|i came, i saw, i hauled|
like all nars collections, this one is fairly small and combines limited items with items introduced that will be added to the permanent collection and a couple of "reminder" items that fit with the season but have already been available for some time. [in this case, those items would be their volumizing mascara, which i've never tried and taj mahal blush, an incredible shimmery burnt orange that i suspect would work as well as an eye shadow as a blush.] also like other nars collections, while there may be inspirations for specific items, there's no overall theme, nothing that ties the whole collection together. that's not a bad thing, of course, i think it's just the marketing person in me who desperately seeks to impose some sort of order, or the writer attempting to impose a narrative.
i'll say up front that i have a real love affair going with nars' eye shadows lately, so it should come as no surprise that these are the highlight of the collection to me. there is a new trio and two duos, all of which are extremely different from one another.
|mayflower l/s, dogon e/s duo, new order blush|
|the lady next to me reminds me of someone|
the best part about the trio is that nars has finally caved to prevailing wisdom and physically separated the three colours. in their previous trios, they hadd arranged the shades in a rough degradé, which makes sense if you're planning on using them for a single look, but made it really difficult to use them separately and after a few uses, left you with a marbled mess. bravi nars for the improvement! to the best of my knowledge, this is a limited edition item.
i already posted a little sneak preview of the dogon eye shadow duo last week, since i just couldn't wait to try it out. for my tastes, this is the absolute rock star of the collection. nars duos are already a no-brainer as far as i'm concerned, simply because they all seem to well thought out and because they're a great value when you look at them compared to the single nars shadows. this one, however, is even more double plus good, because the colours are so particularly stunning. one of the things that i really like about nars' shadows is that the nuances that you see in the pan and swatched on your hand are generally apparent in use. sadly, i seem to have a number of eye shadows that look awesome on my hand and "meh" on my eyes, but this duo looks great both ways.
|dogon eye shadow duo|
|getting an "exotic dance"|
completing the "eye offering" is "queen", one of nars' soft touch shadow pencils. these are essentially a big soft crayon for the eyes. they feel fun to play with because really, what is makeup application if not playing with crayons writ large and on your face? "queen" reminds me of that time in the eighties when they introduced glitter crayons. amidst the novelty of having glitter in convenient crayon format, it took a while to notice that what you basically had were bog-standard wax tubes that spread glitter in an imprecise arc around any point that they came in contact with. even as a child, i remember wondering what good they were and i have to say, i had much the same reaction looking at "queen". described as "citrus gold glitter", it basically functions just like those crayons of old, splattering glitter on your skin sort of randomly. i swatched it on my hand and my very first reaction was to think "there's no way i'm putting that near my eye". sadly, this was one of those products that seemed to be a "what were you thinking?" moment...
for the lips, this collection offers two matte products- one each of nars signature "pure matte" lipstick and their "matte velvet" lip pencil. i'm never 100% sure of the difference between the two of these products, i generally find them to be similar in terms of effect, which is, as you may have figured out, matte finish with a rich colour payoff. it's really more of a question of whether you find the convenience and precision of a pencil-type applicator outweighs the amount of product you lose in sharpening it.
on the sheerer side for lips, there is a bright tangerine gloss called "wonder", which is almost irresistibly summery [and would look great paired with the "cap ferrat" trio, i think]. i think that this is a sure-fire hit, just because it's bright and cheery and at the same time, can be worn sheered-out for those who want something a little more understated. i also tried this one over "carthage" and the combination is stellar. personally, i think that they're much better together than either is on their own, but that's just me.
nars are known for their blushes, so it may have been a surprise to many that their spring collection didn't include a blush. what's funny is that the summer blush seems almost like it might have been a spring product that didn't get completed quickly enough, because it's a very light, powder pink with loads of silver and gold sparkle called "new order".
this review is long enough and i don't want to get too off-topic, but i feel like i should explain something about how i went so quickly from being a neophyte to being a worshipper with nars. the thing is, it's the product names. francois nars apparently has a penchant for naming his products after things that have a particular resonance for him. the thing is, francois nars is close to my age [a little older, i believe, although i can't find his exact year of birth], which means that many of the cultural touchstones that marked his life are similar to those that marked mine. aside from the fact that i admire his cheekiness in naming a blush "orgasm", it's the fact that his products so often reference things that were cultural landmarks for me. when i was a child, i once distinguished myself my telling a room full of people that i wanted to be marlene dietrich when i grew up. nars has five lipsticks that reference marlene dietrich movies. "night porter" is one of my favourite films and now, thanks to nars, one of my favourite eye shadows. there is something to be said about feeling that kind of connection. i've never met francois nars and it's likely i never will, but those references make me feel like i'm buying from a friend. believe me, the fact that there's an eye shadow duo called "blade runner" in the world that i don't yet own keeps me up nights.
back to topic! ok, the thing is, the fact that the blush for this collection is called "new order" went more than halfway to guaranteeing that it would come home with me. it just sort of works out well that i really, really really like the blush in and of itself. there are those who don't.
|new order blush|
|new order blush and my pores...|
my overall impression? i think there are at least a few irresistible elements for almost everyone in this collection. there are a few misses [queen] but the hits [dogon, mayflower, wonder] are such dead-on hits that it's easy to forgive nars their misfires.
finally, here are a couple of looks using products from the new summer collection, to give you an idea of how they might work in action.
nars sheer glow foundation in mont blanc
nars concealer in vanilla
nars all about eve e/s duo
nars exotic dance e/s duo
there was another shadow used to create a line on my lower lashes, but i sorta forgot to ask...
nars laguna bronzer
nars torrid blush
nars pure matte l/s carthage
nars l/g wonder
ok, you can actually see the shadow duo in action on my "colour by letters" page under "d". but i loved the duo so much that i just had to use it again and besides, i had to show off the other products i got! this look, to me, comes very close to being my ultimate smoky-eyed look. you have the big, smudgy eyes and the understated, very feminine lips and cheeks to balance. what's interesting is that i think you can see far more of the blue tones in the darker colour in my original look, whereas in the photos here, it looks more like a standard carbon black. honestly, i felt it looked good both ways.
nars sheer glow foundation mont blanc
christian dior hydrating concealer
mac mineralize skinfinish natural light
nars dogon e/s duo
mac shadestick cakeshop [as liner along water line]
mac fluidline blacktrack
ysl faux cils mascara
nars new order blush
nars mayflower l/s
and for those of us who get the reference...
all products are available at nars locations [in canada, the bay, murale and sephora] and online [u.s. only] at www.narscosmetics.com