I was doing some research on vintage Helena Rubinstein for an inquiry (more on that later) and came across this 1953 ad for Rubinstein's Stay Long Lipstick in special jeweled cases. Here's a snippet in case you don't feel like clicking to enlarge: "Madame Rubinstein wasn't content with just having the gem of all lipsticks - now she also gives STAY-LONG a gem of a case! Cases that are masterpieces of costume jewelry - slim, golden columns crowned with a simulated but fabulous ruby, emerald, coral, turquoise, topaz or sapphire."
These are proof that for all the packaging innovation the beauty industry has produced over the years, there are still some cosmetic designs that are always appealing. Faux-jewel encrusted lipstick cases will always make the one using them feel fancy, no?
Do you prefer Helena Rubinstein's rounded gemstone cases or D & G's more modern take? I honestly can't choose a favorite!
Last year on a whim I picked up Chanel's aqua mascara from their summer collection (still kicking myself for not getting the bright yellow shade as well), and I also got the sparkly bronze mascara that they released for the holiday season. Having experimented with both I can safely say I'm now a convert of non-black mascaras. I think they're the easiest way to get some color on your face if you don't want to cover your entire lid with a crazy color or if you don't have time to carefully line your eyes. You just sweep on a coat or two and voila! Your face of the day (or night) is instantly fun but subtle. If you're still hesitant let this guide at Elle magazine help you determine what color will be most flattering and how to pair it with a coordinating shadow. But be sure to wear it for YOU, not because it's one makeup trend guys like (WTF, Allure?)
Will you be partaking in this trend or have you tried it out already?
Lancôme has quite the history of teaming up with top designers, including Alber Elbaz, Olympia Le-Tan and Jason Wu. This summer the company collaborated with three rising Paris-based designers: Jacquemus, Alexandre Vauthier and Yiqing Yin, who were tasked with creating a very exclusive (read: expensive) line of handbags, dubbed Nouvelle Vague, filled with Lancôme's best-selling products.
First up is Yiqing Yin. Born in China, she emigrated to Paris at the age of 4 and later studied at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs. According to her website, "her aim has been to create a garment that protects and reinforces, being at the same time a second skin and a supple armour...she imagines structures which are never fixed, shapes that are always in mutation." I like the bold geometric lines and overall boxiness of the bag - there's something powerful about it. The lamé gives it a glam touch.
In Yin's clothing designs we see more of the strong geometric silhouettes, along with dabbles in various textures. From delicate feathers to rough-hewn wool, Yin can seemingly make any fabric bend to her vision of a "supple armour".
I can also see why she used lamé in her Lancôme design - this woman is not afraid of shiny materials!
Next up we have a very cheerful bag from Simon Porte Jacquemus, a 24 year-old self-taught designer who started his own line at the age of 19. Right when I saw the shape and color of the bag, I knew it came from a young'un. Indeed, he says of his aesthetic, "I’ll always be sporty and young...[Jacquemus as a brand] is a whole universe, a concept. Something could be a 'Jacquemus'-y shirt, or a 'Jacquemus'-y bike...it’s more of a playful spirit, clean, fresh, and at the same time raw. If you put photos in front of me, I could tell you whether things were Jacquemus-y or not!"
The bag's shape directly references some of the pieces that came down the runway for his fall 2014 collection. I find this quote from him to be a perfect description of the collection: "If I had a bigger budget I would do more couture moderne: more refined, more exacting, spectacular space-age pieces from the ‘60s; that's what I like. But always mixed with T-shirts and sneakers." Bigger budget or not, I do find these pieces to have a futuristic '60s vibe.
I also thought the strap attachment on the Lancôme bag looked similar to the yellow strips adhered to this coat.
Circles are definitely this designer's muse as of late. In addition to Jacquemus's clothing, they appear in many of the images used in his campaigns.
Of the three I think this one is the most youthful and fun. I couldn't pull off this bag, but I appreciate the style.
Finally, we have Alexandre Vauthier, whose sleek black clutch features his signature gold bar across the front. As for the fold-out mechanism, he says, "I wanted to have something that opened up like this, very technical. I’m very crazy and obsessed by horlogerie [the practice of clock-making], as well as the precision of haute joaillerie [fine jewelry], like when you cut a diamond. I want to have something that represents this kind of work."
This bag is my favorite since it seems to be the most versatile of the three - I could easily see myself carrying it with a number of outfits (I think it would pair especially nicely with those leopard print Louboutin pumps!) I also like that there are individual straps to keep the makeup in place.
I wish I could get all three for the Museum since I feel each one represents their respective designer very well, but given they range from $500 to $1,300 each, it's not happening.
What do you think of these? And which is your favorite?
- September 9th is shaping up to be an important date. Not only is the killer mermaid movie I've been dying to see since February finally coming out, a new book featuring MAC ads will be released as well.
I love when I get an inquiry to which I can actually give a solid response. A gentleman sent in this picture he had of an old lipstick and asked if I could identify it and provide any sense of its monetary value.
I recognized it immediately as one of the Revlon Couturines doll lipsticks released between 1961 and 1963. But which one? The only one I recognize off the top of my head is Liz Taylor as Cleopatra, since it's pretty obvious.
Fortunately the Revlon Couturines appear in Lips of Luxury (which I highly recommend for any beauty aficionado - check out my review here and in-person pics here.) According to the photos in the book it's not Marilyn Monroe.
Or Ava Gardner.
So it must be one of these ladies.
Aha! Looks like it's Jackie Kennedy (last one on the right.)
What's fascinating to me about the submitter's photo is that his doll appears to be wearing a little fur stole around her neck, whereas in the photo from the book she doesn't have one. As for the value, Revlon Couturines can fetch a pretty hefty price. Even though the photo is blurry, the one submitted to me looks to be in excellent condition. And given that she has a stole, which I'm assuming is original (the original Marilyn Monroe figurine has neckwear as well, which isn't shown in the picture in Lips of Luxury), that would probably increase the value. I think a fair asking price would be $150-$250. At the moment I don't even see any Jackie figurines for sale.
What do you think of these? This post reminds me that I really need to track down at least one for the Museum - I can't believe I don't own any. Another one (or 8) to add to the old wishlist.
Huzzah! The designer behind the famous red-soled shoes has launched a nail polish line. Back in 1992 Christian Louboutin was hard at work creating high heels when he thought his current designs lacked a certain something. He took a bottle of red nail polish from an assistant, painted the sole, and from then on, the fashion world was never the same.
As a big Louboutin fan myself I was most excited to get my paws on this, especially since I adored the bottle. Any accessory that can double as a weapon is good in my book. I thought I'd dig out one of my two pairs of Louboutins for fun, and of course to compare the nail polish color to the shoe sole. You may remember I did the same experiment way back in 2008, when I compared Lancôme's Piha set to a black pair of "Very Prive" pumps. So let's take a look, shall we?
First, the bottle. The smoky ombré bottle has sixteen facets in all, each one polished with a hand-held flame. The outer box (which I neglected to take pictures of) is also made by hand. According to an article in Women's Wear Daily (WWD), each one takes 22 weeks to make. Says Louboutin, "I always loved architecture and architectural elements, so when it came to this bottle, a lot of things came in mind...first of all, there was an importance on transparency. It was important to me that it seemed to float. The ultimate goal of the nail color was to evoke a shiny lacquer imprisoned in a piece of faceted crystal." The cap takes its design cue from the Ballerina Ultima shoe Louboutin created in 2007 as part of a collaboration with filmmaker David Lynch. While I personally found the wand to be difficult to maneuver, apparently it's bottom-weighted to make for an easier application.
I love these shoes but hardly ever wear them. They are awesome but not all that practical.
God help us all, I tried to take some "artsy" close-up pictures. They are not near what I wanted, given my lackluster photography skills, but I tried. I was infinitely fascinated by combining the luxury of leopard print rendered in sumptuous pony hair with the shiny nail polish bottle. While I failed to adequately capture the beautiful textures of each, these may give you some idea of what I was trying to accomplish.
Is the polish really a match for the sole? I think so! (You can also check out swatches at Café Makeup.) Louboutin notes that he while he wanted the color to be a good match, it was more important to him that the polish be flattering on every skintone. "I’ve been traveling the world since I was a teenager and so, for that reason, I never consider just one ethnicity. When I’m thinking of the skin of a person, I don’t necessarily see a white skin. When we started to work on the colors, [it was a question of] why would you have just one person try? You have to see it on different skin." (source)
Rouge Louboutin had a very long lead time. We first heard rumblings about an official Louboutin beauty line in 2012, but even prior to that there were manicures and colors inspired by the designer's shoes. In early 2007 nail artist Zoe Pocock, working out of the Charles Worthington salon in the UK, debuted the Louboutin manicure in which the undersides of nails were painted red to mimic the soles of the shoes.
In 2008 the craze for Louboutin-inspired nails was still going strong with the release of the aforementioned (and highly exclusive) Lancôme Piha set, consisting of a black sparkly gloss and red lipstick.
The fad seemed to die down for a while until 2012, when singer Adele sported a silver variation of the Louboutin manicure to match her silver Louboutin heels at the Grammy Awards.
While the idea of transferring Louboutin's shoe designs to nails isn't new, what makes the official Louboutin polish novel is the obvious lead he took in creating it. The wealth of information surrounding the development of the collection and photos like the ones below show that he was truly invested in this endeavor, and that he doesn't see it as merely another source of revenue. “The idea is definitely not to put my name on a new product,” he says in the WWD article.
Of course, the launch for the nail polish line was nothing short of dazzling. Louboutin reconnected with David Lynch, who produced a short film in honor of the collection's release.
At Saks 5th Avenue in New York City, the mythical place known as "Loubiville" took over all the window displays. I was struck by how elaborate they were. Incidentally, the nail polish is currently being sold alongside the shoes rather than in the beauty department. The fantastical cityscape was designed by architect Tarek Shamma and will make the leap from an all-white palette to a more colorful one as new products are introduced.
This arch blew me away - if you look closely you can see high heels forming the pattern.
Amidst all the fanfare there has been an undercurrent of criticism. How much is too much to pay for nail polish? It seems a lot of consumers, beauty bloggers among them, find a $50 bottle of polish to be outrageous. But I'd like to point out that you're not paying just for nail polish. You're paying for both a color and a beautifully crafted bottle that capture the essence of an iconic fashion designer, a collectible meant to be enjoyed by applying but also displayed on one's vanity. If you're into collecting things like this, $50 isn't necessarily unreasonable. "Entering beauty, for me, was almost like entering the religion of beauty," Louboutin told WWD. "If you’re talking beauty, it needs to be beautiful, because we are surrounded by tons of objects now, in every civilization, and there are so many ugly objects. You know, I just want the object to always be present because this is here, this is in your bag, this is in your bathroom. Too many objects are ugly, and I think that I do not want to add in that direction. There is a culture of cynicism, I think, of a certain cynicism with ugliness. That’s really a thing I do not want to participate in." It really boils down to whether you like the bottle as much as the polish - whether you see it as a beautiful object as Louboutin does. In that case, I think a splurge is in order. Additionally, as All Lacquered Up author Michelle Mismas notes, there have been polishes costing $250 and $500 due to the use of real gold and other precious metals in the polish formulas. There's even the famous black diamond-laced Azature polish which costs $250,000. Personally I'd never pay those amounts since I don't very much care about fancy ingredients, but $50 for a pretty trinket by a luxury designer whose work I greatly admire seems like a decent price. If you just want a red polish with no frills, then yes, $50 is absurd as there are quality polishes out there at a much lower price point.
So what's next? As of August 31st, the other colors in the Louboutin collection will be on sale. There is the Pop group, more "fun" colors with a silver cap that are each named after one of the designer's existing shoe styles.
The Nude group features rose gold caps and shades for a variety of skintones. Again, Louboutin wanted to ensure there would be a flattering nude shade for all. "Nude is supposedly something which is going to fade into your own skin, so it just means the color of your skin...so, if you say color of your skin, you have to consider a lot of skin [tones]."
The Noir group will have dark gunmetal caps and include rich, vampy, jewel-toned shades.
- Things that annoy me, along the same lines as last week's Curator's Corner: what's up with all the toilet exhibitions? I can't get any funding or even interest for beauty-related exhibitions but people will flock to see chamber pots or slide down an oversized toilet. The mind boggles.
Much to Sailor Babo's delight, nautical-inspired collections have proved very popular in recent years. In addition to the aforementioned MAC releases and Dior's Transat collection, there was Misslyn's 2012 In the Navy collection: