Cle de Peau

A modern update to 1920s style: Clé de Peau holiday 2016

Clé de Peau's holiday collection was one of those "order without thinking" kind of purchases for the Museum - as soon as I saw the elegant, Art Deco-inspired ladies on the packaging I knew it would be an excellent asset to the Museum's holdings.  New Orleans artist Ashley Longshore was responsible for these lovely designs.  In general, Longshore took her cue from Clé de Peau Creative Director Lucia Pieroni, who wanted to capture the feel of the women painted by Tamara de Lempicka (1898-1980). "When Clé de Peau Beauté approached me to create the packaging for the collection, I felt I had the opportunity to collaborate with both Lucia and Tamara. I think I brought a sense of modernity to the work that was truly my own yet noticeably inspired by the powerful, bold women who Tamara de Lempicka was known for painting," Longshore says.

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 collection

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 brush set

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 brush set detail

The brush set is gorgeous, but I wasn't able to find the original artwork it came from.  This was the most similar piece I could find at the Clé de Peau website.  All of Longshore's original pieces are for sale, and each one has a little blurb explaining the artist's inspiration behind them. 

"I really wanted this piece to symbolize pure confidence and elegance, that’s why I used a peacock. The peacock is the most beautiful of all birds: confident and radiant."

Ashley Longshore, Her Glow Was Like the Sun, 2016

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 palette

"I wanted this painting to be simplistic and elegant and capture that spirit of art deco. Her profile is so elegant and demure. Her jewelry is the perfect statement to her beauty. The soft periwinkle blues and the gold is so sophisticated and radiant."

A Glance of Perfection by Ashley Longshore, 2016

The lip glosses:

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 lip glosses

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 lip glosses

And the paintings.

"This woman symbolizes minimalist refined beauty - like that of a flower it doesn't have to try too hard. It blossoms and it is what is it is and we appreciate its beauty for what it is."

Ashley Longshore - Blossoming Possibilities, 2016

"Hummingbirds are very symbolic in my artwork because they move so quickly you have to enjoy every moment of their beauty and I created this panting to embody how we should appreciate every precious moment in our lives."

Ashley Longshore, She Had to Enjoy Each Precious Moment, 2016

There was also this stunning face cream, which I did not purchase as it went for a cool $535, not to mention the artwork was only featured on the outer box and not on the jar itself.

Clé de Peau holiday 2016 collection

But just for fun, here are the original paintings that appeared on the box.

"Ahhh! It took millions of years in the earth to create something that sparkles so much that we love so much I painted this because sometimes it takes time to find your inner beauty so for me this is how we appreciate our brilliance as women."

Ashley Longshore - Emerald, 2016

"As a woman the happiest of days is a day you feel confident, beautiful, elegant and are surrounded by jewels."

Ashley Longshore - Oh Happy Day, 2016

There were also these two paintings, but I don't think they appeared on any of the Clé de Peau packaging.

"This piece I really wanted to showcase elements of being a woman that are fun. Her jewelry, the illuminating gold leaf, the hummingbird representing the fleeting moments of our life, the jewels, the camellia. This piece was made to represent the height of femininity."

Ashley Longshore, She Was Surrounded by Beauty and Everything Was Perfect, 2016

"The camellia is not just a symbol of Clé de Peau but for me it symbolized the height of what our beauty can be and as women we all want to be the bloomed moment and stay in that moment so for me this is the forever moment."

Ashley Longshore - Camellia, 2016(images from cledepeaubeaute.com)

Naturally I was very curious to check out more of Longshore's work to see if the Clé de Peau pieces were in keeping with her aesthetic.  To my great surprise I found her other paintings far more brash and humorous than what we're seeing on the Clé de Peau collection.  Longshore classifies herself as a pop artist, and that comes across much clearer in her other work.  I think the Clé de Peau pieces (which were brand new commissions for the artist, so no recycling of previous work here) are most reminiscent of Longshore's Audrey series.  "Audrey represents the woman we all aspire to be...she is so elegant. So beautiful, so philanthropic, such a lady, that neck, that profile…I want that," she says“Eyes closed, Audrey, for me, radiates goodness. What a perfect template for the perfect woman. Her image is very comforting. She’s like my 'woobie.' The imagery is also about the many hats a woman wears. It’s amazing to be a woman in the United States today.”

Ashley Longshore, Audrey in the Moonlight with Peacock study

Ashley Longshore, Audrey and Peacock in the Moonlight

Ashley Longshore, Audrey With Art Nouveau Golden Peacock

Ashley Longshore - Audrey with Bedazzled Circle Dress and Damask

While the above examples bear a good resemblance to the women on the Clé de Peau packaging, the other Audreys are more along Longshore's trademark pop art lines.  The series takes a turn for the wacky with a range of bizarre additions perched atop the icon's head: art-themed snowglobes, sea creatures, even Star Wars storm troopers.

Ashley Longshore, Andy Warhol Marilyn Snow Globe Audrey

Ashley Longshore, Matisse Snow Globe Audrey

Ashley Longshore, Octopus Audrey

Ashley Longshore, Jellyfish Audrey

She can make anything look good!

Ashley Longshore, Audrey in Balenciaga Hat with Stormtroopers

Indeed, I found most of Longshore's paintings to be funny, modern takes on the Pop Art tradition.  I think Warhol would have greatly admired this version of David's Napoleon Crossing the Alps, "Bat Van", or Vermeer's Girl with a Pearl Earring as Wonder Woman.

Ashley Longshore, Amaze Balls

Ashley Longshore, Bat van

Ashley Longshore, Girl with a Pearl Earring

I also love the rather irreverent, brazen attitude of these word-based paintings.  Speaking of words, another reason I became an instant fan of Longshore is her foul mouth, for which she is completely unapologetic.  If you check her Instagram (and you really should - not only do you get to see more of her work, she finds the weirdest, most hilarious online clips) I think nearly all of her photos have #fuckyeah as a hashtag, and she notes that "fuck is my fave word" right in her profile.

Ashley Longshore, No Whiskey No Weed No Wildness

Ashley Longshore, In Case You Are Wondering Where I Am

Ashley Longshore, Let Me Drink My Vodka In Peace

Literally LOL at this one.

Ashley Longshore, They Hated the Garden Club

While most of Longshore's work is fairly straightforward, I must say I was puzzled by a few of the other topics she takes on, namely trophy wives and status symbols.  While Longshore maintains that her paintings on these are good-natured fun and that she's not mocking those women or the general lifestyle of the 1% ("I love trophy wives, I mean, they’re the most beautiful women you’ve ever seen, they’re incredible. I often fantasize about what it would be like to be that, just a beautiful little flower that has to put your hand out for everything”) I feel her paintings tell a very different story. I had an entire section of this post trying to reconcile her words with her work, but ended up rambling for well over 1,000 words with no conclusion so I scrapped it.  Instead, I'll highlight the artist's business acumen, which ties into the Clé de Peau collection.

Ashley Longshore, Hustle: While You Worried If the Glass Was Half-Full or Empty I SOLD IT
(images from ashleylongshore.com)

Not only is Longshore is gifted artistically, she's quite a shrewd businesswoman.  In addition to lucrative collabs with other companies like Anthropologie, Longshore harnesses the power of social media and regularly connects with clients online, eschewing traditional gallery sales.  "As an artist twenty years ago, sending paper work to galleries, thinking that the gallery was the only way to make it, knowing that right off the cuff I would have to give up 50% and praying to god that some snob could really tell clients about me and tell them about me in a way that was really accurate, felt wrong at the beginning of my career...Just running numbers through my head, it only made sense to self-represent, and here we go with the internet. Next thing you know we have Facebook, there is Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and all of these tools are free. They are free and so for me being able to connect with my clients in a world that is so visual and putting myself out there in that way where if someone likes it they can follow, if they don’t they can unfollow and on another level being able to freely explore on the internet was a game changer.”  In an interview with Elle, she explains further, "With social media, artists are letting people into the process of creation, and people love that...Artists just want to be loved and understood. Galleries are the ones that have made it elitist. Who wants to walk into a gallery in Chelsea and have some emaciated girl scowling at you through her black, horn-rimmed glasses? I certainly don't. When people come in my studio, I give them a smile and a glass of Veuve." While I see her point about larger cosmopolitan galleries I know that smaller, local places are in fact welcoming, and I personally would never drop thousands on a piece of art that I hadn't seen in person.*  But overall I admire her effort to democratize art and make it more accessible.  Longshore also started a project called Artgasm, which allows collectors to get a handmade, signed piece by the artist in exchange for a $500 yearly membership fee - considerably more affordable than the thousands her paintings go for.  "Let's say you could pay $2,500 and be a part of Jeff Koons' private art membership, and four times a year, you get something from Jeff Koons delivered to you, and it's signed by him. Do you think that would be cool? That is basically what I am doing. It's basically a way for me to work with other brands and a way for my collectors to get my custom pieces that are only going to go up in value," she states.  Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Longshore's original pieces are for sale at the Clé de Peau website.  I think this is one of the first times, if not the very first, I've seen an artist's work for sale directly alongside the makeup.  That's a pretty savvy move on her part.  And oh, how I'd love to have those paintings to display with the collection! A makeup museum curator can dream. :)

Ashley Longshore
Just had to share of a picture of the artist - she is too fun not to!

What's next for the artist?  Besides a line of clutch purses and a book due out in February, on a grander scale, Longshore says she wants to help fellow artists.  "I would like to be one of the artists that empowers these artists, that eliminates the starving artists.  That I could help teach these artists how to utilise the magic and the gift that they’ve been given, to take images from their minds, put them on a canvas, or sculpture, and than to sell them, and have that money, and to use that money to travel, and learn, and to continue to put their their views and opinions out there.  My greatest achievement would be to help artists all over he world do that. I want there to be more rich artists.  I love that lawyers, doctors, and hedge funds and businessmen and all these people have all this wealth, but I can only imagine how beautiful the world would be if we had all these creative people that were just being showered with money because the universe loved what they were doing so much.  I want to help these artists figure out how to keep that money and repurpose it into being more creative. That would be my greatest legacy."  Ever the comedian, she adds, "I think I’ll be there when I have Thunder Pussy...[which is] gonna be my jet—my cherry-red jet—and it’s gonna have a cat with a lightning bolt on the back wing. And people will see Thunder Pussy, and they’ll go, ‘It’s her! She’s here!’ And then I’ll land, and I’ll be like the Oprah of the art world, and I’ll say, ‘Oh my little artist darlings!’ And I’ll teach them.”  Sounds great to me. 

Overall I thought this was a really well done collection.  Longshore is full of surprises - in looking at the Clé de Peau collection, I never would have guessed that the person responsible for such elegant designs is the same woman who put an octopus on Audrey Hepburn's head. ;)  While none of her usual humor and silliness showed through I think it's fitting that she opted for a more sophisticated vibe, which is what we expect from a brand like Clé de Peau.  You could still tell the art was unmistakeably Longshore's, and that's the cornerstone of a successful artist collab: modifying one's work to suit the brand while maintaining one's overall aesthetic.  As for Longshore herself, well, I'd love to hang out with her, given her larger-than-life personality and sense of humor.

Thoughts?

*Case in point: last year around this time the husband emailed me a picture of a painting he saw in a gallery and said he really wanted to buy it. I looked at it and was completely underwhelmed.  I didn't hate it but couldn't figure out why he thought it was so special.  So off to the gallery we went...and my mind was blown.  I couldn't believe how much better this piece was in person!  It almost didn't look like the same painting, it was THAT much better.  Sometimes art just doesn't translate to the digital realm - this is why physical galleries still have value in the Internet age.  I guess I'm biased too since we know someone who runs a gallery in town and I can tell you she's not deliberately trying to screw artists out of their money nor is she the least bit snooty!  Yes, the gallery gets a cut but they're certainly not out to bleed artists dry.

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Clé de Peau holiday 2015

Paul & Joe wasn't the only one who did a mask theme this holiday.  Clé de Peau's Le Bal Masqué also sought to capture the mystery and intrigue of the masquerade ball.  And in my opinion they did a much better job than Paul & Joe.  For their collection, Clé de Peau collaborated with jewelry designer Joji Kojima, who created four custom masks to appear on the collection packaging.  Each one has a corresponding personality, according to the designer:  "While I was designing the masks, the characters I had in mind were fictional and I do not wish to relate them to any specific existing individual. However, I can share about the characteristics of them. For Gemma, I see the owner as the Queen or main character at the ball who has a really strong personality. For Violetta, she is a free spirit who loves to fool around with men. As for Elena, she is someone who is very difficult to approach but refined and fun at the same time. Rosalie, is very special - she is very hard to grasp, beautiful and unpredictable."  Below are Gemma (coffret), Violetta (body powder), Elena (nail polishes) and Rosalie (face serum).  You know I love when a designer imagines a backstory for their creations.

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Cle-de-peau-rosalie(images from jojikojima.com)

I picked up the coffret and body powder.

Clé de Peau holiday 2015

The interior of the coffret box has a lovely peacock feather pattern to go with the feathers on the mask.

Clé de Peau holiday 2015 coffret

Clé de Peau holiday 2015 coffret

Clé de Peau holiday 2015 palette

Clé de Peau holiday 2015 palette

Clé de Peau body powder

Clé de Peau body powder

In terms of the process, each mask took two months of painstaking labor.

  

I can't say I was familiar with Jojima's work, but once I started digging I discovered that it's pretty awesome.  Jojima was born in California and started making jewelry at the age of 15.  He attended school in Tokyo, studying graphic design.  While still an undergrad he managed to get the attention of Lady Gaga, for whom he created the custom mask on the cover of her 2009 Fame Monster album.

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In looking at his other work, I found it leaned fairly dark and macabre.  While strangely beautiful, I was a little confused as to why Clé de Peau wanted to team up with Jojima.

Joji Kojima skull ring, 2010

Joji Kojima, skull mask with hinged jaw, 2010

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In looking at these talons and considering Jojima's connection to Lady Gaga, I was sure he was the one behind the lethal glove for American Horror Story: HotelIt wasn't him though, which I was pretty surprised about in looking at these.

Joji Kojima, Insecta collection, 2012

Joji Kojima - Insecta collection, 2012(images from jojikojima.com)

Anyway, I never would have thought of this designer for a beauty collaboration.  However, I think he did an amazing job modifying his work to suit the theme of Venetian masquerade, which was selected in advance by Shiseido.  Jojima explains how the collaboration came about and how he adapted his usual aesthetic to fit beauty packaging. "The theme for this season's collection, Venetian Masquerade was decided by Shiseido. I met up with [Clé de Peau Creative Makeup Director] Lucia Pieroni who had already decided the colors for this collection. I then redesign the packaging with the idea of having odd and bold masks to bring out the whole theme. With my experience in jewellery design, I wanted to create something different, something quirky but beautiful at the same time...this project is very new and interesting from me as it is very different from what I have done previously. I have given everything which I wanted to show in this collection through the inspirations I get when I see the colors for this season. The theme was already decided by Lucia, therefore, I worked very closely with her to come up with something which fits the theme but at the same time represents my aggressive designs. It is a great process which working with Lucia, I have also learned more about the brand itself and the kind of concept which suits the brand."  In another interview, he adds, "The designs are not a diluted version of my work; it was a good opportunity to do something different. There was an active discussion and it is 100% what I wanted to convey...I knew that Shiseido was a top global company focused on beauty. When I talked to Clé de Peau’s design team, I was impressed how precise they were. For example, for the color red, they even went into the different percentage of red in the hue!  The collection is not meant to be a distinctive difference between my past and present work, but it’s my personal interpretation of something beautiful.”  Obviously, as a collector I was thrilled to get the inside scoop on how the collaboration process operated (and that there was actually an in-depth discussion between the designer and the cosmetics company, which is sometimes lacking in other collaborations) and also happy to see Jojima's acknowledgement that this was a new creative experience for him.  As for Pieroni, Venice is a frequent destination that inspired her to do something special to commemorate her 10 year-anniversary of joining Clé de Peau.  From Vanity Fair:  "In celebration of her 10th year with Clé de Peau as creative makeup director, Lucia Pieroni looked to Venice to create her coveted collection for this holiday. Having traveled to Venice on various work assignments throughout her artistic career, she remembers being mesmerized by the fabled scenery. 'I was always struck by the beautiful colors of this ancient city, how the light and water would reflect on the ornate buildings, like the Doge’s Palace and Piazza San Marco,' she says."  How she decided on a masquerade theme I'm not sure, but I think it was genius to select Jojima for it.  As I said, his work seems rather dark and I never would have thought to work with him on a beauty collection.  However, Pieroni was able to see his potential for a masquerade-themed collection, and Jojima, for his part, understood that it was an opportunity to do something different.  I liked that she took a chance on him and he delivered.  "I’ve always had one goal in life: to create something beautiful and strong that’s never been seen before," he says.  Mission accomplished.

What do you think?  I was toying with the idea of doing a smackdown between this collection and Paul & Joe's, but honestly, it wouldn't have been a fair fight!


Clé de Peau holiday 2014 collection

As they did in 2013, Clé de Peau collaborated with an outside artist to create their holiday collection.  I was somewhat tempted by last year's collaboration but when I couldn't find any information on the artist they teamed up with I decided to skip purchasing anything.  This year, fortunately, Clé de Peau chose Swash London, a company with readily available information.  Plus I think the final product is prettier than last year's.  :)

The Beauté Céleste collection consists of a coffret which includes a palette and lipstick, a pressed powder compact, and a lip gloss trio.  I picked up the coffret and pressed powder (the latter was quite difficult to find.) 

Clé de Peau holiday 2014

First up is the coffret.

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret box

I liked that the inner part of the box lid continued the star pattern.

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret lid

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret

The palette comes with its own soft pouch.

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret palette

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret palette

I didn't take pictures of the mascara for obvious reasons but here's what the lipstick looks like.

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 coffret lipstick

Swash London is the official company name of design duo Sarah Swash and Toshio Yamanaka, who were responsible for the patterns found on Clé de Peau's holiday collection.  Founded in 2005, Swash began designing scarves and expanded to include a comprehensive line of women's wear a few years later.  Their illustrations have adorned the likes of Barneys, Le Bon Marche and other stores in Japan and France as well as London.  Fun fact:  the dog in the pattern is based on their beloved whippet Candy and is a motif in many of their designs.

What spurred me to purchase the (admittedly pricey) coffret, you ask?  I went to the Swash London site to see if the pattern was taken from one of their pieces, and indeed it was.  A modified, star-filled version of an original pattern from one of Swash's fall 2010 collection scarves appears on the Clé de Peau coffret.  I love the squirrel and wish he hadn't been dropped from the coffret design.

SWASH London scarf, 2010

SWASH London scarf, 2010
(images from swash.co.uk)

Here's the powder compact - it was quite a saga getting this into my hot little hands!   Since I don't live near a Clé de Peau counter I thought the easiest thing to do would be to order it online.  Much to my chagrin it never appeared at the Neiman Marcus website (where the coffret and lip gloss trio were available) or any other U.S. department store except for Nordstrom, where it sold out immediately. I know this because I was checking every other day.  I searched on a Monday and then again on Wednesday morning, and it popped up but said it was unavailable.  I was determined to track it down, however, and did a live chat during which the customer service rep informed me that a store in Hawaii still had one left.  I called and was able to snag it.  So long story short, the powder compact wasn't available in many places and mine had to travel over 3,000 miles to get to me.

 Clé de Peau holiday 2014 powder compact

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 powder compact

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 powder

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 powder

Clé de Peau holiday 2014 powder

When I purchased this compact I didn't know whether the pattern also was borrowed from an original Swash design; I just knew it was different from the coffret and so beautifully embossed on the powder itself that I had to get it.  Luckily the pattern on this also comes from another Swash scarf, this time from the 2011 spring collection.

Swash 2011

Swash 2011 detail
(images from swash.co.uk

In looking at Swash's work, it reminds me a bit of Paul & Joe since the designers have an excellent eye for prints; however, I find their patterns to be far more intricate.  Since I'm not a big print person (or a scarf person, for that matter) I can't see myself wearing any of their items, so I like the fact that I can have one of their illustrations in makeup form.  And I think their designs hold up well by themselves just as patterns.  Some of my favorites:

Swash spring/summer 2015

Swash 2014

Swash spring/summer 2013

Swash spring/summer 2014

Swash spring/summer 2012
(images from swash.co.uk)

Getting back to the Clé de Peau collection, I'm curious as to why they chose the patterns they did.  My guess is that those were the easiest ones to modify with a celestial background without losing the integrity of the original design.  Or maybe Swash just wanted to highlight some of their earlier work.  Whatever the case may be, I think it was well-suited to Clé de Peau's holiday theme. 

Your thoughts?


Ghosts of Christmas makeup past: Clé de Peau 2010 holiday vintage palette

Part two of this year's Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past is devoted to this gorgeous highlighter by Clé de Peau, released for the 2010 holiday season.

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With flash:

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The golden raised stripes look like rays of sunlight streaming down from the sky, and to my eye, have a very Art Deco feel to them.  For example, compare them to the ones on this mirror:

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(image from treadwaygallery.com)

Or this vintage fur clip:

Art-deco-fur-clip
(image from jewelry-4-u.com)

A detailed description of the characteristics of Art Deco period would take way too long, but here's a good little overview on the jewelry of the time (this would be the most relevant, as the Clé de Peau holiday vintage palettes are modeled after antique jewelry).

Take a peek at 2009's palette and let me know whether you prefer that one to 2010's.  Personally, while I think they're both gorgeous, I love the 2010 one more.  


Fascinated by facets: Clé de Peau Luminizing Compact

I couldn't resist scooping up this gorgeous highlighter from Clé de Peau. 

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The colors are inspired by the luminous hues found in seashells (a similar idea to Armani's Madreperla palette):

Facecolor_03_popup(image from cledepeau-beaute.com)

Here are some more close-ups - I love how the sharp angles are made softer by the shimmer and pastel shades:

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Yes, the powder is gorgeous, but what I really want to talk about is the outer case.  It was created by jewelry designer Shaun Leane, who had this to say about the design: “When we first designed the compact, our thought was to craft a piece which was both tactile and desirable.  In terms of its aesthetic, we wanted the design to be as though it was a jewel with a multitude of facets; to be chic, sophisticated, whilst exuding an element of glamour and fun, just like the lady who will be inspired by it.”

Leane also made a stunning gold "Reflection" necklace to be displayed at the brand's store in Tokyo's Ginza district.  Set with 1,355 diamonds, this little piece of extravagance embodies the luxe, gem-like nature of the compact. 

2011_12_cle-de-peau-necklace-compact
(image from racked.com)

In case you're wondering, the necklace is for display purposes only and is not for sale.  However, I think it should be donated to the Museum.  ;)

Anyway, here are some more pictures of the outer case.  I admire Lane's restraint in this design.  While he could have taken the easy way out and stuck a bunch of tiny rhinestones on the case to mimic the necklace's diamonds (hello, gaudy),  he went with reflective geometric planes cut in such a way to make the case look like a real, 3D gem (it's totally smooth to the touch).

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All of this talk of facets and opulent jewels reminded me of Kirsten Hassenfeld's work, which I first spotted at The Jealous Curator a while ago.  In the early 2000s Hassenfeld created a series of gemstones constructed entirely out of paper.

Dollar Dreams, 2002:

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Hassenfelddollardreams details

Parure, 2003:

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Blue Fancy, 2003 (which looks to be part of the Parure installation above):

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Hassenfeld.bluefancydetail(images from bellwethergallery.com)

While Hassenfeld's work has taken a slightly different direction in recent years, these pieces focus on the themes of luxury and privilege.  From the press release at Bellwether Gallery for her 2004 show:

"Kirsten Hassenfeld creates extravagantly decorated, over-sized translucent gem and crystalline sculptures painstakingly crafted predominantly from paper. Borrowing forms and techniques from jewelry and other luxury goods, she creates opulent hybrids of traditional decorative art and otherworldly excess. Her works speak to notions of privilege, ownership, family pedigree, and the confusion of what we have with who we are through an embarrassment of riches...Kirsten playfully evokes traditional markers of power and symbols of plenty, mixing their opulence with the fragility of the hand hewn."  Says the artist:  "My work has evolved into a three-dimensional daydream in which my ambivalence toward material wealth and privilege is expressed. Precious objects speak about the cultures that produce and consume them; I revamp these objects with decidedly un-precious materials and varying scales, making fantasy tangible in a manner that calls into question what is considered precious. I conjure up for the viewer concoctions of wishes in an ephemeral form, promoting a state of wistful half-fulfillment.  My sculptures, as they reference specific markers of status, are themselves part of a larger economy of privilege. Contemporary art is, in the most extreme way, a luxury. My artwork self-consciously acknowledges its own extravagance and impracticality."

I'm interested in the how these works question the idea of worth - how valuable are jewels if they're made out of paper?   And in the case of Clé de Peau, out of plastic and powder?  While the brand is known for jewel motifs (see their vintage Holiday palettes) this time the company hired an actual jewelry designer to make the compact and the accompanying necklace.  Even more so than with previous palettes, they're trying to appeal to consumers' desire for status and luxury by showing the compact with an exclusive necklace that is so precious that it's not even for sale - purchasing the compact means we can have a little taste of what priceless feels like, the "wistful half-fulfillment" that Hassenfeld mentions.

This tactic works - for me, anyway.  I wasn't going to buy the compact until I saw that necklace!  What are your thoughts on the palette and on Hassenfeld's work?


Clé de Peau 2009 Vintage Holiday Palette (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 3)

I was seriously blown away when I saw this powder from Clé de Peau.  "Inspired by the eternal allure of vintage jewelry," it boasts a multi-faceted jewel shape with a diamond-like sparkle.  Even the box and outer case have the same design.

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With flash:

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Since every store was sold out when I called around for this I wound up getting it through E-bay, but I maintain that it is well worth it.   Definitely a holiday exhibition showstopper!