Christian Louboutin — Rouge Louboutin

Happy New Year! My first mani of the year was definitely one to remember.

I'm back behind the wheel, y'all.

My brother Alex has a history of getting me very thoughtful, very magical gifts. Christmas last year? A real, ceramic ocarina with a songbook from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. It’s truly a work of art. Granted, I never even got the hang of a recorder, so it serves as decorative piece to show how cultured and cool I am ;) and less of a true musical instrument. For my birthday? Lucius Malfoy’s walking stick. Pull on the silver cobra head at the top of the staff and — voila— the magic wand is revealed. It is of the utmost quality and is a legit weapon. I keep it near my front door so that a) all guests may admire it and b) it's close at hand to battle potential hot prowlers.

And so, Christmas 2014. What would young Alex surprise me with now?


Christian Louboutin / Rouge Louboutin nail varnish.

Check out that black on black packaging with a saucy wink of red. Ooh la la!


From the CL website:

Rouge Louboutin… a timeless, vibrant red suited to any skin tone. A true objet d’art of a dramatic 8-inch height inspired by the tallest heel Christian Louboutin ever created- the Ballerina Ultima.

But wait. There's more...

The iconic Rouge is encased in a faceted, weighted glass bottle with an unique ombré effect. The tall slender cap, inspired by calligraphy, turns the application into a luxurious experience, inviting women to take their time.

A true indulgence at $50 for one bottle. Yowza! The color is richly red. It’s not quite a true red; it veers on the warm side. The application was great, and the brush made for a very different painting experience. It wasn’t necessarily unwieldy, but it definitely felt unusual. They say that in Roman times, patrician women would dip the tips of their fingers in bright red dye. This was called their domestic look. I felt a little like that; the paint job felt ritualistic in some way.

The spiked handle of this polish is sarcastically large. It's 8" (or so it SAYS, hahahah). My friend told me it looks like dark magic; like you have to stab the spike into someone's still-beating heart and the spike sucks the blood out, and then that id what you paint your nails with. This bottle, combined with my Lucius stick, means I am at least 80% real sorceress.


Legend has it that Christian painted the soles of a high heel he was designing with red nail polish on a whim. That moment of inspiration helped him make a name for himself in fashion, and now his iconic rouge lacquer serves as the first brick in the beauty product empire that he’s aiming to build. It’s poetic.

Christian Louboutin Rouge will sit in a place of honor, on top of my Stash; partly because it can’t fit with the rest of my bottles, but also because it is a goddess among mortals.

Sincerely, Francesca

ZOYA — Isla

It's a neat gimmick that Zoya's got going on. All of the brand's shade names are actually girl names! Please make the acquaintance of my new gal pal, Isla.

Isla is a blackened, metallic ruby. It gleams a rich red, but when it's not catching the light, it's a noticeably darker color. It's a little hard to explain, but this is not your usual metallic red. Sometimes a shiny red screams holiday to me (Essie Jag-U-Are, love ya, but I'm looking at you...) but Isla is a dramatic crimson that works well for months other than December. Isla's high-shine keeps it from feeling too vamp (but don't worry, it still feels pretty Melisandre-esque.). If you're a red lover and are looking for a glamour color to add to your Stash, I sincerely recommend Isla. Also a good gift for your more traditional-color-loving friends.

I love the Zoya brush; it's on the tiny side but it fans beautifully so that you can get a nice clean edge near your cuticle. The formula's smooth, but I will admit that this color chipped sooner than I expected. By Day Four, I had definite tip wear, and by Day 5 I had legit chips.

The name Isla conjures Isla Fisher to mind, the foxy lady who made her big debut in Wedding Crashers.

... but I happened to be wearing Isla the first time I listened to Lana Del Rey's album, Born to Die, and Lana mentions red nails on several tracks, so I'm pairing that redhead with this manicure instead.

borntoisla, Francesca


What a Teese!

There's a Dita Von Teese in every girl who loves make-up, dresses, and other prissy things.

This next manicure is one that Ms. Teese is often sporting beautifully.

The Half Moon manicure with a 1950's twist.

Furthermore, this tutorial, is for you inner Dita Von Teese.

Easy to follow.  Easy to reproduce.  So damn sexy.

So, grab your favorite lingerie, barrel curlers, red lipstick, and the hottest red nail polish you have, and get to work, girl!

First, cover nails in base coat.  Then one thick coat of NYC's Love Letters and let dry completely:

Then place reinforcement labels at the tops of each nail and paint tips with Essie's Really Red:

Once completely dry, carefully and slowly peel off reinforcement labels.

Make sure to cover in top coat and voila!

For the full Dita Von Teese effect, check out this makeup tutorial and some of her beauty secrets here.

XOXO, Varnish

Spotted: Mademoiselle Marie — Part Seven

Oh, great minds do think alike...

By complete coincidence, Marie and I had matching festive manicures. I posted on China Glaze Ruby Pumps yesterday and, lo and behold, Marie was wearing something very similar! Check it out!

Marie goes to Marie's Nails on 3rd Street here in Los Angeles. Her good friend Shigeko Kawaguchi is the artist responsible for Marie's polished look.

One of my 2012 goals is to pony up the cash for my very first gelicure at Marie's Nails! Aside from being on the pricey side, I can't think of a color I'd want on my nailz for two weeks straight... unless I went on a glamorous vacation and wanted a way to keep my nails pristine without worrying about maintenance... Hmm.

Stay tuned for a new Mademoiselle Marie post next week.

Stay Shiny, GLOSS