When I saw the Essie Winter 2012 collection last year, the one polish that caught my eye was Leading Lady. I was keen to get my hands on it, but never found it in the shops here and didn't want to resort to buying it online, where the price of shipping wouldn't make it worthwhile. The brand released a very similar polish this year called Toggle to the Top which rekindled my interest in Leading Lady. Essie recently launched in Priceline pharmacies, which unfortunately triggered in me a major Essie phase. Not only did I buy 4 polishes from Priceline, I also decided to place an online order for more Essie polishes with a friend. One of the polishes I bought in my haul was, of course, Leading Lady.
Leading Lady is a deep ruby red flecked with dense red glitter. It's completely opaque in two coats and imparts a shiny, jelly-like finish which adds dimension to the polish. The composition reminds me of what I imagine a colour like Ulta3 Brandy Wine or OPI The One That Got Away would look like with an ordinary red glitter painted over it. The tone of red is dark and full-bodied enough that it almost borders on vampy. This is by no means a subtle or quiet polish. It's loud, a little dramatic and appropriately festive for the upcoming holiday season. What I like most about it is how the glitter looks suspended in the polish, as if sandwiched between semi-translucent layers, rather than merely sitting on top. It gives the polish much more complexity and depth, and leads to a shimmering, starry effect that's positively dazzling in direct sunlight.