Legendary make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury is all set to launch her first range of products next week - and they're nothing short of perfection, writes Sarah Vine
I've been around some high-octane make-up launches in my time - Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Giorgio Armani - but none of them have been a patch on Charlotte Tilbury's. For months now excitement in the rarified world of make-up addicts has been building, as Tilbury's much-anticipated range, designed and made by the woman herself, prepares to hit the shops.
Just in case you don't know, Tilbury is a make-up artist. But not just any make-up artist. She is one of a handful of names at the top of this extremely competitive game. Like her contemporaries - Val Garland, Pat McGrath - she is renowned for her skill and endless creativity and, in Tilbury's particular case, her facility for colour. She is, in short, les couilles du chien.
This collection, then, has a uniquely auspicious alignment of elements. Tilbury herself has star quality: she is a sassy, sexy, sylph-like red-head. She grew up on the island of Ibiza, which is about as close as you can get to having the word "cool" stamped on your passport. She knows all the beautiful people, from Kate Moss to Jennifer Lopez to Helena Bonham Carter. Crucially, she is very, very good at what she does.
I am probably one of the few mortals to have experienced her talent in person. In a recent shoot for an upcoming piece in the Times Magazine, she showcased three of the 10 looks that form the basis of this collection - on me. At one point she had me doing a passable impression of J-Lo, which, let's face it, is positively heroic.
It is this belief in the transformative power of make-up that lies at the heart of her passion. As a fair-skinned teenager growing up on an island of bronze goddesses, she found confidence through make-up, perfecting the art of what she calls the " feline flick " (black eyeliner, flicked upwards at the edges) at a young age. She once told me that she would never let anyone, not even her partner, see her without it. This is not an expression of self-doubt; it's simply that she lives and breathes make-up. Hers is the method school of make-up artistry.
This, then, is a range that reaches for the stars; the star in every woman, be she old, young, fat, thin, drop-dead gorgeous or plain ordinary. It is both fun and sophisticated; the materials are of the highest quality, and the packaging is worthy of a Hollywood screen siren, all deep reds and burnished golds. In particular, a few items stand out:
Colour Chameleon Eye Pencils
These are my absolute favourite. Very soft, extremely long-lasting (so much so that I actually had quite a lot of trouble getting them off) eyeshadow pencils, these are designed to enhance your natural eye colour, to make it "pop", as they say in fashion. And they really work. I have hazel eyes, which sometimes look green, sometimes grey. Two shades, I found, worked beautifully for me: the Smoky Emerald for Hazel Eyes (Night) and the Bronzed Garnet For Green Eyes (Day). In these pencils is the essence of Tilbury's artistry, that clever understanding of colour that makes her so unique. Colour Chameleon Colour Morphing Eye Shadow Pencil, £19
The Feline Flick
It had to be, of course, from the woman who wears her eyeliner slick and black. This really is the ultimate liquid eyeliner, with a superfine tip, long and tapered for easy application. I'll be amazed if this doesn't sell out straightaway. The Feline Flick Quick Fine-Line ShodoÌƒ Pen, £22
Charlotte's Magic Cream
One of the jobs of a make-up artist is to make the malnourished, jet-lagged, smoke-ravaged skins of models look dewy and fabulous. Tilbury used to create her own reviving, illuminating, restoring, nourishing formula for use at the shows, and this is it. I'll wager it's one of the reasons Mossy doesn't look nearly as haggard as she ought to. Charlotte's Magic Cream Treat & Transform Moisturiser SPF15, £70
Swish and Pop Blusher
Charlotte is a very expansive, hands-on individual, and she has a unique technique when it comes to sculpting and shaping faces. When she first started out, she used paint brushes to achieve the precise level of detail she wanted (she is a perfectionist). This compact makes cheek contouring and colouring an absolute doddle, and the colours are simply gorgeous. Cheek to Chic Swish & Pop Blusher, £30
This is a fantastically versatile nude lipstick. B-oring, you might think, but actually it's very hard to blend a nude shade that suits everyone, even the likes of me. Most nudes make me look like I've recently been exhumed; this, however, makes me look all lovely and pouty in a pretty but not girly way. Pair it with the matching shade of Lip Cheat pencil, and you will see your lips in a whole different light. Fallen From The Lipstick Tree, £23