When we first saw Dolce & Gabbana‘s limited edition holiday lipsticks, we weren’t quite sure what to think. The Sicilian Jewels Collection features the requisite holiday red (Rubino) — and a gorgeous one at that — but also includes some seriously intimidating shades: bright purple (Ametista), amber gold (Topazio) and, yikes, full-on green (Smeraldo). Were these shades meant to be worn in real life?
To find out, we called on Dolce & Gabbana National Makeup Artist Christian McCulloch, who works with the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone and Michelle Williams. If anyone could make these hues work on our real-girl model (and co-worker!), Julie, he could. (Hot tip: If you’re in New York and want to see the colors yourself, McCulloch will be taking appointments at the brand’s Macy’s Herald Square counter Saturday, November 9th — call 212-494-5369 to reserve a spot.)
First up was Topaz, the amber-gold shade which was surprisingly sheer. It “goes on like a nude,” McCulloch explained. To evoke a femme fatale feel à la Brigitte Bardot or Catherine Deneuve, he paired the lip color with with Passioneyes Duo Mascara for ultimate volume and curl. “A pale lip always works with a lot of lashes.” Okay, we began to think, these shades are going to be wearable after all.
Next, McCulloch applied Ametista, the purple shade that looked terrifyingly bold in the tube, but surprised us with its wearability on the lips. “Purple is a classic color,” McCulloch explained, “a real day-to-night color.” Since these lipsticks build from semi-sheer to fully pigmented, you can go as strong as want to, he pointed out. The pale wash of color over Julie’s lips ended up looking more like an iridescent lilac. “Lilac is flattering and universal.”
As soon as we saw the color in the tube, we knew the red Rubino shade would be gorgeous — and it didn’t disappoint. The texture of this red is unique and beautiful in person. “It’s not high gloss but it’s not too matte,” McCulloch explained. “There’s a subtle shimmer to it.”
Finally, it was time for the green. By this point, we’d become fixated on the Smeralda shade (“This is crazy!” “Will people really buy this?”) and couldn’t wait to see the results. On Julie, the hue (which McCulloch topped with lip gloss) wasn’t as witchy as we feared it would be, and the more we looked at it, the more we kind of liked it. “It’s like any new trend,” McCulloch explained. “When you first see it, it’s a bit uncomfortable. But then your eye gets used to it.” While we won’t be wearing green lipstick to the office anytime soon, we could see it working on someone way trendier than us for a fun night out.
But don’t write the emerald lipstick off just yet. As with all makeup shades, there’s more than one way to use it, and what McCulloch did next might be our favorite look of all.
He mixed the red and green shades (how holiday appropriate, right?) to create a deep, vampy aubergine. Gorgeous, isn’t it? (By the way, mixing the amethyst and ruby shades also yields a beautiful result — a sort of dark raspberry color.)
Which look is your favorite?