An Introduction to Marc Jacobs Beauty: #118 Oui! + Comparisons + Permanent Collection Preview

I am so excited today to show you a new polish from the Marc Jacobs Beauty line. Marc Jacobs Beauty is launching online and at brick-and-mortar stores on August 9. Marc Jacobs is my favorite designer, so I'm thrilled to have my hands on this. I've honestly been waiting for the day Marc would decide to come out with his own cosmetics line since he released his first perfume in 2001, so this has been a longtime beauty wish fulfilled for me!

DISCLOSURE: #118 Oui! is a press sample sent to me for my honest review.

I'm going to give you some information on Marc Jacobs Beauty, review #118 Oui!, and then I want to talk to you about why I love Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs Beauty is going to be sold exclusively through Marc Jacobs and Sephora stores and online through Sephora, Marc Jacobs Beauty, and Marc Jacobs. According to the press materials, this line was fueled by Marc's "rule-breaking creativity," expressing "the spirit of youth, confidence and experimentation," with an aim to "push the boundaries." Marc talks about being inspired by "the spirit of 'The Girl' and her makeup ritual" and the magic of that transformative process, which he describes in WWD as "making the choices that will tell the world who you want to be that day" (Naughton 2013).  I love that way of looking at makeup! If you've followed Marc's work, these are threads that run throughout his collections - femininity and the power and endless possibilities of transformation. The beauty aspect of Marc's runway shows has involved a longstanding partnership with François Nars (they collaborated on two polishes in 2011: Manosque and Night Clubbing), and those of you familiar with Nars know the brand is about creating a look and a mood, not just a bunch of wearable colors. So, I expected nothing less from Marc, whose press release mentions "exquisite textures," "provocative shades," "unexpected color," and "daring designs."

His polish line is called Enamored Hi-Shine Lacquer and is touted to high heaven, as is the excitable wont of PR: "a superior nail polish with unprecedented shine. The plasticized, wet-look finish mirrors 30 coats of lacquer. Patented formula." From what I can see from pre-release photos, there's a nice mix of interesting and classic colors/finishes. (I have to commend the MJB team for their very accurate promo photos. You can look at the whole collection at Temptalia and PopSugar Beauty; more sneak peeks can be found at Huffington Post and Fashionista.) Marc Jacobs Beauty is launching with 24 shades of polish, which is an impressive start! I'm looking forward to seeing what this year's holiday collection will bring, as well as the expansion of the core line in spring 2014. And I will definitely be heading over to Sephora to pick up more polishes (I'm interested in #136 Desire, #142 Fluorescent Beige, #122 Ultraviolet, #132 Blue Velvet#110 Gatsby, #128 Nirvana, #112 Le Charm, #138 Jezebel, #130 Sally, #144 Evelyn, #120 Delphine, and #140 Petra) and check out additional products.

The first thing I want to talk about is the packaging. To me it is distinctly Marc with the slight curve to all the edges - just a little softer and more accessible than other high-end brands. In fact, Marc Jacobs Beauty is the only high-end nail polish line I can think of that doesn't have straight-planed bottles, although the polishes still line up neatly in a drawer. It's not a design I would pick out of a lineup as my favorite, but it is distinctive, and functionally the bottle is nicely designed: weighty, with an easy-to-remove overcap that clicks securely back into place, and a stable base. One thing about the bottle design that might be a drawback is that the bottle is wider than it is tall, so I imagine you will have to tip the bottle earlier on in its usage to get a full brush of polish than you would for taller bottles. It contains 0.43 fl. oz. of product, which is roughly standard - for reference, Chanel contains 0.4 fl. oz. and China Glaze contains 0.5 fl. oz. The label on the bottom of the bottle is transparent rather than opaque, so for darker colors it will be difficult to read, but the adhesive is strong (unlike, for example, Rescue Beauty Lounge's labels).

The brush is really nice. It's a bit wider than the standard brush but not at all moppy and with a shorter brush stem, which I always like because I feel like it gives me more control during application. Another nice feature is that when you close the cap on the bottle, you can notice it settling into its resting place, if that makes sense. It's not audible, but once you've twisted the cap completely closed, you can feel it in your fingers, like its shifted into gear. The cap is also comfortable and not hard edged or uncomfortable when you grip it (like if you have dried polish making the cap stick, and you're trying to wrench the bottle open - not that I've had to do that *ahem*). I've compared the Marc Jacobs brush with Essie's to give you a point of comparison. You can see that Essie's brush is thinner and the brush stem is longer; it also has less flexible bristles than Marc Jacobs's.

Direct sunlight

Here is Marc Jacobs in #118 Oui!. Oui! is described as "magenta," which really does not do justice to the color. I was really pleased to receive this color for review because it is not a color I would have immediately picked out, but it's really beautiful, which is the most delightful kind of discovery. It's a metallic magenta with subtle red and violet shimmer. It simply glows, and it dries without any sign of brushstrokes. The color is more toward the pink side of magenta, but it does show a bit more purple out of sunlight.

Oui!'s formula was perfect - no cleanup necessary. I used 2 thin coats. Then I dinged a nail on my left hand, which I had already top coated, necessitating another layer of polish, so the final tally was 2 thin coats + 1 coat Seche Vite + 1 thin coat + Seche Vite. Below the jump I have a comparison of my left hand (2 coats of Oui!) and my right hand (3 coats of Oui!), and although it is opaque at 2 coats, a third does add some depth. I will say that the claims of extreme shine are exaggerated for this particular color, which dried to a normal finish (not dull but not glossy); I suspect the cremes will be a better test of that aspect of the marketing copy. Wear was great, but I usually don't have problems with chipping.

For those of you interested in the inspiration behind the name Oui (French for "yes"), some Marc trivia: the Marc Jacobs "Oui" bag circa 2008 and Oui, a now defunct French pin-up magazine that Marc has tattooed on his arm. Now you know! 

Worn July 24 - 30, 2013.

Indirect natural light 
Indirect natural light

Indirect natural light
Direct sunlight

As I mentioned earlier, this isn't a color that has traditionally captured my attention, so I don't have many polishes close to Oui! Essie in #842 The Girls are Out is a creme magenta with much more pink in it; it has a very slightly faded tone and silver flakie microshimmer - it has more purple in it than my pictures show. Pure Ice in Rio also has a bit more purple in it than I captured - it has a very similar base color to The Girls are Out, except brighter and in a sheerer jelly formula with blue shimmer. China Glaze in Fly is the most similar overall to Oui! (and is also a touch more purple) - a bright magenta with purple-leaning magenta shimmer. In my sunlight pictures I had to color correct Orly in Bubbly Bombshell and Nubar in Petunia Sparkle to get the right brightness, but they are pretty close in color to Oui! Both are magenta - Bubbly Bombshell leans a bit more pink - glitters that don't have quite enough purple to match Oui!; Bubbly Bombshell has two sizes of glitter and has less glow than Petunia Sparkle, which is one of my favorite polishes. I included Nubar in Pasadena Purple (another favorite) because Oui!'s glowy finish brought it immediately to mind. They are basically different colors with the same awesome effect.

DISCLOSURE: #118 Oui! is a press sample sent to me for my honest review.

I have the other colors from the initial permanent line swatched on a nail wheel below. There is no top coat on any of the polishes, except for the swatch of Glinda topped with Shiny, as labeled below.

#134 Lola (creme) is a bright, warm red. #136 Desire (shimmer) is a gorgeous, lit-from-within red with a bit of pink to it. This is one of those gorgeously glowy shimmers. #138 Jezebel (creme) is a deeper, slightly cool-toned creme. #116 Shocking (creme) is a bright mid-tone warm pink. #120 Delphine (creme) is a mid-tone taupe with purple undertones. #140 Petra (shimmer, swatches and comparisons here) is the standout of the collection. It's a deep purple jelly base packed with silver, gold, and copper/bronze/red flakie shimmers (similar in composition to Chanel in #529 Graphite, though not in color). Petra can look cooler/more silvery/taupe in certain light. I suspect it will pull cooler or warmer depending on your skin tone. I have this one compared to China Glaze in Wood You Wanna? in my post linked above. #108 Secret Love (creme) is a deep, vampy eggplant. #122 Ultraviolet (jelly) is a bright mid-tone purple jelly. I haven't compared this with Deborah Lippmann in Call Me Irresponsible, but I imagine they're pretty similar. Ultraviolet has a warm purple base, but the more you layer it, the cooler it becomes. My faves from this set are Desire, Delphine, Petra, and Ultraviolet.

#132 Blue Velvet (shimmer) is a teal with blue and green shimmer; in the bottle, around the edges there's a purple flash, but I don't think it would show up on the nail. #130 Sally (shimmer) is a deep, vampy forest green with green, blue, and purple shimmer. #128 Nirvana (creme) is a deep, dusty olive - I imagine it will look like a muted black in low light. #110 Gatsby (chrome) is a rose gold chrome; it leans more on the cool pink side. I would guess this is quite similar to Essie in Penny Talk, but that Orly in Rage would be more silver. #104 Funny Girl (creme) is a peachy beige. #102 Daisy (shimmer) is a beautiful, delicate pale peach with lots of white shimmer. #112 Le Charm (shimmer) is the same kind of polish as Petra, but it has a sheer base packed with warm rose gold flakie shimmer. #114 Snap! (creme) is a bright mid-tone orange. #106 Baby Jane (creme) is a slightly-cool-toned light taupe nude. #144 Evelyn (creme) is a pretty neutral deep grey. My favorites here are #102 Daisy, #112 Le Charm, and #144 Evelyn (because I can't get enough of grey cremes).

#148 Glinda (glitter) is a silver glitter that can be used as a topper or built up for full opacity. At first glance, this looks like a typical glitter, but it has two sizes of glitter - micro glitter and small hex glitter - that give this polish more dimension, and help it build up quickly without getting thick on the nail. This does need a thick top coat. I have close-ups of Glinda below. I used #150 Shiny (clear) over Glinda to see if it was more than a typical clear polish; it didn't quite cover the glitter, but if you combined this with a layer of quick-dry top coat, like Seche-Vite, etc., I think it would work similar to Gelous. #146 Stone Jungle (chrome) is a silver chrome. #142 Fluorescent Beige (subtle shimmer) is a nude base with pink, violet, and copper subtle shimmer. It's quite similar to Essie in Demure Vixen, but the Essie has a slightly warmer base and more predominantly violet-based shimmer. #118 Oui! (shimmer), see above. #124 Lux is a quite green-leaning yellow creme, almost like a really lightened guacamole. My picks here are Glinda, Fluorescent Beige, and Oui!, but Lux is quite unique.

Now here's my abbreviated (haha, a.k.a. TL/DR) devotional to Marc for you to peruse or ignore as you will:

I first fell in love with Marc Jacobs after coming across this dress from Spring/Summer 2003 (I was in a girly phase):

It seems as I have grown and evolved, Marc has been right alongside me, giving me what I need before I can anticipate it as only the best (and most savvy) brands are able to do. Whereas there are iconic brands that I love because they are constant (Valentino, Dior, Oscar de la Renta, and in its own way, Alexander McQueen), Marc is about expressing the different sides of a person - not just a consistent style, but the unique growth and evolution of style in each customer. What I love most about Marc is expressed in his WWD profile: "I believe in individuality, and what I think comes across as most stylish and modern is a kind of irreverence and a sort of self-confidence. I don't find beauty in perfection...I like a bit of imperfection -- I find it just more interesting." Marc loves all types of beauty. His collections have explored the diverse range of female expression - from structured and prim (see above) to deconstructed and urban, from a take on '60s mod to '70s realness to updated '50s (one of my favorite seasons) to '90s austerity, from exuberant embellishment to polished chic, from power bitch to hausfrau to Hugh Hefner to New Wave to Mary Poppins - all while retaining a uniquely identifiable point of view.

All photos from, except Elizabeth Banks photo (right second row) from Red Carpet Fashion Awards

Marc is one of modern fashion's most celebrated and innovative designers: the youngest designer to be awarded by fashion's highest arbiters with the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Fashion Talent; multiple-winner of the CFDA's Women's Designer of the Year Award; multiple-winner of CFDA's Accessory Designer of the Year Award; one of the first high-end designers to diversify with serious accessories, diffusion (Marc by Marc Jacobs), and fragrance lines, expanding his brand to a lifestyle rather than just fashion brand; one of the first to explore collaborations with artists in other mediums, including Stephen Sprouse and Takashi Murakami for Louis Vuitton (which he heads as creative director) and, most recently, Krink for Marc Jacobs; part of Time magazine's "2010 Time 100" most influential people in the world; and 2011 recipient of CFDA's Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award to mention a few accomplishments. Yet despite his power in the industry, he has always been able to view and present fashion as fun, something that is a life passion but shouldn't be taken overly seriously (for instance, see a couple of his Halloween costumes here or his ad campaigns with Winona Ryder, international treasure Helena Bonham Carter, and Victoria Beckham).

Marc has always supported the rights of artists, GLBT charities, and his employees. He loves the underdog. He wants fashion to be accessible. Every time I visit a Marc Jacobs or Marc by Marc Jacobs store I am treated like a lifelong customer (and I don't frequent his stores since I live in MN, and my nearest store is in Chicago). At the Marc by Marc Jacobs stores in particular, they make the casual browser feel completely at ease, offering $1 trinkets for less spendy customers, including condoms, keychains, mirrors, rings, etc., many of which are also available online; including comfortable seating and an assortment of interesting books (which are for sale) for weary moms and the like; and providing bottled refreshments, a gesture indicative of their friendly but never overbearing service. And, I can't wait to get back to New York to check out his bookshop, Bookmarc, as reading is one of my other passions.

Marc wants everyone who loves fashion to be able to participate and feel welcome. I think you can get an idea of the kind of diversity Marc promotes and embraces in a sample of the range of celebrities who wear his clothes: Michelle Obama, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, Lady Gaga, Fan Bingbing, Beyoncé, Florence Welch, Dakota and Elle Fanning, Kate Moss, Hailey Steinfeld, Anna Wintour, Nicole Richie, Helena Bonham Carter, Miley Cyrus, Kerry Washington, Sofia Coppola, Rihanna, and Miss Piggy. I'm also very impressed by the color range he's premiered for his Marc Jacobs Beauty face products; too few high-end brands cover the spectrum satisfactorily. For a visual look at more of the Marc Jacobs brand (I didn't include Marc by Marc Jacobs 'cause we'd be here all night, but if you browse my Pinterest you will see the line scattered throughout my personal collection), you can check out the Pinterest board I created. If you want to discover more about Marc Jacobs, his bio is on the brand's official website here, and the documentary Marc Jacobs & Louis Vuitton is a harder-to-find (available on Netflix by mail), incomplete but still fascinating look at Marc and his design process.

Thanks for getting through this long post! Are you a fan of Marc Jacobs, or am I introducing you for the first time? Do you think you will check out his beauty range?


  1. I'll definitely be looking for this!

  2. I'm champing at the bit to see the rest of this collection!


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