I can recall the first time I discovered Illamasqua, in all it’s oddly coloured glory. Having been an understated nude-and-black-liner girl for pretty much the entirety of my 20’s, the bold tones and interesting designs stood out amongst a sea of sameness. Their images always pushed boundaries and their collections always made waves – even if they were a little unwearable on a daily basis. Illamasqua was the first brand I found that wasn’t afraid to be different and stand up for something new, which is why it was adopted by bloggers so completely; finally there was a makeup company representing the niches and the colour addicts that didn’t fit into a Clinique or Bobbi Brown mould. Over the years the name grew and the focus understandably turned from being different to being a bit more commercial, with the launch of lots of wearable shades and lipsticks that stood up amongst the best of them – but with that came the loss of a little bit of Illamasqua sparkle.
Although I was delighted to find their incredible formulas, textures and
concepts available in shades I genuinely would want to wear every day, I
did start to miss the Illamasqua of old. With the departure of their
Creative Director Alex Box at the beginning of 2016, the coming
collections were definitely going to be a test of where the brand was
heading; this Autumn sees the first seasonal collection (simply called
‘Extinct’) free from the influence of Box, and I have to say it’s a
scorcher. For the first time in a long time I feel like Illamasqua have
rediscovered their identity and started to pay homage to what they were
all about when they very first launched.
Extinct is described as: “A
powerful unification inspired by the natural beauty of insects, the
reality of climate change and the fearlessness of punk. Iridescent
beetle tones, dark glittering purples and bright reflective finishes
form a palette of limitless make-up looks that allow you to command
attention and take action.” Can we get a collective HALLELUJAH! The colours within this new collection are off-the-scale gorgeous, in a “I really didn’t think I could wear purple” kind of way. I was lucky enough to get to play with these a month or so ago and can honestly say they’re fabulous in both shade and texture; the dark tones add depth without being the same old black, simultaneously helping to bring out the colour in my eyes and create a more ethereal glow. Here’s the lowdown on each of the products within the collection in turn:
DEMISE PALETTE (£34.00)
This quad palette of beautiful wearable powder eyeshadows creates a textural and autumnal smoky eye; I would never have thought of wearing a burgandy eyeshadow, but somehow it works. For a limited time only, the discontinued eyeshadow in ‘Gimp’ has been brought back in the palette following a call from Illamasqua fans, proving to power of their customers!
AXOLOTL PURE PIGMENT (£17.50)
A finally milled holographic pigment that can be worn alone to softly reflect a translucent blue, or layered over a deeper product to give it a 3D punch, this is utterly stunning. It’s another product I would never have considered unless someone applied it to my eyelid, but equally this is going to be a staple at Reading Festival in a few weeks!
EXOSKELETON MATTE LIP LIQUID (£18.50)
The ultimate matte lip for creating a bold and precise finish, the deep purple hue definitely makes a statement. It’s not actually in the picture above because my friend stole it before I could properly take a picture, so you’ll just have to use your imagination and wait for it to land in store!
CASCADE & JUBILANCE POWDER EYESHADOW (£16.50)
Highly pigmented with an iridescent finish, these creamy powder eyeshadows are absolutely beautiful and probably my pick of the entire range. The pale copper tone (Jubilance) is a great alternative to matte nudes, while looking beautiful in the corners of the eye when worn alongside a deeper shade.
REMAINS NAIL VARNISH (£14.50)
A deep merlot injected with glitter particles, Remains can be worn alone or over a black polish to intensify the colour. It reminds me of one of the very first nail polishes I bought from Illamasqua all those years ago, but is still such a classic tone that’s going to be incredibly popular come autumn.
Although technically not part of the ‘Extinct’ collection, the Vanitas rose gold eyeshadow palette is also worth mentioning for anyone who loves a nude – or anything rose gold for that matter. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the soft and pigmented eyeshadows held within are also totally lustworthy. At £44.00 it’s certainly the investment, but a wise investment if you’re bored of your Naked Palette and want something to use on a daily basis. I’m SO pleased to finally see a collection that reminds me of why we all feel so in love with Illamasqua when it launched, and that cements its position as a rule breaker. The corresponding campaign features unexpected models, androgenous looks and a lot of punk – as well as championing the need for change economically, socially and environmentally as we move forward within the 21st Century. When this launches I would definitely recommend spending some time both on counter and on their website to get to know the story a little better, as well as playing around with the unusual tones and finding what works for you. THANK YOU Illamasqua, for bringing back what we all loved so much about you from the very beginning.
What do you think of this new collection? Had you been missing a little Illamasqua of old?
The ‘Extinct’ collection is available exclusively in Selfridges from 18th August, launching nationwide from 1st September. The Vanitas rose gold eyeshadow palette is priced £44.00 and available now.
Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.