First seen as a Nordstrom exclusive and soon to be released as part of Butter London’s Fall 2011 collection, ‘Wallis’ just begged to be mine. An intriguing mix of olive green, tarnished gold and hints of black, this is like draping aged brocade upon your nails. Named for Wallis Simpson, the American socialite that King Edward VIII gave up the throne for, I couldn’t understand how a shade like this could represent this historic woman…and then it came to me; while the golden flakes swirling throughout obviously give a nod to royalty, the murkiness of the overall hue is symbolic of the strife this union almost caused in the UK, and thus so absolutely colour appropriate. All swatches are with Seche Base Ridge Filling Base Coat, 2 coats of lacquer and Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat.
Wallis Simpson (June 19, 1896 – April 24, 1986) seen here in a photo taken in 1931, almost caused the biggest scandal in Great Britain’s history. Having been married twice before, and purportedly Edward VIII’s mistress prior to divorcing her second husband, the then-King Edward VIII abdicated the throne for her, throwing the British monarchy in upheaval. They were eventually given the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (by his brother George VI) and lived out the rest of their lives socializing. After Edward’s death in 1972, Wallis retreated into a life of privacy and seclusion, and not much is known about her last few years, even to this day. Now…on to the glory of ‘Wallis’, the nail lacquer!
In this first view taken in full sun, the angle of light perfectly captures all the nuances that go into a colour as complex as this one: golden, olive, hints of black, and even some fine pink and green shimmer thrown in for added depth.
This second view taken again in full sun, shows off a more light-hearted feel to the overall shade, emphasizing the golden glow it gives off, with the olive base playing a perfect counterpart.
While the next two photos may seem similar, enlarging them will show you how in the shot above, the light once again plays with the yellow hints of this lacquer, lending an overall brassy hue to the finish.
This closeup shot emphasizes the darker side of ‘Wallis’, by making the golden/bronze flakes the focus, and giving a deeper cast to this colour.
I absolutely love how shaded light lends a seething, almost feral look to this shade, at once understated and yet almost vibrantly alive.
Something about this view, once more taken in shaded light, reminded me of “Tiger’s Eye”; I love how all the swirling colours come together to give a unique topaz look to this polish.
Final thoughts: I am so totally thrilled and impressed with this lacquer, on so many levels; first of all, the colour is truly unique and while I have seen a few close relatives of this shade, the combination of hues in ‘Wallis’ still makes it stand apart. Secondly, the application was absolutely sublime; I almost had full opacity with the first coat, and yet the formula wasn’t thick like you’d expect, but so free-flowing, it almost applied itself. Removing the outer cap, the inner ridged cap makes it easy to hold, with a slightly rigid brush that nonetheless fans out beautifully on the nail. Dry time was super quick and even before I added a top coat (for photo purposes), the gloss at the finish was practically mirror-like. Like the Duchess herself, Butter London’s ‘Wallis’ is an exotic, yet somewhat reclusive shade…perfect for us modern socialites! It is available exclusively at Nordstrom (for now), and retails for US $14.00/ o.4 oz size.
The above photo is of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and Wallis, taken after their marriage in 1937.
*Photos of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII courtesy of Betty Swallow