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July 2017

Curator's Corner, 7/23/2017

CC logoThe bi-weekly link roundup.

- Jane at British Beauty Blogger eloquently shuts down the issue of age discrimination in the beauty industry.

- Makeup artists continue vying to be the next social media star with ever more (literally) colorful ideas, between this teen who paints tiny celebrity portraits and this artist who creates masterpieces from stretch marks and other "flaws".  (We've seen this before but with glitter.)

- If I spent $13K on neck cream and then found out I'd also need a $15,000 machine to accompany it, I'd probably sue too...but then again, for that amount of money you could have surgery or other treatments, which would be way more efficient than a cream anyway.

- Forget suing, I'd KILL anyone who deliberately destroyed my makeup.  Not funny, jerk.

- Also not funny is the fact that Sephora is basically forcing you to use your points.  Meh.

- Not sure what the difference is between 4D and holographic hair, but cereal hair looks like fun.

- Another product for your lady parts has been launched...I wouldn't wear it, but I'm glad to see that at least it's not harmful like wasp nests and glitter.

- Please, let it be true!

The random:

- Dying to see this exhibition at Loyola University in Chicago...stay tuned for a Makeup as Muse post on this artist!  In other art news, have you tried texting SF MoMA?  It's a lot of fun!

- There's been much exciting junk food news, including dark chocolate Twix and and these new Lays flavors.

- On the pop culture front, I'm excited for the return of both Stranger Things and American Horror Story.  How about you?

I hope everyone's having a relaxing and enjoyable summer!

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Fake baking on a Friday: fun faux tanning ads

I was originally going to write a meatier post about the history of tanning that included sunless tanning, but there's actually been plenty of research already.  Rather than essentially re-writing what's already out there I decided to go the more visual route and show ads for products promising to give you that sun-kissed glow for both face and body.  I will include some history and links throughout, but mostly this is a way for me to share my never-ending obsession with vintage beauty ads.  :) 

Prior to the early 1920s, having tawny, sun-drenched skin simply wasn't desirable - at least for women.  Fair complexions were associated with the leisure class, while tan skin indicated a lower social status (i.e. people who had to work outdoors).  While the beauty industry was in its infancy, there were still plenty of products, such as this Tan No More powder, that promoted the pale skin ideal. 

Ad for Tan No More, 1924(image from library.duke.edu)

Just five short years later, however, the tan tide had turned.  Coco Chanel is credited by many historians as the one responsible for making the bronzed look stylish following a cruise she took in 1923, essentially reversing the significance of pale vs. tan complexions (i.e., tans were now associated with having the time and money for a luxury vacation in a sunny paradise, as well as good health.)  By 1929 products were on the market to achieve the glowing effect on the skin without the need to travel to some far-flung destination, such as this Marie Earle "Sunburn" line of makeup.  (Cosmetics and Skin has an excellent history of this company.  While not much is known about the founders, the Marie Earle line had some fairly innovative, if ineffective products, like breast-firming cream and eye masks.)

Marie Earle ad, 1929
(image from library.duke.edu)

Interestingly, in 1928 Marie Earle was bought by Coty, so it's probably not a coincidence that Coty released their Coty Tan bronzing powder and body makeup a year later.

CotyTan ad, 1929

CotyTan ad, 1929(images from cosmeticsandskin.com and library.duke.edu) 

The 1940s saw an increase in the number of bronzers and tanning body makeup, the latter influenced partially by the shortage of nylon stockings during World War II - women resorted to painting their legs with makeup or staining them with a tea-based concoction to create the illusion of stockings.  Always looking to sell more products, companies soon began offering tinted body makeup to mimic a natural tan.

Ad for Paul Duval Safari Tan, 1941(image from pinterest.com) 

Ad for Paul Duval Safari Tan, 1946(image from ebay.com)

Um...would you like a side of racism with your liquid body bronzer?

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1941(image from library.duke.edu)

Ad for Elizabeth Arden Velva Leg Film, 1946
(image from Found in Mom's Basement)

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1948(image from ebay.com)

By the late '40s cosmetics companies made sure women could also artificially tan their faces, as a slew of bronzing powders entered the market.  I couldn't resist purchasing a few of these ads.

Ad for Lady Esther Malibu Tan face powder, 1947

Ad for Lady Esther Malibu Tan face powder, 1947

Ad for Lady Esther Malibu Tan face powder, 1947

Ad for Lady Esther Malibu Tan face powder, 1947

Ad for Pond's Bronze Angel Face powder, 1948

Ad for Pond's Bronze Angel Face powder, 1951
(image from pinterest.com)
 

Ad for Woodbury Tropic Tan, 1949

Here's a detailed shot so you can see the ad copy...and gratuitous cleavage.  LOL.

Ad for Woodbury Tropic Tan, 1949

Ad for Woodbury Tropic Tan ad, 1951
(image from pinterest.com)

And more casual racism from Germaine Monteil. 

Ad for Germaine Monteil, 1947

Ad for Germaine Monteil, 1950(image from ebay.com)

Once again, I fell victim to the idea that a beauty product has only been around for a few decades.  But it looks like spray tans have been around since at least the mid-50s!

Guerlain Misty Tan ad
(image from fashion.telegraph.co.uk)

Spray tan ad, 1955(image from Found in Mom's Basement)

In the late 1950s Man Tan sunless tanning lotion - or what we call self-tanner more commonly these days - debuted, featuring a new way of getting tan without the sun.  Instead of traditional tinted makeup that merely covered the skin, Man Tan used an ingredient known as dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which works on the amino acids on the skin's surface to gradually darken its color.  It sounds like a harmful, scary process that relies on synthetic chemicals, but DHA is actually derived from sugar cane and is still used in most self-tanners today.* 

Man Tan ad, ca. late 1950s

Miss Man Tan ad, ca. late 1950s
(images from twitter and pinterest)

In 1960 Coppertone introduced QT, short for Quick Tan, and many others followed.  The poor models in these ads already look orange - I shudder to think of how carrot-like you'd be in person.

Ad for Coppertone QT, 1961(image from ebay.com)

Ad for Coppertone QT, 1966(image from pinterest.com)

You MUST watch these commercials, they're a hoot!

 

In addition to bronzers, around this time companies were also launching color campaigns specifically for tanned skin.  These shades aren't so different from the ones we see in today's summer makeup collections - warm, beige and bronze tones abound.  Both Max Factor's Breezy Peach and 3 Little Bares (get it?!) were seemingly created to complement a tawny complexion, while Clairol's powder duos and Corn Silk's Tan Fans line offered bronzer and blush together to artificially prolong and enhance a natural tan.

Ad for Max Factor Breezy Peach, 1962(image from pinterest.com) 

Ad for Max Factor 3 Little Bares, 1965
(image from pinterest.com) 

Clairol Soft-Blush Duo ad, 1967

Ad for Corn Silk Tan Fans, 1969(image from pinterest.com)

Meanwhile, Dorothy Gray had tan-flattering lip colors covered.  This was not new territory for them, as this 1936 ad referenced a new "smart lipstick to accent sun-tan".  In any case, the 1965 ad is also notable for the yellow lipstick all the way on right, which was meant to brighten another lip color when layered underneath...over 50 years before Estée Edit's Lip Flip and YSL's Undercoat.

Dorothy Gray ad, 1965(image from mid-centurylove.tumblr.com)

The tanning craze wasn't going anywhere soon, as various self-tanning and bronzer formulas for body and face continued to be produced from the '70s onward.  As skin cancer rates rose, there was also an uptick in the number of ads that emphasized protection from the sun over the convenience angle (i.e., the ability to get a tan in just a few hours and no matter the climate) - self-tanners started to be marketed more heavily as a healthy alternative to a real tan.

When it launched around 2004, I thought Stila's Sun Gel was such an innovative product.  Little did I know Almay had done it roughly 30 years prior.

Almay sun gel 1970(image from flickr.com) 

Bain de Soleil ad, 1983

Tried though I did, I was unable to find a vintage ad for Guerlain's legendary Terracotta bronzer, which debuted in 1984.  So I had to settle for these Revlon ads from the same year.

Revlon-pure-radiance-80s

Ad for Revlon Pure Radiance, 1984(images from pinterest and adsausage.com)

Bain de Soleil ad, 1990
(image from Found in Mom's Basement)

Chanel Soleil ad, 1990
(image from pinterest.com)

Estée Lauder self-tanner ad, 1991

Estée Lauder self-tanner ad, 1991(image from fuckyeahnostalgicbeauty)

I searched all the '90s magazines in the Museum's archives, but realized almost all of them were March, September or October issues, so I couldn't unearth any fake tan ads for most of the decade.  I did have better luck with finding ads online and in the Museum's archives for the 2000's, however.  It makes sense as I had started collecting by then, not to mention that the early-mid aughts were the Gisele Bundchen/Paris Hilton era so fake tanning was at its peak.  I just remembered that I neglected to check my old Sephora catalogs...I'll have to see if I can locate any photos of Scott Barnes' Body Bling, another hugely popular product in the 2000's.

Lancome Star Bronzer ad, 2003

Neutrogena ad, 2003(images from reed.edu)

Here are the ones from the Museum's collection.  Thanks to the husband for scanning them!

Armani Bronze Mania ad, 2005

MAC Sundressing postcard, 2006

Love this Armani ad, which coincidentally came out the same year Mystic Tan spray booths were launched.

Armani Bronze Mania ad, 2007

YSL summer beauty postcard, 2008

Benefit summer 2010 catalog

As the decade came to a close, there was some discussion as to whether tanned skin, real or fake, was passé.  But the continuing growth of the self-tanning market (as well as the influence of the bronzed Jersey Shore cast) showed that the infatuation with tanning wasn't slowing down.  The Paris Hilton era segued seamlessly into the Kardashian age, which also contributed to the popularity of the bronzed look.  Companies are still trying to keep up with the demand for bronzers and self-tanners.  For the past 5 years or so, Estée Lauder, Lancome, Clarins, Guerlain and Givenchy have released new bronzing compacts at the start of the summer, and just this past year Hourglass and Becca released a range of new bronzing powders.  Meanwhile, established products like Benefit's Hoola bronzer and St. Tropez's self-tanning line are being tweaked and expanded.

In terms of advertising bronzers and self-tanners, I think cosmetics companies do a damn good job.  The products themselves certainly look tempting, but one also can't deny the sex appeal of the glowy, bronzey look of the models (not to mention that a tan makes everyone look like they lost 10 lbs).  Who doesn't want to resemble a sunkissed goddess lounging about in a tropical paradise?  It's largely this reason, I think, that the tan aesthetic persists.  As usual, Autumn Whitefield-Madrano offers an insightful exploration of why tawny skin continues to be in vogue so rather than me rambling further I highly encourage you to read it in full.  As for me, well, I've largely given up on self-tanning.  It was messy, came out uneven no matter how much I exfoliated and how carefully I applied it, and still didn't look quite like the real deal.  I do, however, still use bronzer once in a while (mostly as blush, but occasionally in the summer I'll dust it all over my face) and have been tinkering with temporary wash-off body bronzers.  I don't consider bronzer a staple by any means - most days I fully embrace my pasty self - but the fact that I own 6 of them is proof of the long-standing allure of the tan and how effectively the products required to achieve it are marketed.

What do you think?  Which of these ads are your favorite?  And are you down with the tanned look or no? 

 

*Recent research has shown DHA to be safe for topical use; however, inhaling it, say, from a spray tan booth, is less safe.

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Makeup as Muse: the mother of makeup art

Baltimore's City Paper is shutting down, but before they go I was delighted to see this article on a local artist who paints with makeup.  Gloria Garrett calls herself the "mother of makeup art", which I think makes her the ultimate Makeup as Muse.  By complete coincidence, she also happens to live roughly a mile away from me on the same street!  Smalltimore indeed.

Garrett, a 57-year-old artist and mother of three daughters, is entirely self-taught and creates, as she says, "folk art for the folks."  Garrett worked for the National Security Agency for most of her life, but was always drawing on the side - primarily black and white drawings made with pen.  It wasn't until 2005, following the tragic murder of her 18-year-old nephew, that she started painting in color.  From the City Paper profile:  "'I said, 'God, please let me have color in my life,' she says. And then she dreamed that God said she was going to be a painter, but she's allergic to paint. Then her mother gave her some makeup, and a light went off in her head."  Garrett began showcasing her work at farmer's markets for donations.  She would allow people to take her pictures and pay whatever they thought was fair.  Later she turned to YouTube to not only help promote her work but also highlight the work of other area artists and provide tips on marketing.  She also shares videos of her travels and her experiences within the Baltimore art scene.  I love this one, which shows her painting on the steps of the American Visionary Art Museum (a must-see if you're ever in town).  I also love that her photographer husband shoots all of her videos.  Hooray for supportive spouses!

Thematically, Garrett's works range from family life and religious scenes to still lifes and depictions of Africa. 

Gloria Garrett, Parasol, 2007

Gloria Garrett, Three Sisters, 2014

Gloria Garrett, Calling All Angels, 2014

Gloria Garrett, African Market, 2013

I had my eye on one of these two paintings, as they are relatively affordable.  Alas, when I wrote to her to find out what kind of cosmetics she used (looks like mostly eye shadow, foundation and lipstick to me), my email bounced back.  I am so sad since I also offered to donate some very lightly used makeup and brushes I'm no longer using and asked for a mailing address where I could send a box of items.  I also wanted to see whether she'd be interested in doing a commissioned piece...I was thinking if I sent her a photo of my vanity, perhaps she could make a painting of it with makeup.

Gloria Garrett, Mother and Child in Park, 2013

Gloria Garrett, Friendship Flowers, 2014
(images from gloriasart.com)

Garrett has adopted a fairly loose application technique in that she often applies makeup straight from the package/tube and uses a variety of simple tools.  Everything from her hands to plastic forks is fair game.  In 2014 she discovered lip gloss, which she likes to add to her paintings on occasion to "give them a shine".  According to City Paper, "She uses rouge, base, eyeliner, crayons—even nail polish. When she paints, she starts putting materials together around 10 p.m. and gets going by midnight. 'And I'm usually not done 'til 10 the next morning!' she shouts, smiling. 'I put my makeup in front of me, my Wite-Out, my crayons, and God works through me.'  She spends hours on the backgrounds, she says, and moves to the faces last: 'I do the face. I put the Wite-Out over it, I say I don't like it, and I do it again. And again. And again!'"  This process of crossing things out and repetition sounds a bit like Basquiat, no?  However, the finished product, stylistically, reminds me a little of various early 20th century artists but with a folk art vibe.  The flowers look a little like some of Emil Nolde's floral paintings, while the figural ones resemble Chagall or Matisse.

To sum up, I'm thrilled that one of the first artists to ever create paintings with makeup is a Baltimore native.  I find Garrett's work to be absolutely charming and unique - her folk art style is very different from that of other artists we've seen who use beauty products as their medium.  And I'm so happy to see that she was able to turn to cosmetics to create the colorful art she wanted to make when faced with the challenge of being allergic to paint.  Makeup saves the day!  I'm just sad I can't get in touch to ask her more specific questions about her artistic process, as my emails keep bouncing back and I also can't find a mailing address to donate some items.  (Garrett is on Facebook but I am not, so that route is out, and there is a phone number listed on her website but my anxiety prohibits me from attempting a call - the phone is way more intimidating for me than email).

What do you think? 

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Off to Umbria with Fresh

As with Fresh's collaborations with Jo Ratcliffe and R. Nichols, this was quite a nice little surprise.  The company teamed up with renowned Italian ceramic house Rometti to create limited-edition packaging for their Umbrian Clay Mask.  I can't think of a more appropriate company to produce the design, as Rometti is not only based in Umbria near where the clay for Fresh is sourced, but obviously pottery-inspired limited edition packaging for a clay-based mask is perfect.

Fresh Clay Mask Rometti

Why the clay mask to get the artistic treatment?  Fresh co-founder Alina Roytberg explains, “The Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is one of our most iconic products. The mask is truly amazing, because it can be used on all skin types without drying out the complexion. When the product first came out, we didn’t launch it in a big way, and we’re very excited to do that now and be able to share the rich history behind the ingredient.”  The Umbrian Clay line was first launched in 2000 after Roytberg witnessed the amazingly clear complexion of a Rome-based friend who previously struggled with acne - the clay she found in a local store had done the trick.  Roytberg tracked down the source of the clay, which is a small town in Perugia called Nocera Umbra, and from there the Umbrian Clay line was born.  The clay has been used literally for centuries to treat various skin concerns and is a renewable resource that's mined ethically by Fresh. (You can read more about the production process here.)

Fresh Clay Mask Rometti

Fresh clay mask Rometti

Fresh clay mask Rometti

Fresh clay mask Rometti

Fresh clay mask Rometti

As for the design, Rometti Artistic Director Jean Christophe Clair says that he was inspired by all of Umbria, from its natural elements ("rivers", "hills" and "sunsets" were his key words) and architecture to its status, as he puts it, "the center of the history of Italy." The soft colors Clair used reflect the region's blue skies and earthy terracotta hues of the clay.



Rometti is a 90-year old company that's known for being the first Italian ceramic house to put a more avant-garde style on their wares as opposed to traditional Italian Renaissance and Art Nouveau designs.  Most of the early pieces were produced in conjunction with artists Corrado Cagli and Dante Baldelli.  I wasn't familiar with either of those two names, but apparently Baldelli was a nephew of Settimio Rometti, one of the company's founders.  He attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome where he met Cagli.  Along with a host of other artists, including Futurist Giacomo Balla (love the Futurists!), they "were given complete freedom to experiment their artistry."  The Fresh collab maintains this tradition of artistic freedom today, as the company gave Rometti "free reign".  The design process came about easily, which is not surprising given that the mask is a product that comes directly from Rometti's everyday environment.  Says Roytberg, “It was one of those incredible things where you communicate without over-communicating because the response, for [the Rometti owners], it’s natural—they live in this world, they work with clay under the sky—so it’s one of those transcendental things that just happens."

 

 

 

While Clair created a unique new design for Fresh, it's clear he was continuing in the footsteps of Cagli and Baldelli, which you can see below in some examples of their work.  What's notable about these is the modern style given to traditional decorative themes, e.g. mythological scenes, farming, fishing, etc. - they're a far cry from, say, ancient Greek vases or majolica.  I'm including just a few pieces here but if you're finding yourself head over heels in love with Rometti's work, here's a whole book to drool over.

Corrado Cagli for Rometti, Marcia su Roma (March on Rome), 1930

Corrado Cagli for Rometti, Il lavoro dei campi, 1930


Dante Baldelli for Rometti, Pescatore, 1932-34

I spy mermaids!

Dante Baldelli for Rometti, Le Sirene, 1934

 I love this jellyfish-topped vase.

Dante Baldelli for Rometti ceramics, Medusa, 1936

I think Clair may have been looking at this 1936 piece when coming up with one of the designs that appeared on the Fresh packaging.

Dante Baldelli and Corrado Cagli for Rometti, Allegoria, 1930-32

And perhaps borrowed from one of his own more recent works for the face that appears on the lid.

Jean Christophe Clair for Rometti, Bacchanti, 2017

Some more recent Rometti collaborations that caught my eye were with surrealist artist Jean Cocteau (been eyeing this vintage compact with his work on it for over a year now but can't pull the trigger - so expensive!) and lingerie designer Chantal Thomass, both of which were overseen by Clair.

Cocteau for Rometti

Chantal Thomass for Rometti

 

Chantal Thomass for Rometti
(images from rometti.it , veniceclayartists.com and chantalthomass.com)

Final thoughts: I can appreciate Rometti's craftsmanship but the artwork in the Baldelli/Cagli vein just isn't my speed, so the Fresh packaging isn't my favorite.   However, the design was definitely the most representative of Rometti's aesthetic and it is a historic company.  And as I said earlier, if Fresh was going to choose any company to partner with to create a limited edition Umbrian Clay Mask, Rometti is absolutely perfect.  It shows that some thought went into the collaboration rather than blindly choosing a random artist who probably couldn't capture the essence of Umbria, not to mention clay, as well as Rometti can.

What do you think? 

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Curator's Corner, 7/9/2017

CC logoLinks...late as usual. 

I'm questioning this study that says the average woman will supposedly spend nearly a quarter million dollars on beauty maintenance during her lifetime.  I don't think my spending will ever come close to that and I invest way more in beauty products and services than the average woman.

- Still, as pretty privilege is a very real thing, maybe it's true women funnel as much cash as the study claims into trying to look good in order to reap the rewards that being attractive brings.  I'm glad this article was written because it always seemed to me that the "beautiful people" have a much easier time in life - turns out it's not my imagination.

- Unless you've been living under a rock you know that NARS (or rather its parent company Shiseido) has decided it will be sold in China, which means it loses its cruelty-free status as China mandates animal testing.  It would be hypocritical of me to boycott NARS and get rid of all their products I have in the collection/my personal stash, but I will say just from a business perspective I don't think this is a wise decision.  The industry is moving away from animal testing, not towards it - any cosmetics company that wants to remain competitive should be cruelty-free and/or vegan.  What's almost as bad is NARS' response (or lack thereof) to the backlash.

- Here's a much happier confluence of animals and makeup to cleanse the palate.

- Macabre though it is, I enjoyed the Smithsonian's history of poisonous makeup.  More fun, recent makeup history includes this round-up of the original home pages for online beauty stores.

- Oh, social media, what trends will you come up with next?  The past couple weeks have given us sushi salmon hair (not sure how this is different than pink champagne or rose gold hair) and ocean hair.  Meanwhile, the 100-layer craze is still making the rounds.  We also have a manicure that goes nicely with the Museum's summer exhibition theme.

- Yet another item to add to the growing list of things not to insert into your lady parts. Seriously, WTF??

- I think this new perfume might be even weirder than the cat belly fragrance we saw in the last installment of Curator's Corner.

- Christmas in July: we got the scoop on Shu's holiday collection!  I didn't play video games much as a kid, but Super Mario was one I definitely remember.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Lilith Fair celebrated its 20th anniversary and Radiohead's OK Computer also turned 20.  Plus, the triumphant return of '90s beverages continues with Zima.

- Loved this Vice piece highlighting a new documentary on professional mermaids.  In related news, I was watching this recent episode of Viceland's States of Undress where I learned that Thailand is home to the world's highest rate of gender confirmation surgeries.  This fact jogged my memory of reading about a mermaid cafe that had opened there a few weeks ago.  Given the significance of mermaids for trans women, I'm not sure it's a coincidence. Pretty interesting, yes?

- I'm embarrassed to admit I still don't fully understand the concept of a podcast, but this new one sounds awesome.

- Play with your food:  This pizza bikini is not a good idea for me, since I'd eat it and end up naked (although seriously, who the hell is going to pay $10k for that?!)  More my speed are these adorable plushie cakes

What's going on with you?

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Friday fun (or flop?) with Felicia

As soon as I saw this adorable lip balm at various blogs I ordered it immediately from Sephora.  It doesn't really get any cuter than this - a sparkly pink strawberry-scented lip balm in the shape of a flamingo pool float, plus a reference to one of the greatest films of the '90s?!  Yes please. 

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Another precious detail is the flamingo-shaped "F" in Felicia. 

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Our mini Babo loved it and asked if I could fill the bathtub so he could take it for a proper spin.

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Taste Beauty Felicia the Flamingo lip balm

Totally harmless, right?  Alas, this seemingly innocuous lip balm has stirred up controversy: looks like it's another case of cultural appropriation.  If you've spent any time online over the past few years you know that "Bye Felicia" has become a popular meme used to dismiss other interwebz users.  And you may remember how pleased I was to see this phrase take off in numerous other ways, given my love of '90s pop culture and the 1995 film Friday that gave us these two simple words.  The meme was the inspiration for the lip balm, according to Taste Beauty's managing partner Alex Fogelson, who told Women's Wear Daily that Sephora approached them to "collaborate in a really fun, pop-culture-inspired fun and young item."  (Taste Beauty is a relatively new company, having been founded in 2016 by three executives who used to work at Lotta Luv, the brand behind some bizarrely flavored lip balms.)

That seems okay, until you realize that the "Bye Felicia" meme Taste Beauty is referencing with their lip balm may actually be a form of cultural appropriation in and of itself. Let's take a look at the original clip, which, if I'm being honest, still makes me laugh.  (I also love Smokey's "remember it, write it down, take a picture, I don't give a fuck!"  Classic.)

Impeccably delivered, it's a funny line that wasn't even in the script (apparently Ice Cube's son came up with it)...but as it turns out, Felisha is a crackhead.  To a clueless white person such as myself, I thought she was simply an annoying, mooching neighbor.  For "bye Felisha" to take off as a meme, I guess there were other people who accidentally (or perhaps intentionally) overlooked that aspect of Felisha's character.  Or worse, many people using the meme were totally oblivious to the original source.  As this article on white people's inappropriate use of black slang notes, "What’s amazing though is that over the last year [2015] or so, so many white people and non-black people have used [Bye Felicia] (as a sassy dismissal) without actually knowing where it’s from."  Also, the spelling of Felisha's name morphed into "Felicia", I'm assuming to make it more palatable to white people.  As Fayola Perry writes in XPress Magazine, "Cultural appropriation sanitizes and spreads lies about people's culture. It takes away the story of Felisha, the addict who represents and symbolizes so many black and brown women's struggle with drug addiction in that era and makes her a passing internet trend.  This lack of attention to detail can perpetuate racist stereotypes. Someone may think they are paying homage to someone's culture and the person whose culture they're paying homage to is completely offended at the misrepresentation.  Fear not, you can enjoy a great burrito if you are not Latino and do yoga if you're not Indian, but be thoughtful, check your privilege and be considerate of context and history. Everyone has some type of privilege, people of colour appropriate each other's cultures as well. We must all be mindful of our lens, other people's perspectives, the legacy of oppression and try our best to make sure that we are not continuing it. At the very least, know where the appropriated element came from and at the very, very least, spell her name right. It's Felisha, not Felicia."

So while I was overjoyed to see the phrase take off as a meme given how much I love Friday, turns out I should have been aware that it was a form of whitewashing, since it seems that the vast majority of people using it don't know where it originated.  Or in my case, had no clue about the more serious implications of Felisha's character and her dismissal.  In reading more about the history of the film and that scene in particular, I don't think anyone involved with Friday intended the phrase to be perceived as anything other than comic relief, but now I can see how it can be viewed as a microcosm of the bigger issue of black women's needs continually being ignored. 

In turn, if we're arguing that the meme itself is a form of cultural appropriation, then the lip balm is as well, since it's directly referencing the meme and obviously not the original source.  I mean, Felisha didn't wear makeup1, and flamingo-shaped pool floats didn't make an appearance in the film as far as I know - this lip balm really has nothing to do with FridayA succinct reaction comes from this Twitter user:  "It's time for black brands to start monetizing our shit. But we're not corny enough to slap bye Felicia on some lip balm all outta context."  Blogger Aprill Coleman explains further: "Felisha was an accurate representation of black culture in the early 90s on the heels of the crack epidemic. Taste Beauty’s use is completely out of context. Felisha is an African American, crack-addicted character that did not wear makeup, whereas Felicia is a brightly colored flamingo shaped like a pool float. A tiny part of my black American culture was appropriated, reinvented, and packaged into a strawberry scented balm for profit."  Coleman also astutely points out that two of the three Taste Beauty founders are white men, so it's possible that the company, like so many others, wasn't fully aware of the phrase's origins; they just saw the meme and thought an alliterative novelty lip balm with the same name would be marketable.   And if Taste Beauty did know where it came from and still wanted to go ahead with the product despite the potential for offensiveness, perhaps they could have donated a portion of the sales to Angie's Kids. This is a nonprofit founded by Angela Means, the actress who played Felisha, that focuses on health and early childhood development. (Side note:  I would seriously love to get her thoughts on this.  She seems okay with the phrase's popularity but I'm not sure about the lip balm.)

So where does that leave us?  Well, on a personal level I feel like a jerk for buying it and also for not understanding, quite literally for the past 3 years, that the "Bye Felicia" meme was actually white people appropriating yet another piece of black culture - I honestly thought it was a widespread, '90s-nostalgia-fueled, long-overdue tribute to Ice Cube's legendary diss.  As someone who sees herself as a feminist, which means being aware of the struggles of WOC, my ignorance is rather troubling.2  As for the item's inclusion in the Museum's collection, I will likely not display it unless I'm doing a more educational exhibition on cultural appropriation in cosmetics.  In addition to the ads explored in my 2013 post on the topic, sadly there are tons more examples since then that could be provided.

What do you think about all this?  Have you seen Friday and if so, do you find the "bye Felisha" scene funny?

1 Interestingly, the actress who played Felisha cites the makeup artist on set as the one responsible for helping her fully inhabit Felisha's character.  The somewhat haggard look was entirely intentional.  She notes in an interview:  "What was funny was when I got on set the makeup artist looked at me and she was like, ‘O.K.,’ and she kind of went with my look and when we got to the set (“Friday” director) F. Gary Gray looked at me and was like, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait, wait. She’s not a beauty queen.’ I give the makeup artist so much credit for helping me create Felisha...So when I got in the makeup artist’s chair, once Gary said, 'No, she’s a hoodrat,' we went back to the drawing board and I fell asleep. But when I woke up and saw myself, it clicked. It helped me go there."

2 Equally problematic is that I've been rewatching the clip and still think it's hilarious - proof that white privilege is real. I'm able to ignore the broader issue of dismissing black women and perceive "bye Felisha" as comedy.
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MM summer 2017 exhibition

Summer.2017.poster.5pp

With some exhibitions I get a certain word or phrase caught in the old noggin.  This summer all I kept hearing in my head was "tropical fruit and sea creature EXPLOSION!"  As you may know, the husband designs all the exhibition posters and I literally asked him for that exact phrase.  How he came up with the poster from my sad little sketch is beyond me - it shows how truly talented he is, as he was able transform my awful drawing into the "explosion" I was after.  (I put "make it pop" on there purely as a joke.  If you've ever worked with a designer you know they loathe this useless cliché.)

Poster sketch

Anyway, fruit and sea creatures aren't unexpected choices for summer, but I feel as though this year was particularly, well, fruity and sea creature-centric.  As we'll see, it seems the recent fashion trend of putting pineapples, watermelon and the like on everything from jackets and dresses to a variety of accessories has carried over to the beauty world.  Sadly, I was not able to get my hands on the ultimate fruity items - the patterns on PaiPai's two most recent collections are positively bursting with tropical fruits - but what I do have is a decent mix.  Meanwhile, as I predicted, the mermaid beauty trend is going strong in 2017 as well so naturally I had to include a bunch of items to represent it.  While I've been including mermaid-themed and sea creature-adorned pieces for the past few summer exhibitions, this year I wanted to tie the two more closely together - it's a sort of celebration of the friendship between mermaids and the animals that share the ocean with them.  Mermaids aren't real, of course, but I love pretending they are, so part of the exhibition's purpose is to express the bonds they would have with seahorses, octopuses, etc.  When I was envisioning the exhibition I was putting myself in a mermaid's shoes (er, tail), so showing the animals I'd be hanging out with was my way of imagining a mermaid's perspective.  Overall, while the exhibition is very literal in that it displays items with fruit, mermaids and their assorted underwater pals on the packaging, it's nevertheless an admirable portrayal of the top trends this season...and also what exists in my mermaid-obsessed brain.

Makeup Museum summer 2017 exhibition

Makeup Museum summer 2017 exhibition

Makeup Museum summer 2017 exhibition

Top shelves, left to right.

I agonized for days over whether to display this palette by Saucebox open or closed.  Ultimately closed won out so you could see the mermaid, but you can see it open on my Instagram here.

Saucebox Mermaid Life palette

Oh, MAC Fruity Juicy - one of the most fun collections they've done in a while.  I purchased two more of the coconut setting spray so that I'd have some to actually use.  I don't think it does much, but between the vibrant packaging and yummy coconut scent it definitely perks me up in the mornings, as misting my face with setting spray is the last thing I do before dashing out the door to work.  It's the little things, right? 

MAC Fruity Juicy collection

MAC Oh My Passion pearlmatte powder

Exhibition label

I've been waiting with bated breath for Unicorn Lashes' mermaid brush set, but found out it won't be released till much later this summer so I had to settle for these.  I do like the company I ordered from as it offered a terrific variety of mermaid tail brushes, including this oh-so-evil/goth black set.  The larger brush is not the one I ordered - I'm still waiting for it to arrive (it's got glitter!), so I had to substitute the one that came free with the Saucebox palette.  Hopefully the one I wanted on display will get here soon.

Mermaid brushes

Mermaid brush

I forget how I stumbled across this...I think I was searching for vintage mermaid compacts.  I wasn't able to find any of the ones that appear in this ad, but at least I found the ad itself.  Still, these are compacts I'd pay a pretty penny for, as they're simply adorable.

Revlon She Shells ad, 1965

The vaguely threatening nature of the copy cracks me up:  "There won't be any more EVER".  I guess it's the predecessor of limited-edition scare tactics.  You know that if I were alive in 1965 I would have bought all 3 compacts right away so I didn't miss out - that line definitely would make me buy them immediately.

Revlon She Shells ad, 1965

While I was disappointed at not being able to track down any of the Revlon compacts, this vintage Stratton more than made up for it!  How awesome is this?!  I'm so happy to add a vintage mermaid compact to the Museum's collection.

Vintage Stratton compact

exhibition label

Second row, left to right.

The lovely Anna Sui summer collection:

Anna Sui summer 2017 makeup

Anna Sui summer 2017 makeup

exhibition label

These Chantecaille compacts remain among my favorites of the over 1,000 items in the Museum's collection.  I really should update my sad photos of them.

Chantecaille Protected Paradise compacts

Chantecaille Protected Paradise compacts

exhibition label

Tarte released more Lip Rescues this year.  I think I like the prints even more than last year's batch!

Tarte Quench Lip Rescues

I was overjoyed to see my favorite fruit embossed onto an eye shadow palette.  I don't know much about the Tanya Burr line, but this was too cute to pass up.

Tanya Burr My Paradise palette

Tanya Burr My Paradise palette

Third row, left to right.

It wouldn't be a proper Makeup Museum exhibition without some preciousness from Paul & Joe, would it?

Paul & Joe

Paul & Joe

Exhibition label

I found this brand on Instagram.  I adore all the illustrations on the packaging, which is recyclable and printed with soy ink, but was mildly disappointed in their customer service.  While my order arrived without incident, I'm bummed that I never received a reply to my email asking if they work with a particular illustrator and what their inspiration might be.  The designs are just so cute, I figured there must be an artist behind them.  In any case, these Lip Parfaits in Summer Cone and Exotic Fruits perfectly fit the summer exhibition theme.  (I'm eyeing the rest of the Lip Parfaits - I NEED Guilty Pug!)

Trifle Cosmetics Lip Parfaits in Summer Cone and Exotic Fruits

Exhibition label

This starfish-embossed powder from Estée Lauder is so pretty, I wish they'd release more like it.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Sea Star bronzing blush, 2011

Tokyo Milk's Neptune and the Mermaid collection technically consists of fragrance and bath and body products instead of makeup, but I couldn't NOT put it in the exhibition.

Tokyo Milk Neptune and the Mermaid

I love how the mermaid is gazing at her nails, perhaps wondering if she needs a manicure (mer-icure?)

Tokyo Milk Neptune and the Mermaid

Tokyo Milk Neptune and the Mermaid

Exhibition label

Bottom row, left to right.

This shelf is looking a little sparse because I'm missing yet another item.  I ordered several of Etude House's Glass Tinting Lips Talk cases (I want all of them!), including one with a hilarious cartoonish pineapple face, but every time I click on the tracking number it says it's not found.  So I suspect my package is lost.  Sigh.  Anyway, I did manage to find this delightful Tony Moly gloss and you might remember my joy at scoring the Paul & Joe eye shadow on Ebay.  It's one of my most treasured finds since I wasn't collecting at the time it was released (2004) and I'm forever trying to track down Paul & Joe items that were released prior to 2006 - they pop up so rarely.

Tony Moly and Paul & Joe

Exhibition label

I wasn't going to buy Lancôme's summer 2016 bronzer initially and then caved after the summer exhibition went up so I figured I'd include it this year, especially since the design goes so nicely with Clarins summer 2017 bronzer.  The latter was another difficult call to make as to whether to display it open or closed.  Once again closed won out since the print on the outer case is just as pretty as what's inside, plus the Lancôme one is open so I thought a combination of closed and open worked best.

Clarins Sunkissed bronzer and Lancome Belle de Teint

Exhibition label

Another mermaid palette from another indie beauty retailer.  While I was really hoping Bitter Lace Beauty's mermaid palette would be released in time for the exhibition, obviously I'm pleased to display this one and the Saucebox palette.  :)

KG Beauty Mermaid palette

Exhibition label

Another perennial favorite:  MAC's To the Beach collection from 2010.  As with the Chantecaille palettes I should probably update the original photos.

MAC To the Beach

MAC Marine Life highlighter

Exhibition label

So that's it!  I hope the exhibition put you in a summery mood.  I for one am craving pineapple and a visit to the aquarium.  :)

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