It was the packaging that reeled me in. It's a tie-in with Giorgio Armani Spring/Summer 2016 Ready-to-Wear collection that was shown in Milan last September, a love at first sight for me. I could picture myself right there on the front row next to Cate Blanchett taking notes and then announcing : "I'll have one of each, please". Maybe they'd through in the limited edition Armani Prive Fil Rouge perfume that comes in a matching bottle as a gift with purchase. Well, it doesn't work quite this way, but I could get the makeup: Armani S/S Runway Palette and Runway Eye Tint.
You can see the packaging in the photos, with the gauzy tulle pouches printed in patches of red, blue, and off-black. The same extends to the top of the palette itself, which is a nice touch. But we're here for the actual makeup, and the colors looked very very enticing.
The blush formula is Armani's much beloved Sheer Blush. It's wonderfully soft and smooth, but the pigmentation is deceiving. You can built it to the intensity you see in the pan, but you have to use your densest blush brush. The effect is gorgeous. It's one of the most natural and healthy looking blush looks and I love it very much, since I dread over-blushing. However, if your skin tone is richer than mine, not to mention darker (I;m a very wan and gray NC30-35 without a hint of yellow on my face), this might frustrate you to no end.
The beautiful eye shadows are in the same ballpark. They require a good base (more on that below), and are not the stuff Instagram Queens choose for their typical looks. I'm more than fine with that. The pearly beige is a beautiful highlighter (that's the one that barely shows up on my arm, but looks magical in my inner corner or over a bronze cream base. The middle color is a complex lavender gray that's kind of a color shifter. It's the star of the trio and I can imagine it looking great against blue or green eyes as much as it enhances brown. Then there's a silvery copper that also changes with the light and is a perfect everyday color on its own. The problem is that wearing all three together is kind of overdoing it, unles you bring in a couple of good matte eye shadows for blending and anchoring it into a modern look.
Enter the Giorgio Armani S/S Runway Eye Tint. Unlike other Eye Tints from the line that's tried, S/S 2016 has a semi-matte finish (the Armani website claims it's iridescent, but I beg to differ). The color is a sooty charcoal, and pigment intensity is at the top of the scale. The first swatch above is a one swipe of color that's enough for at least two sets of eyes, as proven in the following photo shows how a quick blending of this amount can be sheered or not, depending on your tools and intentions. I highly suggest working with as little product as possible (use a brush to pick it up from the applicator), and then patting down or buffing gently, according to the desired effect. You can always build some drama, and the doing it carefully allows the color to dry so it doesn't smear and gets everywhere.
My original idea was to use the Runway Eye Tint as the base for the more delicate eye shadow colors of the palette. I'd say that it's completely foolish when it comes to the highlighter that only looks good over a white, cream, or champagne base. The silvery copper (far right) doesn't need any enhancement and is great independently from this collection. The gorgeous middle color does look richer, sexier, and more interesting over the tint, so I'm feeling somewhat vindicated. Again, do everything using small brushes and a light hand before going for a "more is more" look.
Bottom Line: Mostly for collectors.
Giorgio Armani S/S Runway Palette ($120, made in France) and Runway Eye Tint ($42, made in France) are available at select Armani counters and directly from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com.