the custom palette

On April 30, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

While I have a lot of eyeshadow, I am still tempted by palettes (sometimes, once in a while), which have the timeless appeal of compelling, immediate* shade combinations. I wonder if I even care that they are eyeshadow, in a way. I suspect part of the temptation is the pure visual pleasure of certain shade combinations, a harmonious whole greater than the sum of its parts.

*The convenience and mobility of multiple shades built to work together in one small compact is meant to be a big mark for the pro column but eyeshadow isn’t one of those things I tend to carry around anyway, and I do not allow myself to use this as a personal selling point.

Usually, though, I really cannot justify acquiring them, as in the case of two that have been calling to me quietly, stubbornly, for the last year or more.

Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita

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This is about $65, which I could almost stretch to—so glowing are the reviews, so gorgeous are the colors, so unflagging is my interest—but Charlotte Tilbury’s line, relatively new, doesn’t yet ship to the US and can only be had through Selfridges, the luxe British department store now of Masterpiece fame (I find Jeremy Piven awful in it, incidentally). They will deign to ship to the US for about $50, which I just cannot see my way to paying.

I like the combination of colors so well here, though, the saturated russett, the shimmering bronze, the warm champagne, the rich earthy brown…I decided to approximate it myself, with a bit of poetic license. I found this little 4 pan, no-fuss Japonesque compact, and chose some individual shadows to populate it. And (perhaps the best part) gave it a name.

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Courtesy of a Sharpie gold metallic paint pen. I knew I’d need that one day.

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The Minx. L to R: MAC Soba, MAC Antiqued, MAC Woodwinked, MAC Smut

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The compact was something like $8 (with promo code, always with promo code), and it was around $10 for each shadow here (less for a few I found a deal on). I’m going to value this at around $45. It could have been less if I’d opted for shadows from SMH or Makeup Geek, say, around $6 each, and with pretty good reviews (though worthwhile to get reviews on individual colors under consideration, as quality is not consistent across a range – this goes for any brand, really).

Tom Ford Golden MinkNMC0Z2P_mz

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Stunning, but $78 at the moment, plus tax, and I just can’t quite approve it in the budget: an impeccable warm neutral palette with one of the best formulas on the market, buttery smooth pigmentation, unparalleled blendability….and no. I cannot buy this now.

So I bought these, in the Golden Mink spirit:
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The Golden Age. L to R: MAC Nanogold, MAC Tempting, MAC Era, SMH Taz

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This one could use some fiddling, I think. The first color a bit too pale? A work in progress.

For about $38? Something like that. Not exactly cheap, but acceptable (approve-able, do-able) to me in a way that $78 is not (for now…). It’s only a loose translation but one I like a lot, so what does it matter the point of departure?

One appealing aspect of these palettes is that I could switch any of the colors out for others (I have several shades in the bronze/gold/burgundy range, and any number of successful combinations might be made, a fun color exercise). I also could have gone to an INGLOT counter to do this for around the same price, which I was tempted to do, and which I reserve the right to do at some point in the future.

There’s an undeniable appeal to this kind of customization, and it’s no surprise that the consumer industry is leaning more and more toward incorporating the hand of the customer. You entirely sidestep that unfortunate scenario in which you pay for a palette but only intend to use some fraction of the colors, tolerating the duds and writing them off in the cost-benefit analysis. Basing your selection, even if loosely, on an existing palette you admire, is a way to capitalize on the knowhow that went into the color selection while injecting a bit of your own style; these colors are going to work, and they’re going to work especially well for you.

 

the spring cape

On April 28, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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A cape is a nice option for this schizophrenic spring weather. A loose, effortless layer. I’ve always liked a cape.

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How I enjoy navy with mustard.

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Brows can be much darker than this, of course, but this is dark for me, and about as dark as I can go without things getting suspicious. Without, as it were, giving the game away. This is a bit of pencil brushed through with some of Benefit’s gimme brow tinted gel over that. Quite like this gel, which I use in the lighter shade and find entirely natural on its own. My brows are not conspicuous and this is a quick way to bring them forward.

Brows and lips have, for me anyway, for my eye, the largest capacity for impact, and doing something to groom and present one or the other of those elements is all that is needed to convey the impression that you’ve done a lot more. I’m not really demonstrating this theory here, as I’ve done other stuff, but I’m convinced.

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Express leggings, American Apparel cape (thrifted), Jeffrey Campbell France boots (similar), Mulberry bag (thrifted), J Crew turtleneck, mustard leather gloves (thrifted). On the lips: MAC lipstick in Kinda Sexy.

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Wearing a bit of Tarte’s Amazonian clay blush in Exposed, a lovely neutral mauve shade so muted that I understand it can be a contour shade for paler skin tones. Its’ matte and subtle, as is this lipstick, a bit of a departure for me but one I’m liking.

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the leather driving gloves

On April 27, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Have been browsing for a pair of leather driving gloves for a good 5 years or so, always finding it difficult to find them in a brick and mortar to try on, especially women’s gloves with their sleeker fit and more delicate fingers. The most promising options were in British menswear shops with understandable-yet-still-galling postage fees, and I delayed. A few years ago a glove shop opened on Newbury St, Sermoneta gloves, selling Italian-made gloves, and I finally gave it a proper browse last week.

I found the salesperson pleasantly tolerant of my endless trying on (I have large hands, and glove sizing is been pretty inconsistent in my experience, making it quite a risk to buy a pair without trying them on first,* not to mention feeling the quality of the leather first).

*As there is variation in each pair, this means not only trying on multiple sizes, but trying on multiple pairs within the nearest size.

I pronounce the visit a success.

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I do not always feel that my shopping is a success, reader. I return a fair amount (though, too, there is some amount of returning built into my shopping methods re: sizing and comparison, etc.), and have to sometimes resell or eat the cost of something I changed my mind about. My whims are fallible, my tastes are sometimes—only really in retrospect, inconveniently—questionable. Often I return something because I recognize that I have made a compromise (of fit, construction, quality, adherence to some vision) I did not want to make, and should not make. It’s a steady stream of stuff coming in and stuff going out again over here.

It’s all the more satisfying, then, when there are no doubts and no reservations. White 1/2 finger driving gloves?  Don’t mind if I do. I was looking for basic turquoise gloves but…that’s how it goes. These were the ones that sang.

There is something about a pair of sublimely fitted gloves that is as sensually tempting as it gets.

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It’s satisfying when you get home from a bout of acquisition and can say, I got this.*

*Like, in the sense of ‘I’m all over this’…not like ‘I acquired this’…though you do technically now have it…oh never mind.

 

on the menu: breakfast, short and sweet

On April 26, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

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I don’t mind a ready-made cinnamon bun now and then, perhaps because I grew up having them on Christmas and other special occasions (other holidays featuring elaborate breakfasts, overnight guests, etc.)? One cannot always be rolling out pastry dough. This one is from Trader Joe’s.

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Plate and mug from Jars ceramics, stunning glazes from this brand.

Lately I make this kind of pseudo-latte with a base of coffee and about 1/3 c of melted vanilla ice cream poured over the top, drizzled with caramel. [Then I drizzle anything else that seems promising with caramel as well.] Sometimes I’ll add a dash of Monin Hazelnut syrup, if I’ve woken up with a sweet tooth and am feeling really decadent.

details: bold structure at Rosie Assoulin Resort 2014

On April 25, 2014 by theseventhsphinx

Rosie Assoulin is a young (29) New York designer who has been mentioned more and more in the press in the last year as someone to watch. She researched and interned for several years (and this after helping her jewelry designer mother from 14 on) before her first collections, all built on noticing, decade after decade, patterns of long, floor-brushing pieces, generous volumes of fabric, sashes, and bold solids. The results are clean and sweeping, with an appealing blend of boxy and fitted elements.

Here are some of my favorite looks from her Resort 2014 collection.

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images from rosieassoulin.com

While the concept of a resort collection kind of cracks me up sometimes (a line you would theoretically wear at a resort, or on vacation…or in the summer… but I guess ‘summer’ was already taken in ‘spring/summer’ and these things are immutable), I often like them anyway, if only for their heavy use of white (and other bright colors), of which I approve.

These structures strike me as regal and yet fully modern (if not a bit of the future). Their silhouettes are cousins of silhouettes many centuries old in some cases (sashes with giant, bustle-like bows, trains, floor length skirts, complex draping), but the textures and the complete lack of embellishment are current, and these designs do not read as old-fashioned in anyway to me.

 

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