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Rescue Beauty Lounge Iconic/Ironic Spring 2011 Collection Swatches & Review


The variety of moods and personas shown on this Spring//Summerʼs runways was a tribute to the fashion schizophrentic in all of us.

This Spring, Rescue Beauty Lounge founder Ji Baek has created a collection that is a hodgepodge of her favorite trends from the Spring fashion collections.  It reflects the multiple fashion personalities seen on the runways and, for the first time, we’re seeing a RBL collection without a cohesive theme.

Much like a typical woman’s wardrobe, Iconic/Ironic is a mix & match cornucopia of color reflecting different trends and lifestyle needs.  From the office friendly neutral, Decorous, to the out-all-night, punk rock black, Iconoclast, this collection has something for everyone.

Unlike previous seasons where one clear trend carried through collection after collection, this Spring, designers are all over the map. There was Betty Page starring in South Pacific at Dior, new wave meets neoclassical at Chanel, sexy Suzie Wongs at Louis Vuitton pared-down minimalism at Celine and Chloe, and a box of crayons at Prada and Jil Sander. Models appeared as 1920ʼs garden party ladies at Galliano, gauchos at Hermes and street-wise punks at the venerable houses of Balmain and Bottega Venetta.

“I love that our wardrobes can reflect our multi-faceted personalities. This season truly celebrates women—every woman—so Iʼve named my Spring polish collection Iconic/Ironic, hues to juxtaposition against every version of yourself.”

“The ʻironyʼ comes from mixing polishes in an unexpected way. Offset all those brights with a neutral cocoa or a grounding black hue. Make your punk looks more tongue-in-chic with lavender nails. Itʼs about adding that surprising detail that keeps you on your (well-pedicured) toes.”

Formula and Application: RBL is a 4-Free brand, including Formaldehyde Resin. The brush is round, of average length and on the thicker side. It’s a bit more flexible than most which makes application a breeze for me.

As is Rescue’s style, the pigment is strong with this collection.  Every polish applied perfectly in two coats and leveled out to a perfectly even, glossy finish.  All swatches were done with a top coat and photographed completely dry.

Insouciant is the toned-down gray lilac of a pressed corsage. Punked out rather than pastel, it is a counterpoint to Springʼs ladylike florals and Bardot-worthy uber-feminine dresses. Or wear it with Lanvinʼs muddied neutrals.

As the name implies Insouciant is a very carefree, greyed lavender with subtle blue shimmer that peeks out at you in the daylight.  Unlike a lot of pale purples I’ve tried (I’m looking at you China Glaze Tantalize Me) this one doesn’t give me a weird alien hands effect.  I’ve long said that lavender, lilac, etc just don’t work on me but obviously that’s not the case.  I just needed to find the right one and Insouciant is that color for me.  It’s dark enough to not trek into the world of pastels but light enough to have a “spring” feel.  I’m utterly and completely smitten with it.

Iconoclast. “Letʼs face it, black polish has been done to death. I had to reinvent it into something entirely new,” says Baek. This one is a richly pigmented ebony with layers of fine glitter, giving it depth and a metallic, mica-like finish.

Iconoclast is the richest black shimmer I’ve seen yet.  Until now it seems that black shimmers tend to go one of two ways.  Either the shimmer is barely noticeable leaving you with nothing but a black creme or it’s so packed with glitz that the color looks more charcoal than ebony.  Ji has found a way to blend the two into a formula that is dense and luscious.  The pink and green shimmer really stand out in the daylight, I just wish it was a little more apparent indoors.  The depth is still there but the uniqueness dies down a bit.

Decorous is a perfectly ladylike light cocoa, an unexpected neutral to offset bright tropical hues or to add a chic finish to an all-black ensemble.

The creamy cocoa base of Decorous has left the lyric “Mocha Choca Lata yaya” from “Lady Marmalade” running through my brain for the past few days now though the color looks more like the Chai Tea I love to drink more than it does Hot Cocoa.  The light brown base color is filled with the same pink micro-shimmer as Iconoclast and Insouciant cooling off the warm overall hue.

Recherché is a purplish dark brown prune, an exotic accent that grounds oversize prints better than an expected summer pink or coral. Stunning with the homage to classic YSL designs shown by Stephen Pilati or the Proenza Schouler boysʼ loose-fitting ladylike tweeds and sheer tank dresses.

Recherché is a chameleon in that you can’t tell if it’s brown, purple, dusty plum, etc.  It changes with the lighting ranging anywhere from a slighter paler sister of OPI LPAD to a bold raisin.  It’s a very unique creme in that unlike other colors in this family, it doesn’t show a red base in the first coat.  Ji has made this baby so pigmented that all you see is the pure, plummy brown goodness.

Bottom Line: As much as it surprised me (and Ji when I told her) Insouciant is my hands down favorite of this collection.  It’s my ideal version of lavender/lilac, just utterly amazing.  Recherché is my runner up with Iconoclast a close third.  I love Recherché for its uniqueness and density of color.  Iconoclast is a win because it perfectly balances true black color with shimmer, not an easy feat.  Unfortunately, Decorous gets a pass from me.  It just doesn’t work with my skin tone nor is it the type of color I see myself reaching for.  In the bottle it had such promise but on my nails it was a fail.

The Rescue Beauty Lounge Iconic/Ironic collection will go on pre-sale before the end of January.  Make sure you’re signed up for the RBL newsletter to be notified of the sale dates.  Rescue Beauty Lounge nail polishes retail for $18/ea for a .4oz bottle and can be purchased online at

Thoughts on the Spring RBL colors?  Which ones are calling out to you?  If you plan to pre-order, what are you getting?

I will be doing comparisons of these so if you have a specific comparison request, leave it in the comments.

Disclosure: Product samples were furnished by Rescue Beauty Lounge.  For more info view my Disclosure Policy.

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  1. Novidades: Essie, OPI, Impala etc « Esmalt | January 24, 2011
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  1. SouthernSatine says:

    I gasped *audibly* when I saw Insouciant. Alas, my paltry funds do not allow for such splurging as RBL polishes. If only I could dismiss it with the lighthearted nonchalance that its name invokes. ::sigh::

    /melodramatic longing

  2. Tiffany c. says:

    Is the shimmery black shade anything like zoya’s raven?

  3. indoorkitty says:

    Hi Michelle!

    Could you compare
    1) Decorous against Zoya’s Pasha, OPI Over the Taupe, Essie Mink Muffs, Orly Country Club Khaki, and Orly Prince Charming?
    2) Iconoclast against Zoya’s Raven, Chanel Black Satin and Chanel Nuit De Russie (total reach there but I want to see the contrast between these)
    3) Insouciant against Sally Hansen Mystic Lilac (don’t know if you have this one…), Parlez Vous OPI, OPI Do You Lilac It, Lucky Lucky Lavender, Essie Lilacism; with these, I’m trying to assess the base shade versus existing cremes so I know if it works with my warm tan skintone or not

  4. zemlet says:

    While I know the shimmer in these is unique, I would like to see a comparison of Decorous with BUTTER London Yummy Mummy or China Glaze Ingrid to help understand the base hue. I would like to see Recherch

  5. Rebecca says:

    Love, love Decorous and Iconoclast!

  6. Elusive says:

    Can you please show us what Decorous looks like beside Butter London’s All Hail McQueen?

    • Lauren says:

      I second that! While your two swatches look nothing alike, I happen to have BL AHM on right now and it looks similar against the photo.

  7. Chloe says:

    A bit disappointed. I don’t think I’ll be shelling out $18 for any of these. If there is another sale I might get the lavender.

  8. Grace says:

    Great review! Thanks for the swatches. I’d love to see comparisons of Iconoclast vs. SH mystic lilac, also Decorous vs. SH Fedora or SOPI Under My Trench Coat. Thanks!!

  9. HeidiG says:

    Gorgeous! So glad you are up & running – I have been dying to see your swatches! Thank you, as always.

    Insouciant and Recherche are definitely my top 2 must haves. I think Recherche is different enough from Chanel Paradoxal to warrant it, yay!

  10. Violet says:

    Could you compare decorous with China Glaze Ingrid?

  11. Claps and snaps for Ji, she did an awesome job on this collection! I can’t pronounce either of them, but Insouciant and Recherche are screaming my name..they’re so beautiful. :Q
    At the moment though, the wails of my wallet are drowning them out. :(

  12. Kitty says:

    Do you have Lancome’s Piha? I wonder how it looks next to Iconoclast. That shade is stunning.

  13. Gabrielle says:

    Iconoclast is amazing! Thank you for this post!

  14. CraZkCfish says:

    Fabulous swatches! I would especially love to see a comparison between Insouciant and Sally Hansen Mystic Lilac, as they’re both greyed-out lilacs with an intriguing shimmer (and the SH is a fraction of the price).

    Keep up the amazing work, and I look forward to the comparisons :)

  15. Pam R says:

    I love Decorous in the bottle, but I don’t think it would look very nice on my hands. The others just aren’t doing much for me. It’s rare that I’m super excited about a collection the first time I see it (the Tudors was a definite exception), but they tend to grow on me. We’ll see… Insouciant has the most potential for looking decent with my skin tone.

  16. mxld says:

    Ok, after a little hunting online I saw that OPI Baby It

  17. Sussi says:

    love love love love iconoclast.. what a name LOL

    I was wondering what you’re using to do your awesome photographs. Special lighting or? I struggle with taking pictures of polish… and getting the correct nuances. Plz help :D


    • All Lacquered Up says:

      Thank you so much. I don’t use any special lighting, just the natural light I get in my office. Sometimes I’ll use a halogen light if it’s really gloomy but most of the time I don’t.

  18. NailPolishFan says:

    I like these colors for spring.It’s a nice mix of both light and dark colors. The one color that I like the best out of all of them is Insouciant. Decorous kinda reminds me a little bit of China Glaze’s Ingrid. Do you think that you could do a compairison of the two? Thank You

  19. mxld says:

    Hi…I’ve been waiting for your swatches. Thanks for putting them up. Can you please compare the following:

    Compare MAC Brown Bag to Decorous
    Compare OPI Baby It’s Coal Outside to Iconoclast
    Compare Insouciant to Demure Vixen


  20. The two “i” colors are my favorites. I want to like Decorous, but I don’t wear brown or any permutation of it, so it doesn’t work for me either.
    Curious how Iconoclast compares to Chanel’s Black Pearl. Looks darker? Or with slightly different tones?

  21. Frankenstyna says:

    These colors all look amazing, but I actually like Decorous the best… it is weird and different yet neutral!

  22. Lauren says:

    I mean, I could give your Decorous a good home if you want. hehe Seriously though, I think I’m going to get all four! I never, ever want an entire collection. I’m definitely most excited for Insouciant. I’ve never worn black nail polish, because my skin looks so much better with browns, but I think if there was ever a time to wear it, Iconoclast would be the one. If I pass on any of them, it will be Recherch

  23. virginia says:

    How does Recherch

  24. KayDiKat says:

    So glad your swatches are up :) Well worth the wait! I will pre-order all of these. Insouciant is def my fave, too, but I’m excited to finally try black on my nails! My comparison suggestions: AA Mouse and Essie Hot Cocoa to Decorous. Also, even though it’s the microshimmer is different colors, wondering how Iconoclast compares to Zoya Raven. The following aren’t so much for dupes, but for RBL comps: Insouciant to Purple Haze and Recherche to Bruised or other vampy RBLs.

  25. Karen says:

    I love this whole collection. I usually pass on something, but I think I will need all of these. Iconoclast may be my favorite, but I just love black and gray polish, especially when there’s something special going on.
    I would like to see how Insouciant compares to Chanel Paradoxal. Without running for my bottle, I think the Chanel is more grey with less shimmer.
    Thanks for the great review and pics. I always count on you for true to life color pics. :-)

  26. Elusive says:

    The swatches are shown in the order I like them!

    I knew based on the other swatches I’ve seen that I wanted Insouciant the most (and I tend to not like lilacs), but when I scrolled down, I gasped! It is absolutely breathtaking, OMG!

    I want Iconoclast because I don’t have any blacks and I like the amount of shimmer in this one.

    Recherche doesn’t really register to me; not a fan of straight-up cremes, especially ones this dark.
    Decorous is the one I was on the fence about because I am not a fan of very warm browns, but this is the most flattering swatch I’ve seen so far. Maybe I’ll buy it.

  27. sara says:

    So pretty! I’m loving Insouciant and Iconoclast. So, I know that they are different color shimmers, but how different do Iconoclast and Baby, It’s Coal Outside look on the nail? I don’t think I have anything even close to Insouciant, so I might have to get that one no matter what, but I am curious about Iconoclast.

  28. DWJ says:

    I think Iconoclast will be making its way into my collection. I was waiting to see how she could really makeover black polish but in true Rescue Beauty form, she made it a stunner.

  29. Molly says:

    Wondering if Iconoclast will be a good replacement for htf Chanel Noir Ceramic.

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      I never got my hands on a bottle of Noir Ceramic so I won’t be able to compare them, sorry. :(

  30. Sonja says:

    Well I have to have Recherch

  31. K Rose says:

    Recherche looks amazing! Please compare to: Chanel Vendetta,OPI Wm Tell Me About It & We’ll Always Have Paris, and maybe Zoya Casey. Thank you!!

  32. Chris says:

    To me, Decorous looks like a lighter, more sophisticated sister to OPI YDKJ.

  33. Marina says:

    Oh wow, Recherche and Iconoclast took my breath away!
    By the way, there does exist another amazing black shimmer, OPI Baby It’s Coal Outside. It’s one of my favourite polishes ever.

  34. Sharon says:

    I love this collection and want them all. I don’t know if I’ll actually end up buying any or if I’ll just long for them, though.

    I especially love Decorous and Recherche’, both are absolutely gorgeous and very wearable. Love them.

  35. Keri says:

    Could we see Insouciant vs. Sephora by OPI’s Metro Chic?
    And I agree, maybe Decorous vs. the SH Fedora?

    Thank you!

  36. Amy says:

    I’d love to see Iconoclast and Chanel Noir Ceramique; the lavender against any smoky purples you have from Fall ’10 (Paradoxal, Essie’s?) and the beige against Butter London’s All Hail McQueen (another brown-beige with microsparkles)? Thank you!

  37. Jen says:

    What about a comparison of Essie’s hot cocoa to Decorous ?

  38. Insouciant & Iconoclast look awesome. I need them!
    - Liz

  39. Silva says:

    I love the whole collection, but I especially love Insouciant. It’s too gorgeous for words.

  40. Janice says:

    I was wondering if you have BB Couture Incognito and how it compares to RBL Insouciant? I love all the colors and I am a sucker for anything and everything RBL but the price tag is killing me, lol! Amazing swatches as always!

  41. Alicia says:

    I think I love them all! My wallet is not going to like that ;)

  42. Courtney says:

    Decorous- is such a cute color. I suppose I am the ultimate “greige” lover. I just love the simplicity. Im also excited to hear that the brush is more flexible-that does my application easier!

  43. Kellie says:

    Wow. This collection is really gorgeous! Love it!

    PS – the word “chai” means “tea” in alot of foreign languages. So, when you say “chai tea”, you’re really saying “tea tea”. ;)

  44. Susana says:

    Gorgeous swatches, as usual!
    Could you compare Iconoclast with Manglaze Matte is Murder, please? I’m loving Iconoclast, but I’d like to know if it’s too similar to MUM (with a shiny top coat).
    Loving Insouciant and Recherch

  45. Melanie says:

    I love this collection!! It’s absolutly differtent from other brands, more trendy
    Question: can you buy only on the RBL homepage or you can find them somewere else?

  46. Leslie says:

    how does Insouciant compare to RBL Catherine… It may be Catherine H…whichever is the more lavendar for the two….

  47. Jen says:

    A bit ho hum. Lancome Piha Black is the best black out there that isn’t just …..boringly black.

  48. Plastic Cup of Stars says:

    Iconoclast looks like a *dead ringer* for Chanel’s “Noir Ceramic.” I’d like to see a comparison pic of those two, please.

  49. Jenn says:

    Are these only available online?

  50. iconoclast in description reminds me of ORly’s Goth. But the sparkles in goth are much more apparent.
    would still love to see a comparison though
    Thanks for the swatches and review!

  51. ReaderRita says:

    This collection didn’t WOW me like The Real Housewives of the Tudor Dynasty did. It’s a pass for me…

  52. Foo says:

    I think Iconoclast may be a dupe for the Sally Hansen Diamond strength Black diamond that I am currently sporting. It even has pink and green shimmer.

  53. Jamee says:

    Please compare Insouciant to Zoya Kelly.

  54. Nikki says:

    Oooooh Decorous against Dior’s Cocoa please x 1000!!!!

  55. Kristina says:

    Yea, I’m thinking I’m going to have to get all of them, but if I can show some restraint, the lavender/gray and the dark brown/plum/purple one are for me! I have to say, being a huge RBL fan and collector that although I love these colors, the names leave something to be desired. Thanks for the lovely swatches.

  56. Carrie says:

    Do you think you might do the comparison swatches before the pre-order?

  57. Wow these are great! I just hate that Rescue Beauty Lounge polishes are so expensive

  58. M says:

    Please compare Insouciant to Chanel Particuliere! Thanks!

    • All Lacquered Up says:

      To Particuliere? Or do you mean Paradoxal? Patriculiere is a taupe color and Insouciant is lavender grey.

  59. Lizzy says:

    Recherche is reminding me of Smokin’ Hot from Essie. Deep grayed plum creme. Thoughts?

  60. Jimmy K. Designs says:

    ooooooo! i wish i could apply dark polishes myself but it just wont happen

  61. saba says:

    I absolutely looovvvee Iconoclast!! please do a comparison for that one!!

  62. Briana says:

    oh Insouciant is gorgeous. A total must have for me.
    Ebay here we come, I dont think you buy this brand in Australia

  63. Sel says:

    The black nail polish is sucking me in. I might have to splurge on it…

  64. Vedra says:

    some possible comparison candidates for Insouciant (of course please disregard if they’re miles off):
    SH Mystic Lilac, MAC Cool Reserve, OPI Parlez-Vous OPI, BBC Incognito, Nails Inc Duke St

  65. Diana says:

    These are my kind of colors! Decorous reminds me a lot of China Glaze Ingrid, but a littles less yellow. I would also love to see Recherch

  66. Candy Paint says:

    they look great on your nails, but i will wait for the comparisons hopefully there are cheaper dupes :-)

  67. Ms.Naomi says:

    I am so looking forward to carrying RBL at my shop and offer my clients a bit of NYC in sunny Florida! The Iconic is going to rock my clients!

  68. Nicole says:

    I’m loving the look of Insouciant, definitely the star for me and I’m not sure I know anything similar! As for comparisons, as soon as I saw Decorous I thought of All Hail McQueen. Decorous looks like it may be inbetween AHM and Ingrid and I’d love to see the three compared. Iconoclast does remind me a lot of Orly’s Goth but Goth’s glitter/shimmer is silver instead of multicolored. I imagine that Recherche is a similar shade to Paradoxal despite the cream vs shimmer.

  69. Julia says:

    Lovely colors, but I just wanted to pipe up that schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personalities, and has little to do with mood instability… it’s frustrating to see the word being used incorrectly to describe indecision regarding choosing a nail polish color!

  70. Emma says:

    Schizophrenia has nothing to do with multiple personalities or rapidly changing moods/opinions. This title is really inaccurate and helps propagate that misconception about the disorder. I don’t want to start drama or anything, but I think it’s offensive to compare being fickle-minded about fashion to a serious mental health issue that severely compromises quality of life for many people. Additionally, it serves to reinforce the myth that schizophrenia involves multiple personalities, is dangerous, etc. I’d love to see the title changed, if possible.

    • Arrianne says:

      Yeah, it’s kinda like the whole “Oh, I’m depressed.” thing being said by people who have no idea what it’s like to be depressed. It annoys me, but won’t change. Just like “gay” being used as an adjective for something bad, or people using the word rape to describe things that can’t compare to the real act.

      I agree with what you’re saying, just that I doubt Ji would change it. Most people don’t give a damn about these things unless they experience it or have seen someone experience it.

      I didn’t want to rant, but I did. Oh well.

  71. Drea says:

    please compare iconoclast with sonia kashuk’s starry night

  72. Shannon says:

    @Jamee- I have Zoya’s Kelly on and it appears to be a deeper darker shade, and it is a true cream with no shimmer whatsoever. I love Kelly on my skin tone, and bet Insouciant would be a great spring/summer color for me. Would love to see them side by side!

  73. moeysullivan says:

    Iconoclast is off the chain. That’s a whole lot of money though.

  74. Esther says:

    I would love to see Recherch

  75. Violet says:

    Could you also compare Recherche against Deborah Lippman’s Dark Side of the Moon?

  76. Heather says:

    How much darker is Iconoclast than Lippmann’s Hit Me With Your Best Shot? I’d really like to see comparisons to several other colors for this as well.

  77. Christine says:

    I can hardly pick a favorite in this collection, they all look great to me! I like that Ji Baek can come up with such a range of unusual colors, that are exciting and varied. The only problem is-I can’t get them all!

  78. Kate says:

    Love your blog! I was wondering if you happen to have Priti NYC Geisha Girl to compare to Insouciant. That’s definitely my fave from the collection. Thanks for the swatches!

  79. Barb says:

    How is Decorous different from Grunge other than the glittery effect? I love everything RBL!!!! Good job Ji!!

  80. Barb says:

    Oh and how do you think Iconoclast compares to Black Russian? Black Russian goes on real black and you see the hint of red shimmer in sunlight. I can only get 2 colors so I am trying to pick them, its hard I want them all :( But I am leaning towards Insouciant and Recherch

  81. Trish says:

    I would love to see how these shades, with all of their odd-ball seeming undertones, would do in an Ombre mix… Obviously not all four of them, but maybe one of the lighter shades mixed with one of the darker shades? Could be interesting, I think!

  82. Issaca says:

    How does Decorous compare to Sephora by OPI Under My Trench?

  83. T-AG says:

    Did you do comparisons? If so, I haven’t found it, but that could be my browser acting weird whenever I try to search blogs this weekend. I’m wondering if you’ve compared Iconoclast to Zoya Raven or any other shimmer blacks.

    I got three of these (all but Decorous) a few months ago and every time I look at Iconoclast, I’m aware that it’s pretty identical to Zoya Raven. In the bottle, Iconoclast looks like it has more shimmer, but on the nail, I really can’t tell the difference. Twice I’ve done manis with both and after a day or so I forget which nails have which color. Iconoclast is a tad thinner/smoother so it’s become my go-to black, especially for layering.