London IMATS 2016 - The Weekend.

Another year, another trip to Kensington Olympia for the show that seems to be a high point in the calendars of makeup enthusiasts and artists alike. The International Makeup Artist Trade Show.

This year was probably the best out of the four times I've been to but I'll get into that in a little bit. There were a few things that I thought spoilt it a little so I'll get those out the way first.

Usually I can tend to overlook a few bad points here and there but these seemed to just really tick me off. Starting with the Love Makeup booth. In previous years if memory serves me correct, the layout was a rectangle in which you made your way around the outside to pick up what you wanted to purchase. This year the layout felt awkward especially around the Zoeva brushes there was two different sides so you had to walk around the entire booth to get to the other side. It felt small and extremely cramped. Zoeva are really great brushes so it's no surprise that people were wanting to check them out.

YSL pulled a NARS (who were no where to be seen this year), the stand was spacious and included the new Vinyl Couture Mascara on two different stands. Upon asking if I could get the electric blue one, I was told that they in fact have no inventory stock of any of the new mascaras. So why were they on display? To me there's nothing more annoying than things being displayed but when you decide to spend good money on them they tell you they have no intention of selling them.

For example, I wanted a couple of the new Urban Decay highlighters so I made it my mission to go there when I first got inside. On the two stands I noticed square shaped gaps, presuming where these shades should be. I asked one of the lovely assistants and she said they were all out. But unlike other places they took them off display so you weren't taunted with the fact you could swatch and have a play but you can't actually buy them.

Lastly LancĂ´me exhibited for the first time with a really great discount. One of the things I've always read about preparing for IMATS is to take cash. Some stands don't accept card, or take the price in dollars rather than sterling. There were even some stands having trouble with getting a signal on their card reader so it took an awfully long time for the transaction to go through. After having a look at all the lovely new Juicy Shakers I decided I was definitely going to get one as I'd planned to in the near future anyway. The assistant was very charming, got the one I wanted and proceeded to put it through the till, offering me a card reader. I asked him if I could pay cash only to be informed that they didn't take cash. Sorry but what? I can understand not taking card but cash, really? There were no signs to inform me of this nor was I told until I was prompted to pay. Very disappointing on the brands behalf!

Anyway, that's enough ranting! I don't usually like 'read mores' because they're just a way to garner more views in my opinion. But I had so many photos I struggled to narrow them down and this is only around half. So I've popped under a read more and put a review of the rest of the show after, just so it doesn't crash for people when you land on my home page. Enjoy!

As for the show - I got there for opening. As I was provided with a press pass* I like to get there early. It gives me a chance to get around and get some photos before the crows get too big at some of the stands. It also means you can go to booths such as MUFE whilst it's quiet, if you go later in the day it can be hard to get anywhere near the stands. It also gives you a chance to see the makeup looks being created from start to finish.

As always I went with a mental list in hand with just a few things on, some which I couldn't get but I more than made up with other purchases. It's a great way to see products and brands you wouldn't usually buy, especially if you don't have access to them. Whilst you can buy them online it's not quite the same as having a play with them and seeing how they look and perform in person.

There is keynotes on for the duration of the weekend there was only one I wanted to see and that was the one with Alex Box. I knew I had to get there early but so did everyone else. Some even sat through the previous keynote so that they had good seats for Alex's show. Every seat was occupied and there was so many people standing anywhere they could to catch a glimpse of an amazing artist at work.

Alex created two separate looks with just seventeen minutes for each. I'm struggling to find words to describe how truly wonderful it was to see her at work. She was dressed all in white and when the looks were over she covered herself up with a white hoodie and I knew exactly where this was going. She got all her assistants to cover her in paint, glitter and all sorts of wonderful materials. No wonder she was last on the list for the day, I bet the stage took some cleaning!

Afterwards Alex sat down with Emmy award winning makeup artist and IMATS founder - Michael Key for a little bit of a chat. It was so refreshing to hear that whilst her makeup looks may seem crazy and ridiculous to some, she just does what comes into her head and if she didn't, in her words she'd 'probably be locked up'. I think as a whole the things she spoke about stirred a lot of emotions in myself and in others. She spoke about how she suffers with dark days and even though it can feel like you're the only one who feels like that, you really aren't. Sometimes I think it's difficult to think of the bigger picture and to see someone so inspirational talk about the same struggles as I have, it makes me realise that I can do anything I put my mind to.

I think that just about wraps up the weekend. Seeing Alex Box do her thing made my weekend, everything else was just a bonus. My next post will be about all the pretties I purchased!

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