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Daphne Guinness for MAC Collection — Heir Apparent?


Brewery heiress Daphne Guinness has all the makings of a fashion and beauty icon: she’s extremely thin (and, sadly, many consider this a pre-requisite to attaining any mode-related accolades, though we hope this standard changes soon); there’s an enigmatic quality to her face so that, even when posing for pictures, there’s a sense that she’s keeping some wonderful secret to herself; she’s an artist and yet she doesn’t announce it to the world with any sort of affectation (quite rare for a socialite); her style choices are often unorthodox (starting with her platinum blond mane featuring a single skunk-like raven strip) and yet she makes them seem fanciful and inspiring, even when they involve enormous lobster-claw shoes, a black lace veil covering an intricately braided updo,  a dominatrix-meets-equestrian ensemble with a back top hat, or sky-high platforms with no heel at the back that require walking on the balls of one’s feet and on the toes, as if wearing pointe shoes. She also has a profound respect for designers, makeup artists and fashion editors with a true and unique vision, which is why she developed such an intense friendship with the late Alexander McQueen and why, in 2010, she bought the entire wardrobe of her friend and McQueen’s mentor Isabella Blow, hoping that by doing so she could retain its sanctity and protect it from vulture-like collectors simply interested in turning a profit. Guinness, then approached fashion as art, and she takes the medium quite seriously, offering it the respect it deserves, while also allowing herself to express her more whimsical tendencies.

It was hardly surprising when, for Fall 2010, makeup genius François Nars unveiled an astounding color cosmetics collection inspired by Daphne Guinness or when, in September 2011, NYC’s Fashion Institute of Techology launched the “Daphne Guinness Exhibit” featuring pieces from Guinness’ own extensive wardrobe.

But when MAC Cosmetics, usually one of the more forward-thinking cosmetics brands, announced it was releasing a makeup collaboration with Daphne Guinness for Winter 2011/2012, we raised an eyebrow. Why follow in the footsteps of NARS? And, if MAC was bold enough to take such a step, could its collection possibly match the level of ingenuity showcased in the NARS one?

Sadly, the answer is no. Though the Daphne Guinness for MAC collection features products inspired and allegedly developed by Guinness herself, the colors and textures seem tame, predictable, and even boring. Sure, a few pieces stand out from the fray, offering a glimpse of the boundary-pushing eccentricity we associate with Guinness, but these are rare occurrences.

The result is so disappointing that it feels almost nonsensical. How do these muted pinks and purples reflect the persona of a woman who recently admitted to using nail polish as lipstick (not only a kooky idea but a dangerous one as most lacquers contain such toxic chemicals as formaldehyde and toulene)? How are these colors are different from MAC’s regular fare?

Perhaps our expectations were too high but, then, once you invoke Daphne Guinness’ name, it’s hard not to anticipate drama and cutting-edge technology.

Still, for all its flaws, there are a few treasures lurking in the Daphne Guinness for MAC collection so, check out the entire collection along with swatches below.





Interior Life Eyeshadow x4


The center piece of the Daphne Guinness for MAC collection is the Eyeshadow x4: Interior Life palette ($38 at MACcosmetics.com). This moody, ultra feminine palette features very dainty pink, gray, and lavender shades: Stratus, a matte light pink that feels lighter than lavender-tinged rose petals; Interior Life, a bluish gray shade reminiscent of a stormy sky with a pearlescent finish; Bruised Sky, a mauve-ish, plum-tinged gray color with a satin finish; and Heather Belles, a grey so dark it borders on black.

Below you’ll find swatches of all four eye shadow shades in the palette. Truth be told, they’re lovely colors — my only gripe is that they feel like the wrong fit for this particular collection. Beyond that, they’re wonderful for creating sultry eyes in tones of gray.




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Aurora Pigment


Circa Plum Pigment


Nebula Pigment


This collection includes three Pigments ($20 at MACcosmetics.com): Circa Plum, Aurora, and Nebula. You might recognize the Circa Plum color, a dirty-looking mid-tone lavender shade, from a prior MAC collection, Spring 2009’s A Rose Romance. The Aurora shade, meanwhile, is a frosty taupe shade with bronze and pink undertones. Last, there’s the Nebula pigment, a torrid espresso brown shade with hints of charcoal gray and a glittery finish.

Below, you’ll find swatches of the Circa Plum and Aurora pigments:



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Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil


Grey Utility Powerpoint Eye Pencil


These two Powerpoint Eye Pencils ($15 at MACcosmetics.com) are as versatile as they are practical. The Engraved Powerpoint Eye Pencil is a stark black shade that glides right onto lids, while the Grey Utility color is a charcoal-meets-gunmetal color that perfectly complements the hues in the Interior Life Eyeshadow x4.


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Approaching Storm Pro Longwear Lipcreme


Red Dwarf Pro Longwear Lipcreme


Seasoned Plum Pro Longwear Lipcreme


Warp Speed Pro Longwear Lipcreme


I expected Daphne Guinness to opt for traditional Lipsticks as opposed to Pro Longwear Lipcremes when developing her collection for MAC but, then again, I suppose a woman who applies nail lacquer to her pout places quite a premium on the longevity of her lip colors. The collection, then, includes four Pro Longwear Lipcreme ($17 at MACcosmetics.com) shades: Approaching Storm, a sienna-tinged red shade; Seasoned Plum, a mid-tone, lavender-lilac shade reminiscent of the color of the Lavender Lake My Little Pony toy; Red Dwarf, an amaranth color reminiscent of a red-fleshed dragon fruit; and Warp Speed, a nearly white silver hue.

Truth be told, I can only really imagine Daphne wearing Seasoned Plum (the clear standout here) and Warp Speed since these are the most cutting-edge colors in the bunch.

Check out swatches of Red Dwarf, Approaching Storm, an Seasoned Plum below:



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Richly Revered Cremesheen Glass


Japanese Spring Cremesheen Glass


Borealis Cremesheen Glass


Narcissus Cremesheen Glass


The four Cremesheen Glass ($18.50 at MACcosmetics.com) colors in the collection again feel surprisingly understated for a collection inspired by Daphne Guinness. This time around, the one oddball offering is the Borealis shade, a very pale grayish pink that almost looks like a retro mint shade in its tube. The Richly Revered shade feels opulent albeit hardly boundary-defying, with its sheer, reddish plum hue. But, on a strictly aesthetic level, the standouts here are Japanese Spring, a very pale pink reminiscent of cherry blossoms, and Narcissus, a lilac-meets-eggplant hue. Neither is bold or defiant, but if you’re just looking for some pretty winter-to-spring glosses, you’ll appreciate these shades.

Below, you’ll find swatches of the Japanese Spring and Richly Revered colors:


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Azalea Blossom Blush Ombré


Vintage Grape Blush Ombré



Though I love  MAC’s Blush Ombré ($26 at MACcosmetics.com) compacts, I was thoroughly disappointed to find that the two shades in this collection had been recycled from last year’s MAC Spring Colour Forecast collection. I loved the Azalea Blossom compact, a light cool pink with hints of lilac and lavender, and I’m happy that I’lll be able to re-stock my vanity with this great blush, but I do wish there were more new colors introduced in this collection. It just feels like such a missed opportunity!

Nevertheless, if you’re curious about how the Azalea Blossom color looks on skin, here’s a swatch for you:


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Blueblood Nail Lacquer



Hyperion Nail Lacquer


Though I’m not usually a fan of MAC’s Nail Lacquers ($15 at MACcosmetics.com), I’m quite smitten with the Blueblood shade, an eggplant-y red shade reminiscent of Chanel’s Vamp. The Hyperion shade, meanwhile, is reminiscent of a scoop of mint chocolate chip with its pale green tint and creamy consistency. The Hyperion and Blueblood shades do feel like Daphne Guinness through and through, so they’re one of the stronger pieces in the collection.


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