Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dior Diorific Marilyn 040 Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012

Dior Diorific lipstick in Marilyn 040 from the Holiday 2012 Le Grand Bal Collection is a beautiful pink/plum-based red that will flatter many.  The formula is the same full-coverage and richly pigmented one of Diorific lipsticks, which makes them long-lasting and very elegant. The velvety finish looks elegant and polished- Diorific is a very ladylike lipstick. It's also comfortable to wear, since while not a moisturizing formula the lipstick is certainly not drying. As long as your lips are in good shape and you keep them smooth and soft, the Diorific will give the perfect finish to a classic makeup look.

I was not the only one to observe that Marilyn is somewhat of a misnomer. The shade of red we associate with Marilyn Monroe doesn't have a pink base. Diorific Diva (038) is a better fit if that's what you're looking for. Still, it's a very pretty color that brings extra life to the face especially on gray and gloomy days.

Dior Diorific Marilyn 040 from Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012 ($36) is available at the counters as well as online.

Happy Halloween!

Art: Give Me Your Soul by Brandi Milne.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Beauty Blogger, Interrupted

As you can imagine, things here have been somewhat stormy. All of us, humans and felines, are perfectly fine, as is the house and it surrounding. While the neighbor's white oak didn't relocate into our roof, some other trees in the neighborhood weren't so considerate and they took with them the power cables.  Our land line is also dead, so we keep charging our cell phones and other devices in the cars. It's fun times all around, and not exactly the glamour stuff of beauty blogging. Hopefully I'll be able to arrange something by tomorrow.

I hope you're all healthy and comfortable.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Providence Perfume Company- Moss Gown

Rich green chypres, rustling bitter greens, earthy moss- these are perfume notes that have been going the way of the dodo in the last decade. The majority of casual perfume shoppers probably never noticed. After all, chypres went out of style even before IFRA decided we cannot read labels. The rest of us have been hoarding vintage Vent Vert and shopping with artisan and indie perfumers to get our moss fix.

Moss Gown by perfumer Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company takes us to magical green lands. Green and earthy notes can be damp and chilly, like the mushroomy forest floor after the rain. But not here. Green Moss has some surprisingly dry and crunchy notes that were warmed by the sun for days. As a matter of fact I could swear I smell tagetes right behind the lively camomile, which is why on my mental perfume shelf I put Providence's Moss Gown right next to the wonderful Niki de Saint Phalle. That's high praise, I know, and I mean every word. The way Ms. Ethier composed and placed the velvety and dark mossy notes against the warmth of sunny Provençal fields is marvelous.

There's some bitterness in Moss Gown, and I love it plays out on my skin. As the fragrance develops, it's sweetened a little, and reminds me of a homemade herbal tea. The freshly brewed pot stands on the table next to a small vase of yellow wildflowers (there are no allergies in my little fantasy). The dry-down is woody and mossy, smooth and quite dry. If I spray enough, it lasts for about 6 hours. If I spray on my clothes, it's still there the next day. I'd say that Moss Gown is a must-sample to those who miss the green and chypre perfumes of yore. And for those who dream about rolling down a very green hill on a sunny day, and reach the bottom laughing and full of joy.

Moss Gown by Providence Perfume Company ($36, 6ml travel spray; other sizes and samples available) can be purchased from as well as directly from The sample for this review was supplied by the perfumer.

Image: Galliano for Dior, photographed by Steven Meisel.

Georgina Chapman In Curved Heels

Georgina Chapman from Marchesa attended the Premiere of Project Runway Allstars at Nine West in New York City on Thursday. The second Allstar season seems to be very interesting: talent, personality, and some unfinished business. Personally, I'm rooting for Uli from Season 3, but who doesn't love Casanova? I do miss Tim Gunn during the Allstars, but Isaac Mizrahi is an adequate substitute for Michael Kors in the Bitch Seat.

But we're here to look at Georgina Chapman's Giuseppe Zanotti (at least I think these are Zanotti) curved heel suede pumps. I have a mortal fear of the negative space in the heel area, and these Zanottis look like an accident waiting to happen. According to Bergdorf Goodman's website, the shoes have a 6 1/2" heel, out of which 2" are the platform. Not exactly comforting, I'd say. Georgina looked fabulous, though. I love her dress (of course) and the elegant makeup.

 Would you wear these shoes?

Photos: Getti via Zimbio.

Serge Lutens Compact Foundation

Some items are worth their weight in gold, even when that's their actual price tag.  Serge Lutens Compact Foundation is one such product. Pressed powder foundations can be very dry and matte (the whole "powder" thing), so I usually save them for the melty days of august or for visits to questionable climate zones. But Serge Lutens Teint Si Fin is like a unicorn. A touch of a sponge or a firm brush (Shiseido Perfect Foundation brush is ideal) to the surface of the foundation, a swipe on the face, and there you go: an invisible cream, good coverage, skin-like finish. You can build it up to a full coverage with a porcelain finish by applying a few layers, or use it lightly to give your tinted moisturizer a truly flawless and polished look.

I rarely use a full-coverage foundation over my entire face, and I think that Serge Lutens Teint Si Fin is ideal for those of us who want to even out the skin and cover only certain areas. I did test the foundation for a full face look and was amazed at the photoshopped effect it gives. I still avoid the crevices at the sides of my nose (I find that a liquid concealer is better for this area), but everywhere else, including parts of the under-eye area can benefit from the touch of Uncle Serge.

Serge Lutens has always been a perfectionist, so when he architects your face you know you're going to get the best possible base. The versatility of his foundation also makes up for the price, as you really get the very best product and can tailor it to your needs. Don't buy sight unseen, though. There are only ten shades in this range and you must make sure you have a perfect match, otherwise there's no point: even the unicorn texture cannot help if the color is off. The wonderful makeup artist at Barneys NY was utterly confident that my shade was B40. There was no peering into my face, hemming and hawing while shining various lamps onto my skin, head-scratching and swatching one shade after another on my jaw. Just B40 that melded with my skin and disappeared into it, covering a small unsightly spot and a patch of hyper-pigmentation. The foundation stays in place and lasts all day, at least on my well-primed and non-oily face.

Bottom Line: I'm grateful for the refill option.

Serge Lutens Compact Foundation ($80 for the 8 gram refill pan) is available from Barneys as well as directly from

Top image: Serge Lutens Cityscape By Yvonne Lacet.

Song Of The Day

 Bruce Springsteen, 4th Of July, Asbury Park.

 Stay safe.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Viktor & Rolf- Spicebomb

When Viktor & Rolf launched Spicebomb earlier this year, I was highly put-off with the imagery, the name, and most of all- with the bottle. A hand grenade as an object of desire- don't you just love how explosive it is?

I don't.

But then comes the fragrance itself, a warm and spicy oriental that's pretty easy to wear once the initial blast (yes, that's a pun) calms down. The only "explosive" thing is Spicebomb's projection during the first ten minutes. There's something a bit juvenile about opening with such an aggressive bang (I'll stop now) only to retreat into the safety of a sweet amber. But it's hard and silly to complain, because I'd rather smell the masses wearing Viktor & Rolf's masculine answer to their Flowerbomb than the original feminine offering.

The opening of Spicebomb is sharp and citrusy with a surprising chilly and metallic note that makes you stop and reconsider the wisdom of wearing the fragrance. It mostly goes away before I make up my mind about it, which is probably for the best. From that point on, Spicebomb takes a turn into a crowd-pleasing sweet tobacco and a tonka-ish cinnamon-laced amber.  It's kind of appetizing in an abstract not really edible way, and to tell the truth, also not very original. Others who reviewed this Viktor & Rolf fragrance (Bois de Jasmin, Candy Perfume Boy, 1000 Fragrances and Perfume Shrine) already made comparisons to other assertive sweet tobacco ambery perfumes, from Tobacco Vanille (Tom Ford Private Blend) to Ambre Narguile (Hermes). I'm firmly in the Ambre Narguile camp in this case, even though I do enjoy Spicebomb and heavily dislike Jean-Claude Ellena's apple turnover.

The thing is, that perfumer Olivier Polge who composed Spicebomb for Viktor & Rolf took out the part I dislike in Ambre Narguile, that overcooked and too fruity pie filling and left us with only a hint of dried fruit (how very Lutensique), heavily spiced and mixed with sweet tobacco that dries down into a golden sweetness. It's warm and welcoming, a style that many consider as a fall/winter fragrance I will not argue with that. As far as I'm concerned Spicebomb is a great gender-neutral perfume, unless a woman is completely against wearing a tobacco note (but then she wouldn't enjoy Havana Vanille, Chergui, Fumerie Turque and, yes, Tobacco Vanille, either). I also think that Spicebomb is a very good mainstream introduction to this particular perfumer genre, and a great place for the department store-shopper to start when venturing out of the fresh and clean bubble while still remaining with a trendy label.

Notes: bergamot, pink pepper, cinnamon, vetiver, red pepper, elemi, grapefruit, leather, and tobacco.

Spicebomb by Viktor & Rolf ($75, 50ml) is available from most department stores and at  Sephora.

Top photo: The Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb Point of Sale at Harrod's, designed by Tommaso Nicolao via Other images: Behind the scenes images of the Viktor&Rolf Spicebomb ad featuring model Sean O'Pry, and a playful representation of the main notes of the fragrance along with the designers' famous black-rimmed glasses. Both from Viktor & Rolf's Facebook fan page.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Dior Night Golds 524 & Fairy Golds 764: Swatches

As promised, here are the side-by-side eye shadow swatches of Dior Night Golds 524 and Dior Fairy Golds 764 from Le Grand Bal collection for Holiday 2012. As you can see, the colors in the quint really complement each other, which is why I would have loved a bigger palette of eight. But I'm not complaining. Dior did an excellent job this season, and just about everything in Le Grand Bal collection is highly desired..  

Coty- L'Origan (Vintage Perfume)

L'Origan by Coty is another case of "they don't make them like that anymore". If you've smelled the stuff posing as L'Origan these days (Victoria gave it a single star in her review on Bois de Jasmin) you probably noticed that it's hard to believe this was a glorious spicy oriental dating from 1905, once hosted in beautiful art deco bottles. Like almost everything Coty produces nowadays, poor L'Origan smells... well, poor. Obviously, that hasn't always been the case.

My own bottle of L'Origan parfum is pretty old. I have a little bit of juice in the pretty shoe presentation (I think it was Coty's Christmas thing for a while) from the 1950s (some sources say late 1940s), and the fragrance is lush, warm and utterly delicious. The comparison to Guerlain's L'Heure Bleue is apparent from the first whiff (you can read more about this aspect on Grain de Musc). Sweet and highly spicy almondy heliotrope that captures one's attention immediately; it's sexy in that  vanilla-and-danger way.

The flowers and delicate blossoms in L'Origan are not that apparent in my thick vintage version, except for the very clove-like carnation. That one's there in spades, and creates a smooth transition into the sweet ambery dry-down.  L'Heure Bleue, even with its characteristic Guerlain pastry accord, is somehow more abstract and atmospheric (perhaps its an auto-suggestion driven by the bleue idea drilled into us for years), but L'Origan is still delectable without ever going gourmand. It's golden and inviting, but you think "mmmm...more" and not "yummy!". There's a powdery element, a tactile velvet feel, and with the added imagery of the 1940s advertisements above it makes me think about a glamorous woman in her feathery dressing gown getting ready for an exciting evening out on the town.

It's really a shame that today's Coty only mission is to sell us the bottled glamour of Jennifer Lopez, Celine Dion and Faith Hill at our local CVS.

Notes (via Michael Edwrads): bergamot, neroli, ylang-ylang, peach, carnation, orange blossom, violet, jasmine, rose, vanilla, coumarin, sandalwood, musk.

L'Origan 1940s ads via

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clarins Blush Prodige Rose Wood 05 Illuminating Cheek Color

I'm taking a break from Holiday collections and all the brand new stuff to talk about a hard-working perennial: Clarins Blush Prodige Rose Wood 05 Illuminating Cheek Color. It's one of six blush shades offered by Clarins in this range, and perhaps the most neutral/natural looking of the bunch, though all of them are beautiful and most will flatter more than one skin tone (I can also wear Tender Peach and Miami Pink, and may consider Spicy Mocha as a bronzer).

Clarins Blush Prodige Illuminating Cheek Colors are designed as a mosaic of colors and textures- satin and light shimmer. You can swirl your brush and mix them, layer (shimmer over satin for a highlighted effect) or pick and choose. The color is semi sheer but can be built up if you need more intensity, though I feel that a big part of what makes this Clarins blush so fabulous and flattering is the fact that it lets your own skin show through.

Clarins Rose Wood 05 is  exactly what you'd expect from the name: a warm rose, not too sweet or too pink. I reach for it as a default blush, something that I don't need to plan around or think about compatibility with my lipstick or other makeup. I tend to apply lightly, but that's my personal preference for blushes. You can definitely create a more sculpted and dramatic look.

Bottom Line: a staple.

Clarins Blush Prodige Rose Wood 05 Illuminating Cheek Color ($28.50) is available at the counters and from most decent department stores' websites.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

By Kilian- In The City Of Sin (In The Garden Of Good And Evil)

By Kilian's previous mini-collection, Asian Tales, was so magnificently disappointing that I had absolutely no expectations from Kilian's new releases,  In The Garden Of Good And Evil trio of fragrances. Of course, the pompous ad copy didn't help any (some blurbs about seduction, original sin, forbidden pleasures and secret desires). Purple prose aside, In The City Of Sin turned out to be a rather delightful fragrance.

The opening of In The City Of Sin is a burst of citrus and pink pepper. Lots and lots of pink pepper. It's also juicy and fruity in a surprisingly realistic way, beautifully anchored by spices, mostly cardamom. On the husband's skin there's a warm cumin note that I can't detect on myself, though he says that he can, though it doesn't bother him (too much). The spicy-fruity warmth in this By Kilian fragrance makes me think of good quality black tea. Perhaps an Earl Grey-based drink with sliced peaches thrown in, cardamom pods and clove buds, served with spicy and not too sweet cookies.

It's lovely, really, if not truly original. You can think of In The City Of Sin as a lightened Serge Lutens-inspired perfume, and that's not a bad thing (until you consider the hype and the price tag). While I don't find anything truly sinister or dark-sideish in this fragrance, the late dry-down does offer a hint of naughtiness. The best way I can describe it as something leathery immersed and steeped in the tea I described above. Or perhaps said tea spilled on warmed skin and left for a while... In any case, In The City Of Sin does elevate itself into a more sensual realm, and the experience is pleasant and rather well-done.

Notes: bergamot, pink pepper, cardamom, apricot, plum, rose, incense, atlas cedar and patchouli.

By Kilian- In The City Of Sin from In The Garden Of Good And Evil collection ($245, 50ml EDP) is available from Luckyscent and select department stores. A sample set was sent to me via By Kilian's Facebook fan page.

Photo by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italy.

Estée Lauder Scorpio Zodiac Powder Compact- Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder

In recent weeks I've finished several staple products and travel companions that live in a little leather pouch (made by Jola V Designs) that moves from purse to purse. One such item was my old Chantecaille Voile de Rose, which I replace with an equally impressive compact, Estée Lauder Scorpio Zodiac Powder Compact. It holds the old Lauder standby, Lucidity, in its transparent version (Lauder also offers five tinted options) that is slightly beige, so it'll never look ghostly or ashy. If you're not familiar with Estee Lauder Lucidity, it's one of those soft-focus powders that give a luminous look without drying the skin.

But the main story here is about the compact, a perfect gift for the Scorpio in your life. I've always been fond of my zodiac sign, despite the fact that it prompts people to write this drivel:
"There's not a Scorpio female alive who doesn't think she's all woman. This girl certainly has enough glamour, and she's enormously seductive... It's just that, unconsciously, she would prefer to be a man. Less restriction-more opportunity. It's the one secret she even hides from herself, and seeing it exposed won't sit well with her.
Once the Scorpio girl has figured out the difference between blue booties and pink booties, she'll resign herself to wearing the pink ones, because she's fabulous at making the best out of a situation. But pink is not her natural color. The true shade of her nature is dark maroon, or deep wine-red, not a female color at all. However, to give her proper tribute, she's able to make you think it is. I know one who's great at pretending to be a fragile, fluffy kitten. She purrs so contentedly most men guess she's an ultra-feminine Piscean. They topple into her trap and wake up later, sadder but wiser. She is no kitten."                       

This Scorpio loves shiny things, and the golden Estee Lauder compact with the little citrine-colored crystal (November birthstone) in the clasp fits me perfectly. It's tiny enough to be shoved in a pocket, but I'd recommend keeping this little treat in your makeup bag. The mirrored compact is refillable and isn't too heavy (it's smaller and lighter than Guerlain Meteorites). It comes with a black velveteen pouch and a mini puff.

Bottom Line: I love it with my passionate little Scorpio heart.

Estée Lauder Scorpio Zodiac Powder Compact- Lucidity Translucent Pressed Powder ($70) is available from Nordstrom, online and in store.

Dior Diorific Lady(039) - Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012

Diorific Lady(039) from Dior's Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012 may be my favorite of the four lipsticks. The slightly muted red is one of the easiest to wear and most flattering shades I own, and I love being able to apply it either as a light stain or in its full glory as an elegant red.

It's clear that Dior made it big with their Le Grand Bal collection, leaving the competition far behind (yes, I'm referring to Chanel, among others). Between the gorgeous Diorific lipsticks (I can't get over the packaging), the eye shadow palettes and the four elegant shades of nail polish, Le Grand Bal offers beautiful festive looks that echo the brand's image and heritage.

Diorific Lady (039) - Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012 ($36) is available at the counters as well as online.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vero Profumo- Mito Eau de Parfum

It was two years ago that Swiss perfumer Vero Kern  added the EDP versions of her three original masterpieces to the Vero Profumo line; and it was three or four years earlier that Kiki, Onda, and Rubj first appeared on the scene. When a perfumer is so mindful about adding new fragrances to his or her line, the anticipation and the stakes are almost unbearably high. Add to that the promise of a green floral chypre, a perfume genre that is both highly revered as it is nearly extinct, and you get hands shaking as they hold the first sample of Mito.

I usually remember the very first thought I have when I try a new fragrance. In this case was the instant recognition of of the green galbanum and high cheekbones of Chanel No.19. Upon consequent wearing the image of the grand dame vanished and Vero's Mito took its own form: green and streamlined, but also layered and full of life.

The inspiration for Mito was the magnificent Renaissance garden of Villa d'Este in Tivoli, just outside Rome. The structured style that holds the lush green marvels echos in Mito. I'd say that a well-constructed chypre is a perfect homage to such a place.  The fragrance opens with a herbal-citrus note, a bit of a green grass and a feeling of a morning breeze passing through wind chimes. The flowers in this garden feel faraway and a bit abstract. I admit that I didn't get the magnolia until the weather cooled down considerably so that the blooming phase on the skin takes longer. Mito isn't about the big Magnolia of the south (or even the one in my neighbor's backyard), so the flower doesn't distract from the green impression, just softens it and gives it a more abstract feel, all the way to the crisp and quiet wood and moss dry-down.

Vero Kern created a feel-good and beautiful perfume without compromising or coddling the wearer. I think of Mito as wearing an exquisite and very put-together outfit, accessorized to the nines, yet it has enough movement and flow that you don't feel restricted, pulled or pinched,  neither are the clothes wearing you. It's that kind of an effortless elegance.

Notes: Citrus, magnolia grandiflora, white magnolia, champaca, jasmine, galbanum, hyacinth, cypress, moss.

Mito EDP by Vero Profumo ($200, 50ml) is available from Luckyscent. A press sample for this review was supplied by the perfumer.

Photo: Fontana di Diana Efesina, Tivoli,Villa d'Este

Strange Invisible Perfumes Discontinuing Several Fragrances

Fans of Strange Invisible Perfumes should take notice that the company just announced that several old favorites are to be removed from the permanent collection. The fragrances will make the occasional appearance as a limited edition, but for all intents and purposes are to be considered discontinued. The perfumes in question according to the email from Strange Invisible Perfumes:

Arunima, Etrange, Fire&Cream, Urban Lily, Galatea, Heroine, Lyric Rain, Moon Garden, Tosca, Tour d'Ivoire, Narcotic, Persica, Trapeze. 

I should probably stop procrastinating and get that bottle of Narcotic.

Photo courtesy of Strange Invisible Perfumes.

Dior Night Golds 524 Grand Bal Eyeshadow Palette Holiday 2012

Another day, another Dior.  Grand Bal Holiday 2012 collection has given us a wide range of wearable Dior glamour. Night Golds 524 Grand Bal Eyeshadow Palette is supposedly the more dramatic of the two eye shadow quints (see Fairy Golds 764 here). It's still based on elegant neutrals with a gold theme, from the palest white gold to intensely sparkling treasure chest gold. The center is a cool-toned dark brown that looks a bit glittery in the pan but applies wonderfully smooth and smoky.

I find both Dior Grand Bal palettes very exciting because they give various optional looks for with a very grownup approach to shimmer and shine. The quality is outstanding- from texture and ease of use to wear and longevity. The colors can also be combined with the ones in Fairy Golds. As a matter of fact, I would have been very happy if the good people at Dior had combined the two into a grand palette of eight colors, to give us all the choices in one set.

A couple of readers requested  side-by-side swatches of Fairy Golds and Night Golds. I'll try to get it done by Friday, so stay tuned.

Dior Night Golds 524 Grand Bal Eyeshadow Palette for Holiday 2012 ($59) is available at the counters.

Vintage photo of model Suzy Parker wearing Dior by John Rawlings, 1953, via

Monday, October 22, 2012

Ineke- Floral Curiosities : Sweet William

Ineke's Sweet William, the latest release in her Floral Curiosities collection for Anthroplogie, is probably my favorite fragrance in this series. Not that it says much, considering the other three fall apart on my skin to the point I can't actually review them. Soliflores do that sometimes, and I'm fully aware it's my loss. Luckily, Sweet William remains alive and well, and develops the way a perfume is supposed to do when I wear it.

In Sweet William perfumer Ineke Ruhland actually created a warm fruity floral that doesn't cater to the lowest common denominator. The initial blast is juicy and sharp, not necessarily to my taste: it's a spicy peach compote spiked with some booze. Sweet William fills the room and projects in a way that makes the husband protest. The effect softens as the spices lead the way to their floral relatives. Sweet William, the flower, is a species of Dianthus, the family that includes carnation, and there's no mistaking the slightly peppery clove-like scent. The note list also includes cumin and cinnamon, and I wish they were better represented in Ineke's creation. But I get that the emphasis here is meant to be the gentle flowers. You know, the pretty things.

The dry-down of Sweet William is a soft and cushy wood-vanilla. It's not sweet at all and remains much closer to the skin than the initial sillage suggests. After a few hours of wearing it, Sweet William becomes a "you smell nice" thing that doesn't demand too much attention. While Ineke and Anthropologie launched it as a fall fragrance, I see (and smell) it more as a warm weather perfume. It's light and gentle enough despite the spice content, and blooms better to its full potential when there's enough heat around.

Notes: Peach, Cinnamon,  Carnation, Clove, Cumin, Sweet William, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, Patchouli, Bourbon Vanilla.

Ineke- Floral Curiosities : Sweet William ($68, 2.5oz or $28 for 0.5oz travel spray. How wonderful is that?) is exclusive to Anthropologie, online and in store. The sample for this review was sent for my consideration by the perfumer's PR.

Art: Johan Laurentz Jensen- Sweet William, Forget Me Not, Convulvus and a Canary on a Ledge, circa 1840.

Dior Diorific Diva (038) - Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012

Dior's winning streak continues with  Diorific Diva (038) from Le Grand Bal Collection for Holiday 2012.  Diva is very very red. As a matter of fact, if it were up to me I'd swap the names between Marilyn (040) and Diva, because this one is a bit closer to the shade I associate with Marilyn Monroe. In any case, there's nothing better than a full-coverage, pigment-saturated, long-lasting red lipstick. Between the color and the packaging, Dior encapsulated glamour.

Bottom Line: Yes, please.

 Diorific Diva (038) - Le Grand Bal Collection Holiday 2012 ($36) is available at the counters as well as online.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour: Gilded Bronze, Gilded Platinum, Gilded Moonlight

Let's skip to the bottom line: from the look at first touch of these new Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour eye shadows I expected a lot more in terms of pigmentation, texture and originality. It's not every day that Laura Mercier launches a new texture/formula of her much-revered eye shadows. However, the result was on the "meh" side. There's so many other soft high-shine products on the market, and these are not the best ones ever.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour shadows are a wet/dry formula with a bouncy, almost creamy feel. The first thing I noticed, though, is that the springiness is limited to the center of the pan. When you touch the edges of the product it's much harder, like any regular eye shadow. The Illuminating Eye Colours may feel creamy, but they apply like any powder eye shadow, unless you go the damp way. You might want to do it anyway because the pigmentation is very light and the effect is sheer otherwise. The swatches above were done by heavy layered application with a sponge applicator over a cream base. I really had to work it to be able to show the full color. On the bright side, despite the high shimmer, there's little to no fallout, and as long as you use a good base/primer the eye shadows will last for long hours.

The three shades of Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour I got (there's a fourth one, exclusive to Laura Mercier's website) are: Gilded Bronze (an almost taupe), Gilded Moonlight (gold, in certain light looks like a rose gold), and Gilded Platinum (very light champagne, the sheerest one and the least convincing in the bunch). I wouldn't recommend using more than one of them per makeup look because the shine is a bit too much. The best color is obviously Gilded Bronze, but I can't say even this one is a must have. If you're a taupe fiend chances are that you have more than one similar shade in your collection, probably in a superior texture.

Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour ($24 each) can be found at Sephora and from