I’ve been stalking WalGreen’s for weeks, hoping to come upon Essie’s Fall 2011 collection, Brand New Bag. There’s several empty shelves right at the front of my store, so I can tell there’s new fall products en route, but nothing has been forthcoming. I finally drove to an out-of-the-way store I never visit, and there it was, tucked right into the normal Essie display. Swatches coming up!
I picked up the four Brand New Bag polishes that were available at the store for now, but I left Lady Like for another post (click here to read my Lady Like review), and I’ll save my further musings on distribution of the collection for the end of this post. The Essie brush is skinny and a nice texture so it’s easy to work with, and all four of the colors from this collection have really nice creme formulas, and took only two coats. I decided to start with Case Study, a dark khaki color with strong greenish undertones. This one reminded me of the murky greens that have been kicking around this summer, like Essie’s Da Bush. It’s much more brown, though. I liked it, but it was almost too much-the darker brown plus the slightly sicky green tone were just a little meh on my skin. But I do like that it’s more subtle than the greener colors from the summer. It’s totally work appropriate, with just a little bit of shiver underneath.
The shade picture shows the green tone more strongly.
kittytokaren at PolishorPerish speculated that Case Study might be just a re-promote of Milky Way, but when I saw the bottle I could tell that Case Study was more green. Milky Way is the J.Crew exclusive camel color from this spring. I’m a Milky Way fan; I love its delicate warmth and slight pink tone. In the picture below, Case Study is on my index and middle finger and Milky Way is on my ring and pinky. You can see when they’re side by side that they’re really different (and that Milky Way is a lot more flattering, on me anyway). Milky Way sadly was only sold through J. Crew and is not available anymore, but we’ll have to keep hoping for a re-release (you can read my original Milky Way review here. Judging from pictures, one of the non-retail polishes from the Brand New Bag Collection (Glamour Purse) is a warmer taupe that might be closer to Milky Way.
Next is Power Clutch. The formula on this one was also really nice and only took two coats. It’s a dark grey that also has a hint of green in it, which makes it more interesting. I really liked this one, more than I was expecting. It’s somehow richer and more complex than most greys, I think because it doesn’t lean blue like so many can. It’s not so dark that it looks black, and just seems very sophisticated, perfect for wearing to work or with a weekend outfit. This one is definitely my favorite of the collection so far.
The green tone was noticeable while I was wearing it but difficult to photograph. This picture shows it a bit; in dim lighting it peeks out a bit more. It’s almost the kind of thing you see more out of the corner of your eye than when you’re looking straight at it. Sort of like the Pleiades.
I compared it to Deborah Lippmann’s Billionaire, a new dark green from her fall collection. Power Clutch is on my index and middle fingers and Billionaire is on my ring and pinky below. It’s funny how much lighter and more blue-grey Power Clutch suddenly appears when it’s next to Billionaire. The dark, smoky green in Billionaire just crushes the subtle tones in Power Clutch.
Next is Carry On. This color is a dark purple that has red undertones. It also took only two easy coats for opacity and applied well. I like this take on a dark purple-it’s dramatic, but not blackish. It has more of a dark brown feel, and seems warmer than a lot of other colors like this that are dark and purplish. It reminded me of raisins. Carry On is a nice color for autumn, and I might even work up the nerve to wear it at work–in indoor lighting it’s borderline too dark, but it’s clearly not black so it might be okay…
In the bottle I thought it would be easy to find lots of similar colors, but Carry On is darker and more purple than the other similar colors I have. The only color I have that was close is Rescue Beauty’s Recherche. Carry On is on my index and middle fingers, and Recherche is on my ring and pinky below. Carry On has a stronger red tone than Recherche, which is more smoky and a darker purple. They’re not the same color, but they are pretty close, especially in dim lighting when the red in Carry On fades out a bit and it seems darker.
A word about the distribution of Fall 2011 – it seems to be following the French Affair pattern (only 4 of the 6 polishes stuck into the top section of the normal Essie display) rather than the Brazilliant pattern (all 6 polishes, displayed in their own little seasonal plastic-y thing on the shelves near the front of the store). I’m disappointed that all 6 of the Brand New Bag colors aren’t available on the retail side (yet), but I’m going to try to hold off on buying the other two, Very Structured and Glamour Purse. With French Affair, I found that a few drugstores eventually ended up with all six polishes displayed on a little seasonal thing–the other two polishes did exist in their retail form, just not as widely distributed. Interestingly, the stores that eventually had the rarer two colors in retail packaging were the ones with smaller or really tiny normal Essie displays. They seem like the stores that wouldn’t move as much Essie in the first place–why they would get to be the ones to get the full collection, I don’t know. So anyway, I’m still hoping that the other two polishes from Brand New Bag will eventually show up in at least a few random drugstores and I’ll be able to get the retail versions that way. I’m really eyeing the burnt orange color, Very Structured.
I have managed to track down and swatch all of the polishes from the Brand New Bag Collection. Check out the previously mentioned review of Lady Like and my review of the final two colors, Glamour Purse and Very Structured, to see the whole collection. Let me know your thoughts on them below. Thanks for reading!