Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sophie Lancaster: Remembered and Celebrated

After listening to the heart-wrenching Radio 4 Afternoon Play - Black Roses: The Killing of Sophie Lancaster I felt I 'knew' her a little more. Sophie Lancaseter died 4 years to the day, 24th August 2007. The radio programme did an impeccable job bringing her to life, beyond the flat image I had of a rebellious "mosher"/"goth"/"emo". With carefully composed poems by Simon Armitage, Sophie is seen as warm, eager, intelligent and full of spirit and hope. The black clothes and dreadlocks were indeed, as Illamasqua has it, an "alter ego." It is therfore a perfect commemoration to her that Illamasqua has championed her cause; given her name and the eponymous Foundation a great deal of publicity - and ultimately, to stand for bold colour and a quirky, brave makeup style.

Hearing Sophie's mother Sylvia was very difficult. I know from personal experience that losing a loved one is almost impossible to bear; listening to her remember the dreadful memories, "It were horrible, it were horrible" - her lilting northern accent emanated such pain. It is clear that in her brief life Sophie had a wonderful mother, one who supported her when -let's face it- most mothers would be livid! Sylvia said that when Sophie decided to be a Goth, far from being an outsider, it was actually the moment she began to belong.

Being a Goth is part of a clique and has its own set of rules, just like being a yob (not sure what they call themselves?) or any number of different identities that are not unique. The trouble is, Sophie and her boyfriend Rob were not out to harm anyone, maybe Goths do enjoy that frisson of the stuffy soberly garbed who pull away as they walk by, but that is the extent of their aggression. The yobs who killed Sophie were literally young bored teenagers - some only 15 years old. Fights happen all the time, and heads are kicked in. It is usually GBH but sometimes the miracle return to health does not happen. It happened with Rob, but as a slight, small 5'1, Sophie Lancaster did not get the lucky recovery. People forget - be it through abusing their own body with drugs, alcohol, bad diet, or beating flesh and bone - we are not made of steel and life is fragile. Even with the recent riots, it is these same aimless young teens who feel so bored and so bereft of hope, that anyone with a forceful self-worth and imposing identity, would be a provocation.

I was in tears as Sylvia recounted Sophie's death. The absolute senslessness of the crime, which as the judge said, was like a pack of animals hunting, but here for no purpose at all. Reading the transcript of the 999 call is nothing short of agonising. I just hope in prison these criminals have been educated, as according to reports at the time, the accused and his mother were laughing about it?! It is Illamasqua's aim to help raise funds for the SOPHIE (Stamp Out Prejudice Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) message with interactive school based Youth Workshops and games, to avoid this ever happening in future.

Please check out the newly commisioned video here to find out more.

Monday, 22 August 2011

A slave to Fashion?

Remember the furore over MAC and Rodarte, so damaging that it never saw the light of day? My initial blog post was certainly not in line with the overriding anger and disgust felt by many, though I came to see the mess it became. I have also blogged about "Beauty from an Ugly Source" so the age old question as to whether Beauty has to be borne out of purity is getting tired. Nevertheless, fresh waves of horror greeted the news that Vogue suggests "Slave earrings" are back! To quote the Vogue Italia article, "If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of colour who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom."

Like the MAC saga, initially attempts were made to back-peddle. The title "Slave Earrings" mutated to "Ethnic Earrings" but the text still referred to "women of colour...brought to the United States." Outrage was not assuaged, this prosaic description still undermined the horror of the slave trade and unnecessarily glamourised it. Like MAC, the only way was to ERASE it all. the post now stands in picture form, the text simply reads in bold: WE'VE DECIDED TO REMOVE THE ARTICLE FROM THE SITE TO PROVE OUR GOOD FAITH AND TO SHOW IT WASN'T OUR INTENTION TO INSULT ANYONE

The pictures still loom, like the MAC Rodarte ghostly promo pictures, a clear taunt to what was there before. It is even more odd because
three years ago Vogue Italia caused a sensation in the fashion industry with its "black issue" featuring only black models. It went on to become the magazine's biggest-selling issue ever.

Friday, 19 August 2011

New lemming...

Trish McEvoy Power of Tools brush collection...

These work out at less than £20 a piece, with a brush roll thrown in too! This represents a great saving, and I can vouch for the brushes in Trish McEvoy's sets being equally as perfect as the full size. I do have the last edition (video review here) but these look even better as that lust-worthy skunk brush is included! - If you don't have amazing brushes yet, now is the time to get yourself kitted out!

I can't wait to check this out in person.

~Out now at Trish McEvoy counters.

...Do you have any current lemmings?

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Time for another Survey: Your Beauty Data Required!

Being a gloomy rainy day in London, both literally and metaphorically (those terrifying riots) I don't feel my plans for bright summer makeup will ever take off at this rate. Does the weather affect your choices... I blogged about this ages ago and about makeup for the workplace and I've blogged about how makeup must change as you age and whether mere mortals can even get away with movie star makeovers anyway but this time I mean everything: Is makeup really affected by all that: the weather, the situation and your age... Or is it personal and fired by your own internal soul and nothing else? How individual is your makeup, and how much dictated by events outside your control?

The fact that luxury products and consumerism generally have enraged these youths to the point that they feel they are positively "owed" that lifestyle is very bewildering. Does our stern criticism need to be reflected by austere makeup and sober garb? Probably.

Survey up there

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Estee Lauder Modern Mercury Autumn 2011: Swatches and review!

Following on from my last post, I now present the other products making up Modern Mercury. Tom Pecheux has breathed new life into the brand and now there are more colours than ever to be had... But first, the Limited Edition collection itself.

Currently available online and on counters, Modern Mercury is a limited edition collection, it consists of 3 eyeshadow duos (£22.50) in Modern Mercury, Black Chrome and Platinums. Modern Mercury is a sage and pale highlighter duo, Black Chrome is a mix of different black finishes for a truly dramatic smoky eye, and Platinums is a sophisticated pinked frosty taupe partnered with a great buildable white - which when studied has a multitude of miscroscopic green and pink glitter. The duos work perfectly in harmony.


There are 3 new liquid eyeliners (£19.) Black Quartz, Graphite and the -gasp- already sold out Silver Zinc. Black Quartz and Graphite have a lot of glamour about them, lots of suspended glitter but still a deep dark base. Silver Zinc however is the standout and is well worth tracking down at your local counter! A changeable silverish goldish greenish, well yes zinc is pretty accurate. It is a very beautiful liner and I love to wear it with nude eyes and mascara. I have usually worn the liner thick so that it really is the main attraction. It would look especially great on blondes!

Silver Zinc eyeliner:

Next there are 3 new lipsticks (£18.50) - and each one is a classic! I love these the best of all. Each has a matte velvet texture so gives a really modern effect. Saturated colour yet not drying at all. I am fast becoming convinced that Estee Lauder make the best lipsticks out there... Simply named Nude Velvet, Fuschia Velvet and Red Velvet. Nude velvet is a real nude, but rather a rosewood nude so I reckon it would suit most people. Red Velvet is a gorgeous somewhat pinky rich red, I adored it. And Fuschia Velvet is a hot bright slightly berry pink for the bravest of lipstick wearers.

Fuschia Velvet (applied):

Then of course there is Metallic Sage nail polish (£14) (reviewed last post) and,
the intriguing new highlighter (£28), Modern Mercury -aargh sold out too- Hunt this one down!!! It is a very odd texture, one blogger (the wonderful Charlotte lipglossiping) told me it felt like wet powder, and that is indeed what it's like! It is so richly smooth and pigmented, and can be used wet for a high frost finish. It's an amber gold which would look best on pale to medium skin.

Now onto the thankfully permanent new 5 pan palettes (£35) and duos (£22.50). There are 40 new colours! Each compact mixes finishes and they are cleverly assembled, with just the right mix of frost, satin and matte. You also get a lot of product so these are great value and will last. The duos are 4.5g and the larger palettes have nearly 8g. My favourites are Island Sands and Desert Heat. They are just so easy to wear, and give a polished look instantly. Island Sands is almost matte, it's a very modern mix of shades which would suit anyone, especially if you are pale.

Island Sands:


Desert Heat (swatched):

I have trouble with warm shades but the pale matte amber reminds me of MAC Soba but a lot more flattering. The olive shade is a lot like MAC Sumptuous Olive but has a silver glean.

Surreal Skies is very similar, a few more frosts but again a very classic and reliable selection of browns and golds:

Enchanted Berries is the warm counterpart to my beloved Violet Orchids palette. I prefer blue toned purples but for those who like their purples rich and warm, this palette is perfect:

Both palettes compared here:

Enchanted Berries:

The rosey taupe looks like MAC Rose Gold pigment but in a great formulation. The two deep wine purples are similar but one is matte (like MAC Shadowy Lady) and one is somewhat more pink toned and frosty.

Moving on to the duos, this is Moons:

It comprises a deep charcoal and an opal which in some lights takes on a pink hue. These work excellently together! Deceptively simple.

Here is Raisins duo. It is similar to Enchanted Berries, i.e a warm reddish plum base with a corresponding highlighter shade.

My favourite duo is certainly Vanilla Pops. I adore it. Perfect smooth satin finish, rich pigment and wearable for everyday. This reminds me of suede. The taupe here is very similar to Platinums, if a little less frosty and slightly lighter. Swatched below, and with Platinums (left):

There is more! A whole new lipstick range with 12 shades called Sensuous Rouge (£20) which have a "soft centre"!

- and there's a new addition to the Sensuous perfume range, Sensuous Nude. I'll be posting a video review of Sensuous Nude (from £34) so check that here. It's an EDP and it really does last all day, at least 6 hours with no trouble at all. Very much a skinscent, it will no doubt have a legion of fans.