Released earlier than ever this year, Chanel’s Fall 2010 collection includes the Enigma (#19) ($56) eyeshadow quad (Chanel Les 4 Ombres Ombres a Paupieres Quatour /Quadra Eyeshadow). The word “Enigma” evokes a puzzle or mystery; similarly Enigma evokes a dark smokey sparkle that bespeaks dark magic. In recent seasons, Chanel has introduced quads that have been unusual for the seasons in which they were released–light colors in Fall, jewel tones in Spring. Breaking this pattern, Enigma is firmly rooted in fall tones of gray, mauve, deep grayed-greens and charcoals. With one sparkling highlighting pink, the other three tones are clearly built for making a smoky eye with subtle flashes of light and off-blacks that give dimensional color around the eye. As Coco Chanel has been thought to have said, only black can draw attention to one’s eyes. The Enigma quad clearly arises out of that tradition. Even the “mid-tone” shades in this palette are on the darker end of the scale.
I found the texture of the palette wonderful, one of Chanel’s better quad-formatted palettes.
You should note a few different things:
- The color, density and consistency of application worked better with a base than without for me;
- The pink is a neutral light pink. This is a pink that I believe many skintones can wear close to the eye (although I do not typically wear a pink eyeshadow). There is a lightness to the color that it does not seem as problematic as other pink eyeshadows.
- Using any of these darker colors as a liner is not only possible, but really beautiful;
- There is a microshimmer to each of the shades. On application, it was most pronounced with the two medium colors –the top left and the bottom right. The deepest shade (bottom right) behaved more closely to a matte, although this was not a true matte because microshimmer was clearly visible.
- The overall impression that this palette gives is neutral-to-cool. It will look dramatic on warm skin tones.
- With the exception of the pink highlighter shade, each of the colors is quite complex. Like Chanel’s Joues Contraste blushes, putting these colors into words usually requires a combination–such as plum-burgundy-mauve-gray. See what I mean?
Leave it to Chanel to do shimmer well. Because the base of these eyeshadows does not have any frost, the eyeshadow when applied did not appear to emphasize any line or irregularity on the lid. It is not a distracting sparkle or a jejune frost, rather it is a way to add depth to the lid so that the eye is nicely emphasized.
The following swatch was taken with flash (cooler light):
Here is a picture taken in direct sun, so that you can see the microshimmer. When applied to the eye, the sparkle is not as obvious:
My thoughts: Three of the shades in the palette are very dark and smokey, and the combination is obviously intended to make a deep, dark beautiful lid. Those who love doing a smokey eye will find this palette very intuitive. If you are looking for a lighter look, consider using the deeper tones very close to the lash line, fanning the deeper color out as you approach the eye crease.
Sometimes those with smaller lids, coloring or particular eye shapes do not like doing a deep or dark crease, because it can make the eye look smaller. In those cases, a lighter look can also be achieved by covering more of the lid area with the pink highlighter, Chanel Beige (matte) or Chanel Lotus (shimmer). Other light-to middle toned colors from your collection would work as well, although I would go with a neutral to cooler shade to stay in step with the rest of these colors. Here is a link to some pictures that include three lighter tone grays to get you thinking. A cooler gold, a light khaki-green or soft lavender might also work.
Do you need this palette? If the idea of a deep, jewel-toned smoke appeals to you, then yes. If you are looking for less shimmer, you should look at the singles released with this collection: Taupe Griséand Vert Khaki (I’ll be reviewing both over the coming days–they are both gorgeous). Both of these singles evoke similar color tones to Enigma, but do so with heavier pigmentation and less shimmer. Even so, the colors of all of the Fall eyeshadows are all different from one another. There are no duplicates among them.
According to an email that I received from Chanel.com, the Enigma quad is a limited edition product (and so are the eyeshadow singles Taupe Grisé and Vert Khaki).