What I Would Have Put In The Essie Retro Revival Collection

Greetings pals and gals (that’s a Grease quote, I am not saying that the gals are not my pals, I hope you’re all my pals actually).

Today I am going to talk about the Essie Retro Revival collection and how I think they completely missed the mark with something that could have been incredible. We all held our breath and eagerly awaited the re-release of the iconic Essie shade Starry Starry Night only to have them punch us in the gut. You’ve read the reviews – it’s nowhere near the same, the formula is sub-par… How could something that is literally SO SIMPLE have gone so horrifically wrong.

You would think that even if they had lost the recipe or did not have an original bottle in their possession that R&D would have gone out and bought an exorbitantly overpriced bottle from eBay just for authenticity’s sake? I am pretty sure if I can afford to shell out $200+ for Streetwear Hippy Dippy for Pretty Serious that a multi million dollar company like Essie could do the same for Starry Starry Night. I just have to assume that they don’t care. And they thought close enough would be good enough, like when the Cannon Group made the Masters of the Universe movie in the 80’s. Why in the hell did He-Man wear a cape in that movie? Why is there blue glitter in the new SSN?

I have a huge Night Sky polish bible post in the works but as I am still missing some key shades it will probably take me a while to complete. In the mean time you can check out Christine’s review of the new SSN vs the old SSN vs Pretty Serious Eye of Copernicus. Spoiler Alert – you probably need Eye of Copernicus.

This post however was inspired by watching Karina Kaboom’s wonderfully honest review of the new Essie collection and how they really dropped the ball with the colours they picked for revival. I’m pretty knowledgable about past Essie gems so I figured I would have a crack at my own retro revival collection to accompany a (proper) re-release of SSN. Drumroll please



I know, I know. They released Sexy Divide a few years back and they are kind of the same… Well they aren’t close enough. VLV is still a much coveted vintage Essie purple. It’s one of those gorgeous, glowing vibrant purples that you just need in your collection. Why they didn’t pick this one is just beyond me.


I have both of these and although there are slight differences between the two, the base colour is just too close to call, and the green shimmer in AA is almost undetectable on the nail. That being said, VIP is like a darker, moodier purple sister  to VLV and definitely should have been included. It also has a delicate silver shimmer throughout.


Please forgive my swatch of this one, it’s really old. You know, I get that since they are also a “salon” company that they were trying to keep things salon friendly, but they have EVERY OTHER COLLECTION EVER to do that. Take a risk Essie! Why not bring back this gorgeous creamy yellow pastel that everyone loved!



Seriously, I just freaking give up, Essie. I give up. HOW could you do a retro revival collection and NOT INCLUDE DG? HOW? Many moons ago you guys made a KELLY GREEN METALLIC JELLY (which is a feat of unbelievable skill IMO) and then promptly forgot about it. The base shade number (282) is close to SSN (295) so I would assume it is from around the same time. Side note – I once emailed Essie for info about Dominica Green and they had no effing idea what I was talking about. I should have known this Retro Revival collection would be terrible, but you made me dream Essie. YOU MADE ME DREAM.



To be honest, I picked this one because I know they would want a red, but seriously it is SO gorgeous and it belongs with SSN. Forever and ever. The glitter isn’t just red – it has this amazing fiery orange cast that is unique among my red glitter shades. Particle size is a bit larger too but it makes it so flashy. This would have been a perfect fit for the Retro Revival collection.

Honorable mentions: Confetti, Streamers, Ticker Tape, Love Beverly Hills, Night Cap


I could have made up TWO WHOLE Retro Revival collections without resorting to that sheer streaky nonsense they went with. I guess the moral of the story here for Essie is if you want to do something like this, make sure you know your shit first. And if you don’t, do your homework or find someone who does.

*drops mic*


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  • I own Viva La Vespa, Barbuda Banana, and Ruby Slippers and concur that they would be EXCELLENT choices to bring back, along with all your other ones actually. I read a comment somewhere that they think Essie just had a bunch of crap leftover in their warehouse they decided to slap some lipstick on and call “fan favorites”, and I am thinking that may not be far from the truth. I’m sorry Essie but I call bullshit on this whole collection. Let’s not even begin with the piss poor job they did at reviving SSN. These polish companies don’t know what the hell they’re doing sometimes huh! Unlike certain indie brands I know 😉

    • Kaz

      You know, that kind of makes sense. I just have no idea why they would have picked the colours they did.

  • Lynn Bleu Winter

    Now this collection, I’d be all over. I have VLV, and I bought Night Cap based on the way you swatched it a few years ago. I’d almost kill for DG.
    I passed on the actual Retro collection. I found most of it boring, and when I saw SSN wasn’t even an actual match to the original, I lost all interest. Besides, I have a “pretty serious” dupe for it anyway 😉

    • Kaz

      I hear it’s Pretty Seriously good! 😉

  • Seriously, Essie were freaking lazy with this collection. If you know a polish like SSN has been coveted and longed after and requested by your fans for freaking YEARS WHY THE EFF WOULD YOU CHANGE IT. COME ON. It’s not like it’s a complicated polish to begin with – that’s kind of why it’s so perfect.
    Beautifully collated collection, Kaz. You should do this for a living. Oh wait… 😀 There’s a reason I’ve lost pretty much all interest in mainstream stuff.
    Also, going back to SSN, even if they didn’t have a bottle in their archives or want to purchase one (scrooges), how hard would it have been to reach out to a blogger for help? Didn’t China Glaze do that with All Lacquered Up to recreate the Wizard of Ooh Aahz collection years ago? Or was that Scrabble? I forget who but the point is they took some initiative and it was cool. Poor form, Essie.

    • Kaz

      I think there’s a lot of things they could have done and no real excuse. If it was something like Clarins 230, we might understand but SSN is incredibly simple.

      Haha yes I think I am in the right line of work.

  • I am in complete agreement! Starry Starry Night was never the ultimate lemming for me especially since others including you have been able to create dupes (or close enough) to it (Eye of Copernicus is my fav!). Ruby Slippers is amazing yes, but Bonded has always been my favorite discontinued Essie red and I have yet to find something to compare it to, so that is what I would have LOVED for them to re-release. I feel like the colors they released, were ANY of them actually wanted by anyone? Not one but three sheer nude/pink/champagne polishes. *shakes head at Essie*

    • Kaz

      Ooh Bonded is another good one! I would love to see them explain how they thought these colours were wanted by everyone. They’re just so unexciting. This was a chance to go big and they just failed to do so.