Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Chanel Vanites 08 Quadra Eye Shadow

While nothing in Chanel's holiday collection has moved my credit card, it's probably as good a time as any to talk about Vanites 08 Quadra Eye Shadow that Chanel released earlier this fall as part of their Sophisticated Eye Collection (together with Lagons). This eye shadow quad was added to Chanel's regular line (i.e. not a limited edition); hopefully it'll remain there for a very long time.

The colors in Vanites are somewhat of a departure from my comfort zone. Purples can be a very big miss on me, raging from a bruised skin look to the appealing shade of a corpse. But Chanel infused Vanites with very subtle gold undertones, making it surprisingly flattering.

A few words about the texture of Chanel eye shadow quads: It's pretty amazing and confusing how much the quads vary from one another. The cause is most likely the specific shimmer and the amount of it used in each quad. To make things even more confusing, Chanel quad eye shadows often don't swatch well on one's hand. They require a very smooth base and a more delicate skin. So if you're testing at the counter, try applying on your inner wrist and not on the back of your hand, where the skin is rougher and will make the texture look uneven. Sometimes this is not enough and you have to ask for a brush and try blending the eye shadows, or best of all: have your Chanel specialist apply it to your lids so you can have a better idea if the quad you're eyeing is among the smooth ones or a fall-out central.

Vanites 08 is somewhere in the middle: it's actually a lot smoother than it appears at first and blends beautifully. However, there is a lot more shimmer fall-out than should be for a quad this nice. I use a good base and excellent brushes, but end up having to do an annoying amount of cleanup.

The real story of Vanites, though, are the colors, and I do love them and find them wearable and flattering. The dark violet is, of course, gorgeous. Using it damp as a liner brings out the best in brown eyes. The two light purple colors (lilac and an icy pink lavender) show very well on my lids and work well blended with the brown(ish) mauve, which I use extensively. It's a very complex shade that work well for me.

Bottom Line: recommended, as long as you're willing to deal with fall-out.

Chanel Vanites 08 Quadra Eye Shadow ($57) is available at the counters and on chanel.com.


  1. I had the Euro version of this quad years ago, and swapped it because - despite the loveliness of the colors in the pans - there was just zero color payoff. I may have to consider purchasing the US version. I can deal with fallout if the colors are actually pigmented.

  2. Oooh, I love this review. Gaia you've given me some inspiration to pull this out and finally try it. I picked this up a month ago but purple eyeshadows scare me like bright orange lipstick does. I find the lighter ones can look dated on my skin and darker ones can look bruised on me too. I've been just eyeing this one with a bit of hesitation wondering if I should gift it away. Perhaps I'll try it this afternoon.

    Thanks for the lovely review.

  3. I think an opaque base like Laura Mercier Eye Basic will intensify the colors. I haven't had any issues with Vanites. I'm in love!

  4. This is a great review, and I really appreciate your advise on the varying textures of the quads. The only one I have is Murano, which doesn't a lot of fallout, but I remember how underwhelmed by the texture I was initially when I swatched it. Learning that this is a common characteristic of the Chanel quads makes me more willing to give them a better look in future.

  5. This is a good a time as any to tell you that I heartily wish you'd stop blogging, because you're going to drive me into bankruptcy some day. I mean that with the very best intentions, of course. : D

  6. That was very awkward; I hope it didn't come off as rude; I meant it as a compliment.

    I was inspired by your great review to don a purple eye today. ; )

  7. I purchased this quad but haven't tried it yet. I couldn't resist as I love purples! Great review & thanks for the tip about swatching on the wrist :)

  8. During a Chanel event the MA used this quad on me and I was completely won over by it. The entire color selection is gorgeous, but the medium brown with it's pink and violet undertones and soft golden shimmer is a knockout! Surprisingly, it's the color that brings the whole thing together.

    As many of you know, I'm well into my sixties and avoid things that make a strong color statement. Vanités; however, can be used to create a soft wash of violet, lilac, and pink that is moderated by the bronze as a contour. Think Impressionism. It's not over the top the way Lancôme's quints are.


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