This time last year (more or less), I was lying in my bed eating chocolate Maltese’s, in my Pyjamas and binge watching Netflix Christmas movies. The curtains were pulled. No-one else was home. I was, dear reader, about as un-Parisian as one could get.
Less ‘Femme fatal’, and more fatal risk of drowning in bad dialogue and Haribo, it was at that moment I finally got around clicking onto Violette_Fr YouTube profile (recommended by a friend). “Ahyyy guuyyzz, tod-ay we ‘re going to do zee red lip look I like to wear…it iz very chic and ‘ow I remember my mother putting on ‘er make-coop growing up”. It was thus, I met Violette.
Violette is the anti-‘Instagram makeup’ artist. More likely to be inspired by an obscure Henri Matisse sketch than a Kardashian, Violette rejects heavy foundations, strong contour and drag eyebrows in favour of unexpected elements. Her favourite expression is colourful, a little rough, rock n’ roll, and undone. “You should always say ‘How beautiful is the girl’, not ‘How beautiful is her makeup’” she explains.
After the first video concluded, I binged another, and then another. By that night, I’d declared myself a firm disciple of Violette_Fr, Estee Lauder’s Global Beauty Director, and declared my allegiance to my Parisian/American alter-ego.
I was thrilled when she released her premiere collection, Poppy Sauvage in May this year. An excellent collection of burnt oranges, reds and pinks, with sublime textures that melt into skin, I loved absolutely everything about it. Buttery highlighters, cohesive shades and a strong story to boot. Nothing could top this, surely?
Well, Violette is back, less than a year after that first release (if she is going to release a Summer and a Winter collection each year going forward, I will be a very happy woman). And the new set of products is maybe even better than the first. Even better, this limited edition collection is available exclusively at Farmers in seven stores, including Lambton Quay in Wellington, and online. So, if you liked the sound of the collection I described back in May, but didn’t want to spend up large without seeing it in the flesh, you can go and check the makeup out yourself this holiday season, whether for yourself as a silly season treat or buying as a gift for Christmas
La Dangereuse is a French fantasy that is as delightful to step into as the shimmering streets of Paris after dark. Inspired by the femme fatale of the 1930’s, danger, glamour and mystery amp up this collection, which brings more content and colour to the table than Poppy Sauvage. With a full cheek trio, a new lipstick, two Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lipsticks, eye crayon, two incredible eyeshadow palettes and a rich, eye and cheek gloss, Violette takes what worked about Poppy Sauvage and doubles down, creating twin colour variants in the new collection, burgundy red or peacock blue to choose from. This dame surely knows what’s popping! *that was my bad 30’s accent - just ignore me and keep reading please*
My favourite product from the collection has to be the ‘Blue Dahlia’ eyeshadow palette. Surprisingly wearable and very easy to blend into each other, the range of tones are impressive, from beige, to brown, to gold to indigo and a few striking variants of blue. A mix of matte shadows, glitter and pearl, ‘Blue Dahlia’ is a fantastic option for both strong party looks and everyday. To intensify the colour, wet the shades; it creates a dramatic ‘Studio 54’ inspired look.
I also adore ‘Amour, Amour’, the other eyeshadow palette (pictured here). Arguably the more accessible of the two, it is packed with pinks and wine coloured shades which are closer to a blue/red than the orange/red of Poppy Sauvage. The shades melt together and form a brilliant blend and can quickly contour your eye-socket. If you have a passion for pink, this is for you! No girl could resist this colour mood, perfect for party season.
The eye-crayon ‘Syl & Sultry’ is your perfect gift for the ‘on-the-go’ makeup girl and can be used as a liner or a full eyeshadow. I love these crayons - they’re fun to apply and so versatile. Equally fun is the rich potted gloss which has an instant ‘wet’ look, associated with more editorial looks. It has a better texture than the last gloss created by Violette and has a distinctly holographic effect. Apply to cheeks and lids.
The Pure Colour Envy Face Sculpting Trio is harmonious and has the best pretty blush for everyone, regardless of your skin tone. The highlighter is luminous and pearly and can be easily brushed along your cheek bones, brow bone and cupids bow. I was surprised to love the Pure Colour Envy Liquid Lip in the darker berry shade, which claims to be matte but actually is a very wearable sheer blackberry tone. I finally also can’t help but give a holla to the lipstick, Diabolique. It is a brave woman who wears a darker lip shade and I think at last I’ve found my perfect lipstick to step over to the dark side.
But there is a deeper level to the collection which touches on Violette’s own personal beliefs that go beyond makeup and speak to the idea of being ‘a dangerous woman’, especially in this mad world today. Violette posted a quote on her Instagram ‘A well-read woman is a dangerous creature’ which apparently sparked the mood she dreamt up of the story behind the new products. I can’t help but agree.
The Violette version of the femme fatal is about more than sex, looks and getting the guy. She’s educated, well-read and ambitious. She challenges the status quo. Using the products in this collection, it is easy to feel like you’re doing so by expressing colour to start out - the blue shadow in particular packs a punch and feels rebelliously bright.
This collection prompted me to ask myself whether I was being a woman who is La Dangereuse? How does that look in my own day-to-day life? It is something I aspire to have and to be, and I don’t need to live in Paris to be this way.
My version of La Dangereuse is to never stop learning; it is to read books, because to reading is one of my greatest pleasures and who would deny herself that?; to approach all jobs I need to get done seriously and with diligent focus; to be confident in who I am, my body and to wear clothes which make me feel my best; to ask for what I want. La Dangereuse is to step outside my comfort zone and travel; to embrace new colours; to meet new people. It is to know that although I am nearly 30, I’m just getting started. I know myself much better, and that that is sexy; ignoring deadlines other people or society have put on me because it is my life is La Dangereuse. I can love those people and things I am most passionate about, while also staying mindful about my own ambitions and desires. Being La Dangereuse is less about what wine you order, what dress you wear and more about not caring what anyone else thinks and knowing your own mind. That’s sexy.
I want to encourage you all to ask what your most bold and dangerous self is? Who is she? How will she get things done? What does she want? And if the answer happens to include a peacock blue eyeshadow that turns heads on a Sunday morning? Well, damn them all.
And if I apply that thinking to my PJ clad exploits - perhaps I can indeed be a femme fatale, by this definition, even while lying in bed this Christmas.
Photography at St Johns Bar, Wellington, by Dinosaurtoast.
Photographs from Paris my own.
This post was kindly sponsored by Estée Lauder.