No-names became stage-names in the next story we were to be told about the glittering world of Cabaret, a world where the corsetry was tightly-laced, yet the morals were undone. We were introduced to 20's anti-darling Anita Berber, whose proclivity for decadence, debauchery and drugs landed her notoriety along with her provocative nude dancing. Her carbon-eyed aesthetic provides one of the key pieces of imagery Illamasqua brought forward and updated into the new collection, a sinister cabaret of dulled candle-lit hues of dark corners in Cabaret bars and backstreet Berlin, lit with a sprinkling of feminine hues and embracing the art of the performance.
And so we entered the Theatre of the Nameless, a perfect name of two parts. The art of performance, in whatever guise it takes, versus the idea of anonymity, the dark corners, quick fumbles and dulled senses of Berlin's 20's underworld. If Illamasqua's tag-line has always been 'makeup for your alter-ego', then they've hit the nail on the head. It's all a performance: sit back and enjoy the show.
I like an intelligent brand, and I like a brand who tell me something new. Illamasqua is now firmly-established as both. Their new collection is, quite frankly, awesome, and their launch event was pretty great too. The look is heady, sooty, muted, with little flashes of high colour. The dim light made it near-impossible for my little point-and-shoot with minimal spangly settings to cope - so I'm going to point you to this comprehensive post by the fabulous Sinead for all the products swatched.
One of the hotly-tipped products for the new collection are the rubber-look nail polishes, accessorised with fetishistic rubber lids. I don't have a bottle to show you, but here are my nails freshly-painted by a lovely lady at the event:
I really liked the finish of these, they are sort of matte and sort of not. Kind of a half-way house between two finishes. The greyish purple, Faux Pas, is a beautiful colour, and Vice is a lovely autumnal shade. I thought I was going to hate Kink and Taint, but they lack the yellowish tones I was fearing and I quite liked them in the end.
Some swatches from the new collection. From the top: Morale Powder Blusher, Berber Pure Pigment and Violate Sheer Lipgloss (doesn't look that sheer to me!)
Another product which caught my attention was introduction of shimmer blushes, which are smooth, pigmented and beautiful. I received Morale, a stunning rosy fuchsia pink, which applies beautifully (although I do have to be careful!) and wears surprisingly well for a powder blush.
3 new Pure Pigment shades were released: Berber, Beguile and Zeitgeist. Beguile is beautiful. David Horne (the director of New Product Development) described it as another member of the Static family, but described wanting it to look 'like water'. It is really, really beautiful and catches the light, and it's on my list. I received Berber to try, a rusty raspberry red. After shying at the colour, I gave it a go over a black base for some evil villain chic:
Berber Pure Pigment shown here over Chanel Illusion d'Ombre in Mirifique. Topshop Vamp lipstick on the lips, with Violate Sheer Lipgloss and Berber pigment patted in the centre. Morale Powder Blusher on cheeks.
When later questioned, Kiwi's answer to the question 'Do I look scary or sexy?' was 'unsure'. I was satisfied with that.
Berber is richly pigmented and works beautifully when mixed with a lipgloss or patted in the centre of the lips for a little extra vroom vroom. It's not a colour I would usually pick, but Illamasqua's ethos of alter-egos had me looking for mine for a bit, and practising my best RAWR! faces in front of the mirror.
I also received one of the new lipglosses on offer, and this was the one that made me slightly terrified. A forest green?! On me?! Luckily it goes really well over lipsticks like reds to deepen and smuttify the colour. Belladonna was another shade released - a gorgeous raspberry red. One of my picks.
My favourites from the whole collection were the more subtle products, because I'm a subtle girl, but I do like to feel like the anti-heroine every so often. My picks then: Ambition and Morale Powder Blushers, Androgen Cream Pigment, Beguile Pure Pigment, Belladonna Intense Lipgloss and Faux Pas Nail Polish.
All in all, Theatre of the Nameless is a fabulous, intelligent collection with well-conceived products and a bit of drama, which is the way Illamasqua seem to like things.