23 December 2009

Twas The Night Before The Night Before Christmas...

... and Kate and Alex had a feng shui moment! [When I say that, I mean Kate decided to clean and I decided to watch her clean...]

Check out Kate's sexy hunter wellies... it's icy in London!
We dug out some stuff from the cupboards that hadn't been seen in a little while and I thought some of it might be of interest to our readers and fans of Illamasqua.

First up, we found some of the original packaging designs...

This one set us in to fits of giggles...

Until 'The One' was found...

Once the designs were approved, we moved on to the actual packaging samples...

We then found the original influences behind the brand, all written up neatly on to... A3 paper!

Some original product names! You can see the ones that were kept next to their Pantone number and others that were, er, discarded...

Here are some more influences, this time in the form of images...

The Hoff watches over everything we do...

... and that's me signing out! Have a great Christmas and New Year everyone. We will see you in 2010! x

An Interview With... Julian Kynaston, Founder and Chairman

Following on from Kate's interview yesterday I managed to grab a moment with Julian, Founder and Chairman of Illamasqua [not easy this close to Christmas!] to ask him for his personal highlights of 2009...

What has been your greatest personal achievement of the past 12 months?

To see that Illamasqua has gained a foothold in the world of beauty in just 14 short months.

To be proud and able to say that we have remained true to the principles we designed the brand around at the outset; these have best been seen through the originality of our collections – especially Dystopia - and also the way we have helped build the S.O.P.H.I.E Foundation in such a hands-on way. If I was to name a single achievement I think it has to be that we have managed to enter into a very corporate world and yet develop some very individual and special relationships with bloggers, press and consumers.

What do you think has been the defining moment of the past 12 months for Illamasqua?

I think that when we had some criticism earlier in the year – as reported by a top Youtuber [ colour pay off on some of our Powder Eye Shadows]- we were faced with an ‘ignore it or respond’ decision. We didn’t hesitate in choosing the latter and in doing so I think we showed everybody that we are a genuine organisation and are made of flesh and blood. We will remain to learn fast and are committed to delivering 'best in class' product in a way that makes the pulse race. Sometimes constructive criticism is a crucial part of that journey and commitment.

What are your targets for Illamasqua next year?

Keep the difference. Resist the norm. Extend the range [the next collection is amazing even by our standards].

Do you think Illamasqua has achieved it's aim of spreading the word of tolerance and self expression?

Nowhere near. But the important thing is that we have started the journey and got the ball rolling. We know for a fact that we deliver far more than sales in the beauty halls we exist in – we deliver an excitement and we are an inspiration for consumers and to the staff of other make up brands too! So many of our staff have experienced intolerance for the way they have chosen to look and live their lives. Together I know that we have inspired many people to be more confident in their look and many more to push beyond personal and social boundaries for the first time.

Illamasqua Online Shop Details

If you are placing an order over Christmas, please note that our distribution outlet is closed from now until December 30th, which means that any orders placed before 10pm [UK time] January 29th will be sent out that day.

Any orders placed after that will be processed on the 4th January 2010.

22 December 2009

An Interview With... Kate Massarella, Brand Director

I grabbed a quick word with Kate Massarella, Brand Director of Illamasqua, for her views on the past year and what we have to look forward to in 2010...

As Brand Director of Illamasqua, you have final say on all marketing activity and new product development. Which aspect of your job have you enjoyed the most over the past 12 months?

"Creating the Sirens and Dystopia collections. They are both so different, yet so distinctively Illamasqua. Katie, our Product Development Manager along with Alex Box, has created some hugely iconic products for these collections - Liquid Metal in 'Solstice' and Nail Varnish in 'Obsess' are my personal favourites.

I also love the process of creating the images - Alex (Box) and I have so much fun coming up with ideas and I have had the fortune of working with some amazingly talented people on the photoshoots. I also really enjoy working on the way our counters look in store - it's such a great experience seeing an initial sketch turning into an actual counter, stocked with beautiful make-up and managed by our amazing teams of artists.

What has been the highlight of the past 12 months for you?

In addition to the stunning collections, one of the biggest highlights has to be the launch into New York and the week I had there introducing the collection to the beauty directors and editors at the top US magazines. An exhilarating experience as they all loved the brand already and couldn't wait to get their hands on the USA assortment. Plus, having a meeting on the 45th floor of a towering Manhattan building overlooking the city is like nothing else!

What do you think the next 12 months will bring for Illamasqua?

More creativity, more excitement, more great product development, more iconic imagery and loads more fun. In particular the Summer collection out in April - it's going to take Illamasqua to a whole new level.

21 December 2009

Illamasqua's 2009...

As promised, some pics from our Head Office Christmas 'do... we headed off to The Albion in Shoreditch, East London for some lovely grub to celebrate a year and two months [nearly!] of Illamasqua's London counter and to reflect over the past year.

On a personal note, it was also my year anniversary working for Illamasqua, so I was eager to celebrate!

So what were the highlights of 2009?


Our webshop officially opened and we had the photoshoot for the Sirens collection - our first ever collection - to kick start 2009!


Katie, Komal and I attended the Elle Style awards, where Illamasqua had a dressing room to create some looks for the celebrities and fashion pack. London Fashion Week began and we worked with the Broken Hearts DJ duo for the first time, creating stencils for their Beyond The Valley collection.


Our second counter, in Selfridges Trafford centre opens in the second week of March. Selfridges are so excited by our arrival that they offer us the poster space at the front of the store, which looks incredible. Illamasqua has landed in the North!

The website launches to international customers.

At the end of March, we also launched in Fenwick Newcastle and the roll out has officially begun...


'Sirens' launches! Our cutting-edge Spring/ Summer 2009 collection features some amazing products that immediately begin to sell out across all the stores and online - including Liquid Metals in 'Solstice' and 'Enrapture'; innovative new product textures that instantly gain cult status.

Our Glasgow counter launches in Debenhams in the third week of April followed in quick succession by Dublin and Belfast at the end of April.


The permanent site at Selfridges Trafford centre launches and Charles Fox, the revered theatre make-up and cosmetics store begins retailing Illamasqua in Covent Garden.


Debenhams Cardiff launches at the beginning of June, heralding our first foray in to Wales. I begin writing the Illamasqua blog [193 posts to date!]

We also expand our online retail arm by partnering up with ASOS.com.


The first Alex Box Masterclass gets underway at Selfridges London. Cue champagne, contouring and unleashed alter egos!

The 'Sirens' collection expands with the launch of Powdered Metals that go on to sell out within a matter of days online.

Sephora launches at 5 Times Square on 31st July with Illamasqua one of the top selling brands on launch day... cue beauty fever in NYC!

The Sanderson Predicts... series launches at the fabulous central London Sanderson Hotel with the likes of Little Boots and Marina and the Diamonds all getting made up by one of our national make-up artists, Halimah, using Illamasqua products.


Our first Autumn/ Winter 2009 'Dystopia' collection is shot and Alex Box sparks a flood of Youtube videos with the daring, futuristic make-up looks that spear head the campaign.


Illamasqua unleashes Dystopia on the world!

Illamasqua collaborates with the House of Blue Eyes, A Child of a Jago and All Walks Beyond The Catwalk at London Fashion Week.

Alex Box creates show stopping looks for Gareth Pugh and Hannah Marshall at London Fashion Week that highlights her alternative vision and gets the beauty world in a spin...

The Sephora roll out continues across the United States to 27 different Sephora stores.

The first blogger events are held in Manchester and London to introduce the Dystopia collection.

The New Review supplement from The Independant on Saturday features a promotional image Dystopia collection as it's front cover.


The Alex Box Masterclass makes its way to Manchester.

On the 31st October, we celebrate Illamasqua's first birthday with a range of products such as the Limited Edition Birthday Lashes and plenty of counter activity!


Illamasqua commissions the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Youtube video to support the S.O.P.H.I.E charity.

Alex Box by Rankin, 2 years in the making, is launched to critical and commercial acclaim.

Selfridges Birmingham launches in the architecturally beautiful Bullring as our first Midlands base.

The innovative new website at www.illamasqua.com launches, complete with swatches and improved ease of use.


The Bah! Humbug! party with the Broken Hearts DJ duo is one of the highlights of the month as well as our Head Office Christmas bash in Shoreditch!

We launch a range of Limited Edition Christmas Gifts both in stores and online.

So what have been my personal highs and lows of the past year?

The Highs...

Illamasqua went from being a little known brand to a revelation in the cosmetics industry -our mission is to show everyone that make-up can be about self-expression, artistic license and creativity. We brought a truly professional range of products, textures and colours to the high street for you to get creative with - to be part of such a revolution is extremely exciting and no two days are ever the same for me. Illamasqua has created a real ripple in the waters of the beauty industry that is almost unprecedented for a company that is barely a year old and privately owned, as well as being British [did you know that we are the only major British beauty brand available in Selfridges, Fenwick and Sephora!?]

I have met some fantastic, passionate people - as well as the head office team, the artists that represent us on our counters are absolutely wonderful people to know. I haven't personally had a chance to visit all the counters yet and so haven't met them all but we have some exceptional talent on the counters. I get at least three emails/ letters a day from customers who want to tell us all about their fantastic experiences on counter and that is really wonderful to read.

Many make-up artists and key figures from all walks of life - the beauty editors, the online beauty community, alternative actors and actresses, theatre actors and actresses, burlesque dancers, celebrities, singers, the fashion pack, special effects make-up artists, fashion designers and just about everyone in between - have embraced our values and raved about our products.

Our first collections were an instant success, especially the cult Liquid Metals that even now consistently sell out on our counters and online!

We have gone from one counter in Selfridges London to having eight counters in the UK and Ireland and a presence in twenty seven Sephora stores in the US. The 2010 expansion plans are also exciting, more of that in a New Years blog post!

The Lows...

A tough time for me personally was the quick succession of store openings - Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast all opened within a couple of weeks - it was great to help with the set up of Belfast but working through the night wasn't particularly fun!

The new website launch in November was also intense; swatching every single product in about a week was difficult, however I rediscovered some colours and have also come to the conclusion that I love brown and black lipgloss - ours are called 'Twist' Intense Lipgloss and 'Repulse' Intense Lipgloss respectively.

The Plain Silly Moments...

Says it all, I think!