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Filed In: Comparisons
Dior’s Grand Bal Holiday 2012 Collection is sophisticated, visually beautiful, and full nostalgic old-world appeal. The packaging is some of the most luxe I’ve seen in a while, and the colours to be found in this collection are all eminently wearable and elegant. From the 4 nail varnishes offered, the only two that I felt were right for me, were #901 Diva (previously reviewed here) and this sexy red siren, #751 Marilyn. Then, there’s this adorable round bottle …
*All swatches are with base and top coats
Dior #751 Marilyn
beautiful packaging – inside & out
name clearly embossed on the unique gold box
#751 Marilyn – one of the truest red shades available, running neither too warm or cool-toned, but falling perfectly in between. With the unique round bottle shape and colour bringing to mind Snow White’s red apple, this vibrant hue was a pleasant surprise on many levels, starting with an absolutely STELLAR formula. Bearing an almost jelly-like quality in its slight translucency, it paradoxically manages to still give great coverage with the 1st coat, probably due to the excellent pigmentation. Almost a candy-apple red, I would say that ‘Marilyn’ might be a touch more blue-based, but still comes across as warm-leaning. Filled with exceptionally finely ground pink/magenta shimmer (only just visible to the naked eye), it also applies in a completely self-levelling manner and leaves behind an insanely glossy finish. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2
When I was recently on the search for a specific red colour, I came upon Dior’s #999 ‘Rouge Altesse/Red Royalty’ (review pending), and my first thought was that ‘Marilyn’ seemed to be a close match. I was both right and wrong; while the two seem to be in the same colour family, there are still differences between them, although in all honesty those differences are rather negligible at best. How they compared (note that 2 coats were applied):
index and ring fingers: #999 Red Royalty – a touch more orange based which makes it slightly warmer-toned, bearing a thicker running formula. Similar gloss and high level of pigmentation, but not as vibrant (a degree or 2 deeper in colour), with that well-known Dior “secret shimmer” – not readily apparent (unless seen in direct sunlight or with flash) for added depth. Non-staining as well.
NOTE: the brushes of all the lacquers in the holiday collection are not of the new chiselled paddle brush variety, but more like the older format, and with a significantly thinner and shorter wand – this does not affect application at all, however.
middle and pinkie fingers: #901 Marilyn
sampling of the two brushes
#901 Diva & #751 Marilyn
Final thoughts: This colour is THE red shade I’ve been looking for, and finding it in a brand I trust and love, especially in a formula as amazing as this, makes this an excellent purchase in my opinion. Of course, I would have loved to have found this shade a week earlier when I wanted to wear it for my nephew’s wedding, but the collection hadn’t yet been released. Even though ‘Red Royalty’ is a near duplicate, I found the formula of ‘Marilyn’ easier to work with and I love how the shimmer manages to be present, but in an understated way. Then there’s the whole Marilyn Monroe association for me – a woman who happens to be one of my idols – how can I possibly resist this beauty after all that?
Retailing for CAD $26.00, I picked mine up at The Bay department store (Canada).
From the moment I first laid eyes on promotional images for Dior’s Grand Bal Holiday 2012 Collection, I couldn’t wait for its release; I think I may have actually “whooped” when I saw the products arrive at my nearest counter … much to the embarrassment of my husband who was with me that day. Seeing all the products grouped together, I was reminded of 50’s era ladies – long satin evening gowns, opera-length gloves and tiny beaded clutches – looking like so many golden ornaments at a sophisticated soirée. The packaging on this collection is some of the most spectacular I’ve seen in a while – it’s a good thing the products live up to all that outer beauty as well!
#901 Diva – a deep onyx hue filled with incredibly fine gold, green, and pink micro shimmer. The formula here was utter PERFECTION – a just-right density that flows neither too thick or thin, with the barest hint of some sheerness upon application of the first coat, although non-streaky and with excellent coverage nonetheless. The round glass bottle is like nothing I’ve seen before and I was concerned that its brush would be too short to work comfortably with, but the bevelled cap provided a good grip, adding some length to the wand and making application easy. Ultra, ultra glossy and visibly smooth-looking, along with being completely self-levelling, you barely need a top coat to finish this beauty off, but it helps to add even more glamour & drama to the final look. Bonus: completely non-staining. Coats applied: 2 (along with base and top coats)
love the included ribbon with the “C” & “D” little charms
unique gold outer packaging
how elegant is this little tableau?
Ever since it became accepted and fashionable to sport black lacquer, I have been amassing these hues at an alarming rate; coupled by the fact that I have a total weakness for darkly brooding shades, there was no way I would miss adding ‘Diva’ to my collection. It stands to reason then, that I probably already owned a similar colour, and yet it was only when I went hunting that I realized that no 2 black simmer polishes are the same. The following swatches are all with base and top coats. Coats applied on all shades: 2
- index finger: Dior #905 ‘Black Sequins’ – a medium density formula with an excellent flow, a touch more opaque at the 1st coat than ‘Diva’, slightly cooler-looking due to its silvery-blueish shimmer which also happens to be more visible than ‘Diva’s’ shimmer
- middle & pinkie fingers: Dior #901 ‘Diva’
- ring finger: a-england ‘Bridal Veil’ (previously reviewed here) – the thickest and most opaque formula of the three, slight murky appearance next to the other two due to its ultra-fine prismatic particles, the glossiest and smoothest surface of them all
Overall, of the three, I would have to say that Dior’s ‘Black Sequins’ is the closest when viewed with the naked eye, but the differences become quite apparent when seen in direct sun (or with flash), with its shimmer noticeably sparser and not multi-tonal. The other difference between these two in particular, is that ‘Black Sequins’ does leave silvery traces behind upon removal, whereas ‘Diva’ cleans up much easier, with minimal mess.
Final thoughts: ‘Diva’ along with #751 Marilyn (review coming up), were the two lacquers from the four released with this collection that I absolutely knew would be coming home with me – and I am so happy with my choices. The bottle looks like a little jewelled bauble that just begs to be displayed, but it so happens that the contents within are what impress me even more. For dark/vampy nail polish lovers, this is one amazing black hue along with its crushed shimmer which adds unique visual interest, dimension, and depth that you really don’t want to miss out on. A very sleek and sophisticated shade … a true diva, indeed!
Retailing for CAD $26.00, I picked mine up at The Bay department store (Canada)
*Disclaimer: Some product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration
bottle & box
Other than the nail lacquer ‘Vertigo’ (previous reviewed here & here), the other item I was most excited about in CHANEL’s fall 2012 collection, was the limited edition face highlighter, ‘Lumière d’Artifices Beiges’. To begin with, I was curious to see its duality: a face powder AND a highlighter … then the sequin-embossed pattern hooked me. Doesn’t get more iconic CHANEL than that!
a shower of golden fireworks – the inspiration behind this powder’s name (source)
I love how the box shows a little picture of the product!
the glossy black compact
Lumière d’Artifices Beiges (made in bella Italia!)
Lumière d’Artifices Beiges – revealed!
Lumière d’Artifices Beiges and its totally useable bevelled brush
CHANEL’s ‘Lumière d’Artifices Beiges Illuminating Powder’ (what’s with these companies and their mile-long names?) is a lovely and interesting product – one which provides a light dusting of coverage as well as a subtle gleam along the points its applied to. The initial sparkle is only on the surface layer and primarily for the product’s initial “look”, which disappears immediately upon the first pass of your brush. CHANEL recommends first applying this sparkle along the décolleté area, in order that it doesn’t go to waste – I agree. The striping of the 2 tones, ivory and light tan/peach, are too thin on their own to be used individually, although a thin eyeshadow brush would probably work if desired, but they are definitely meant to be swirled together in order to benefit from the beautiful multi-tonal wash of colour that is then achieved.
The angled and bevelled brush that comes with the compact, is of a decent enough size and excellent quality, that make it not only quite useable, but a perfect accompaniment for this powder and very travel friendly, if need be.
This unscented powder is exceptionally finely milled, with hardly any visible kickback when I swirled my brush in it; upon initial application, I wasn’t sure if there was any discernible effect, but as soon as the light touched my face at certain angles, I was presented with a beautiful and subtle gleam with just the barest whisper of colour, making this one of the most natural looking highlighters I’ve ever come across. Staying power was quite impressive as well, and I found that as the day progressed, my skin’s natural oils almost fused with this product, diminishing the initial glow which then slowly faded into a slight sheen.
swatch – natural light
swatch – in sunlight
I had heard much talk about ‘Lumière d’Artifices Beiges’ being almost identical to the bronzer released in this past summer’s collection, ‘Sable Beige’ (previously reviewed here), but upon swatching the two, I immediately noticed differences, with Sable Beige being:
- several degrees darker in tone
- shimmer slightly more pronounced
- not as finely milled
Nonetheless, while the two seem to be in a similar tonal family, you really could not use ‘Lumière d’Artifices Beiges’ as a bronzer, by any means – neither could you use ‘Sable Beige’ as a highlighter. Both are equally amazing in their own rights, serving different functions.
swatch – natural light
swatch – in sunlight
Final thoughts: Sometimes I fall for an incredibly beautifully packaged item, paying top dollar for it, then have major buyer’s remorse when said product fails to live up to all the hype and my expectations. I’m therefore very pleased to note that this was not one of those times *giant sigh of relief*. I own many bronzers and probably more highlighters than I’ll ever need for at least 3 lifetimes. I’m not even sure that this falls into either one of those categories as it seems to be a hybrid mix of both, although the tan portion of ‘Lumière d’Artifices Beiges’ is not deep enough to provide significant bronzing; what it does, is to add a nice dimension of depth, so that this highlighter winds up looking warmer-toned and slightly more complex than usual — never flat. At US $65.00, it better look good, right?
PS: I was able to snag this beauty for free using my Pharmaprix/Shopper’s Drug Mart bonus points that I racked up. How much more am I loving this powder now?!
CHANEL – #72 Rose Initiale Joues Contraste Powder Blush for Fall 2012 (swatches, review & comparison)
What impresses me the most about CHANEL’s Fall 2012 collection – the entire collection, in fact – is how utterly wearable each and every item is. Blush, for example, can break your entire look – too vivid and/or wrongly placed and it’s instant “clown cheeks”, too pale/shimmery, and you look like an extra on “Twilight” – but getting it right AND finding a shade that’s universally flattering, sometimes takes a magician’s skill … CHANEL’s #72 Rose Initiale takes the guesswork out of the equation. No wand required.
#72 Rose Initiale
#72 Rose Initiale
#72 Rose Initiale
#72 Rose Initiale, flash
#72 Rose Initiale, natural light
#72 Rose Initiale is that perfect mix of true rose with some peachy undertones to add warmth, and the most delicate hint of shimmer for a bit of depth. The powder itself is quite soft and I was able to easily pick up enough with the first swipe of my brush for a soft flush of colour. With hardly any powdery kickback, I found this shade to be quite buildable, with the shimmer imparting a beautiful glow. Lasting power was quite decent as well, especially when applied over foundation primed skin, going well past the 7-hour mark before I noticed any fading.
swatch – natural light
I initially thought that ‘Rose Initiale’ was basically an amplified version of last year’s ‘Espiègle’, but as the swatches show, they couldn’t be more different, with ‘Espiègle’ being not only significantly paler, but with more visible gold-flecked shimmer. I also noticed how much more pigmented ‘Rose Initiale’ is in comparison, even while both remain relatively “soft” hues.
swatch – natural light
Final thoughts: There has been much said about the differing formulations of CHANEL blushes, with the European/Canadian versions coming in a baked format and reputedly harder to work with, as opposed to their softer US counterparts. Personally, I haven’t found too much of an issue with either type, and easily switch back & forth. I will say that CHANEL blushes can sometimes take a little effort to apply, but that’s offset by their impressive staying power.’Rose Initiale’ is that absolutely beautiful shade that I believe will be universally flattering on a broad range of skin tones, and it’s the blush that I have been using almost daily since picking it up – a few light swipes for day, then adjusting its volume by layering it when I want to take it up a notch for evening. I’m already planing on getting a backup; when you find something that works, you just know it.
Back in 2010 when CHANEL first introduced the Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss format, I wondered why the brand would need yet another type of gloss – I was already devoted to their glossimers – how could they top that? This new format was designed to provide all the shine and ease of application of a regular gloss, but with a bit more heft to it & lasting power, staying put where you placed it without the need for a lipliner. After taking the plunge and trying these out, let’s just say that I got my answer.
#68 Troublant is a beautiful plummy brown hue with some slight mauve undertones, as well as some hints of an inner pink, gold & copper sparkle, which luckily only add some depth here – subtle and refined. The softened rectangular spongy tip is also quite unique, in that it offers enough surface to pick up a fair amount of product to be deposited quickly along the lips, as well as being flexible enough to follow your contours smoothly. Using the top edge of the tip can also help with precision application ie: the cupid’s bow. The formula is thin but with enough body to provide decent coverage, and the shine left at the finish is excellent. Lasting power, while not as long as a lipstick, was definitely more than regular glosses provide, easily staying evenly visible for about 4 hours, gradually becoming somewhat less shiny after that – when the bulk of the product fully faded at about the 4-hour mark, I was left with softened and hydrated-feeling lips.
indirect natural light
The only other Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss I own to compare ‘#68 Troublant’ to is ‘#51 Insouciance’, and while the formula is the same, the colour is vastly different, with ‘Insouciance’ being a true nude shade and a touch less pigmented than ‘Troublant’ – but nonetheless, one of my go-to standards for daily wear.
Final thoughts: It’s no secret to those of you who have come to know me, how devoted I am to CHANEL products, but I believe my loyalty is justified; the quality of basically everything the company produces, is vastly superior to many other high end brands, and I love how they have taken a concept like “gloss” that’s been around for decades, and given it an update. ‘Troublant’ is a shade that is not only easy to wear colour-wise, but feels feather-light on the lips (no heavy stickiness present at all), and has the bonus of also providing good moisture throughout the wearing. I was told that the 2 Rouge Allure Extrait de Gloss that were released for the fall 2012 collection, are limited shades, but a quick look on CHANEL’s website doesn’t state that – in other words, I’m not sure if they will become part of the permanent range, so be warned. A little pricey (US $32.00/0.28 fl. oz), especially for a gloss – absolutely. Considering the ease of portability while providing some gorgeous colour? Well worth the splurge, in my opinion.