I told you the short story in last week's Friday Form. The answer was always the same, "We're so sorry; that sold out before it arrived at the store." I did make a few new friends on the phone, so the effort wasn't wasted. Then, I had the idea of asking Clarisse - one of the sweetest Best Things in Beauty readers on earth, a reader who became my friend a long time ago - if she could look for it in France. That sympathetic soul went above and beyond. She got on a waiting list at the boutique in Paris because it had not yet arrived there. They called when it arrived and gave her a few hours to pick it up. Clarisse lives a little ways from Paris, but she sent her son, a attorney who works near the boutique in Paris. He purchased it and FedEx'd it from his workplace - all in one day. How am I going to return THAT favor? I see a huge box headed to France, and I think I know what will be in that box.
Anyhow, my palette winged its way over the Atlantic quickly, but that wasn't the end of the story. The FedEx delivery guy came during the day, twice it seems, but never left me a door tag. Yesterday, I came home from work to find a final notice, with a note telling me I could drive to Alexandria, Virginia to get it. They might as well have told me I could drive to Mars. I called FedEx to complain, and they offered a workable solution. I picked it up today at a FedEx office near my home.
When I headed outside to take its photo, I tripped on the Washington Post I had thrown in the door as I was leaving for work. The camera went flying, I went flying (my arm is blue and swollen from the spot where it rammed the stair rail), but I held onto that Chanel palette! It's safe as you can see in my palette photos. My camera works fine. My arm? It will heal - weeks from now. I have no other makeup with such a storied history.
Indeed, Lumières Byzantines de Chanel does have a Chanel history. To celebrate the know-how of Chanel Artistic Design Houses, Peter Philips, Global Director of Chanel Makeup, created a harmony of five precious shades in this gorgeous highlighter palette. Inspired by the Baroque-style jewelry crafted by the Goossens design hours for Gabrielle Chanel in the 1950s, these highlighting blush shades are applied by dabbing them onto the face. Their cream texture elegantly captures all the light of the Orient. The Lumières Byzantines de Chanel Palette was made in only 1,500 pieces to honor the Artistic Design House. I feel so privileged!
The card above recounts that honor, with the reverse side giving application instructions. I'll get to them, but first, let's unwrap it. Inside the Chanel box, which came with a very small, classy Chanel tote, I found a velvet fold-over pouch containing the palette. I decided to take off the velvet and show you the palette before I opened it, with a gasp. I think I may have to keep the gift box shown here. It's so elegant.
The palette itself, though, is the star of the show. One might be tempted to save it for the makeup museum, but given its scarcity, it would be impossible to get a second - and I think this is makeup to be worn!
Chanel numbered the shades from #1 in the center, #2 at the right, #3 at the bottom, #4 at left, and #5 at the top. I would describe #1 as an ivory gold; #2 as a peachy-rose gold; #3 as a taupe gold; #4 as true gold; and #5 as a beige gold. The inside of the palette is exquisite. How could you top the appearance of molten highlighter shades set into a molten, gilded gold frame? It left me speechless. Of course, the palette has a mirror (seems like a detail that doesn't matter as I dove into the palette).
Chanel recommends the use of the shades as follows.
- Apply shade #1 under the brow bone for a highlighting touch.
- Apply shade #2 to the top of the cheekbones to add radiance.
- Apply shade #4 to the entire eyelid and shade #3 to the outer corner of the eye.
- Apply shade #5 as an eyeliner along the base of the lower lashes for more depth.
I got a few swatch photos for you, applying them with a sponge-tipped applicator to get maximum color (which wasn't easy because of their sheerness) and taking my photos in full sun. Once you use the shades, the Baroque design on the top of each disappears. It was nice while it lasted. I'm glad I have photos to remember how it looked unused. As I was swatching, I was using a lot of product, more than I would use on my face or eyelids, and I finally realized that my photos wouldn't be the best. My skin is so light, it's hard to get contrast with shades this refined - the very element of their color that makes them so beautiful on the face. I decided to stop the application for swatch photos; I was wasting my treasure!
I swatched from what Chanel calls #5 at the top of the palette clockwise, ending with #1, the center ivory-gold shade at the bottom of my arm. There isn't one of the shades that doesn't thrill me. You can see that #1, the shade recommended for use under the brow bone, is the most sheer. Shade #3 in the center of my arm has the most color on my skin - also evident in the palette.
I'm still hyperventilating. I'm so excited I haven't even iced my arm. I just wanted to show you beauty lovers this extraordinary palette.
Clarisse will know very soon - hopefully she does already - that she provided the highlight (literally) of my spring and summer combined. I'll be wearing the shades and checking my reflection in the mirror. That will become my secret pleasure, knowing the history of my highlighters.
Isn't the Lumières Byzantines de Chanel Palette gorgeous?
Update 6/11: Update: Interested in a photo of the damage? http://twitpic.com/5a6amj
Photos by Best Things in Beauty