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making faces :: a second swing around the kaleidoscope

i didn't expect that it would be this long before i did a second review of products from armani's stunning fall kaleidoscope collection, but i allowed myself to become distracted with the splendour of, among other things, their new rouge ecstasy lipsticks and i can't very well put my entire makeup purchasing budget towards armani. [can i?]

the good news is that the products from this collection are hanging around. the limited edition cheek and eye palettes continue to be available on line and at some counters, as do the lipsticks and the eyes to kill shadows. in fact, on the armani web site, which i take to be the 'bible' of what is permanent and what is limited, both the eyes to kill shadows and the rouge d'armani lipsticks seem to have been shuffled over to the permanent collections, which is tremendous news for beauty fans everywhere. armani is definitely one of the pricier brands out there- on par with yves st. laurent, chanel and guerlain- so it's always nice to have the option of taking your time with purchases.

then again, it's also nice to indulge the part of you that screams "I WANT IT NOW!!!". [mine screams especially loud when i pass an armani counter.]



the two items that i picked up were the ones that i had as "runners up" from my first round with this collection: the rouge d'armani lipstick in "610", a deep plum purple shade, and "blue beetle", one of the other eyes to kill shadows [also known simply as #34].

i'll start with the lipstick, since it's the more straightforward of the two. it's a deep purple shade with a very little red to it. it's not entirely opaque and after a couple of hours of wear, it forms a strong grape-like stain on the lips that's dramatic without being over the top. a daytime vampy lip? a vampy lip with training wheels? the red tinge keeps the purple from looking too cool and eerie, which darker, bluer purples can.

610
610
the rouge d'armani formula is probably the most consistent one on the market, which means that every shade is even, long-wearing and comfortable. i did notice that this one was a little bit drier on the lips than other shades, but not by a lot. it was the same in every other respect.

the shade is quite similar to another rouge d'armani, #604, but at the same time, it isn't. #604 is where you would go once you were ready to take the training wheels off, because it's bluer and darker and decidedly more opaque. of course, it also seems to have been discontinued, so it's possible that #610 was designed as a slightly less gothic replacement. if you love such colours, you'd find different uses for both. if you're not inclined to wear deep purples a lot, you'd be fine choosing one or the other.

l to r :: 610, rouge d'armani 604 [d.c.]
"blue beetle" is... i don't even know where to begin. i don't buy a lot of blues and teals, because i can't wear them terribly well, but when i saw this, there was no question, i had to have it. i felt like it was worth buying if all i ever did was take it out and swatch it occasionally, to admire its reflections on my skin. when we saw the collection originally at the armani counter, this was dom's favourite item. he couldn't believe i waited on purchasing it.

the shade itself is dreamy, both in the sense that it is beautiful, but also in the sense that it hardly seems real. it's not a single colour, it's more like looking at light being filtered through layers of diaphanous fabric. the base colour is, i think, a dark grey-blue, but all you really end up getting from that in terms of what you see is that there's a smokiness underlying everything and giving it a bit of weight. the most intense impression is that of a reflective blue-teal, very much like the shell of a beetle. there's something almost kinetic about this colour, in that it's constantly shifting, morphing, hovering over the darker base. and at certain angles, you get a distinct sheen of purple over the teal. i tried and failed to capture this in photos, but you get a hint of it at the top and bottom of the swatch, if you look carefully.

blue beetle
i can't stress this enough: you will never get an adequate impression of this shade from pictures on line. you need to see it in person or, if the description appeals to you, commit to buying it sight unseen. the nice thing about very complex shades is that they tend to be flattering over a fairly broad range of skin tones- there is a greater chance that there is some element that can connect to a person's own colouring when there is a range of hue represented in the eyeshadow.

i've been a huge fan of armani's eyes to kill shadows for years and i stand by my assertion that the ones from this collection represent an improvement on a formula that i would have sworn couldn't be improved. the shades in the kaleidoscope collection are smoother and have more sheen with less sparkle, so they're a little less flashy than some of the earlier shades. there is always a small amount of fallout with these shadows, so i'd recommend doing your eye makeup first, wiping any traces off your cheeks and then applying foundation.

although i do have some teal shades, there is really nothing to compare to "blue beetle". i've swatched it here next to mac "pre-packaged", which is a bit deeper and greener, but in use, these look nothing alike.

l to r :: blue beetle, mac pre-packaged [l.e.]
i do think that i managed to capture some of the elusive qualities of this shadow in the look i did with both of the products reviewed here, however i also find that the effect looks rather frosty. that wasn't the case in person- it really looked very smooth over the entire lid and ironically, i think i got a couple of rough shots with my phone that give a more accurate impression of how the shadow looks, even though the quality of the pictures is clearly inferior.



as for the following look, i'm not sure that this shows the products at their best, however i suspect that this is because i was actually distracted by the fact that my blouse just did not want to stay smooth and flat under the sweater i was wearing. little irritants like this ruin my whole day.





here's a list of everything i used for the look above:

the base ::
marcelle cc cream "light/ medium"
urban decay naked skin foundation "1.0"
dior firming concealer "010"
nars eyeshadow primer
nars light reflecting setting powder

the eyes ::
rbr e/s "snowy egret" [dirty white-gold]
rbr e/s "golden rhea" [peachy gold]
armani e/s "blue beetle" [iridescent smoked teal with purple sheen]
rbr e/s "eclipse eagle" [shimmery purple-grey]
mac e/s "jungle moon" [matte eggplant]*
inglot e/s "351" [matte ivory highlight]
ysl faux cils eye liner "sea black" [blackened navy with blue shimmer]
hourglass film noir mascara

the cheeks ::
rbr blush "gracilis"

the lips ::
armani l/s "610" [deep grape purple]

*suggested alternates :: jungle moon = mac shadowy lady [darker, bluer] or nars eurydice [purple shade- lighter] + matte black to deepen

this collection continues to be available on line at armani [if you're in the united states], although at the time of my writing this, "blue beetle" is not in stock. nordstrom still had everything last time i checked. i actually picked up both items at local counters- "610" from holt renfrw and "blue beetle" from the brand new armani counter at the bay in downtown montreal. although rumoured to have been limited, there is nothing currently on armani's web site that would indicate that these shades will not continue to be available for the foreseeable future.

i'll just put this out there now: it's possible i still haven't finished with this collection, even though spring 2014 is popping up at counters all over.

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