Guerlain · Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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Several weeks ago I was honoured to be amongst a select few invited to a special media preview of the Guerlain Shalimar Collection for Holiday 2016 which was held at Restaurant Europea in the heart of downtown Montréal. Discreetly tucked away on de la Montagne Street, the unassuming exterior belies the gastronomic delights we were about to discover, along with the exquisite beauty collection itself. Presented by key members of the Guerlain team along with International Makeup Artist for the brand, Maxime Poulin (whose talent is simply phenomenal), we were given a thorough breakdown of not only the entire collection, but of several other new releases, including Orchidée Imperial Black, the most über-luxurious skincare cream I’ve ever come across, and the newest additions to the Les Exclusifs de Guerlain fragrance range.

The Guerlain holiday release is always one of the season’s most highly anticipated (last year’s version sold out as soon as it hit counters), and the Shalimar Collection which was created by Shalimar face & muse Natalia Vodianova in collaboration with the house’s Creative Director, Olivier Echaudemaison, is no exception — drawing inspiration from Imperial India and one of history’s great love stories, that of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Tahal. Their passion and love for one another has since reached legendary status and when she passed away, her grief-stricken husband dedicated one last homage to her: the creation of one of the seven wonders of the world, the Taj Mahal, a tomb fit for a queen.

I’m going to warn you right now: this post is quite picture-heavy so get comfortable and read on. I’ve begun with the event itself, immediately followed by my review with swatches of the entire collection. I’ve also included the Shalimar full-length video produced by Bruno Aveillan — an absolute must-see for any die-hard romantic. Personally, I can watch this on repeat all day long as it is just so beautifully crafted and visually arresting. Then there’s the divine jewelry worn by Natalia that I’m absolutely lusting after …

*Note that the entire collection is limited edition

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Natalia Vodianova for Shalimar

The Legend of Shalimar, directed by Bruno Aveillan

 

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The venue: Restaurant Europea, downtown Montréal, Québec

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Brought to the event from the Guerlain vault: the Shalimar Talisman Bizantin by Maison Gripoix, bearing 1.5 litres of Shalimar Extract and valued at $11,500 — of which there are only 25 pieces in the world

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It’s all in the details: delicate beading surrounds the neck with the iconic chauve-souris (bat) label in front

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Table settings and ambiance — all perfectly meshed

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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Lobster Capuccino with truffle purée

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Lower-River shrimps & pea gazpacho, creamy celery remoulade, citronnade, roasted sunflower seeds & wild pansy petals (*photo taken before the gazpacho was added)

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Strips of cured meat paired with white wine

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Caramelized scallops, citrus & yuzu juice, creamy risotto with green sprouts & crispy-fondant sautéed mushrooms

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Lemon Pie Cristalline with fresh berries

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Vanilla meringue buttons and raspberry cotton candy

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Guerlain · Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

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The uniqueness of this collections starts with the intense cobalt blue outer packaging, a  hue that’s also carried throughout the rest of the pieces. Inspired by the colours of India’s precious  metals and stones, blue & gold decorates the detailing of the Météorites container, a design which is reminiscent of elegantly delicate lapis lazuli jewelry boxes. Taking things to the next level, a faux-sapphire cabochon adorns the luxurious Rouge G lipstick, turning this ubiquitous beauty item into a covet-worthy work of art that just begs to be taken out in public. Rounding the collection out is the body & hair spray; delicate, ethereal and the only festive touch you’ll need for the holidays.

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Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator (CAN $62.00) | A subtle highlighter in a pen format that you click to release the product onto the brush. The shade is a pale pink with pearly reflects and can be used to bring radiance to key points of the face: inner or outer corners of the eye, upper cheekbones, bridge of the nose, brow bone and/or cupid’s bow of the lips. The shade is actually universally wearable due to the complexity of the pearly particles, and should even suit the darkest complexions without appearing ashy.

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Guerlain · Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator

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Guerlain · Precious Light Pink Pearly Illuminator swatches

 

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Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire (CAN $51.00) | The two shades of this palette are not only incredibly complex formula-wise, but work in perfect harmony together. The gold has a nice balance of both cool and warm tones, therefore making it workable on a broad range of skin tones, while the sapphire is truly jewel-like with hints of indigo, purple and even a fine blue shimmer thrown in to keep it unique. The texture is incredibly smooth — almost creamy to the touch — and blends beautifully. The colour of both shades, while not initially overly strong, is also easily built up; you can apply either as a sheer wash of colour, or layered for more impact and depth of tone. One thing to note with Guerlain eyeshadows: if you opt to use the shades damp, then you probably won’t be able to go back to using either dry again, as wetting them changes the texture.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire swatches

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Écrin Shalimar Precious Eyeshadows, Gold & Sapphire

 

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L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold (CAN $42.0) | A scintillating gold eyeliner with a felt tip for ease of use and precision application. The texture is initially cooling to the touch upon skin (but which dissipates fairly quickly) and you can build up the intensity  for more impact. Apart from using this in place of a traditional eyeliner (i.e.: to line either the upper or lower lash line), you can also apply some to your finger then lightly pat that on the mobile lid for some extra sparkle, or my favourite, along the tips of the outer lashes for a unique glittering touch. There’s about 30 seconds of play time before it sets, because once it does, it’s there until removed. True fact: I swatched a bit on my hand and even after showering, it was still there — how’s that for crazy staying power?

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · L’Or Eyeliner, Felt Eyeliner Sparkling Gold swatches

 

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder (CAN $64.00) | There are several facets that make this Terracotta powder stand apart from the brand’s other versions: first up is the indigo outer packaging, followed by the intricate pattern embossed on the powder’s surface. Not meant to be a bronzer in the traditional sense, the hue appears more rose-gold when applied thus turning it into an almost hybrid highlighter/bronzer type of product. That being said, there’s a unique versatility to this shade in the fact that all skin tones can get something out of it: the über-fair can use this as bronzer without fear of overdoing things, it works as a gorgeous highlighter (neither blingy nor ashy) for women of colour, and makes for a gorgeous touch of radiance for just about everyone. The texture is [unsurprisingly] highly refined and blends/buffs into the skin flawlessly, while the product can be worn either as a sheer wash or layered for more depth — all depending on your preferences and the look you’re going for.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Terracotta Terra India Shimmering Bronzing Powder swatches

 

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821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Care (CAN $61.00) | The epitome of luxury lip colour, if a fairy-tale Indian princess carried a lipstick, then I’m betting this would have been it. The finesse starts with the casing, which here is a gleaming pewter that bears a solid heft to it and adorned with a faux-sapphire cabochon. Popped open, it reveals a mirror — perfect for touch ups and basically made to be pulled out in public to do so (I mean, how could you not?). The shade is a lush scarlet and so incredibly pigmented that you basically get full coverage/opacity from the first swipe. As to the texture, I almost have no words: buttery, velvety, and hands down superior to anything else I’ve ever applied to my lips. Even the staying power is impressive, lasting through eating & drinking with minimal fading, and leaving a beautiful deep-rose stain behind.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · 821 Rouge Saphir Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour swatch

 

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Météorites Perles de Légende (CAN $79.00) | I may have an slight obsession with Météorites, begun when I first discovered these little pearls of perfection years ago and saw first-hand the effect they can have on one’s skin. This collection’s iteration is no less amazing; housed in a stunning metal container that bears a design perhaps Peter Carl Fabergé might have imagined, the 3 shades it holds were personally selected by Natalia as they reminded her of ‘the colour of mosaics in Indian palaces’, although there’s more to them than that. The pink hue provides brightness and enhances the complexion with a touch of freshness, the blue shade works to even out the skin, while the golden hues act as subtle illumination and call forth light to the face.  Bearing the brand’s signature violet fragrance, it does dissipate fairly quickly after application and instead of the usual powder puff (which honestly, I never use) the pearls are protected by a foam cover. Slightly more shimmery than any of the Météorites in the permanent range by virtue of the golden pearls, the effect is still delicate enough that you won’t come off as appearing overly glittery. In fact, trying to describe what this powder does is beyond difficult; you basically have to try it to fully understand, but it’s like an invisible veil that somehow magically makes your skin look a zillion times better. The type that will have people asking what you did, because your complexion looks so good.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Météorites Perles de Légende swatches

 

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Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder (CAN $105.00) | The final crowning touch, Souffle D’Or is literally bottled fairy dust. I kid you not.

Imbued with a subtle version of the Shalimar fragrance, this gossamer-light mist is meant to add delicate golden touches to either hair or skin and retains some of the scent long after it’s applied, only to be picked up ever-so-softly with movement. The indigo bottle bears the traditional Shalimar shape and has that Old Hollywood-glam style bulb for applying it with, lending a sensuous boudoir touch to the entire experience. The shimmery bits come in a variety of sizes and while some may fade, others stay behind along with a whisper of scent, just to keep things interesting.

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder (in action)

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Guerlain Shalimar Collection · Souffle D’Or Perfumed Iridescent Body & Hair Powder swatch

 

If you’ve made it all the way to this point, then I applaud you for sticking it out but sometimes you just can’t condense something so spectacular in just a few words or pictures. Guerlain is a luxury brand that refuses to comprise on details, and that fact is brilliantly apparent with the Shalimar Collection, a first for Natalia Vodianova who’s been the muse for the Shalimar fragrance range running on 8 years now. This collection has been beautifully curated and nothing has been overlooked, but it does lean on the steep-side price-wise; the lipstick alone is a hefty investment, but I can honestly say that I have never worn anything like it before (and trust me, I’ve worn a lot). Last year’s Météorites had a waitlist a mile long and something tells me that this year’s version will fare the same, especially when you consider that the shade range is so suitable to a much broader complexion range. With the Christmas season and holidays upon us, any one of the pieces here would make an absolutely incredible gift for the beauty-lover on your list … that’s assuming you don’t scoop everything up for yourself first.

Available November 1

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Press samples/As always, all opinions are my own

7 Responses to Guerlain · Shalimar Collection by Natalia Vodianova, Holiday 2016

  1. dandygal says:

    does the spray smell like Shalimar or like Shalimar Souffle? that makes a huge difference to me…
    I’ll take a look at the bronzer and the highlighter pen. the rest doesn’t call to me. Lovely review, though. 🙂

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks for the kind words! Unfortunately, I don’t own Shalimar Soufflé so I couldn’t say but I do have the perfume and to me, this spray is similar to that, but in a much delicate format – not overpowering whatsoever (I get an instant migraine with the wrong scent and so far, this totally agrees with me!)

      • dandygal says:

        thanks! I’ll just try when it comes to the counters and smell for myself. 🙂 I love Shalimar, but am not so huge on Souffle, which is nice, but does not really smell like Shalimar at all.

  2. Jess says:

    Ugh, so beautiful…why, Guerlain, WHY?? And isn’t Maxime great? I had the opportunity to meet him a few weeks ago though my local Guerlain counter and he was so, so lovely.

    • Eugenia says:

      Right? I almost want to put everything under lock & key!! Maxime is a darling & I’m so fortunate to call him a close friend! So happy you met him as well!

  3. Ana Samuel says:

    Beautiful and comprehensive post. Stunning vídeo, amazing food pictures. Thank you for sharing all this beauty

What are your thoughts, beautiful?