last fall, dior revamped their existing 5-shadow palettes with a new formula and all new colour combinations. brands do this periodically to keep up with trends and stimulate interest in all teh nuu thingz. i delayed on picking up one of the new dior palettes partly because i was sort of overwhelmed with new lip options, but also because i hadn't been the biggest fan of dior's past palettes. it's not that i disliked them- many of them seemed good. i just found the shades more often than not didn't seem that unique and that many of them had a lot of frost, which is unkind to my eyelids. that said, some of the new options were tempting. [i also like the slimmer, sleeker packaging, although that's purely a subjective thing.]
|old dior, new skinnier dior|
as it happens, i'm inclined to believe that she saw something that i missed, because having eventually decided that i should give it a try, i'm very happy with the results. while it is possible to end up with a heavier look, it's also very possible to avoid. plus, it nicely sidesteps one of the issues i generally had with other dior palettes, which is that they often contain multiple light frosty shades that look more or less the same when applied. that does seem to be an issue with some of the new palettes as well, but it certainly isn't a problem with "cuir cannage", as you'll soon see.
the first shade, in the upper left corner of the palette, is a gorgeous-looking oxblood-plum colour with an understated frosted finish. sadly, the colour in the pan loses a lot on the skin. it's not bad, although the texture is a little dry at first swipe, so it's a shade that's better built up a bit. the problem is that the purple/ plum tones that are so evident at first glance just disappear and so it becomes a deep, warm brown with a barely visible shimmer. very pretty, but i was really hoping for that rich purple-ness to contrast the gold tones of the other shades.
it's not entirely dissimilar to mac "satin taupe", which is lighter and cooler. [although i didn't swatch them side by side, i think that it would also be similar to mac "twinks", but again, the dior shade is a bit darker.]
|l to r :: mac satin taupe, cuir cannage #1|
the second shade is the highlight colour of the palette, although it's a bit darker than a straight highlighter. surprisingly, i found that, combined with the other colours, i could use this as a brow highlight even on my pale complexion, without it looking muddy. in fact, it's pretty versatile, since it has enough colour to work on the lid alongside its peers, or, applied lightly, as a touch of light to offset them. it's a creamy peach shade with a frosted, but not too frosted, finish. the colour payoff on this one was very smooth and even, which isn't always the case with a lighter colour like this. well done.
|cuir cannage #2|
the icy peach from guerlain "les tendres" is whiter and frostier. le metier de beauté "nouvelle" is pinker and frostier as well. compared to those two, "cuir cannage" doesn't look like a frosted colour at all.
|l to r :: guerlain les tendres [l.e.], cuir cannage #2, lmdb nouvelle [l.e.]|
the centre shade of our quincunx is a nearly matte dark ochre gold. it's dark enough that it could be called a brown. i'm not going to argue with you if you want to say it's brown. it's very silky and just a titch powdery, but not so much as to be problematic. it adheres well and doesn't sheer out on application unless you really want it to. although we're starting to see colours like this crop up more often, this remains a pretty distinct offering. it's incredibly flattering in the crease, and you could make a lovely eye to pair with a dramatic lip using just this, the highlight and some liner. but it's just as good used on the lid.
|cuir cannage #3|
the limited edition mac shade "natural wilderness" is a few tones lighter and yellower, but it's about the closest i have.
|l to r :: cuir cannage #3, mac natural wilderness [l.e.]|
in the lower right corner of the palette, is a warm black. it looks like a very dark brown when seen alongside the other shades, but it swatches black. the texture of this one was similar to the first shade, in that it seemed a little dry and stiff at first, but layered well. it works as both a shadow and as a soft liner, depending on what brush you use.my recommendation would be to pat this colour in place and to be cautious about blending it too much, as it can sheer out. once it set, though, its performance was excellent. a lot of blacks fade noticeably, but this one really hung on.
|cuir cannage #4|
finding a nuanced black is trickier than you would think. a lot of black shades are just plain matte black, whereas you really can see the heat in this one. a true black would look stark and awkward next to all the warm colours in this palette. on the other hand, there are a lot of darker shades here, so a deep brown, like the darkest colour from yves st. laurent's "saharienne" palette, would be too light. i've compared them for you to see the differences.
|l to r :: cuir cannage #4, ysl saharienne|
finally, we have what i consider to be the beauty queen of the palette. it's a frosted brown-gold with a distinctive copper-pink undertone that makes it very different from other colours. at times it looks almost taupe, but it's much warmer than other taupes. the texture is perfection: smooth, richly and evenly pigmented, lustrous like a metal but not flashy, which would be out of keeping with the brooding quality of the palette overall.
|cuir cannage #5|
rouge bunny rouge "bohemian waxwing" is a good deal cooler [that's a taupe!], while mac "sable" is redder and browner.
|l to r :: rbr bohemian waxwing, cuir cannage #5, mac sable|
with the colours being in the same warm golden spectrum, this is the sort of palette that's going to lend itself to a softer look, with the shades softly moving from one to another. the silky texture heightens this effect, making it exceptionally easy to blend them [almost a little too easy with the darker shades]. there aren't going to be any sharp contrasts here unless you take considerable pains to create them. the default look, if you want to think of it that way, is a rich golden brown degradé that is immensely flattering for blue eyes and that will tend to highlight yellow tones found within the eye, no matter what the colour. having taken the time to play with it a bit, i can see why this was the first one that the dior artist would have suggested.
here's a look using all five shades from the palette [not a requirement by any means, but feasible], where i've used the following placement:
- the creamy peach shade on the inner part of the lid and under the brow bone
- the deep ochre on the middle to outer lid
- the plummy brown on the outer angle and in the crease
- the warm black on the outer "v" of the eye, including the outer part of the lower lash line
- the pinky copper gold shade used to diffuse the edges of the plummy brown above the crease and tapped along the lower lash line
i also used urban decay "demolition" along the upper lash line and dior "new look" mascara. [i would like to state once again that i really prefer this formula to the much more hyped "diorshow".]
my face is urban decay naked skin 1.0 foundation with nars radiant creamy concealer in "vanilla" with mac "shy beauty" blush and hourglass "mood light" ambient lighting powder on the cheeks. my immediate inclination was to go with something plum or berry coloured on the cheeks, but i sort of like the softness of this combo.
the lipstick is nars "vendanges", because it's important to remember with all the audaciousness that nars has going on, that the rest of their shades are pretty awesome as well. i was originally planning on doing a berry coloured lip with this look and i think that would be a great combination [possibly better?], but i wear berry colours so damn often that i wanted to go for something different. because comfortable ruts must be challenged!
my final reaction to the palette is that it's very good. it's the sort of thing i can see reaching for a lot, mostly because i've already seen myself reaching for it a lot. it's not the sort of thing that necessarily catches your eye from across the room, because there's nothing shocking to it, but it's clearly not a strict neutral palette either. it is, in all senses, easy on the eyes.
p.s. :: the photo at the top is of mayhem performing at the wacken festival in 2004 and it embodies everything that comes into my mind when i think of the phrase "queer carnage".
p.p.s. :: dom tells me that "cannage" actually means canning, as in fruit or fish. technically, that makes the name of this palette "canned leather", which does actually sound like a bad gay softcore porn film set in a prison run by the guy in the photo above.