27 December 2011

making faces :: mac + guinness- a match made in kate's personal heaven?

when i first heard that mac cosmetics was doing a line with beer heiress daphne guinness, i had this wonderful idea where, if you bought two or more items from the collection, you'd get a free 4-pack of her tasty, tasty brew, provided you had some sort of i.d. to prove it wasn't illegal for you to get one. sadly, that didn't come to pass and the aesthetic and alcoholic parts of my personality were forced to remain separate. i still think that the promotion would have encouraged people to buy more. as would plying them with guinness at mac stores, but for some reason, no one ever takes my brilliant marketing campaign suggestions.

this actually isn't the first time daphne guinness, who seems to be best known as a style icon, has paired up with a cosmetics company. she was actually the face of nars' fall 2010 campaign, which introduced [among other things] the eponymous "daphne" eye shadow, an intense royal purple shade. i'm assuming that the purple was something she inspired, because her collection with mac also shows a preference for cooler, violet tinged tones across the board. those with more golden-coloured skin are going to have a tougher time making these products work. for my part, it's a colour palette i love- greys and purples and cooler pinks. sorry golden girls, but remember that pretty much every other collection ever launched will suit you. give us pasty ladies a chance.

the collection mixes new and re-promoted shades in a way that i like. i think that there's a good balance between new things to try and limited items that people have been hoping to see again. [rumour has it that mac will be doing a collection entirely of favourites you might have missed at some time this year. i suspect it'll be their best-selling collection ever, given the hype around some of the hard-to-find mac items from history.]

unfortunately, the thing that i was looking forward to the most turned out to be the collection's biggest disappointment, the "interior life" eye shadow quad. a mix of icy pink, mauve, grey and midnight blue [the latter, heather belles, being the only re-promoted shade, from one of last year's holiday palettes], it's the sort of thing that i figured would be a no-brainer. except that the q.c. team assigned to this item was evidently made up of no-brainers. that sounds harsh, but as a long-time fan of mac's limited edition quads, i've been incredibly frustrated by the decline in quality this year. i bought almost all the ones that came out last year and i'm happy with every single purchase. this year, the quality has been shockingly weak, with only a couple of exceptions. pull up your socks, mac!

there are some good parts to the collection, most notably the return of the blush ombres, a silky, buildable blush with a gradient of colour in a pan large enough that you can choose from either side or swirl them together.

 
azalea blossom
vintage grape



these were originally introduced with the spring colour forecast collection in 2010 [now that was an amazing collection, mac] and the two cooler shades- in keeping with the overall look- are back. "azalea blossom" is a combination of a cool bright pink and a soft lavender. it's an amazingly flattering blush on cooler skin tones and one of my favourites, because it just makes my complexion glow. "vintage grape" is a mix of deep plum pink and a purple-red. applied too heavily on fair skin, this can look like a bruise, but a light hand gives great results. i love that this can be a sort of dramatic contour or a lighter, daytime-friendly shade. both have the same gorgeous formula and both are likely to move fairly quickly- especially azalea blossom. they're $31cad each, which is more than a regular blush, but it's well worth it for the formula and the fact that they're much larger than a regular blush.

azalea blossom- pink/ lavender swatched separately and mixed
vintage grape- plum/ burgundy swatched separately and mixed

circa plum dry/ wet
the collection also has a trio of very nice pigments- aurora, a light rosy taupe; nebula dark grey-brown with a sheen; and circa plum, a shimmery, slightly warm mauve with a silvery sheen. circa plum has been available before [although not for some time] and the other two are new. aurora, as the most neutral, is something that will likely sell well. i personally thought that it was a lot like a warmer [yes, it's probably the warmest shade in the launch] version of "mauvement" pigment, although the texture is smoother. nebula seems to be a little lighter and greyer than last year's cult favourite "bloodline" pigment. because i have shades that are fairly close, i passed on these two colours [it takes so long to go through a jar of these magical loose powders that i really can't justify having shades that are too similar], but circa plum is simply a must-have in my books. it's a stunning shade, subtle but effective, that is different enough applied dry vs. wet that you're essentially getting two products in one.

red dwarf
there are also four prolongwear lip cremes, all limited edition, with the collection, a cool silver, a deep burgundy, a lovely medium purple [that unfortunately looks like a lot of purples mac has already released this year, which makes it less special] and, the one that i picked, a cool berry shade called "red dwarf". well come on, with a name like that, i was predisposed to it anyway. although it doesn't look like it should be that distinctive, i could not find anything comparable, despite my admirable collection of berry, deep pink and cool red shades. observe:



"red dwarf" middle column at centre


on the left, going from top to bottom, you have guerlain "bee", which is more purple and noticeably darker [with more of a shiny finish], the old mac limited edition shade "full body", which looked similar at first, but is warmer, darker and more sheer and guerlain's rouge automatique "l'heure bleue", which is redder, brighter and has a faint shimmer.

red dwarf
in the middle, on top, you have inglot shade "134", which i had thought would be close, but which is actually quite a bit deeper and brighter. next to it "red dwarf" [which is right underneath] looks almost red. yves st. laurent's rouge volupté in "exquisite plum" is about the closest i found, but it's clearly a bit darker and more purple [as well as much shinier]. on the right hand side, you have the limited edition shade "rapturous", also from mac, which is deeper and redder.

"red dwarf" is the kind of shade that's fitting for a lot of different people and a lot of different occasions. it's priced at $20cad, which makes it a little more expensive than a regular mac lipstick, presumably because its long-wearing formula means it will take longer to use. i do find that the formula wears very well without drying your lips, a problem with many "long-lasting" products. they have a slight sheen when applied, but quickly settle to a near-matte finish. they remind me of nars' semi-matte lipsticks, actually, although they're just a little softer.

red dwarf
the collection also includes eye liners [in the much-loved "powerpoint" formula]], nail polishes [which look pretty] and cremesheen glosses. those glosses have a lot of fans, but i'm not one of them. they're too sheer for my tastes and don't last nearly long enough. that said "narcissus" a pinky-purple shade like a bright iris, is quite unique and i think it'll be a favourite with many mac fans.

the blushes, circa plum and red dwarf are the cream of the crop here. the shadow quad is its nadir. overall, my reaction to this collection is not dissimilar to my reaction to most mac collections this year: has a few high points, but it seems like it could have been much better.

here's a look i did with "red dwarf", azalea blossom" and some shades from previous mac collections that i felt had a similar feel, but performed better. i did include "heather belles", since i had it from its previous release. for those who might have picked up items from the "palace pedigreed" collection [part of "fabulous felines", another great example of mac doing things really well], the shades in "daphne guinness" have a similar feel.

face ::
mac prolongwear foundation "nc15"
dr. hauschka concealer "01"

eyes ::
mac e/s "courtly"* [light greyed mauve]
mac e/s "quite spoiled"* [shimmery medium mauve]
mac e/s "heather belles"* [blackened indigo]
mac e/s "rosy outlook"* [pale pink]
mac superslick liquid liner "smoky heir" [dark purple]
benefit they're real mascara

cheeks ::
mac blush ombre "azalea blossom"* [light cool pink- blended colour]

lips ::
mac prolongwear l/s "red dwarf"* [raspberry pink-red]

you can also see a look with "circa plum" pigment here and several looks with azalea blossom blush ombre assembled here and with vintage grape assembled here [yeah, i wear these a lot.]

the daphne guinness collection is available at all mac stores and department store counters and on line at maccosmetics.com or maccosmetics.ca.


and don't worry if not all your products were a hit, daphne. to cheer you, here's a photo of your biggest fan, enjoying the stuff that made you famous:


2 comments:

xasperadastra said...

great review! I love purples altough I'm a "warm" one! I'll take Azalea B. Narcissus and Aurora when the collection will launch here.. I decided to not get red dwarf because I have something similar and I don't use it so often!

flora_mundi said...

Narcissus will look lovely on you. I'm trying to cut back on the glosses myself, since I've discovered through careful observation that I don't wear them very often... Glad you liked the review!

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