Found! Some vintage inspiration for Benefit

I was eagerly scrolling through Instagram (which has, incidentally, become my favorite social media platform - please join and follow me, it's so much fun!) and came across a familiar image from one of the many vintage ephemera accounts I follow. 

Vintage Flexees lingerie mannequin
(image from

I knew it was makeup-related, but couldn't recall which company had used something that looked just like this lingerie mannequin.  Was it Too-FacedThe Balm?  Nope.  I racked my brain but just couldn't place it.  It wasn't until I started packing for a weekend at my parents' house that it dawned on me. 

Benefit Lana makeup bag

Aha!  I believe I found the original source for Benefit's Luscious Lana, especially given that Benefit refers to her as a lingerie model.  In an alternate version of the makeup bag she has the rose up by her head, but not in the original green bag.  I'm guessing Benefit used a reproduction mannequin of the Flexees one since her face is a little different.  Naturally this serindipitous find got me interested in trying to track down other vintage mannequins to see whether they figured into Benefit's packaging and advertising, and I found another lingerie mannequin that appeared on many of Benefit's old catalogs.  Apparently both this model and the one used for Lana were mannequins meant to be displayed on a store counter top, so they're pretty small - not life-size or anything, which makes them cute rather than creepy.  Both also appear to be from the 1940s or so.

As with Lana the face on this one is ever so slightly different.

Vintage lingerie mannequin
(image from

Benefit makeup catalog

While the features on this mannequin aren't as strikingly similar to the previous two, she still may have served as inspiration for Benefit's Beautiful Bermuda Betty, who appeared in various catalogs and a bag.  The downward-looking pose, hairstyle and smoky eye with thin arched brows look alike, although not identical.

Vintage Formfit mannequin
(image from

Benefit Bermuda Betty

I dug a little more but still couldn't find any original sources for Gabbi Glickman, who is probably Benefit's 2nd best known mannequin mascot.  I did unearth a pair of mannequin heads that are identical, but there was no information provided about them.

Benefit Gabbi bag

The one I was most interested in finding though was the mannequin used for Simone, the dark-haired beauty sporting a lavish gold dress who is probably Benefit's most recognized mascot.  Full-sized Simones reside in Benefit's headquarters in both San Francisco and Canada, and she appeared as the cover girl for most of the aforementioned catalogs.

Benefit headquarters - Simone mannequin(image from

Benefit holiday makeup catalog

I did find a mannequin that looked just like Simone, but I had no idea what company it was for or approximately when it was made.  This was displayed at a Chanel event but I don't think it was an official Chanel advertising piece.

Chanel mannequin
(image from

It also doesn't look like a regular vintage mannequin but rather a reproduction.  Looking at both this and Benefit's other mannequins in their offices, I'm wondering if they're using a mix of authentic vintage pieces and reproductions.

Benefit office - mannequin heads(image from

For example, the third mannequin from the right definitely resembles this reproduction...

Mary mannequin by Marge Crunkleton
(image from

...while the blonde right in the middle is a dead ringer for this vintage 1940s jewelry mannequin.

Vintage jewelry mannequin
(image from

Why does Benefit rely so heavily on mannequins for their marketing?  One reason is that in their early days, the company couldn't afford to pay real spokespeople and models, so the mannequins served as a stand-in (this was also the reason Stila used illustrations).  Second, Benefit founders and Jean and Jane Ford always had an affinity for vintage fashion and beauty items.*  In a 2011 interview, Jean explained: "Over the years, Jane and I have collected vintage pieces for inspiration...we have vintage mannequins, compacts, posters, handbags and lots of old magazines.  There is something very romantic about the past.  For our packaging, we use both modern and old-fashioned images and styles to create fun products that women will want to carry in their bags or display on their vanity."  Indeed, using retro designs in a modern way has proved to be a dynamite strategy for the company.  I don't really see it as nostalgia for the past, per se, but rather an appreciation for the overall style and occasionally more kitschy aspects of selling femininity, such as those countertop display lingerie mannequins.  Sometimes I look at old makeup ads and burst out laughing - to modern eyes, the cheesiness and over-the-top tone are genuinely funny.  Benefit seizes the opportunity to celebrate the sillier side of vintage beauty and fashion and infused it into their entire brand.

What do you think?   


*In addition to the mannequins, I'm wondering whether Benefit was looking at these Max Factor doll lipstick mirrors when designing their 2016 holiday collection.

Quick post: Meet Enrico!

You might remember this neat ad for Max Factor's Italian Touch that I featured in the summer exhibition.

Max Factor Italian Touch ad, 1957

I also mentioned there was a really cool bust used as a store prop floating about on E-bay, but that it was pricey.  Well, as it turns out I didn't have to worry about the cost because a certain very thoughtful and generous husband purchased it for me!  I really don't have anything like this in the Museum's collection and I was so happy he snagged it for me.  As far as store advertising goes it's pretty unique.

I've named him Enrico.  :)

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

I love the sphinxes on each shoulder!  Perhaps they were borrowed from the Augustus of Prima Porta.

Max Factor Italian Touch bust, ca. 1957

I couldn't find a complete history of the campaign but it must have been quite large, given that I've seen ads in various languages.  In addition to plain old English, I also came across French:

Max Factor Italian Touch ad
(image from

Italian (of course...additionally, Italian film star Virna Lisi starred as the model, which further demonstrates how calculated the campaign was):

Max Factor Italian Touch ad
(image from

And Dutch.  This is particularly fascinating given that the e-bay seller Enrico was purchased from was located in the Netherlands.  I also would have loved to get my hands on the little set pictured in these ads to round out a sort of capsule collection of the Italian Touch campaign, but I'm pretty satisfied with the bust.

Max Factor Italian Touch ad
(image from

I also found these two English-language ads from Canada and Singapore. 

Max Factor Italian Touch ad(image from

I couldn't remove the watermark from this but you get the gist.

Max Factor Italian Touch ad, Straits Times, October 8, 1957
(image from

In the U.S., a new shade called Roman Touch was available in several products in addition to the Italian Touch collection.

Max Factor Roman Touch ad, Deseret News, May 1, 1957
(image from

Max Factor Roman Touch ad, Torrance Press, April 25, 1957(image from

All in all, I think this is one of the strangest, yet well-planned advertising campaigns for a vintage collection I've come across.  Normally I'd be creeped out by the idea of statues coming to life, but in this case I think the offbeat nature of it is quite amusing. And based on what Museum Advisory Committee member Sailor Babo has told me about his conversations with him, Enrico is totally harmless and has lots of interesting stories.

Sailor Babo makes a new friend!

What do you think about this latest Museum gift?  Big huge thanks to my awesome and supportive husband. :)

Vroom vroom! Makeup and cars

Buckle up and start your engines, 'cause you're in for a wild ride!  Well, as wild as this boring old curator can be.  ;)  I almost feel like I need a flow chart or diagram to explain the myriad and complex ways cosmetics can be related to cars, and by extension, women. I can't go into much detail since that would be an entire book, but I can provide a basic summary.  The first thing that comes up when I searched for "women and cars" is images of "hot" (read: young, thin, usually white) women standing next to, or perched on top, a car.  Traditionally these women have been used to sell cars to men; but instead of the opposite (i.e. showing hunky male models), makeup can be used to persuade women consumers into buying a car, and sometimes vice versa (a car is used to sell makeup).  Makeup and car collaborations are fascinating, I think, because they're so obviously an attempt to coax a population that's usually not associated with cars into taking an interest in automobiles, and what better way to do that than to appeal to a woman's supposed vanity?  Obviously, I love makeup and don't believe many aspects of it are un-feminist, but I do find trying to reach a female customer almost solely through the use of makeup to be remarkably sexist.  These tie-ins are also interesting when we think of the admittedly shady strategies used by Mary Kay.  Instead of being a passive consumer of cars and cosmetics, a woman could sell makeup to earn a pink car - the reverse of some of the ads and collaborations we're going to look at today. 

Starting in the 1950s makeup became a way to get women on board with the idea of car ownership.  As this site devoted to the Dodge LaFemme, the first car marketed specifically to women, explains, "Shortly after World War II (and the Korean War) America entered a new era of prosperity and success. The days of one car families were fast becoming obsolete and families were now buying second cars to accommodate their new lifestyles. Suburbs were springing up outside urban areas and super highways were the wave of the future...Living in the suburbs meant the breadwinner had to drive to work downtown each day, leaving the housewife without a car. With the current prosperity being experienced in America, it seemed natural to go out and buy a second car for 'the wife'. But what car to buy?...Gone were the days of 'the wife' simply staying at home. If 'the wife' was getting a new car, then Dodge needed to produce a car that 'the wife' would want to be seen in."  

In addition to the cars' overall design that was meant to entice women, an exclusive makeup kit was included to emphasize that this was a vehicle made especially for the ladies.  The 1955-56 Dodge LaFemme was a pink (naturally) car that boasted not only a matching raincoat and umbrella - if, heaven forbid, you got a flat tire in the rain - but also a special compartment hidden in the armrest supplied with an Evans compact and other items. 

Dodge La Femme

1956 Dodge La Femme

1956 Dodge La Femme interior

1956 Dodge La Femme makeup

From the photo below it looks like Elizabeth Arden's Ardena was also included, which seems odd - why go with two cosmetics brands?

1956 Dodge La Femme makeup kit(images from

Apparently La Femme failed to be a popular seller.  Despite the alluring inclusion of cosmetics, the rest of the marketing was not on the same level as that for other automobiles.  "Some suggest that the flop of the La Femme model was due to its lack of marketing exposure. It was only displayed on single-sheet pamphlets; there were no shiny demonstration models and no evidence of magazine, radio and television advertisement. It was likely most American women never even knew it existed at the time."  Well, color me surprised - promoting a car geared towards women was not treated with the same importance as other (men's) cars?  Shocking!  Sarcasm aside, it is interesting that Dodge didn't see the need to spend the same amount of advertising dollars.  If anything, I would think a car company would have to work doubly hard and put more funds towards marketing for a segment of the population that typically did not own cars.  Guess they thought the makeup kit alone would hook women in without having to do a ton of additional advertising.

Despite this failure, Elizabeth Arden followed suit in 1959 with a tie-in to the Chrysler Imperial.  The makeup and skincare kit was stashed in the glove compartment.  The advertising also highlighted women's ability to be totally in control while still, of course, retaining a ladylike manner:  "The Imperial 1959 is powerful but well-tamed...does what you ask, instantly, sit head-high, imperially straight, as becomes a woman whose car is so much hers that even the interior fabrics are an obedient and tasteful foil for her ensemble."  In a world where women couldn't even have a credit card in their own name, I could see how the prospect of independence and power through owning a car solely for her use would definitely be appealing.  Still, if we're to follow the aforementioned '50s narrative of suburban families with the husband as primary breadwinner, how empowered could his wife really be?  Even if she drives a car designed for women, the man still paid for it. 

Elizabeth Arden Chrysler Imperial ad, 1959

Elizabeth Arden Chrysler Imperial ad, 1959(images from

While Chrysler made a bigger marketing attempt than Dodge by placing ads in Vogue, I'm not sure if the sales of this car in "Arden Pink" fared any better than LaFemme.  Nevertheless, automobile companies had alternatives for getting cars on women's radar via other sorts of collaborations with makeup companies.  Take, for example, this 1955 Cutex ad for a red shade inspired by Ford's Scarlet Thunderbird that "separates the sirens from the sissies!"  If you're woman enough to wear this color, you're woman enough to own a Ford.

Cutex Slightly Scarlet ad, 1955(image from

Yet another tactic was the giveaway.  In 1967, Dorothy Gray and its sister brand Tussy (owned by the same company) advertised sweepstakes to win cars in the same shades as their lipsticks, which naturally had car-themed names like Defroster. 

Dorothy Gray Honda ad, 1967(image from

Tussy Mustang ad, 1967(images from

More recently, in May Givenchy revived the idea of a car designed just for women in the launch of the Givenchy Le MakeUp, produced by French manufacturer DS.  Le MakeUp borrows Dodge's concept of esconcing an exclusive makeup kit in the armrest.  The car is also "fitted with a special LED lighting system on the two sun visor mirrors in the front seats, for ease of make-up application before or after driving. Floor mats feature the limited edition Givenchy logo, while the dashboard is rose pink." While the exterior isn't pink, I can't help but be amused by the fact that they retained at least some inclusion of the color. 

Givenchy-Le MakeUp-car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car(images from

Not only that, but "Whisper Purple" is used for the roof, mirrors, a hubcap accent and finally, to fully tie the car to the makeup, as a nail polish in the cosmetics kit.  There's also a video of Ruth Crilly, founder of the popular beauty site A Model Recommends, highlighting the car's various features while wearing the makeup.

Givenchy whisper purple nail polish(image from

While the promotional copy claims that the car was designed to "meet to meet the expectations of many modern-day women who are always on the go," Givenchy's Artistic Director for Makeup Nicolas Degennes says, "I dreamt of a car that would enhance the beauty of women. They would be beautiful because they would be at the helm of the new DS3, a vehicle that characterizes this era. Beautiful because of colour, the reflections on the face. Beautiful because of the liveliness of the pink interior.”  Indeed, even the style of the tires, one the company calls "Aphrodite," reference beauty ideals for women.  All of this further bolsters my opinion that the notion of gendered cars is astonishingly dated and sexist.  Givenchy may have come up with a modernized version of the "Arden Pink" Chrysler or Dodge LaFemme, and while many more women today are making their own car payments, the cosmetic aspects of the DS's design remain firmly in the '50s.  Especially since the inclusion of makeup in a car meant for women completely ignores the fact that this is the 21st century, and there are men who wear makeup as well as non-cis genders.  Finally, there are still folks out there who think all women do before/during/after taking a spin in their car is applying makeup. The remarks at this website regarding the Givenchy car take the cake:  "Girls don’t have such a great reputation as drivers, and a car with a makeup kit? Well. Let us only hope and pray that some 20-year-old doesn’t stop in the middle of a highway to dab a fresh layer of paint on her lips." Oof.

Along these lines, even in the art world women can't escape the traditional link between cars and makeup.  For International Women's Day in 2012, Indian car artist Sudhakar Yadav created several cars in the shape of a shoe, purse, lipstick and eye shadow as a tribute to women.  Stereotype much? 

Lipstick car

Eyeshadow car(images from

I mean, don't get me wrong, these look like a lot of fun and I give the guy credit for acknowledging there even IS an International Women's Day.  I'm sure his intentions were good and these were made as art, not to sell cars.  But it still rubs me the wrong way.  Obviously all women care about is makeup and shoes and bags, and they would appreciate the artist's offering of wacky cars only if they were in the shape of girly things.* 

As a seemingly harmless response to all of this, I'll leave you with Italian brand Collistar's summer 2016 lineup.  The company teamed up with, fittingly enough, Fiat to create a collection celebrating the 500 model. 

Collistar spring/summer 2016 collection

Collistar Ti Amo spring/summer 2016 collection

How adorable are these blushes?! 

Collistar Ti Amo spring/summer 2016 collection(images from

Personally, I generally hate cars (their design and history bores me, not to mention that they're dangerous...I have a terrible fear of driving), and no amount of cool makeup is going to make me more accepting of them.  And I sure as hell wouldn't buy a car designed just for women - I dislike the fact that in 2016 some companies are 1. still thinking in terms of binary genders for products that should so obviously be gender-less, such as cars, and 2. still thinking that a car's key selling points to reach women need to involve makeup.  The Collistar collection, however, is something I'd gladly snap up if I had access to it.  ;)

What do you think? 

*The art cars remind me of the time my sister attended a conference on women business leaders, and the swag was all Clinique products.  Not like, a tech gadget or a nice business card holder or something.  (Ironically, my sister doesn't wear a stitch of makeup.  I believe her exact words were, "I don't even use this shit!") 

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

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

Dorin of Paris ad, 1922(image from

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

Bourjois Java face powder ad, 1922
(image from

(image from

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

Volupté palette compact

Volupté black palette compact(image from

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

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

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

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. 

(image from

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

Stila Masterpiece series palettes, 2013

Stila artistry collection promo, 2013(images from

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.


Shaking it with Lancome and Manet

In honor of the birthday of Edouard Manet (1832-1883), today I thought I'd share this 1949 Lancôme ad that refers to one of the artist's most famous works.   It looks like Lancôme released a lip color inspired by Manet's 1863 painting Olympia.

Lancome ad, 1949
(image from

Here's the original painting:

Manet - Olympia, 1863
(image from wikipedia)

It's not surprising a French cosmetics brand referred to a well-known work by an equally well-known French painter; however, I am curious to know why they chose Olympia.  The woman in the painting was Victorine Meurent, who served as Manet's model for many of his works.  Meli at Wild Beauty wrote an excellent post on Victorine and how scandalous the painting was considered when it debuted at the Paris Salon in 1865.  As she points out, not only was Victorine posing as a prostitute, she was daring to confront the viewer with absolutely no shame: "...she was staring straight at the viewer – without a hint of embarrassment or coquettishness. Once again, Manet had painted the viewer into an awkward encounter.  Even in modern times we expect our whores to project either seduction or shame, so Victorine’s matter-of-fact expression is startling in any age. But in 18th century Paris it hinted at a moment many had never seen – and those that had probably pretended they hadn’t. This might be a 'backstage' moment – before the courtesan greets a lover, and it’s almost too revealing in its frankness – we see the courtesan’s youth, beauty, cynicism, and business acumen all at once."  Indeed, the bold, thoroughly non-traditional presentation of a prostitute (or even a reclining nude, for that matter) that brings to the forefront the harsh reality behind the trade was cause for an uproar in 1860s Paris.  So this goes back to my question of why Lancôme chose to use Olympia, given that critics, having no idea what to make of the depiction of this woman, called her everything from a "grotesque India rubber" to an "ape on a bed."  Olympia seems to be a highly unlikely candidate for a beauty icon, but as Meli notes, perhaps her unconventional looks and fearless gaze were being celebrated by 1949.

In any case, this ad offers another bit of intrigue.  I noticed that the packaging for the lipstick is referred to as a "carquois", which translates to "quiver".  If you look really closely at the lipstick on the right in the ad you can see a Cupid holding a quiver of arrows.  Interestingly, Lancôme released their Fleches (Arrows) fragrance in 1938, the ads for which also feature Cupid and arrows, so maybe the theme of the "carquois" was borrowed from the perfume.  But that's not the only thing:  the "carquois" is also listed as a "shaker".  Another Lancôme ad, this one from 1951, uses this name for a particular case.  (Side note:  I like how the curved shape of the lipstick on the left is still in production today for their L'Absolu Rouge line.)  Apparently you could choose which jewelry-inspired case you wanted to house the new Rose Printemps shade (this assumption is based on me typing the ad copy into Google Translate, which we know isn't all that accurate).

1951 Lancome ad
(image from

Why is this notable?  Well, for spring 2016 Lancôme is introducing their "Juicy Shakers", a new "two-phase" formula consisting of oil and pigment that requires shaking before application.  I imagine it's similar to YSL's Volupté Tint in Oil but more fun to use - I like the idea of jiggling my lip stuff around in a cute martini shaker-like package.

Lancome Juicy Shakers
(image from

Lancôme seems to have taken a great deal of care in coming up with the name/idea, as they filed a trademark for it nearly 2 years ago.  I doubt any of their people used the Olympia ad or other vintage Lancôme ads that refer to the "shaker" when naming this new product, but it's a very interesting coincidence nonetheless. 

So, two separate and quite fascinating ideas provided by Lancôme's Olympia ad.  Which do you find more intriguing, the use of a rather scandalous work or the fact that Lancôme previously had the idea over 60 years ago to house one of their lip products in a so-called shaker?

Meet Lilumia, the makeup brush washing machine

I meant to post about this back in August when it debuted, but am just catching up now.  The Lilumia makeup brush washing machine was introduced with much fanfare earlier this year as being one of the most innovative beauty devices to date, eliminating the need to hand-wash makeup brushes.  It's certainly a useful idea, especially for makeup artists whose brush-washing needs are greater than those of the average makeup consumer.  The Lilumia can wash up to 12 brushes at once in 15 minutes flat.


You do have to wipe down the "cleaning surface" after each use and empty the reservoir tray, but I imagine overall it's still faster than manual washing.  I definitely see the value of this machine, however, I must say I'm confused by the advertising.  What exactly are they selling again?


I mean, sex sells - it's a marketing tactic as old as time - but in this case it seems weird.  I'm not offended by the advertising going on here, just puzzled.  Lingerie, perfume, even makeup itself - I understand the use of "sexy" advertising for these.  But there's nothing remotely alluring about cleaning your makeup brushes, it's simply a necessary chore.  Unless teenage boys are the majority of Lilumia's target demographic, and I don't think they are, I'm betting the sexy strategy will prove to be fairly ineffective.  And the device itself...well, it resembles some kind of weird alien pod.  To my eye, it's about as seductive as a toothbrush.  So what's up with the ads?  As it turns out, Lilumia was founded by former lingerie model Fierra Cruz, so I guess she's sticking to what she knows. 

(images from

Still, if she really wants your average makeup consumer/artist to buy Lilumia, maybe she should try a marketing technique that would appeal to as many of them as possible.  People who use their makeup brushes regularly are going to be more interested in seeing whether the thing is worth their hard-earned cash than in scantily-clad models.  I'd suggest Lilumia tone down the sexy angle and play up user reviews, demonstrations, etc.  For me, seeing fellow beauty bloggers (not magazine editors) using Lilumia and giving it a positive review would make me much more likely to buy it than photos of young women in sexy underwear. 

In any case, I personally like to "baby" my brushes, and since I have so many I don't necessarily have to wash them after each use - I just use a fresh brush.  And I honestly don't mind hand-washing my brushes, as I find it somewhat relaxing.  So I have no need for this machine.  I'd also be curious to see how it stacks up next to the Brush Pearl, which received a less-than-stellar review.

Are you interested in trying Lilumia?  How about a #sexyceo t-shirt?  ;)

Fall Fracas!! (yup, it's a smackdown.)


Fall leaves can be pretty...but also lethal.  This year multiple brands adopted a foliage theme in advertising and packaging.  So instead of the usual one-on-one match, I had no choice but to create a bracketed competition.  Chanel will be squaring off with Dolce & Gabbana for the best leafy ads, while Catrice will fight Laura Geller to see which one has the most tantalizing foliage design.  The winners of each of those rounds will then duke it out to see who has the top leaf motif in all the (makeup) land.  Settle in folks, this is gonna be epic!

Let's get ready to rummmmbbbblllllle!  *ding ding*

In the right corner we've got some luscious promos for the Les Automnales de Chanel collection.  Chanel's strength lies not only in the very orderly yet artful arrangements of plants and makeup, but also in the variety of the types of botanicals.  Can D & G withstand the onslaught of leaves, flowers, berries and twigs in perfect fall hues?

Chanel fall 2015 makeup

Chanel fall 2015 makeup

  Chanel fall 2015 makeup

Chanel fall 2015 makeup
(images from

Well, let's see.  In the other corner is D & G, whose fall collection promos depict an unexpected melange of red, purple and rose leaves that match the makeup.  Will this unnatural and bold color scheme catch Chanel off guard?  Or are the images too repetitive to pack a good punch?

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

In the next ring, we have Catrice's "Fallosophy" 2015 collection up against Laura Geller's Italian Garden set.  Catrice throws a sharp right hook with eye shadows, nail polishes and lipsticks all featuring a sleek leaf illustration.

Catrice fall 2015

Catrice fall 2015

Catrice fall 2015
(images from

Laura Geller's Italian Garden set, a QVC exclusive, contains only one item with a leaf design. 

Laura Geller Italian Garden set

However, what the collection lacks in number it makes up for in the palette's color and detail.  Interlocking leaves in a variety of rich fall colors return a powerful blow to Catrice's monochrome foliage.

Laura Geller - Italian Garden palette
(images from

Who are your bracket picks and the final winner?  Tell me in the comments!

Special Exhibition: French Twist

Peace for ParisUpdate, 11/15/2015:  The Makeup Museum's fall 2015 exhibition was already devoted to Paris, but in the wake of the recent tragic attacks there, I want to dedicate the exhibition now to peace and healing in the city. Paris, your lights will never be dimmed!





In case you hadn't already guessed, in lieu of a regular seasonal exhibition this fall I'm whisking you away (virtually) to Paris!  Much has been written about the allure of French beauty, from makeup artists giving some quick advice to entire books.  Indeed, the constant stream of how-to articles on achieving the highly coveted French girl look demonstrate that many women the world over - especially us Americans - are more or less obsessed with how French women beautify themselves.  There's even a whole skincare line to ensure one can achieve the seemingly effortless, "je ne sais quoi" French women possess.  But this exhibition isn't about French beauty per se, since, as I pointed out, there are entire books on the subject and it would be too broad of a topic to tackle currently with the Museum's rather meager resources.  Additionally, some consider the "typical" French beauty ideals to be rather offensive or completely baseless and false.  My premise is much simpler:  I wanted to focus on how Paris, the epicenter of French fashion and style, is represented in beauty product packaging and advertising.  Whatever your stance is on the notion of French beauty, the fact remains that items with scenes from Paris are still quite appealing to most beauty consumers (or at least, popular with the brand's marketing department).  So grab some croissants, macarons, or [insert French treat of choice here] and gaze upon the many lovely depictions of the City of Light. 

(I apologize in advance for the poor photos.  They're bad even for me.  I think it was a combination of it being totally overcast and the fact that I had had 3 glasses of prosecco before attempting to take pictures.)

Makeup Museum fall 2015 exhibition

Top shelves, left to right.

Coty Paris ad, 1941

Coty Paris talc box

Coty Paris exhibition label

While I adore the ad I purchased, I must say I wish I could have tracked down these:

Coty Paris ad, 1939
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Coty Paris ad, 1925
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Coty wasn't the only one trying to put Paris in a bottle. 

Bourjois Evening in Paris ad, 1945

Bourjois Evening in Paris powder box and compact

Bourjois exhibition label


Lancome Auda[city] palette and ad

Lancome My French palette

Max Factor ad, 1958

Physician's Formula Bronzer and Sephora Color Around the World palette

Too-Faced has just released their "Christmas in Paris" holiday line and I want every single thing in it!  Alas, I had to narrow it to just one so I chose Le Grand Palais. 

Too-Faced Le Grand Palais set

Remember how much I loved these Bourjois containers illustrated by Nathalie Leté?

Bourjois Rendez vous a Paris collection, 2009

Tokyo Milk bubble bath and soap

I found a relatively rare compact on Ebay and thought this Cutex ad would go nicely with it.

Olfa of Paris compact (ca. 1940s) and Cutex ad, 1959

Hard to tell from the photo, but this compact is actually red.  There's also a black version, which is featured on page 108 of this book.  Too bad I couldn't find any information on the company.

Olfa of Paris compact, 1940s

Third row, left to right.

Bell Deluxe compacts


T. LeClerc Paris in Winter powder:

T. LeClerc Paris in Winter powder

T. LeCleric Paris in Winter powder

exhibition label

Maison Lancôme Highlighting Powder:

Maison Lancôme palette

Maison Lancôme palette

exhibition label

The "Vibrant" line from Coty deserves its own post, but you'll get the gist of it from the exhibition label (I hope). 

Coty Vibrant ad, 1946

This set is too cute!  While it's not officially named "Vibrant" (it says "Co-Ed Makeup Ensemble" on the box lid, which I didn't include in the exhibition),  I suspect it contains the colors from the Vibrant range, since the shade names are the same as in all the Vibrant ads.

Coty Vibrant makeup set, 1940s

Coty Vibrant powder, 1940s

Coty exhibition label

Bottom row, left to right.

You remember this set from the holiday 2014 exhibition, right?

Lancome Starry Eyes set

This was quite an interesting find!  Fortunately Collecting Vintage Compacts had the complete story, so I made sure to credit the author appropriately.

Dorin of Paris

Dorin of Paris powder boxes

Exhibition label

Another adorable collection from Bourjois.

Bourjois - Juliette Bure

Stila Passage to Paris and Pretty in Paris

Exhibition background

I had been wanting to do exhibitions on both New York and Paris in beauty products for roughly 4 years.  Last year I got the idea of do a joint exhibition featuring both (working title was "A Tale of Two Cities: Depictions of Paris and New York in Beauty Products").  But I realized my collection had a few gaps when it came to NY.  For example, I had missed purchasing the Makeup Forever Highline palette (despite my assertion that it would be good for a NY-themed exhibition) and this Sephora palette.  I was also having a difficult time finding vintage NY-related pieces that were also as visually appealing as the ones I was finding for Paris.  However, I did want to keep New York in the picture since I felt most of the items I had for Paris were from the same brands (Bourjois, Coty and Lancome) and I didn't want it to be repetitive.  In the end, I determined that the pieces were different enough despite being from the same brand, so I abandoned the idea of including New York-themed items and decided to just focus on Paris.  This doesn't mean, however, that the idea of a joint exhibition that includes New York will never be revisited.  ;)  

In terms of why I decided to launch this exhibition now, I was reflecting on my five-year wedding anniversary back in August and the amazing trip the husband and I took to Paris for our honeymoon, so I just had Paris on the brain.  Plus, I couldn't seem to make a cohesive fall exhibition.  Sometimes there's no particular seasonal theme that calls to me and I knew I had enough Paris items, so I thought, why not fall 2015?

Things I would have included but couldn't acquire

I made two collages of items that I'd give my eye teeth for.  The pieces I have in the current exhibition are nice, but there are some others that would really enhance it.

First, some vintage pieces.  On the left we have Bourjois Printemps de Paris powder and an ad for the fragrance beneath it.  This perfume was released in 1931 and the ad is from 1933, so I'm guessing the powder is from around then too.  On the right is a rare Dorin face powder from 1925.  Funnily enough, Dorin still makes Un Air de Paris fragrance, although I suspect it's significantly different from the original. At the bottom we have the exquisite Guerlain Poudre aux Ballons from 1918, which I've been drooling over for quite a while.

Makeup Museum Paris exhibition - vintage items(images from,,, and

More contemporary items include the Fancl fall 2012 French chic collection (still kicking myself for not buying these when I had the chance - when I posted about them 3 years ago I was already envisioning them in a French/Paris-themed exhibition), the Clinique travel box which was only available at duty-free shops (grrr!), Catrice Big City collection from 2012 (again, another one I'm kicking myself for not buying and also one I had mentioned as being useful for a Paris or New York exhibition), and the lovely Kerrie Hess-illustrated collection for Lancôme, which unfortunately was only available in Australia.

Makeup Museum Paris exhibition - contemporary items

Something surprising

When rounding up items for this exhibition, I was shocked to see that some of the quintessential French brands - Chantecaille, L'Occitane, Givenchy, Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, etc. - did not have any items depicting Paris.  And Paul & Joe always seems to have a Parisian theme for their collections, but there are no actual illustrations of the city on their products.  I'm not saying it's the responsibility of any of these brands to have Paris-themed products, just that I found it really odd. 

And that's the exhibition!  Does it make you want to take a fabulous trip to Paris?

Quick post: back to school

This week school started back up for most college students and I've heard many a parent's tale about their little one's first day this past Monday, so I thought it would be appropriate to share these two Elizabeth Arden ads I came across while researching last week's post on my new (old) compact and lipstick.  Enjoy!  (The text on the first ad is particularly hilarious.)

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1944
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Elizabeth Arden ad, 1949
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Vintage acquisition featuring Volupté and Elizabeth Arden

The husband and I were wandering around the neighborhood last week and spotted this very cute little vintage store called Bottle of Bread.  I didn't see any makeup, but I summoned my courage to ask the owner whether she ever came across vintage compacts or makeup ads.  I'm glad I asked because she had several stored away in a back room - she had just moved locations and hadn't put them out yet!  So I got to take my pick from a few she had obtained at an estate sale.  I settled on this very glam Volupté clutch.  I loved all the details - the sharp edges, the brushed silver tone with mirrored sides, the dainty chain and the blue rhinestone clasp.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch

The inside is chock full of neat little compartments, and looked to be in great condition.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Volupté silver tone clutch - powder compartment

Volupté silver tone clutch - powder puff

Apparently you could put your cigarettes in this compartment.

Volupté silver tone clutch - compartment

There was also a hidden compartment behind the mirror - how cool is that?

Volupté clutch - mirror compartment

Of course I was curious about this particular type of clutch so I set about doing a little research.  I found a few that resembled it, including this one which has green rhinestones and a fancy silver buckle, but no chain.  The seller says it's from the 1950s so I have some sense of the date of the one I purchased.

Volupté clutch with buckle
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This one is also nearly identical except for the rhinestones and lack of a chain.

Volupté silver tone clutch

Instead of a chain, there's a black fabric bag.

Volupté silver tone clutch(images from

I came across many others like this, but most of them were gold-toned with a bar in the front.  The mirror didn't have a compartment behind it but rather two small clips for a comb.  Other than that, the interior was the same.

Volupté Sophisticase clutch(image from

I found out that these sorts of clutches were named the "Sophisticase" by Volupté and featured their patented "Swinglok" mechanism.  For the most part they didn't have chains but rather black fabric carrying cases.  My hunch is that they came out with slightly different models over the years, so that's why mine is a little different than most of the ones I came across online.

Volupté Sophisticase with box(image from

I did manage to find one other Sophisticase with a chain, so the one I bought wasn't an anomaly.  The seller claims this one is from the '40s though, so I really can't say with certainty which decade mine is from.  I'd say it's definitely '40s or '50s, which was when Volupté, along with Evans, dominated the carryall market.

Volupté clutch with chain(image from

What's even more intriguing was the lipstick that happened to still be inside the bag.  The previous owner stashed an Elizabeth Arden lipstick in the compartment.  It's a nice tube in excellent condition, but it wasn't the tube that made me curious.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick

It was the "A" with a pair of wings engraved on the cap that piqued my interest.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick

I had never seen this motif before so naturally I had to see if there was a story behind it.  I found this rather striking ad from the early '40s for Victory Red lipstick (you can read about the original photo here).

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red ad, 1941(image from

And here's the lipstick itself where you can see the wings on the cap.

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick(image from  

There was also a very nice Victory Red set that featured a gold-toned lipstick case with the wing motif stamped in red.

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red set(image from

Here it is again - the tube looks identical to the one I have except mine doesn't seem to have the wings in red.  I don't think it wore off, I think it's because maybe only the Victory Red shade had the wings engraved in red whereas other shades didn't?  In any case, while I found these tubes to be the same, I still don't have an exact date.  The set above is listed as being from the '50s, whereas the lipstick below is listed as being from the '40s. 

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick

Elizabeth Arden Victory Red lipstick
(images from

Anyway, a few years after the launch of Victory Red the company released Winged Victory.

Elizabeth Arden Winged Victory ad, 1945
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According to this newspaper ad, it was available starting in January 1945.

Elizabeth Arden Winged Victory newspaper ad, January 1945
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So I'm assuming the wings came about to complement the variations of Victory Red, which was created at the start of World War II in 1941, and continued with the introduction of Winged Victory in early 1945*.  I'm curious to know whether the V shape formed by the wings was intentional since seemingly every product was advertised with a "V for Victory".  

The company continued to use the wing design on many other products after the war was over.  If you look really closely at the items featured in these ads, you can make out the wings.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1947
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Elizabeth Arden ad, 1949(image from

Here's a shot of an actual jar of Pat-A-Creme:

Elizabeth Arden Pat A Creme, ca. 1949(image from

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1949(image from

The use of the wing design continued through the 1950s.

Elizabeth Arden ad by Rene Gruau, 1955
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Interestingly, this ad was done by Carl "Eric" Erickson, who also did illustrations for Rouge Baiser.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1957
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Elizabeth Arden ad, 1958
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The wings were still fluttering in 1959 for this tie-in to Chrysler's Imperial car.

Vintage Elizabeth Arden lipstick(image from

According to the description at Ruby Lane, Chrysler launched a new ad campaign for the Imperial in the January 1959 issue of Vogue with product sponsorship by Elizabeth Arden.  The car was available in Arden Pink, which was allegedly Jackie O's favorite lipstick shade, and you could order the car from Vogue directly.  Additionally, for $25 you could purchase the exclusive Imperial Travel Case to go in the glove box.


EA-Chrysler-set(image from

Anyway, the description at Ruby Lane also states that the wings in this case are connected to the bird emblem on the Imperial, as seen on the left in the ad above.  I'm not sure I agree, but it's interesting that they continued to use it.

Speaking of Arden Pink, here's an ad from 1960.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1960(image from

1966 was the date of the last ad in which I could see the wing motif appear on the products.

Elizabeth Arden ad, 1966(image from

What does all this mean for the lipstick?  Well, unfortunately, like the clutch itself, it could be from several decades.  (I googled the shade name on the bottom - New Fashion - and turned up nothing.) The shape of the tube was identical to several tubes of Victory Red I came across, but those were listed by the sellers with varying dates, so since I don't know the exact years they were made I can't pinpoint it for the lipstick I have.  The ads didn't seem to show those types of tubes either so no help there.  As for the wings, I couldn't find a satisfying answer as to their significance and usage throughout the years, but perhaps it's in this book.

So...thoughts?  Do you ever come across vintage finds in your town?  I gave the store owner my card, so hopefully she'll be in touch with more vintage makeup goodies.  :)

*The Glamourologist had a post on Elizabeth Arden and wartime makeup so I was hoping there would be some mention of those wings in it, but I keep getting the dreaded "The page you were looking for does not exist" message when I click on the link.  I searched both her new site and Facebook page and couldn't find it.  I couldn't even find an email address to contact her!  But I bet if anyone has information on Elizabeth Arden during wartime, it would be her.