Saturday, 20 August 2011

A trip to Illamasqua.

Hilariously it has come to the point where it's past the point of apology with the length between my last post and this one. It's kind of that awkward stage between where I'd usually be all like 'oh sup, I got busy' and throwing open the doors in declaring 'THAT'S RIGHT, I'M BACK' with a huge proud fanfare. So I'm kind of at that shuffling impasse where you try to get out of a lift and the person tries to step the same way as you and you do that awkward two-step. Or when you accidentally voice your thoughts out loud and then someone coughs and you realise that you said something really peculiar about hat-wearing weasels that did have a context only in your brain.

So I'm going to do this, and only once: if it's your birthday RIGHT NOW I'm gonna yell 'SURPRISE!!!' and jump out of a cake. And then we can put an end to this awkward halfway house of long pauses. But seriously, I've always been sporadic anyway. Right? (On a side-note, it was Franky at Love Audrey's birthday recently, and hers is a blog I wholeheartedly adore, so you need to go over there).

A while ago, I was happily and unselfconsciously passive-aggressively bitching on Twitter (as you do) and I got caught. Hilariously, I was talking about my general dislike for all things Illamasqua and how the products weren't for me, and promptly landed myself in the gaze of Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston.

So, I got invited to a course, free of charge, at Illamasqua in Beak Street London, which I was curious to try. Julian offered to prove me wrong, stating he liked a challenge. I accepted.

I ended up trotting along to my course on a Friday afternoon. I was expecting it to be more hands-on than it was, granted, but actually it was kind of nice to not have to do my own makeup. Clare was my makeup artist for a day-to-night style session, where she took me through the basics of Illamasqua's skin sketching technique, using the cream pigments to their best purpose and finally, transformed me into some kind of glamazon pouting-not-myself thing. I felt like I needed the gloves and the cigarette holder and I'd be draped over a piano in a 20's speakeasy somewhere.

So here's what Clare used to create the look:

- Satin Primer
- Skin Base Foundation
- Cream Blush in Rude
- Loose Powder in 005
- Emerge Cream Pigment (Under-eye corrector)
- Hollow Cream Pigment (Contour)
- Eye Brow Cake in Gaze (I think!)

- Medium Pencils in Vow, Interrograte and Honour
- Eyeshadows in Trollop, Forgiveness and Lestat
- Eye Liner Cake in Mislead
- Pure Pigment in Fervent
- False Eye Lashes in no. 19

- Medium Pencil in Severe
- Lipstick in Diablo
- Intense Lipgloss in Succubus

Trying out Skin Base was something I zoned in on long before my visit so I was really excited to see it in action. I ended up taking a complimentary bottle of it home with me, only to find that the shade applied in the shop (where the lighting was not so hot) made me orange. The thing that impresses and scares me in equal measures about Illamasqua, then, is their presence in the vaguely-termed world of Social Media, an omnipresent Twitter vulture of a brand circling high and swooping on those who breathe the name. After bemoaning my rubbish shade match on Twitter, another Illamasqua-ite told me to email him and he'd send me a replacement.

Err, hello. Illamasqua have it nailed in the customer service stakes, this was honestly the best experience I've had with any kind of brand, especially considering the stonewall silence you tend to get with MAC in regards to a complaint (don't get me started on MAC - I can bitch for hours about how there are usually about 15 members of staff on shift at Selfridges London and how all of them are gossiping and ignoring you when you try to get their attention… Oh, you got me started).

Other than that, what can I say? I now have a wishlist as long as my arm for Illamasqua products and their Skin Sketching technique has become an everyday action for me, as ingrained as filling in my eyebrows and stroking on the mascara. Having being taught how to use the products properly and making more informed product decisions, I'm pretty switched on to this brand now - and I'm definitely switched off to MAC - whose constant rainbow-hued vomiting of NEW! COLLECTIONS! with limited edition products of continual below-par quality has helped me curb a minor addiction.

The only problem now I love Illamasqua products? Restraining myself and hiding my credit card...


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