30 July 2010

Introducing our new flagship store and the West End’s first ever School of Make-up Art.

With Alex just stepping off the plane in Australia at the moment, it is my absolute honour to present you with this very exciting news!

Since we launched, a little under two years ago, we've always dreamed of opening our own Illamasqua flagship store. That dream is about to become a reality! In mid September, we'll be opening our doors in the heart of Soho, London. After months of deliberation, 20 Beak St is the chosen location, situated just south of Carnaby Steet, between the grandeur of Regent Street and the vibrancy of Soho.

The lease was signed about two weeks ago, and the atmosphere in Head Office right now is absolutely buzzing, with all of us nervous and excited in equal measure! You can be sure we'll all be working as hard as ever to ensure that our first store gets the opening it deserves.

As if that's not news enough, as always with Illamasqua, there's more to the new store than meets the eye. The 'Illamasqua School of Make-up Art' will be located on the premises, offering a range of professionally designed and led courses for beginners to pros that will equip you with the skills to create amazing looks and the confidence to unleash your alter-egos!

It's the first of its kind and will help us strengthen our commitment to making professional night-time make-up available to anyone who believes in self-expression.

I know you'll be very excited by this news, so keep watching this space for more information on courses and opening dates!!

Halimah x

27 July 2010

Exclusive Interview with Christine Bateman: Part II

The final section of my interview with the legendary Christine Bateman. If you haven't already read Part I, then click here.


A: The lifestyle of the Blitz Kids is often romanticised - what are your thoughts and feelings on the era?

C: It was all about the night-out; being creative, self-expressive and outdoing everyone else. Everyone wanted to be the centre of attention. It was an extreme situation so there was some extreme behaviour. Drugs is regrettable, but it did encourage creativity.

The Blitz Kids lifestyle was groundbreaking. It was a one-for-all-all-for-one attitude; we lived in squats and it broke social and cultural barriers. We lived with whoever, whatever and it didn't matter to us. We had legendary parties that signaled a revolution. We reclaimed the British textile and fashion industry by bringing it back to Britain - it wasn't a great time under the Thatcher regime for jobs so we found a different avenue and created our own jobs. We introduced video culture; filmmakers, artists, singers, songwriters, designers, models ... we became a source of tourism and we became commercial.

A: What is your idea of the post-New Romantic cultures?

C: It was the next round of creativity; acid, carnival, rave, fetish... it all recycles, however. Look how big the 80s trend has been recently. We have reached a stage now where everything is an amalgamation of previous eras.

A: What was your favourite look of Worried About The Boy?

C: One we nick-named 'Chocolate Box' - Douglas [Booth, actor who played Boy George] has his hair up in a net and the look was all bronzes and a mix of light to dark browns - very beautiful and intricately applied. It was only briefly shown on the program, but was definitely my favourite look. It had a structured, geometric lip shape and pigments in golds, silvers, box shapes and plenty of structure on the face.

A: What are your favourite Illamasqua products, and why?

C: I love using the Cream Eye Shadows and the Pure Pigments on top. You just can't beat the density of Illamasqua make-up. I also love the Cream Foundations - the range of shades is fantastic and the pigmentation level is incredible. They are truly professional products.

A: Do you see Illamasqua as a groundbreaking make-up brand?

C: It's a brand that will attract consumers with the colours and variety of textures. Encouraging everyone on the High Street to explore make-up is not only great for the people but for the make-up industry in general. we need to reclaim the lost art of application and reclaim the self-expressive element of make-up.

26 July 2010

Myer Fashion Parade SS10

From the hot streets of London to the cold [ish] street of Sydney - I am off this week to cover the MYER Fashion Parade event!

I am really looking forward to it and I wanted to give you the low-down on what to expect in terms of news and views from me down under!

I land on the Friday which will give me a day of recovering [at a lovely olde worlde hotel in The Rocks area of Sydney] before attending Alex Box's Masterclass at Myer Sydney City on Saturday 31st July [limited numbers only for $95 redeemable on product purchases made on the day. Call: 1800 661 210 for more details and to book.]

Then on Wednesday and Thursday is the parade itself. This is a big occasion in Sydney - like London/New York/Paris/ Milan Fashion Week - where a selection of the top designers at fashion emporium MYER showcase their latest collections. Australia are currently in the throes of a cold Winter, so they will be much looking forward to their Spring Summer collections, due for release post-show.

Alex Box has exclusively devised all the looks for the show [two Avant-Garde and one Ready to Wear] and the wonderful Christabel of make-up mole will be heading up the Ready to Wear team! We also have a great team of hairstylists and nail artists so it's promising to be a pretty busy backstage! I have been kindly granted backstage access by MYER so I will be getting in to all the nooks and crannies of the show and bringing it to you via our Youtube channel.

We also have the gorgeous Jennifer Hawkins and Jess Hart fronting the show - and Alex Box will be creating their looks personally.

I am aiming to get a series of videos created that will give you an un-paralleled look in to backstage life at a major fashion show [and major this is - 55 models in total!] from the conception of the looks, the practice runs and the final day with interviews from a selection of creatives who all have a part in pulling off a successful show.

21 July 2010

Illamasqua Amnesty: An Update

The groundbreaking Amnesty has been roaring ahead at Illamasqua counters all over the country and I wanted to give you all an update! I have spoken to some of the manager at each of our stores and they have been thrilled with the response - so many of you have been coming in to swap unwanted products that have been sitting dormant at the bottom of your make-up bags. We have had every conceivable brand in every single state of disrepair.

So what have people been saying? I went along to Selfridges Oxford Street to chat with some of our customers and they told me:

"I'm just excited that their is a brand that has highly pigmented products to use, without having to break a product down to get some sort of colour out!"

"I'm a make-up student and this 25% is an extra 5% off my 20% student discount, so I have been bringing in absolutely loads to swap out"

"What a great excuse to go make-up shopping! I can justify replacing my so-so products with colours that meet the standard I require for bold, beautiful make-up"

Rosie, our Business Manager at Selfridges London told me "We have been surprised with the number of high-end make-up that has come in - we expected mostly drug store brands. There has been a real trend for bright eye shadows and lips especially. We haven't had anyone come in to swap a nude lipstick for an Illamasqua nude lipstick, it's great how bold customers are being with their choices. Fantastic!"

Exclusive Interview with Christine Bateman, Make-up Artist

With the legendary late Leigh Bowery as a brother-in-law, Boy George as your best mate and having been painted nude by Lucian Freud, it is with a certain amount of anxiety and trepidation that I met up with make-up artist Christine Bateman for an exclusive interview...

I needn't have been shy though as Christine instantly made me feel comfortable with her contagious sense of humour and madcap stories. Christine, who was one of the make-up artists for 'Worried About The Boy' - the BBC drama about Boy George's early years that was on last month in the UK - has recently returned from Glastonbury after creating the looks for Boy George for his knock-out performance...

Hi Christine! What is it like Boy George's number one Make-up Artist?

George is really good at applying his own make-up - he had to be before he was famous and could afford to pay someone to do it for him, haha! I have known George for absolutely years, since the dawn of the New Romantics, so I was invited to be on the make-up artist team.

We used similar methods on the Worried About The Boy biopic to what George used back in the day to keep the look as realistic as possible. We picked up face paints from Charles Fox and used a lot of Illamasqua products. Pretty much every extra on set was completely Illamasqua-d!

What is Boy George like?

He has the quickest wit in the wold! And he knows self-expression like no one else; he was painting lines on his face, graduations, fade-outs etc... before anyone!

What has been your experience of the New Romantic subculture?

I lived it. My nickname was Skunk! I had this stripe of blonde on black. I was a cross betweena Mod and a New Romantic; backcombed to death and drenched in make-up; lots of kohl, a beauty spot and all that. Body art was massive back then.

We [Christine, her sister Nicola Bowery, Boy George, Steve Strange, Marilyn et al] used to go to all the nightclubs; the Blitz, Billys, Leigh Bowery's [the legendary designer/performance artist/actor/singer/model who heavily influenced the 80s and 90s London and New York art and fasnio circles inclduing the likes of Alexander McQueen, Lucian Freud, Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, David LaChapelle and numerous nu-rave artists] nightclub Taboo... it was all one big part scene and a creative hotbed of ideas. It was all about the fashion and the fun.

It was a bit like going down memory lane when George and his Director Chris Renshaw came up with the idea of his musical Taboo which captures the essence of this time. Working on this show has been one my career highlights. I designed the make-up for both the Broadway and Westend versions. The cast has included, amonst others, Matt Lucas and Julian Clary, so it's always a great laugh.

The lifestyle of the Blitz Kids is often romanticised - what are your thoughts and feelings on the era?

It was all about the night out; being creative, self-expressive and outdoing everyone else. Everyone wanted to be the centre of attention. it was an extreme situation so there are some extreme behaviour. Drugs is regrettable but it did encourage creativity.

In terms of style, the Blitz Kids lifestyle was groundbreaking. It was a one-for-all-all-for-one type attitude; we livedin squats and it broke social and cultural barriers. We lived with whoever, whatever and it didn't matter to us. We had legendary parties that signaled a revolution. We reclaimed the British textile and fashion industry by bringing it back to Britiain - it wasn't a great time under the thatcher regime for jobs so we found a different avenue and created our own jobs. We introduced video culture; filmmakers, artists, singers, songwriters, models, designers... we became a source of tourism, we became commercial.

Part two to follow next week ...

16 July 2010

50% off Online

It's nearly the weekend, so perfect excuse to get your internet shopping hats on! I am already lusting after Pamela Love jewellery at net-a-porter.com [how amazing is this talon ring, below?] and Markus Lupfer at Asos.com.

We have our own great Summer Sale to help us pave the way for the Autumn Winter collection - once these products are gone, their gone for good so be quick!

The cult Nail Varnish in 'Hectic' - a beautiful olive green - is now available for just £6.50

Thanks to Vampy Varnish for the swatch pic!

Also on for 50% off is the gorgeously iridescent Sheer Lipgloss in 'Explode'

and the lovely pale gold nude shade of Sheer Lipgloss in 'Kindle'.

Or how about Alex Box's favourite contouring Powder Blusher in 'Rumour'?

You can find all these, and more, at www.illamasqua.com - hurry though as this offer won't last forever!

Countdown To Amnesty!

Tomorrow [Saturday 17th July] Amnesty officially kicks off on the Illamasqua counters around the UK and Ireland.

As I'm sure you know, we are offering 25% off any product when you bring in any old/broken/smashed/out-of-date/unsuitable or even empty make-up back to our counter.

As you can see - this is my rather unorganised Lip drawer! Yes, I have drawers for each product category I have way too much make-up to fit it all in one drawer. And yes, it is normally cleaner than this!

I have circled the products that I will personally be bringing to the Amnesty! The Clinique lipgloss that I got as part of a Bonus Time deal [I can't live without some Moisture Surge in my life] that I have squeezed the life out of can go, as can the Urban Decay nude lipstick that I loved until I lost the lid and it got full of gunk after sitting at the bottom of my bag for too long!

I also think that the little lipgloss [no idea of the brand, picked it up in the USA about four years ago!] has to definitely go - it tastes absolutely vile. I don't know why I still have it?!

My boss has just told me that this is nothing compared to the state of my desk... Oh, it's not THAT bad! How clean can you expect to be when you work with make-up?!

I hope to see some of you at the Selfridges Oxford Street store this weekend!

14 July 2010

Nail Varnish Competition: Runners Up Part II

Every week up until the Great Launch I am highlighting a colour that was considered for the winner, but just missed out, and the reasons why.

This week's runner up was ID; dreamt up by Freja.

Her blog post [unfortunately posted as private, so I can't link to it] told us about her ideas in more depth...

"White is not a colour I have ever considered really putting on my nails. It has always been reserved for tipping a french manicure and to be honest, has always ended up looking like Tippex whenever I have experimented with it anyway.

But, for some reason lately, I have been envisaging it as the next big colour for nails and definitely for me. To me it is a natural and obvious progression from the muted mushroomy Chanel Particulière and from the pale pastels of Chanel Jade and Illamasqua's own Pastel Nails collection. White with a hint of black."

"I chose to call my colour ID and it is a colour I would describe as "dead white". Not bright, stark, true white, but white if it had gone stale and with a very slight touch of grey when compared to full white. It is thick and creamy in texture and would have a satin finish rather than plainly matte or glossy. It is essentially a white nail varnish containing a hint or black. However, the colour is not a "grey" and could never be described so. It would be white that only became apparenthttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifly dirty when compared to a true white. A contradictory (but equally as grungy and gothic) alternative to black nail colour."

Although pale, ID is inspired by a dark side of being human; a side of secrets, deepest thoughts, fantasies and a need to conceal them. An absence of colour, ID is subconsciously contradictory; an attempt to avoid exposure whilst our inner narcissist invites the onlooker to wonder "who are you?"

I loved this; I loved the thought behind it and the dirty white idea and the satin finish as opposed to matte or glossy that would give it a real edge. We briefed it into our development team who sent us this sample to review...

So what were our thoughts? Well, it just looked too white. And that's such a difficult colour to pin down! It was a dirty white, yes, but the other colours they sent us looked too grey and that was specifically what Freja didn't want. We already retail a white Nail Varnish and in all honesty, it's not a top seller. So to run this alongside it just didn't make much commercial sense. When you stand the bottles up next to each other on a counter, it would be difficult to tell the difference.

Click here to see the Runner Up Part I

13 July 2010

Illamasqua Amnesty: Ground Breaking Call To Action

Ever bought a really disappointing mascara? Or an eye shadow that looked so intense in the pan but had to be broken to get any pigment out? Had a nail varnish that took five coats to get any intensity? Or what about that foundation that matched so well in the store but looked so orange in the real light?

Do you, like me, have these products sat at the bottom of your make-up kit "just in case"... well, here is your chance to get rid of it and feel good about it!

Here's how ...

Illamasqua counters all over the UK and Ireland are offering you the chance to ditch the make-up drudgery and embrace the extraordinary.

Bring in ANY make-up product [be it low end, high end drug store...] and we will take it off your hands and present you with 25% off ANY Illamasqua product in return.

Still Not Convinced?

So, if you fancy a new Nail Varnish and have a broken palette at home that you don't know what to do with [but you spent £35 on it and feel guilty just throwing it away...] then bring it to us and we will dispose of it for you whilst giving you that 25% off your new Nail Varnish.

Show Us Yours and We'll Show You Ours!

Bring back two products and get 25% off two items, bring back three items and you can take home three products with 25% knocked off the RRP...

There is no limit to how many pieces you can bring and it can be in any condition – falling apart, smashed, nearly empty, dried up… we want to help you start again!

Now there is no excuse to have your make-up kit filled with dull, boring, uninspiring colours. No excuse for thirty red lipsticks, of which you only ever wear two... No excuse for thirty five shades of taupe... The offer is across all categories and if you bring back a boring lipstick, you can swap it for a fantastic, creamy matt Lipstick. Or how about a Cream Blusher? Or a cult Nail Varnish? Or a Powdered Metal? Or …

Come Along!

Our highly skilled, professional make-up artists will be able to talk you through the collection and show you what products would be right for you. They will help you develop your own skills and encourage you to reveal your alter ego with our exciting palette of professional products.

This event is only taking place at our counters within the UK and Ireland, and not online or in any of our international stores.

The Illamasqua Make- up Amnesty will begin from 17th - 31st July and is available at:
Selfridges Oxford Street, Trafford Centre, Birmingham Bullring, Fenwick Newcastle, BT2 Grafton Street Dublin, Debenhams Glasgow, Belfast and Cardiff

09 July 2010

Illamasqua 1000 Followers Giveaway - The Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway, and wow - what a response!

Unfortunately there can only be one winner and that person is... Marlo Edgmon!

Marlo told us: "honestly, with such a great assortment of products, how can anyone decide on a handful of items? Illamasqua has answered makeup needs I didn't even know I had til I tried the products."
Big smiles all around HQ and congratulations to Marlo, who has won:

4- Colour Liquid Metal Palette
Cream Blusher in Lies
Cream Blusher in Ravish

and a few other things because that doesn't take you to £150, Marlo!

08 July 2010

Julian and Joe in NYC

I got this lovely email from Julian [Founder of Illamasqua] so I thought I would share it with you...

"Joe Corre and I have been here in New York City for three action-packed days and spent all the trip meeting people and exploring opportunities to strengthen our presence in the Sephora outlets.

What has been truly amazing has been the 'welcome' Illamasqua now receives from so many people.

Apparently ' everyone is talking about us' from the celebs to the beauty obsessives through to the big names from the very best of NY's club scene.

We have had great hospitality from Amanda Lepore and Kenny Kenny at 'Carnival' and it was great to spend time with both the runner up and winner of Americas top model.

It's been really touching to hear the support we have for both our difference as a brand and our product quality.

Nearly time for home!!"

Nail Varnish Competition: Runners Up Part I

So a big congratulations to the runners up, and everyone else who entered the competition. From the runners up, 10 of our favourites were sent off to our suppliers to try and match.

The three winners were then picked as the best representations of the image supplied and the finished product.

I thought I would give you all a break down of the 7 that weren't picked, and the reasons why as well as swatches of the Nail Varnish that were sent back...
Today: Yvonne Whelan's Kryptonite

I loved this idea, and I so longed for it to work! The description given to us was:

"Imagine a matte emerald green nail colour! A colour that was used by the Ancient Egyptians to show wealth and extravagence. Ancient Egyptions obtained their emeralds from The Cleopatra mines, a region in the eastern part of upper Egypt. A jewel widely sought after and a colour eye catching with intensity. It would have gold and white UV properties running through it, so it would glow in the dark and would resemble Supermans Kryptonite!"

In our discussions the supplier, Product Development team and I discussed the possibility of a matte green lacquer that would have gold and white UV properties. Now, this can be done but apparently it leaves a very streaky texture to the Nail Varnish as well as having a chalky finish, but we were determined to try.

So this was the final result....

Conclusions from us? It's difficult to achieve a matt varnish with gold and silver! Gold and silvers are naturally shimmer-based colours and so inevitably mix with the matt green creating a shimmer finish. However, I like the silver undertone to the green [for an idea click on the above image and, ignoring my cuticles, look at the bottom little finger nail...] it's interesting and unique. In different lights it flashes between a silver leaning green and a gold leaning green.

What we briefed in to the supplier was a streaky finish [something the supplier was very surprised about - most people don't want streaky varnish!!] to mimic Yvonne's provided image as much as possible, and whilst this looked effective in the bottle to begin with, the heavier UV pigments that were put in slowly sank to the bottom to look a bit like this...

We tried the UV properties in UV lighting and whilst there was definitely a small amount of glow-in-the-dark going on, [sorry, no photos could capture this!] it wasn't really enough to justify the way that the Nail Varnish started to split.

Side note: It kind of reminds me of that Black Adder episode where Percy discovers green [click here if you don't know what I'm talking about...]

So all in all, an interesting colour but not close enough to the picture, or the description that Yvonne had put forward. Thanks anyway Yvonne, and if you are reading this and would like this [used!] Nail Varnish then get in touch with us at info@illamasqua.com.

We also have a spare bottle so if you are looking at this and thinking, yep - that's my kinda green, leave a comment below and we will pick someone at random to win the Nail Varnish!

Keep an eye out for future posts on some of the other runner ups...

06 July 2010

Win £150 Worth of Illamasqua Products!

To celebrate reaching over 1000 fans [ a lot quicker than I expected!!] we are now offering a giveaway of £150 to one lucky Illamasqua blog reader!

**UPDATE** As blogspot is being difficult and not allowing anyone to post comments, please drop an email to info@illamasqua.com with what you would put as a comment and we will pick a winner at random on Friday 9th July... **

If you would like to win, just leave us a comment below with what products you would pick and we will use our magical powers to select a winner at random!

So, what would you choose as a prize? Perhaps one of our new foundations in a colour that you think will match perfectly, or maybe a sparkling new Nail Varnish or perhaps another Powder Eye Shadow to add to the collection [one can never have enough eye colours...]

Or will it be one of our lipsticks, the perfect red perhaps or maybe a vibrant pink for the Summer? Or are you a Cream Blusher lover, maybe you lust over the Liquid Metals, or perhaps you want to boost your brushes collection.

Perhaps you just love body oils and have been eyeing up the Illumine Oils for some time...

Let us know and we will announce the winner shortly!

Competition to Celebrate 1000 Followers

Since the blog first launched on 11th June 2009 [aw, I missed the birthday!] we have covered just about every angle of Illamasqua biz; from counter launches, country launches, product discoveries, exlusive interviews, Get The Looks, Box News Flashes, competition updates, swatches, FOTD, events... the list is endless!

So to celebrate reaching 1000 followers [we currently have 959...] we will be having an extra special giveaway to celebrate!

We will be selecting someone at random to win £150 worth of Illamasqua products of their choice.

To win, just leave a comment on the next post and we will pick a name at random!

So keep an eye on the blog's follower list and once it hits the 4 figure mark, get in touch...

05 July 2010

Paradise City, Q-Bar, Sydney - The Fallout

Illamasqua plunged into the rock scene in Sydney less than a week after opening our exclusive counter in Myer Sydney.

It seemed fitting that we should collaborate with the re-launch of the Paradise City club night at Sydney's legendary venue, Q-Bar on Oxford Street. Members of the Illamasqua Sydney team set up an Illamasqua Lounge where they created the looks for the members of Familia, and L.U.S.T - the two headline bands. Ash Rothschild lead singer of Familia announced his delight to the crowd, "If you think we looked good before, take a look at this ****!"

Throughout the night, guests popped into the Illamasqua Lounge for a ten minute make-up touch up. Ash told Trudi the day after, "I didn't think the men would go for it, but by the end of the night I looked around and couldn't see anyone without make-up on - it was infectious!"

Thank you to all the guests who made a donation to The Sophie Lancaster Foundation.

02 July 2010

Jon Bon Jovi AfterParty/ White Trash Beautiful London Debut

The Bon Jovi gig at the 02 Arena in London on Wednesday 24th June got an extra fashion hit at the official afterparty at Indigo2. Bon Jovi's Richie Sambora has collaborated with designer Nikki Lund on a new fashion label called White Trash Beautiful that had a touch of the celebrity sparkle with the likes of Glee's Matthew Morrison [anyone else obsessed by this show?!] and Preeya Kalidas.

Illamasqua was asked to be the official make-up sponsor as designer Nikki Lund just loves our cosmetics, so we were honoured to send a top team to create the beautiful looks to compliment the beautiful models [including Spanish model Elen Rives, Natt Weller [Paul Weller's son] and Jon Bon Jovi's daughter Stephanie Rose.]

Francesco, who headed up our team, told me; "The models were beautiful - fresh faced and very excited about walking for White Trash Beautiful. The make-up was natural to ensure that the focus remained truly on the clothing and the hair team from Toni and Guy did a fantastic job or creating loose, LA hair."

"I used the new Light Liquid Foundations in the colour that matched the model, and Cream Blushers, especially Lies to highlight and the coral/pinks of Dixie and Rude, to keep the look dewy and fresh."

"For lips, it was a gentle dose of rose lipgloss - I used Sheer Lipgloss in Lily-Rose and Sheer Lipgloss in Electrify."

"For the eyes I used a mixture of Cream Eye Shadows [try Touch for a perfect nude to use as a base] and then layered on neutral Powder Eye Shadows. A pop of shimmer with Pure Pigment in Fervent and Furore finished off the look."

The range, which premiered at Los Angeles Fashion Week in March 2010 had some beautiful pieces that screamed LA, but would also appeal to the fashion conscious girls of London.

"I have always admired Richie’s unique personal style in music and fashion. He is a brilliant artist and trendsetter with over 30 years in the business …it is so inspiring working with him." - Nikki Lund, designer.

"Her talent is never ending - she is a genius. Jon and I had this idea for a song “White Trash Beautiful” and I was walking around the house one day and said this song sounds like a clothing line. Nikki had an amazing line of clothes called Eccentric Symphony and distributed her music as the hangtag…I was a fan. I called her up and it all started from there." - Richie Sambora

Our team!

For more pics from the night, check out our facebook page...