Illamasqua again – and some naked guys.

I was back at the Illamasqua counter in Selfridges today. (I am lured there like a dizzy bumblebee.) I happened to choose one of the evenings this month where Selfridges stages their “Beauty 100” event. This seemed to involve DJs, people with champagne flutes, a brief appearance by celebtritress Rachel Stevens, and the startling descent of several male models clad only in yellow underpants from the upper escalator. Lucky I had my camera.


This is by the by, of course.

It reminded me that I hadn’t written up my last visit to Illamasqua, and my ongoing fascination with this rather wonderful newborn brand.

Read my account of an Illamasqua close encounter…

The counter nestles beside the MAC fixture like a subversive younger sister. Same bright-colour/high quality genes, but a certain twist, a certain rebellious streak is evident from first glance. It’s decked with chandelier-like perspex icicles that hang from the curved displays. They catch the Beauty Hall’s clean, subdued light, suggesting a sort of dark, vintage decadence.


Compared with MAC beside it, the Illamasqua counter is pretty quiet – for now.

I approach one of the artists, who is disarmingly friendly and more than happy to answer my questions. She tells me the products getting the biggest buzz from customers are nailpolish and lipstick. We’re standing by the nailpolish display, and I pick out “Hectic”, an army green shade that I’ve never seen anything quite like before. I can see why these shades are getting attention – they’re so distinctive. I thought every shade of polish had been made a hundred times, but I’m pleased to report that I was wrong.

A tour around the rest of the counter – face powders and foundations come in every shade from sable to ivory white. I mean really white – pure white, Elizabeth I style white. The shades are numbered, with 100 this exceptional white, and the 300’s gradations of deep chocolate. Concealers follow suit.

Lipsticks come in black, purple, bluish violet, every shade of red and nude and brown and metallic you could ask for. Eyeshadows are a Pantone riot of pigment. There are also cake eyeliners, a format that I’m not totally convinced by (needs an extra step with an extra product to wet the cake into a useable form).

I settle on just my “Hectic” nail polish. Maybe it was the magic words “beauty” and “blogger”, but I also get a free eyeshadow in “Yearn” dropped into my bag (“to match!” she says), along with a copy of Illamasqua founder Julian Kynaston’s photo book “Dark Love”, which celebrates the brand’s ethos of embracing alternative cultures.

Reviews to follow!


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