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Deciphering Illamasqua’s Enigmatic “Theatre of the Nameless” Collection


“Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, welcome to the greatest show on Earth!”

But be forewarned: this greeting isn’t being uttered by a circus ringmaster clad in a red coattail jacket with gold trim, a matching bow tie, and a black top hat. And, while, there are no elephants or tigers in this particular show, it promises to be quite the spectacle. Choreographed by adventurous British makeup brand Illamasqua, this thrill-packed performance places you in the starring role, allowing you to decide whether you want to walk the tightrope with a cutting-ege look or stay closer to the ground.

There’s a Stanley Kubrik eroticism to the Illamasqua Theatre of the Nameless collection, an air of decadence and debauchery worthy of 1920s Berlin, when social taboos were non-existent and sex, mysticism, alcohol, music, and carnal pleasure reigned supreme. The colors of a thriving underworld are mimicked via pure pigments in blackened forest green and rusty copper; an aubergine liquid liner; nail lacquers in deep wine, pine green, and grayish purple; and fleshy beige, pink, and peach lip gloss and blush colors that celebrate the naked form.

The dangerous, illicit, Dyonisian fantasy begins after the jump, when we’ll walk you through the Theatre of the Nameless and its many spellbinding acts. Step right in!



The Theatre of the Nameless collection incorporates four nail lacquer colors that nod to the Boot Girls once cavorting along Wittenberg Platz. These prostitutes announced their domination specialities via the colors of the boots and laces they wore. When a woman wore green boots, for example, she was advertising her penchant for psychological enslavement, whereas brown boots advertised asphyxiation and scarlet boots promoted services involving cross-dressing.

Playing with these color codes, then, the four Illamasqua Nail Varnish colors ($17 at Illamasqua.com and Sephora.com) correspond to documented boot tones — there’s Kink, a green bottle cap shade with a deliciously creamy finish; Faux Pas, a blackened prune purple; Taint, a leathery stone brown; and Vice, a dark maroon-ish cerise.

Here’s what the Kink varnish looks like on nails:



Now feast your eyes on the Vice lacquer shade:



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No cabaret atmosphere can be created without some naked flesh being exposed, and both of the collection’s Powder Blusher ($24 at Sephora.com and Illamasqua.com) shades celebrate carnal wonders. The shimmer infused into their powdery formulas, meanwhile, works with the creatures-of-the-night theme, illuminating the face in even the most abysmal darkness.

The two shades are Ambition, a peachy toffee nude shade with a hint of warm rose and sparkling clear pearls, and Morale, a lilac-tinged pink color that gives cheeks a cooler, icier flush.

Here’s what the Morale Powder Blusher looks like on skin:


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Only one lipstick was introduced this season, and it’s anything but safe. The Illamasqua Lipstick in Kontrol ($22 at Sephora.com) dives into the more dangerous crevices of this nocturnal theater. The smoked-out violet shade is full-bodied and intense, with sinister blue undertones that underline the collection’s dominatrix vibe. Wearing the creamy lip color requires shedding one’s inhibitions and daring to make the taboo acceptable. If you’re really fair-skinned, this color will definitely make you look like a gothic creature, so be prepared to rock with that effect.

Here’s a swatch of the Kontrol Lipstick:


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Illamasqua introduced three new Intense Lipgloss ($20 at Sephora.com and Illamasqua.com) shades this season: Façade, a sheer, grayish nude; Violate, a bizarre, shimmering green color that will make you look like you’re rising from the grave to prevail over the undead; and Belladonna, a deep raspberry pink.

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Playing with light and dark, transparent and cryptic, the two new Cream Pigments ($24 at Illamasqua.com) illustrate the dualities of a Sin City: how a chaotic electricity feels the air at night, but it’s masked during the day by glowing shards of light. The Androgen Cream Pigment, then, references the warmth of day with its coral-tinged peach shade, while the Depravity Cream Pigment celebrates the mysteries of night with its magenta-ish lilac hue.


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Temptresses always seem to be bathing in clouds of shimmering light, flecks of electric color radiating from their inviting, writhing bodies. With these Illamasqua Pure Pigments ($24 at Sephora.com), you can create this same air of seduction, sweeping some high-shine color onto your face to give the performance of a lifetime.

For a snowy white shimmer that can go either angelic or ghoulish depending on your makeup master plan, try the Beguile shade, which is packed with clear and silver shimmer pearls. To delve into the dark side, meanwhile, try Zeitgeist, a near-black green shade with a carbon-like, sooty finish and dark shimmer particles. And for a trip in between these heavenly and hellish shades, you can opt for Berber, a coppery shade recalling old brick surfaces.

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The collection’s Illamasqua Precision Ink in Havoc ($27.50 at Illamasqua.com and Sephora.com) allows you to line your lids in a bloody aubergine shade or scribble naughty messages on your cheeks, forehead, hands, and any part of your carnal canvas you wish to flaunt.

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