25 October 2009

Sneak Preview: New False Lashes

As promised, here is a first look at the new lashes that will be available to purchase at all Illamasqua counters and online from the 31st October [our first birthday!]

For the Alex Box by Rankin book launch, Brand Director Kate wore the below green lashes [number 23] and Halimah and I wore the purple lashes [number 22]

The purple ones look great on blue and green eyes and Kate's green lashes really made her brown eyes pop.

23 October 2009

Celebrity Spot on Counter

The gorgeous Lily Allen popped in to Selfridges Oxford St on Wednesday to pick up some Dystopia products - I'm told she made a bee line for the Pure Pigments in 'Static' and 'Android' as well as Liquid Metal in 'Phenomena' and 'Solstice'.

Here are some swatches of the Pure Pigments that we have been pulling together for the new swatches for the website!

Alex Box By Rankin - The Fallout

Several of us are nursing Champagne induced hangovers today - always the sign of a great night - and have been gossiping about the Alex Box by Rankin book and exhibition launch all morning.

Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo fame, Talita from theglossgoss, Helen from Helen and Sheenie's Nice Things, Ian from Diary of a Fashion Mister , Sophy Robson, the gorgeous Tricia Woolston, Johnny Blue Eyes, Anouck Lepere, Rankin, Tuli, Erin O Connor, George Lamb, Jefferson Hack, Gareth Pugh ... lots of familiar faces were present to witness Alex's finest moment - a collection of stunning images that she has been working on for over two years. I felt very priviledged to witness Alex's special moment... but I'll start at the beginning!

The plan was to leave at 6. . .

... the plan was to leave at 6. . .

... but girls being girls in an office full of make-up ...

... so at 7pm [!], Kate, Katie, Halimah and I hailed a cab and were whisked off to the gorgeous contemporary gallery/ studio space of the one and only Rankin , the newly built Annroy Gallery in Kentish Town.

As you walk up to the gallery, you are confronted with two images that seductively lure you in to the gallery - as it is all glass fronted, we could see that the crowd inside was already pretty big and it turns out we arrived about a minute after Alex has made her grand entrance!

She looked her usual kooky glam self in skintight Gareth Pugh and top hat and what I suspect were those headlining monochrome Chanel tights...

After grabbing a quick glass of champagne [which seemed to magically stay full for the next three hours....hmm] I managed to grab a few words with all the bloggers that I had invited to come along - everyone seemed genuinely thrilled to be there and be a part of Alex's triumphant night. I can't begin to comprehend how stressful the past few days must have been for Alex!

After about half an hour, Gareth Pugh made a grand entrance with a bunch of red balloons and after congratulating Alex on the exhibition, he handed the balloons over to her. She spent the rest of the night holding them so you always knew where she was!

I spent most of the night chilling with Gillian, Francesco and Mika from the Selfridges Oxford St counter and the Head Office staff - Julian, Illamasqua's Chairman and his PA Jo even made it down so it was lovely to see them, as well.

So a bit more about the images! To understand the full magnitude, I suggest you get down to the exhibition - which runs until 22nd December - or check out the book which is available to buy from today.

By using a variety of different mediums - including Illamasqua make-up, pigments, poster paint and post-its! - Alex pushes the boundaries of make-up application and conventional techniques and uses the face as a canvas with which to create innovative, thought provoking and sometimes radical art. No rules, so to speak.

You can really see Alex's art school [not make-up school!] trained obsessions about fantasy, science, environment, fashion and illustration jumping out at you from the canvases - it's powerful stuff. From strongly sculpted, directional images to impressionist-like images, there is something here that will make even the most jaded art critic go "wow!"

So what sort of gossip do I have for you? Well, there was some cracking outfits, funnily enough! There was also lots of directional make-up. Kate, Halimah and I rocked the new coloured lashes that are to be released on 31st October - in time for our birthday celebrations! We have three sets; one that is shot with purple 22, one that is shot with green [no. 23] and one that is shot with pink [no. 24] I had so many compliments on them [even some girls on the tube on the way home!] that I think these may soon replace number 19s as my favourite!

How cute did Katie look? Halimah created her look for the night and it looked stunning. I'll ask Halimah to do a look break down at some point!

Mika was modelling his new undercut...

I also saw a girl with a painted face mask and crystals around the edges which looked terrific - unfortunately I didn't take as many photos as I should have, something to do with the lack of canapes and abundance of champagne I am inclined to think!

Johnny Blue Eyes [from the House of Blue Eyes] turned up dressed as Jesus [!] with a full-on crown of thorns and stigmata!

I had a really, really great night and would like to thank Rankin and his team for pulling together and hosting a wonderful event.

Alex will be at the Illamasqua counter in Selfridges Oxford St on the 5th November to sign copies of Alex Box by Rankin.

20 October 2009

Box News Flash!

Alex Box is in the office this morning to meet with our Product Development Manager Katie and Brand Director Kate to discuss an exciting collaboration project that is currently in the works and ideas for the Spring Summer 2010 collection - which is difficult to envision when the weather is so hideous!

Alex has been working on setting up the exhibition with Rankin. On Monday she went along to go over the finer party details and to set up the exhibition - what image goes where etc. You can hear the excitement in her voice when she talks about it. The book has been two years in the making and now the launch is only two days away! I will of course give a full rundown on the event as well as pics from the party!

Alex has been giving lots of interviews for the book launch over the past week. Style.com will be covering as well as beauty, art and cultural press so there will be plenty of images over the internet over the next few weeks.

Aside from the book/ exhibition look, Alex has been shooting for the Uncle album cover and just having a general chill out after the Fashion Weeks. Her favourites this time around were Gareth Pugh

and Anne Valerie Hash.

Alex was also really excited about the Frieze Art fair in Regents Park and has this week been working with Simon Costin, who is hosting a party for halloween at the V&A Museum. Simon Costin is an internationally respected art director and set designer renowned for the conceptually ambitious nature his editorial and catwalk designs. He has collaborated extensively with Alexander McQueen both on McQueen's own line and Givenchy ready-to-wear and haute couture shows. Costin's client list includes Hermès, Lanvin, Kim Jones, Maison Martin Margiela, Alice Temperley, Stella McCartney and Luella Bartley.

She also brought to my attention an interesting online concept, begun by the New York Times I believe, that I thought you might all want to take a look at - I found it fascinating! I found one that Alex did - I love how one of the comments below says that Alex must be misogynistic. Perhaps they should do their research first...! Any way, what do you all think?
Click here for the link.

19 October 2009

Swatch Project

Just an update for you all - as you are probably aware, we are working on updating the swatches for everyone online and this is well underway! As well as a shot of the product in the component and a zoomed in shot of the product itself, I am personally swatching [with the help of Halimah!] every product on skin to give you all as clear an idea of the product finish, colour and texture as possible!

I have had really sore lips over the weekend as I literally swatched about thirty Lipsticks on Friday and I picked up with the Intense Lipglosses today - see some examples below; what do you all think? These are some of my favourites...

Above is Lipstick in 'Diablo'.

Above is Lipstick in 'Maneater'.

Above is Lipstick in 'Brink'.

One great thing about doing this is that I get to try on colours that I would never normally wear and guess what? I am LOVING Lipstick in 'Pristine' - a glossy, dramatically pigmented black lipstick.

16 October 2009

Ask An Artist: Smoky Eyes and Lips

Saila emailed askanartist@illamasqua.com with the following question: I want to create a smoky eye look for a party using Pure Pigment in 'Involve' with Liquid Metal in 'Phenomena'. What colour should I wear on my lips? I know that a lighter lippie would probably be the best but I don't want to end up looking paler than I already am. Any ideas?

I called the girls on the Debenhams Cardiff counter for their opinion...

"A great way to create a smoky eye with-a-twist is to blend Pure Pigment Involve all over the socket and the crease area of the eye. To enhance this further, apply on top of Cream Eye Shadow in 'Stimulus' - this will create even more drama and intensity! For a multi-dimensional look, blend Pure Pigment in 'Tingle' into the inner corner of the eyes for an extra shimmer shock.
Use the Liquid Metal in Phenomena on the tearline of eyes to really open them up. You could also try using it just in the inner corners instead of Pure Pigment in 'Tingle'.

For a complimentary lip, try using Lipstick in 'Underworld' with Sheer Lipgloss in 'Tantrum' blended over the top - a fabulous plummy look that was all over the Autumn/ Winter catwalks!

Welcome Nicola!

Nicola Chapman, aka Pixiwoo [well, half of...] has started working for Illamasqua!

I'm sure many of you are aware of Sam and Nicola's work, both through fashionface.tv and the Pixiwoo channel on Youtube. The irresistable blend of modern celebrity looks, classic and elegant looks and high fashion looks [as well as the odd theatrical look that we love here at Illamasqua thrown in] has seen Pixiwoo become one of the most popular beauty guru channels on Youtube.

We are thrilled to have Nicola's industry knowledge, application expertise and pure enthusiasm for our brand and our products and she is a welcome addition to the strong Selfridges Oxford St team.

Both Sam and Nicola have been along to our blogger events and I can honestly say that you could not wish to meet two sweeter people - both Sam and Nicola have been in the industry in the long time and have been extremely supportive of the Illamasqua brand and the values of the brand - they agree that make-up should be about experimentation and artistic expression, as Sam frequently says; "It's make-up; you can always wash it off!"

Nicola is going to kill me for putting this pic up but it's just brilliant! I believe this is what Sam and Nicola dressed up as last Halloween...

I'm boring, at Halloween I always go as a Spartan Queen [since 300, Queen Gorgo!] as I just love drapery! What are everyone elses Halloween plans?

To book an appointment with Nicola, call the Selfridges London team on 0207 318 3788.

15 October 2009

Ask An Artist: Foundation Shades Part II

"I've researched online and seen the swatches of RF 215, 205 and 240. 205 looks like the right base of a yellow warm tone although I'm darker that than. Shade 215 looks good but I'm just worried about it being too pink/cool for my skintone (I'm of asian descent). So that's my only worry with this shade. Thanks for your help - Janice."

Halimah, who some of you may know is a freelance artist for Illamasqua, has recently joined the Illamasqua Head Office team, so I now have her infinite product and cosmetic knowledge on tap, yay! I've asked for her help in answering this question...

"Below, I've swatched the foundations on my face. I have swatched both the Rich Liquid Foundation and the Cream Foundation as the colours vary slightly on the skin with the

I have a light asian skintone. I would recommend that you go with the Rich Foundation in a 215 - there are slight pink tones in this shade, but overall it's a good, warm beige shade suitable for asian skins.

For your reference, from left to right: 210, 240, 215 and 205.

With the Cream Foundations, which are a brilliant texture for everyday or evening due to the
buildable coverage, I would perhaps say the 240 would be a good match. Like you said, you
could always mix it with a slightly lighter shade during the winter months or use it more sparingly - or why not try using it with the Satin Primer for a healthy glow [which we all need in Winter!]

From left to right is 205, 210, 215 and 240.

14 October 2009

Hannah Marshall - Get The Look

I promised a Hannah Marshall SS2010 Get The Look a while ago so here it is. I just spotted Alex walking down Old Compton Street in Soho and it reminded me!

Hannah and Alex discussed the look prior to the show and agreed on a "very sexy, very desirable look. Something that was both soft and strong at the same time. I wanted to use minimal products and focus on the technique," Alex told me. "I wanted a real masculine, strong graphic from the front and yet when the model is on profile, it looks soft and ultra feminine." I have tried to source a profile shot, yet no such luck!


Alex used Matt Primer to create a very matt, one dimensional base. This was then built upon using Cream Foundation to create a very real, but quite full coverage.

The strength of the look is based on the contouring. Alex told me she was going for a "slick goth" look. She used Powder Blusher in 'Rumour' to contour the temples, sides of the nose, cheeks and under the jawline and emphasised the hollowness of the cheek with Powder Blusher in 'Spite'.


As previously mentioned, Alex wanted to use minimal products, so using an Eye Brow Cake mixed with Sealing Gel to create a strong line across the brows, she blended the colours down, mixing with a slate grey [try Powder Eye Shadow in 'Incubus'] concentrating the colour at the point where the side of the nose joins the eyebrow and fading down across the browbone and eye lid until there is minimal colour on the eye socket. Build up the concentration at the outer corner of the eye again. A touch of Pure Pigment in 'Furore', a nude champagne shimmer, on the centre of the eye lid added a touch of depth and photographed beautifully. This look used no mascara.


Alex painted over the lips with the Cream Foundation to tone down the colour of the lips and keep the focus on the brows and the cheek bones.

13 October 2009

Busy Day!

Just a quick update on my day for you all! We have lots of activity going on in the build up to Christmas [yes, it's that time of year again...] so I have been in and out of meetings discussing potential collaborations and events!

First up, we have our First Birthday on Saturday 31st October. Each counter will be having prize draws amongst other activity but Selfridges Oxford Street - where it all began - will be a hub of festivities! We have a great celebratory limited edition product [more on that later...!] and Mika [star of our Dystopia collection] will be a model for Adam to create some dramatic Dystopia looks on. Come along between 2pm and 6pm to catch Adam on the britney microphone [not an official name for the PA system!] for a masterclass on distorted, glamorous night-time looks.

Next up, Alex Box's launch party for her wonderful new book and exhibition "Alex Box By Rankin" next Thursday will be followed by her making a personal appearance at the Illamasqua counter at Selfridges Oxford St on November 5th between 4pm and 7pm. She will also be recreating looks from the book, so be sure to catch that! The book is published by Turnaround at £50. Read the Sunday Times Style magazine's review of the book here.

We are also working on our online swatches - it's going to be a revolutionary way of viewing our products and we are very excited - currently on track for a mid- November launch with this...

12 October 2009

Mizzworthy/ Illamasqua Competition - Winners!

I'm back off holiday! I had a very relaxing time away from city life and had an amazing facial, indian head massage, body scrub... the works! Holbrook House in Somerset was my destination of choice and I would seriously recommend the wonderful therapists there. They use ESPA [gorgeous packaging and heady, therapeutic products] - Kate [Brand Director] is a fan of Neals Yard in Covent Garden for massages and Jonathan [Retail Operations Manager] loves the Rejuvenation Spa in Spitalfields.

I asked Katie [Product Development Manager] where she goes for a good ol' pampering session and she just pulled a are-you-kidding-me face... But I digress!

Sorry for the delay in posting the winners for our competition but it's been a catch-up day!

Choosing the finalists of the Superhero and Villain competitions was a difficult enough task for Mizzworthy and Krystle [from our Selfridges Trafford counter] but I was with Alex when we had to pick the winners and that was even more difficult for how do you judge artistic license?!

Anyway, winners had to be picked and they are...

, who won the runner-up spot for the Villain's part of the competition. Her look, brilliantly named "Valentina the Serpent Queen" was described by Alex as "gutsy execution - she looks like she really had fun with it [the competition] - which is what this contest is all about!"

The winner for the Villain's category is Unicorn Smile based her look on Catwoman - with a twist. Alex loved the "very beautiful, very elegant take on a villain. Sharply executed and yet with a soft modern edge. Love it." I love the eyebrows!

The runner-up spot for the Hero part of the competition goes to TackyBlueEyeshadow who interpreted a fantastic Captain America look. Alex thought this was "a very cool interpretation of comic hero Captain America. Very editorial - Dazed and Confused would love it!"

The winning look was submitted by KraseyBeauty . The intricate mix of textures and shapes was what really grabbed Alex's attention; "The interesting mix of classic eye shapes and contemporary skin patterns [means] she has clearly thought outside the box."

Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone for your entries!

Lucy's Lippy!

Eliza recently left us a comment, asking about Lucy's lip colour in the below photograph. Lindsay, our guest editor last week, asked Lucy about the colour. Lucy - being Lucy - couldn't just use one product, that would be too easy...

"It was Lipstick in 'Brink', with Concealer pressed into it and a little Pure Pigment in 'Furore' pressed into the cupids bow."

Thanks, Lucy!

09 October 2009

Featured Artist: Krystle

Following on from Lucy's work, we have some more fabulous creations by Krystle, one of our brilliant artists from Selfridges Trafford.

Krystle told me about the shoot:

"The shoot was with an amazing photographer called Andrew Farrington and the model was Nell Nabarro, who you may recognise from the last series of 'Britain's Next Top Model'. The hair was by Rachel Mawdsley and Fashion Styling by Brandy Owens.

I used the following products to create the ethereal end result: I prepped skin with Satin Primer and used Cream Foundation in '125' for a pale, almost angelic look. This was topped with Loose Powder in '115', then Powder Blusher in 'Primal' to contour, Powder Blusher in 'Katie' for a snowy flush and Powder Blusher in 'Intrigue' to highlight. On the eyes I used Cream Eye Shadow in 'Touch' as a base, Pure Pigment in 'Tingle' and 'Furore', Powder Eye Shadow in 'Anja' [the most gorgeous cornflower blue], Eye Liner Cake in 'Mislead', Volume Mascara in 'Harness' and Brow and Lash Gel to sculpt the brows. The lips were given a pop of colour with beautiful, soft coral Lipstick in 'Sonnet'."

To book a make-up lesson with Krystle, call the Selfridges Trafford team on 0161 619 1187