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April 2016

MM Mailbag: UMOs (unidentified makeup objects)

You all know how much I love getting inquiries, but boy do I hate it when I don't have an answer.  Today I thought I'd share 2 items that I couldn't identify.  First up is this vintage mirror that was found at a yard sale.  It's an interesting piece - I can't say I've seen a vintage mirror with an inset like that, or faux pearl and rhinestone grapes with gold leaves. 

Vintage makeup mirror

The little flower must be the brand emblem, but I couldn't seem to turn up anything that would point to the specific company that made it.

Vintage makeup mirror

I also can't even tell what decade this is from.  Given the rounded edges and ornate details similar to some vintage lipstick holders, I'd say it's from mid 1950's or early '60s, but I really have no idea.  Sigh.  I hate being so useless!

The second item is at least something that I could say with certainty is from the 1920s or '30s.  The person who wrote said it was her grandmother's, and it still was in the box bearing the name of the Illinois pharmacy where it was purchased. 

Vintage dance purse box

The colorful, abstract enamel piece on the front is quite striking.

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

I was able to find a couple of other compacts that looked identical (same clasp, chain, and wavy etchings) except for the design of the enamel piece on the front.  Alas, they were also unmarked.

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet(images from ebay.com)

Vintage dance purse/wristlet

Vintage dance purse/wristlet(images from etsy.com)

These sorts of compact/bag hybrids, sometimes called "dance purses" were quite popular throughout the '20s and early '30s.  Unfortunately, without a maker's mark on this particular compact, I have no idea what company made it.  I'm always working on building the Museum's library, which includes collector guides - I think this one would have been especially useful for this inquiry, but I still haven't purchased it yet.

Can anyone help identify these?


Curator's Corner, 4/24/2016

CC logoLinks for the week.

- Like moths to a flame, beauty addicts are predictably going crazy over this rainbow highlighter.  I must admit it does look really fun!  But it's only a matter of time before a major beauty brand copies it - if I were that Etsy seller I'd patent/trademark my creation forthwith.

- Things I'm dubious about this week include glitter stretch marks and anti-aging gin.  No amount of sparkle will make my stripes appealing, and I doubt the collagen in the gin will do anything to counteract the notoriously un-beautifying effects of alcohol.

- Speaking of dubious beauty, for once and for all:  smearing any sort of placenta on your face does not have any proven benefits for your skin.

- Well, this is terrifying.  For any beauty procedure, always make sure your esthetician is qualified!

- I'm throwing some confetti Essie's way in honor of their 1,000th nail polish shade.

- Lip fillers are quickly becoming the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure

- Loved this piece on Louis Vuitton's kabuki cosmetics case.

- Some rather sad news this week:  the world lost yet another gloriously eccentric, incredibly talented musician who could also rock some amazing makeup looks.  Goodnight, sweet Prince. :(

The random:

- In museum news, this new app sounds so cool!  Meanwhile, this guy uses a face swapping app in quite a novel and hilarious way.  Also, a temporary Snoopy Museum has opened in Tokyo.

- In '90s nostalgia, New Kids on the Block and Paula Abdul are playing a show in August, along with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees.

- Excited for Documentary Now to return.

- A bed fit for a mermaid princess!

What's new with you?

 


Happy hydrangeas from Shu (and some traveling penguins)

Shu Uemura's spring 2016 collection, Pastel Fantasy, is largely gone from their website to make room for the summer collaboration with Korean fashion designer Kye, but I thought I'd cover the cheerful little palette from the collection anyway. 

Shu-Uemura-Spring-2016-promo

As soon as I saw it I suspected there was an artist behind the floral illustration, but figured the U.S. website was once again hiding information about him/her.  I was right - a quick search on the Japanese Shu site yielded the name Satoko Wada.  The charming purple flowers are her take on Japanese hydrangeas.

Shu-Uemura-Spring-2016(images from chicprofile.com)

Wada is a Tokyo-based artist who specializes in a particular type of illustration known as line drawing.  While I couldn't find much information on her background, it seems she's a relative newcomer to the art scene, having only started drawing in 2009 and becoming a successful independent artist by 2012.  I also couldn't find any information on how the collaboration with Shu came about, but Wada's work is a perfect fit for a pastel-themed spring makeup collection.  Some of her other drawings:

Satoko-Wada-plum-flowers

Satoko-Wada-floral-print

Satoko-Wada-cherries

Satoko-Wada-volcano

My favorite:

Satoko-Wada-sea-turtle

In just a few years Wada managed to collaborate with other companies to create everything from textiles to posters and stationery.

Satoko-Wada-bowls

Satoko-Wada-towels

Satoko-Wada-poster

Satoko-Wada-postcards(images from satokowada.strikingly.com)

I also found this video, showing Wada leading an informal wall painting session at furniture store Bo Concept in Yokohama, Japan. 

What I am most curious about though are these oversize penguin cut-outs Wada made.  Google Translate was, as usual, completely useless. 

Satoko-Wada-penguins-train-station

Satoko-Wada-penguins-forest

Satoko-Wada-penguins-field

I love that for their beach adventure they're wearing leis.

Satoko-Wada-penguins-beach

From what I can piece together these two characters visit various locales throughout Japan and are the mascots for either a town called Shirahama or something for trains...but I really have no idea.  I did check out trainart.jp, but still couldn't get any concrete information.  Near as I can figure, it's some sort of collaborative art project where various artists decorate train stations, and I think Wada was the artist selected for 2015.  But I still have no clue as to where Shirahama fits in.  Maybe because there's a zoo/amusement park there called Adventure World that has penguins?  Apparently it's the only place in Japan that successfully hatched an emperor penguin.

Shirahama-penguin-train-art

Shirahama-train-art-poster

And I guess these little fellas have names, based on this photo.

Satoko-Wada-with-penguins(images from satokowada.strikingly.com)

It still doesn't explain how they ended up in forests and beaches, but it looks like an incredibly fun project nonetheless.

Overall, I can't say I know much about line drawing, but I do enjoy Wada's style.  It seems to have a bit of a traditional, folk-art vibe but somehow appears modern at the same time.  And I love that she works extensively with color rather than black and grey.  Obviously, the "strolling penguins" show that she also has a great imagination (plus they remind me of my beloved Sailor Babo.)  As for the Shu collection, in looking at Wada's online gallery, it looks as though she created a new design specifically for the collection rather than slapping on one of her older works, which I also appreciate.  I somewhat regret not getting around to buying the palette for the Museum's collection now!  I also think Shu could have done a much bigger collection and commissioned some other designs for cleansing oils, etc. rather than just one little palette.

Thoughts?  And if anyone can explain the penguin mystery I'm all ears!


La plus belle à l'unanimité: Madame Récamier, 18th/19th-century beauty icon

Once again I stumbled across something very interesting but also completely unrelated to what I had been searching for.  In this case, it was an 1890's ad for Harriet Hubbard Ayer's Récamier Cream.  I was intrigued by it since it reminded me of a painting that I had looked at in my art history days in college, but couldn't quite place it. 

Harriet Hubbard Ayer Recamier Cream, ca. 1890s

Fortunately, Cosmetics and Skin refreshed my memory.  The image for Ayer's ad was taken from this 1802 painting of Madame (Juliette) Récamier by François Gerard.

Juliette Récamier by Francois Gerard, 1802
(image from carnavalet.paris.fr)

Known for her great beauty, graciousness and tact, Madame Récamier was the Napoleonic era's "it girl", ruling French society from the late 1700s until her death in 1849.  New York-based entrepreneur Harriet Hubbard Ayer saw an opportunity to capitalize on her beauty approximately 40 years after her passing.  This is the summary of the skincare line's origins from Cosmetics and Skin:  "In 1886, Harriet Hubbard Ayer founded the Recamier Manufacturing Company at 25 Union Square, New York. Incorporated in 1887, the company’s product range addressed most of the beauty concerns of the day. The cosmetics were restricted to skin-care and did not include decorative products such as rouge or lipstick – these were still considered to be ‘paints’ and therefore unsuitable for general use in polite society. The company therefore produced, marketed and sold ‘toilet preparations’ rather than ‘cosmetics’...The recipes for her skin care products were claimed by Harriet to have come from a French countess said to be a descendant of Madame Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier, a well known beauty from Napoleonic times. The recipes that Madame Récamier’s used had supposedly been handed-down to the countess and she sold copies to Harriet. The concoction of this story was a great marketing idea by Harriet as it gave her company a name, a visible symbol of beauty, and some supposed ‘beauty secrets’ from France, the centre of fashion and beauty at the time.  Another version of the story states that on a trip to Paris, Harriet visited a certain M. Mirault who made the Parma Violet Perfume she used. M. Mirault had a formula for a skin salve his grandfather had made for Julie de Récamier and he sold it to Harriet for a ‘tremendous price’.  A third explanation for the origins of the cream came in 1889 when Harriet was sued by Lutie Frenzel. Lutie suggested that the French-made cream had been analyzed by a New York chemist and subsequently copied."  That's the story in a nutshell, but there's also quite a thorough history of Ayer's use of Madame Récamier's name and reputation to sell skincare in Annette Blaugrund's wonderful biography of Ayer, "Dispensing Beauty in New York and Beyond: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harriet Hubbard Ayer" (which I have just added to my book wishlist!)

Anyway, as you can see from the ads below, the Récamier line encompassed a variety of products, from balm and cream to powder and soap.  There was even a lotion designed remove "moths [moth patches] and freckles".

Ayer Récamier ads, 1887 and 1890

Ayer Récamier ads, 1891 and 1893

Ayer Récamier ads, 1895(images from cosmeticsandskin.com)

What I'm curious about is how Madame Récamier established her reputation as a legendary beauty and the most charming, courteous socialite of her time. Was she really that gorgeous, her skin that flawless?  What was it about Madame Récamier that resulted in an enterprising beauty mogul essentially exploiting her name to sell skincare nearly 40 years after her death?  I just had to find out more about this woman's mystique.  Here are some historical accounts.

From "Madame Récamier: With a Sketch of the History of Society in France" (1862), p. 11:

"It is probable that the keen appetite for all social enjoyment, sharpened by the long privation caused by terror, war, and famine, much increased the effect that Madame Récamier's beauty produced.  The few survivors from those days can scarcely find words to express the rapture she excited in a large and mixed public.  By the revolution all distinctions of rank had been not only abolished but forgotten; every one pushed on pell-mell to see the beauty; and some few remember being half crushed to death in the Tuileries by the suburban crowds who would have a look at her." 

From "The Memoirs of the Duchess of Abrantes" in The Atheneum (1832), vol. 31, p. 391:

"She was a compound of ingenuous gracefulness, talent and goodness, harmonized by that delicacy which alone forms the charm of loveliness.  I have often discovered a resemblance between her and the Madonnas of the pious Italian painters; but this resemblance was purely intellectual.  It proceeded not from regularity of features, but from that soul which animated her eyes and beamed forth from under her long eye-lashes, and from the high and intellectual forehead, blushing under its fillet of leno, the only head-dress with which, for many years, she set off the charms of her countenance.  In the smile which so often separates her lips of rose, you might perceive the innocent joy of a young and ravishing creature, happy to please and be loved - who saw nothing but bliss in nature, and answered the salutation of love which met her on all sides, by an expression of silent benevolence...in England Madame Récamier encountered the same enthusiasm.  There was always a crowd wherever she passed.  The charm, whose power I have before expressed, has the same magic influence among all nations."

My favorite description comes from "The New Monthly Magazine" (1859), p. 455:

"She was at once graceful and exquisitely modelled, her neck was admirable in form and proportion, her mouth small and vermilion, her teeth pearly, her arms charming, albeit somewhat spare, her chestnut hair curled naturally, her nose was delicate and regular, especially French...her walk was that of a goddess on the clouds.  Such was Madame Récamier at eighteen years of age.  The appearance of a young person so pre-eminently beautiful in public caused, as may be imagined, a prodigious sensation...she was declared la plus belle à l'unanimité."

After reading these I decided I wanted more visuals since, as they say, the proof is in the pudding (or in this case, the portrait.)  While some portraits depict idealized representations of their sitters, I think these give a fairly realistic picture of Madame Récamier.  We'll start with a close-up from the Gerard portrait.  Rather lovely, yes?

detail - Madame Recamier by Gerard

Here she is in 1807, painted by Firmin Massot:

Juliette Récamier by Massot, 1807(image from gogmsite.net)

Back in time to a portrait painted around 1798:

Madame Récamier by Eulalie Morin, ca. 1798(image from flickr.com)

And of course, we can't forget Jacques-Louis David's iconic portrait of Madame Récamier, which inspired both a sofa style and a rather unsettling Surrealist work by Magritte.  (Interestingly, this is an unfinished portrait.  Madame Récamier had commissioned David to paint her portrait, but after finding that he worked too slowly for her taste, she had David's pupil Gerard to repaint the portrait.)

Madame Récamier by David, 1800

Given all we've seen and read, I think if I had existed in Ayer's time, I would have bought the Récamier cream in a heartbeat if it meant even approximating her skin.  Alas, the claims for Ayer's skin "preparations" were debunked by the Boston Journal of Health in 1902.  There were even accusations of harmful ingredients such as "corrosive sublimate," which was made from mercury.

Despite the fact that Ayer's Récamier line fizzled out by 1920, the original Madame Récamier continues to inspire today.  Take, for example, the moody, slightly goth twist on the lady's look at Kinder Aggugini's spring 2010 show.  I especially love it with the modern Empire silhouettes.

Kinder Aggugini fall 2010(images from vogue.com)

While the eyes and lips took a dark turn, the skin was still perfect and glowing - exactly how you'd imagine Madame Récamier's healthy, youthful complexion.  The disheveled hair, I think, is a nod to Madame's crop of wild curls.

Kinder Aggugini fall 2010

Kinder Aggugini fall 2010(images from wwd.com)

I also think we see a little bit of Madame Récamier in Ladurée's line.  While Ladurée does not verbally refer to Madame Récamier, there is a picture of her from Gerard's portrait at their website.  Additionally, the overall style is reminiscent of the beauty ideals of the Napoleonic era, ideals which Madame Récamier shaped and was the undisputed leader.  The brand story states, "[Les Merveilleuses were] beautiful 'goddesses of liberty' who lived in Paris after the Revolution in the late 18th century and pursued their own beauty depending on a unique and individual sensibility.  In the 18th century young Parisian women cast off the post-revolution reign of terror and strict morals, aspiring for freedom and liberation. They remained loyal to France and believed in their senses without losing the pride of the aristocrats who lived in the period of the monarchy.  Merveilleuses (French) refers to a 'marvelous,' eccentric and elegant woman."  This description, combined with the illustration and small picture of Madame Récamier, definitely point to her continuing influence.

Ladurée website screenshot

Illustration of "les Merveilleuses" from the Ladurée website
(images from lm-laduree.com)

What do you think?  Would you have wanted to be in Madame Récamier's circle?  I must agree that she's rather exceptional beauty-wise, and while I tend to see modern-day socialites as vapid and/or pretentious, I think I would have wanted to hang out with Juliette.  I also think she may have been disappointed at her image being used to sell skincare, but would have, no doubt, been rather polite about it.  :)

 

 


Spring 2016 color trend

 

Pink, along with the range of hues in the rose subset, is always a popular choice for spring makeup.  But rose in spring 2016 is set apart from seasons past due to its use on eyes as well as cheeks, lips and nails to create a monochromatic look.   Whether slightly dark and moody (as in MAC's Dusky Rose palette) or sweet and romantic (as seen on the Dior and McQueen runways), rose gets a refresh this season.

Spring 2016 color trend: rose

1.  MAC Dusky Rose Eye Shadow x 9

2.  Sephora + Pantone Universe Color of the Year Layer Lipstick

3.  NARS Impassioned blush

4.  Model at Dior spring 2016 ready-to-wear show

5.  Dolce & Gabbana Rosa collection

6.  YSL Face Palette Collector

7.  Clarins Ombre Iridescente in Silver Pink

8.  Model at Alexander McQueen spring 2016 ready-to-wear show

9.  L'Oreal La Vie en Rose collection

Some more pretty looks and tips from the spring issues of my beloved magazines.  #longliveprint

InStyle March 2016

Glamour 2016

What do you think of rose, particularly as an all-over shade?  Personally, brighter pinks are more flattering with my coloring so I'm drawn to those more than rose, but I like it on others.

 


Curator's Corner, 4/17/2016

CC logoThis week's links. 

- In beauty history, we have a video that recreates Queen Elizabeth I's makeup, dangerous beauty ingredients, and a fascinating read on Louisa Adams' dabbles in makeup.  Meanwhile, Byrdie provided a nice little history of nail polish.

- Speaking of which, #malepolish is the new guyliner.

- This is an excellent way to prevent people from bothering you on the subway, plus you'll have great skin to boot. 

- Feline eyes are out.  The latest trend is "puppy" eye liner.

- Exciting news!  There was some buzz about the possibility of 3D printing of human skin as an alternative to animal testing.  Now scientists have recreated skin not through 3D printing but successfully growing it in a lab

- Mary Kay cosmetics:  empowering or just another pyramid scheme?  Maybe a little of both.

- Make it stop!!

The random:

- In '90s news, MadTV is coming back, and Rage Against the Machine's Evil Empire turned 20.

-Can you imagine how much makeup inspiration we'd get from Harvard's collection of rare pigments?

- This "Eye of the Collector" exhibition highlights pieces from the world's most unusual collections, ranging from Pez dispensers to antique duck decoys.  I always love seeing what other people collect.

What's been catching your eye this week?

 

 

 


Quick post: An Estée Lauder compact museum: It DOES exist!

Or at least, it did.  In June 2014 the Northpark Neiman Marcus in Dallas opened an in-store Estée Lauder shop, and to celebrate the occasion, showcased nearly 60 of the company's limited-edition compacts.  I'm not too keen on the idea of having a compact exhibition in a retail setting, as it's simply an attempt to get people to buy things rather than appreciating the pieces on display and the history of the company.  I also didn't think too much of the cases and clear cylindrical mounts, which came across like those you'd find in a run-of-the-mill jewelry store. *cough tacky cough cough*

Estée Lauder compact museum, Dallas(image from theperennialstyle.com)

Estée Lauder Texas compacts
(image from dallas.culturemap.com) 

Having said that, at least these items got out of storage for a bit - most of them had probably never been seen by the public since they were originally released.  (In 2001 Estée had an exhibition of their solid perfume compacts at another Neiman Marcus in Florida, but not their powder ones.)  Also, this lucky lifestyle blogger who attended the event got exclusive access to ads and photos from the Estée Lauder archive, so go check them out. 

I had high hopes for these items to keep traveling, so after not finding any additional information I emailed Estée Lauder regarding the current whereabouts of this alleged museum.  I received no response, which is pretty obnoxious.  If customer service reps don't know about it they could try to find out from the higher-ups, or if the company is no longer maintaining this little project they could have at least replied with that.  I mean, someone there must know what happened to it!  I guess I'll just have to keep my eyes peeled to see if it ever pops up in other stores at some point.

Have you spotted this museum near you?  What do you think of the displays' aesthetics?


When I paint my masterpiece: a makeup mirror for the true artist

I spotted this makeup mirror on one of the 204 design blogs I follow in Feedly and was instantly smitten.  It's a very simple design but rather genius. 

Makeup mirror table by Victor Pucsek

Created by Hungarian designer Viktor Pucsek, this modern vanity consists of a rectangular mirror upon a tripod easel.  There's a thin glass shelf at the bottom of the mirror for beauty items.   More details:  "The supporting structure is made from slim rods finished in solid ash that are hinged to the mirror top without any seams. The backing of the mirror is made of a laser cut copper sheet.  For storage there is a shelf provided made from beautifully crafted tampered glass, and for the perfect lighting there is a lamp that can be easily clipped and adjusted to everyone's needs."

Makeup mirror table by Victor Pucsek

Makeup mirror table by Victor Pucsek(images from n3stproject.com)

The idea of makeup as art has a long history - which I won't go into now because it would be an entire book - but I view this table as a modern continuation of the theme.  Just for fun I rounded up some ads and items that portray the application of makeup as traditional painting.

Dorin of Paris ad, 1922(image from cosmeticsandskin.com)

Dorin of Paris ad, 1922(image from library.duke.edu)

I swear the word "niggardly" is not a racial slur! 

Bourjois Java face powder ad, 1922
(image from library.duke.edu)

1923-vivaudou-mavis-ad
(image from collectingvintagecompacts.blogspot.com)

Volupté released some palette-shaped compacts starting in 1940 (at least, that's when this ad is from - too bad I couldn't find a larger pic so we could see the text.)

Volupté palette compact ad, 1940
(image from pinterest.com)

Volupté palette compact

Volupté black palette compact(image from etsy.com)

Don't you love these Avon palettes?  They were used as salesperson demos.  I wish stores today had testers in cute packaging like this!

Vintage Avon face powder tester, mid-1940s(image from pinterest.com)

Vintage Avon face powder tester, ca. 1950s(image from ebay.com)

Here's a sketch for an ad by famed fashion illustrator René Gruau for skincare and makeup brand Payot, ca. 1951:

René Gruau, Payot
(image from arcadja.com)

I wonder if this 1980 Dior ad (and this crazy palette hat from the fall/winter 2007 couture collection) took its cue from that illustration, even though it wasn't created for Dior. 

Dior-1980-nail-polish-lipstick-ad
(image from hprints.com)

More recent examples include Chanel's Les Gouaches set and Stila's Masterpiece palettes from 2013.  I can't remember exactly when the Gouaches set came out (I want to say 2002) but I do know that 1. I bought it hook, line and sinker specifically because the pigments looked like real paint tubes and I could pretend I was an artist while doing my makeup, and 2.  I REALLY regret getting rid of it.  Back then I wasn't collecting and swapped it on Makeupalley because I never used it.  Little did I know I should have held on!

Chanel Les Gouaches set, ca. 2002(image from ebay.com)

Stila Masterpiece series palettes, 2013

Stila artistry collection promo, 2013(images from pinterest.com)

As you can see, the general concept of makeup as art, along with the depiction of makeup as paint applied from an artist's palette are not new.   However, I feel as though the idea came full circle with Pucsek's mirror design.  We had one part of the equation (makeup colors literally shown as a painter's palette) but needed an expression of the counterpart, which is the face-as-canvas idea.  In the case of this design, the mirror stands in for the canvas through directly reflecting it (i.e., one's face).  The description of the mirror bolsters this argument:  "Figuratively a canvas which we can paint(ed) on to show the person we would like to be, identify ourselves with and the eyes we would like to see the world through."

In terms of practicality, I can't say I'd have any use for this as my foundations alone take up way more space than that shelf could accommodate, but if you have a small stash and want to feel like a true artist every day, this is a beautifully minimal way to apply and store your makeup.  It also seems like a very rudimentary setup, so I bet it's possible to go the DIY route...but I don't think would look nearly as elegant.  It may be a moot point anyway, as I'm not sure it's actually for sale.

What do you think?  Do you pretend you're a real painter when applying your makeup, or at least, find the idea appealing?  I definitely do...I can't paint or do anything remotely artistic, really, so makeup gives me a chance to explore and be somewhat creative.  I especially love playing with all my various brushes and seeing how they perform with different products and textures.

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MM Smackdown: Balloon Brawl!

Balloon.smackdown.poster.3pp

Two French brands wanted to go up, up and away this spring with some balloon-themed offerings...but only one will make it to the stratosphere.  Let's get ready to rummmmbbbblllllle!  *ding ding*

On one side of the ring we have Lancôme My Parisian Pastels Shimmer Cube.  A très cute girl wearing a pink top, polka dotted skirt and pink shoes sets out for a stroll with her dog on the rooftops of Paris.  The bunch of colorful balloons she holds seem ready to take flight, all set to join the others floating in the distance. I'm not sure who was responsible for the illustration (I don't think it's Kerrie Hess, whom Lancôme worked with previously) but it's so perfectly Parisian. 

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

The metal tin is tough enough to withstand any blows from its opponent.

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

Even the dog has a pink collar!  Lancôme deals a strong right hook (bite?) with this detail.

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

Les Merveilleuses Ladurée's spring palette, however, isn't getting knocked down so easily.  Ladurée retaliates with a lovely palette adorned with vintage-inspired illustrations of hot air balloons peacefully drifting against a pale blue sky.  The purple ribbon, while delicate and silky, is actually a practical addition as it functions to keep the palette closed.

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

While Lancôme's illustration may have been completed by an actual artist and Ladurée's balloons resemble the results you'd get if you searched "vintage hot air balloon wallpaper" (seriously, try it), we don't know the name of the Lancôme artist; therefore, the illustration's power is somewhat diminished.  Plus, Ladurée at least attempted customization of their slightly generic, clip-art-esque dirigibles.  The details on the larger balloons, like the large script "M" and the signature cameos that are featured on nearly all products in the makeup line, pummel Lancôme's rather plain versions. 

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

The inside of the palette features more delightful balloon illustrations and an elegant layout overall, in stark contrast to the interior of the Lancôme tin, which looks painfully similar to children's crayons or chalk.

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

But wait!  Lancôme reveals a secret weapon to hold off their adversary: a truly magical ad for their spring collection.  This is a huge turn of events!  Ladurée has no such campaign for their spring lineup.

Lancome spring 2016 promo

Lancôme's sturdy metal case, chic Parisienne, and surprise attack with a whimsical promo all prove they've got the capacity to flatten their rival.  But despite this, LM Ladurée's larger size, dainty yet resilient ribbon, and variety of balloon designs full of vintage charm may still send Lancôme down for the count.   Which one will be deflated...er, defeated?  Tell me in the comments!  (Also tell me whether you think either of these designs surpass Guerlain's Poudre aux Ballons, or this excellent 2013 ad.)

 

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