The catch cry of cult beauty label Illamasqua is that it is “makeup for your alter ego”. This, according to the creators, refers to the “person within” namely, the darker side of your self; the side you keep hidden. This may have been the case when Illamasqua creators Alex Box, David Vanian and Anja Huwe launched the alternative British makeup label in 2008; when the average consumer may have been a little wary of the labels electric coloured lipsticks, and it’s gothic inspired foundation shades. Today, Illamasqua sits somewhere comfortably between the trendsetters, the alternative darlings and the average consumer. There are products for everyone and stand out best sellers that can be worn by the most abstract or the most average consumer.
It is safe to say that women seem to have become far more daring with their makeup choices. We have become more makeup savvy and the products that may have been only used by makeup artists, are now readily being bought by everyday consumers. Having said this, Illamasqua’s success is no new story. Interestingly, it is where the brand has come from, and how it’s grown over the past four years, that is the real success story. In the UK Illamasqua has nine department store concessions and three stand alone stores in London, Leeds and Liverpool. The brand has concession stores in Australia and the Middle East and their first stand-alone in Croatia last year. Illamasqua is also present in over 50 Sephora stores globally and in the United States.
In their Mission Statement, Box, Vania and Huwe admit that the inspiration for the makeup brand has emerged from the “alternative scene” namely the 1920’s club scene, where the application of makeup is reflective of ones chosen form of self expression and identity. However their main aim, apart from creating high-quality professional makeup for artists and the average consumer alike, is pushing the message of “empowerment” for all makeup wearers. The motto for the Generation Q makeup collection is “that beauty is not young, old, black, white, male or female, but anything, everything and everyone”.
Illamasqua, as a brand, actively touts an anti-violence, anti-discrimination stance and uses the case example of Sophie Lancaster as the face of their message. Sophie was a young girl from the UK who was beaten to death simply because she was dressed different. The stance that the brand has taken against this kind of violence and the support it offers to the charity formed in Sophie’s name helps perpetuate the message of acceptance. It is meaningful how a makeup label can be more than one thing. Illamasqua is at the forefront of assimilating alternative and mainstream beauty and promotes a fantastic message of acceptance and charity, whilst never straying from it’s core focus, which is selling high-quality, wearable makeup products.
In August 2012, Illamasqua launched their ‘Fight for a Fair Beauty Price’, gathering signatures for their petition to lower prices in Australia to match those in the UK. Prices in Australia were dropped between 35-42% to match the prices in the UK, meaning that the products are even more worthwhile purchasing to add to your make up kit.
For those few who are not already disciples of the cult brand. I have made a list of my personal favourite products for everyday or evening wear. No matter what your style Illamasqua has a range for everyone AND their alter ego too.
1. Lipstick. These highly pigmented Lipsticks are fantastic for keeping your colour where it’s supposed to be all night. Favourite shades include Box, Magnetism, Scandal and Ignite ($25 each) The best part about investing in a bold lipstick is that you can be creative with the eyes or you can keep it simple. For those who prefer to keep it clean, a fantastic foundation, highlighter and a great mascara are key products for your look. For those who like to be a bit more theatrical, try a winged eye and pair of false lashes.
2. Skin Base Foundation. A killer foundation is important to all women and all makeup brands need to have that standout product for flawless skin. This is it. Skin Base Foundation ($41) applies smooth and covers flaws whilst keeping skin looking like skin, not a mask. Skin Base is also a HD foundation which gives flawless results in photos, making it perfect for your special event as well as every day.
3. Cream Pigment and Cream Blusher. I adore the Cream Pigments and Blushers for all sorts of functions professionally, but personally, I love to use them best as they are intended; for eyeshadow or cheek colour. In the Cream Pigments I adore shades: Hollow, Delerium, Dab and Mould ($26 each). The formula is surprisingly resistant to creasing and smudging however I would add shadow or powder over the top to set for long-wear. For a smokey eye, Mould is a fantastic shade to use with a bit of Depravity added.
Cream blush adds a real dewy, rosy glow to the cheeks. I find the cream texture really makes the skin look healthy and natural. I usually fix a cream blusher with a powder blusher over the top or a loose translucent powder. Everyone needs a great blush and my favourite shades are Rude, Dixie and Seduce ($28 each).
4. Eye Pallette. These eye palettes are strongly pigmented yet blend easily and are one of my “must haves”. The palettes come in Neutral, Complement and Empower ($53 each) and the combinations of shades are perfect to create a dramatic smokey eye. Also the best bit about these palettes is you can be as creative or as simple as you desire. They are versatile enough for everyone.
5. Bronzing Duo. Bronzer is a staple in most women’s makeup bag and although it may seem uncommon for pale or alternative types, the Illamasqua Bronzer ($39) is a must have. For the fair skinned, a quick sweep of a soft bronze shade to skin is really important to take away any greyness to the skin. Without warmth paleness can appear pallid which is not a healthy or attractive look. There are two duo’s to pick from, each offers a warm, healthy summery glow to skin.
All images from www.illamasqua.com