Guerlain

Pure prettiness: Guerlain holiday 2015

Let's kick off the holiday season with some Guerlain gorgeousness!  I just hope this brief post make sense, as I'm completely doped up on cold medicine at the moment.  :(  Anyway, this year Guerlain decided to house their best-selling Météorites highlighter (or "ballz", as we affectionately call it at MUA) in a beautiful snow globe-esque dome.  While it's made of plastic, the snowy ombre effect, gold center engraved with wintry motifs and the delicate pattern encircling the middle elevate this piece to collectible status.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

Inside is even more of a treat - a scattering of "snowflakes" (star-shaped bits) were added to the usual round particles.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

The pattern on the inside of the box was another delightful design touch.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

I couldn't resist the lipstick, which is adorned with the same pretty pattern.

Guerlain holiday 2015 lipstick

Guerlain holiday 2015 lipstick

These will look great in the Museum's holiday 2015/winter 2016 exhibition, so I'm pleased.  What do you think of Guerlain's holiday offerings?


Into the fold: Guerlain Poudre de Soie

Ah, e-bay, what would I do without you?  Guerlain's Poudre de Soir highlighting powder was not available in the U.S., so I was very happy to see it pop up on e-bay.  Initially I was not bowled over by the pinwheel design, but as I looked closer I realized this wasn't any old pinwheel but one that was rendered to resemble a delicate piece of origami.  And I knew I HAD to own it then.

Guerlain Poudre de Soir

I also liked the pattern of semi-circles in the background, which, as Lizzy at So Lonely in Gorgeous explained, is called Seigaiha, a traditional Japanese pattern of stylized waves.  If you look closely, it looks like there's also an asanoha pattern on two of the ends of the pinwheel - a star-shaped pattern named for the hemp plant (asa).

Guerlain Poudre de Soir

Unfortunately I couldn't dig up any cultural significance for the pinwheel in Japan so I was scratching my head as to why Guerlain chose this particular motif.  The item description claims that it's a "sculpted silk bow" that was "inspired by the most beautiful Asian fabrics and the ancestral art of origami."  I don't know about you, but I see a pinwheel, not a bow!

Anyway, in lieu of figuring out the exact inspiration for this piece, I thought I'd share some really cool origami that I came across recently.  Did you know there's a whole origami technique called wet folding?  It was pioneered by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), one of the best-known origamists in the world (yes, "origamist" is a word, no matter what spell check says!)  It's basically what it sounds like, although a sturdier paper is used:  the artist applies varying amounts water to the paper during the folding process to yield a mix of soft, curving lines and the usual sharper, creased angles by keeping those parts dry.  About a month ago Colossal featured some new pieces by  Hoang Tien Quyet, who uses a wet folding technique to create all sorts of shapes.  As the article notes, wet folding "gives the paper works a more realistic appearance, adds a rounded quality to the origami, and allows it to appear malleable even though the pieces dry into hardened forms."  What Quyet was able to accomplish using this technique is remarkably inventive. 

Hoang Tien Quyet - foxes

Hoang Tien Quyet - rooster

Hoang Tien Quyet - unicorn

My favorites were the sea creatures - would love to see his take on an octopus or jellyfish!  Or a mermaid...he made a unicorn so it's not entirely inconceivable. 

Hoang Tien Quyet - whale

Hoang Tien Quyet - seahorse
(images from  htquyet.origami.vn and flickr.com)

And that's your dose of art for the day.  :)

What do you think of the Guerlain highlighter?  And have you ever done origami?  I tried when I was little and I was awful at it, but I loved all the colorful paper.  And if anyone knows the meaning of pinwheels in Japanese culture or any other Asian cultures, I'm all ears.


Get cherubic cheeks with Guerlain's Angelic Radiance Météorites

I'm still here...just been pretty sad and work's been kicking my ass.  The snow we had yesterday on the first day of spring was particularly cruel and depressing.  So today I'm hoping to perk myself up a bit by posting about more spring goodies. 

I thought this past holiday season was the peak of angel-themed items, but Guerlain's Angelic Radiance Météorites proved me wrong.  The design is a departure from previous Météorites as they've got a delicate paper lid, and instead of a pattern there's a scene of two cherubs frolicking among some foliage.  Usually I like a sturdier lid since paper is more prone to damage long-term, but in this case I think it works well combined with the illustration and the soft pink tones.  It also makes me a little hungry - I think a larger version of the box would be perfect for macaron packaging.  :)

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

I've written about cherubs before and gave some examples of them in Renaissance art, but the ornate decorations on the Guerlain box look more like they were inspired by 17th century art rather than the Renaissance.  I poked around online to see if I could find anything similar and came across the work of engraver Jean Lepautre (1618-1682), whose work, I think, is reminiscent of the Guerlain container.   This site has a concise description of Lepautre:  "[He] has been described as the most important ornament engraver of the 17th century. His prodigious output extended to more than 2000 prints, mostly from his own original designs.  He was not only the originator of the grandiose Louis XIV style but was also responsible for disseminating and popularizing its full lavish repertoire throughout Europe. Le Pautre's often over-elaborate and flamboyant designs frequently included arabesques, grotesques and cartouches, together with elements from classical mythology.  His diverse range of subject matter, influenced by his carpentry/joinery architectural background, included: friezes, wallpaper, alcoves, fireplaces, furniture, murals, ceiling mouldings, fountains and grottoes."

In 1751 Charles-Antoine Jombert produced a 3-volume series of Lepautre's work, and astonishingly enough, the University of Heidelberg digitized the entire thing and made it available to the public. I went through each image and picked out what I thought most resembled the Météorites case.

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Admittedly I chose this one not just because of the angels but because there seems to be mermaid angels in the bottom panel!

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

I tried to get some more close-up images so you could see the similarities between these engravings and the Guerlain box - the etch marks, the lines of the foliage, even the cherubs' hair are nearly the same.

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre
(images from digi.ub.uni-heidelberg.de)

I wonder whether this is just a coincidence or if the design team at Guerlain had been looking at Lepautre.  I'm also curious as to why they decided to do a scene featuring angels as I didn't think cherubs were a Guerlain motif.  As it turns out, angels appeared on a Guerlain powder container from 1918.  The Poudre aux Ballons were scented with various Guerlain fragrances.  (For the record, this is officially on my wishlist - I hope I can track one down!  I also just remembered that I've come across the Poudre aux Ballons before.)

Guerlain Poudre aux Ballons, 1918

Guerlain Poudre aux Ballons
(images from guerlainperfumes.blogspot.com)

You may recall that balloons were used in last year's spring promo image (more about that in a future post.) 

Anyway, while I can't say definitively that Guerlain's latest release is in any way inspired by 17th century ornament engravings, it at least caused me to discover an artist that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.  And I really like the Météorites packaging - so feminine and springy and French.  It may not be as sleek and sophisticated, as, say, the Impériale Météorites (holiday 2009) or the 2012 Pucci collection, but I think it's a refreshing change from what they normally do.

What do you think? 


Walk on golden earth with the Guerlain Terra Ora collection

Guerlain served up a heaping helping of bronze goodness this season.  Here's the Terra Ora collection description from the press release:  "The Terra Ora collection draws its essence from an era of magnificence. The elegance of antiquity stands the test of time with its splendour and aura intact. An ode to gold. With dazzling radiance, Terra Ora bronzing powder and the precious Météorites Perles primer adorn the skin in a warm, divine-like light, giving women the appearance of a modern vestal goddess. Skin kissed by the summer sun is beautifully enhanced." 

The star of the collection is the Terra Ora bronzing powder, outfitted in a substantial wooden case with gold lettering and a magnetic closure.

Guerlain-terra-ora-

I was strangely fascinated with the pattern in the wood.

Guerlain-terra-ora-case

The bronzing powder is embossed with a chain pattern radiating out from the center, with the Guerlain "G" positioned just off to the right and swirled about on top of the chains.

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A nice little detail was the chain pattern repeating on the inside of the box.

Guerlain-terra-ora-box

So what about those chains?  The Terra Ora bronzer design "revisits the jewelled chains worn by vestal goddesses."  I think Guerlain did a nice job tying in the compact's pattern to the imagery in the promo ad.  Not only is the model wearing a chained bracelet and fastenings, she looks quite goddess-y between her golden headband, white dress, and the halo decoration in the back, and of course the gorgeous (albeit photoshopped) glowing skin. 

Guerlain-terra-ora-promo
(image from armocromia.com)

While I couldn't find any examples of any sort of jewelry worn by either ancient Roman vestal virgins or the goddess Vesta, whose temple the virgins were charged with protecting, I did find this 19th century drawing of a chain necklace found at Pompeii.

Pompeii-necklace
(image from gutenberg.org)

Here are some other examples of ancient Roman gold chains.  Necklaces from the 4th century AD (click to enlarge so you can see the chainwork, particularly on the one in the middle with the green glass):

Thetford-treasure-necklace
(image from rubens.anu.edu.au)

This one with emerald from the 2nd century AD:

Gold-chain-roman-necklace
(image from flickr.com)

And this one from the 3rd century A.D.:

Gold-coin-necklace
(image from metmuseum.org)

Guerlain's description might have benefited from being more vague than it is currently.  I think referring to ancient Roman jewelry in general might have been more appropriate than suggesting a specific Roman goddess or her worshippers (let me tell you, I spent a good chunk of time searching for vestal virgin/goddess jewelry, and there is none!)  Having said that, there are many more examples of ancient Roman gold chained jewelry where these came from, so Guerlain wasn't totally off  base. 

I still think this piece, with its chain detailing and wooden case, is slightly more special than the other compact in the Terra Ora collection: 

Guerlain-terra-nerolia
(image from nordstrom.com)

I didn't buy it but I am tempted because it's so summery - a sun motif that's reminiscent of ancient Roman mosaics, perhaps? 

While it's not my favorite offering from Guerlain, I thought they did a good job linking (haha) the chain design to the press release description and promo image they cooked up.  It's certainly evocative of ancient cultures and the goddesses that starred in them.  Now I'm seized with the urge to book a trip to Rome and spend a sunny day walking amongst the ruins. 

What do you think?


Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past: Guerlain Forever Gold

Do you remember last year when I started the series I call Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past?  Well, it's back this year!  Although this year's series will consist only of 2 posts rather than an entire week's worth. 

Today I want to take a brief look at Guerlain's 2007 collection called Forever Gold. There wasn't a backstory for this as there was for some of Guerlain's other holiday collections (Les Ors, Impériales), but the packaging was quite extravagant.  Gold with a subtle sprinkling of dotted white stars perfectly represents holiday glamour and luxury.

There was the Forever Gold powder housed in a fancy perfume bottle complete with atomizer, which provided a delicate dusting of fine golden shimmer to hair and face, as well as lipstick and a gold mascara.

Guerlain-Forever-Gold

There was also this lovely highlighting compact.

Guerlain.forever-gold
(images from bellasugar.com)

But the item that called to me the most was the Météorites Perles in Gold Temptation.  The packaging for this looks more coppery to my eye.  But why split hairs?  It's so pretty!

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For the life of me I couldn't get the lid off the container so I haven't included photos of the actual highlighting pearls, but I think they are silver and gold.

Overall I don't think this was Guerlain's most exciting holiday collection, but it certainly was very luxe and an excellent addition to a holiday exhibition. 


No seashells by the seashore for me

File these shell-shaped makeup items under the ones that got away.  First up:  Guerlain Terracotta Pearly Shell bronzer from their 2009 Summer Splash collection.  I have no idea how I missed this beauty!

Guerlain-terracota.illuminatingpowder
(image from viecouture.com)

According to the press release, this and other items in the collection were inspired by "Akoya, the most famous seashell from Tahiti."  While the inspiration may be Tahitian, the perfectly rendered swirl pattern and the crispness of the ridges therein call to mind these magnificently detailed Egyptian shell illustrations completed from 1809-1817 under Napoleon 1:

Napoleon shells(image from lindahall.tumblr.com)

Second, to add insult to injury, this season I have been trying to track down Wet 'n' Wild Beach Bombshell bronzers for months with no luck.  I've looked online as well as in easily 10 drugstores in several different states, and I can't find them anywhere!  These bronzers are housed in a round compact and are shaped like a seashell with a little starfish peeking out the back.  Stock photos aren't available but you can check out real-life pics at Killer Lip Gloss.  While not nearly as lovely as Guerlain's powder, they'd still make a nice contribution to a summer exhibition, or even a small special exhibition on shells in makeup.

I'm off to add these to my "impossible to find" wishlist. Hmmph.


A pair of international beauty exhibitions

Some very exciting beauty-related exhibitions have been cropping up!  First up, Shiseido had a two-day exhibition in honor of its 140th (!!) anniversary at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past weekend.  The exhibition is called Un Trait Plus Loin ("A Streak Further", I think) and features beautifully designed ads from a range of time periods. 

A few highlights:

Shiseido 2012

Shiseido.ca.fashionmag

Luckymag.Shiseido-Exhibit
(images from blog.birchbox.com, ca.fashionmag.com and luckymag.com)

They hung some of the ads from lanterns, which is unique but doesn't necessarily allow a close look. 

Shiseido.exhibit
(image from beautylish.com)

In conjunction with their anniversary, Shiseido is selling a limited-edition bottle of its Eudermine facial lotion with the original design from 1897.  And if you buy that, you'll also receive limited-edition blotting papers designed by Ayao Yamana, "a legendary Shiseido designer from the 60s and 70s."  I must admit I am tempted!

While I do love me some vintage makeup ads, there was an exhibition in Hong Kong that sounded even more amazing.  "An Ode to the Complexion: The Art of Skincare and Beauty Objects from the 18th Century to the Present", devoted to Guerlain items and other treasures, opened at shopping mall Pacific Place on May 23rd.  It was brought to my attention by my mother, who tore out the ad for it she spotted in a travel magazine during her recent two-week trip to China and Hong Kong.  How fortuitous!  I don't think I ever would have known about it otherwise and it just happened to be going on while she was there (unfortunately she didn't have time to check it out).

(click to enlarge)

Guerlain.scan

What's really awesome about this exhibition is that it offered makeup demonstrations to recreate looks from the different decades of the 20th century.  Such a great idea, I will definitely steal it. :)

Most of the items were powder boxes and compacts, and belong to two French collectors, Anne Camilli and Jean-Marie Martin Hattemberg (Hattemberg is the author of Lips of Luxury).

Guerlain bird compact

Guerlain powder

Guerlain compact bronze
(images from frenchmay.com)

Guerlain compact

Guerlain La-Poudre-aux-Ballons-
(images from butterboom.com)

Some real-life pictures.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think the labels I create for my exhibitions are a little more informative and visually appealing. 

Guerlain.exhibit

Météorites!  I'm pleased to say I own one of these: the black, crystal-encrusted Perles Impériales on the right in the middle row.  I also recognize the bee-adorned Perles d'Or in the same row on the left. 

Guerlain exhibit meteorites
(images from my-lifestyle-news.com)

I'm a little shocked at the care for these objects, or lack thereof.  I can't be 100% sure from the pictures, but it looks like there are no protectors on top of the open powders, thereby exposing them to dust.  The horror!  I mean, I don't put the plastic coverings on top of my items since they're only open for a few minutes while I photograph them for exhibitions, but if my items were to be in an official exhibition sitting out for days or weeks, I would demand some type of clear covering so as to protect the powder.

The exhibition also included lipsticks.  It's an interesting way to display them - I always have the lipsticks upright in my exhibitions, but to have them all laying down in neat little rows is a good way to do it too.

Guerlain exhibit
(image from allmadeup-nowheretogo.blogspot.com)

As you can imagine, I was really excited about these two exhibitions.  I hope to see more of them, and maybe they will be in the U.S. so I might actually have a chance of seeing them!  And of course, maybe curate a few of my own exhibitions.  :)


Couture Monday: Pucci for Guerlain, take 2

Guerlain collaborated with fashion brand Pucci for the cosmetics company's spring 2007 collection.  Five years later, the two teamed up again to give us the Bella Azura summer collection.  I think Guerlain's press release did a nice job of describing the collection:  "'Guerlain by Emilio Pucci' embodies the union of two prestigious Houses in perfect synergy. This exceptional makeup collaboration draws its inspiration from summertime in the Italian Riviera, with its light-hearted and energetic 'dolce vita' attitude that welcomes the warm, sea weather. Created by Guerlain Creative Director, Olivier Echaudemaison, and Pucci’s Image Director, Laudomia Pucci, the collection embraces summer with delightfully sunny shades and vibrant bursts of color. The common thread of this second collaboration is a motif inspired by an iconic print, 'Winter Capri', taken from the Emilio Pucci archives. Exclusively retouched for this collection, this signature print, a blue flower interlaced with swirls and flames, adds a joyful and elegant Pucci touch to the Guerlain summer products."

I picked up two items:  perennial highlighting fave Météorites and the powder brush. 

Guerlain did a great job putting different parts of the print on the sides of the Météorites box.

IMG_5849

IMG_5854

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Interestingly, the sides of the container are plain blue - the 2007 Météorites container had the print on the sides as well as the top.

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With flash:

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Here is the blue-tipped brush, complete with its own Pucci-printed carrying case.

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There was another collectible item that the Museum, sadly, did not have the funds to purchase (I suppose I could have, but that would have meant not buying other necessary summer 2012 items):  the Bronzing Powder & Blush.  The shiny wood case was supposed to be reminiscent of yacht paneling.  "The star of the collection, this exquisite powder and blush combines two success stories: Guerlain’s legendary Terracotta powder and Emilio Pucci’s iconic prints. The world of beauty and fashion unite in a single case to beautifully enhance the complexion. Half bronzer and half blush, this hybrid powder has a lightweight formula and offers a universal harmony of four shades. The outer case pays tribute to the paneling of a Riva yacht with an ebony-colored varnished wood. Presented in an accessory pouch printed with the Pucci motif, this is the ultimate summery accessory."  

_6911605
(image from nordstrom.com)

I didn't buy it because it was the most expensive of the three items shown here, and I think the Météorites is always the "star" of any Guerlain collection, no matter what the ad copy says.  Still, it's a gorgeous piece and if I didn't have to sacrifice buying something else, I would have gotten it.

Anyway, let's talk a little about the "Winter Capri" print.  I couldn't really find anything on the history of it - the design process used by Pucci to create it, how it was used previously, etc.  I do know that it still exists today in scarf form:

Pucci capri scarves
(images from saksfifthavenue.com and polyvore.com)

I searched through many runway archives to see if it had been used there, and sure enough, it made an appearance in the fall 2010 collection.

Pucci fall 2010
(images from style.com)

I think it works better in the bright blue and aqua hues in the Guerlain collaboration, but it was very interesting to see it take a darker turn for a fall collection.  Other than this example and the scarves I was unable to turn up anything else on the print.  I do wonder why Pucci decided to resurrect it for this particular collection, although I'm happy they were using an actual Pucci print.  For the 2007  collaboration Guerlain came up with a new, "Pucci-inspired" print, which I did find a little odd (although very pretty) - why not just use an existing one?  In any case, I'm enjoying the 2012 collaboration more than their previous one.  I find the print more appealing, and I like that it was a unique one from the archives that hadn't been done to death.

Do you like this collection?  And are you a Pucci fan?


April is the cruelest month...for Guerlain, anyway

Just a quick post to point out how similar Guerlain's spring Cruel Gardenia highlighting powder is to Laura Mercier's Rose Rendezvous palette from the holidays.  What's going on here?  How did these two items with a nearly identical design manage to get released?

5-Guerlain-Cruel-Gardenia
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

Compare to Rose Rendezvous:

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Really, the only difference are the petals in the center:  Guerlain's are more clustered while those in the Rose Rendezvous palette features a star-like pattern.  (Although I find it funny that one calls it a rose and the other a gardenia when it's the same floral design!)  These two are virtually twins so they weren't even worth a classic Makeup Museum smackdown, sniff.  But don't worry, one is coming tomorrow.  ;)


Royal flush: Guerlain Impériale Météorites (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 4)

For the 2009 holiday season Guerlain Creative Director Olivier Échaudemaison wanted to create a collection that signified royalty but was still relevant to the modern woman. The star of the collection is the Météorites Perles Impériales, which houses their signature small clusters of highlighting powder in a glittering, marcasite-like cylinder case topped with clear rhinestones.

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Inside:

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With flash:

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Here is Échaudemaison's vision:  "A new story and a new Christmas tale, illustrated – as before – by Princess Natalia. This time, she was proclaimed Empress!

A tribute to the femme-enfant, so wonderfully interpreted by Romy Schneider in Sissi: The Young Empress. A tribute also to history: Guerlain fondly remembers being distinguished as the very official and exclusive “Her Majesty Empress Eugenia’s patented Perfumer” in 1853. Seems like only yesterday!

In the 21st century, inspiration from the past and from all things exotic is the fuel of creation. We continue to like opulence, but in a more balanced way. Splendour is underlined with humour: while jewels bedazzle with their brilliance, the cascading rivers of diamonds may not come from Place Vendôme!

The nobility of precious stones and fabrics is enhanced with the elegance of luminous, delicately scintillating makeup. The ingredients used to achieve it are at the leading edge of sophistication, combining shades of gold with the finest powders and easy-to-apply textures, for the best possible results. Our Empress may thus apply her own makeup, without the help of a maid or… a makeup artist. A dreamy modern beauty who plays with makeup to feel sublime, an evening, a night… for a lifetime."

That's all well and good, but I think the theme of royalty was better expressed in the Les Ors collection of 2010.  Still, this is a nice piece and laid the groundwork for that collection, so I can't complain too much.  :)