Holiday Dressing: Brilliant Packaging Makes the Compact this Season’s Most Shining Accessory

Dior’s Diamond Effect Powder

Text by Mengly Taing

It used to be that nearly every woman carried a compact in her purse. Given as gifts by their husbands and admirers, these charming cases were cherished and collected by women who shared a renewed interest in social appearances after the Second World War. They were made of metal, but their design and beauty were a calling card to each woman’s own unique sensibilities. Marie Earle and Elgin Stratton were among the first to transform the simple powder box into a vanity accessory, but they certainly were not the last.

Christian Dior and Givenchy are among some of the fashion houses offering stylish boxes to hold this season’s most coveted shimmery powders. Dior’s Diamond-Effect Powder, from the Black Diamond Collection, is made with a concentration of mother of pearl to help illuminate the complexion. It can be worn on both the face and décolletage and comes in a compact covered with large crystal-shaped gems. For a touch of blush, see Givenchy’s Nightlights Collection. Encased in a sleek box embellished with a fireworks design, Givenchy’s Prisme Again! Blush Glow will light up your face—and the room.

But leave it to Giorgio Armani to be the talk of the town. Drawing from the post-war era’s popular Art Deco style, Armani brings a modern twist to the classic compact with his Crystal Collection, which comes in a glossy black finish and is adorned with a thin line of Swarovski crystals. The two-tier compact holds four eyeshadows and one sheer shimmer power in champagne gold. The discs can be replaced, which makes the $98 case worth the investment. The collection also includes a matching glitter, ruby red lipstick, black shimmer puff and a sparkling mascara in gray. Wear it alone or on the edges of lashes as a topcoat to put a finishing touch on a timeless holiday look.

“Always be sure to work in moderation,” warns Giorgio Armani National Creative Director and celebrity make-up artist Tim Quinn. “I always like to pick one feature to highlight with shimmer, whether it be the eye or the lip or the complexion.”

When applying shimmer, Quinn says avoid areas that tend to be oily such as the forehead or the chin. Keep these areas matte by applying powder before applying glitter. For drier skin, he suggests applying a liquid highlighter around the eyes and above the brows to achieve a dewy look.

Bobbie Brown’s Shimmer Brick Compact comes with five bronze shimmers that can be mixed or worn individually for a warm, copper glow. “Shimmer can either be applied with a brush or your fingers,” says Bobbi Brown Beauty Team Member Liz Kaiser. “For the most dense application and impact, use your fingers.” Kaiser advises using a matte shadow as a base on the eyelid before applying shimmer eyeshadow. The contrast will make the effect more noticeable, she says. Use a brush with soft bristles for even application.

Each compact in MAC’s Passions of Red Collection comes with its own brush applicator. The vanilla-scented lip gloss or pearl eyeshadow palettes come in aluminum cases in various shades of red. An embossed snakeskin pattern is featured at the top with a faux jewel set in the center. They’re affordable and portable, making them easy to collect or give as gifts.

Although these holiday compacts will be around for many celebrations to come, all the glitter and shimmer must come off at the end of the night. “Always take off eye makeup with a gentle eye makeup remover,” Kaiser says. “The best way to dissolve long-wearing makeup formulas is with an oil-based makeup remover.” Use a Q-tip for the best precision. Now, there’s a fresh way to start the New Year.