Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Newsflash: Illamasqua launches flagship store in London's Soho

Someone please hide my credit cards... Illamasqua is launching its first standalone shop.
Set to open in September, the store will be located, fittingly, in the heart of London's Soho.

If you are yet to discover Illamasqua, I'd suggest popping into the new flagship store, or if you can't wait that long, head to a concession where one of the professional make-up artists can talk you through the brand. Despite already being a fan due to the impressive formulas and intense pigments, I visited the lovely Adam in the Selfridges branch a month or so ago and my make-over truly converted me.

In my job, my face is my canvas so I was surprised to hear from Adam that many people are afraid to experiment with make-up. If there's one brand which demands a curiosity, it's this and he suggests setting aside half an hour a week to play and try out new looks. It's make-up, not a tattoo... it'll wash off! If ever there was a season to rediscover make-up, this is it as the daunting, polished and immaculate styles of the past few seasons make way for a new grunge which is slightly smudged around the edges and endearingly imperfect.

I absolutely fell in love with Adam's enthusiasm- the artists on the counters really do live & breathe the brand and are encouraged to take jobs as professional make-up artists in their spare time. Unlike stuffy, traditional make-up counters where the women have to wear a given number of the brand's colours on their faces, I really felt that Illamasqua encourages the original. This isn't paint-by-numbers but boy, does the make-up ever look incredible. Adam shared tricks of the trade with me, e.g. combining textures and showed me how to recreate the "new smoky eye" and his clear love for the brand quickly rubbed off.

The brand has quickly earnt a loyal following- it is particularly popular in the goth community and in fact, the brand's logo features the vampire symbol. Its cult status has been recognised in the US, where it is sold in Sephora- remarkable for such a young brand (it launched in November 2008)! Joe Corre, Vivienne Westwood's son and founder of Agent Provocateur was so taken with the brand that he has put his money where his mouth is and become a key investor, perfectly summarising the mood of the brand, "Working with Illamasqua has felt like an adrenalin rush injection into the industry...a fantastically creative company looking at beauty through a completely new lens."

The flagship will feature a rotating exhibition area to showcase limited edition products in collaboration with the charity, S.O.P.H.I.E. as well as a unique make-up school, offering evening and day-time courses... I've seen the list and I want to go on them all!

I adore their website so I literally cannot wait to see what they come up with for the window displays- I'm expecting something spectacular!

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