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making faces :: another grande dame from nars

when most people think of the leading ladies of french cinema, their minds probably go to brigitte bardot, certainly the country's best known sex symbol. however, the real grande dame of the golden era that produced so many of france's most lauded films is jeanne moreau. she is the recipient of a number of awards for her performances in europe and has worked with some of the most famous directors in cinema. no less than orson wells, who worked with her on three different films, called her the greatest actress in the world. her best known performance was probably the captivating but perfidious leading lady in françois truffaut's jules et jim, a film school staple considered one of the high water marks of postwar french cinema.

moreau seems to have decided early on that she wanted to be an actress, pursuing the career from the age of sixteen. she started out on stage, working with the prestigious comédie française by the time she was in her early twenties. while one of her early films, louis malle's les amants, got her tagged as the "new bardot", it became obvious very quickly was that she did not want to be a screen siren, but a serious actress who took on challenging roles.

indeed, in her personal life, moreau's circle of friends included artists, philosophers and writers. she had off-screen relationships with both malle and truffaut, as well as designer pierre cardin and the equally iconic miles davis. [she also had two marriages, to french actor and director jean-louis richard and a short-lived one to william friedkin, the director of the french connection and the exorcist. academy award winning director tony richardson left his wife vanessa redgrave for her, but the two never married.]

jeanne moreau has also had a successful career in music, has directed and written films as well as starring in them, and continues to appear in films occasionally, despite being in her late eighties. clearly, this is a woman of power and authority, someone who is respected and also held in a kind of awe for her independence, her drive and her talent. clearly, creating a colour inspired by such a woman demands that those characteristics be reflected.

and they are.


"jeanne" is a deep, intense red with a distinctly brown undertone. nars describes it as a "cherry red", but i normally think of cherries as being neutral to cool in tone. maybe this is a chocolate cherry sort of shade. there's no need to get hung up on semantics, though, because the bottom line is that "jeanne" is unbelievably beautiful. the colour is rich and sophisticated, not bright enough to be a screen siren red, not dark enough to be vampy, not brown enough to be earthy, although all three elements are at play. like its namesake, this shade is a real powerhouse.

jeanne
in terms of the formula, it's very much in line with what i've come to expect of the nars audacious lipsticks: extremely rich in pigment, smooth in application and forgiving to rough patches on the lips. like the other shades i've tried, it can get a wee bit drying after six or more hours of wear, which is my only complaint. [i do find that applying a bit more colour makes my lips feel better, so maybe it's a conspiracy to make me use up more of the lipstick.] jeanne is the only one of the audacious lipsticks i've tried that had a visible sheen to it. i'm stymied as to why this is the case, but the colours generally look like what i'd call a "luminous matte" on me- not entirely flat, but lacking anything that you'd call a sheen and definitely not glossy. the reason i'm stymied is that when you look at other blogger's swatches, a lot of them look quite glossy. i have no idea how this works. somehow, my body chemistry mattifies lipsticks. considering that my body chemistry kills watches dead, i'm willing to believe anything.

i'm once again surprised at how a colour that looks pretty straightforward can also be so difficult to match. i think in the case of "jeanne", it's because the shade is brighter and livelier than most brown-reds, which tend to look more autumnal and muted. armani lip maestro #201 "dark velvet" is deeper and cooler. mac "digna" is a lot cooler and sheerer. [i don't normally think of "digna" as a sheer colour, because it isn't, but it's testimony to the pigment of the audacious line that it looks that way.]

l to r :: armani dark velvet, jeanne, mac digna [l.e.]

here's a look at "jeanne" in her natural habitat [on the lips]. i find that the warmer, browner tones are a little more obvious when seen in the context of a whole face than they are in swatches. such is life.


 


products used

the base ::
urban decay naked skin foundation 1.0
dior star concealer 010

the eyes ::
hourglass e/s duo "suede" [delicate beige + soft taupe]
rouge bunny rouge e/s "periwinkle cardinal" [sage green with silver shimmer]
marc jacobs e/s "the mod" shade #3 [black with subtle shimmer]
urban decay 24/7 e/l "perversion" [blackest ever black]
guerlain cils d'enfer mascara

the cheeks ::
edward bess "south of france" [soft mauve champagne]
dior blush "happy cherry" [warm pink]

the lips ::
nars audacious l/s "jeanne" [deep browned red]

this is an intense shade, which is going to draw some lovers and some... well, probably not haters... avoiders? brown tones in lipstick, especially darker colours, can read as a bit too "serious", which makes "jeanne" a little narrower in her appeal than cooler cousin "charlotte". what you see is very much what you get, which to me means that it's perfection. i found the texture of this shade to be especially lovely, which is saying something, since i really love the other shades i've tried. another winner.

p.s. :: brigitte bardot has her own shade in the audacious line, as does poor, abandoned vanessa redgrave. both are in the lighter/ neutral range of colours, which i haven't even investigated yet.

p.p.s. :: i'm not joking about the watches. i haven't worn one in twenty years because they die within a week. replacement batteries and frequent winding [ask your parents what that is if you're unsure] do nothing. i've been told it's something to do with the ph in my skin, but i just like thinking that i can stop time.

Comments

L.P. said…
Jeanne Moreau is my favorite French actress. So of course Jeanne was my first Audacious lipstick. Really beautiful color, looked great, but lasted about 30 minutes before vanishing everywhere except in a ring around my lip line.

I still haven't figured out what happened! Made me sad, though, because Jeanne is a beautiful, worldly-wide shade, pretty much like its namesake.
Kate MacDonald said…
So sorry to hear it was a disappointment for you, L.P.

One thing that strikes me based on all the reviews I've read and the swatches I've seen is that this formula seems to vary somewhat depending on the skin of the user. On me, they're much more matte than I've seen on others. I also find that they can look lighter or darker, more or less saturated. I suppose that's true of a lot of products, but it seems marked with this particular formula.

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