Is this the most sublime make-up release of 2019?
Chanel’s new Noir & Blanc collection for autumn winter is too pretty to resist
For smoky eyes: Les 4 Ombres in Modern Glamour is an eyeshadow quad of greys, black and white
Sometimes, a make-up collection comes along that is so sublime that beholding it is almost (almost) a religious experience. Sublime enough to have you wondering where you might find some rosary beads at short notice. Sublime enough to transport you to a blissful plain while you cradle a product in your hands and treasure it for a moment, briefly resisting the urge to smear it all over your face. Chanel’s global creative make-up and colour designer Lucia Pica’s collections stand alone in a sea of homogeny. They are trailblazing; less make -up, more art that you apply to your face, they are also commercially brilliant, because Pica makes the elevated and the conceptual unintimidating and wearable every day. The new Noir & Blanc collection for autumn winter has just launched.
Pica always does something unexpected, and in this collection she has taken the monochrome shades we all associate with Chanel, formulated a full collection, punctuated it with the odd pop of grown-up, autumnal colour and played with texture. Gloss, matte and sparkle interplay and the effect is mesmeric. I am often tempted to squirrel Pica’s collections away in a cupboard because they really are collector’s items. This one, with its black and white packaging, is no different, but I always find myself wearing the products anyway – they’re too pretty to resist.
For every day, the concept of large, chunky particles of glitter catching the light and leering from the face fills me with horror. It is a look that pretty much suits no one. Ombre Première Top Coat (€36) is a glitter top coat in either a silver-white sparkle or a metallic black gold which you lay over eyeshadow. Dab a little on with a clean finger for emphasis, or pack on a lot for an intensely glittery eye. Rouge Coco Gloss Moisturising Lip Gloss (€31) takes a similar concept to lips. Crystal Clear is a high gloss, transparent sparkly top coat for lips that looks just as lovely worn alone, while Laque Noir is a deep black cherry wet look gloss which will deepen any lip colour.
To enhance an eye make-up, the Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Blanc Graphique (€25) is a lovely option. Provided you don’t mind applying liner along the waterline, this handy white crayon will open up and brighten the eye beautifully. It’s waterproof, so it will stay put nicely through the day; it managed to power through my hay fever induced eye watering admirably. If you dare, trace it along the clean edge of a black cat eyeliner to invoke the monochromatic chicness of 1960s Sophia Loren, but you have to wear such a striking look with confidence.
The collection includes two lipsticks, but my favourite is Rouge Allure Velvet Extrême Intense Matte Lip Colour in Rose Nocturne (€36), a mauvey rose with a 1990s feel whose warmth juxtaposes beautifully with the coolness of monochrome hues. Just as wearable is Les 4 Ombres in Modern Glamour (€53), an eyeshadow quad of greys, black and white to create the smoky eye of dreams.