Curator's Corner: Happy spring!
Quick post: Givenchy Poudre Croisière

It's a mad, mad, mad world for Estée Lauder

So, was everyone excited for the season 5 premiere of Mad Men?  I have to admit that I don't watch the show, but I'm still intrigued by Estée Lauder's two-piece collection.  It includes a cream blush and lipstick, outfitted in pleated gold cases inspired by the company's original 1960s designs.  The outer boxes have a swirly, ultra-feminine floral motif in pale blue and gold.

EL.mad.men(images from esteelauder.com)

I wanted to see whether this collection had any relation design-wise to the company's vintage packaging to so I did a little research.  As these examples show, pleated gold did figure prominently in Estée Lauder compacts from the '60s.

El.vintage.examples(images from juliasbeadedjewelry on etsy.com and artfire.com)

It's okay that the Mad Men collection echoed Estée Lauder's chic '60s packaging, but I would have liked to see an exact replica of a real compact from their archives, rather than a new design that was vaguely inspired by older pieces.  Anyway, while it's lucrative to have product tie-ins to a hit show at any time, it's especially fitting that the company chose this season to introduce the collection.  Recent issues of Lucky, Vogue, and Elle magazines feature the retro trend that rocked the spring 2012 runways.

Midcentury.mod

Retro.romance

Betty.rocker

Elle did an especially long feature with this style (thanks to my H. for scanning all these!)

Sweet.surrender

P219

P220

P222

The gingham in this picture reminds me of MAC's Shop/Cook collection.

P223

P224
So Estée is right on trend. 

The thing that's sticking in the back of my head, though, is this article at The Gloss.  Writes Jamie Peck, "[T]his leaves me a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, I love the cat’s eyes, curvy figures, and red lips of 1960s style. On the other, I’m wary of mindless nostalgia for an era that was actually pretty terrible for women in a lot of ways, ways Mad Men examines with unflinching honesty. Much like the men who see Don Draper and go out and buy a Brooks Brothers suit in an effort to be like him (i.e, tortured and constantly lying?), I worry some women might be taking the utterly wrong message from the show if thinking about Mad Men gets them in a happy, makeup-buying mood and not a gutted, 'this shit’s not fair, why won’t they let Joan fulfill her intellectual potential?' mood.  Then again, it’s totally possible to appreciate an era’s aesthetic beauty while acknowledging that said beauty is tied to some very problematic history. I just wish that sentiment had been present anywhere in the press release."  Like Peck, I do think it's possible to enjoy the '60s look (and packaging design, of course) while remembering that that time period wasn't exactly enlightened in terms of how women were perceived.  I mean, that's kind of my point in getting  into collecting vintage compacts - while the objects are beautiful in and of themselves, they act as an historical reminder that women didn't always have the rights they have now.  

But I think the thing that really prevented me from buying the collection, however, was that these were vintage-inspired from actual Estée Lauder designs.  Don't get me wrong, I love retro-looking packaging.   As I noted earlier, however, I think the company could have dug through their archives a little more thoroughly - they could have taken an amazing design from the '60s and recreated it.  

What do you think?  And do you watch Mad Men?  Am I missing out?

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

The comments to this entry are closed.