Books for Everyone!

Late July 2021

A Night at the Opera

Seven years is a long time to carry the torch for a makeup palette! I’ve lusted after much weightier objects for shorter periods of time.

The 2014 Limited Edition (LE) Christmas palette, Petrouchka, by Guerlain offered eyeshadows and blush to the tune of $90.00. For .42 ounce of product!

I, of course, did not purchase the over-priced palette. The price was ridiculous, and the item sold out quickly, anyway, like the quick snap of a conductor’s baton!

Besides, I kept telling myself, those shades are too warm for cool skin like mine. The gorgeous Natalia Vodianova was much more the suitably intended sublime target of this tactile luxury that can turn fantasies into reality. I think even Natalia is making fun of those garish red-lips with full-out-pout! (My personal preference would be a bronzey-pink lipstick, but a competitor, another French company, had that color-base covered.)

Still, I could not forget Petrouchka.

For seven years, those opulent yet nuanced shades never left the inner recesses of my makeup imagination. And, so, this past month, I decided that I could re-create the beauty, and the love, from eyeshadows that I already own. In fact, I determined that I could even devise that sumptuous spectrum from several 5-pan palettes, Les Couleurs of Guerlain, that I systematically and shrewdly purchased over the course of the past 4 years. Department store inventories of Guerlain makeup were dwindling long before the riotous Summer of 2020 killed off the likes of Neiman Marcus and Lord & Taylor.

Somehow, the payoff of those newer powders paled in comparison to the eyeshadows encased in “Un Soir à l’Opéra.” The resultant look was more like the faded phantom of the opera. A faded love!

I decided to look online for “dupes”, the term used for a lesser-known and less-expensive product that duplicates the real and high-priced thing. I’ve very rarely engaged in this degraded ripoff of an inspired invention because, in my opinion:

Dupes are for dopes.

Yes, they certainly are!

I nonetheless tempted makeup-fate and searched online for the right subtle bling in a powder formulation. After a lengthy and exhaustive search for the non-Asian-made formulation, with just the right amount of shimmer and color payload combined, I found the shades I craved at a company based in England.

A few months ago, I’d purchased several eyeshadows from this business — after verifying that the chemical substances were manufactured in Germany and in Italy; and after ascertaining that this company did not engage in doing business with factories in China. I then found two sizable palettes — newly arrived but on sale — at this e-tailer, with shades that almost perfectly match (dupe) those luscious tones of the Guerlain Night at the Opera.

With Guerlain, it’s always about the finish.

And, as a producer of makeup, especially eye-shadow makeup, Guerlain looks to be about finished. Why women working in the house cannot bring themselves to apply some makeup to their faces, on a daily basis, I don’t know. I’ve not only been doing it, but relishing it, for many years. The Covid Lockdown was no excuse to toss out civility, civilization, and a cultured look, just because the idiots in the world out there were doing it!

I was therefore thrilled when I received this merchandise in the mail. Today, I selected the almost perfectly matching shades to brush onto my eyelids, right on up to the brow line; I even used the powder for eyeliner as well. In no time at all, I’d wondrously created my night-at-the-opera. I did not have to use the Guerlain workshop instructions. I succeeded all on my own, without one of those makeup tutorials flooding the blogosphere.

These shadows were in the 5-star category: Lovely texture. Smooth application. Easy to blend. And — no fallout.

Fallout is the appalling powdery debris of eyeshadow, falling from the eyelid and descending onto the lotioned orbital eye area below the lower lash line. The resulting horror necessitates a clean-up operation that rivals the time-consuming dredging of an EPA brown site.

I happily went online to this product website, curious about whether these palettes were made in Italy or in Germany, presumably by Italian and German hands. Oddly, there was no information on the Product Description. Or Specifications. Or Additional Details. I then searched the Ingredient List.

And there — at the very bottom of the Ingredient List — my horrified, cosmetisized eyes saw the Country of Origin that shall not be named.

Dear Husband then entered the situation, in an attempt to abate the fury of this woman who had been lied to, conned, and was feeling the justified ire of a bait-and-switch. He pulled out his magnifying glass and promptly retrieved the two palettes.

In a rather dramatic, almost operatic, manner he said: “PRC.”

What a bunch of frauds! What a rotten way to pull a fast one on a customer! Pay to get onto those Online Lists, and then defraud the paying customer by hiding the incriminating facts. The first batch of this merchandise is impressive, but then wait . . . By that time, the formula for the product has been copied, or stolen, or mimicked:


Into the very bottom of the garbage can went those bought-and-paid for eyeshadows.

I am keeping the products from this English company that were made in Germany and in Italy. All I can say is that the mask — and the gloves — are off now!

Those Belt-and-Road deals were Belt-and-Whip servitude set-ups from the very start. I re-discover, day after day, why we, in the USA, enjoy a good revolt, a bloody tea party, and non-conventional warfare — so much more than a night at the opera.