The black-soot look is great on model Malgosia Bela, but it is really hard to pull off outside of the spotlights (and Halloween revelry). To me, there is always a big distinction to be made between makeup that looks good in front of a camera in a studio with all the sources of light and angles that one can control, and a versatile street makeup that has to work effortlessly. Bela has big, clear, even transparent blue/green eyes and a pale complexion so it counterbalances the black pigments. The lip color here looks good because it is layered with some red plum in it. I was surprised to see how the lipsticks in Les Noirs Obscurs were going for some uncompromisingly dull-ish shades (Maniac, Hysteria, Obscure). It takes a whole different kind of attitude to wear those...
I am not sure how I would feel if I saw many women (or men) wear these shades on the street because I haven't seen any.
I thought the lipstick textures drank in the light and that the colors lacked subtlety on skin, if not on paper. I know that the name of the collection is Les Noirs Obscurs (Unlit Blacks) and this is literally what you have. It's not matte, it's light-deprived.
I was particularly hopeful for Hysteria, but it made my mouth look as if I had bitten into a piece of cloth soaking in its tincture. It made me think of traditional dark lip tattooing which is considered desirable in some cultures (see image of an Ainu woman above).
Even the shimmery and transparent dark faded violet gloss did not help in my search of light as it diluted the color to make it feel a bit messy without complimenting it. I find them not as wearable, on their own, as the originator set of this mainstream trend, Aaron de Mey's black gloss with red lipstick which is strikingly beautiful and made me go Wow!
The nail polish Vendetta is covetable; it is more a color for yourself than for others because this very black eggplant color is so subtle it may get lost on many who will only see something blackish.
I will sound really like a contrarian but on the other hand I thought that the eye-gloss quad (in the Venetian collection, actually) which looked great in the box and upon initial application ended up looking classic and conservative and even a bit washed out although I appreciated the refined textural effect. Ditto for the other nail polishes besides Vendetta, Rouge Noir and Madness which seem deja vu in part because it builds up on the color heritage of Chanel.
I thought some of the colors that Philips created last year for Chanel were much more unexpectedly rare, interesting and practical to wear.
That's all I've explored so far. I'm resolutely open-minded about it. I love the concept, but am waiting for the right products.
Clearly, it's the kind of color palette that requires extra skills to make it work out and perhaps the right ambiance.