling metallic
  • Mimi – royal purple sparkling metallic
  • Alegra – fuchsia pink sparkling metallic
  • Nidhi – rich red sparkling metallic
  • Gilda – fashion pink sparkling metallic

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Mar 042010

NARS Purple Rain nail polish ($16) plays tribute to the Prince song and film. Purple Rain is described on the NARS website as “intensely gothic purple” and “bright and audacious.” I have to agree with both the letter and the spirit of that description.  In addition, I’d add “complex,” “beautiful” and “rich”.

The nail polish delivers a deep and rich purple that would be incredible on its own.  Add little flecks of red, as well as a deep violet-blue, add a high gloss finish and you have something truly spectacular.  This nail polish gets noticed.

The application was easy.  The brush is permanently connected to the large black squarish rubberized cap, which is a bit unwieldy but manageable.  The polish is opaque in one coat.  I’ve done two coats in the swatches, below, out of habit.

Along with Nars Purple Rain, I’ve added China Glaze’s Let’s Groove, ($2.50 from Victoria’s Nail Supply);  Zoya Yasmeen ($7.00) and Chanel’s Vendetta ($23) (this last one wasn’t even close!).

Here’s a picture with my results.  China Glaze’s Let’s Groove was the closest.  The purple tones, and red/violet flecks looked very similar.   China Glaze’s polish took an extra coat but the price is dramatically lower when purchased online:

True to the namesake of its author, Purple Rain adds a dramatic touch to your nails.  It screams and shouts “Baby, I’m a star — might not know it now, baby but I are, I’m a star!”  Is it work friendly?  That’s hard to say.  This color draws major attention to your nails.  But remember, blacks and vampy red-blacks used rare in the workplace.  Maybe NARS is starting a trend?

EDIT: After wearing both NARS Purple Rain and China Glaze’s Let’s Groove for several days each, I can confirm that NARS does give me better wear.  Also, I’ve decided that NARS Purple Rain is work-friendly.  Either that, or it is so pretty that I don’t really mind if it isn’t.  It’s gorgeous and worth it.

P.S.:  Did you hear the rumor?  NARS is bringing back the greatest green ever–Zulu!  Next fall! I can’t wait!

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Feb 042010

Today I’m going to continue to examine the remaining polishes from Zoya’s six piece Reverie Collection.  As I previously described, each of these colors are $7.  The formula is easy to use.  I find Zoya’s brushes and bottles very intuitive–they always seem to come out fine.  I used two coats for all of the pictures.

It’s Spring in Zoya-land! Put on your peep-toe heels (do it!) and click “Continue reading” to see pictures of the remainder of the collection… Continue reading »

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Feb 032010

Deep in these dark and grey wintry days, I received a wash of spring color with Zoya’s Spring 2010 Reverie Collection.  These are the type of polishes that truly take advantage of nail polish as a substance capable of interacting with light and color in beautiful ways.  When I saw other reviews of the line, I knew that I had to have them.  They sell for $7/bottle on Zoya’s website.  These are designed for sunny days, when a splash of color is a perfectly appropriate way to celebrate those first weeks of sunshine.

Although designated for Spring, these seem perfect for the summer months as well.  These colors will compliment skin tones with a hint of color beautifully.

Shall we dive in?  Good.  I hope you don’t mind experimenting with a dash of color!

Click “Continue Reading” for up close swatches for three of the Zoya Reverie colors… Continue reading »

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China Glaze Up & Away Collection Now Available

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Jan 132010

China Glaze’s Up & Away candy-colored spring collection is now for sale on Transdesign (click on “polishes,” then “China Glaze” to get there).  At $2.60 per bottle, these are a steal.

I’ve found that the formula for my China Glaze polishes is excellent, and so far reviews of this collection are good.

Lately, I’ve been craving some lighter tones in my collection, this one has several versatile for both weekends and work days.

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