According to the great Italian poet and dramatist Luigi Pirandello, we all wear “social masks” to be part of the society we live in. The concept of the individual personality is fragmented and shattered: we are not who we think we are, but take a hundred thousand different faces according to the point of view of the people around us. The contrast between “to be” and “to look” becomes tragic in his plays, because men are always forced to conform to social restraints and conventions and thus they lose the perception of their true self. I totally agree with Pirandello: the modern idea of the mask is so full of meanings and interpretations, and this is so much true when it comes to make-up. Don’t we all wear masks, pretending to be someone different, when we put our make-up on? I surely wear a mask every time I go to work (I am a teacher and I don’t like to be there, in front of my students, with shadows under my eyes and the green undertones of my skin in full display) and 70% of this mask bears the sign of NARS on it!
As a NARS-issist, I always try to include at least one NARS item in my make-up, but I am watching out for the new collections of the brand, because my obsession needs fresh blood, right? The latest collection for Fall 2009 is Lolita, featuring Canadian doll-face model Heather Marks. According to François Nars, the collection is inspired to the the coquettish innocence of Nabokov’s character, and to the sophisticated sensuality of Catherine Deneuve in Buñuel’s Belle du Jour : the resulting beauty formula is very sexy, but at the same time ultra-elegant.
The look seen on Heather was created by Diane Kendal. Apart from the gorgeous eye make-up, I am totally drawn by the amazing colour on cheeks, achieved with Cap Vert Multiple bronzer, Angelika (cotton candy with gold particles) and Gilda (coral) powder blushes.
The Fall 2009 collection includes three eyeshadow duos – Indian Summer (frosted champagne and mustard seed), Brumes (matte charcoal and blue slate) and Silk Road (icy pink and rose gold), a single eyeshadow – Mekong (espresso infused with gold), a lipstick – Fast Ride (sheer mulberry), and a nail polish – Tokaido (black amethyst infused with gold). I like the colour palette of the collection, especially the neutral shades. I still don’t have any of these items, but I’d like to put my hands on Silk Road.
Since I last wrote about my NARS personal collection, I have added some new products, so here they are.
As usual, I am posting a pic of all the items closed in their rubber-like cases.
And here they are in all their glory. I have added a palette, a powder blush, three lip lacquers and a lipgloss.
Desire is a matte cotton candy pink. It looks scary in the pan and is super-pigmented. I carefully apply it with a light hand and my trusty MAC 187 duo fibre blush. I fell in love with this blush when I saw it on Kim Kardashian’s cheeks.
Lip lacquers are lipsticks in a pot. I love these products because they have a great lasting power and unique shades, and can be worn on lipsticks. They are not convenient to use – you have to apply them with a lip brush – but this is a minor downside. I have bought Diablo (a lovely apple red) and Cabiria (honey with shimmer), while Butterfield 8 (chocolate brown) was already in my collection. The lipgloss on the right is Chantaco (rhubarb), a nice neutral pink non-shimmering colour.
And here is License to Kill , an amazing palette I received in a swap. It is currently unavailable for sale, so I guess it’s a limited edition from some collections ago. This is not the first NARS palette I own: I had Rapture but I gave it out in a swap because I didn’t like it (I found it boring, with all those neutral brown shades and a useless blush – Ninotchka). Licence to Kill is exciting to play with because it is based on the contrast between very light eyes and very dark lips. It contains two eyeshadow duos – Iceland (iridescent icy blue and icy green) and Kilimanjaro (iridescent icy yellow and icy gold), two Multiples – Copacabana (glistening pearl) and Cannes (copper rose) – and four lipsticks – Times Square (eggplant), Captiva (currant), Shanghai Express (warm brick red; I already have it in lipstick tube form) and Congo Red (brown red). The iridescent eye shadows are amazing and remind me of an old Chanel quadra eyeshadow, Les Interferentiels.
Here are the swatches of the Multiples and the eyeshadow duos on my arm. Just for reference, I’m NC30, according to MAC.
These are the lipstick. Captiva looks scary in the pan, but it is sheer on lips. My favourite is Shanghai Express, fierce!
Browsing NARS site for inspiration, I found this look created by Talia Shobrook for Marchesa fall/winter 2009 runway: both the shades of Kilimanjaro are used on the entire lid, along with both the shades of Mandrague (cream and caramel). The lips remain nude with Chelsea Girls (nude beige). I am not sure this look will work for me, but the neutral eye can be paired to bolder lips.
I also took my make-up Bible – Make-Up Your Mind by François Nars, of course – from the shelf and I flipped through it, looking for more inspiration. I found four amazing looks which include some shades in the palette I own.
Devon Aoki sports a great look, I am looking forward to try this on me. I guess this is what License to Kill is meant to be used for – light eyes vs dark lips. In this case, she wears Tibet (sheer white) and the icy gold shade of Kilimajaro on her lids, no eye pencil nor eye liner, Desire (sheer pink) on her cheeks and Shanghai Express (dark crimson) on her lips, which have been lined with Times Square eggplant lip liner.
Audrey Tchekova sports a look based on nude eyes, bold cheeks and lips. She wears Bellissima eyeshadow duo (shimmer beige and smoky brown) on lids, Desire (sheer pink) on cheeks and Congo Red (brown red) on lips, previously lined with Borneo (pink brown lip liner).
Natalia Semanova’s look is all focused on lips: she wears Biarritz (creamy beige) and Lola Lola (frosted brown) on lids, the Multiple in Palm Beach (copper) on her cheeks and the dramatic Times Square (eggplant) on her lips, lined with Times Square lip liner.
Last but not least, here is the beautiful Erin O’Connor sporting the most dramatic look of all – bold smoky eyes and bold lips. The smoky eye is very complex: it includes both the shades of Pandora eyeshadow duo (matte black and sheer white), Notorious (shimmery grey), Bombshell (platinum) and Paris (gunmetal grey). The cheeks are just contoured with Zen (neutral brown), and the lips are vampy with Times Square lipstick and lip liner (eggplant). I unfortunately don’t have the ability to re-create such a complex look, but it has been perfectly made on Erin, hasn’t it?
 This is one of my favourite movies, where Yves Saint Laurent clothes and Roger Vivier shoes are the protagonists in Severine’s outfits.
 Nars often takes the names of his items from movies, so I guess the palette’s name was taken from this James Bond’s movie, featuring Timothy Dalton, Carey Lowell and Talisa Soto. I love the title track by Gladys Knight!