Boy, am I late on this one. I received the NARSissist Smokey Eye Set eons ago, placed it in one of the "to photograph, swatch, and test" box away from feline reach. Then I misplaced the box and promptly forgot about it. When I found it a couple of weeks ago I was worried this NARSissist set is already sold out, but a quick search has shown that it's still available from NARS website; if you know where to look, that is. From any page on the site take this path:
HOLIDAY GIFTS>> ARTIST PALETTES>> EYE PALETTES>> NARSISSIST SMOKEY EYE COMPACT
With that out of the way, I obviously have to grump about the spelling of this palette's name, and remind the very lovely people at NARS that Smokey is a bear, while "smoky" is the adjective relating to smoke.
Now about the actual set. I was really happy that includes Mekong, the rich gold-infused espresso shade on the far right. I've been eyeing and waffling about this eye shadow since it first launched, hesitating because of the heavy gold shimmer. But I have to say, that Mekong was born to be applied with a damp brush and cause some good drama (the swatch is dry, though, to show how incredibly pigmented the color is on its own). The other two eye shadows in the set, Madrague I (matte cream with a buttery texture), and Bali (classic dark taupe, same wonderful texture) are a safe and easy choice, but adding Mekong takes it to evening territory.
Another way to use Mekong is over a smudged (or not) layer of Via Veneto, the black eyeliner.It's a mini version of the excellent Larger Than Life eye pencil (reviewed here). The regular pencil is one of my staples, so it's nice to have a purse-size version to tuck in a makeup bag, especially since it comes with the same built-in sharpener. The same can be said about the Wide Contour Eyeshadow Travel Brush #43 that comes in the NARSissist set. This is the redesigned and improved version of the old #16. The name is accurate: this is a wide angled brush, so those with small lids and short gap between the crease and the lash-line might find it less practical, but I like it quite a bit, and in a pinch it can create the entire eye look, as long as you go from light to dark when using it, and don't start smudging the pencil and Mekong until everything else is already in place.
Bottom Line: a workhorse (and a great Holiday gift).
NARS NARSissist Smok