Now for the drama! Chanel's Fall 2011 Ready-to-Wear Collection during Paris Fashion Week showed us Peter Philips' laser-sharp focus on the eye. Study the images of the models on the drab grey, scorched earth runway, and you'll find that their looks were accented with Illusion d'Ombre Long Wear Luminous Eyeshadow ($36). Even though the backdrop to the gorgeous clothing and beautiful models was drab, their glowing eyes were anything but.
Before I received Illusion d'Ombre, I anticipated something similar to Giorgio Armani's Eyes to Kill Intense: cream shadows with a high shimmer and limited (for me) wearability. Gorgeous, but certainly not office-appropriate without great care on application. Luckily, this Chanel collection of six shades has something for everyone - the social gal on the town and the woman who wants to look polished and professional, but still pretty.
Illusion d'Ombre was designed to be used as eye shadow or liner. The formula, created with silicone and a patented silicone elastomer gel, yields a texture that is soft, with a glide to delight on application. The product is cushiony in the jar. Press on it with your fingers, or the shadow/liner brush that comes with each jar, and you'll detect a definite give. The brush applies a generous amount of product, even when swept lightly across the pigmented cream. The Chanel representatives at Neiman Marcus recommended using my finger to apply Illusion d'Ombre, and after trying it with the applicator and my finger, I prefer a finger application. That's because I'm not setting out for a runway, but rather real life. I love the watercolor wash I can achieve with a light, smudged application.
I purchased Émerveillé (#82) and Épatant (#84). Émerveillé is peach, and Épatant is a dreamy, ethereal green, which can be dark and dramatic or light and minty, depending on your application technique. I had planned to purchase Épatant, but Émerveillé forced its way into my bag when I visited Neiman Marcus. It's gorgeous too. The other shades, left behind, were aubergine/eggplant, pink, black, white, and a rather strange purple-red shade.
For some reason, Épatant wants to photograph charcoal in the pot. It's not. The sparkling khaki shade is better viewed on the skin. Here's the small brush that fits in the box with the shadow. Take the cap off, and insert the brush into the cap, and the brush becomes long enough to use. The angled bristles make it easy to use the shadow as a liner. I probably won't use the special brush at home. I have better synthetic brushes for cream application.
For my first swatch photo, I applied Illusion d'Ombre with the brush. I found that even a careful, light application with the brush resulted in dramatic color. It was actually a little "pebbly" in places, but blending back and forth with the brush helped me even it out. My photos were taken outdoors with a miffy sun that kept disappearing behind the clouds. Here you see the two shades - intense, dramatic, and exquisite.
Once I had taken a few photos of the unblended shadows, I decided to blend out the swatches on my arm. I was partially successful because they hadn't dried completely. I wanted to show you how you could smudge the shades to achieve a slightly less dramatic look. Now, we're talking office-appropriate. I would wear them as shown at left during the day. I was convinced I had discovered their secrets. Wait, though, it gets even better for day wear.
These two shades can be applied very lightly with your finger for a subtle wash of color. Two photos, one in more direct sunlight than the other, show you how Émerveillé and Épatant can become watercolors, subtly shimmering washes of color on the lid that will enliven your eyes and make you look like a summer gal. Now, I know why we'll be using a Fall 2011 Collection now! These shades are brilliant. Illusion d'Ombre will carry you from June through winter, allowing you to select your own look. I'm very pleased with them!
Whatever you do, tighten the cap on these shadows after you use them, or they will dry out. Protect your investment!
You can purchase Illusion d'Ombre and the rest of the fall collection (I have more to show you) at Chanel's Web site or your favorite Chanel counter. I bought my pieces online and at Neiman Marcus. I'm sure Saks, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, and the rest of the counters have or will have the collection. Although it was scheduled to launch at counters in July, it arrived a week early.
Photos at top courtesy of Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Europe and Vogue; other photos by Best Things in Beauty