Apologies for the back-to-back artist collaboration posts, but I'm just too excited to wait any longer to share this beautiful mermaid collection from Rodin Olio Lusso (plus it's a nice way to celebrate the arrival of Mer-Babo!) I have to admit I never paid Rodin much attention, since I rarely see it reviewed on beauty blogs and there are no counters near me to check out the line in person, but the amazing (mer-mazing?) packaging for their latest collection, created by artist/illustrator Donald Robertson, definitely got my mermaid tail wagging. You might remember Robertson, a.k.a. the "Warhol of Instagram", from his collaboration with Smashbox in 2015. If not, head on over to this post to check out a brief bio of Robertson and a summary of his style and process, which I don't want to re-hash here. Instead, I'll discuss the inspiration for the Rodin collection and provide a short update of his work since 2015.
You know that I rarely buy entire limited-edition collections, especially ones with as steep a price point as these beauties, but they were far too special for me not to purchase. Mermaids AND an artist collab?! It was a no-brainer for me.
First up is the lip oil.
I can't resist showing the sides of the boxes, as the details go all the way around.
Next we have the body oil. It looks so luxurious, I'm tempted to slather myself in it.
The powder brush feels nice and fluffy, but it's the box that won my heart. Look at the jellyfish!
Finally, we have a simply stunning highlighting powder. I don't think I've ever seen a powder with a mermaid embossed design; to my knowledge they've only appeared on the outer cases.
I love all the details, especially her little belly button! The way her head and tail are tilted and long pretty locks remind me a bit of the ethereal nymph designed by Marcel Wanders for the Cosme Decorte holiday 2015 compact.
I appreciate that Robertson explained a little bit about the process for manufacturing the powder: "It starts with a gaffer tape circle outline in sharpie ... the powder people needed layers for sculpting so I used acetate and played in marker and cut tape overlays. I wanted it to match my mermaid box paintings." Eun Sun Lee, President/Creative Director of design firm CMYK+WHITE, Inc., oversaw the final product packaging.
So how did the collection come about? Here's a succinct background from the Rodin website: "[Rodin founder] Linda, a Pisces with an affinity for the sea, believed she’d been a mermaid in a previous life. Her fantasy sparked artist-friend Donald Robertson’s interest so much that he put his paintbrushes to work and brought the RODIN Mermaid Collection to life." From what I was able to find online, Robertson and Rodin have been friends since at least 2015, when they attended the Fragrance Foundation awards.
(image from zimbio)
Working with Rodin appears to be a joy for him, as she's one of his muses in addition to a friend. Robertson was immediately struck by the former model and Harpers Bazaar stylist: “The first time I saw a picture of Linda, I became obsessed...She’s so visual. When I see somebody I like, I steal their image and put them on paper.”
(image from 1530main)
(image from pinterest)
He was there for Rodin's debut at L.A. based beauty store Violet Grey in 2016, so his familiarity with the brand as well as Rodin's own style makes Robertson the best candidate to create limited-edition packaging.
(image from hao-creative.com)
I scrolled through Robertson's Instagram to try to get a better sense of the timeline for the mermaid collection. While he officially announced he was working on a new mermaid-themed project in late 2017, as early as January 2017 it appears he already had mermaids on the brain. Check out this custom caviar packaging. The mermaid looks quite a bit like the one on the Rodin highlighting powder, yes?
In June 2017 Robertson created a mermaid pool float collection for FUNBOY, proprietors of "the world's finest luxury pool floats". I didn't know "luxury" pool floats existed, but I guess it's not surprising.
(image from funboy.com)
Fast-forward to October 2017, when Robertson first shared he was working on a mermaid-themed project. This image ended up being used for the body oil.
By February 2018, nearly all of the designs had been finalized. Here are a few that didn't make it onto the Rodin packaging but are gorgeous nevertheless.
In the months leading up to the collection's release, it seems Robertson was inspired by Rodin's assertion that she's really a mermaid. Using the playful hashtag #peopleisuspectaremermaids, he painted a series of fashion figures as mer-people.
He even did specially painted bags for the collection's launch in the UK, along with a rendering of the queen as a mermaid. So. Cute.
As for his other projects, Robertson's been keeping rather busy since we first looked at his work in 2015. In addition to the Rodin collab, he's done collections for Alice & Olivia, Canada Goose, S'well water bottles and Flirt Cosmetics. He also released a book of his work, which has now made its way onto my Amazon wishlist.
(images from canadagoose)
(images from stylecaster)
This is in between doing all the timely Instagram drawings he's known for, such as the recent royal wedding and Met Gala.
I admire the more political angle in this "Team Immigrant" print.
(images from instagram unless otherwise noted)
Plus, Robertson manages to make time for a number of in-store illustrations. This brings me to a fabulous bit of news to share with you all: I was lucky enough to get my hands on a custom-painted bag by Robertson himself! My heart dropped when I saw that Robertson would be painting tote bags at Bergdorf Goodman and that they were available in-store only...or so I thought. A fellow makeup collector and long-time Museum supporter (who was even more determined than I was to get the custom bag!) called the store and somehow found a very nice salesperson who agreed to send her one. This incredibly sweet collector kindly thought of me and gave me the salesperson's info so that I could get a bag too! Not only that, the salesperson even asked me if I had any requests to give to the artist, and I asked for a mermaid and/or jellyfish. Both she and Robertson delivered by giving me a beautiful red-headed mermaid swimming alongside two pink jellyfish. I couldn't believe my eyes when I opened the package. I know I gave a sneak peek in the Mer-Babo post since the little guy declared it to be his, but here's the bag in all its glory.
It's one of those super special items that if, in a fire, I only had time to save only a couple Museum pieces, this would be one of them. While I wish I could have made it up to NYC in person so I could meet Robertson and the lovely Bergdorf sales associate, I'm deliriously happy to get my hands on a bag he actually painted and so grateful that another collector was looking out for me.
Overall, obviously I'm in love with this collection. Robertson did an excellent job coming up with mermaid designs that are both elegant and whimsical, as well as being perfectly suited to the Rodin line. From their beautiful flowing tresses to their tails that show just a hint of colorful scales, these stylish mer-ladies coquettishly frolicking with their underwater friends whisk us away to a summery ocean fantasy. Robertson also completely nailed the color scheme - I love the soft greens and blues with pops of pink, orange and purple contrasted with the black outlines of the shells and sea kelp.
What do you think about this collection? Are you as smitten as I am?