30 November 2009

Christmas Gift Ideas

With December just around the corner, it's time to start thinking about Christmas shopping [unless you are like my Mother and got it all done in August and are now sitting smugly whilst everyone around you loses their heads...!] so I have put together some ideas for Christmas for you!

£15 and under

Cabaret: 30th Anniversary Special DVD - Liza Minelli stars in this highly entertaining 1972 musical whose cultural and stylistic influences reaches far beyond the confines of cinema.

Nail Varnish in 'Velocity' - £12.50
- 'grurple' at it's best! A perfect balance of grey and purple with a hint of blue, 'Velocity' instantly became one of our best selling pieces from the Dystopia collection.

£25 and under

Pantomime Nail Duos - £25 - for the Nail-ista in your life, you can bet they will love the Pantomime Nail Duos. 'Boo' has the best selling shimmering purple Nail Varnish in 'Baptiste' with the limited edition sparkling purple top coat. 'Hiss' contains the best selling pure black Nail Varnish in 'Boosh' with a glittering top coat of red, gold, silver and bronze.

Limited Edition False Eye Lashes - £25 - choose from 'Decadence', a beautiful, fluttering set of lashes with antique silver crystals, or 'Opulence', with vintage gold crystals to create alluring, party season eyes. Oh-so-OTT ...

A Goat - £25 from oxfam.com - For those of you who, like me, have too much 'stuff' as it is - how about a gift from oxfam? Hopefully my office secret santa isn't reading this post, as I bought them a present from this fantastic new venture from Oxfam. You can buy a variety of charitable goods from school supplies to chickens, goats and even camels! You then get sent a card - with a personalised note to the receiver - with details of the donation that you made in their name.

£50 and under

Silver Seductress and Golden Goddess Gift Sets - £42 - The most beautiful of gift boxes contains a cult Liquid Metal [Silver Seductress - Phenomena, Golden Goddess - Solstice], prized Pure Pigment [Silver Seductress - Android, Golden Goddess - Furore], best selling False Eye Lashes 019 and the iconic Sophie pencil.

Maitresse 50ml by Agent Provocateur - £46 - This delightfully packaged, seductive scent infusion including exotic ylang ylang and white lotus.

This Works: The Deep Calm Box - £28 at ASOS.com - Chamomile, lavender and vetivert are blended into a bath oil, shower gel and travel candle. A great gift, but even better to enjoy on your own post-Christmas...

Alex Box By Rankin - £50 - Available to purchase at www.illamasqua.com, this collaboration has been two years in the making. Ideal for the Alex Box fan, photographer, make-up student or anybody with an interest in art this book makes an ideal present.

£100 and under

Ambience Candle Set by Kiki De Montparnasse - £59.98 - quite possibly the most seductive, exquisite candles I have ever tried [and I have tried a lot!] these are perfect for travelling, or for dotting around your bedroom and bathroom. Beautifully packaged, too.

£150 and under

C9 Styling Irons - £129.95 - If you are like me, occasionally you wonder how you actually functioned properly without your trusty GHDs. Well, I've recently been introduced to the Cloud 9 hair straighteners and these irons put my old GHDs to shame. The variable, flexible temperatures allow you to create styles from tight curls, luscious volume, soft waves or poker straight looks and the pack comes with a manual to help you achieve any number of different looks at home. They are, quite simply, a revolution.

Vivienne Westwood Crystal Embellished Orb Pendant - £145 - As a big fan of the eccentric punk-rock Brit, this pendant is high on my Christmas wish-list.

27 November 2009

Sophie: A Dark Angel Premiere at Manchester Cathedral Gardens

Unfortunately, I didn't get to go to Manchester for the screening of the Sophie: A Dark Angel film, so I caught up with Claire from Propaganda who has been a pivotal figure in the creation and publicity of this film and has had close correspondence with Sylvia Lancaster.

Hi Claire. Can you tell me about the idea behind last nights event?

"We had been looking for somewhere to show the film not just to the UK press but also to the public as well as friends and family of Sophie and Sylvia to commemorate what would have been Sophie's 23rd Birthday."

Where was the event held?

"Manchester Cathedral Gardens was the perfect venue due to the tranquil yet poignant atmosphere right in the heart of Manchester City Centre. The news teams, including the BBC, ITV, Metro, Channel 5 and Sky News were there to film and interview Sylvia prior to the speech."

What happened?

"The crowd started to gather around 6:30pm whilst Sylvia went from interview to interview with a bunch of 23 black balloons.

At 7pm, after an incredibly moving speech where Sylvia thanked everyone for coming, Illamasqua for our donations and support and spoke about the Foundation and it's long term aims, Sophie's best friend released the balloons into the night sky. The film was then played and there was not a dry eye among the 150 plus people that came to pay their respects.

The film continued on a loop until 11pm and people came and went, but all were completely silent whilst the film played out. It was hauntingly beautiful. Afterwards, we had a candlelit reception for the press, family and friends of the Lancasters."

I also spoke with Julian Kynaston, Chairman and founder of Illamasqua, to ask him about his thoughts and feelings of the evening...

What were your thoughts on the evening?

"I enjoyed it very much. Whilst the film was playing, I didn't watch it but watched the faces of those who had not seen it before and half of them were in tears and the other half who knew her could not bring themselves to watch it.

I knew then that we had accomplished what we had set out to do - to show everyone the harrowing reality of intolerance and prejudice that exists in our society today. To see so many people in one place come together and to stir that kind of emotion up in them was important to me. We cannot let anyone forget the case of Sophie Lancaster or what her case represents in wider society."

Why does Illamasqua have such strong ties with the Sophie Foundation?

"The two are intrinsically linked - when Illamasqua was at it's very early stages, when we were just cementing the core values of the brand - the celebration of individualism and the beauty of the sub-cultures, from goths to punks to club kids to drag queens and everyone inbetween - along comes this innocent young woman who simply because of the clothes that she wore had been targetted by a group of youths and murdered. I was disgusted, outraged and absolutely heartbroken that the values we are trying to promote at Illamasqua had been used against someone.

Illamasqua encourages you to look different and yet here was this young woman who had been killed precisely because of that. I got in contact with Sylvia and vowed to help support the charity. There was never the "we are a company who must find a charity to make ourselves look good" mentality; it is part of our DNA now."

How much has Illamasqua raised for the Sophie charity so far?

"On the night, we presented Sylvia with a cheque for £5,000 which rounds up the figure we have raised through sales of our Sophie pencil.

We also had representatives selling the Sophie pencil and wristbands on the night. After the reception Sylvia, some friends and myself went out for dinner and Sylvia presented me with a framed picture of Sophie. Words cannot express the feeling that I felt at that moment.

I feel very confident that the Sophie Lancaster Foundation can only go from strength to strength."

The global media coverage, response from internet communities and the general public has been phenomenal. At last count, the film has had over 30,000 views on Youtube in little more than a day and last night saw the international premier on MTV. Thank you to everyone who has helped with the production of this film and to those of you who have watched and circulated it - let's continue our efforts to ensure that this moving film is seen by as many people as possible.

"This film is to mark Sophie's birthday. This film is not pulling any punches. The message is too important, it has to go out there." Sylvia Lancaster

26 November 2009

Sophie: A Dark Angel - the video

New Trend?

Are the lower lashes the new upper lashes? When a style setter such as Agyness Deyn rock the look, you can guarantee that this is what all the cool kids will be up to over the Christmas party season.

I tried the look with our False Eye Lashes 23 - the ones with the green shot through. I think the effectiveness of Agyness' look is highlighted by that super dark, glossy blunt fringe to accentuate her blue eyes.

What do you think?

I also hope you are all rocking your Sophie wristbands today...

Sophie: A Dark Angel

At Illamasqua, our core values lie in our support of tolerance and celebration of individualism and personal identity. We are also proud to support the Sophie Lancaster Foundation - Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere.

In August 2007, Sophie Lancaster was kicked to death, simply for dressing differently. Two years on, and in tribute to the outgoing, bubbly girl who was denied the chance to live life her way, we have commissioned a short film by award-winning French director, Fursy Teyssier.

Produced by creative agency Propaganda, in association with iconic British band, Portishead [who very kindly donated the title track], Dark Angel is a beautifully haunting rendition of Sophies story. This video has been released today on Youtube as today would have been Sophie Lancaster's 23rd Birthday.

The aim of the film is to raise awareness of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation and generate £500,000 to help educate young people about tolerance. Since Sophie's death, we've been working with behavioral experts Huthwaite International, to put together an interactive youth workshop that does just that.

But this essential education programme can only be delivered with your help.
Please, please show your support watch the film and make a donation.

We're hoping to reach over 1,000,000 hits, so forward the link and help us spread the message. If you have your own website, blog, Facebook, MySpace or You Tube page, or a Twitter profile, please display a link to the film.

As well as the YouTube video and plenty of coverage on the BBC, GMTV, local newspapers etc, the short film will be getting an international premiere today, Thursday November 26th on MTV Europe - during an ad break of The Hills at 9:15pm UK time - everyone tune in!

I haven't actually been able to watch this video without bursting in to tears yet so if you manage to stay dry eyed, please tell me how!

Stand up for Sophie act now and buy an Illamasqua Sophie pencil, wristband or make a donation - £3 from every sale of the Sophie pencil will go straight to the charity.

Pixiwoo have also created a lovely tutorial video in memory of Sophie.

25 November 2009

The New Website is Live!

If you haven't yet seen it, log on to www.illamasqua.com to view our brand new website and webshop.

We listened to feedback from our customers, the online make-up communities and our artists and about five months ago decided to re-develop the website to create a unique and innovative experience. It finally launched at 11:02pm last night!

The new home page will keep you up to date with all the latest news, collections, events and promotions from Illamasqua.

There is an independant review section, the alter ego gallery is now easier to navigate and eventually we will be putting videos of our counter experiences up here!

We have made the shopping process easier and more fun for you too, for example we now suggest complimentary products, have swatches to give you a better idea of texture and colour as well as individual product descriptions. Each product is also grouped according to colour and if it features in a collection, it can be searched through the 'collections' tab.

All the swatches were done by Halimah and myself, so we feel especially proud to see it all come together.

Have an explore and let us know your feedback!

23 November 2009

20 November 2009

Product of the Week: Medium Pencil in Severe

Due to the rapidly diminishing sunshine hours of London at the moment [total today: approx. 12 minutes...] I think that an autumnal colour deserves the accolage of Product of the Week.

When Alex Box became Creative Director of Illamasqua, the pencils were one of the most important products for her; "I wanted a product that could be used anywhere - face art, body art etc. I wanted to leave the interpretation of the product up to the user rather than saying "This MUST be used on the eyes or this MUST be used on the lips. It's just a stick of intense, matt colour."

The Illamasqua Medium Pencils are unique because of the formulation, versatility and colour intensity. The creamy consistency means that they can be used in place of [or underneath] lip products, yet are also long wearing and smudge-proof on the eyes or for scrawling all over the body!

Both Halimah [Product Development intern and working make-up artist] and I love 'Severe' for the deep wine stain that it leaves on the lips. Personally, I like an eye pencil to be as bold on the waterline as much as on the actual skin and for this reason, I believe the Illamasqua Medium Pencils to be one of the best pencils on the market.

As you can see above, it creates a flawless matt finish. I am all about the matt, but if you like a glossy look, just slick a clear gloss on top. Nothing says autumn has officially arrived like a burgundy lip!

New Website Update

Due to the questioning on twitter, I thought I would let you all know that the brand new website is coming, you just have to bare with us whilst we double and triple check it to make sure it is as perfect as we can get it for you! Once it's up and running [early next week] I will be sure to let you all know.

Sneak preview...

18 November 2009

Mika Comes to Cardiff!

Mika will be making a highly anticipated guest appearance on the Debenhams Cardiff counter on Thursday 19th, Friday 20th and Saturday 21st November.

If you would like to meet the Selfridges London National Make-up Artist, star of the Dystopia collection adverts and infamous mainstay of the London club scene, give the Debenhams Cardiff Illamasqua counter a ring on 02920342278.

I grabbed a quick word with Mika to find out more about the Dystopia photoshoot, his favourite products and his excitement about visiting Cardiff...

Hey Mika! How are you?

"Really well - looking forward to meeting the girls at the Cardiff counter tomorrow. They have all offered to take me out on the town and I haven't visited Cardiff before so it's all very exciting."

Your always out on the town! How do you think the Cardiff night-life will compare to London?

"You'll have to ask me when I'm back! I am currently running a weeky club called Vogue at Willa's in Mayfair. The theme of the night is always the current issue of Vogue - inspired by the photo shoots or the adverts running in the magazine, the night is an artistic melting pot of fashionistas, club kids, models, socialites and a variety of people from the fashion, beauty and art worlds."

I have been dying to ask you what the Dystopia photoshoot was like - it must have been fabulous!

"You were there?!"

For about half an hour! How long did your day last?!

"The call was 8am and when I got there, Alex Box was already in 6 inch heels, which she lasted on all day - what an icon! Even I can't manage that - the whole shoot, from start to finish was 13 hours. Alex created three looks on me and each took about two hours to complete. My favourite look is the black and white one, with the swirly face patterns. Alex did all of it in one go and I was amazed at how little post-production there was. I've always assumed that everything was airbrushed for weeks after the photo shoot, but I saw the final images a few days after the shoot. You can't airbrush art; you would lose the point of it."

Too right. So, what are your favourite products from the Dystopia collection?

"I adore the Pure Pigment in 'Android' - the dark, sultry shimmer is just such a versatile product. I love to layer it on top of Cream Eye Shadow in 'Debauch' or 'Entangle' or even the Concealer in '350' for a really gorgeous, but quick and easy, smoky eye.
I also love the False Lashes 21. They are stunning."

Will you be wearing them on the Cardiff counter?

"Perhaps, but I am currently rocking the Limited Edition Decadence lashes - the silver ones. At Halloween I put them in my eye brows for winged brows!"

You'll have to send me a photo. What has been your defining moment working for Illamasqua?

"That's a tough one! The past year has been absolutely amazing for me, both professionally and personally. I think that the crowning glory would be the advert that is going to run in next months iD magazine - a double page advert of the back-to-back image of me in the Dystopia ads. I am so excited to see that I can barely contain myself! I also loved that the Sunday Times Style featured a picture of me and of course the Dystopia shoot was just the best day ever."

Here is a photo of Mika and myself - we bumped into each other at Gay Pride in the Summer... his pout is substantially better than mine!

Book now for a lesson with Mika - £20 redeemable against purchases made on the day.

13 November 2009

Illamasqua launches in Birmingham

Great news - our fabulous new counter in Selfridges Birmingham is launching today! Birmingham is such a great city, with bags of style and a buzzing night-time scene, making it perfect for Illamasqua, so we are really excited about the launch. And the Bullring is the perfect setting for our new home as it is the place to shop for that night-time look.

At present, we're retailing via a temporary counter while the finishing touches are being added to our permanent home. We're launching with all of our best-selling products, with the full range due to go live in December. There's a great team on counter, ready and waiting to help you discover your alter ego. So if you're in the area, come check it out and treat yourself!