a-england · Sargent’s Vision


The latest release from a-england is titled Sargent’s Vision, and draws inspiration by works from American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Founded by Adina Bodana — a woman that I’m so honoured to call my friend, each a-england collection is curated with exquisite detail and has a story to tell, more often than not centred around Adina’s love of the Edwardian era (one of my favourites as well, actually).



I have always been drawn to John Singer Sargent’s Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau); apart from the fact that the actual painting is massive (the canvas measure 7 feet high), there is an almost effortless sensuality to the creaminess of the subject’s skin, that  combined with her elegant gown and insouciant pose, forces me to drink in every detail. Unknown to many, the original painting showed the subject with her right strap falling {daringly} down her shoulder; after a major fuss by Madame Gautreau and her family, the painting was revised to show the strap back in place upon her shoulder. Suffice it to say, after this scandal John Singer Sargent left Paris (where he had been living & working) for England. By the way, this pose continues to be copied to this day by many celebrities, in particular for editorial photo shoots.

During a boating expedition, John Singer Sargent saw Chinese lanterns hanging among trees and lilies, whereupon he became fascinated by capturing their ethereal beauty. Veering towards a more Impressionistic style, he was able to work on this painting only a few short hours every day; the fleeting time of twilight. As to the name, it comes from a favourite song of the times called ‘The Wreath’ by composer Joseph Mazzinghi where the refrain asks “Have you seen my Flora pass this way?” to which the answer is “Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose”.

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Original version of Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau), 1883-84

Revised version of Portrait of Madame X (Madame Pierre Gautreau) — I definitely prefer the original

John Singer Sargent working in his studio on a revised Portrait of Madame X – 1885

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose (1885-86)

Carnation Lily Lily Rose | An almost warm-leaning silver with a strong linear holographic effect, visible in every lighting. Application is buttery smooth and lays down in a self-levelling way, leaving a glossy finish behind.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Nocturne | Like liquid velvet, this is a blackened aubergine with a scattered holo effect. Lush and richly pigmented, you can definitely get away with one coat for full coverage. Appearing relatively black indoors, bright light really picks up and enhances the prismatic bits. BONUS: non-staining upon removal.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Symphony In Blue And Silver | With the first coat laying down on the sheer side, I was surprised to see it reach full coverage with a second layer. An easy formula to work with that applies in a totally self-levelling way, the holographic effect here is a light linear and definitely visible in direct light. Comes to a natural glossy finish.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Symphony In Green And Gold | A pistachio green version of Symphony in Blue And Silver, bearing the same formula and effect, as well as being the warmer leaning of the two. Interestingly, this is one of few green hues I’ve worn that doesn’t make my fingers look red.

Coats: 2, no top coat


Everyone else makes nail polish; a-england manages to marry nail lacquer with art. The standouts for me from this collection, are Carnation Lily Lily Rose and Nocturne, but there’s a quaint wistful quality to the other two that is also so appealing (I’m not a fan of the in-your-face variety of holos). The timelessness of a-england’s shades makes them worth investing in and what’s more, as each theme is brought to life by Adina herself, it gives them a more personalized feel. Or as I like to see it, it’s like wearing a bit of history along your nails.

Available online — visit a-england’s stockist page for a full retailer listing



Media samples kindly provided, all opinions are my own





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