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making faces :: je vois la vie en rose

you may have heard that some enterprising but probably not too bright folk started a fundraising campaign to push kylie jenner over the one billion dollar net worth threshold after forbes magazine touted her as the woman poised to become america's youngest ever self-made billionaire. the idea that there are people out there who can think of nothing better to do with their money than hand it over to someone who already has way more money than she could ever need is pretty gross if you think about it, which you probably shouldn't. and that's before you even take into account that jenner isn't self-made by any honest definition of the term: she comes from a family who already had billions, who then made millions if not billions more because of a television show that followed them around doing their billionaire things. she always had lots of money to spend on building a cosmetic line, and her presence on reality television gives her a massive built-in marketing platform. that's nothing against ms. jenner; the fault here lies with forbes' stupid wording.

if forbes had wanted to look at self-made women in the cosmetic industry, they would have done better to feature pat mcgrath. she is not the household name that the kardashian-jenners are but in the cosmetic world, there is no one bigger. she is recognised by the industry as likely the most influential makeup artist in the world, in demand among fashion houses and sometimes filmmakers. she's designed cosmetic lines for armani, dolce & gabbana and gucci and has more recently launched a collection under her own name. oh, and thanks to the latest capital investment in her company, she's beaten kylie to the billion-dollar threshold.

i've been as fascinated as the rest of the makeup-loving world with her products. she started out with a single gold eyeshadow that sold out in seconds, followed by more foil-finish shades and a few lip products. more recently, the collection is being rounded out. she launched three permanent eyeshadow palettes and a collection of matte lipsticks last year, followed by more palettes, a line of satin-finish lipsticks, an extension of colours in the matte lipstick formula, a highlighting palette, eye and lip liners and several glosses in 2018. it seems like there's something new coming every month.

the drawback of her products is that they're at the luxurious end of the price spectrum, not quite tom ford level, but getting there. what complicates things further is that her products are often sold in sets or in large palettes, so the price points are even higher. i was longing to try her much-discussed eyeshadow palettes but i couldn't bring myself to part with that much money for one item. with her releases this spring, it seems that pat has decided to take mercy on people like me.

the three permanent palettes she launched originally, along with a limited edition one launched this year, each had ten shades and were named termed "mothership" palettes. this spring, she launched the six-shade "mthrshp" palettes. get it? it's like the original but made smaller? the original motherships were named sublime, subliminal and subversive. the three mthrshp palettes are named the same way and follow similar colour schemes, however, and this is very important, they do not have the same shades. i mean they don't have any of the same shades, so if you have the larger ones, that does not mean you can pass on the smaller versions. to be perfectly honest, the mthrshp palettes appeal to me more. there's no black and they don't have highlight shades, but those are things that almost everyone will have in their collection. [failing that, you can get perfectly fine ones from less expensive sources.] since all of the large palettes have both of those included, the actual colour range is spread over eight shadows, as opposed to six in the smaller palettes. and the smaller versions are well less than half the price of the larger.

i chose to start off my pat mcgrath adventure with la vie en rose, which is the smaller analogue to subversive. it's by some stretch the boldest of any of her palettes with a collection of hothouse-meets-punk colours: orange, hot pink, purple, gold...

t to b :: pale fire, purple reign, gold nectar

pale fire :: the lightest shade in the palette is also the most original one. it's a slightly dirty apricot base with a pink duochrome. i thought this one was actually going to be lighter than it was, but it deposits a lot of colour. i found each time i wore this that both the orange and the pink elements were visible and that which one was dominant shifted according to what angle the light was coming from. the formula for this one is stunning- rich and smooth and even and long-lasting.

purple reign :: this is a violet purple worthy of prince himself. purple shadows can run a bit dry but this one is incredible. it has a frost finish but the depth of the colour gives it the lustre of a sapphire. again, it spreads like a cream over the lids and stays put until you take it off, even in the ungodly heat of summer here in montreal.

gold nectar :: this is a full-wattage glimmering honey gold that looks like metal on the eyes. dazzling doesn't even begin to convey it. this one had a little fallout as i was applying it, but once i had it in place, i didn't get any more loose powder on my cheeks. it's a very commanding colour, so if you aren't confident with a shadow that attracts attention, you're not going to feel comfortable in this. even for a gold, it's very warm-toned as well, so those with cooler complexions might have to play around a bit to make it work for them. the payoff to that effort is that you'll be the queen of glamour, even if you're only wearing an old t-shirt and track pants.

t to b :: paranormal, risque, euphoria

paranormal :: this isn't a dud, but it's definitely the least interesting shade in the palette. it's a matte burgundy-brown [on me, it leans more burgundy, but on a warmer skin tone, i think it would look more brown] that swatches a little patchy. the application, however, is fine. it leaves a good amount of pigment, blends easily and lasts well. i feel like i'm being hard on it by calling it the least interesting shade. it's just that the competition is so strong.

risque :: along with "gold nectar" this is the shade that's going to leap out at most people. it's a hot hot hibiscus pink, the kind of colour that most people would wear on their lips but not their eyes. it takes a little bit to build it up to the colour that you see in the pan, which will make some people happy since it allows for a softer application. one word of caution: be careful blending this. it spreads pretty easily and will give every part of your eyelid that it touches a pink tint that doesn't quit. i like to pat it in place and blend delicately with a small brush. the finish is nearly, but not entirely matte.

euphoria :: this one is such a difficult colour to describe! it's like a shimmery blend of red and lilac purple that got dropped in a mud puddle. there's something oily and dirty looking about it... trashy in the most fashionable way possible. like "purple reign", it's a frost finish that's just a little restrained. the formula is stellar on this one as well, showing it's filthy lucre off with a single pass of the brush.

the size of the shadows in the palette is pretty impressive- much larger than standard, so i expect that i'm not ever going to run out of any of the shades. the packaging is a foldout cardboard case with a mirror included that has nice heft but feels like it might be a little fragile. i haven't had any problems with it, but i'm travelling at the end of the month and i don't know that i'm going to feel safe taking it with me.

at the same time, i decided to take a chance on one of ms. mcgrath's satin finish "luxe trance" lipsticks. i've actually shown pictures of it not so long ago, as a comparison to some of bite beauty's astrology line. i chose tropicalia, a medium coral because it has an interesting mix of orange, pink and red tones and is just muted enough to make it unlike any of the summery corals i usually wear.

l to r :: tropicalia, bite pisces, nars brigitte

once again, i'm beyond impressed with the formula. it's similar to nars' audacious lipstick, but a bit softer, a little more substantial than bite's amuse bouche formula. the other shade that i had my eye on, psychocandy, looks similar to nars greta, but the point of getting this shade wouldn't be its originality. it would be the fact that it's called psychocandy.]

that last part touches on what i feel is the brand's one weak point: too many of the colours on offer, especially the lispticks, are ones that have been done a lot before. i don't mind getting colours that are close to one another if they're not terribly expensive [although even then i don't want exact duplications], but in a luxury line, i want to have something with its own edge- a slightly different take on a classic shade. based on the formula, i'd happily pick up both of the other "mthrshp" palettes, but the colour selection- warm metallics in one and neutral taupe tones in the other- is a lot closer to things i already have, which makes it more difficult to justify the purchase. whether that concern is relevant to you, of course, depends on how much of a cosmetic cache you've built up over the years and how much you would value having the available colours in a stellar formula. [if you're on the fence about the mthrshp palettes, you have less time to make up your mind, though, as all three are limited edition. they're still available, but it's unclear for how long.]

so how about some photos of this stuff at work?

first off, this is a look with gold nectar [inner lid], pale fire [middle of lid] and paranormal [outer lid] with just a bit of euphoria added to the outer corner for depth. i think of it as a softer take on a sunset eye that's colourful, but not dramatic. the lipstick that i'm wearing is tropicalia and i think you get an idea of how it smoothes the lips and disguises those aggravating little lines we all have. the blush is mac ripe peach, one of the blush ombre shades that they've had in as limited editions on a few occasions.

next up, here's a look at what you can do if you want to go a bit bolder. this is a blend of euphoria and pale fire over most of the lid, with purple reign on the outer "v" and in the crease. higher on the crease, you can clearly see that i've used risque and blended pale fire above that. purple reign is along my lower lash line as well, paired with marc jacobs matte highliner gel crayon eyeliner in mist me, a light mauve- lavender. i'm not 100% sure on the blush, but i'm pretty certain i'm wearing mac next to skin as a contour. the gloss is fenty beauty gal on the moon, which is a limited edition shade from their holiday collection last year. last i looked, it was still on the sephora website and i highly recommend it both for the shade and the formula.

and just because you have a lot of options with six colours at your disposal doesn't mean that you have to make things complicated. this is a quick look i did with gold nectar and purple reign, using a light dusting of pale fire to blend them at the centre of the lid. i have bite beauty's multistick in mascarpone on my cheeks and their amuse bouche lipstick in gemini on my lips. [without wanting to get ahead of myself on the review front, i've used mostly the neutral shade, with the red applied lightly on the outer part of my mouth. i was really pleased that this gave a subtle ombre effect and that it proved very easy to maintain/ reapply during the day.]

finally, this is another fairly quick look that came about because i wanted to try to something different on the upper and lower lids. upstairs, you have a combination of pale fire and risque. downstairs, i've smudged purple reign and euphoria along the lower lash line, in combination with black liner. this is, to date, my favourite look that i've done with this palette, although i've also had great success using the colours with other ones from my collection. the blush is becca's foxglove with hourglass diffused light used as a highlighter, and the lipstick is armani's sheer formula in 602/ black lacquer.

i firmly believe that if you do want to try the line, you won't be let down by either the shadows or the lipsticks. and i suspect that i'll somehow be able to justify adding more to my collection in the future. 


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

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