Skip to main content

making faces :: fall in, part 3 [the vamp stamp]

this post is almost a repeat, since i did a post including three favourite vampy lipsticks a while back, but even then, one of them [mac "tribalist"] was no longer available and in the interim tom ford has seen fit to discontinue "black orchid". that's a shame and i suspect that we'll see a mad rush on these on ebay, with buyers demanding ridiculous prices. i'm glad that i still have plenty left on mine.

but for those of you who are still searching for that perfect dark lipstick to set your halloween-loving heart a-flutter, i'm here to help. and by help, i mean recommend places where you can spend your money.

first, a word about what i mean by "vampy". there are lots of dark lipsticks. every company has darker shades. but truly vamp shades, the kind that channel silver screen icons like theda bara [ok, you only ever got to see her in black and white, but the term "vamp" was coined for her, so she's my go-to example], are a particular breed.

they are exceptionally deep, for starters. chanel "fatale" is a great fall red, but it's not a vamp colour. it's too bright.

but as dark as they are, they're not black. black is cold and sharp and modern. to me, there's something antiqued about a true vamp shade. 

by my definition [and it's my blog, so i get to impose these], there is no such thing as a purely cool vampy lipstick. ultra-dark cool purples are also too modern, just like black. a vampy purple will have a hint of red.

to that end, vamp shades are somewhat difficult to define in terms of colour, because they tend to be a mix of dark red, dark brown and dark purple. they may lean towards one, but the best ones contain elements of all three.

so given those points, here are a few of my very favourites that you can buy now and for the foreseeable future.

609, sorry for the finger smudge
armani :: rouge d'armani 609

this was initially released as a limited shade with a small collection called "downtown". the collection was just half a dozen lipstick shades, but i'm assuming that it was successful, despite a ridiculously low profile, because every single one of the shades has migrated into the permanent collection, including this one, which may be the be-all, end-all of vampy lipsticks.

it has the strange distinction of appearing somewhat sheer when swatched, but on lips it's completely opaque. for those who mourn the loss of "black orchid", this is the closest thing you're going to find. it's a bit browner, but they're very, very close. also, i prefer the rouge d'armani formula, which technically means that this one, in my books, is an improvement.

armani at its finest is a wonder to behold. pure class.

611
armani :: rouge d'armani 611

this is a recent release that i've reviewed already, but i can't not include it. you can see how it's redder and more opaque than #609, a little more cabernet to 609's barolo. i've nothing to add to my original review. i hope that this one is being made permanent, because it truly deserves its place in the department store sun. because it's a more opaque shade, i find it's just a little more dramatic than #609, despite being a wee smidgen lighter.

how i love thee.

chanel :: controversy

if you think all glosses are light on pigment, meet controversy. a new [and possibly permanent, i've heard conflicting things] addition to the chanel extrait de gloss line-up, it's a long-wearing, nearly opaque shade that truly meets the definition of vamp. it's not a deep colour done sheer. this is the real deal. yes, this is chanel's "heavy duty" gloss formula, but the fact is that i generally don't find them that close to opaque. but "controversy" is truly an untamed beast.

controversy
dark brown predominates, but there's definitely a healthy dose of purple and just a smidgen of red at work. it's a great colour that doesn't make me look drained, as many dark browns can do.

the greatest thing about this product, though, is the formula. dark glosses are notoriously uneven, which makes them annoying to apply, wear and layer. not "controversy". it goes on smooth, layers evenly and wears extremely well. it fades over a few hours to a stain with remarkable tenacity. so for once, it's a gloss with all the great properties of a lipstick. bravo, chanel. bravo.

[and lest we forget, the last time i did a list like this, i recommended chanel's "ballet russe" rouge coco lipstick. this remains an absolute favourite of mine, a deep plum brown with purple undertones.]

yves st. laurent :: prune avenue

there are a lot of things that yves st. laurent does well, but one thing that they've come to do better than anyone is deep, dramatic lipsticks. they increasingly own the dark end of the colour range like this shade, from their fall collection and possibly an addition to the permanent rouge pur couture range. [again, i've heard conflicting things.]

prune avenue
the purple predominates in this shade, but it has the bloody red-brown undertone that's just autumn perfection. applied, it's smooth and satiny, nearly matte, but not quite. i find it's difficult to overdo the colour, too, because it goes on in lighter layers. it isn't perfectly even on dry lips, but it's still good. maybe make sure that you exfoliate and dab a little balm, or use a lip primer if you believe in them. the formula is neither hydrating nor drying and the lasting time is terrific for something so lightweight.

yves st. laurent have a lot of dark options and, as mentioned above, i think that if you want a quality deep colour, they should be your first stop. [or armani, clearly, although they don't have the number of dark shades available that ysl does.] they all have that easy layering quality, which makes them adjustable to various situations, day and night. other shades to check out would be the deep berry "pourpre carmine" and the icy dark purple "pourpre divin". of course, they also have a fantastic selection of what i'll term the "near darks".

Comments

Bellyhead said…
I'm not a gloss kinda person, but the Chanel Controversy is glorious! That layered over a lipstick would be killer!
You have a really beautiful vamp collection!!
Kate MacDonald said…
Thanks Belly. Believe me, the vamp collection swatches could go on and on... Controversy is a gloss, but it almost leans toward being a liquid lipstick if you layer it. Definitely something to win over the gloss-averse girls like you and me.
Lucinda Veen said…
I agree that YSL does deep shades beautifully. One of my favorite lipsticks ever is Rouge Pur Couture in Belle de Rose, a dark purply-fuchsia berry. It's probably too bright and clear to be truly "vampy" by your standards, and it has no brown at all, but it's a gorgeous fall color.
Kate MacDonald said…
Hi Lucinda! Would you believe that I don't own Belle de Rose? From photos, it does look almost dark enough to meet even my overly-strict definition of a vampy lip.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

dj kali & mr. dna @ casa del popolo post-punk night

last night was a blast! a big thank you to dj tyg for letting us guest star on her monthly night, because we had a great time. my set was a little more reminiscent of the sets that i used to do at katacombes [i.e., less prone to strange meanderings than what you normally hear at the caustic lounge]. i actually invited someone to the night with the promise "don't worry, it'll be normal". which also gives you an idea of what to expect at the caustic lounge. behold my marketing genius.

mr. dna started off putting the "punk" into the night [which i think technically means i was responsible for the post, which doesn't sound quite so exciting]. i'd say that he definitely had the edge in the bouncy energy department.

many thanks to those who stopped in throughout the night to share in the tunes, the booze and the remarkably tasty nachos and a special thank you to the ska boss who stuck it out until the end of the night and gave our weary bones a ride home…

making faces :: i'll get you, my pretty

a word to the wise: never dis "the wizard of oz" in my presence. it was the first film i ever saw in a theatre. [in rerelease, not when it originally came out. although i'd bet you'd all want to know my anti-aging secrets...] i grew up with a record of the film [basically key points of dialogue and all the musical numbers] that i listened to almost every day for years. the only thing that got me through elementary school was the idea that i might be sucked up into a tornado and launched into a technicolour dimension full of talking animals and fabulous shoes. i'll be honest- i never could figure out what dorothy found so damned appealing about going back to dust-bowl era kansas to live in poverty, when she could have just stayed on in oz with all her friends, safe from the witch who wanted to euthanise her dog. especially since the emerald city was in need of an overseer. but the movie has played a pivotal role in my life and do not take kindly to its detractors.

eat the cup 2014, part eight :: sneaking one in

it's still been stiflingly hot here, which hasn't made me want to rush into the kitchen, no matter how many awesome cultures i have to catch up with in eat the cup, however it also occurred to me that this might be an opportunity to share a recipe from another blog that fits with the theme and represents a culture that i haven't yet covered: argentina.

it might come as a surprise that argentina have won every single game they've played, even if, like me, you've watched each of those games live. that sounds odd, but for a team tipped by many [me included] to win the entire tournament, their play has been listless [insofar as running about ten kilometres up and down a grassy pitch in the heat and humidity can seem listless] and in every game, they've relied on their superstar goalscorer lionel messi to wear out the three or four defenders charged with containing him. it's a strategy that produces 90+ minutes of mind-numbing boredom, with one to three minutes …