When I saw the Armani Fall 2011 Collection Jacquard ad featuring Megan Fox, I was transfixed. After all, what could be more appealing to a girl like me than smokey grey eyes paired with deep red lips all at the same time? Seriously. You all know I had to have this one. So off I headed last week to the mall to pick out my items. Being the drama queen (and dork) that I am, I chose the entire Megan Fox look, which includes the Jacquard Eye Palette #2, Grey Palette.
Now, if you clicked on the above link and saw the ad for this collection as modeled by Megan, you will note that Palette 2 is supposedly a very dramatic, smokey look. I beg to differ. It's very pretty, but very subtle and neutral, and although I really, really tried for a more dramatic look (I even applied the shadows wet), I couldn't get it to look anywhere close to the way they got it to look in the ad photo.
Here are some shots of the palette:
Indirect sunlight. Colors, clockwise from top, are a shimmery silvery white, a very neutral, slightly tan taupe, a matte russet brown, and a cool shimmery silver.
Taken in bright, direct sunlight.
As you can see in the above pictures, the colors are not terribly dark (the russet brown is by far the darkest, but even it is fairly sheer on application), nor are they very dramatic. They certainly don't look like a smokey eye palette.
To back up my claims here, take a look at some swatch photos I took:
In bright direct sunlight, you can see the shimmer, but the colors are almost completely washed out.
In indirect natural light, the colors are more visible and darker, but still extremely neutral and daytime-friendly.
Taken indoors with flash, the subtle variations in the colors are more visible, but still appear as more of a wash than as intense shades.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like this palette a lot. The russet brown, although it appears very red-based, actually applies as a rich, warm mahogany. The taupe is absolutely lovely, and is everything a taupe should be: a perfectly balanced tan-based, yet cool, shade, suitable for any eye color. It's just deep enough to work as a crease color if paired with a very light wash beneath it. The silver is grey-based and slightly cool, but not blue in the least. It, like the taupe, is perfect as a lid color or a light crease color. Both the taupe and the silver are shimmery, not metallic. Finally, there's the silvery white highlighter, a very shimmery and light color perfect for just beneath the brow or in the inner corner of the eye.
My issue with this palette is not with the colors in it, as I find them lovely and perfect for a daytime look with a punch. However, I do have an issue with the way they are presented in the ads. I was lucky enough to go directly to an Armani counter to choose mine, so I knew in advance that the colors aren't nearly as intense as they are portrayed. If I had been purchasing online based on the available photos, I'd have been sorely disappointed with what I received. I still wish that they were more intense, although frankly at this point I could use some shades that are appropriate for daytime and work rather than collecting yet another vivid or smokey palette. That being said, I still think the colors should have been better represented in the advertising, especially given that they are very lovely and have a mass appeal that the more dramatic look probably does not.
To give you one last example of the true payoff of this palette, here's an Eye of the Day I did with Palette #2. As I stated earlier, I applied the colors wet and blended out to try to get as much depth as I could, but it still came out very subtle. Beautiful, but very subtle. Furthermore, I found that the colors, both wet and dry, applied rather unevenly and quite sheerly, requiring me to build and build and build to get the payoff I was looking for.
For this look, I used silver on the lids with taupe in the crease, the brown in the "V", and highlighted both under the brows and along the inner corners with the silvery white.
Bottom Line: I like this palette, but I don't love it, and I'm disappointed that the colors are more difficult to work with than they should be. They require a lot of building to even show up, which to me is a waste of time. I do love the finished effect, although it isn't what I expected it to be. I know I'll get a lot of us out of these shadows because they work so well for day (and my current collection of eye colors leans very heavily toward "almost not suitable for work" territory), but I wish it was easier to get where I need to be with these. For my first experience with Armani shadows, I must say I'm a bit underwhelmed.