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March 2017

Hey dollface: celebrating LM Ladurée's 5th anniversary

It was love at first sight with this precious doll-shaped powder box that Les Merveilleuses Ladurée released in honor of their 5th anniversary.  I mean, even the outer packaging is gorgeous.  As a collector, I was also overjoyed to receive a free tote bag from the seller, which I used as a background for these photos - isn't it pretty?  There is also a beautiful rose shaped blush with the same outer packaging that I have on its way to me, but the star of the show is clearly the powder.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

Both whimsical and sophisticated, this delicate doll figurine is outfitted in a sumptuous blue velvet dress with a purple satin ribbon.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

It looks like it might be heavy in the photos, but it's actually very lightweight and seems quite fragile - I was so afraid it would shatter if I dropped it.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

I wonder how many people bought this to actually use it and not collect.  While the velvet dress is lovely, you'd have to be really careful to make sure the powder doesn't get all over it. 

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

When I first laid eyes on this my makeup historian sense was immediately tingling; somehow I just knew this design wasn't new.  Upon searching for vintage doll powder boxes I came across many different kinds, most made of porcelain or ceramic, but the ones made of papier mache stood out to me.  That particular material jogged something in my brain and I suddenly remembered where I had seen them before. 

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Yup, at the 2014 Makeup in New York exhibition!  How could I forget?  I guess I wasn't paying attention to the labels on these even though I took photos of them, LOL.

Terre de Retz powder box label

Terre de Retz powder box label

Terre de Retz was a line of doll-shaped powder boxes introduced by famed French department store Galeries Lafayette sometime around 1920.  This blog post had the full scoop on them and led me to buy this book.  Yes, I bought an entire book on perfumes just to get the tiny morsel of additional information it had on these powder boxes, and also because I had totally forgotten they were in this book as well.  Anyway, they were designed by Georges Duchesne (most of them are signed G. Duchesne) and came in a wide variety of styles ranging from Marie Antoinette-era fashions to 1920s flappers.  I suspect Terre de Retz was the inspiration for Ladurée's anniversary item, as both are constructed from a paper-based material and the general design for some of the Terre de Retz figurines is the same (i.e. the way in which the powder box is hidden and fits into the top part of the doll).

Terre de Retz ad, 1927
(image from cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.com)

Masterpieces of Perfume book

The ones that appear to be the most common are these masked figurines and ones dressed in a mid-19th century style (at least, they resemble that period to my eye).

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Some other ones I liked:

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

My favorites though were the ones that most resembled the Ladurée figurine.  While these ladies flaunt a more French Revolution-era style in terms of hair and makeup, they have voluminous blue skirts, fans and necklaces.

Terre de Retz powder box

This one also has a bow.  I really wanted to buy it but it's missing the bottom part of the box, plus, as I sadly discovered, Terre de Retz figurines are not cheap.  This one is going for $695 on ebay and the lowest price I've seen for one so far is $299.  Maybe someday I will have one for my very own but not right now!

Terre de Retz powder box
(images from rubylane, ebay and pinterest)

While I have no proof that Ladurée drew on Terre de Retz for their 5th anniversary powder box, it would be quite a nice nod to their French heritage.  In terms of a more modern, artsy take on figural powder boxes, I'd dearly love for a company to collaborate with this contemporary artist - while she doesn't make powder boxes to my knowledge (only figurines), I think she'd come up with some amazingly imaginative designs given her style.

Thoughts? 

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Spring 2017 color trend

Holographic.  Iridescent.  Duo-chrome.  Prismatic.  Whatever you want to call it, this spring's color trend isn't a color at all, but as with fall 2015 , a particular finish.  I have to admit I haven't seen it at the high-fashion level, i.e. none of the spring 2017 fashion shows or magazines featured it.  However, after sifting through a lot of runway coverage and the spring issues of all 8 of the magazines I subscribe to, I still wasn't seeing any one color in particular standing out.  Despite talk of peach being all the rage and millennial pink taking center stage, neither of those seemed to be clear winners.  Thus, I went with what I know best and restricted my color trend choice to products aimed at the masses rather than those found on the runways.  As I predicted in January, the holographic makeup trend is still on fire this spring.  When you take into account how many of these color-shifting goodies were released last year (most of which I purchased in my never-ending quest to pretend I'm a mermaid), the sheer number of products continuing to be offered this spring is astonishing.

Spring 2017 trend: holographic

  1. Too-Faced  Love Light Prismatic Highlighter in Ray of Light
  2. Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Sea Siren (I'm loving this!!)
  3. Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette
  4. Kevyn Aucoin Cyber Sky
  5. Tarte Spellbound Glow Rainbow Highlighter
  6. Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo (loving these!)
  7. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Prismatic Amethyst (this one is awesome too)
  8. NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Thessalonique (um, yeah, I bought this as well and it's sooo pretty)
  9. Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Topcoat in 3rd Degree
  10. Bite Beauty Prismatic Pearl Gloss in Oyster
  11. Pat McGrath Labs Eye Gloss in Cyber (from the upcoming Dark Star 006 kit - can't wait!)

It got me thinking about why these shades are having a moment now.  After all, iridescent makeup isn't new, not to mention that we haven't even been seeing much prismatic magic in the way of fashion - usually fashion trends spill over into the beauty world - so I'm curious to know why it exploded in the past year or so.  Heck, holographic even spread to interior design and accessories.  Fortunately, Racked had a great article that explores the history of what the author calls "unicorn" makeup (although I'd argue that mermaid makeup is basically interchangeable when describing the trend) and why we can't get enough of it right now.  I'm incline to agree with her conclusions, which state that the current craze is partially a backlash against the no-makeup makeup look that was THE reigning trend a couple of years ago, and that it's also a response to the turbulent political climate.  Color-shifting, dreamy makeup that reminds us of mythical beings we loved as children (and in my case, still obsessed with) is very comforting when the world seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket.  The author of another excellent piece examining the iridescent frenzy within the sphere of interior design concurs:  while some of the reasons it took off in home goods and furniture are different than for makeup (new technology making prismatic finishes possible, etc.), she writes, "As economic optimism coincides with a tumultuous cultural and political landscape, its no wonder the art and design world is embracing the dreamlike and surreal.  At this point, we may as well coat the world in an iridescent glaze, if only to enjoy the illusion."  Just to put in my two cents, I'd add that the holographic trend's popularity is owed simply to its sheer prettiness and versatility - after playing with many of these items, I can say the effect of prismatic makeup can be subtly ethereal, or you can layer a bunch of product to go full-on rainbow.

What do you think?  Are you game for holographic makeup or is it not your thing?


Curator's Corner, 3/19/2017

CC logoHappy (almost) spring!  Here's your bi-weekly link roundup.

- Three huge beauty news items:  1.  MAC will be available at Ulta.  Now if they would just come to Sephora I'd be a happy girl. 2. There is an entire '90s inspired makeup line.  How perfect would I be to create products for it?!  3.  Urban Decay will be launching a Basquiat collection on April 20.  I'm glad that the potential issues with this collection were mostly addressed...but I'll be sure to expand on this when I get the whole collection in my greedy little paws!

- Speaking of paws, you can now smell like kitten fur

- Lipstick is so pretty to look at, even under a microscope.

- This is a great followup to my brief post on makeup packaging recycling.

- In beauty history, Collector's Weekly had an excellent profile of hallowed brand Santa Maria Novella

- Here's some evidence of what I've known for years (and one of the major reasons I love makeup).

- A friendly reminder not to use LUSH bath bombs as highlighter.  File this under WHY??  With the spate of highlighters flooding the market at all price points I have no idea why you'd try to use a bath product as one.

- Again, WHY??

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Hanson has announced a tour, while Mental Floss unravels the history of those bizarre Mentos commercials. (I wish they also had a history of the Snapple lady.) Meanwhile, musicians reflect on the legacy of Biggie Smalls in honor of the 20-year anniversary of his passing, while in more upbeat news, I'm celebrating the 20th birthday of one of the many great albums by my favorite band.  Birthday wishes are also in order for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (20) and My Cousin Vinny (25).

- Will mermaid-inspired eats replace the unicorn food trend?  I hope so.

- This new fashion museum sounds great but I kinda wish Chanel would donate $6 million to my museum - you'd think they'd want their cosmetics line to be preserved along with their clothing, right?

- Yas queen!!

How have you been?  Are you excited for spring?

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It's 5 o'clock somewhere: boozy makeup packaging

I remember thinking how cute and novel these wine bottle-shaped lipsticks were when they were making a sensation back in the fall.  (I do have one on the way but the package somehow keeps getting delayed so here's a stock photo for now.)  I'm not a wine person - gives me a horrible headache - but I do appreciate adorable makeup packaging so this gets a thumbs-up from me.  I mean on the one hand I'm not fond of wine once again being associated with a clichéd feminine stereotype (all ladies love wine, shopping, chocolate and shoes, amirite?), but on the other hand, this lipstick is just too cute.

Chateau Labiotte wine lipstick
(image from beautyboxkorea.com)

Turns out, this isn't the first time lipstick has been designed to resemble booze.  I was positively tickled when, during one of my customary Friday night vintage makeup searches on Etsy (I lead a very exciting life, I know), I came across this miniature lipstick cleverly packaged as a whiskey bottle.

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

It really is mini!

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

I'd never heard of Carstairs before, but apparently from roughly the '40s through the '60s they did a good amount of advertising for their White Seal whiskey, which is still sold today.  In addition to the lipsticks, they offered mini screwdrivers and toothpicks, along with seal clock figurines and the usual print advertising.  According to one (no longer active) ebay listing, the lipstick bottles started being produced around 1944 and other listings say they're from the '50s, so I guess they were used as promotional items for a few decades.  Here's a photo of one in Madeleine Marsh's excellent book, which also dates it to the '50s. 

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick in Compacts and Cosmetics by Madeleine Marsh

I'm guessing that for the most part, the lipsticks were provided to bars and liquor stores and given away as a small gift-with-purchase, as there are quite a few full boxes of them floating around. I would have bought this one in a heartbeat because how cute would it have been to display it alongside a whole Chateau Labiotte set?

Vintage Carstairs whiskey lipstick set

Chateau Labiotte set(images from etsy.com and labiotte.us)

But the individual lipsticks are obviously a lot cheaper and I have many things I want to purchase for the summer exhibition, so I had to pass for now. ;)  As for the lipstick itself, a company called Christy Cosmetics, Inc. was responsible for producing it.  I couldn't find much information about it online, other than it was a New York-based company and was also the manufacturer of a line called Diana Deering (who was an entirely fictional character, or, as the patent puts it, "fanciful".)

Christy Cosmetics ad, 1944(image from what-i-found.blogspot.com)

Diana Deering ad, 1944

Diana Deering/Christy Cosmetics patent(image from tsdrapi.uspto.gov)

I'm sure there's information about Christy out there somewhere, but as usual I lack the time and other resources to do proper research, i.e., looking beyond Google.  If anyone knows anything about their relationship with Carstairs and how they were chosen to produce their promo items I'd love to hear it.

Uh-oh, we have a situation here.  Once again a certain little Sailor is up to no good.  "It's just my size!" 

Bottoms up!

I better go get this wrapped up and into storage before he smears it all over his face in attempt to "drink" the non-existent whiskey.  In any case, Happy St. Patrick's Day and I hope these lipsticks have inspired you to let your hair down and enjoy some adult beverages tonight!


Makeup as Muse: creative recycling

I had actually been working on a particular artist for the next Makeup as Muse for months - her work is pretty involved - but when the maker of this robot tweeted at me a few weeks ago I decided to hold off a little longer on my original installment and feature his creation instead. Meet Yslabelle (pronounced ees-la-bell), a functioning robot made entirely of repurposed YSL makeup packaging!

YSL-robot-3

Standing roughly 6'6" tall (2 meters), Yslabelle was made from hundreds of boxes and her sword from the Shock mascara and Touche Eclat tubes.  Gathering the materials took 14 months.  I was in awe when I thought Yslabelle was simply a stationary robot statue, but as it turns out, her head is motorized so there's also some movement there.  This is particularly mind-blowing to me given that I can't figure out how to hook up the attachments to our vacuum cleaner.  Seriously though, I was never gifted at science/math/generally understanding how things work so I've never been all that interested in robots; however, my brother-in-law is a roboticist for Boston Dynamics, so that, combined with my own inability to comprehend anything mechanical, has made me appreciate the art of crafting robots a little more. 

IMG_1963-1(images from robotazia.co.uk)

Yslabelle was made by Cyberigs Robots, a collective founded in 2015 by Mark Swannell to develop a collection for Robotazia.  From what I can tell, Robotazia is a permanent exhibition of sci-fi themed robots somewhere in the U.K. that will be open to visitors sometime this year.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I love the idea of all these different roboticists coming together to build cool new robots and repair old ones for the exhibition.  Apparently you'll even be able to grab a snack at the "robo-bistro." 

I have to say that this is a marvelous use of old makeup packaging, and it got me thinking about why more companies still don't offer recycling.  LUSH, Zoya and MAC are the only companies I can think of off the top of my head that have official recycling programs.  Yslabelle also makes me wonder what, if anything, we consumers can do about it besides writing letters and signing petitions encouraging companies to recycle (and as I've said previously, I don't think the entire burden should be on consumers).  As we've seen with other Makeup as Muse posts, beauty packaging can be quite wasteful and it's not always easy to properly dispose of or repurpose it.  I always put the outer paper boxes into our recycling bin, but this still doesn't help the bigger issue of the inner packaging like plastic/metal containers and tubes.  Then of course, there's some completely superfluous packaging like Pat McGrath's sequin-filled bags.  Now, I am a huge Pat McGrath fan and she can do no wrong in my eyes.  I'd be so sad buying a product from her without those lovely shiny sequins - it just wouldn't be the same!  I, along with lots of other beauty bloggers, reuse the sequins for photo props.  However, if her company won't have some way for customers who don't want the sequins to send them back to be reused, we have to get creative.  Enter Parisian fashion student Ana Ouri, who has been sewing the sequins onto her pieces.  Genius!

Ana Ouri - sequins

Ana Ouri - sequins(images from instagram.com)

I am nowhere near as imaginative as Cyberigs or this fashion student, but both projects inspire me to think of cool ways to recycle makeup packaging.  Of course, since I'm a collector I don't even want to think about disposing of my beloved collectibles, and my huge stash (i.e., the makeup I actually use) is so massive I can't imagine actually finishing a product except for samples, so it's mostly a moot point for me.

Have you ever tried to repurpose cosmetics packaging in a more artistic way?  

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Friday fun: Julie Verhoeven for Marc Jacobs

If the psychedelic, whimsical illustrations created by British artist Julie Verhoeven for Marc Jacobs Beauty don't seem familiar to you, it's because they are quite a departure from the relatively restrained style she went with for MAC's Illustrated collection in 2012.  Five years after the MAC collaboration, Verhoeven has again made her mark on the makeup world by working with Marc Jacobs on his spring 2017 collection, lending her talents to create 2 makeup sets, both of which I purchased. 

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The Enamored with a Twist set features a mishmash of motifs, including a clothespin, a disembodied mouth with a row of rainbow colored teeth and couple of goofily grinning faces.  According to the product description, Verhoeven was aiming to create "modern cartoon imagery".  Cartoony it is, but to my eye it has more of a '70s feel.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Three glosses in lovely spring shades are included in the makeup bag.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Velvet Reality is the name of the other set.  This one is my favorite of the two, as I love that frog's face!

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The set contains mascara, a cream eyeshadow stick and eyeliner.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The illustrations are crazy and eye-catching enough as it is, but what I appreciated is that they were different from those from the Marc Jacobs fashion collection.  Although, I wouldn't have minded if they had simply chosen a couple and slapped them on the sets - I still would have bought them hook line and sinker.  They're just so fun!

It was quite an extensive lineup so I'm sharing only a few pieces. 

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

"With Marc Jacobs I tried not to be too polite with the graphics, sneaking in some phalluses and domestic appliances that sort of have no reason to be there," she says in an interview.  Indeed, with her Instagram hashtags for these pieces like "#phallicmushroom" and the bizarre inclusion of toasters and vacuum cleaners, her description is on the nose.  Of course, as with the makeup bags, the "Pill Popping Amphibian" is my favorite motif - he has the silliest expression.

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

I love spike details so these shoes were right up my alley.

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven
(images from marcjacobs.com and saksfifthavenue.com)

Verhoeven is truly multi-talented.  In the time since I last explored her work, she continues her illustration and fashion endeavors, but has also been dabbling in performance art with some pretty captivating shows in 2014 and 2016.  Still, I felt like these trippy, out-there illustrations were quite different from the rest of her work...until I realized she had collaborated before with Marc Jacobs all the way back in 2002 for a line of Louis Vuitton bags.  As it turns out, this groovy style isn't new territory at all for Verhoeven - right down to the frog motif, the designs for Jacobs this time around are very similar to the ones produced during their previous collaboration.

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven
(images from fashionphile.com, therealreal.com and chercoulter.com)

Getting back to makeup, I love the soft pastel shades included in the sets, but I'm more enamored of Verhoeven's own style.  An article in the Guardian describes her bold cosmetic choices: "Verhoeven herself is a jumble of different shades: at 9.30am she is sporting cobalt blue eyeliner, hot pink lips and cheeks and a whitened face, alongside blue tights, coral nail polish and a multicoloured dress. And somehow it all fits together. 'I can’t leave the house without the face on, I’ve got that down to under five minutes,' she says. 'It’s also a layer and a disguise, in a way – I’m aware I’ve got a masculine face, so the makeup is supposed to make me disappear. But really it’s absurd because it does the opposite.'"  She definitely gives me confidence to continue wearing crazy makeup colors as I approach middle age...although I'm not a cool artist so I don't know if I could pull it off.
 
Julie Verhoeven
(image from thekinsky.com)
 
Julie Verhoeven
(image from frieze.com)
 
What do you think of this collab?  Do you prefer Verhoeven's more traditional fashion illustrations of women, such as the ones for MAC, or her more surreal style?

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Curator's Corner, 3/5/2017

CC logoA very long overdue Curator's Corner. 

- Not exactly the hardest-hitting piece on beauty, but I was so honored to be quoted in this Slate article!  More thought-provoking was this article in The Atlantic.

- Is Kanye trolling us or what?  He will have some competition though, what with Rhianna, Lisa Frank and the girl who coined "on fleek" all starting their own lines. 

- I'd love to get my hands on these delectable Starbucks-inspired bath bombs but I'm afraid Museum staff would eat them.

- A sobering reminder that glitter isn't always fun.  And speaking of knowing where your makeup is coming from, try to buy from a trusted retailer! (I admit I'm guilty of going the ebay route myself sometimes.)

- Not really understanding this "snogging" lipstick trend (a.k.a. "lollipop" lips), it just looks like some horrible allergic reaction. But I'm on board with the neon eye.

- I've always wanted to write a thorough post on the history of fake beauty marks, but Racked beat me to it.

- I guess partnering with a fragrance company wasn't good enough for Hasbro, who is now seeking to trademark the scent of Play-Doh.  Is there really that much demand for a perfume that smells like clay?!

- Hygge beauty is the new athleisure beauty.

The random:

- Started watching Desus and Mero about a month ago and I'm loving it.  Actually, I'm loving pretty much all of Viceland's programming...although perhaps I should stop watching Needles and Pins, since it makes want to get some gigantic tattoo that I know I'll regret eventually. 

- In '90s nostalgia, check out this oral history of TV show Daria, which turned 20 last week.  Also, ultimate supervixen Shirley Manson and the rest of Garbage will be releasing an autobiography.

- Another reminder to please, for the love of God, be alert when taking a museum selfie

- Speaking of museums, I had a delightful time at the BMA yesterday seeing the Guerilla Girls exhibition.  Sailor Babo wanted some cultural enrichment too so we took him along.  You can see his adventures here.  :)

How have you been?

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Celebrating 15 years of Paul & Joe beauty, part 1

Hello, March!  As it is the first day of the month in which spring supposedly will arrive, I thought I'd share Paul & Joe's spring 2017 collection.  Consider this part 1 of a 2-part celebration of the beauty brand's 15-year anniversary (not to be confused with the Paul & Joe fashion line's 20-year anniversary, which occurred last year).  The summer collection will have yet more cat-shaped goodies so that will be part 2.  ;)  But first, the spring items.

Paul & Joe spring 2017

These face color powders are too cute, as usual.  I believe the cat print with the red background appeared previously on nail polish boxes from the spring 2012 collection.  And do you not love the cat in glasses?!

Paul & Joe spring 2017

The cat design on the powders is also borrowed from the spring 2012 collection, only this time there's the addition of hearts.

Paul & Joe spring 2017

It's always in the details with Paul & Joe.  All of their collections are pretty and/or adorable, but it's the little things like this puff that make them stand out.  It's soft but I don't know how practical it would be to apply blush or highlighter.  I do know that it's just precious.

Paul & Joe spring 2017

I need more cat-shaped lipsticks like I need a hole in the head, but here we are.

Paul & Joe spring 2017 lipsticks

The patterns on the lipstick cases are from the spring fashion collection.  PJ at A Touch of Blusher has amazing descriptions of them so I'll just direct you to her site since I can't describe them nearly as well!  I didn't purchase the accompanying square compact cases since they have the same prints, especially since I'm not actually using them anyway.  I figured the lipstick cases were enough from a collectible standpoint.  Eh, who knows, I'll probably cave and get them later. ;)

Paul & Joe spring 2017 lipstick cases

Paul & Joe spring 2017

Paul & Joe spring 2017

The bird print was from the Paul & Joe Sister line; the other 2 are from the regular Paul & Joe women's collection.

Paul & Joe Sister spring 2017

Paul & Joe spring 2017

Paul & Joe spring 2017(images from paulandjoe.com)

While I was working on this post some Museum staff members wandered in, as they tend to do (they like to keep me company while I blog) and got into a little mischief.

En garde!

Well, at least they're not eating them, right?

Overall I thought Paul & Joe did a great job.  Not quite as outstanding as some previous collections, mind you, but they provided the usual eye candy, and it was definitely Museum-worthy and appropriate for spring.  What do you think?

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