There are six shades in the Spring 2013 collection from Essie, Madison Ave-Hue. The names are inspired by shopping districts from around the world. Left to right: Go Ginza, Bond with Whomever, Madison Ave-hue, Maximillian Strasse-her, Avenue Maintain, and Hip-anema.
When I first saw these, I felt like I'd seen them all before, so as I swatched, I also did comparisons, with an emphasis on seeing how these matched up to other Essie polishes in my stash from previous collections.
Let's start with Go Ginza, a pale warm purple creme. I've seen this described as "cherry blossom pink", in keeping with the Japan-inspired name, but it's definitely purple to my eyes. Very pale purple, and on the red side of purple, but still purple. Since this is pale, I was surprised to only need two coats. Looking at my photos, I see a base and/or top coat would have been nice to smooth things out, but I blame my rushed application for that rather than the polish.
For comparison, I grabbed Essie Nice is Nice, from the Spring 2011 collection. Both in the bottle and on the nail, I found Nice is Nice to be slightly darker than Go Ginza. They're close enough that a reasonable person wouldn't need to have both. Left to right below: Go Ginza, Nice is Nice, Go Ginza, Nice is Nice.
Continuing on the light warm purple creme theme, let's look at Bond with Whomever. I used two coats of this one as well, though it seemed to have a thinner formula than Go Ginza and a third coat might have been a good idea.
Much as I love purple, I don't think there needed to be two of them in this collection, especially since they're both warm and light. Bond with Whomever isn't as close to Go Ginza as Nice is Nice was, but it's not too many steps away along the value scale. Left to right below: Bond with Whomever, Go Ginza, Bond with Whomever, Go Ginza.
I also compared Bond with Whomever to Butter London Molly Coddled, from their Spring 2013 offering. I thought the Essie was warm toned for a purple, but the Butter London is even more warm toned. Left to right below: Bond with Whomever, Molly Coddled, Bond with Whomever, Molly Coddled.
Madison Ave-hue is the only shimmer in this Essie collection. It's a bright pink that leans purple and another two-coater for me.
Here's a closeup of the shimmer in low light:
I compared this one to Orly Preamp from their Fall 2012 collection and Essie Splash of Grenadine, which originally came out with Resort 2010. Splash of Grenadine is a creme, of course, but I was curious how the base color compared. In the photo below, Preamp is on the left; its base is more purple than Madison Ave-hue and its shimmer is warmer and more dense. Splash of Grenadine is on the right; its base is also more purple.
Maximillian Strasse-her is a light dusty green creme. Swatch is two coats, no base or top coat.
I do love a dusty green, so had no trouble finding another for comparison purposes. I chose Essie Who Is the Boss from Wedding 2012. To put it in SAT analogy terms (do they even still do analogies on the SAT?), Who Is the Boss is to Maximillian Strasse-her as Go Ginza is to Nice is Nice—that is to day, Who Is the Boss is lighter but not by much. Left to right below: Maximillian, Boss, Maximillian, Boss.
Avenue Maintain is a brilliant blue creme (French blue, I suppose, since this is the Paris polish in the collection). This was almost a one coater, but I used two for consistency's sake with the rest of the collection.
The closest match to Avenue Maintain I could find in my stash was GOSH Gypsy Blue. Left to right below: Essie, GOSH, Essie, GOSH.
To give an idea how Avenue Maintain compares to some other popular blues, I also compared it to L'Oreal Ocean Breeze (which itself was a twin to Essie Shelter Island) and Essie Lapis of Luxury. On the left in the photo below, you see Ocean Breeze leans more toward turquoise, and on the right, Lapis is lighter and less intense than Avenue Maintain.
The last polish in the collection is Hip-anema, an orange-leaning red creme. This is really pigmented, to the point where I had trouble cleaning up where I got some on my skin (it did come off when it was time to take off this swatch, just was hard to do clean up on it without taking it off and starting over). I used two coats.
I compared Hip-anema to Snap Happy from Essie's Winter 2012 collection. They're really close; Hip-anema is a touch brighter, but not so you'd really notice unless you were looking for it. Left to right below: Hip-anema, Snap Happy, Hip-anema, Snap Happy.
If I could have only one polish from this collection, it'd be Madison Ave-hue, as that's the most different from things I already own, plus it's such a happy and bright color that it really hits the spot about now, when I'm more than ready to be done with the last grey and cold days of winter (I drove through snow flurries on the way to the office this morning). Maximillian Strasse-her and Avenue Maintain are my runners up.