Are we at all surprised that there’s been much ado about Marc?
In what was one of the most anticipated beauty lines of the year, Marc Jacobs has received as much fanfare for his first cosmetics collection as he has had for his lifetime of catwalk ingenuity.
Today I’m going to look at the Marc Jacobs Eye-Con No.7 Palette in The Starlet – a glossy little number featuring an unabashed display of frost and metallics from the first Marc Jacobs Beauty collection.
The shape of this palette itself is unlike anything available before it. The design is practical but also beautiful – an aesthetics that is nothing less than what might be expected from this world-class designer’s first beauty line.
Unsurprisingly, as the designer’s new ‘baby’, every piece in the Marc Jacobs Beauty Collection has been inspired personally by elements in the designer’s own life.
The Style Eye-Con palette is no different. Apparently, the background is that the Eye-Con No.7 mirrors an antique lacquer table that Jacob’ owns in his study and the seven perfectly rounded ‘dots’ of colour was the more unique choice and pays homage to the designer’s personal love of paint palettes and fascination with polka dots.
Everyone has been talking about No.7’s sexy and slimline casing that has been designed so that it can slide easily and discreetly into a side pocket of your handbag.
It is somewhat decently weighted and feels really ergonomic in the hand but a downside, given that it is equal in pricing to some of the other high-end brands out there, is that it’s not really as heavy as I had expected it to be. In fact, the plastic construction, instead of something a tad more substantial has left this palette sitting a notch or two below the ranks of the world’s most luxurious cosmetic releases. Lovely…but not quite at the top.
Still, the product’s lacquer-like finish is the perfect embodiment of the brand’s signature black and sleek theme and the MJ fashion loyalists among you would have still breathed a collective sigh of sartorial relief at the unveiling of his attractively-bound foray into beauty.
The good thing is that this is indeed a beauty collection that has Jacobs’ signature, clean and clear, all over it and that will please you immensely if you are a long-time Jacobs fan. I have no doubt that this Marc Jacobs Beauty line is going to be the next chapter of collectibles for the brand’s groupies and it has probably won him an army of new fans too.
In terms of length, the palette runs at almost 19cm across and 4.5cm in width. Its sleekness feels nicer in the hand than a pricey smartphone and makes me wish they made phones as comfortable to handle.
The entire Marc Jacobs Beauty line succeeds gloriously in being fabulously ergonomic so that it seems a waste that Jacobs has not been enlisted to extend his designing talents to the world of digital gadgetry. After witnessing the packaging triumph here, I truly think a Marc Jacobs X cellphone collaboration is in order, don’t you think?
I do, however, have one HUGE gripe about the product’s design and this is to do with the fact that the shiny black surface tends to attract dust, shadow fallout and fingerprints a little more than the average cosmetic palette and I find myself wanting to fuss over it with a microfibre cloth constantly. I’m afraid my OCD strikes again!
Finally, if I was to be extra picky I would also mention that I don’t care at all for the little accompanying Marc Jacobs brand applicator that seems to be inserted into the pouch as an afterthought.
There’s no place for it in the palette body so it just drops frustratingly right to the very bottom of the l-o-n-g fabric pouch that accompanies the palette and becomes near impossible to fish out. And really, this sponge-tipped applicator is so flimsy that it appears completely incongruous with the Marc Jacobs brand that is stamped on it.
I’ll also bet my last dollar it won’t last more than a week or two. It probably would have been wiser for Mr. Jacobs to leave it out because it feels like a cheap trick and does the complete package a disservice by its very annoying presence. Sometimes even great designers forget that less is more. I’m just going to toss it out and pretend I didn’t see it.
My advice is to stick to application with one of your own brushes (or at a pinch, your fingertips!) and you will only have visions of sugarplums when it comes to Marc’s makeup.
For what’s it’s worth, let’s discuss the seven colour pans in the Eye-Con No. 7. Why seven, right?
Obviously, a deliberate and well-thought-out decision hence the name No.7 that comes along with it, it is said that Marc Jacobs decided on seven pans because 4, 5 and 6 pans have been done to death. That’s as good a reason as any, don’t you think?
Well, being a bit of an artisan myself, I’m going to take a stab in the dark and nut out why else the designer may have chosen his 7 pans of colour. You can skip this part if you think I’m reading into it too much.
For one, who can deny that seven is a lucky number? Cliched perhaps, but an oft-quoted and legendary concept.
In terms of design, however, it is a known fact that artists and artisans tend to favour odd numbers over even numbers when it comes to balancing aesthetics.
The odd number of pans has a way of drawing the eye centrally to the middle pan in the palette because the balanced number of pans on each side of the central pan results in a more harmonious relationship with the human eye. Do I have a point… or do I need another coffee?!
Marc Jacobs Beauty has also released a range of smaller compacts called the Style Eye-Con No.3 and these obviously contain only 3 pans of shades but yet again – we find the Law of Odds at work here to engage in that same sense of balance and harmony that we witnessed in the Eye-Con No. 7 palettes. Didn’t I tell you so?!
In terms of the shades in The Starlet, all colours are either openly metallic or infused with shimmer. At first sight, one has the impression that it is all a bit jazzy for day wear but surprisingly, this palette can work for night or day.
It also seems to have enough variance to enable it to be wearable for a fairly wide scope of skin tones. The combination of its many taupe nuances and rustic metals places it uniquely down the middle in terms of being warm or cool. This is a rare palette that surprisingly could go either way, I think, which does make it flattering for most complexion types.
To be honest, when I first swatched this at the Sephora store, I wasn’t overly impressed. There seemed to be a fair bit of fallout in and around the casing, pigmentation was reasonable but I witnessed nothing phenomenal outside of it being a bunch of frosty shadows. Meh.
But it’s worth noting that I’m really starting to believe that the in-store swatching environment isn’t great for product reviews sometimes.
Too many fingers (very likely dirty ones at that!) dig into these pans daily and the casing gets opened much too frequently allowing dry-out, oxidisation, humidity or gawd-knows-what-else to creep in and tarnish the sanctity of the swatch…
So, I’m glad I won a nice new one to play with in the peace and hygiene of my home.
Anyway, I present you with swatches from a brand new unit of The Starlet…all photographed in natural daylight….
These were all double swipes with a clean finger in each pan because, quite honestly, I found that the single swatches were too light to photograph. I hope I’m not doing wrong by you but I really wanted you to see the richness of the pigment albeit in a double-swipe scenario.
One finger for each shade. No primer was used. Truthfully, this is not really the most pigmented set of eye shadows in the world but payoff is decent enough for those wanting an earthy yet glowy look. Still, be prepared for more than a single sweep across the eyes for best effect.
As you can see, The Starlet is a set of metallics and frosted shadows. The combination is quite a smart union of shades that complement each other well. In the pan, The Starlet first appears as a very warm-toned palette but on the skin a greater complexity emerges and you’ll witness some of the cooler tones in some of these shades come to the fore. This gives the set much more complexity than first observed and is, in my opinion, the palette’s winning feature.
The Starlet shows up much better in the swatches shown here than when I did my rough impression swatches at Sephora making me think that I should seriously start consider giving second chances to palettes that may appear dismal when first swatched at the store.
Given the varying ingredient lists, some shades naturally apply a little more smoothly than others.
The shade producing a rich but least even pigmentation, in my opinion, comes from pan # 3 (from the left) – a chocolatey brown with gold shimmer. The colour applies a little crudely on the arm but goes on the eye smooth enough. I have no idea why and can only conclude that it benefits from my oily lids. At last, a win for my greasy eyes!
Ironically, this is also the most flattering shade for my daily eye and gives me an earthy look that is a little more luxurious than flat; unlike how some matte browns can be. The gold seems to reflect some plum notes when worn on my lids and this lends a more flattering dimension to the eye than the average chocolate shade.
The gold-infused shimmer of #3 adds depth but isn’t loud at all so it’s very wearable during the day when I might prefer some more matte shadows. I like!
The other shade that looks decent on my lids is #7 – a dark taupe with an equally dark grey shimmer and gives credence to the fact that darker shades flatter me more than lighter ones.
My favourite shades when swatched on the arm were #1 and #2 but sadly, they don’t show up on my oily lids as well as I would wish and only seem to exaggerate the oily condition of my skin but I lay the blame on my own complexion and the lack of an adequate eye crease for this issue than The Starlet.
Shade #5 is more of an old gold so it’s muted and not at all garish and #6 is a cool moon-lit glow that glides on ethereally as a lid wash. Shade #4 is the prettiest gold-kissed orange, a fresh rose gold if you will, that really sweeps on beautifully as a swatch but on my eyes it’s not a personal favourite. Against my undertones, it seems to bring out the yellow in me. Never a good thing.
The colours are all dry powder shadows but feel solid and buttery to the touch. On application, each shade gives the illusion of a cream to powder product. There’s actually not really a lot of fallout around the pans but sadly, the palette’s sleek black design reflects every-single-fleck of loose pigment and will make you think that there’s more fallout than there is.
You’ll have to keep your mind open. The perceived fallout- dare I say – is really in the casing’s fault of exaggerating the situation and not so much a reflection of the quality of the shadows. It’s a bad illusion and a bit of bad news for Marc’s otherwise wonderful palette design.
When applied to the eye area, the fallout issue barely exists so you should have no cause for concern. You’ll hate the mess you see around the pan but you’ll love these shadows on your eyes.
The shadows apply very creamy and smoothly and that’s good news. No obvious creasing during my period of wear but you may want to consider a primer for very dry skin or to extend wear. Wear an eyeshadow primer anyway and you essentially remove the need to worry about touch-ups with all of your shadows, Marc or otherwise.
All in all, I would say that The Starlet palette in Marc Jacobs’ emergent beauty line is an encouraging result for the brand’s first foray into the beauty market and despite my intial reservations, it is actually good enough to make me curious about future editions.
The only thing I might bemoan is the price. At RM205 a piece, this is not going to be the average beauty fan’s impulse buy.
Marc Jacobs Beauty is now available exclusively at all Sephora stores in Malaysia.
For more information…
[Disclaimer: This product was won by me as a consumer in a contest during the Sephora Malaysia & Marc Jacobs Beauty launch. Commentary is based on my personal experience of the product. Consider at your own risk.]