Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Le Metier de Beaute Chauvet Pont d'Arc Kaleidoscope

I have another summer jewel to share with you from Le Metier de Beaute, this one the Chauvet Pont d'Arc Kaleidoscope.

Inspired by the Chauvet cave paintings in France, said to be the oldest known to man, this kaleidoscope is an unexpected constellation of four muted yet rich shades: shimmery Umber, Ocher, and Madder; and matte Crystalline. The shades are meant to match the evocative hues of the thirty thousand-year-old cave paintings in "pigment, beauty, and intensity."

The nerd in me loved the concept of an eye palette based on prehistoric cave paintings. But how do you translate idea into reality without falling to the twin perils of abstraction and literalness? They swatch lovely, as Messy Wands demonstrates, but as we all know the real test lies in how they perform on the eyelid.

As I began to apply all four shades, I understood that Le Metier de Beaute has succeeded in creating a compelling, unorthodox look that remains true to its source.

Combined, the four vivid shades of Chauvet Pont d'Arc Kaleidoscope transform into a smoky rust-tinged lavender that the eye yet wants to translate as a mineral gray. Because the matte teal is layered over the first three shimmery shades, the result is a tension between depth and flatness that never ceases to fascinate.

Now, my artistic technique for this look:

1.) Line upper lash line and inner rim with Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne (this shade is such a workhorse).

2.) Apply Umber all over eyelid, right up to the underside of the brow bone. This color blends out to an extremely light wash of lavender touched by red. I almost could've used it as a brow highlighter, but refrained. I did extend the shade to the outer corner and bring it down along part of the bottom lash line. I used a regular eye shadow brush, so that the resulting "line" was messy as opposed to tight. I just wanted to bring some of that beautiful mauve shimmer to the lower part of my eyes.

3.) Apply Ocher to bottom center of eyelid, and blend outward without covering up all of Umber.

4.) Likewise with Madder. While I used a medium eye shadow brush for Umber, I switched to a small eye shadow brush for Ocher and Madder.

5.) Line upper lash line, starting from the inner edge of the iris, with Crystalline. Now, this color goes on strong! Dab your brush in the pan, and it comes back coated in matte teal. I ended up with two scary-looking thick stripes of teal on my eyelids. (I like to use Sephora Pro Natural Smudge Brush #11 for a more diffuse line.) But then I switched to the small eye shadow brush, and all that teal blended out easily onto the eyelid.

Addendum: I keep talking about the matte teal, but I don't want you to think the final look skimps on the shimmer. The usual lighting that I employ seems to minimize the shine and shimmer in any product. Below is a photo taken a few hours under a different light source. You can more easily see the shimmer, and also the competing flatness in the darker areas.

6.) Coat upper lashes with Le Metier de Beaute Anamorphic Lash Mascara in Midnight Blue. The color is distinctly blue to the naked eye, but really only if you look closely and know what you're looking for. Otherwise, the blue mascara lends a subtle interest to the eye; I chose blue over black or brown because I felt it had the most interesting interactions with the first and last shades in the kaleidoscope.

7.) For blush, I experimented with Le Metier de Beaute Creme Fresh Tint in Ginger Lily and was delighted by the color and texture. Ginger Lily is a warm salmon that brings a healthy natural glow to my cheeks. I've learned to apply my blush way up and back along my cheekbones. If I apply closer to the apples of my cheeks instead, the placement simply disrupts the line of my cheekbones and does not flatter. A further note on color: I really like how the brightness of Ginger Lily counterbalances the smoky grittiness of Chauvet Pont d'Arc. I also even like how the two products are hardly in the same color family. Matchy matchy makeup is boring makeup.

8.) My lips, on the other hand, were cooled down by NARS Sheer Lipstick in Pago Pago, a pale pink infused with silver microshimmer.

9.) Step back and admire.

Chauvet Pont D'Arc is a strange creature. The final look is too dark and shimmery for the daytime, but it's not your typical night engagement smoky eye. This look would be wasted on any heterosexual man whose attention you are trying to attract. But for art lovers and science geeks, oh, this kaleidoscope is an absolute beauty.

Chauvet Pont d'Arc Kaleidoscope is (very) limited edition, and can be found for $95 at Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Nordstrom. Now, I know that I declare myself deeply in love with every kaleidoscope I try. Looking at these photos, though, surely you can understand why?


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