Friday fun: This egg is not sunny side up
Curator's Corner, 12/18/2016

Estée Lauder Holiday 2016 compact collection

Poor neglected Museum!  I don't really have any excuse for not posting anything in over a week other than the usual holiday craziness, a big work meeting and coming down with a cold a couple days ago, all of which made me too tired to even think about blogging.  But I'm determined to continue sharing holiday prettiness, so in keeping with that goal today I'm bringing you one of the compacts from Estée Lauder's holiday collection.  The Wish Upon a Star compact, along with 16 others, were created by jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann.

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Wish Upon a Star compact

Kosann started her career as a black and white portrait photographer.  Her love of early photography, as well as the trinkets displayed in 1900s photos, spurred her to start her own jewelry line.  In an interview with Estée Lauder, she explains, "I have always been influenced and inspired by the photographers of the early 1900s...they were the first photographers who weren’t just documenting, they were photographing to make beautiful pictures. All of a sudden people were looking at photography as art. And at the same time, the accessories of the women in these pictures were very timeless and personal. The powder compacts, cigarette cases, lockets. They were all pieces of art, and they were personal and special."  The collaboration with Estée Lauder was a natural fit, given Kosann's commitment to telling stories through jewelry, and in this case, compacts.  "I’m a storyteller, bottom line.  I always loved charm bracelets and pendants, everything that tells a woman’s story.  I had more fun doing the Estée Lauder collection than I can even begin to tell you. I had so much fun with the storytelling with these compacts that women covet. You’ve got collectors who adore this stuff, so I wanted to stay true to my brand. Everything has a meaning, everything tells a story. I wanted women to buy these pieces and be able, just like with my jewelry, to tell their stories." 

In terms of design, all 17 pieces in the Estée Lauder collection are true to Kosann's aesthetic.  I'm not going to present them all since it would be way too long, but I'll share a few examples.  Compare the Wish Upon a Star compact (there was also a pendant with the same star) to Kosann's lockets.

Monica Kosann locket

Monica Kosann locket
(images from monicarichkosann.com)

While I love the star compact, I was also intrigued by Kosann's animal designs, some of which appeared on the compacts.  Given that Estée has a long history of animal-themed compacts, the fact that Kosann has an entire category devoted to animals at her website also made her an excellent choice to collaborate with the brand.  If they weren't so pricey and if there weren't so many other amazing items this holiday season, I would have snatched up these seahorse and octopus compacts, because, you know, I'm really a mermaid and those are my companions.  I like that Kosann assigns her own meaning to each animal - elephants stand for luck, while fish symbolize perseverance. According to her website, "The seahorse, a mild-mannered creature, has become symbolic of patience. They are happy to roam the seas endlessly at a gentle speed, knowing they will achieve their goals."

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Graceful Seahorses compact
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

Monica Kosann seahorse charms
(images from monicarichkosann.com)

"The octopus is a magical creature in constant motion.  A symbol of intuition, it senses everything in its surroundings as it glides about the ocean."

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - Intuitive Octopus compact
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

Monica Kosann octopus pendants

Monica Kosann octopus cuff bracelet
(images from monicarichkosann.com)

The animal designs also allowed Kosann to show a more playful side of her work.  "This is an expression that I always used to say to [my daughters]—'you have to kiss a lot of frogs till you get your prince.' I made this frog sitting on a pillow, with a little crown, and it’s a lip gloss. I wanted it to be fun for women." There were 2 frog designs for the Estée collection and the one Kosann is referring to (with the pillow) is actually a solid perfume compact - I think she got confused with the charm bracelet, which contains a lip gloss. Either way, the inclusion of a lip product in a compact is a concept Kosann lobbied for.  "I pushed [Estée Lauder] to do lipstick...Traditionally they have always done powder and perfume, and I thought that if you can wear this and it has lipstick in it — how fun is that?”

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - frog solid perfume compact
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

Monica Kosann for Estée Lauder - frog charm bracelet
(image from esteelauder.com)

Overall, I liked this collection and thought Kosann was a great choice to collaborate with Estée.  While some of pieces were a little too traditional for my taste, most of them were fairly modern-looking, and naturally I loved the sea creatures. ;)  I also think I liked the star compact even more than the one I bought in 2014.

Thoughts?

Comments

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Shybiker

Ooh, these pieces are so beautiful. Don't feel bad about attending to your non-blogging life, especially this busy time of year.

Petunia

Hi honey! Hope you are feeling better. It's late but I have been dying to catch up on my reading and MM is my first stop! I knew nothing of this designer and I must agree she is a great choice for this collaboration. I don't use any Estee Lauder cosmetics but I do always consider purchasing a compact each year. I have always loved the Zodiac compacts.
The star design is lovely and I think the frog prince would make a fabulous gift for someone who enjoys the scent.
I think Kosan's Octopus bracelet is nothing short of brilliant. What a marvelous piece!
The star compact is fabulous! The compact from 2014 reminds me of the Little Prince so I think I like them both, for different reasons.

MM Curator

Hi Miss P.! Thank you as always for the very kind words and for reading! I agree, I love that octopus cuff bracelet - my favorite from Kosann's jewelry. It looks like I'm accumulating a nice little selection of Estee Lauder star compacts, I wonder if they'll do another next year? I must keep my eyes peeled as their holiday compacts tend to slip off my radar for some unknown reason.
Glad you enjoyed my post!! Thanks so much again! :D

MM Curator

*waves to Ally* Glad you liked them! I know, it's silly to worry about what's really just a hobby, but it stresses me out nevertheless. I have no idea how you keep up posting so often (but I'm always happy to see a new post!)

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