Armani

Armani's runway palettes: high-end makeup blind boxes?

Thank goodness for Instagram, because without it I might never have known Armani was doing another runway palette this spring!  As with the previous runway palettes it features a fabric print taken directly from the latest ready-to-wear collection packaged in a lovely tulle pouch.  While last spring's didn't really catch my fancy, I deemed this season's palette (along with fall 2016's) Museum-worthy. 

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 palette

I feel this palette was better equipped than previous ones to help you recreate the runway makeup look, which was simply gorgeous - a pop of bright blue messily smudged along the top lashline paired with peachy-beige cheeks and glossy peach lips.  It sounds like it's been done before, but this look was a new iteration of the sexy disheveled eye in that it used bold color rather than the usual black, and there didn't seem to be any eyeshadow at all.  While I can't use this palette since it's a collectible, I bet I could swap Pat McGrath's magnificent Ultraviolet Dark Star kit.

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 makeup

Armani spring 2017

Armani spring 2017 makeup

I also think the makeup paired really well with the clothes.

Armani spring 2017 ready to wear

As with the previous runway palettes, my hunch is that there are a handful of different fabric swatches that appear on the palettes.  The one in the stock photo, for example, shows a slightly different section of the pattern than the one I have.

Armani spring 2017 palette

Now let's play the matching game.  I found the exact portion of the fabric in this look.

Armani spring 2017 ready to wear
(images from vogue.com and giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)

However, I had to flip it both vertically and horizontally to get it to match the one on the palette case.

Armani pattern spring 2017

I'm enjoying these runway-inspired pieces from Armani.  Arguably they're not earth-shattering from a design standpoint in that they're literal reproductions of the patterns on the clothing, and sometimes I wish Armani would return to bedazzled and/or embossed powders for their seasonal releases, but the joy in these lies in the fact that you never know what you're going to get in terms of the exact part of the pattern that appears on the palette.  It's like a blind box toy of sorts (I'd dearly love to have blind box makeup!) and it's also a fun little game to go through the runway photos and find the particular fabric swatch you have.  Or at least it is to me since I'm a dork that way.  :D

What do you think?

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Cock a doodle doo!

Consider this part 1 of a 2-part celebration of the Chinese New Year.  Later this week I'll be discussing some really cool vintage Chinese New Year-related finds, but today I'm looking at some contemporary rooster-themed items since 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. 

We'll start with Armani's lovely palette.  The design is similar to last year's, with a striking red outer case and a subtle engraving of the animal on the powder inside.  The characters on the 2017 case, however, apparently mean happiness and luck, whereas last year the character was "fu", which symbolizes fortune or good luck.  Alas, since I'm not familiar with a single Chinese character I can't say for sure what these are and have to rely on other blogs and press releases.

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

At first I was a little disappointed that the rooster was rendered in the exact same style as last year's monkey.  But then it occurred to me that if Armani continues releasing these palettes and maintains the same style of illustration, they will look utterly fabulous displayed together.  ;)

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

The rooster is the 10th sign of the Chinese zodiac.  Roosters are known to be "honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, and confident."  They also tend to be incredibly punctual, since for centuries roosters served as alarm clocks.  And this is interesting:  I didn't know this previously, but all the Chinese zodiac signs also correspond to the Chinese elements of fire, wood, earth, metal and water.  While the zodiac animal sign changes each year, the elements change only every 12 years, so each animal/element combination will only be repeated every 60 years.  Currently we're in a fire cycle, so this year it's a fire rooster. 

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

Next up is a handful of items from Etude House.  I was browsing their site to order some of their holiday collection, which I found out about quite late in the season, and spotted their adorable Chinese New Year lineup.  Completely different feel from Armani, but super cute and worthy of the Museum.

Etude House Chinese New Year 2017

Other beauty brands were eager to jump on the Chinese New Year bandwagon this year, so in case Armani and Etude House didn't do it for you, here are some more goodies.

Chinese New Year 2017 beauty products
 

  1. Givenchy Prisme Libre Loose Powder
  2. A'Pieu Full of Color Eyes palette
  3. LUSH Little Dragon bubble bar (this actually isn't new, but I'm so glad it's still around!)
  4. Guerlain Rouge G lipstick
  5. YSL Chinese New Year Blush Palette
  6. Laneige Water Bank set
  7. MAC Eyeshadow x 9

So that's the start of the Museum's 2017 Chinese New Year celebration!  Stay tuned for another (rather mysterious, I might add) Chinese zodiac festivity later this week.  ;)

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Ghosts of Christmas makeup past: Armani Black Gem palette

Happy December!  It's that time of year where not only do I share current holiday goodies but also highlight some that came before.  I was digging through the Museum's archives and couldn't believe I hadn't posted about this beautiful palette Armani released for their 2007 holiday collection.

Armani Black Gem palette

A smooth, sleek black case is adorned with a delicate flower pattern offset by black crystals.  I found the design to be rather elegant and understated, similar to the lovely 2008 crystal palette.  (Why they went the the more blingy, "look at me" route in 2009 I'll never know, but I still think that collection's gorgeous too because, well, I love sparkly anything for the holidays.)

Armani Black Gem palette

The first tier contains 4 shadows for building a smoky eye.

Armani Black Gem palette

The second tier consists of face powder imprinted with the same floral pattern as the case.  *swoon*

Armani Black Gem palette

Armani Black Gem palette

Armani Black Gem palette

I touched briefly on the fall 2007 couture collection in my coverage of Armani's fall 2007 palette, but I wanted to expand on it here since I suspect the Black Gem palette was based on the fall 2007 couture collection.  Black crystals showed up everywhere.

Armani couture fall 2007

Armani couture fall 2007

Armani fall 2007 couture

The models were covered literally from head...

Armani fall 2007 couture

...to toe.

Armani couture fall 2007(images from vogue.com)

However, I must include this photo from the fall 2007 ready-to-wear collection.  I wasn't able to zoom in, but I swear the floral pattern is the same as the one on the Black Gem palette, and it looks especially similar because of the black-on-black detailing.  So maybe they combined elements from the ready-to-wear and couture collections in one palette?  I don't know.

Armani fall 2007 ready-to-wear
(image from vogue.com)

I do know that the Black Gem palette is gorgeous and I wish Armani would return to these sorts of designs.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that the more recent runway palettes are literal representations of the pieces from the fashion shows, but I appreciate crystals and embossed powders even more.  ;)  I mean, when I compare, say, the fall 2016 palette to Black Gem, both are Museum-worthy but the latter definitely has a more eye-catching design.

What do you think?  And do you remember the Black Gem palette at all?

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One of a kind? Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The past two runway-based palettes from Armani did nothing for me, but their fall 2016 one called my name.  It's especially odd given that I'm generally not a fan of floral prints, and I'd never wear any of what came down the Armani runway this season.  I also think the print itself reads very spring rather than fall, given the delicate, watercolor-esque pastel hues.  However, this palette seemed to be a little more tied into the clothing than in the past 2 seasons.  The other unusual aspect is that the pattern seems to differ on each palette.  Let's take a closer look.

As with previous runway palettes, it comes with a luxurious tulle pouch, and the outer case is decked out in fabric too.  While gorgeous, I don't think it would hold up well in one's makeup bag.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The top tier is a highlighting powder.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Underneath are the eye shadows.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The pattern came straight from the floral print on the runway pieces. 

Armani fall 2016

Armani fall 2016 bags

Armani fall 2016 bags

The pattern on my palette can be seen on the left lapel and right sleeve of this jacket.

Armani fall 2016 jacket(images from vogue.com)

And because I'm obsessed with finding the exact pattern, I cropped and rotated the lapel so you can see precisely where it is.

Armani fall 2016 palette and pattern

As you can see from the stock photo below, the pattern on the palette I received is markedly different.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette(image from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)

And I noticed the palette that Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog reviewed also has a different pattern.  I wonder if there are just 3 versions or if every single one has a unique swath of fabric.  In any case, these variations are what compelled me to buy it.  Not only was the print the same on each palette from the last two seasons, I couldn't really even match it exactly to the prints from the runway.  They looked like watered down interpretations of the designs, not actual reproductions.  Fortunately (and unfortunately for my wallet, as this was a pricey one) Armani's fall 2016 offering was way more interesting from a collectible standpoint.  :)

What do you think?  Have you seen these palettes in person or do you plan on purchasing?  I'm so curious to know if they're all different!

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Couture Monday: Monkeying around with Armani

Happy Chinese New Year!  This Armani palette will help you celebrate in shimmery style. YSL and MAC both occasionally release items in honor of the holiday (and both are this year), so I guess Armani is following suit.  

The red lacquer case depicts the Chinese symbols for fortune and luck.

Armani Chinese New Year palette

Armani Chinese New Year palette

Inside, the powder is inscribed with a silhouette of a monkey.  I thought this was well-done.  While more detail might have been interesting, keeping the design limited to a simple outline is probably the best way to go so that it doesn't veer into cartoon territory.

Armani Chinese New Year palette

Those born in a year of the monkey are said to be curious, sociable, mischievous and clever.  In fact, China may see a significant increase in births this year since the traits associated with this sign are so desirable.

Armani Chinese New Year palette

Armani Chinese New Year palette

I guess Couture Monday is a misnomer in this case, as I couldn't find any relationship to Armani's fashion - no special Year of the Monkey capsule collection or anything like that.  So in lieu of fashion, today I will bring you some of my favorite monkeys in art.  There's even a whole Tumblr devoted to the topic!  Some Chinese and Japanese examples.

Yi Yuanji, Monkeys and Cats, 11th century(image from wikipedia.org)

Gibbons at Play, 1427
(image from wikipedia.org)

Monkeys on a Limb by Mori Sosen, 18th century

Gibbon Reaching for the Moon's Reflection, Ohara Koson, 1926
(images from wikipedia.org)

And here are some monkeys in Western art:

A Monkey Smoking and Drinking with an Owl by Ferdinand Van Kessel, 17th century
(image from venetianred.net)

Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte, 1884

Tropical Forest with Monkeys by Henri Rousseau, 1910(image from nga.gov)

The Monkey by Franz Marc, 1912
(image from wikiart.org)

Self Portrait with Monkeys by Frida Kahlo, 1943(image from anothermag.com)

Some other monkey business includes these home goods, a collection of lovely cards by Japanese designers, this exhibition at the Met, and you simply must check out these monkey orchids.

What do you think of the Armani palette?  And do you like monkeys either in general or as a decorative motif?


Couture Monday: Armani Orient Excess palette

While not as spectacular as some of Armani's previous holiday offerings, I was pleased enough with the Orient Excess palette to buy it.  The palette comes with a sapphire blue velvet pouch.

Armani Orient Excess pouch

Unlike the palettes from 2009 and 2008, there is no bling on the outer side of the case, but the deep blue is quite striking on its own.

Armani Orient Excess palette and pouch

Inside, Armani went for a simple cascade of thin vertical lines of varying lengths streaming from the top of the palette, some punctuated with stars.  It's an abstract design but still is reminiscent of holiday/winter motifs, like baubles dangling from a Christmas tree or perhaps icicles.  Like the T.LeClerc Paris in Winter palette, the beauty of the design lies in its subtlety - no harsh colors or glitter, or even prominent shimmer.

Armani Orient Excess palette

Armani Orient Excess palette

The eye shadow tier:

Armani Orient Excess palette eye shadows

Naturally I had to see whether there was any direct connection to Armani's recent fashion shows.  The fall ready-to-wear show was the inspiration for the Organica palette so it's not from that.  I checked the fall couture show and nope, there was nothing there either that would suggest any relation to the palette.  So I went to the press release about the holiday collection and found this description:  "To celebrate the end of the year, the Orient Excess collection invites you on an exotic journey to the snowy steppes of the Far North. These immaculate plains, covered in frost and stretching as far as the eye can see, inspired by Giorgio Armani Beauty to create a polar atmosphere through pure and intense make-up."  That certainly paints a picture and the highlighter does bring to mind some sort of frozen tundra-filled landscape, but there's still no explicit reference to Armani clothing. 

Then I came across an article announcing Armani's Luxury White capsule collection.  For a capsule it's rather large, running the gamut from jackets and sweaters to shoes and bags.  However, the color scheme is restrained, consisting only of variations of white and ivory.  The variety of textures keeps the pieces interesting though, as alpaca, rabbit fur, silk, and three types of cashmere were used.

As you can see from the sketches the collection's title is apt.  The fur-collared trench coat and the bathrobe (ooh, is it cashmere?) look particularly sumptuous to me.

Armani Luxury White capsule sketches

Armani Luxury White capsule sketches

While there are only sketches of the clothing online, stock photos of some of the accessories were released, like this rabbit fur trimmed bag.

Armani Luxury White capsule bag
(images from vogue.it)

So while I have no quote from Armani about the link between this collection and the Orient Excess lineup, I'm pretty sure Luxury White was the inspiration, especially when you consider the model in the Orient Excess ad, who is swathed in white fur.  There's also a line from the aforementioned press release that calls to mind the extravagant textures used in the Luxury White collection:  "Featuring a porcelain, universally translucent face powder for that essential, winter glow and a trio of eyeshadows, inspired by the softest mink, chinchilla and sable furs, to bring a touch of animal warmth to translucent skin."

Armani holiday 2014 promo
(image from beautezine.com)

What do you think of the Orient Excess palette?  Think my theory about it being loosely based on the Luxury White collection holds any water?


Couture Monday: Armani Fall 2014

I was initially tempted to get this palette for the Museum, but soon decided against it.  In terms of color, Armani's Organica eye shadow palette is the embodiment of the "Fade to Grey" fall 2014 fashion collection.

Armani-Fall-2014-Organica-palette
(image from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)

The color scheme was grey with touches of green, with subdued makeup (save for the strong brows).

Armani-fall-2014-runway

Armani-fall-2014-clothes
(images from style.com)

Linda Cantello, International Makeup Artist for Armani, notes that "[Armani] didn't want a very strong makeup statement for this show...he wanted the brows to be very strong but not overtaking the complete look.  So basically, it's like a makeup that's faded."  She adds, "I believe the best and the most flattering makeup is makeup that you cannot see.  It’s more striking when it has that slight ‘lived-in’ look. Eyes with muted colour, an Armani look with stronger eyebrows, grey eyes and a soft mouth. It is all easy to apply and anyone can wear it.”  I thought this look worked very well with the clothes that came down the runway.  It's not easy to figure out a cohesive beauty look that goes with grey and green.

Armani-fall-2014-makeup

Armani-fall-2014-makeup-look

Armani-fall-2014-fade-to-grey-makeup
(images from style.com)

While I was pleased to see that the palette's colors were an excellent complement to the fashion show, the pattern stopped me from buying it.  What is it supposed to be?  Perhaps some variation of a leopard or crocodile print, but neither of those made an appearance in the clothing.  To my eye, the shapes look a little like keyhole limpet shells.

Keyhole_limpet_shells
(image from wikipedia.org)

Indeed, Jane at British Beauty Blogger called the design a "kind of ombred barnicle".  There is something biological or sea creature-like about it, which would be somewhat appropriate given that the palette is named Organica.  But without any direct reference to the fall show nor a clearly depicted leopard or other animal pattern, I had to skip purchasing it.  From a collecting standpoint it didn't meet my criteria.  However, the colors are gorgeous and I could definitely see myself using it if I wore lots of muted greys and beiges (you learned last week I'm not a huge fan of neutrals). 

What do you think of this palette overall and what do you think the pattern is supposed to be?


Couture Monday: Armani Belladonna Highlighting Powder

Well, this was a close one!  I almost didn't get my hands on this palette as I was waiting for a good gift-with-purchase event.  Little did I know not all the usual online retailers of Armani would be selling it, and counters only received a few.  Anyway, after much searching I managed to snag this palette, and reminded myself that if something is a "must-have" for the Museum, it's best not to wait to buy.

The Belladonna Highlighter is embossed with its namesake flower in a lovely champagne color with a high-shine, nearly metallic finish. 

Armani-belladonna-spring2014

Armani-belladonna

Armani-belladonna-side

Armani-belladonna-detail

Instead of tying the palette to their spring 2014 fashion collections, Armani went in reverse, looking instead to their fall 2013 Privé show.  The "Nudo" collection provided a fresh take on neutral tones in which the designer opted to play with texture and pattern rather than color.  In looking at the styles that came down the runway, you can definitely see how the palette relates to the overall feel of the collection.  On the more literal side, flowers were an integral part:

Armani-couture-flowers

But the airy lightness of several of the gowns, coupled with the gleam of subtle metallic touches, is much more reminiscent of the palette than the flowers.  The models almost seem to float down the runway in wispy fabrics and flowing silhouettes, offset by glints of iridescent gold and champagne.

Armani-fall-2013-prive

Armani-fall-2013-couture

The texture of this jacket in particular reminded me of the fabric-like background of the palette.

Armani-fall-2013-jacket

Here's a close-up so you can really see the lines:

Armani-fall-2013-couture-jacket-detail
(images from style.com)

Armani makeup artist Linda Cantello used a prototype of the Belladonna palette on the models' eyes, which tied the ethereal look together perfectly while also lending a touch of '20s glamour.

Armani-couture-fall-2013
(image from style.com)

While I'm still a little confused as to why Armani would release a product that was tied to a fall collection for the spring, I do think in this case it works.  The fall 2013 couture show read much more spring in terms of color, shape and textures; there was none of the heaviness that designers tend to bring out for fall collections.  With all the elegant details incorporated in both the styles at the Privé show and in the Belladonna palette, Armani demonstrates that nude doesn't mean boring.  I also love the choice of the belladonna flower.  While I don't know the reasoning behind Armani's selection of this particular bloom, it's always refreshing to see flowers other than roses on palettes.

What do you think of this palette?  And of the fall 2013 couture collection? 


Couture Monday: Armani Eccentrico

This is an unusually vibrant offering from Armani for the holiday 2013 season.  The Eccentrico collection was created in conjunction with the fashion exhibition of the same name.  "Eccentrico" was a pop-up exhibition debuting for one night only in Milan, Tokyo, Rome and Hong Kong that displayed some of Armani's more memorable designs spanning from 1985 to the present day.  From the website, in the designer's own words:  "Eccentrico is an installation of exceptional clothes and unique accessories, a journey through the imagination and a study of the capacity for transformation, playing with shapes and materials to explore cultural connections and artistic symbols. It is this aspect – of the unusual – that I wished to highlight, because it represents an exuberant form of creativity that extends the concept of minimalism and rigour linked with my fashion design. And as simplicity of line does not equal simplicity of thought, I have underscored the wealth and freedom of inspiration that form the foundation of my work and that tell a long and unexpected story. My own story, beyond the clichés." 

For the holiday makeup collection, the "Eccentrico" spirit was captured in some strange and unexpected colors that, at least to my eye, read more spring/summer than winter.  However, they are appropriate given the colors of the items in the exhibition.  A bold palette of red, pink and orange was repeated throughout.  Compare the lip glosses and nail polishes to the flower brooches and some of the dresses:

Armani-Eccentrico-glosses

Armani-Eccentrico-Nail-polish
(images from chicprofile)

Armani-eccentrico-flowers
(image from becomingarmaniman.com)

Armani-eccentrico-red
(image from www2.stile.it)

Armani-pink-orange-dress
(image from corraini.com)

Armani-eccentrico-dress

The colors also drew heavily not just from the pieces in the Eccentrico exhibition but the fall 2012 collection as well.

Armani-fall-2012-promo
(image from herblog.com)

Armani-fall-2012-rtw
(images from style.com)

The star of the holiday makeup collection was the highlighting powder, a combination of pastel shades in shapes reminiscent of  jagged mountain peaks.

Armani-Eccentrico-palette
(image from chicprofile.com)

The reason I didn't purchase it, however, was that I was looking for an exact match in one of the items from the Eccentrico exhibition.  This skirt was the closest thing I found, but it's still not identical.  While the shapes are sharp and geometric, they're not exactly the same as those found in the palette.

Armani-Eccentrico-promo
(image from onenightonly.armani.com)

Armani-skirt
(image from sickbytrend.com)

I am puzzled as to why the palette had a distinct design yet one that didn't quite match up with any of the pieces in the exhibition - it makes me wonder why they bothered giving the palette that geometric design at all.  Overall, I think Eccentrico definitely lived up to the name given the strange colors; however, there was nothing worth buying collectible-wise.  It would have been nice to see a palette that had a more direct link to the something in the exhibition.

What did you think of the collection and the Eccentrico exhibition?