Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lumières Byzantines de Chanel Palette

It arrived! You wouldn't believe what it took to get the Lumières Byzantines de Chanel Palette. When Café Makeup first showed us this magnificent palette of limited-edition Chanel highlighting creams, I had to have it. There were only a few problems, not the least of which was that there were none to be had in the United States. It was exclusive to the Chanel boutiques, so I called every Chanel boutique in the country and came up empty-handed.

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.
Nice ideas! Do I feel bound by them? I know I will stray from these recommendations immediately. The creamy highlighters are so transparent, that I could use any of them to highlight my cheekbones.

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?

Photos by Best Things in Beauty


Style de Nude said...

So lucky you have it! Great story. I love shade 3.

Kristie said...

It is beyond gorgeous, a true beauty! Thank you for swatching it for us. I will live vicariously through your images as I won't be able to get a hold of this product.

luv2smilexo said...

that is so lovely! I would have had a hard time touching it. ty for the swatches

Hopelessly Devoted To Makeup said...

That looks like liquid gold! You are so fortunate to have that as part of your "collection" - hehe. Congrats on having such a work of Chanel art!

Anonymous said...

Love the story! It's gorgeous!

Soni said...

Oh my goodness! You poor thing!!!
You have given new meaning to "gone through hell and high water" to get something.
That palette is deservedly yours. You have MORE than earned it!!!

And what a sweetheart that Clarisse is! And her son!! What a gem.

Enjoy your new precious. (and hope your arm heals quickly)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi everyone!

Thanks for all your kind words, the laughs you gave me, and the best wishes for my arm. Hey, it's not broken, so all is well. What's a bruise with swelling? Yes, it was "hell and high water" after the fall. Before that, it was "just a story." :)

Clarisse is so generous. I've wanted to meet her for a long time. Now I want to meet her son too. Any guy who would leave his office to go get makeup for his mother is a gem!

Mamavalveeta03 said...

WOW....that is incredible. I don't think I could bring myself to use it.

Anonymous said...

I salute your determination! and I hope your arm will get better soon, *hugs and kisses*
You truly deserve what you were after for :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi MamaVal and PoseyLass!

Thanks! You would use it - trust me.

Even with the high contrast of the pattern diminished, it's just as gorgeous. I'm going to wear some of it to my next Chanel event. Crazy, right? Go to a makeover with makeup on? I often do. My blogger buddy, Anne Houseman, is smarter. She goes sans makeup.

Lucy said...

I hope you feel better soon! What a story! I am sure it was worth it though, because the swatches are lovely. Thanks also to Clarisse!

Radhika said... got THE palette! And a great story to go with it :) :)

Natalie said...

Wow, incredible palette! I'm so happy you were able to get your hands on it! I wish it was easier to come by - I think I'd give an arm or a leg for it. When I saw the thumbnail in my feed, I started hyperventilating. It's so pretty, it looks like you can just run a gold chain through it and wear it as a necklace! LOL

Thanks for sharing!

lovethescents said...

Poor you! Can't believe you hurt your, Advil/Motrin, and elevate!

How wonderfully perfect this palette looks. Everyone's commented on the beauty of the colours, but once you've used them up, what will you do with that stunning case? Contact lens holder? Tiny serving dish? Small ice cube tray? :-) Enjoy.

makeup merriment said...

Loads of healing vibes for your arm! I'm glad you are okay =)

I would have done the same- SAVE THE CHANEL!!!

That is beautiful and well deserved- what a lovely, dear friend to do that. That's what good friends do though- help each other out.

Miss Brahms said...

It is like the lost treasure of Troy! Glittering gold rarity. I saw an article about this compact in Vogue two months ago, and wistfully imagined that someone I know might own it one day - 'tis true!
Thank you, Charlestongirl, for obtaining what is akin to the Chateau Y'quem of makeup!f

Me said...

I bet most of us have a makeup-related injury story, but yours trumps all. I agree with Jeanie, SAVE THE CHANEL, and so what if the arm ends up in a cast, lol. Cameras can be replaced, but you'll not get another one of those palettes! Thanks for the review and beautiful swatches. You're very lucky.

Liz said...

man, i can't get over the fact that that is a $250 highlighter!

Unknown said...

I love that you saved the Chanel and not your camera or yourself! LOL What beautiful photographs. It really does look like a work of art! And good for you just digging in! A beauty like that shouldn't be stuffed away in a box in a drawer somewhere.
Clarisse is a wonderful friend to a wonderful person!

Eileen said...

Oh, Charlestongirl, those colors are glorious! I have an excellent monitor and I can see the subtle differences in the shades very clearly in the first swatch photo. I'd like to say that I'm particularly partial to the rose tinged gold, but the fact is the entire set is breath-taking in its Byzantine beauty. The delicacy and luminosity of all the shades is simply beyond words. I can't think of a more deserving person than you to have this beautiful jewel to wear and enjoy. Congratulations!

Anonymous said...

It's sooo gorgeous!!!

Clarisse said...

Hi Charlestongirl!
I'm happy it finally reached you (since here only 50 palettes were on sale in France in THE Chanel boutique and they're are sold out) It suits you perfectly:-)
Hi everyone!
Thank you for your compliments you are very sweet indeed, but you know it was a pleasure to do it for my friend,I just had to play very fast...
As always the bad part is the "crossing of the the Atlantic" as I call it, there all sorts of things which can happen to packages and you're helpless, just waiting for it to arrive...This time it was Fed Ex forgetting to tell Charlestongirl...But all is well, Time for her to enjoy it, I'm so glad!
Have a lovely day all of you...when you get up!here it's 8h30am and I'm going to work:-)

Laetitia said...

What a special tale! You will always remember spring/summer 2011 when you admire your palette. I love finding one piece that can symbolize an entire season of make-up. I remember spending much of my vacation in Paris a few years back hunting down one very special item -- Chanel's Sublimage masque, which was not available in the US at the time. It was surprisingly difficult to locate, but after I did, I cannot recall enjoying applying a mask as much as I did that night in the hotel. Congratulations !!

Charlestongirl said...

Hi again! to catch up with all your comments?

The story evolves. My whole body is sore this morning. Apparently, I twisted more body parts than I originally thought - on the way down. :)

The only thing that really worries me is my new knee, which hurt during the night. I hope I didn't do any damage.

Lovethescents...the idea of using it, once depleted, to make tiny ice cubes is really cute!

Hi Clarisse, I figured you were asleep when I wrote last night, with the time difference between the U.S. and France. Thank you! Talk later.

Eileen, I can see photos better on my home monitor than the one at work! I think I've spent more time adjusting this one. It is an amazing set of highlighters. I wish Chanel would make it more widely available. It could be quite a little profit center. :)

Makeup Merriment, that's a great motto: SAVE THE CHANEL!

Love everyone! It was fun to wake up this morning and read your comments.

Laurie said...

Wow, I guess beauty is pain huh?! I'm glad you're OK!

This palette is so pretty -- it's a piece of art for sure!

Diane said...

This palette is gorgeous! I'm extremely jealous. But even through my jealousy I am super happy that you were able to get this product. What a great friend Clarisse is to help you. I had called every Chanel Boutique I could find and they all of course were only sent like 1-2 or didn't receive the palette at all.

Enjoy your beautiful palette!

QuietDawn6 said...

From the bottom of my heart: I envy you :D

This is it, the masterpiece and I'll never forgive Chanel for not giving us a realistic chance to own it

LuvJ said...

The FIRST picture of swatches I've seen and they look amazing!!! I wish I was able to get my hands on one.. but I know I wouldn't be able to touch it, so hats off to you for doing so and satisfying the beauty community's curiosity. Even more amazing, is the Fairy Godmother that made it happen for you and the knight-in-shining-armor that is her son :)

Cheryl G. said...

It is the most beautiful palette I have ever seen. Swoon! Drool! Covet. Envy. Sigh!

Cheryl G. said...

Oh, and sorry about your acccident, and thanks for sacrificing your body in the name of beauty.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi friends!

Yes, I am beyond privileged - one happy woman, thanks to the kindness of Clarisse and her son!

I was thrilled to be able to share the swatches, even if the photos weren't great. It's such a nice palette, I'm sure I'll wear it out eventually.

Diane, you were like me, calling, calling, calling, but getting nowhere. I wish they had made more of them. I would love it if everyone who wanted one had it, better than owning one of 1,500. It's not like I can send it to Christie's and auction it off! It's art, but it won't be the same as owning a Frank Stella print.

Thanks, Cheryl and everyone, for your kind wishes for my body. My arm looks a whole lot better today (the big knot went down), and the rest of me seems to be better too. I worked from home today. Otherwise, I think I'd be wearing Chanel highlighters on my face and eyes!

Sabrina said...

OMG you swatched it! I die!!! I'm ecstatic you found this palette :)

Unknown said...

What a story, Charlestongirl! I'm so sorry about your arm. I hope you heal quickly. I got my palette a few weeks ago and still have not swatched it. It looks beautiful in the pan but $250 worth?

You must live in upper Northwest... :)

Madelyn E said...

Oh I love this 1 what a feat that you were able to get one. this compact is absolutely gorheous in gilded splendor.

why can't they make more ???

Any way possible or is this really the end ?
Enjoy your treasure !

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Sabrina!

That's how I felt. I asked Clarisse as a lark, thinking she would never find it...and joy!

Charlestongirl said...

Ava, the money doesn't count. This is one of those objects that transcends price. LOL

Not upper NW, even better: McLean/Falls Church. LOL

It's interesting, though, I am at home in upper NW. I went to graduate school there and now work there. I also shop there.

I tried to e-mail you. I was being a ditz because I replied to a comment, I think. I couldn't find your e-mail. It was about the June 22 event.

Charlestongirl said...

Hi Madelyn,

I fear that this is the end. I can't imagine this showing up on eBay...but you never know! If it does, someone will be looking for a profit.

Eugenia said...

That story was one for the books! I cannot believe how badly you got injured....all in the name of beauty! Now THAT'S dedication! The palette is...breathtaking and I'm now living vicariously through your incredible luck at scoring it! Lol! As tempting as it is to hold on to something this rare, I'm glad you're enjoying it instead!

NeenaJ said...

Just gorgeous! I agree with your sentiment - it's meant to be worn. You've got the lovely pictures to remind you what it looked like. And when the palette is empty, you could convert it into the most fabulous pillbox evah!

MaviDeniz said...

this is a gorgeous palette, however i think i like the way it looks in the palette more then when it's on. its a little too sheer and glittery and im sure the palette costs a small fortune. However i think it still would be nice to have in your makeup collection, especially since they only made 1500 of them :)

Charlestongirl said...

Hi there, Eugenia, NeenaJ, and MaviDeniz!

Sorry for my late reply. Regarding the fall...the things we do for "love"! :)

Don't worry that it's glittery. It's not. The shimmer is sheer and perfect. No glitter in this "baby."

Used for pills after I use up the highlighter? That's appropriate, given its story. :)

Michaela said...

Gorgeous! A story of desire, determination, tenacity, friendship and sacrifice, all in the name of beauty...
Only the community of beauty lovers ( not to say fanatics) can appreciate the victory!
Thankyou for the swatches and I wish you total & quick recovery.

Anonymous said...