Filed In: Giorgio Armani Beauty

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro N° 2 Wenge Wood

GA Eye & Brow Maestro opener

 

Giorgio Armani Beauty recently introduced their first ever eyeshadow cream product, Eye & Brow Maestro (CAN $39.00), available in 9 shades. With subtle hints of iridescence in all but one (N° 9 Gold, a light and slightly transparent golden hue), these are truly a multi-purpose product and can be worn on the eyes as either shadow or liner, used to fill in & colour the brows, and depending on the shade, the Eye & Brow Maestro can even be used as a sculpting product for the face. In a pinch, they can even be used along the hairline for those between-colouring occasions.

Inspired by backstage makeup and developed using ground-breaking as well as cutting-edge technology, here’s what Linda Cantello (International Make-Up Artist Giorgio Armani Beauty) has to say about the Eye & Brow Maestro:

“I wanted to offer women an innovative product inspired by my needs backstage at Giorgio Armani fashion shows, a product that does it all, that would be fast and faultless when applied, long lasting, and fault proof”

I was sent N° 2 Wenge Wood to try out (I did not receive the accompanying brush), a rather deep mousy brown hue, that surprisingly turned out to be a very good match for my brows (even though my hair colour is a pale icy blonde, I prefer to keep a deeper tone on my brows – this way, my face doesn’t appear washed out).

 

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French actress Marion Cotillard, spokesperson for Giorgio Armani Beauty with a look created using Eye & Brow Maestro

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro closed

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro label

Working closely with experts from hair care laboratories, the Eye & Brow Maestro was created to look more like natural hair (the reason behind the subtle iridescence in the formula), as opposed to other brow products – whether pencil or creams – that look matte and therefore flat when applied.

A waterless and clay-based cream, the Eye & Brow Maestro contains waxes selected for their ‘different melting points, creating a texture similar to a mousse’, a silky resin with a patented new generation ‘elastic flex polymer’ that boasts a 20-hour hold claim (not sure if I’ll ever want to wear makeup THAT long to test that particular claim out), a blend of three volatile oils selected for their varying drying times and levels of pigment, as well as ‘glass and mica pearls’ which reproduce and mimic the natural shine of hair, as well as synthetic mica that are colourless, translucent pearlisers meant to boost the shine of the 9 shades.

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Eye & Brow Maestro makeup brush

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro: one product, 2 distinct looks

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro selection

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro shade selection

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro 02 Wenge Wood

N° 2 Wenge Wood (CAN $36.00) | A rich grey brown hue with mauve undertones in the base. The texture is dense but super creamy and the level of pigmentation is definitely high – a little goes a very long way, especially if using this shade along the brows. I can’t detect any discernible scent, which is a plus, especially for anyone with sensitivities (unfortunately, I’m unable to show ingredients, as my press sample came without packaging). This waterproof product bears a ‘dual-transformation’ texture: solid to liquid to solid; the solid cream apparently becomes liquid on application, then sets to a solid finish once the oils have evaporated. The cream part I can definitely attest to, although I can’t say I picked up on any liquid tendencies (perhaps the brand’s definition varies from mine), and with regards to it setting, you have a few minutes of play before it does dry down. I am able to blend it out easily before it does set without the need for excessive tugging or pulling along the skin, and this formula is also buildable, giving you layering options. Once dry, it literally stays put until removed (I prefer a dual-phase makeup remover such as the one by Neutrogena, to do the job).

As eyeshadow: for a more intense tone, I prefer using a flat synthetic haired brush for application, as the product stays at the surface level of the brush; there is a tendency for cream shadows to clump up when applied with natural haired brushes. For a smokey look, I follow up with a natural bristled blending brush to smooth out any harsh edges. Alternately, using your finger to dab and spread along the lids, yields a lighter wash of colour.

As liner: can be used in the same manner as any other cream or gel liner

As a brow shade: I prefer to use a stiff angled brow brush to lightly fill in any sparser areas, as well as provide shape and definition to my overall brow shape, then follow up with a spoolie brush to blend everything in and give a more natural-looking shape to my brows.

Face sculpting/contouring: I haven’t tried using the Eye & Brow Maestro in this capacity yet, so I can’t really comment, although my experience with this brand makes me feel confident that it should work amazing this way as well.

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro 02 Wenge Wood macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro N° 2 Wenge Wood

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro 02 Wenge Wood swatches

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro N° 2 Wenge Wood swatches

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backstage application of the Eye & Brow Maestro

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | Eye & Brow Maestro

 

When I was younger, I had had lush, fuller brows that bordered on unibrow status. Then the 80’s and their pencil thin eyebrow shape hit – a trend that I embraced and now have come to deeply regret (RIP, full brows). Since your brows act as the ‘frame’ for the rest of your face, the sparse skinny brow look may work for an editorial shoot, but not in real life. To that end, I combat the issue with a variety of products – from pencils, eyeshadow, and even those specialized brow-mascaras, as rarely does one method give me that fully defined yet still natural look I aim for. The Brow & Eye Maestro is truly genius and one I’ve been turning to over and over again to shape and enhance my brows, with a minimum investment in time and labour. As a shadow, N° 2 Wenge Wood is superb and definitely a must for beauty lovers (yet another use: as a layering base for eyeshadow). As a brow shade, I suggest looking over the selection in person and the general rule of thumb is to go with a colour that’s a couple of degrees deeper than your hair tone.

Available now through Holt Renfrew and select The Bay stores (Canada). For more information, visit the website.

 

GA Eye & Brow Maestro closer

Press sample provided by Giorgio Armani Beauty for my consideration

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all Limited Edition)

GA Rouge Ecstasy Spice, Sultan & Orient opener

 

Following the huge success of the Giorgio Armani Rouge Ecstasy range that launched in Fall 2013 (reviewed here and here), a product that marries lip colour with skincare and comfort – think of it as the lipstick version of a CC cream – three new and limited edition red shades have just been released. Inspired by richly hued precious spices from around the world, each lipstick bears a unique and lush tone – a veritable voyage of red.

Each Rouge Ecstasy lipstick comes in a cylindrical convex-shaped tube with the brand’s initials on the bottom portion, and which snaps firmly shut with a magnetic closure (I love this feature; caps stay in place with no fear of them coming off & disappearing into the bottoms of purses/makeup bags). Another instantly recognizable feature is the signature red hue of the outer casing – very Armani. There is a soft and pleasant floral scent to these lipsticks (rose, perhaps?) and the texture is what makes them unique: a slightly thick (but still quite easy to apply) ultra creamy formula that bears excellent pigmentation, and which literally glides across the lips, leaving a soft shine at the finish. The 3 hues featured today, are intensely colour saturated, which seems in contradition to the balm-like properties they offer, but nevertheless that’s exactly what they provide – super rich colour with an incredibly comfortable feel, that is quite long lasting and which leave lips feeling totally hydrated and nourished. Staying power on all: averaging 9-10 hours, less with eating & drinking.

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy LE boxed

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy LE ingredients

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition), ingredients list

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy LE labels

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy LE tubes

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy Spice, Sultan & Orient

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy Spice, Sultan & Orient 3

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy Spice, Sultan & Orient 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy Spice, Sultan & Orient 4

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, 405 Sultan & 406 Orient (all limited edition)

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #404 Spice

Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice, Limited Edition (CAN $38.00) | A vivid crimson/carmine red hue and even though the base holds blueish undertones, this is a shade that will suit a wide range of skin complexions. One swipe gives amazing colour saturation, but 404 Spice can also be easily built up for even stronger impact. Leaves a deep rose light stain on the lips long after the majority of product has worn off.

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #404 Spice macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #404 Spice label

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #404 Spice swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 404 Spice

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #405 Sultan

Rouge Ecstasy 405 Sultan, Limited Edition (CAN $38.00) | A rich brick red hue that leans more warm than cool, and a wonderful compromise for those who don’t want an ‘in-your-face’ red, but still desire impact. By applying 1 swipe of 405 Sultan along the lips then pressing them together, you get a nice wash of colour – although this shade is super easy to build up for more intensity and depth of tone. Leaves a light coral/orange stain upon the lips long after majority of product has worn off.

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #405 Sultan macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 405 Sultan

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #405 Sultan label

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 405 Sultan

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #405 Sultan swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 405 Sultan

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #406 Orient

Rouge Ecstasy 406 Orient, Limited Edition (CAN $38.00) | A deep burgundy hue with blue undertones in the base. Obviously the darkest of the three shown, 406 Orient also displays hints of berry which lighten up the colour somewhat and give it a flirty side. The beauty of the Rouge Ecstasy formula, is that you can take a colour as highly concentrated as this, and sheer it out by simply applying one swipe then pressing lips together to spread it out – or alternately apply with your finger for more control. Leaves a light cerise stain behind long after the majority of product has worn off.

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #406 Orient macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 406 Orient

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #406 Orient label

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 406 Orient

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy #406 Orient swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Rouge Ecstasy 406 Orient

 

I’ve said it in previous posts, but it bears repeating: red lips are so totally IN this year. The intensity of this particular shade, however, can be daunting for many although you cannot deny how powerful, fierce, feminine, confident and sexy a red lip can make you feel. Giorgio Armani Beauty has been redefining red hues since the brand began, and what makes the Rouge Ecstasy range such a standout, in my opinion, is the formula. Price-wise, these lipsticks lean towards the steeper end of the scale, although getting such rich colour along with super hydration, makes them definitely worth a look.

Available now through Holt Renfrew and select Hudson’s Bay stores (Canada). Find more information via the website

 

GA Rouge Ecstasy LE closer

*Disclosure: Press samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Beauty Spotlight | Tim Quinn – VP Creative Artistry, Giorgio Armani Beauty

Interview with Tim Quinn opener

 

This past October 1st, I had been invited to a special shopping event held at Holt Renfrew (Montréal), where I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting down to chat with Tim Quinn, VP Creative Artistry for Giorgio Armani Beauty. His presence in town coincided with the launch of several new Armani Beauty products, namely the Black Ecstasy Mascara (reviewed here), new limited edition shades of both Lip Maestro glosses (reviewed here) & Rouge Ecstasy lipsticks (review coming), as well as the Eye & Brow Maestro range (review coming).

The theme of the evening was ‘Italian Immersion’ and with DJ Abeille (sister of Montréal celebrity Mitsou Gélinas) rocking out killer beats to set the vibe, as well as local food merchants providing the most drool-worthy Italian fare you’ve ever tasted (and yes, I sampled basically everything), the highlight of the night for me was in getting the opportunity to have an in-depth one-on-one with Tim Quinn, a man who is as gracious (and funny!), as he is stylish – making me feel instantly at ease (it’s always a bit intimidating meeting someone of his stature) with his relaxed manner and welcoming presence. Not only is Tim an amazing ambassador for the Giorgio Armani Beauty brand, but one of the warmest and most genuine people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.

Once my interview was done, I was given a quick touch-up at one of the Armani Beauty makeup stations set up in the private lounge area, where I also got to play model for fellow media (basically, I just sat there while the artist pretend-worked on me), followed by mingling, a little shopping, and just generally having a great time.

Please enjoy the interview, further down the post!

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DJ Abeille’s station set-up

GA event Holt's display

 

GA event Holt's display 2

 

GA event logo board

I can’t resist a logo-board photo op

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The private Giorgio Armani Beauty lounge

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GA event bar

 

GA event signature drink

Signature drink: Prosecco, Crème de Cassis & raspberries

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After welcoming Tim to Montréal, we got down to chatting

Who is the Giorgio Armani Beauty woman?

Just as the brand has evolved, so has the Armani woman – and with the growing popularity of our complexion products, Giorgio Armani Beauty now attracts a diverse range and age group of clients – but in a nutshell, the Armani woman is a confident person, and not someone trend-driven. She comes to us because there is a timelessness and sensibility to our collections, although each woman is still free to put her own unique twist to her look with our products.

What would you say is an essential beauty item that all women should own?

Having the proper foundation is key; in fashion, if you have the right underpinnings, then whatever you wear on top looks that much better and that same concept applies to your makeup as well. From our Luminous Silk Foundation (that I’m still obsessed with), we then went on to create this idea of ‘wardrobing'; just as you change up your look with the seasons or as your skin needs change, so should your foundation adapt to that as well.

Where do you see the direction of Giorgio Armani Beauty headed?

I’m fortunate to be able to travel with the fashion house quite a bit, and with regards to the beauty end of things, it’s more about understanding the global effects involved, which is far more encompassing than previously imagined – especially when it comes to our complexion category and catering to the unique needs of each and every client. The Armani ideal of beauty believes in avoiding looking overly made-up, placing emphasis instead on the luminosity of the complexion. With Mr. Armani’s keen interest in textures, we strive to find new ways to incorporate textures into our makeup as well, but always with a focus on keeping products lightweight and seamlessly applying.

Mr. Armani is very involved and in fact, quite hands-on with the brand (it’s not unheard of for him to come backstage and put finishing touches on the models) and has a clear vision of what he wishes to achieve – as well as introduce – with the product range, even to the point of literally creating new products/colours backstage right before a show with Linda Cantello (International Makeup Artist and head of beauty for the brand). For the first time ever, these same products that have been cooked up in the backstage beauty lab, will soon be available to consumers, to coincide with their respective fashion launch. This first upcoming collection is beyond amazing; apart from the fact that you will see colours that were custom created backstage (and therefore never before seen in the Giorgio Armani Beauty range), the face palette will bear an actual piece of fabric from the collection on the surface packaging, turning each palette into a uniquely personal item.

Can you walk me through the creative process behind beauty collections?

Mr. Armani starts off with an idea that he may have, usually somehow tied in with the fashion line, and then he and Linda Cantello begin working out the details for the looks, followed by testing on actual models (which is basically the reason behind why the entire concept of the beauty lab came about: as a support system to this creative process), and then those runway looks get further refined for the consumer market, but always staying in touch with their original inspiration.

Any words of beauty wisdom you can pass along?

To begin with, I think women should stop apologizing; each person is unique and has their own vision of beauty and you shouldn’t let anyone ever make you feel like you’re not perfect enough, young enough, or flawless enough. I’m certainly not going to tell you what colours you absolutely have to wear, as I feel my role is there more to guide & advise, helping you achieve the look that makes YOU feel good.

What beauty differences, if any, have you noted between North American and European women?

Every time I’m in Europe and then return back to North America, I’m finding that there’s less of a distinction than there used to be, with any differences primarily regional; take for example Toronto & Montréal – as these two cities are so different in tone, women not only dress differently in each, but wear their makeup differently too. If anything, I would have to say that European women appear to have a bit more confidence and are perhaps not as consumed with trying to fit into any one particular look or trendy, and actually embrace their own natural and unique beauty. There’s a lesson there that we can all benefit from, right?

 

GA event TQ interview

 

GA event TQ interview 2

 

GA event Tim Quinn interview

 

GA event makeup station

 

GA event photo shoot

 

GA event Tim Quinn 2

 

GA eent Crema Nera

A Selection of Crema Nera skincare products

GA event Rouge Ecstasy

Rouge Ecstasy

GA event Black Ecstasy GA event Black Ecstasy Mascara

Black Ecstasy

GA event Collection Privée

Armani Privé

GA event DJ Abeille

DJ Abeille

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With a “ministrello” (travelling entertainer)

GA event Holt's food stations

A montage of just some of the treats that were available – even dessert & coffee!

GA event Holt's counter display

The Giorgio Armani Beauty counter at Holt’s

GA event Holt's staff

Michael & Chanel (not pictured: Mary) at the Holt’s Armani counter, are amazing – makes every shopping experience such fun!

 A huge thank you goes out to Holt Renfrew (Montréal) for hosting such a wonderful & fun-filled event, and to Giorgio Armani Beauty for sending Tim Quinn to Montréal – I’m definitely looking forward to the next time I get to chat (and learn) from such an amazing man!

 

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Organica Palette Yeux, Fade to Grey Fall 2014

 

GA Organica palette opener 2

 

The undisputed star of the Giorgio Armani Beauty Fall 2014 Fade to Grey Collection, is without a doubt the Organica Palette Yeux, Limited Edition (CAN $70.00). There’s a unique contradiction going on with this palette; to begin with, I don’t usually consider 2 shades a ‘palette’, usually reserving that title for 4 or more hues, and then there’s the selection of colours themselves – grey & golden, not a common pairing by any stretch of the imagination (see my review on one other piece from this collection). But somehow, this duo just totally works. Can we also take a moment to admire the intricately embossed pattern on the surface as well?

Meant to provide a ‘subtle and elusive beauty’, Linda Cantello (Internatonal Makeup Artist Giorgio Armani) has this to say:

“I think the best and most flattering makeup, is the makeup you can’t see. It’s more striking when it has that slight ‘live-in’ look. Eyes with muted colour, an Armani look with stronger eyebrows, grey eyes and a soft mouth. It’s all easy to apply and anyone can wear it”

Sounds simple enough, no?

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

Armani Fall 2014

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Fall 2014 using products from the Fade to Grey Collection

 

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette

Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition) (CAN $70.00) | This palette comes housed in the brand’s by-now recognizable black lacquered ovoid shape and has 2 compartments: the top layer is all about the shadows while the bottom section holds 2 small dual-headed sponge-tipped applicators (which I’m not a fan of personally and don’t understand why companies continue to include them – waste of space & most likely jacks up the price as a result. But I digress…) and closes with a magnetic clasp. Embossed with a crocodile-like pattern, there’s a silvery overspray on the surface of the palette (which gets basically removed from the first swipe of your brush), but interestingly enough, that light shimmery/pearlescent/prismatic effect seems to go right through all the layers of this product just the same. Quite pigmented in spite of the visibly light tone, you need to apply these shades with a light hand to start with, while intensity and depth can be easily built up. According to the company:

“The innovative formula of the Organica Palette Yeux is derived from its ‘micro pearl’ technology – cold cast in a base with a texture between a gel and powder, and imprinted with a pattern before being pressed. Micronized pearl and pigment particles remain intact down to the bottom of the pan”

There’s a rich buttery softness that you can immediately see and sense when you dip your brush into either shade, with barely any powdery kickback to speak of. Application is also effortless, as these colours almost seem to melt off the brush and flow across the skin – a sort of gliding effect, really. As mentioned before, both shades are quite pigmented and require a light touch to start with such as a large fluffy eyeshadow brush for a light wash of colour, and a denser headed brush can then be used for more definition. The darker half is described as a “shimmery black” but it would be more accurate to say that it is pewter grey with definite purple/mauve undertones. The other side is correctly describe as a “golden nude“, but it also holds rose-gold tints in the base for added depth. The finish is a cross between pearl, satin and ultra-fine shimmer – very unique and luxurious, but never over-the-top. Blending is ridiculously easy and I actually love how seamlessly the two appear when combined (TIP: you can also layer one shade over the other to create entirely new colours). Staying power – on primed lids (as my lids are oily, I never apply eyeshadow without), is impressive, looking as fresh at the 10 hour mark as when first applied, without any fallout or fading.

 

GA Organica palette opener

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette macro side

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette macro side 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette swatches

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

GA Organica palette swatches blended

Giorgio Armani Beauty Fade to Grey Fall 2014 | Organica Palette Yeux (Limited Edition)

 

Well known for his attention to detail, Mr. Armani carries that into his beauty range as well, as this exquisite palette clearly proves. There is an understated appeal to these shades and yet something about these two particular colours lend themselves to a variety of looks – in fact, I’ve only just begun experimenting with wearing it different ways, and the more I use it, the more I’ve come to appreciate all that the Organica Palette Yeux has to offer. Interestingly enough, the price of this palette here in Canada is significantly lower than the US ($70.00 vs $88.00), which almost [ALMOST] makes up for the price gouging us Canadians experience with this brand’s nail polishes. All in all, this is a beautiful piece to invest in, as the colours are not only wearable, but unique as well.

Available now but be aware that it is limited edition. Find more information via:

 

GA Organica palette closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone Nail Lacquer (Limited Edition)

GA #214 Woodstone opener

 

The Fall 2014 Fade to Grey Collection from Giorgio Armani Beauty, is filled with softly elegant autumnal shades but what makes the products really stand out, is their textures. Of the four limited edition nail lacquer shades, I was sent #214 Woodstone (CAN $32.00) to try and I confess that it was instant love for me … plus I really love the name.

What seems at first to be a rather ordinary brown shimmery polish, is in fact so much more complex than that – it took even me by surprise. The bottle colour shows #214 Woodstone to be cross between bronze/taupe/brown filled with an ultra fine prismatic shimmer and that’s exactly how it appears on the nail (it actually looks like rich chocolate as well) – with the difference that the final finish is closer to a buttery suede, although the shimmer is still present and accounted for. The formula is highly pigmented (this can basically be a 1-coater, especially on shorter nails) and bears an excellent flow, applying in a self-levelling way which eliminates any visible brush strokes. Giorgio Armani Beauty lacquers are made to be worn without the need for either a base or top coat, although I wouldn’t recommend ever skipping your base coat. The brush is yet another unique aspect of this range: densely bristled but not excessively so, with the rounded tip helping nail polish spread smoothly and evenly along the nail bed. BONUS: non-staining upon removal. All swatches are with 2 coats, top coat only where indicated.

Unlike other matte/satin finish lacquers that seem to dry at the speed of light and make it a challenge to achieve a smooth, brush stroke-free finish, #214 Woodstone takes a couple of minutes to fully develop, which means you don’t need to rush your application. A steady hand is key in achieving the smoothest finish (again, to avoid the possibility of visible brush strokes, something many matte shades can be prone to) but the finally result is so totally worth the your patience.

I personally absolutely LOVE this type of finish as I find it edgy and unique, almost 3D-like due to its fine texture, but for those still not on board with matte/satin nails (but seriously, matte has been seen on all the runways for the past few seasons now and is still going strong — something to consider), you always have the option of adding top coat – 1 coat is enough to achieve a glossy finish (unlike some other textured polishes that literally eat up top coat, forcing you to add layer upon layer). Still, my opinion is that top coat takes something away from the overall effect, but it also manages to bring out all the shimmery bits.

My initial impression on seeing #214 Woodstone, was how much it resembled another favourite, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued), and they are indeed very similar, with the CHANEL being just a few degrees deeper/browner but with both bearing the same unique shimmer. For those who collect CHANEL lacquers and missed out on that beauty, here’s your chance to scoop up something very close in tone & colour.

NOTE: in the last 2 comparison swatch photos, #214 Woodstone is shown with top coat, CHANEL’s #247 Haute Chocolat without top coat

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | Fade to Grey Fall 2014

 

FALL 2014 - VAO 214 - Fd Noir

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

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Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 3

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (in sunlight, alternate view)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat)

 

GA #214 Woodstone swatch 2 with top coat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone (with top coat & in sunlight)

 

GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only

 

GA #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL Haute Chocolat 2

Giorgio Armani Beauty | #214 Woodstone vs CHANEL #247 Haute Chocolat (discontinued) on ring finger only

 

I absolutely love this colour, and even without swatching the other three lacquers of this collection, this would still have been the only shade I would have wanted. Everything about #214 Woodstone — from the name, the colour, to the finish — says ‘Autumn’ to me and almost makes the coming colder weather bearable. My only issue is with the cost; I don’t get how this brand’s lacquers can be $20.00 in the US and yet jump to $32.00 here in Canada, which basically prices them far out of reach of the average consumer. That’s something I hope the company addresses soon (other items from the range are actually significantly less expensive here – go figure), because the quality of these polishes is truly outstanding and well worth collecting.

Available now, be aware that the lacquers are limited edition. Find more information via:

 

GA #214 Woodstone closer

*Disclosure: Press sample provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, #405 Sultan & #406 Orient

GA Lip Maestro trio opener

 

Launching next month (September 2014), are three new Lip Maestro shades from Giorgio Armani Beauty: #404 Spice, #405 Sultan and #406 Orient. Described as “luminous matte red lacquer”, these are intensely pigmented yet velvety soft lip products that apply like a gloss, but with a lipstick’s opaque factor. Inspired by classic Hollywood glamour, these new hues are at once passionate and fierce, made modern by their unique new texture. The couture revolution for lips, is here.

From the first application stroke, you can tell that this is a truly innovative product: highly colour saturated yet with an extremely lightweight feel, lips are completely enveloped in colour from the start. The sponge applicator is slightly angled to provide excellent contact with the lips, while the lightly tapered head easily gives you precise control without needing to use a matching liner. Slightly cool-feeling at first, each shade comes to a semi-matte finish, appearing neither too flat nor glossy, but with a plush velvety tone – both in look and feel. Non-sticky once the colour sets, the lasting power of each shade is almost superhuman – looking as fresh at the 10 hour mark, as they did when originally applied. Any fading that may occur is easily resolved by a quick press of the lips to refresh the colour. My biggest fear was that such intensely pigmented shades would surely feather, bleed and/or creep into my surrounding lip lines, but once again I was pleased to note that any movement in that area was minimal at best – truly surprising (but oh-so-welcome) for such vivid red hues.

For all swatches below, note that each shade has been applied straight from the tube without any touch-ups using either a lip liner or lip brush, in order to keep the colour and texture true.

 

GA Lip Maestro trio boxed

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color

 

GA Lip Maestro trio labels

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color

 

GA Lip Maestro trio ingredients

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color, ingredients listing

 

GA Lip Maestro trio

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, #405 Sultan & #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro trio upright

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, #405 Sultan & #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro logo

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color, logo detail

 

GA Lip Maestro trio macro

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, #405 Sultan & #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro trio open

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, #405 Sultan & #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro #404 Spice

Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice (CAN $38.00) | An passionate crimson red hue with slightly cooler undertones in the base, although #404 Spice is so richly vibrant (without coming off as too primary) that it can be easily worn by those with warmer complexions.

 

GA Lip Maestro #404 Spice open

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice

 

GA Lip Maestro #404 Spice brush

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice

 

GA Lip Maestro #404 Spice brush side

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice, brush side view

 

GA Lip Maestro #404 Spice swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #404 Spice

 

GA Lip Maestro #405 Sultan

Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #405 Sultan (CAN $38.00) | A fierce brick red hue with slight brown hints in the base for added depth of tone and warmth. Less intense than #404 Spice but still maintaining the same impact, #405 Sultan is the perfect transition shade for Fall.

 

GA Lip Maestro #405 Sultan open

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #405 Sultan

 

GA Lip Maestro #405 Sultan brush

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #405 Sultan

 

GA Lip Maestro #405 Sultan swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #405 Sultan

 

GA Lip Maestro #406 Orient

Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #406 Orient (CAN $38.00) | A screen-siren vampy red with blackened plum hints in the base to up the “brooding factor” of this colour, without veering into Goth territory. Not for the faint of heart, #406 Orient may be exotically deep, but still maintains a level of sophistication – especially when paired with flawless skin (or as close to it as you can get) and a sexy cat-eye.

 

GA Lip Maestro #406 Orient open

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro #406 Orient brush

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #406 Orient

 

GA Lip Maestro #406 Orient swatch

Giorgio Armani Beauty | Lip Maestro Intense Velvet Color #406 Orient

 

Red is the colour of life, love, passion and complex emotions – and Giorgio Armani Beauty has taken this hue to a whole new level with #404 Spice, #405 Sultan and #406 Orient. While each shade packs a major impact, they are not without their quiet strengths as well, and can even be made daytime wearable provided you leave the focus on the lips (and why wouldn’t you with colours like these?). If you’re still on the hunt for that perfect red and not sure whether to go with lipstick or lipgloss, then look no further than these Lip Maestro shades – your quest may just be over.

Available as of September 2014 in Canada through Holt Renfrew, Sephora, and select Hudson’s Bay store. Find more information via the website

 

GA Lip Maestro trio closer

*Disclosure: Product samples provided by the company/PR for my unbiased consideration