Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chanel Coco Blue Nail Polish

Teaching high school, I invariably find May a hectic month. Final papers and projects are to be edited and submitted, grades are to be fed in, and there are countless functions to attend. I also happen to be sponsor of the Class of 2012, so this year is even crazier than usual. The past week, I was away on the senior camping trip to Harpers Ferry where we semi-roughed it in the wilderness. Naturally, I went camping with a fresh manicure. And not just any manicure. A Chanel manicure.

Impressively enough, Chanel Coco Blue survived the trip virtually intact while looking amazing. The above photo is taken in shade, to show the luminous boldness of the shade. The below three shots are taken in direct sunlight.

While Coco Blue is usually described as a muted or powdery blue, I would call it a neon-pastel (if that's even possible) blue. The color really pops on my nails, and I would swear I can see some teal. Swatches are funny things. Coco Blue shows up very pale on Beauty Look Book and Cafe Makeup, but on Polish Police it appears as it does on my own nails. Even though the color itself certainly is very light, I would not call Coco Blue pale or powdery because the hue is so saturated. My camera does a poor job of it, but close up you can see the trademark Chanel shimmer that gives it a subtle dimensional sheen.

Coco Blue is an attention-grabber. I received several compliments and exclamations. At least one person also noticed what I did with my toes.

Zoya Robyn is a glossy deep sky blue. All Lacquered Up describes it as a true cyan, which I think is spot on. As intense as Robyn is, it's actually slightly overwhelmed by the brightness of Coco Blue, but I loved the idea of having all-blue nails. My bathing suit is blue, too. Below shows the combination in shade. You can see again how Coco Blue absolutely glows.

I think I must credit Zoya Anchor Base Coat and Zoya Armor Top Coat with my polish's longevity. Every time I use this set, my manicure lasts forever. I love blue nails for summer; they're fresh and cool while evoking water.

Chanel Coco Blue was released as part of the Jeans de Chanel Collection for Fashion's Night Out 2011. Chanel's website still has it up but says it's available exclusively in boutiques, while on the other hand several months ago I was able to order it directly from the website. You can try your luck with third-party resellers. It really is a terrific polish to get your hands on.

In this summer season of bold turquoise polishes, Chanel Coco Blue still is something special.


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Face, featuring Le Metier de Beaute Golden Gate Girl Kaleidoscope

Le Metier de Beaute Golden Gate Girl Kaleidoscope perfectly encapsulates the alchemy of the brand's "couches de couleur" technique.

Four seemingly disparate shades are transformed through layering into a shimmering, multidimensional color. Cogitation Project has swatches of each shade, and she describes the layered combination as a "pink copper." I had to try this kaleidoscope out on myself, and I was not disappointed.

Each individual shade in Golden Gate Girl is highly pigmented, but the final layered look is soft yet warm: appropriate for a West Coast exclusive. I would use this as an everyday look in the summer. Here's what I did:

1.) Line eye in Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne, and smudge upward onto lower half of eyelid.
2.) Apply first (top) shade all over eyelid and browbone. This shade swatches very pink, but once applied it nearly disappears.
3.) Apply second shade to lid. Follow up with third shade. The purple shade is very bright, but it disappears under the next two shades.
4.) Line eye in fourth shade, then apply to lid.
5.) Coat upper lashes in Dior Diorshow Mascara in Mitzah.

The third shade is a matte rust, while the final shade is a wonderful cinnamon shimmer. I ended up with a gradient of pink, copper, rust, and purple on my eyes. While I had my eyes open, only a flash of gold sparkle was visible, surrounded by a very faint nimbus of wine. This is eye makeup that effortlessly enhances without announcing itself.

Because the eyes are so soft, I kept the rest of my face subtle. I added a slight flush to my cheeks with Rouge Bunny Rouge Cheeks in Bloom Blush Wand in Vermeer. I love the formula, which is creamy and blends easily, and the color is the prettiest and most natural pink ever. For my lips, I used Rouge Bunny Rouge Succulence of Dew Sheer Lipstick in Fluttering Sighs, a "shiny tea rose warmed with a gold shimmer." The formula is insanely emollient, and the color occupies that perfect spot between pink, peach, and coral.

The theme of this face is a light veil of warm pink. Le Metier de Beaute with Rouge Bunny Rouge: so luxurious!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Met Gala 2012 Retrospective or, Leigh Judges You

As Michael Kors says, the Met Gala is "the Super Bowl of fashion." I anticipate the looks from this one as I do no other event, since attendees are more likely to take sartorial risks. I was perplexed, however, to see so many fails this year. I'll start with my few favorites. If you're looking for well-aimed snark, skip straight to the tragedies.

The look that balanced best the demands of beauty and originality, in my view, was China Chow in Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture. The dress is light and ethereal while skillfully juxtaposing white and black, crisp lines and floaty layers. Love.

The classic look that worked for me instantly was Camilla Belle in Ralph Lauren. She wore a dress straight from the runway, without fiddling with it, and perfected it with an unexpected twist of chocolate lipstick.

Another flawless look was Carey Mulligan in Prada. Yes, we've already seen these futuristic metallic fish scales elsewhere, but how can you say no to the perfect proportions, the textures, the dual chromatics? It's so shiny!

I think Astrid Berges-Frisbey topped Mulligan, however, in this old-fashioned yet fresh Chanel Couture creation. Somehow I don't think she would've looked as radiant in a more modern silhouette.

Another wonderful silhouette belonged to Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuiller. Every choice, from the color to the detail work, was perfect. I would've gone with a different shoe, though.

I also will recognize Cate Blanchett for being able to look drop-dead gorgeous in anything. Even an Alexander McQueen gown made entirely of black feathers.

Now on to the interesting looks, or the ones that I give credit for straddling that fine line between genius and plain weird.

Elizabeth Banks in Mary Katrantzou.
Caroline Sieber in Christopher Kane.
Angela Lindvall in Prada.

The tragedies far outnumbered the hits, and I was hard pressed to narrow down the field. But someone has to do it.

Kristen Stewart in Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquiere. I have no words. I have words for every outfit, except this one. I truly have nothing to say. I can only stare at this picture and slowly lose my innocence.

Diane Kruger in Prada. Oversized boudoir nightmare.

Kirsten Dunst in Rodarte. How could Kate and Laura Mulleavy have gone so wrong? They created a Santa's Little Helper.

Anja Rubik in Anthony Vaccarello. Angelina's leg at the Oscars? Sexy. Anja's hipbone at the Met? Worrisome.

Karen Elson and Alexa Chung, both in Marc Jacobs. I'm going to assume that they got dressed together, and point to this as a warning against the dangers of groupthink.

Chloe Sevigny in Miu Miu. Too easy.

Isabeli Fontana in Emilio Pucci. Too busy.

Jessica Alba in Michael Kors. Gold lame is never, ever the right answer.

Gwyneth Paltrow in Prada. I'm getting strange visions of Grease and Marilyn Monroe and a high school prom.

Karolina Kurkova in Rachel Zoe Collection. The model says she co-designed this getup. Lesson to take home: when every celebrity and semi-celebrity out there thinks they're a designer, this is the result.

The Courtin-Clarins sisters in Mugler. Refugees from a Halloween mixer tragedy.

Leighton Meester in Marchesa. Got separated from the Courtin-Clarins party.

And the finale:

Beyonce in Givenchy Haute Couture. No snark here. It just doesn't work for her body type and height. Actually, I'm not sure if even Cate Blanchett could pull this off. Maybe if we dyed the purple feathers black.

Like I said, someone has to do it. Let's cleanse the palate with a couple of beauties who can make nearly anything look good.

Chanel Iman in Tom Ford.
Joan Smalls in Balmain.

One last look that I thought was lovely: Bee Shaffer in Erdem.

A simple, unpretentious silhouette and an exquisite print. This is how it should be done.


Monday, May 7, 2012

Le Metier de Beaute Faraday Nail Lacquer

Faraday is not what you would expect a delicate, ethereal spring nail polish color to be called, but Le Metier de Beaute has nevertheless named this lavender-taupe beauty after the British scientist of electromagnetism.

The camera simplifies the color, but in person Faraday is quite difficult to grasp. The naked eye sees an intriguing mix of lavender and taupe, or taupe shot through with the faintest lavender, or lavender laced with taupe. And then there is a lovely subtle shimmer, which reminds me of the "secret shimmer" in Chanel nail lacquer.

Direct sunlight.

Indirect sunlight.

Really, this color pulls considerably more taupe in person than in these pictures. (It seems to be most taupe under indoor lighting, and most lavender in direct sunlight.) I would go so far as to classify it as a nude, as Messy Wands does so. The hint of lavender rescues the shade from dullness. Application is flawless and wear time is excellent, with minor tip wear after a full week.

I've never seen a color like this. If I were to purchase only one nail polish this spring, it would be Le Metier de Beaute Faraday.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Face, featuring Le Metier de Beaute On the Coast Kaleidoscope

Le Metier de Beaute On the Coast Kaleidoscope, a limited edition made exclusively for Saks, has been the object of a great deal of drama, but at the end of the day it creates a lovely look for the eyes.

Applying the shades, I followed Perilously Pale's recommendation: first shade on lid, brow bone, and inner corner; second shade on lid only; third shade in crease; and fourth shade on lashline, blended upward, and extended into a V at the outer corner (the final move, I didn't quite pull off). Before all of that, I lined my eyes and inner rim with Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne, as well as smudging it on the lid as a base. I also lined the outer bottom half of my eyes with the first two shades, then with the blue shade. I restricted the third, rust-colored shade to the crease because using the "couches de couleur" method would have resulted in a violet color (swatches). As beautiful as this would have been, I wanted to see how I would look in a straight-up blue eye. It turns out that I've been avoiding blue eyeshadow for nothing.

This is the artistry and genius of Le Metier de Beaute. Their colors look good on anyone, anywhere, anytime. The look I did resulted in a elegant yet vibrant mix of cool blue and warm wheat.

For the rest of my face, I decided to create some contrast by going with coral. After all, blue and orange are opposite one another on the color wheel, are they not? Guerlain Terracotta Blush Sun Shimmer in Spicy Coral warmed up my cheeks beautifully. Contrary to appearances, this shade is not too orange for the fair-skinned. In fact, Guerlain specifically designated Spicy Coral for brunettes, while the Sunny Pink shade is meant for blondes (the latter can be seen in my look for the Devotion Kaleidoscope).

My lips gained a pop of color from NARS Sheer Lipstick in Beautiful Liar, an amazing deep shimmery red-coral. It is hardly sheer, however, and I had to blot the color down before applying Le Metier de Beaute Sheer Brilliance Lipgloss in Orange Juiced.

My lashes received Dior Diorshow Mascara in Mitzah, and I kept my face base light by simply layering Rodin Olio Lusso under Tarte Smooth Operator SPF 20 Tinted Moisturizer in 04 Agent. I think the final look would be perfect for a warm summer evening. (Ignore my wool sweater, we had a frost advisory last weekend.)

I did not take photos, but I found that I really liked wearing On the Coast with glasses. The eyeshadows reflect so much light that they grab attention even from behind dark frames. This is a versatile palette that can go all the way from barely-there nude to a deep gleaming smoky look. Drama aside, On the Coast is a wonderful all-around kaleidoscope.

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