Saturday, 23 July 2011

Chantecaille: Another wonderful vintage shade of red lipstick.

The day of the Chap Olympiad always involves a flurry of organisation, preening, food packing and this year umbrella locating. A late night out with friends in Covent Garden on Friday sharp on a full day of slaving and Bastille night on Thursday resulted in general frazzlement on Saturday morning. As a result something rare occurred; I left the house without lipstick. Now I am aware that this hardly ranks as a terrible crisis in the scheme of things but barefaced lips on Olympiad day? Unthinkable. 

I was planning to catch my taxi from just outside Liberty’s who have only recently enlarged and revamped their cosmetic hall and this seemed the speedy answer to my dilemma. However Liberty’s don’t sell the big traditional names but more boutiquey fashion brands like Nars and Laura Mercier. Don’t get me wrong, they are fine manufacturers but their ranges do not have the strength of pigment or are too sheer for me. Especially as we are in a summer season of caramel, glossy bland at present. I realised too late that I could have headed for Illamasqua or even Boots.

Turtle eyeshadow compact
 Then a make-up brand that is generally under my radar blipped in response to my sheer desperation, I suspect it’s rather clinical bland point of sale display had always underwhelmed me. Then I peered at the lipsticks and noticed that several seemed to be the kind of shade I’d happily wear. Usually you try them on your hand and the colour turns out to be too sheer. I grabbed a bright corally red and tried it: a lovely soupy bright as a post box red with a coral base that seemed to work with my pallor and freckles. So I bought it. It was pricey at £23.00 but I was in a hurry however I must say I wore it all day and loved it.  A  creamy texture but semi matte on, it lasted well and did not feather at all easily. I really liked it. The brand was Chantecaille and the shade I chose was 'Tulipe' in their main lipstick range.

Tulipe (paraben free)

Inexpertly applied to lips

When I feel a bit more flush I may try some other bits and bobs, certainly another lipstick. The packaging of the lipstick is functional and not at all glamorous but having examined their website I have noticed that some of their products are attractively presented. I much prefer it to my Chanel and Guerlaine so the price is probably about right. Face powder/compacts and lipsticks tend to last so I am less resistant to paying a bit more for them.

Chantecaille mother and daughters.

I had assumed it was a small French company. I was only partially right. It is a company run by a French matriarch Sylvie Chantecaille, her husband and two daughters. But the company is American. Sylvie Chantacaille has form in the industry, she first started buy forming a cosmetic company with Diana von Furstenberg, she of the ubiquitous wrap dress. In the late 1970’s she launched Prescriptives for Estee Lauder and in 1997 she launched her own family business: Chantecaille.

Face powder in rose compact (someone buy it for me please).
The company schtick is avoiding the use of nasty petrochemicals, using high quality natural ingredients and supporting ecological concerns (so pretty much the same as most other cosmetic companies). Quite a lot of their cosmetics include a donation by the company to various wildlife funds and most of their lipsticks are paraben free. But what interests me is that it is a company run by women, something that was quite ordinary in the recent past but is not common now in what is an overwhelmingly corporate industry dominated by men. Also I am intrigued by it's low profile, it does not seem to be going out of it's way to market itself which either means it can rest on it's laurels or it has a firm loyal customer base. Both of which are encouraging.

Now I really want this, it is beautiful.

The website models have scary thin faces and the website is very American in tone and focus but the stuff itself is good quality and a couple of the current seasonal ‘looks’ illustrated have a vintage feel. Chaps out there could do worse than impress ladies they are buying presents for by purchasing something from this range. The Japanese lady manning the Liberty Chantecaille counter (Mitsuko?) was charming, and indeed one of the things I like about Liberty’s is that the service is good so I would be inclined to shop there if you are in the Smoke. You can also buy it in Fenwicks (another lovely store) and Harrods in London. They are also available in Space NK shops around the country.
Butterfly pressed eyeshadows.

Chantecaille's website: 
Liberty website:


LandGirl1980 said...

I love lippies in that kind of tube. So much easier to apply :)

Kally said...

Just done some research and apparently they're vegan too - I may have to invest in one!

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