Monday, 5 September 2011

Illamasqua and the Theatre of the Nameless.

I so very often get caught up in my own swirling narrative that it's nice to sit down and be told a story myself for a change. Illamasqua handed me a syrupy cocktail in a dimly-lit bar on the first day of September and told me a new one about lusty ladies and a bawdy Berlin subculture of the 1920's where rusty-lipped fallen maidens slithered into a luridly codified underworld and lured twitchy men with borrowed names away from the grey-tinged gloom of Weimar Germany by the colour of their boots. They were called, as might seem obvious, the Boot Girls, and were dominatrices who chose a more semaphoric method to advertise their services to questing clients looking for specific debaucheries on a breathless no-names-exchanged basis.

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:

Starting from the index finger: Vice, Faux Pas, Kink and Taint.

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.


  1. I'd go with sexy - you look great! Love the lip colour x

  2. This collection looks amazing, thanks for such a great post on this - I'm going to have to get my hands on some of these items!

  3. Cami, firstly thank you very much for the link to my blog you lovely lady! The lighting wasnt toogreat for product swatching!

    Secondly, I wish i could have met you properly on the day! I hope you had a lovely time, I saw you come out of the early time slot whilst a group of us were sat in the bar!

    I love the new shimmery blushes, i got the lighter shade but morale is just beautiful!

    Great blog post hun! & i think you look amazing!


  4. Great overview! I'm actually really digging the dark green lipgloss! And your look was wonderful- very much in theme. :D

  5. Wow - I'm in love with Berber. Definitely, on my wish list.

    Cami, advice please: I see you've tried the cream pigment in Androgen, Mac blush in something special and Becca Tuberose. On the web, they all seem to swatch quite similar... Which one do you rate the best? :)



  6. I'm excited for this collection and I like your look :)

  7. @Emma Haha, thank you! I do love a vampy lip shade for Autumn :) x

    @Megan Yes you will! Definitely get Belladonna lipgloss and Beguile pigment. You will not regret it :)

    @Sinead You're welcome lovely. Kudos to you for even managing to get a photo in that light! I felt a little bit shy when I came out and saw all those girls sitting there so I just decided to bomb out, haha awkward. xx

    @Krista the green lipgloss is definitely something very different! I do find it a little streaky in comparison to Illamasqua's other lipgloss shades, but I do think it's way more pigmented than Illamasqua say it is!

  8. @Alex I think Androgen and Something Special are pretty similar to be honest - I need to go reswatch Androgen, but it's also pretty similar to Bobbi Brown's Pot Rouge in Calypso Coral. Becca Tuberose is darker on my skin, though! xxx

    @Beauty and the Scientist thank you so much for commenting! I hope you went and checked it out when it launched :)

  9. Awesome! Thanks for the reply, Cami - i'll ckeck out the BB too. :)

  10. lipgloss is amazing looking, as are the nails. Found your youtube videos today and your reviews are great!

  11. @A Certain Vintage Thanks for your lovely comment! So pleased you're enjoying my blog and Youtube :)


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