The Illamafia

Illamasqua’s 2009…

As promised, some pics from our Head Office Christmas ‘do… we headed off to The Albion in Shoreditch, East London for some lovely grub to celebrate a year and two months [nearly!] of Illamasqua’s London counter and to reflect over the past year.

On a personal note, it was also my year anniversary working for Illamasqua, so I was eager to celebrate!

So what were the highlights of 2009?


Our webshop officially opened and we had the photoshoot for the Sirens collection – our first ever collection – to kick start 2009!


Katie, Komal and I attended the Elle Style awards, where Illamasqua had a dressing room to create some looks for the celebrities and fashion pack. London Fashion Week began and we worked with the Broken Hearts DJ duo for the first time, creating stencils for their Beyond The Valley collection.


Our second counter, in Selfridges Trafford centre opens in the second week of March. Selfridges are so excited by our arrival that they offer us the poster space at the front of the store, which looks incredible. Illamasqua has landed in the North!

The website launches to international customers.

At the end of March, we also launched in Fenwick Newcastle and the roll out has officially begun…


‘Sirens’ launches! Our cutting-edge Spring/ Summer 2009 collection features some amazing products that immediately begin to sell out across all the stores and online – including Liquid Metals in ‘Solstice’ and ‘Enrapture’; innovative new product textures that instantly gain cult status.

Our Glasgow counter launches in Debenhams in the third week of April followed in quick succession by Dublin and Belfast at the end of April.


The permanent site at Selfridges Trafford centre launches and Charles Fox, the revered theatre make-up and cosmetics store begins retailing Illamasqua in Covent Garden.


Debenhams Cardiff launches at the beginning of June, heralding our first foray in to Wales. I begin writing the Illamasqua blog [193 posts to date!]

We also expand our online retail arm by partnering up with


The first Alex Box Masterclass gets underway at Selfridges London. Cue champagne, contouring and unleashed alter egos!

The ‘Sirens’ collection expands with the launch of Powdered Metals that go on to sell out within a matter of days online.

Sephora launches at 5 Times Square on 31st July with Illamasqua one of the top selling brands on launch day… cue beauty fever in NYC!

The Sanderson Predicts… series launches at the fabulous central London Sanderson Hotel with the likes of Little Boots and Marina and the Diamonds all getting made up by one of our national make-up artists, Halimah, using Illamasqua products.


Our first Autumn/ Winter 2009 ‘Dystopia’ collection is shot and Alex Box sparks a flood of Youtube videos with the daring, futuristic make-up looks that spear head the campaign.


Illamasqua unleashes Dystopia on the world!

Illamasqua collaborates with the House of Blue Eyes, A Child of a Jago and All Walks Beyond The Catwalk at London Fashion Week.

Alex Box creates show stopping looks for Gareth Pugh and Hannah Marshall at London Fashion Week that highlights her alternative vision and gets the beauty world in a spin…

The Sephora roll out continues across the United States to 27 different Sephora stores.

The first blogger events are held in Manchester and London to introduce the Dystopia collection.

The New Review supplement from The Independant on Saturday features a promotional image Dystopia collection as it’s front cover.


The Alex Box Masterclass makes its way to Manchester.

On the 31st October, we celebrate Illamasqua’s first birthday with a range of products such as the Limited Edition Birthday Lashes and plenty of counter activity!


Illamasqua commissions the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Youtube video to support the S.O.P.H.I.E charity.

Alex Box by Rankin, 2 years in the making, is launched to critical and commercial acclaim.

Selfridges Birmingham launches in the architecturally beautiful Bullring as our first Midlands base.

The innovative new website at launches, complete with swatches and improved ease of use.


The Bah! Humbug! party with the Broken Hearts DJ duo is one of the highlights of the month as well as our Head Office Christmas bash in Shoreditch!

We launch a range of Limited Edition Christmas Gifts both in stores and online.

So what have been my personal highs and lows of the past year?

The Highs…

Illamasqua went from being a little known brand to a revelation in the cosmetics industry -our mission is to show everyone that make-up can be about self-expression, artistic license and creativity. We brought a truly professional range of products, textures and colours to the high street for you to get creative with – to be part of such a revolution is extremely exciting and no two days are ever the same for me. Illamasqua has created a real ripple in the waters of the beauty industry that is almost unprecedented for a company that is barely a year old and privately owned, as well as being British [did you know that we are the only major British beauty brand available in Selfridges, Fenwick and Sephora!?]

I have met some fantastic, passionate people – as well as the head office team, the artists that represent us on our counters are absolutely wonderful people to know. I haven’t personally had a chance to visit all the counters yet and so haven’t met them all but we have some exceptional talent on the counters. I get at least three emails/ letters a day from customers who want to tell us all about their fantastic experiences on counter and that is really wonderful to read.

Many make-up artists and key figures from all walks of life – the beauty editors, the online beauty community, alternative actors and actresses, theatre actors and actresses, burlesque dancers, celebrities, singers, the fashion pack, special effects make-up artists, fashion designers and just about everyone in between – have embraced our values and raved about our products.

Our first collections were an instant success, especially the cult Liquid Metals that even now consistently sell out on our counters and online!

We have gone from one counter in Selfridges London to having eight counters in the UK and Ireland and a presence in twenty seven Sephora stores in the US. The 2010 expansion plans are also exciting, more of that in a New Years blog post!

The Lows…

A tough time for me personally was the quick succession of store openings – Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast all opened within a couple of weeks – it was great to help with the set up of Belfast but working through the night wasn’t particularly fun!

The new website launch in November was also intense; swatching every single product in about a week was difficult, however I rediscovered some colours and have also come to the conclusion that I love brown and black lipgloss – ours are called ‘Twist’ Intense Lipgloss and ‘Repulse’ Intense Lipgloss respectively.

The Plain Silly Moments…

Says it all, I think!

Govinder Rayt

Govinder Rayt

Writer and expert