MM Holiday 2017/Winter 2018 exhibition

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibitionposter

There were so many great artist collaborations this holiday season - some of which I'm still hoping to write about before January 1st - but ultimately, magpie that I am, the sparkly stuff won out as this year's holiday/winter exhibition theme.  I'm lured by glittery, blingy makeup packaging year-round but the holidays seem to intensify my weakness for shiny things.  And 2017's offerings did not disappoint!  There were so many to choose from, but ultimately I went with the ones I thought were prettiest (and easiest to obtain, truthfully - there were many international releases that were too difficult/expensive to get a hold of).  There was also an emphasis on light.  Whether from twinkly holiday strands, reflections off of fresh snow, or fireworks and bright stars illuminating a night sky, makeup companies seemed to gravitate towards the play of light in many different forms as the concept for their holiday items.  Even the names (Striking Night Lights, Symphony of Light, Dazzling Lights) demonstrate the fascination with light this season.

A note about the labels:  I couldn't print them on glittery rose gold paper as I would have liked, so I felt they needed a little extra something.  Fortunately I was feeling crafty and added a little sparkle to them with nail polish.  :)

MM holiday 2017 exhibition label

MM holiday 2017 exhibition label

I hope the exhibition leaves you feeling festive for the holidays and brightens the dark dreary days of winter for you.  Let's get to it!

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition

Top row, left to right.

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

For such a popular design, there was a lot of conflicting information on these Evans "sunburst" compacts.  The ad I included for the exhibition is from 1949, but according to one of my collector's guides the sunburst design had been introduced in 1948. 

Vintage Evans compacts

Vintage Evans compact

1949 Evans compact ad

Meanwhile, in the Evans collector guide I purchased in hopes of finding more information, there are ads that refer to the design both as sunburst and as the "Adonna".  Unfortunately there were no dates listed for either ad so once again, I'm not sure of the date range for this design.  

Evans compact ad

I would have included this ad in the exhibition but it was literally so small there was no point - this is not an entire page of the book, just a tiny ad on one page full of other ads. I figured it wouldn't scan well either.

Evans compact ad

Evans compact ad detail

While I don't have concrete information on this particular design, there's always the trusty Collecting Vintage Compacts for a complete history of the Evans company if you're interested.  :)

Givenchy's holiday collection was so sparkly!

Givenchy holiday 2017

Givenchy holiday 2017

Givenchy holiday 2017

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters:

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Maquillage Snow Beauty compact is once again stunning.  I just wish I had the 2014 version.

Maquillage Snow Beauty 2017

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Second row, left to right. 

MAC's Snowball collection was seriously gorgeous inside and out.

MAC Snowball

MAC Snowball

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Shiseido Symphony of Light:

Shiseido Symphony of Light

Shiseido Symphony of Light

Shiseido Symphony of Light

MM holiday 2017 exhibition/winter 2018 label

These kind of presents are my favorite.  ;)

Burberry holiday 2016 and 2017 highlighters

Burberry holiday 2017 highlighter

I originally thought these Germaine Monteil pieces were from the '50s, but they're actually later - from the '70s according to several newspaper ads I found.  I didn't include them in the exhibition since I thought the magazine ad was visually more impactful, but here are the clippings if you're so inclined.

Germaine Monteil Golden Nugget lipstick and compact

Germaine Monteil Golden Nugget compact

Germaine Monteil ad, 1980

Germaine Monteil ad, 1980

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

1974 Germaine Monteil newspaper ads

1977 Germaine Monteil ad

Third row, left to right.

Love the glitter gradient effect on Lancôme's holiday collection.  The cushion compact, of course, was not available in the U.S. so I had to get it from Ebay.  I don't know why they do that but it drives me nuts.  Americans like cushions! I don't know why Lancôme thinks there's not a market in the States, especially since they sell other cushion products here.

Lancome holiday 2017

Lancome holiday 2017

How adorable are these vintage Revlon mini lipstick sets?!  One of the trios is missing a lipstick, but 2 out of 3 ain't bad.  And while I couldn't locate a magazine ad, I was happy to find newspaper clippings so I could at least get dates for them (1954 and 1953).

Vintage Revlon lipstick trios

Vintage Revlon lipstick trio, ca. 1954

Revlon lipstick trio, 1953

Revlon lipstick trio ad, November 1954

Revlon lipstick trio ad, November 1953

Someone went a little crazy for all the shiny cushion cases that Korean beauty brands offered this season.  I know they don't look great crammed on the shelf, but I was overwhelmed with the sparkly goodness and felt the need to include them all.

K-beauty cushion cases, holiday 2017

Laneige Delights Pop cushion case

Peri-pera Pearly Night cushion case

Etude House sparkle cushion compact

The lovely Bellyhead at Wondegondigo called my attention to this subtly shimmering Suqqu case.  And I was so pleased to add another sequined beauty to the Museum's collection, courtesy of Chantecaille.

Suqqu and Chantecaille holiday 2017

Bottom row, left to right.

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Too-Faced Diamond Highlighter and Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold

Too-Faced Diamond Highlighter and Charlotte Tilbury Bar of Gold

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

YSL holiday 2017

YSL holiday 2017 lipstick

Happy 10 years to the Armani Black Gem palette!

Armani Black Gem palette

Armani Black Gem palette

MM holiday 2017/winter 2018 exhibition label

Dior Precious Rocks are precious indeed.  Dior was late in releasing the beautiful lipstick case so it arrived a day after I photographed the exhibition...I'll be adding it to the shelf shortly.

Dior Precious Rocks

And that concludes the holiday/winter exhibition!  Which items were your favorites?

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Some thoughts on Items: Is Fashion Modern?

This will not be a full review of MoMA's Items: Is Fashion Modern? since, as we know, my reviews are less than stellar.  But since the exhibition showcases several makeup items, I thought I'd share my perspective on their inclusion.  As the "curator" of an online cosmetics museum I imagine I looked at these objects differently than someone who has an extensive background in fashion or design would.  There have been tons of reviews for the show - some good, some not as positive - and honestly, I've done my best to tune out most of them since I wanted to form my own opinions.  I thought this art magazine had the best summary of the show's theme.  "On 1 October, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York will host its first exhibition dedicated to fashion since 1944. Items: Is Fashion Modern? will consist of 111 garments and accessories that have had a profound effect on the world over the last century. Filling the entire sixth floor of the museum, the exhibition explores fashion thematically through items which are all powerful and enduring manifestations of the ways in which fashion – a crucial field of design – touches everyone, everywhere. Items is organised by Paola Antonelli, senior curator alongside curatorial assistant Michelle Fisher.  The exhibition is something Paola Antonelli has wanted to do for over six years. Historically, fashion has not been part of the Museum’s remit, in great part because of previous curators in the architecture and design department explains Antonelli '[they] perceived the seasonality of fashion as antithetical to a history of modern design that, traditionally, is based on a set of principles that also include timelessness.' The impetus for the exhibition essentially comes from Antonelli’s belief that, in reality, it is quite the opposite: 'there is not a complete history of design without fashion, a very important subset of the design field as a whole. This exhibition is long overdue!'"

  MoMA ticket
I was pretty excited to see the show based on this description, but my interest goes back way further:  in December 2016 the curatorial assistant mentioned above emailed me asking for resources on the history of red lipstick.  My eyes almost popped out of my head when I got the email as I was so flattered, but of course I was my usual useless self - I gave her everything I knew, but there was nothing I could provide that she couldn't have found on her own. Nevertheless she was very nice and followed up with some questions about the particular lipstick that would be on display and also sent me an invitation to the exhibition preview (which I couldn't attend due to stupid work). 
Still can't believe it
 
Now that we understand the exhibition's general premise and an explanation of my own selfish interest, I can discuss the two makeup objects that were included*:  YSL's Touche Éclat highlighting/concealing pen, and an original tube of Revlon's Fire and Ice lipstick with the 582 Futurama case.  I didn't know that the Touche Éclat would be on display, so I was happy to see another beauty item had made the cut.  Finally I got to see makeup in a real museum, and one that's accessible to me geographically!
 
MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern
 
But when I got to the actual display for the Touche Éclat, which was in the first room upon entering the exhibition, my heart dropped.  Well, first I noticed the other items - the Touche Éclat was placed so far away from them I didn't even see it.  Then when I did notice a small thin strip of gold on the wall I thought it was a handle of some kind...then realized it was the precious Touche Éclat.

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern

It was possibly the saddest installation of a makeup item I've ever seen, and this is coming from someone who displays makeup on crooked shelves with leftover tape still clinging to them in her bedroom.  It had barely any light on it and the label was on the floor.  No accompanying ad, no covering to protect it, nothing.

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern
 
Touche Éclat deserved much better, yes?  And while initially I was pleased to see another makeup item as part of the illustrious 111, the display left me scratching my head as to why it was included.  Red lipstick I get - arguably that could be considered a pretty big part of modern fashion - but Touche Éclat, as famous as it is, just seemed like an odd choice.  Fashionista explains that it was part of the exhibition's "Body and Silhouette" section, which focused on "size and image".  The Touche Éclat was displayed next to a Wonderbra, Spanx and nylon stockings so I guess it was fitting the concept of underthings or "next to nothing" attire as well as the idea of using artificial, easily concealed aids to appear "naturally" beautiful, but I still saw no reason to include it, especially given its shabby treatment.

I walked around the rest of the exhibition, brushing off the disappointing installation and focusing on enjoying the garments.  It did serve the purpose of bringing together various modern fashion archetypes, most of which were immediately recognizable as ones you have in your own closet.  The New York Times and the Cut explain the appeal better than I can:  "With a Chanel gown here; two saris there; espadrilles and two beautiful Chinese cheongsam dresses elsewhere, Items mediates between high and low, East and West, couture and common. But it stays fairly low, creating an air of familiarity that is then enriched by the labels and catalog, which pinpoint origins, regional variations and technological advances...As a whole, the exhibit reads as a listicle for a senseless world; a catalogue of the things we carry. It helps us understand why we are the way we are and buy the things we buy; and then what those choices can mean."

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern
 
Finally, I got to the Revlon Fire and Ice display.  How MoMA found this lipstick I don't know, as I've been searching for a vintage tube of Fire and Ice for years.  I'm assuming the magazine was borrowed from an archive.  (Funny side note:  The staff wanted to confirm the shade was an authentic vintage Fire and Ice and not a contemporary refill, but to see the label on the bottom of the tube they'd have to "click out" the lipstick from the Futurama case, a mechanism with which they were unfamiliar.  They expressed their concern to me that it might break, but I assured them they'd be fine taking the lipstick out and encouraged them to watch the vintage commercials demonstrating how the case works.  I also mentioned that to my knowledge, Revlon hasn't manufactured refills for the Futurama cases for decades, so whatever they had was most certainly from the 1950s-60s.)

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern
 
Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice
 
Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice

Unfortunately this installation, for me, was only marginally better than the Touche Éclat.  The vitrine was far too big for the lipstick and ad, making them look rather lonesome.  Fire and Ice is probably the most iconic red lipstick and the most representative of everything associated with red lips in modern times, so they chose wisely; however, showing a couple other versions, such as MAC Ruby Woo or Chanel Pirate may not have hurt.  After all, there was a whole case of platform shoes instead of just one pair.  Even the Swatch got 3 different versions on display. 

Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice
 
Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice
Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice
 
Placement was an issue once again, as the case was shoved unceremoniously in the corner by an emergency exit.  I understand not everything can be front and center - that's just the nature of gallery space and lord knows I have my frustrations setting things up at home - but I think there were any number of items that could have gone there instead.  Or perhaps leave that space empty, as they had the entire 6th floor of the museum to spread out everything.
 
MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern
 
Items: Is Fashion Modern - Revlon Fire and Ice
 
The unfortunate display of both of these items made me question why they were included in the first place, as their placement made them seem more of an afterthought.  I'm wondering if it made more sense to stick to actual clothing and shoes rather than try to include beauty items.  I'm assuming this is just my makeup-obsessed brain talking here, but as someone who firmly believes makeup is a rich enough field to have its own museum and exhibitions separate from fashion items, I think it might have been better to leave it out in this case.  I mean, I can absolutely see a fashion or design museum housing a gallery/exhibition devoted to cosmetics -  if there can't be a fully separate cosmetics museum I think it makes sense for makeup to fall under those umbrellas since there are such close connections between makeup and fashion and makeup and design - but for this particular exhibition, I feel as though beauty items should have been excluded since they encompass so much history and cultural significance on their own.  If you're not going to do a full exploration of red lipstick or, heck, even a group of iconic makeup items like Fire and Ice and Touche Éclat, don't bother having them tag along in a fashion/design exhibition.  One could argue that I shouldn't think this way, since every other item there is so important that it could easily have had its own exhibition (indeed, some pieces already have), not just the makeup.  Plus the whole point of the show was to bring together the most influential fashion items in modern history rather than focus exclusively on any one item.  And I'm not a fashion or design curator so clearly they had their reasons for including beauty items, and obviously, they are professionals and know exactly what they're doing.  But even though I don't have their credentials, I still feel entitled to my very humble opinion that sticking to clothing, bags and shoes might have made a more powerful statement about modern fashion.  I'm also wondering how perfume aficionados feel about the inclusion of Chanel No. 5.  I believe that fragrance, like makeup, is owed separate attention (and this museum and exhibition demonstrate that at least some people agree with me).
 
Did any of this stop me from buying the exhibition catalogue?  Of course not, as catalogues are my favorite museum souvenirs.  Plus I figured any sliver of cosmetics history would be helpful in terms of building the Museum's library, and the catalogue does feature several nicely researched pages on red lipstick and Touche Éclat.  Even after I read the section on the latter object, I still couldn't figure out why it was included, but...it's something.

MoMA - Items: Is Fashion Modern catalogue

Overall, Items was a thoughtful and inspired show, and I enjoyed the democratic nature of it, i.e. how most of the pieces were everyday ones owned by average folks.  The fact that it wasn't focused on couture or historic items made it approachable and relatable.  Mind you, I love seeing rare historical clothing and high fashion garments, but this was a nice change of pace that looked at fashion in a more universal way and made viewers ponder the items they wear (a white t-shirt) or covet (in the case of the Birkin bag) on a deeper level.  I also was impressed by how cohesively the curators were able to select and organize over 100 greatly significant fashion items from across all cultures and classes without getting them jumbled in a haphazard mess.  Having said that, I maintain that beauty products should have been left out.  What's funny about this is that MoMA offers the opportunity for us non-curators to pretend we're in charge and weigh in on what should have been included that wasn't.  Looks like I went in the opposite direction and thought about what should have been excluded.  Oh, and in terms of "networking", I've long lost hope that anyone at MoMA will contact me again or inquire about my possible involvement in a makeup exhibition should they ever do one, given that I kinda blew it in terms of providing useful information about red lipstick's history, but I guess it's good they at least contacted me in the first place.  I suppose I could always reach out with a really good pitch for an exhibition if I could get it together somehow, as I still have all their contact info! *evil laugh*

Thoughts?  Did you see the show?  It's only open till January 28th so if you're thinking about it, hop to it!

 

*There was also a case featuring different nail art designs.  I didn't even know where to start with that so I left it out of this post entirely.

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King of the Jungle: Chanel Signe du Lion

Still plowing through holiday 2017 collections - hopefully you're not getting tired of them!  Today I'm sharing Chanel's exquisite Signe du Lion highlighting powders, which are based on their Sous le Signe du Lion jewelry line that was launched in 2013. 

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

I don't know why Chanel released these highlighters now, as I didn't spot any lion-themed pieces in any of their most recent fashion collections, but I'm not sure I care.  Just look at them!

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighters

I also really like that Chanel opted for rose gold and white gold colorways rather than the more traditional silver and yellow gold.  Of course those are always nice options -  I will never turn my nose up at silver and gold, especially around the holidays - but I feel these are more understated and a little bit unexpected.

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighter

Chanel Signe du Lion highlighter

The jewelry line originally consisted of 58 pieces and was inspired by Coco Chanel's love of the lion motif.  I'll let The Jewellery Editor give the full background.  "Not only was Mademoiselle Gabrielle Chanel born under the star sign of Leo. In 1920 she travelled to Venice for the first time, at an impressionable moment her life when she was mourning the death of Boy Capel, her great love.  Lulled by the waters of the lagoon and entranced by the opulence of Byzantine art, it was in Venice that Gabrielle emerged from her sorrow. Here she found inspiration and strength in the rich gold tiles of the church cupolas, the mesmerisingly bejewelled Palo d'Oro altar piece of St Mark's and the ubiquitous lions that grace almost every building, door knocker and public monument of La Serenissima.  The lion is the symbol of St Mark, the patron saint of the city, whose relics rest in the Basilica. The lion is also a symbol of power and the dominance of Venice over the world during the Renaissance - an apt figure for Gabrielle Chanel, a powerful woman who decorated her rue Cambon apartment with statues of lions and used them in couture details such as buttons, handbag clasps and brooches."

Let's take a moment to drool over some jewelry highlights, shall we?

Chanel lion bracelet

Chanel lion earrings

Why yes, you can buy me this necklace.  It's such a bargain at a mere $86,500.

Chanel lion necklace

Chanel lion earrings

Chanel lion ring

Chanel lion brooch

I think this ring most resembles the design on the highlighters.

Chanel lion ring
(images from chanel and jewelsdujour.com)

I wanted to see whether any lions had popped up in Chanel jewelry and accessories prior to the 2013 jewelry line and was pleasantly surprised to find they had been roaring throughout a good chunk of Chanel's history. 

Chanel lion brooch, 1960s
(image from 1stdibs)

Chanel lion coat of arms jewelry set, 1970s
(image from 1stdibs)

Chanel lion bracelet, 1980s 
(image from onekingslane)

Chanel lion bracelet, 1992
(image from tradesy)

Chanel lion brooch, 2001
(images from 1stdibs)

I was also curious to know whether Chanel was fabricating, or at the very least, embellishing Coco's fondness for lions as a marketing ploy to sell the jewelry line.  Once again I was surprised to see that Gabrielle Chanel did appear to have a genuine love for the motif as evidenced by this 1960 magazine spread and photos of her apartment, which show that she did indeed decorate it with an abundance of lions.  Additionally, in 2016 Chanel carried on the legacy of its founder's appreciation for the motif by paying for the restoration of the lion statue, as well as the surrounding mosaic, on the facade of St. Mark's basilica in Venice.  So it looks like Chanel wasn't...lion. (I'll be here all day, folks.)

Chanel-1960(image from parismatch.com)

Lion statue in Coco Chanel's apartment(image from ilovecuriosity.wordpress.com)

Chanel's apartment(image from interiormonologue.com)

This bronze statue served as the inspiration for Chanel's fall 2010 couture show, for which Karl Lagerfeld, grandstander that he is, commissioned an enormous version of the statue as the runway's focal point.  He even had a male model don a lion's head for the grand finale.

Bronze lion statue in Coco Chanel's apartment(image from styleblog.ca)

Chanel fall 2010 couture show

Chanel fall 2010 couture show

Chanel fall 2010 couture show(image from vogue and popsugar)

The most recent lion reference I was able to find in Chanel's accessories besides the jewelry line was this series of Leo bags from spring 2011.  This doesn't mean they don't exist; I just didn't notice any in my cursory browsing of runway photos from 2015-2018.

Chanel Leo bag
(image from designer-vault.com)

Chanel Leo bag
(image from tradesy)

As for the highlighters, I'm still not sure why Chanel decided to release them now, as the jewelry line debuted a few years back and I didn't see any lions in more recent runway collections.  But I will say that the simplicity of the highlighters' faceted design and subtle hues instead of an overly busy and more colorful one nicely reflect the 2013 jewelry line, which I also believe was the best choice in terms of inspiration for highlighting powders.  I don't think fine jewelry is always better designed than costume jewelry, but I think in the case of Chanel's lion-themed baubles, the 2013 collection is way more refined and modern compared to the costume jewelry from previous decades, not to mention incredibly luxurious - it translates perfectly to highlighters.  I would like to see a bronzer embossed with Lagerfeld's oversized version of the lion statue...I'm envisioning a shiny golden bronze powder for the lion and a dazzling white pearly highlighter for the sphere under its paw. ;) 

What do you think about these highlighters?  Are you a Leo?