It's the most wonderful time of the year...to look at vintage Christmas makeup ads, that is! You know I can't get enough of these, so here's a quick roundup (in no particular order) of some I added to the Museum's collection this year. :)
I have many Dorothy Gray ads, but not any from the '20s. Their early packaging was so sleek.
Apparently you can avoid an inferiority complex with a manicure set. LOL.
Santa, you jerk! Why did you give me an empty box? Now I have to go to the store and have it filled?! That's not a good present!
Santa gave considerably better gifts in this ad. I'm a bit confused about the presence of donkeys (shouldn't it be reindeer?), but I do love the overall cartoon-y look of this one.
René Bouché (1905-1963) was Elizabeth Arden's head advertising illustrator in addition to working for Vogue. If you see an illustrated ad for Elizabeth Arden from the 40s or 50s most likely it was done by Bouché's hand. I believe this is the first ad by this artist to join the Museum's collection. :)
I can't recall how I stumbled across these Djer-Kiss ads, but I'm so pleased I found them! Djer-Kiss "Kissing Fairies" compact has been on my wishlist for a long time, but the ads are just as gorgeous as the compacts. I'm hell-bent on collecting all of them, as they're simply beautiful and feature a variety of illustrators. Collecting Vintage Compacts has an amazingly thorough history of the company, which makes me want them all the more. I believe the illustrator for this one was Willy Pogany, although I couldn't find a signature anywhere so I can't be sure.
This one is by C.F. Neagle, who does a breathtaking job of capturing iridescence - from fairy wings to Christmas baubles, there's a multi-colored sheen that seems to pop off the page.
I love all the little sprites flitting about the gift box, particularly the ones hanging off the top and sitting on the edge. Incredibly charming, no?
So that concludes 2017's vintage Christmas ad roundup! Which one was your favorite? I love all of these, of course, but I'm partial to the very silly Max Factor ad and the beautiful Djer-Kiss ads.
Hopefully you're not forest-ed out since I have many more woodsy things I'd like to share as a follow up to the fall exhibition. This was a very rich theme and I had so much fun exploring it. Here are a few more things that were running through my head while planning the exhibition.
Between Jennifer Lawrence's amazing flower-filled updo at the Mother! premiere to my long-standing infatuation with The Blair Witch Project (I watch it every fall and it still scares the hell out of me!), there was plenty of pop culture inspiration. But since I follow so many blogs, I also came across photos, paintings and other art that helped shape my vision for the exhibition. In addition to the fabulous illustrations by Alexandra Dvornikova and the beautiful forest paintings of Tyrus Wong, here are a few more I had rattling around in my brain.
I so wish I had any photography skills, because these images by Dave Pluimer and Kilian Schönberger blew me away. I found both of these photographers via Abduzeedo, an excellent design and art blog.
These posters by Andy Kehoe could not be more aptly titled: "Forest Sentinel". I love the idea of the animals literally overseeing the forest and guarding it...and possibly protecting any humans that wander in.
Finally, I can't believe these oil paintings by Janek Sedlar - I thought they were photos! Hauntingly pretty.
II. Other Items
There were tons of vintage and contemporary items I debated putting into the exhibition, but decided not to include due to their lack of seasonal appropriateness, or they weren't actually available for sale. Still, I wanted to show some of the other things I was mulling over.
You might remember the Museums' fall 2015 smackdown featuring some very pretty leafy makeup items. Even though they're not that old, I had too hard of a time tracking down Catrice's Fallosophy collection and Laura Geller's Italian Garden set - some of the Catrice items were for sale on Ebay but the exact shades I wanted, plus it would have taken weeks to get here, and I searched for the Laura Geller set but had no luck finding it until well after I had finalized all the exhibition items. There was also Essence's 2014 Hello Autumn collection, but I couldn't find any pieces from that either. Fortunately there were plenty of vintage leaf-adorned items that I came across. These are the ones that I was going to buy but they either were too pricey, not in the best shape or not available for sale so I ended up skipping them.
Very nearly bought this since the ad is also available. However, once I looked closer at the ad I realized it was a holiday one, so I figured it would be too Christmas-y for a fall exhibition.
The ad shows many other pretty compacts in addition to the leaf one. The "Whimsey" one would have been so cute for the fall exhibition - love that the little lady has a bird's nest for hair! And obviously I'd give my eye teeth for the pineapple-adorned "Tropicana" compact.
The other super popular woodland/forest motif for vintage items was deer. So many fawns and bucks and does! But I ended up skipping most of them as they were more gazelle-like, such as this compact by Evans.
Elgin offered a slew of deercompacts in addition to the ones featured in the exhibition. But I was partial to the "Woodland Fawn" design since the others were really gazelles and simply not forest-y enough for what I had envisioned. Still, they're pretty cute and also plentiful.
What's interesting about all these is that even though they're post-war, they resemble Art Deco designs. I wasn't alone in this observation either. As Laura Mueller, author of The Collector's Encyclopedia of Compacts, Carryalls and Face Powder Boxes notes, "The 'Leaping Gazelles,' competing in the thirties with the Borzoi and Scotty dog animal motifs, for some reason became a very popular motif again after WWII. The Post Deco flavor of these cases is obvious. The sharp angles are softer and the fauna is more realistic. However, art deco in feeling, these later cases must not be confused nor valued with true Art Deco. A leaping gazelle does not always an Art Deco case make" (p. 149).
Anyway, these last two were so cute, but the Kigu one on the left was nowhere to be found for sale, while the Honeywell on the right was available but pretty scratched. I've been wanting a Honeywell in the Museum's collection ever since I saw their adorable mermaid compact, but the scuff marks on this one almost make it look like the poor deer have been shot through the head with arrows. Maybe that's just me though. In any case, it didn't make the exhibition cut.
Now for some of the harder-t0-find forest residents and other woodland goodness. In terms of contemporary items, the animals in the holiday 2013 Cosme Decorte set would have been a great addition to a woodland-themed exhibition if it wasn't for the red and white color scheme and unmistakable Christmas tree. Another Cosme Decorte item, the Wandering Grace compact by Marcel Wanders, was another possibility I mulled over, but ultimately decided against including it since it just didn't look forest-like enough to me.
This fox compact by Estee Lauder was gorgeous, but also expensive.
Bunnies were a bit easier to find, but so many of them screamed Easter to me, so I really had to dig for ones that were either more fall-like (such as the Folklore design) or basically season-less (the Shiseido figurine). I think this vintage powder box would have been perfect though - definitely more forest rabbit than Easter bunny.
I also looked for trees and general forest scenes. I didn't turn up much that reminded me of a forest in autumn - most of what I was seeing looked like tropical landscapes - but this vintage compact definitely would have made the cut if it hadn't already sold. It's pretty unique.
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.
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.
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.*
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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-Faced? The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You might remember this neat ad for Max Factor's Italian Touch that I featured in the summer exhibition.
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.
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.
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.
What do you think about this latest Museum gift? Big huge thanks to my awesome and supportive husband. :)
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.
From the photo below it looks like Elizabeth Arden's Ardena was also included, which seems odd - why go with two cosmetics brands?
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, serenely...you 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!")
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.
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."
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.
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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 muchfanfare 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.
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 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?
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?
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.
Laura Geller's Italian Garden set, a QVC exclusive, contains only one item with a leaf design.
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.