Daphne Guiness for MAC Collection, a Review

What can one possibly say about Daphne Guinness that has not been reiterated a million times?!  Unique, glamorous, artistic, fashion-forward, a patron, elegant, exotic, ethereal … and did I mention unique?!??!?!?!  I absolutely LOVE this woman for her utmost dedication to the arts, and for absolutely owning her image.  She’s inspiring in her daring, and a reminder to all of us to take risks in our every day looks, and to do so with flair damn it!  Originality is not dead.  It is very much alive and thriving in Ms. Guinness.

Whenever I’m stuck in a dreary slump, I turn to her book: Daphne Guinness, co-authored by Valerie Steele.  The book came to life after the two collaborated on MFIT’s exhibit, which holds more than 100 pieces of Daphne’s incredible couture collection.  I’ve seen the exhibit- THREE TIMES and I don’t think I’m done.  It is drool worthy, dreamy, and definitely as amazing as the woman herself.  Unfortunately, unless you’re en par with a Guinness heiress, those incredible pieces are relegated to stay in fantasyland. Not true for Daphne’s beauty inspiration for much longer though!

M.A.C is releasing a 24-piece cosmetics line inspired by Daphne Guinness on December 26, 2011, and guess who received nine of those coveted little receptacles?!?!?  That’s right!  This lucky girl right here!!!!!!  Some days are just really, really good in my world!

The spirit of the line is as whimsical and artistic as its muse who, according to the press release, took her ideas for her line from an antique porcelain vase, pigeon’s blood and the intricacy of butterflies’ wings, not to mention mixing colors with her own saliva on a tiny watercolor case. But despite its unorthodox origins, the result is incredibly wearable.   Here are the tidbits:

The Interior Life eye shadow quad is perfect for a smoky eye, where each of the colors can be used individually or together to create looks that are both subtle and dramatic.  Stratus is a very pale lavender with a matte finish that is nearly invisible when first applied, that showed up more when I used it to highlight the inner side of the eye after the smoky eye was complete.  This is a great shade for a quick morning barely visible eye brightener.  Bruised Sky is a mauve satin finish with a touch of brown that results in a highly pigmented medium dark gray with a hint of brown. Interior Life is a medium dark gray with a hint of brown in a veluxe finish. Heather Belles is the darkest shade in the palette and has a satin finish.  It’s a charcoal black that I used to line the eyes, though I can see it being used all over for a more intense smoky eye.

The Azalea Blossom Blush Ombre is beautiful, like a packaged sunset.  It’s almost too lovely to use…. But I said almost!  This blush is not unique to this collection, but it is a great addition to the color scheme.  At first I thought the pink/purple combination would not go well with my skin tone, which is light olive by the way, but to my delight the pink warmed up the lilac and enhanced my skin color instead. I’m not sure this is a blush I would use during the spring or summer, but it certainly lends itself to an unusual and pleasing cheek in the cooler light of winter.  I would assume that it’s adaptable to any skin tone since the colors can be easily mixed to create the right shade and intensity you want.  But if you’re looking for a barely there blush, this blush is not for you.

The three lipstick shades from this collection that I had the opportunity to try are all pro longwear lipcremes. Approaching Storm is a very dark and opaque brownish red with a lot of depth.  Red Dwarf is the most wearable day-to-day 9-5 office job out of the three. It’s a rich berry, both flattering and well suited for a collection being released for winter. Warp Speed is an unusual whitish silver with a hint of shimmer.   I thought it would look horrendous, but it’s actually a fun color if you’re a bit daring!  It is a mouth that can either look modern and interesting, or a bit ghoulish depending on the rest of your make up.   Either look is interesting to experiment with and has its own merits depending on what you’re going for.  After all, isn’t make up to have fun, experiment, enhance and dare with?!

I applied all three lipsticks directly from the tube, and went over it a second time to make sure the entire lip was covered evenly. They are a bit dry, so in the future I think I will use a brush to have more control of the distribution, particularly with the darker shades.

The Cremesheen Glass glosses are a nice addition to the lips for this collection, since they can be used as a second layer in order to change the determinedly opaque lip look to a more pouty version.  Borealis is a milky mother of pearl color that goes on pretty sheer on the lip.  The color on the tube is a lot more edgy than the actual resulting shade on the lip.  It’s great on its own and fantastic over a lipstick.  Richly Revered is a rich plum that gives the lip a very flattering shade on its own and beautifully complements Approaching Storm and Red Dwarf.  In general, Cremesheen Glass is an easy, semi-sheer gloss that is a pleasure to wear alone and easy to layer over lipsticks since it’s light and non-sticky.

The Hyperion nail lacquer is an awesome shade of minty blue.  Its only downside is that you definitely need at least two generous coats.   The nail ridges come through, and the color is a bit sheer, so a third coat would is not a bad idea to achieve complete coverage.  Blueblood is a dark plum shade that was easy to apply and easy to wear.  It’s not a surprising color, or even unusual, but it is a seamless addition to the collection.

The self-possession of the final color palate might be surprising to some, but to me it fit perfectly with Ms. Guinness’ meticulously curated image.  She is a mellifluous amalgamation that ranges from classical restraint to outrageous fetishism, and her artistry is to seamlessly combine disparate styles into a cohesive and original image.  The M.A.C. line inspired by this unusual muse is the deconstruction of those very elements.  It can be worn as classically as a Chanel suit, or as outrageously as a Gareth Pugh creation.  It just depends on how you choose to combine and layer the shades, just as Daphne Guinness accessorizes her outfits.  Not to mention that her own make up ranges from a ‘nude’ face to full on drama.

The pigments are strong and the quality of the make-up is up to the usual fabulous M.A.C. standards.  The colors are on the matte and muted side, so if you’re a Priscilla Queen of the Desert kind of girl and dying for more glitter, this cosmetics line will probably not make it into your wish list.  But for the rest of us, who swings both ways on the beauty pole, this thoughtful and austere line with a hint of edge might just be the thing to refresh the cosmetics bag.

by Carolina Sloser, K.B contributor

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