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making faces :: pugh pugh pugh

something for everybody [else]
every year in late november, mac cosmetics puts out a "couture" collection, with special packaging, limited items and higher prices. and every year, there's a debate among mac fans as to whether or not the items are worth the extra coin. there's never a consensus, of course, and enough people seem to like the idea that mac keeps doing it, no matter what people think of the pricing.

i've personally always had mixed feelings about these collections and skipped all of them until last year's collaboration with furniture designer marcel wanders, where a combination of the attractive packaging and eye-pleasing colours drew me in. [i've already featured "gesina", from the collection in my "little red book" series.]

yes, this is exactly what i think of when i hear "gareth pugh"
this year, mac has teamed with fashion designer gareth pugh, known for edgy, alien looks on the runway, to create a "modern goth" sort of collection to tempt their fans. the palette is made up of silver, purple and cool neutrals, something which just seems made for me, even though it seems like the sort of thing that could only be worn by an androgynous six-foot model with a twenty inch waist and cheekbones jutting out as far as his/ her shoulders.

prices for the collection are high by mac standards, but roughly equivalent to brands like chanel and yves st. laurent. i'm willing to grant mac some leeway because the packaging is special and the products [in some cases] have different formulations than regular mac products, but on average, i'd expect them to compare favourably to items in the same price range. i mention this because everyone is going to have their own system for evaluation.

there are a couple of new cream shadows that were supposed to launch with the collection, but as far as i can tell, no one's received them. since cream shadows and i don't get along as a rule, it's unlikely i would have tried them anyway, but it's worth noting that these are apparently a new formulation of mac's old "metal x" shadows and that there will be a whole collection of them launching in the new year. this was to be a little "teaser" for those.

it's packaging... but it's special!
other than those, for eyes, there are two pigments- deceit and guise- a shimmery blackened purple and a very sparkly silver. in canada, these retail for $38.50, as opposed to $24.00 for a regular pigment. and they're half the size. now, to be honest. i've never finished a pigment in my life and i don't even think i've gone through half, so it's not like you'll go through these in record time, but it's a lot more to pay for a lot less. in terms of the shades, "deceit" is almost identical to the permanent pigment "deep purple". it's a lovely shade, but it does beg the question of why you'd want to get the limited version. "guise" is quite similar to the giorgio armani limited eyes to kill shadow in silver that's been released for the holidays, which retails for $42 in canada, but gives you more product than you get in "guise". in all honesty, i think there are likely a lot of silver shades like this for less, although no exact dupes are springing to mind. to me, because they're easily duplicated and because they're such a bad deal compared to regular mac pigments [and because i already have "deep purple" and several silver shades], these were no temptation.

ANYTHING ELSE WORTH DISHING OUT FOR? more after the break...



for the face, there is the annual "beauty powder", a light finishing/ highlight powder that comes out in some variation with each of these collections. the powder this year is soft and light [much too light for darker-skinned ladies to wear, in my opinion, without it turning ashy] and looks a lot like the slightly meeker cousin of the highlight powder that chanel has released with its holiday collection. now here's where mac's currency gouging comes back to bite them. in canada, the beauty powder retails for $72 [it's $60 in the u.s.], while the chanel powder retails for $76. for $4, the chanel powder is worth it, since it's bigger and gives more of a lamplit glow to the skin.

l to r :: outrage lip gloss, strada blush
mac has also chosen to promote my favourite blush of all time, strada. it's a very cool-neutral taupe, appropriate for fairer skin [it won't show up on darker skin] and perfect to contour and give a little bit of colour to the cheeks. i used it in this look [and the one below]. although it was discontinued from their regular line, it is still available from mac pro stores in pan form [meaning you'll need a palette to put it in, which can be purchased at mac too]. and that's how you should buy it. the special version is much smaller than the regular version and much more expensive [$36.50 for the limited version vs. $20 for the pan version.]

i had a lot of hope for the two lipsticks in this collection- "fervent" an ultra-dark shade of purple and "restrict", a very light, cool, neutral-mauve. both apparently are a new type of formula, which includes silicon, meant to be soft, easy to apply and long-lasting. i can't comment on how long they last, but they are easy to apply. they're just not easy to apply evenly. i found that both looked very patchy, even after a couple of passes, which was frustrating because they are both colours that i really liked. "fervent" is similar to mac's "cyber", but has more red and less grey in it, so i imagine it will be easier to wear for a wider variety of people. it's somewhat similar [though a lot glossier] than the limited edition shade "bing". yves st. laurent "noir laque" is warmer/ browner, as is tom ford "black orchid".

"restrict" was a little more distinctive, in that there weren't any immediate matches that sprung to mind. inglot #151 is cooler/ more purple, but somewhat similar.

outrage lip glass
about the only product that really appealed to me from this launch were the two glosses [ahem- lipglasses]- "outrage" a berry-purple base with green/ blue shimmer and "vacant" a very light, icy violet shade. both are pretty and, because the special containers have a narrow opening, they apply more precisely than mac's regular glosses. they feel somewhat similar to chanel's glossimers, but in this case, they're $27, as opposed to $31 for chanel.

"vacant" is the easier shade to duplicate, in that there are a lot of what i call "ice queen" glosses out there- if you have shades like "icescape" or "docile" from past limited collections, or even "nico" from the regular line, you don't really need this.

"outrage" bears some similarity to "date night" from mac, although the shimmer differentiates it, and to givenchy's "celestial black", although the base colour of "outrage" is purple rather than black. this, to me, was the launch's high point [if you don't count "strada"].

in the end, i felt sort of deflated, because with the shades used, this could have been a wonderful collection, if it was done in regular packaging, at regular prices. and if they'd concentrated on making the products as good as they could be. instead, there are some lovely letdowns and in most cases, it's difficult to justify the inflated prices, even if you think [as i do] that the packaging is spiffy.

here are a couple of the products in use. i'd say that the collection itself- the imagery used for it and the palette of colours- was a definite inspiration for everything i used, but in a way, it reassured me that i didn't need to purchase anything else from the pugh collection.

products used

face ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
lush colour supplement "jackie oates"

eyes ::
mac e/s "melt my heart"* [light grey-silver]
mac pigment "platinum" [metallic silver]
armani eyes to kill e/s "pulp fiction" [deep pinkish silver]
bobbi brown e/s "black sparkle" [sheer black with silver glitter]
mac fluidline eye liner "blacktrack" [black]
mac eye kohl "fascinating" [white]
benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
mac mineralize skinfinish "lightscape"* [cool pinkish white]
mac blush "strada" [cool neutral taupe]

lips ::
mac l/g "outrage"* [berry-purple with green shimmer]

*suggested alternates :: melt my heart = mac electra; lightscapade = guerlain meteorites "teint rose"; outrage = givenchy celestial black [cooler base]

oh and fyi, for those who think that this looks a little too tame or mundane, you might be interested to know that mac is bringing back its cult classic black lipstick "black knight" for one day only- friday, november 25th [aka "black friday" in the u.s.]. it'll be available only "while supplies last", meaning that if you want it, you should probably sit your ass down in front of your computer on thursday night, brew a pot of coffee and get ready to start hitting "refresh" on your web browser every five seconds starting at 11:59. yeah, it gets that crazy.

"black knight" isn't the only black lipstick on the market- makeup forever and illamasqua have versions that are more opaque- but it is nicely glossy, which most aren't. my advice on this one, since it does let some of your lip colour peek through if you're not careful, is to fill in your lips with either a dark red or purple lip liner [if you want to give a bit of a "berry" tone to the lipstick] or a black one[if you want to keep its neutral black character. note: your black lip liner may be cleverly disguised as "eye liner" in your collection.

here's a look at "black knight", with a black liner underneath. probably not great for the office, but excellent for cocktails and mayhem.



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