Illamasqua – Generation Q Collection AW/12 ‘Charisma’ and ‘Creator’ Nail Varnish (swatches, comparisons, & review)

 

Leave it to the razor-sharp creative minds at Illamasqua, to create a collection that almost takes a 360° from what they’ve been showing us lately. A far cry from the exotic, the eccentric, and the alluringly bizarre past Illamasqua incarnations, the ‘Generation Q’ collection of products for Autumn/Winter 2012 is actually rather, well … universally wearable. Could it be that “normal” is the new “weird”?!


 

From Illamasqua’s press release:

GenerationQ

Where beauty has no age limits

I. Absolutely. LOVE. That. Frequently, I’ll see an ad for a beauty collection, and then realize how totally unwearable that look may be for me — highly frustrating, especially when the models in the ad just look so darn good …

What Illamasqua wishes to achieve with this collection, is to dispel the myth that beauty is highly exclusive – all by creating products that are highly inclusive, regardless of one’s gender, skin colour, or age. To that end, not only has the brand reached their goals on every level, but exceeded them as well. Take for instance these 2 limited edition varnishes; a ruby so richly saturated with colour, that it can’t help but empower its wearer, and a shimmering black that takes you to the very edge of modernism, and back again, both in Illamasqua’s ridiculously stellar formula. All swatches are with Seche Clear Base Coat and Seche Vite Top Coat.


 

‘Charisma’ is like applying liquified rubies along your nails. Seriously. A superbly flowing formula & application: this rich garnet base is completely self-levelling, with no visible brush strokes and filled with ultra finely ground magenta and burgundy shimmer. Applying with an intense pigmentation of colour even by the 1st coat, a second layer provides a more jewel-like tone and intensifies its plummy undertones. A medium-thick viscosity that allows no running or pooling into the cuticle area, the shine at the finish was an extra high gloss. BONUS: No staining upon removal. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


macro


in shaded light


with flash


 

Finding a ‘Charisma’ clone in my collection wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be; it came as something of a surprise when I stumbled across Essie’s ‘Swing Velvet’ (I believe this is a 2009 release and may not be available anymore) and then did a further double-take when I swatched the two together. How it compared:

index & pinkie fingers: Essie’s ‘Swing Velvet’ (2 coats) – a significantly thinner formula, but nonetheless still quite colour-saturated by the 1st coat as well. Applying smoothly and quite glossy at the finish, this is literally a degree or 2 deeper in tone when seen with the naked eye against ‘Charisma’, but other than its shimmer being a touch coarser-looking, the two are almost identical. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


in sunlight/alternate lighting


in shaded light


with flash


 

‘Creator’ (I LOVE this name!) bears a slightly sheer black base, redolent with ultra fine square and rectangularly shaped silver glitter. An excellently flowing formula that applies very smoothly despite the glitter, this became 100% opaque by the second coat, although the finish was definitely not as glossy – imparting a gentle sheen instead. One layer of top coat is all that’s needed to really enhance this beauty and to keep it smooth to the touch. While removal does require a bit of elbow grease, it wasn’t too difficult – just bear in mind that the glitter will travel somewhat. Completely non-staining upon removal, another plus. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


macro


in shaded light


with flash


 

Looking for a comparison shade, the first lacquer that came to mind was NARS’ ‘Night Breed’ (previously reviewed here) from their ‘Night Series’ release. Yes, they are quite close. No, they’re not identical. If you missed out on the NARS, as it had been a limited edition item, here’s your chance at redemption — not that Illamasqua comes second to any other brand, mind you. How it compared:

index & pinkie fingers: NARS ‘Night Breed’ – a similar flow and application, but the black base is slightly more opaque, with its glitter bearing some tiny round shapes and being less densely packed than ‘Creator’. There appears to be a blueish tinge to this hue overall, although it winds up with the same dulled finish and has a similar level of grit to its glitter as the Illamasqua. Coats applied: 2


in sunlight


in sunlight/alternate lighting


in shaded light


with flash

 

Final thoughts: One thing I really admire about Illamasqua’s varnishes, is their consistency: the all maintain the same excellent level of quality in their flow, spread, pigmentation and wear – even the brush holds the right amount of rigidity/flexibility for a superior application. Neither ‘Charisma’ or ‘Creator’ are outrageous shades in and of themselves; what makes them stand out is their almost jewel-like intensity, as well as how well these shades translate from day to night – eminently suitable for all skin types across the spectrum, much like Illamasqua intended them to be.

The ‘Generation Q’ collection is set to launch on September the 6th, but you can see the entire range on Illamasqua’s website live now.


 

 

 

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

40 Responses to Illamasqua – Generation Q Collection AW/12 ‘Charisma’ and ‘Creator’ Nail Varnish (swatches, comparisons, & review)

  1. Jess says:

    Eeek! Love these! Creator reminds me of butter LONDON Gobsmacked, which I already own, but I might have to buy it anyway since BL polishes are very prone to chipping on me.:( I just hope my local Sephora (Ottawa) gets these babies…so far they’ve only been carrying a very small selection of Illamasqua’s core colors and no new collections.

    Also, yes, the caps. That design is my one complaint about Illamasqua. Even if you do get the vanity cap off (and I’ve really had to yank on some of mine, to the point where I was afraid I’d break it!), I find the cap underneath awkward and fiddley.

    Also, I know I’m late here, but I also wanted to express my sincere condolences on the death of your niece. I heard that terrible story right before I went on vacation and was very saddened to learn upon my return that you and your family were personally connected to the story. So sad; what a beautiful girl. Sending you warm thoughts!

    • Eugenia says:

      I actually had Gobsmacked in mind to compare Creator to, but noticed that the NARS was much closer — but you now have me curious enough to compare them just the same! I’ve noticed that Illamasqua limited edition collections don’t often wind up at Sephora stores, although they do crop up on their online sites — but hopefully I’m wrong! You can also order through the Illamasqua site – and they frequently have amazing promotions you can benefit from.

      Thank you for your condolences – every warm thought counts and believe me when I say that it’s very appreciated. A very tragic event in my family’s life right now, but we’re all there to support one another through this.

      • Jess says:

        Hmm…I don’t own Night Breed, but based on swatches I’ve seen online, the base colour might be darker than the BL, or maybe Gobsmacked just looks lighter bc the glitter is more densely packed, so you might be right. Either way, that means it’s totally legit to own both, right?;)

      • Eugenia says:

        I like your thinking! 😉 You wouldn’t believe the lengths I’ll go at times to justify a cosmetic purchase, lol!

  2. Definitely love Creator! Marvelous swatches, Eugenia!!!!!!!!!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, my friend! It’s pretty awesome, isn’t it? Should come with a warning label: do not wear this shade if planning to operate heavy machinery – distraction possible!

  3. Latoya says:

    When I saw glimpses of Charisma in the promo photos, I knew I was going to love it – and YUP, definitely do! It looks slightly like OPI’s Diva of Geneva, which is a fabulous shade as well, and one I’ll probably make do with even though I love the more red-leaning tones of this shade. Gah, I love fall polishes!!! 😀 😀 😀

    • Eugenia says:

      I love fall makeup as well – the colours always seem so rich to me and full of complexities! I don’t have the OPI you mentioned, but from swatches I’ve seen, it appears to be in the same tonal range, although I was floored by how almost identical this Essie was too!

  4. Maddie Shen says:

    Ah, beautiful! I’ve yet to try Illamasqua. Is their PR friendly? I’ve heard they are.

    • Eugenia says:

      They are indeed beautiful shades and if you haven’t tried this brand yet, you’re in for a treat when you do! As to their PR, they are absolutely fabulous — can’t say enough great things about them!

  5. Amanda says:

    Both of these polishes are absolute must-haves! They are just so perfect for fall and winter and scream luxury. Charisma is molten velvet and I’m still swooning over it.

    Thank you for the swatches!

  6. Monica says:

    I can’t wait to get my hands on Creator. I think it’s so unique since I don’t have anything like it. I have several Illamasqua polishes and they are all fabulous. I applaud Illamasqua for being so unique and for using REAL women in their ads. Thanks for the fabulous post and I wish you all the best during this difficult time.

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you for your kind words, Monica — it’s appreciate, believe me. As to ‘Creator’, it’s a fabulous addition for anyone who loves polsh, and since you’re already familiar with the line, you won’t be disappointed with this beauty! Illamasqua continues to defy conventions and I totally agree with you about how incredible it is that they’re using real women for their ads! Props to them!

  7. Julia says:

    It’s been awhile since I’ve commented–temporarily out of things to say, which doesn’t happen to me too frequently. I’ve seen this collection around and I like it, but there isn’t anything in it to make me run out to Sephora and buy it. I have several like Creator and I already don’t wear them, and as pretty as it is, Charisma is the kind of color that I buy, admire constantly, and never want to wear! Some colors are just like that.

    However, I’m not down on Illamasqua at all; I’m very excited for their new collection of rubber mattes–have you seen them? The rubber finish is my favorite non-typical finish. I’m just waiting for more swatches to decide which ones I want.

    I love all this cap talk in the comments–the outer caps definitely all come off, but then the problem is that I find the inner cap a little odd and fiddly to polish with. You’ll see when you pull the outer ones off. However, at least you can keep the outer cap aligned with the bottle for storage.

    • Eugenia says:

      Not to worry, Julia; I’m glad that even though these may not float your boat, you’re still a fan of the brand just the same! As to the Rubber Mattes, I have the bright purple one to show….so cool! Hope to have that up soon – might help with your decision on them! As to the caps, still haven’t had the time today to play with it, but I will!

  8. Shimmer says:

    I know everyone has been going bananas over “Creator”, but I am really feeling Charisma! So much so that I may actually consider purchasing my first Illamasqua polish ever! Super gorgeous <3

    • Eugenia says:

      If anyone can do an Illamasqua lacquer justice, then that would be you, my friend! 🙂 I know you’re not much into “reds”, but as this one is more of a deep wine colour, it should be just your style!

  9. Grace says:

    Hello Eugenia! I am a newbie 🙂 Very busy with life – as we all are. I adore both of the new varnishes that you have swatched – “Charisma” and “Creator” I am a proud to be an over 40 female (see I can omit my age – uggghhhh) and both of these shades scream “holiday” to me. The red one is perfect and the black one will practically go with any outift – day or night. I will be on the prowl for both of these.
    I WILL pick up the handcreame “StriVectin” – your photos showed me an actuall difference in the beauty of SKIN. I try to take the best care of my hands as possible, but I live in harsh conditions – thus “StriVectin” to the rescue.
    On a further note – I am sending my condolences. I am truly sorry and i can empathize with your loss.
    Have a beautiful weekend!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you Grace, and welcome! Illamasqua makes superbly crafted products of the highest quality, and they are well worth hunting down! ‘Charisma’ is actually more of a garnet shade — not a true red, but within the same colour spectrum. No matter what, it’s stunning as is ‘Creator’ — one of those shades you can’t stop staring at! I’m happy to hear that you take such good care of your skin; as a woman in my late 40’s as well, believe me that I can totally relate 🙂 StriVectin creams work incredibly well and give results, or I wouldn’t recommend them.

      Thank you for your condolences – very appreciated, and I wish you an excellent weekend as well.

      • Grace says:

        Eugenia, – hello again. The color IS more of a garnet red which makes me desire it even more. I am one of many victims of Hurricane Isaac and I do not have electricity (generator power) thus I have zero lights. I only have limited internet thanks to our cable company that supplies “back up battery power”
        I would like to ask you a few questions. I do not see your email address anywhere – which I completely understand OR if it is posted I cannot see it (poor lighting) – would you mind emailing me at my email address so I can email you back? BTW I have a 17 year old daughter that is a Senior this year in high school. Congratulations on having such a beautiful family!

      • Eugenia says:

        Hey Grace! Congrats on surviving Isaac, although it’s never a good thing having to go through one of nature’s furies in the first place, right? Hoping your electricity situation will be as short-lived as possible under the circumstance, and that things get back to normal for you super soon. Glad that you like ‘Charisma’ even more, now that you know its true colour!

        As to my email, it can be found on the right-hand side of my blog under the tab “my beauty blog”, but to make it easier, you can reach me at ommorphia@gmail.com

        How wonderful that you have a teen daughter as well! I wish her a successful school year ahead and many blessings on your family as well! Feel free to write me!

    • Grace says:

      Eugenia, Wow! Now I am truly embarrassed. Did I mention that I have zero lightening? (except for a dim monitor screen) LOL. Thus I borrwed the flashlight and yes I LUV both colors so much that I have them written down to purchase. I “think” this brand is caried in the states. I work so much, I barely have time for anything else. I am sure a lot of people can relate and no I am not complaiining. I am grateful more than ever for all that we do have.
      I promise I looked for an email address. I appreciate you taking the time to provide your email on the comment section- when it is clearly posted on your site.
      Better days ahead! ☺ Have a beautiful, stress free Sunday!
      Hugs to all! We need more hugs these days!
      Also, I am not well versed on internet etiquette, so if I have written to much or if I have not spacd out my paragraphs correctly – please forgive – especially your readers. I missed that class! Heck, personal computers were not even around when I graduated high school and were just becoming a wee bit affordable – actually extremely expensive upon earning my BS. All of us 40 pluses know what I am talking about! I am learning! Education is a never ending process. I shall close now. Bye, Grace
      I apologize for the mini ramble 🙂

      • Eugenia says:

        Awww…please don’t feel bad; blame the crappy lighting situation! Illamasqua products are sold through Sephora stores in the US, although bear in mind that this particular collection won’t be available before September 6th (you can also order online through Illamasqua’s website).

        As to internet etiquette, when one is respectful and has something interesting to say, like you do, then that’s all you need! Just continue doing what feels natural for you – and yeah, I definitely remember the time before computers became such an integral part of our lives too!

  10. Sandi says:

    Such beautiful swatches as always! The Essie dupe actually seems to have more brushstroke visibility than Illamasqua…but other than that they do look pretty much the same!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thank you, Sandi! As I mentioned in my review, the Essie’s shimmer seems to be a touch coarser, which may give it the appearance of being more prone to visible brush strokes, but it’s a lot less pronounced with the naked eye. Seriously though, the Illamasqua formula is truly amazing!

  11. Those are stunning colors, and especially next to each other. I would be so tempted to do a funky french, or an accent nail look with them.

    Gorgeous swatches, as usual! =)

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Maggie! My brain doesn’t usually go in that direction (ie: funky French mani)… I’m a bit of a colour purist and don’t often venture into layering, combos, looks & the like – but I should! Time to get out of my comfort zone, wouldn’t you say?! Glad you liked these babies!

  12. Mara says:

    I only have one Illamasqua nail polish (load), and you can remove the square cap as a reader already mentioned!
    You are right about this colors, they are very “classic” for Illamasqua!! Red and black, Two colors any collection must have!
    Btw, have you seen the new chanel LE for Fashion Night Out? There’s also matching lipsticks!!

    • Eugenia says:

      I always associate Illamasqua with colours almost not seen in nature; it came as a total surprise to see these, but there’s still a little something extra with them just the same. I’m going to try the cap thing this morning — I’m dying to see if it works for me too, lol!
      PS: I’ve seen promo shots of the new CHANELs and I can’t wait to see them “live”! And the lipsticks…how awesome is that?! 🙂

  13. jamie richardson says:

    Hi, the caps definitely pop off and leave a round brush cap. I have found that if you pull it straight up (no twisting) the square cap will pop right off. I love Illamasqua nail polishes, and once I was able to get that square cap off, I loved them all the more because it makes them easier to use! Hope this helps!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Thanks, Jamie…I’ll be grabbing all my bottles and going through them one by one until I get all the caps off, lol! I would prefer being able to leave that larger bulky outer cap off as well – it’ll sure make application much easier!

  14. Larie says:

    These are beautiful! But I have to ask, Eugenia, do the caps not bother you? The fact that they start to misalign after a while, I mean. It drives me nuts!

    • Eugenia says:

      ARGHHHHH! You’re right and I wanted to mention that, but I forgot! I also remember reading somewhere that the outer cap comes off, but I’ve never been able to figure that out with my bottles — I’m guessing I misread it. As to the caps misaligning, it drives me nuts too! I’m so anal and want things “just so”, plus I also worry that if I don’t close the caps tightly, then the contents will thicken…so I solve this issue by closing them tightly and leaving them in their boxes where I can’t see them not all perfectly aligned! Glad you liked them, though! 🙂

  15. Linda says:

    Hi Eugenia! I’ve been away – I missed you! lol These are SO beautiful, I love them! Love ruby red and Creator makes me feel like I am floating in space! Might have to splurge on these! Thanks for a great post!!

    • Eugenia says:

      Welcome back, Linda! Love your analogy of ‘Creator’ making you feel like you’re floating in space — simply perfect!! So happy to hear you enjoyed the review! 🙂

  16. Christine says:

    Gorgeous swatches, as usual! I can’t wait for these to be released.

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