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making faces :: kate's kaleidoscopic adventures [probably part 1]

dontcha wish your girlfriend was hot like me?
there are a couple of "secrets" that anyone looking to market cosmetics to me should know:

1. i like deep, intense lipsticks.

2. i've always wanted eye shadows that mimicked the shifting colours of beetle shells and dragonfly wings.

that said, there's probably one more thing you should know:

armani has given me both with their new fall "kaleidoscope" collection. [also "kaleidoscope" is one of my favourite words.]

the collection has some serious meat on its bones. there are six new eyes to kill eye shadows, which i've gushed about before, two shadow plus blush palettes, the kind that debuted with last fall's collection and which now seem to form a part of each armani seasonal offering [always limited] and six rouge d'armani lipsticks. that's a lot of pretty to process.

when i met the collection at my local counter, they had only received three of the six lipsticks, but everything else had arrived. i'm not sure if the other lipsticks are en route or if they won't be seen on canadian counters. [it's possible that they'll only be seen at some canadian counters, of course.] however, there was still plenty to marvel over from what they did receive.

the two palettes are remarkable. i haven't decided whether or not i'll end up going back for one [or both?] of them, because at $95cad a piece, they're not something to be taken lightly, but i'd be lying if i said i wasn't tempted. [plus, as i've said before, when you do the math, $95 for three prestige brand shadows and a blush is not actually a bad price. it's just a big price to pay all at once.]

i did, however, surrender to the pretty to the tune of two eyes to kill shadows and one lipstick. for me, that actually means i exercised some restraint.

let's start with the eye candy.

although the eyes to kill shades are usually complex, being made up of blends of colours that create an overall multitonal effect, these ones raise the bar. almost all of them have a "duo-chrome" effect, meaning that they can look like a very different colour in different settings. what is most remarkable is that you get at least a hint of this duo-tone from almost every angle. i'll start the howl of self-loathing now: i am furious that i did not manage to capture more than a hint of the beauty of the two colours i purchased in swatch photos. i actually fared slightly better photographing them once they were applied, where the curve of my eyelids turns out to be a much more appropriate surface than the comparatively smooth one of my inner arm.

first up, we have "violet scarab", a bright cool lilac-purple with blue and silver overtones. it has a little too much cool clarity to be a pastel, because there is something quite icy in the shade. when i was doing reading on sci/art colour analysis, there was a great deal of attention paid to the importance of distinguishing between pastels, which are light colours that have some level of inherent softness to them and icy shades, which are light colours that seem sharp. "violet scarab" definitely falls into the latter category. it has an almost shocking brightness to it for such a light colour, enough that i'd catch my own attention if i got a glimpse of my eyes in a mirror while i was out and about. it almost glows like a star.

because it's a cool base with a cool overtone and because it has a lot of pigment, i think that this might be harder to pull off for ladies with a lot of warm tones. it can be sheered out a bit with a brush, but it's never going to mesh with golden or amber skin. for moderately to very cool-toned skin, however, this is an amazing colour. it needs very little in the way of embellishment, because it is so complex on its own.

i love purples, but this sort of vibrant, cool lighter shade is hard to come by. the lighter half of nars "demon lover" duo is a lot darker and bluer. mac "beautiful iris" is lighter [more so than it appears in these photos] and pinker. come to think of it, the three of them would look really nice used together...

l to r :: nars demon lover, violet scarab, mac beautiful iris

the second shade i purchased was "rose popilla". this is much more universal than "violet scarab" and i wouldn't be surprised to see it join the permanent collection later on. the base is a neutral beige-taupe-grey shade, kind of a deep putty colour, but it has a rosy pink sheen that's visible from almost every angle. it also has a significant amount of dirty gold in it, which warms it up without pushing it out of truly neutral territory.

swatched on the skin, it looks lighter than it does on the eyelids and in my photos... lighter still. forgive me, "rose popilla", for not showing your full beauty.

as soon as i saw it, i knew it reminded me of one thing: "vex", my most favourite mac shade ever. in fact, they're more different than i'd guessed. "vex" has a grey-green base that's a lot lighter than "rose popilla", as well as a lot cooler in tone, but both are perfect neutrals with a visible pink sheen that makes them fascinating to look at.

l to r :: rose popilla, mac vex

i must say that the formula on these shades seems silkier and smoother than ever. it doesn't have the super-sparkly effect of some of the other eyes to kill shadows, so if that's put you off before, you might want to give these a second look. the wear time is as incredible as ever. short of spending the night in my makeup, i'm not going to be able to tell you how long they last, but take it from me: they'll be there as long as you need them. likewise, they are extremely resistant to fading, so what you see at the end of the day is actually very similar to what you see at the end. i did find "violet scarab" ever-so-slightly more prone to some faint creasing or uneven wear after eight or nine hours than other eyes to kill shadows, but hey, no one's perfect, right?

it would be easy to get so wrapped up in the effervescent, magical qualities of the eye shadows that you could forget the half a dozen lipsticks that are there to join them. and what a shame that would be. all of them are strong, fall-ready shades: bright oranges, reds and rich plums all begging for the muted light of fall. a girl like me could go a little apeshit...

but i limited myself for the moment to buying one, #611, a deep cabernet red with a bit of a brown undertone that pulls it just slightly warm. it's definitely a vampier lipstick shade, although i find the red strong enough that it doesn't come off looking incredibly heavy.

as with every rouge d'armani i've ever tried, the formula is perfection. the colour is perfectly even, latches on to lips for hours and yet never feels dry or drying. it won't feather or bleed and as it fades, it does so evenly.

but is this a shade that you need? well, that depends. if you think the colour looks intimidating, more powerful than you'd normally wear, no. what you see is very much what you get. and if you have other deep red-plum or vamp shades, you may well have something similar. if you're me, you definitely have some similar things, although that doesn't mean you'd have an exact dupe. in fact, i was pleasantly surprised at how it fit right into the flow from plum red to full-on vamp that i have going in my lipstick collection. it's also interesting to see how many of these come from armani...

#608, supposedly limited from 2011 but still available [and appears to be on a semi-permanent basis], is lighter, clearer and cooler. #408, limited from last fall's collection, is a bit lighter and bluer. #609 [released in the same collection as #608 and also still available] is darker and browner. tom ford "black orchid" is darker still.

l to r :: armani 608, armani 408, 611, armani 609, tom ford black orchid [d.c.]
yeah. me likey the dark reds and plums. and if you like them too, #611 is probably going to make your heart flutter like beetles' wings.

what can i say? this collection might as well have my face stamped on the packaging. [but aren't you glad it doesn't?] the worst thing i can say about it is that it feels like the lips all go together and the eye shades and palettes all go together, but the twain don't necessarily meet. i can live with that. when the products are this wonderful, i'm not going to complain. i named this post "part 1" for a reason: i already know that i want more from this collection and it's just a matter of time until i make my way back to the counter to collect again.

officially, all products from this collection are limited. unofficially, the lipsticks may well hang around and if the eyes to kill shades perform well, a couple of them may be around longer term as well.

here are two looks [including one where, contrary to what i just said, i did manage to combine one of the eye shades with the lip colour] that i came up with to test out the performance of these new goodies.

"violet scarab"

i'd classify this look as a bright winter. i suppose it could work for a true winter as well, but i somehow see "violet scarab" as a bit too lively and sparkly for that.

the base
gosh velvet touch primer
mac paint pot "painterly"
guerlain parure de lumiere foudnation "beige clair 01"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"

the eyes
armani eyes to kill e/s "violet scarab" [bright icy lilac with silver/ blue shift]
mac mega-metal e/s "noir plum" [deep cool purple]*
hourglass e/s "prism" [black with silver sparkle]
mac superslick liquid liner "on the hunt" [black patent]
ysl baby doll mascara

the cheeks
illamasqua blush "katie" [light cool pink]
rouge bunny rouge highlighting liquid "sea of clouds" [luminous white]

the lips
ysl glossy stain "violet edition" [deep plum purple]

"rose popilla"

the high contrast here plus the slight sootiness of "rose popilla" makes this look a dark winter one to me. agree?

the base
armani fluidmaster primer
armani maestro foundation "2"
nars radiant creamy concealer "vanilla"
mac paint pot "painterly"

the eyes
armani eyes to kill shadow "rose popilla" [beige-taupe with pink-gold shift]
burberry e/s "antique pink" [dusty plum pink]
mac e/s "satin taupe" [warm taupe with silver-grey shimmer]
mac e/s "dazzlelight" [satin ivory]
gosh pen e/l "brown" [dark matte brown]
givenchy noir couture mascara "satin brown"
ysl baby doll mascara

the cheeks
mac beauty powder "briar rose" [cool deep pink]*
bobbi brown highlight powder "porcelain pearl" [soft white]*

the lips
rouge d'armani l/s "611" [dark plum red]

the fall collection is available at armani counters everywhere and, if you're a canadian fan, here's a little news to put some spring in your fall step: starting in september, armani counters will begin appearing in the bay. there's already one in the yorkdale mall in toronto, but next month, other urban centres will see the slick new counter design and have greater access to armani than ever! [thanks to perilously pale for that tip!]

swatches of the entire armani kaleidoscope collection can be found at color me loud [also here and here and here  and kai's obsessions. and possibly, eventually here.

finally, the little guy at the top of this post is a dogbane beetle and i grabbed his image from here.


Bellyhead said…
I LOVE Violet Scarab on you! The new ETK were very tempting, but I don't think I'd use them very often to make it worth it for me, especially with the intesity of the duochrome.
And thank you so much for putting Black Orchid into the comparison picture. #609 is so very close!
Kate MacDonald said…
It was funny, because I saw the comment on your Black Orchid post just after I'd finished swatching them, which had just shown me exactly how similar they are. I'd always heard that 609 was limited, but it's still up on Armani's site, listed alongside all the other colours. So for the time being, we have a Black Orchid back-up. :)

Oh, and if you are tempted by the EtK shadows, you may want to give Rose Popilla a look. It's much more neutral and less "LOOK AT ME".
Lucinda Veen said…
This is as good a time as any to say that I really love your blog--I had a great time reading back through your archives yesterday. (I think I'm a bright winter, too--at least, we have very similar coloring and taste in lipstick.)

Violet Scarab is a beautiful color; it reminds me a lot of NARS Strada, although Strada has more sparkle and the lavender is less intense when worn.
Kate MacDonald said…
Thank you very much Lucinda!! I don't have Strada, but it is one that I remember looking at in the Nars display. The frustration that I've always had with these sorts of shades is that my lids seem to "dampen" them (muting colours is apparently typical of bright winters, which is another argument that I might be one). "Violet Scarab" stays very bright and fresh looking for hours- HOORAY!

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