Lancôme

I need a miracle! Specifically, these Lancôme Miracle Cushion Compacts

I was searching for swatches of Lancôme's new cushion blushes when I stumbled across these delightful versions of the brand's Miracle Cushion foundation. 

Lancome cushion compacts - designs by Ayang Cempaka(image from instagram.com)

Unfortunately for me, these were exclusive to Indonesia to celebrate the product's launch back in October 2015.  My only consolation is that the compact cases themselves were not limited edition - the designs were actually stickers to affix to the compacts. Created by Indonesian-born, Dubai-based artist Ayang Cempaka, the stickers were available at various launch events during October.

Lancome cushion compacts - designs by Ayang Cempaka(image from instagram.com)

Lancome cushion compacts - designs by Ayang Cempaka(image from clozette.co.id)

Ayang's lifelong interest in drawing is influenced in part by being surrounded by a family of artists.  “My mother, Dyan Anggraini, is a painter who used to work in a cultural institution owned by the government. My grandfather is a painter and sculptor, while most of my cousins work in the art world—curator, ceramic artist, and even musician,” she says. After graduating from architecture school in 2007, she founded an accessories line called Cocomomo three years later.  Then in 2013 Ayang wanted to focus more on her illustrations, so she launched a stationery line named Linoluna.

Some of my favorites:

Ayang Cempaka tropical girl print

Ayang Cempaka scarf

As far as inspiration goes, Ayang explains, "My mom loves flowers, and I love flowers too. In Dubai, flowers [are] really expensive. Instead of buying flowers and those flowers will be wilt in 3 days, so I draw those flowers. I love pop colors, and pastel. I love pink. My references are old children story books. I love vintage children books. I can’t remember the names. And I love Kate Spade, and J.Crew. My favorite flower is Ranunculus. Besides, I look for inspirations on Pinterest, then search wedding bouquet."  I can definitely see all of these in her work. 

Ayang Cempaka summer print

I really like her work but somehow felt I had seen it before.  Turns out that it's quite similar to the illustrations of Anna Bond, owner of one of my favorite stationery brands, Rifle Paper Co. 

Ayang is above, Bond is below - the flowers have nearly identical shapes.

Ayang Cempaka and Anna Bond

Ayang on the left, Bond on the right:

Ayang Cempaka and Anna Bond floral hearts

I noticed there's some thematic similarity as well.  Both artists enjoy making prints of various destinations.

Thailand print by Ayang Cempaka

Bangkok print by Rifle Paper Co.

Even the way they styled these two ladies is almost the same, down to the ribbon both are sporting in their buns, large round earrings and delicately rouged cheeks.


Ayang Cempaka for Lancome / birthday card by Rifle Paper co(images from ayangcempaka.com and riflepaperco.com)

These two illustrators have actually met, according to this Flickr photo.  I don't know if there's any other professional relationship beyond that, but I do find it very interesting that halfway around the world another artist has such a similar style.  And I'm not the only one who noticed:  after posting an interview with Anna Bond, this blogger remarks on the resemblance between the two (at least, that's what I gathered from Google Translate).

Getting back to the Lancôme compacts, a part of me wishes they weren't just free stickers only available at launch events but designs on the cases that were actually sold at counters - this way I might have a shot at getting my hands on them through e-bay!  On the other hand, it's a rather novel marketing ploy that Lancôme went with something temporary like a sticker, and it's good that they collaborated with an Indonesian artist for something exclusive to the country.  Much as I'd like to track these down for the Museum's collection, it's nice for a country to have something created just for them and not available anywhere else - makes it more special, I think.

Thoughts?  And do you have a preference for the work of Ayang or Anna?  I can't choose, both are totally adorable to me!


MM Smackdown: Balloon Brawl!

Balloon.smackdown.poster.3pp

Two French brands wanted to go up, up and away this spring with some balloon-themed offerings...but only one will make it to the stratosphere.  Let's get ready to rummmmbbbblllllle!  *ding ding*

On one side of the ring we have Lancôme My Parisian Pastels Shimmer Cube.  A très cute girl wearing a pink top, polka dotted skirt and pink shoes sets out for a stroll with her dog on the rooftops of Paris.  The bunch of colorful balloons she holds seem ready to take flight, all set to join the others floating in the distance. I'm not sure who was responsible for the illustration (I don't think it's Kerrie Hess, whom Lancôme worked with previously) but it's so perfectly Parisian. 

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

The metal tin is tough enough to withstand any blows from its opponent.

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

Even the dog has a pink collar!  Lancôme deals a strong right hook (bite?) with this detail.

Lancôme spring 2016 shimmer cube

Les Merveilleuses Ladurée's spring palette, however, isn't getting knocked down so easily.  Ladurée retaliates with a lovely palette adorned with vintage-inspired illustrations of hot air balloons peacefully drifting against a pale blue sky.  The purple ribbon, while delicate and silky, is actually a practical addition as it functions to keep the palette closed.

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

While Lancôme's illustration may have been completed by an actual artist and Ladurée's balloons resemble the results you'd get if you searched "vintage hot air balloon wallpaper" (seriously, try it), we don't know the name of the Lancôme artist; therefore, the illustration's power is somewhat diminished.  Plus, Ladurée at least attempted customization of their slightly generic, clip-art-esque dirigibles.  The details on the larger balloons, like the large script "M" and the signature cameos that are featured on nearly all products in the makeup line, pummel Lancôme's rather plain versions. 

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

The inside of the palette features more delightful balloon illustrations and an elegant layout overall, in stark contrast to the interior of the Lancôme tin, which looks painfully similar to children's crayons or chalk.

LM Ladurée spring 2016 palette

But wait!  Lancôme reveals a secret weapon to hold off their adversary: a truly magical ad for their spring collection.  This is a huge turn of events!  Ladurée has no such campaign for their spring lineup.

Lancome spring 2016 promo

Lancôme's sturdy metal case, chic Parisienne, and surprise attack with a whimsical promo all prove they've got the capacity to flatten their rival.  But despite this, LM Ladurée's larger size, dainty yet resilient ribbon, and variety of balloon designs full of vintage charm may still send Lancôme down for the count.   Which one will be deflated...er, defeated?  Tell me in the comments!  (Also tell me whether you think either of these designs surpass Guerlain's Poudre aux Ballons, or this excellent 2013 ad.)

 


Shaking it with Lancome and Manet

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.

Lancome ad, 1949
(image from hprints.com)

Here's the original painting:

Manet - Olympia, 1863
(image from wikipedia)

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).

1951 Lancome ad
(image from hprints.com)

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.

Lancome Juicy Shakers
(image from chicprofile.com)

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?


Kerrie Hess for Etude House and Lancôme

I thought I'd offer a palate cleanser today after yesterday's somewhat depressing post.  Let's take a peek at some pretty little watercolor illustrations from Australian artist Kerrie Hess.  While the two collections I'll be focusing on were released way back in early spring, I still thought they were worth writing about now since the illustrations are so utterly charming.

While Hess enjoyed her early career as a graphic designer, she soon realized that fashion illustration was her passion. (I'm sure her sister's work was also an inspiration).  In addition to her regular graphic design job for London's The Independent newspapers, she also worked on small commissions for her illustrations.  It wasn't long until they got the attention of the fashion world, and soon Hess was creating campaigns for the likes of Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Alexander McQueen.  Eventually she began collaborating with non-fashion companies like Le Meurice Hotel (where, incidentally, the husband and I stayed for our honeymoon!) and Ladurée.  Now Hess has also made her way into the world of cosmetics.

First up is Korean brand Etude House's Dreaming Swan collection.  Hess created a lovely ballet theme with loads of feminine touches - lots of pink, bows, even a hint of tulle. 

Etude House Dreaming Swan

Etude House Dreaming Swan

Etude House Dreaming Swan compact

Etude House Dreaming Swan pressed powder

Etude House Dreaming Swan makeup bag

While Hess's work is chic and fashionable (she names Grace Kelly as an inspiration), there's definitely an effortlessness about it.  Indeed, as you watch her work on the Dreaming Swan collection, the dabs of paint seem to flow from her brush with great ease.  In an interview with TOTOI, Hess states that while her uncomplicated style stems partly from the fact that she's been drawing from an early age, she also never felt compelled to make a "perfect" drawing.  "I did weekend art classes from about 5 or 6 (in my fluro bike shorts no less) and I absolutely recall my teacher telling me that you are never drawing things or people, only shapes and lines. I like this, it takes the pressure off trying to be perfect; and it still stays with me. I also think that it’s the imperfections in an art piece that can really make it.  A little smudge here or there links back to the piece being done by hand."

 

Prior to the Etude House collaboration, Hess did a collection for Lancôme in honor of their 80th anniversary.  While I'm peeved it was exclusive to Australia, I can't imagine a better match for this collaboration.  Hess was born and raised in Australia but lived in Paris for over a year.  Calling it her home away from home, she is able to perfectly capture the sophistication and style that are unique to the City of Lights.  About being selected for the collaboration, she says:  "As my illustration aesthetic is very French, all about couture, beauty and Paris, we were a perfect match...I love the sense of history of the Lancôme brand and have always used the products myself. It was also really wonderful as an artist to be given a lot of creative license from Lancôme.  I always feel that I do my best work when this is the case. And with that trust I wanted very much to create really beautiful images to represent a brand that I personally admire.  I hope I have really captured the city of Paris in all of the images, Lancôme being so associated with the city of lights and made the products that we have collaborated on, ones that people will want to keep as much as use."  I personally think she nailed it, but have a gander at her work below and decide for yourself.

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia promo

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia promo

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia promo

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia makeup bag

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia makeup bag

Kerrie Hess - Lancôme Australia makeup bag
(images from spoiltblog.com and facebook.com)

Additionally, the Lancôme collaboration gave Hess the opportunity to add a little more color to her models' faces than she normally does.  She explains, "Working with Lancôme has inspired me to become a bit more dramatic in my illustrations, with dark eye make-up and red lips, whereas I used to keep my faces bare to keep the spotlight on the dresses.” 

I really like how Hess is able to adjust her aesthetic to fit both brands.  The Etude House Dreaming Swan collection was very girly and clearly meant for their teenaged demographic, whereas the more high fashion-inspired, Parisian-themed Lancôme collection would appeal to women in their 20s and older.  And she also emphasized the cosmetics aspect in each by adding some color to the models' pouts (pink for Etude House and red for Lancôme.) 

I'm currently browsing her Instagram and online print shop...I'd seriously consider buying this one if it wasn't sold out!  What do you think of these collections and Hess's work overall?


Makeup as Muse: Lancôme/Sephora contest

Via Beautezine, a few months ago I discovered that Sephora Canada was holding a nationwide contest for its makeup artists to create illustrations for Lancôme using only their products around the theme of their holiday collection, called Parisian Lights.  The winning image would adorn the packaging of three Canada Sephora-exclusive limited edition holiday sets, and the artist behind it would receive a trip to Paris.  I thought this was a great concept.  While makeup artists are accustomed to using one's face as their canvas, it's very interesting to see how their skills would translate to a traditional 2D surface. 

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme was announced in June and the 10 finalists were chosen in July.  Here are their drawings, all created with Lancôme makeup (mouse over the image to see the artists' names, where available - there were 10 finalists and now there only seem to be 8, so I don't have the names of 2 of the artists.)

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Alyssa Steinhubl, Kingsway store in Edmonton

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Ashley Creed, Upper Canada Mall

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Chrizta Tetangco, Bloor store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Kaylyn Pshyk, Bloor store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme: Sarah Ebisuzaki, Eaton Centre store

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Sandra Huynh, Markville store:

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme finalist

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme:  Sharon Rodrigues, Sherway Gardens store in Toronto

Sephora Presents to Paris with Lancôme: Whitney Herman, Mapleview Mall store
(images from beautezine.com)

While I thought some of these were really amazing, only one could be chosen as the winner.  Alyssa Steinhubl's drawing of a woman in a ball gown and gloves, hair back in a chic low chignon, gazing at a starry sky over the Eiffel Tower was the winning image.  This one was definitely one of my top three of the finalists so I was pleased with the outcome, although I'd love to know exactly which products she used.  Steinhubl's illustration appeared in 3 color variations on the Lancôme sets, which were revealed in October. 

Lancome Sephora Presents to Paris sets 2014
(image from beautezine.com)

After hearing about this contest I knew I had to get my hands on one of these sets, especially since the illustration fit so well within the holiday exhibition theme.  However, there were none available from my usual source (Ebay) and Sephora Canada won't ship to the States.  Fortunately, the husband has an old college friend who now resides in Toronto, and she very kindly agreed to pick up a set and mail it to me.  How awesome is that?!  Not only did she go out of her way to get this for me, she also refused to accept payment for the item or for mailing it, so it was truly a generous donation to the Museum.  I chose the Starry Eyes set since the blue coloring and starry title were perfect for the holiday exhibition.

Lancome Starry Eyes makeup set 2014

Lancome Starry Eyes makeup set 2014

(I didn't take pictures of the products inside, since they consisted of makeup remover, mascara and eye cream.)  Overall, I loved the idea of having a makeup artist create an illustration using cosmetics and putting it on the packaging.  I think Sephora and Lancôme should do another one of these contests in the States!

Which of the finalists was your favorite?  What do you think of the winning illustration?


Couture Monday: a new wave from Lancôme

Lancome-nouvelle-vague-designers
(image from loreal.com)

Lancôme has quite the history of teaming up with top designers, including Alber Elbaz, Olympia Le-Tan and Jason Wu.  This summer the company collaborated with three rising Paris-based designers:  Jacquemus, Alexandre Vauthier and Yiqing Yin, who were tasked with creating a very exclusive (read:  expensive) line of handbags, dubbed Nouvelle Vague, filled with Lancôme's best-selling products.

I was pretty excited to see what these three could come up with since I first heard about the collaboration back in April.  Let's take a look at each bag and see if it's a good reflection of the designer's aesthetic.

First up is Yiqing Yin.  Born in China, she emigrated to Paris at the age of 4 and later studied at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs.  According to her website, "her aim has been to create a garment that protects and reinforces, being at the same time a second skin and a supple armour...she imagines structures which are never fixed, shapes that are always in mutation."  I like the bold geometric lines and overall boxiness of the bag - there's something powerful about it.  The lamé gives it a glam touch.

Yiqing-yin-for-lancome

Yiqing-yin-lancome-bag

Yiqing-yin-lancome-bag-open
(images from net-a-porter.com)

In Yin's clothing designs we see more of the strong geometric silhouettes, along with dabbles in various textures.  From delicate feathers to rough-hewn wool, Yin can seemingly make any fabric bend to her vision of a "supple armour".  

Yiqing-yin-fall-2014

I can also see why she used lamé in her Lancôme design - this woman is not afraid of shiny materials!

Yiqing-yin-shiny
(images from yiqingyin.com)

Next up we have a very cheerful bag from Simon Porte Jacquemus, a 24 year-old self-taught designer who started his own line at the age of 19.  Right when I saw the shape and color of the bag, I knew it came from a young'un.  Indeed, he says of his aesthetic, "I’ll always be sporty and young...[Jacquemus as a brand] is a whole universe, a concept. Something could be a 'Jacquemus'-y shirt, or a 'Jacquemus'-y bike...it’s more of a playful spirit, clean, fresh, and at the same time raw. If you put photos in front of me, I could tell you whether things were Jacquemus-y or not!"

Jacquemus-for-lancome

Jacquemus-for-lancome-bag

Jacquemus-lancome-bag-open
(images from net-a-porter.com)

The bag's shape directly references some of the pieces that came down the runway for his fall 2014 collection.  I find this quote from him to be a perfect description of the collection: "If I had a bigger budget I would do more couture moderne:  more refined, more exacting, spectacular space-age pieces from the ‘60s; that's what I like.  But always mixed with T-shirts and sneakers."  Bigger budget or not, I do find these pieces to have a futuristic '60s vibe.

JACQUEMUS-Fall2014-circles

I also thought the strap attachment on the Lancôme bag looked similar to the yellow strips adhered to this coat.

JACQUEMUS-FW14-30

Circles are definitely this designer's muse as of late.  In addition to Jacquemus's clothing, they appear in many of the images used in his campaigns.

Jacquemus-blanc

Jacquesmus-la-grande-motte

Jacquemus-campaign
(images from jacquemus.com)

Of the three I think this one is the most youthful and fun.  I couldn't pull off this bag, but I appreciate the style.

Finally, we have Alexandre Vauthier, whose sleek black clutch features his signature gold bar across the front.  As for the fold-out mechanism, he says, "I wanted to have something that opened up like this, very technical. I’m very crazy and obsessed by horlogerie [the practice of clock-making], as well as the precision of haute joaillerie [fine jewelry], like when you cut a diamond. I want to have something that represents this kind of work." 

Vauthier-for-lancome-bag

Vauthier-lancome-bag-open
(images from net-a-porter.com)

A streamlined clutch made its way into both his fall ready-to-wear and couture collections, making a subtle counterpoint to the intricately detailed (and undeniably sexy) dresses he created.

Vauthier-fall-2014-rtw
(images from style.com)

Vauthier-couture-fall-2014
(images from style.com)

This bag is my favorite since it seems to be the most versatile of the three - I could easily see myself carrying it with a number of outfits (I think it would pair especially nicely with those leopard print Louboutin pumps!)  I also like that there are individual straps to keep the makeup in place.

I wish I could get all three for the Museum since I feel each one represents their respective designer very well, but given they range from $500 to $1,300 each, it's not happening.

What do you think of these?  And which is your favorite? 


Lancôme holiday 2013

As I noted yesterday, I am defenseless in the face of glittering, glimmering makeup items come holiday season.  Well, to be honest I can't resist sparkly makeup at any time of the year, but the holidays make me even weaker.  So when I saw what Lancôme had up their sleeve for their collection I pounced on the two collectible items in it:  The Rose Étincelle Highlighter and the Swarovski-encrusted Rouge Absolu lipstick.

Lancome-holiday-2013

Inspired by the "magic of a snowy winter scene", the highlighting powder features Lancôme's signature rose surrounded by star-like snowflakes, making it look as though it's "captured in crystalline frost."  I'd say given the highly shimmery surface, with its miniscule glitter particles, the description is apt.

Lancome-etincelle-highlighter

Lancome-etincelle-highlighter-2013

Lancome-etincelle-closeup

Lancome-etincelle-side

This lipstick shade is a reissue of a "heritage" shade from 1955.  While I was frustrated at not being able to find much on this vintage color, I loved the use of tiny silver beaded crystals on the cap.

Lancome-holiday-2013-lipstick-case

I also liked the relatively restrained use of the crystals.  Instead of covering the entire cap, Lancôme left the middle portion unadorned, leaving the sleek black of the case to shine through.

Lancome-holiday-2013-lipstick-cap

Lancome-holiday-2013-lipstick

Lancome-holiday-2013-lipstick2

I really could not find anything regarding the Étincelle shade or heritage collection from 1955, other than this French ad.  Sadly it's in black and white so we can't even see the color to compare to today's version.

Lancome-1955-etincelle-ad
(image from hprints.com)

If anyone can provide any insight on the original Étincelle, I'd love to hear it!

What do you think?  Will you be picking up anything from Lancôme's holiday lineup?


Couture Monday: Alber Elbaz for Lancôme

The much-hyped Lancôme collection dreamed up by Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz has finally arrived!  Fortunately, much has been written about the collaboration and Elbaz's vision for it.  Here's the scoop:  Elbaz was approached by his close friend and Lancôme president Yousef S. Nabi to design a limited-edition collection.  Since the company's mascaras are best-sellers, Elbaz and Nabi chose to focus on those.  Additionally, said Elbaz, "Eyes are so important to me...when I think of cosmetics, I think of eyes. For Lancôme, I wanted to do something funny and a little handmade."  He added that he hoped customers "will collect all four" designs (blue stars, pink polka dots, doe eyes and red hearts).  While the article states that the designer is "hesitant about expanding and diluting his brand" and that " partnerships are also a rare affair; he never collaborates unless it makes creative sense", Elbaz actually has done a few collaborations before (see his line for H&M and limited-edition packaging for Ladurée). 

As for the story behind the packaging, watch this animated short (drawn by Elbaz) below.

  

In the June 2013 issue of Elle magazine, Elbaz states that the story was inspired by the makeup looks for his fall 2013 show.  "The project is accompanied by an animated short drawn by Elbaz, featuring a fashion show in which the spectators' faces are dominated by colorfully made-up eyes.  This is apt, he says, as cosmetics played a key role on Lanvin's fall 2013 runway, where models sported four different makeup looks...'I asked myself, Why is it I have to decide whether or not I want mashed potatoes or french fries?' Elbaz says. 'Why can't I have both?'...'There's something almost naive and childish about the packaging,' he says, 'but I thought, Maybe if it's like a fairy tale, we'll all have a happy ending!'  The experience of using the products, he believes, should be a 'joyful' one.  'It's about light-hearted luxury,' Elbaz says.  'I wanted to do something personal and kind of funny - but also totally serious.  Which is exactly what makeup is.'"

Now that we've got the development of the collection out of the way, let's take a look at the goods.  I picked up two of the mascaras and two of the eye shadow palettes.  Lancôme also threw in a free mirror, which, as we've seen with previous gifts-with-purchase, is almost better than the makeup itself.  These sorts of freebies are collecting gold!

Lancome-alber-elbaz

Hypnôse Drama and Hypnôse Star mascaras:

Lancome-elbaz-mascaras

Doll Lashes Color Design Palette in Rose Croquette:

Lancome-doll-lashes-palette-hearts

Lancome-doll-palette-rose-croquette

Définicils Color Design Palette in Mint Jolie:

Lancome-Definicils-palette-

Lancome-mint-jolie-palette

Lancome-mint-jolie

And the mirror, so cute.

Lancome-Elbaz-mirror-box-front

Lancome-Elbaz-mirror-box-back

Lancome-alber-elbaz-mirror-in-box

Lancome-Elbaz-mirror

My first thought on the illustrations is that they are similar to those Elbaz did for Ladurée, a playful take on his streamlined, sophisticated aesthetic.  And they're not literal - the prints and silhouettes of the dresses seen on the runway models in the animation aren't directly from Elbaz's recent collections - but they still hint at his work through the use of color.  Elbaz utilized lots of black and white in his spring 2013 collection, with some red, blue, green and pink thrown in for his resort 2014 collection.

Lanvin-spring-2013-bw
(images from vogue.com)

Lanvin-resort2014-colors
(images from vogue.com)

Also, the women in the front row of the fashion show in the video are all wearing some very chic LBDs, similar to the looks he sent down the runway for spring 2013. 

Lanvin-spring-2013-lbd
(images from vogue.com)

Elbaz is known for a slightly more down-to-earth fashion philosophy.  "Unlike most fashion designers who operate on a global scale, Elbaz is a kind of hands-on artisan who specializes in women. He has never been interested in trends or whether his creations—which are almost always beautifully constructed classic shapes with a twist—fit a particular age or demographic. Elbaz is committed to the idea that his clothes be timeless and, in a way, helpful:  He wants to make it easier for women to dress for their complicated lives. “I am not interested in perfection, and neither are the women who wear my clothes...it is very hard to be a woman today. The media says you have to be really great in your work, you have to be a wonderful mother, you have to be a great wife, and you have to be skinny! Women try to be the best everywhere, and it’s impossible. I want my clothes to give women the freedom to just be—I want them to put on my dresses and shine.'” (source)  

Empathy for women's struggle to "have it all" and whimsical illustrations aside, the video Elbaz came up with depicts a world many women don't have access to.  Being in the front row of a high-end fashion show feels unrelatable unless you are actually a fashion editor, and even a little intimidating (I was not fond of the catty eye-rolling behavior of some of the women).  Nevertheless I appreciated that Elbaz was having some fun with the collection, even if it's more of a representation of his experiences in the high-fashion world rather than the lives of the vast majority of women who don't work in fashion (which would be too mundane, I guess, for collection coming from such a renowned designer).

What do you think of the collaboration? 


Yayoi Kusama for Lancôme, continued

You may remember my excitement over the Yayoi Kusama/Lancôme collaboration a few years back.  Little did I know the artist also created an even more gorgeous Juicy Tube collection called Awakening of Love late in 2011.  (I stumbled across it while hunting down the Once Upon a Week Juicy Tubes on E-bay).  From what I understand Awakening of Love was exclusive to Australia, and I was only able to get my hands on one of the six glosses in the collection.

This is Baba Jasmine.

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Other shades in the lineup include Crazy Yuzu, Vigorous Fruit, Exotic Bomb, Yoga Vanilla and Peace and Flowers.  Upon first glance the designs seem just plain cute, but they get increasingly fascinating the more you look at them.   There's a multicolored purse and blue pump surrounded by floating eyes, and a pink bird stacked on top of a yellow chirping bird.  The most unusual design to me appears on the gloss I was able to buy.  A sunflower with an eye for its center is anchored by an exaggerated, floppy green leaf (which I originally thought was a shoe!) against a background of wavy tendrils that end in tiny buds.  All three designs incorporate Kusama's signature polka dots.

Lancome_Juicy-Tubes_Awakening-of-Love
(image from anobsessionwiththefabulous.com)

About the collection, Lancôme states:  "Today, reflecting the mood of her current artwork, Yayoi Kusama is remodelling Juicy Tubes around the theme of love. She offers Lancôme’s pop-princess gloss three unique designs that are as poetic as the most sincere promises of eternal love."  Fittingly, the title of the collection is after Kusama's 2010 work Awakening of Love.

Yayoi-kusama awakening of love
(image from tate.org.uk)

The lines, disembodied eyes, random objects, dots and flowers seen in the Juicy Tube designs also appear in several works from 2009-2011, all of which have "love" in the title. 

Look at the Gathering of Women in Search of Love, 2009:

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All about My Love, and I Long to Eat a Dream of the Night, 2009:

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(images from lakhimich.blogspot.com)

Love Arrives at the Earth Carrying with it a Tale of the Cosmos, 2009:

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(image from a-place-called-space.blogspot.com)

Tulip With All My Love, 2011 (Remember that a tulip appeared in the earlier Juicy Tube collection):

Kusama-tulip-2011
(image from artbasel.insideguidance.com)

Of course, these motifs aren't really anything new; as they're based on hallucinations Kusama has had since her childhood, they've cropped up in many works prior to these.  Flowers appeared in her 2002 sculpture The Visionary Flowers, as well as The Tulips of Shangri-La (2003) and 2007's Hymn of Life.  An eye is used as a the center of a flower in Flowers that Bloom at Midnight (2009):

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(image from cultureandlife.co.uk)

Indeed, these works and the Juicy Tube designs have a strange hallucinatory quality about them, along with a more upbeat feel as compared to the more menacing tone these motifs took on in her earlier work.  In an essay on Flowers that Bloom at Midnight from the Queensland Arts Gallery states, "[Kusama] has grouped four of these towering flowers into an artificial grove, their shiny surfaces, polka-dotted petals and great, staring eyes recalling animated alien flora of science fiction and fantasy tales...Flowers have long been an important component of Kusama’s oeuvre. Their symbolism reflects many of the artist’s conceptual preoccupations as well as her disregard for dichotomies: they connote life and death, celebration and mourning, masculinity and femininity, while their complex forms — organic, fragile, finding uniqueness through repetition — find echoes throughout Kusama’s practice. In plentiful supply thanks to her family’s nursery business, flowers flourished in Kusama’s first reported visions, consuming entire rooms and communicating ominously with the artist...They would remain a staple motif in the painterly experiments of her first decade as a professional artist. Like the polka dots, they reappeared in her ‘happenings’ of the late 1960s, in the sympathetic environment of the anti-war counterculture, as they fitted neatly into the context of the ‘flower power’ movement of the time.  Flowers that Bloom at Midnight finds direct precedence in a series of outdoor sculptures Kusama has executed over the past decade. Monumental in scale, these works consist of floral forms that are at once simplified and fantastical, and finished in polka-dotted planes of vivid colour. Their scale and alien appearance evokes a strange and overwhelming power. With an air of uncanny sexuality, their comical styling, pristine surfaces and exuberant tones are decidedly joyous, contrasting strongly with the darker function flowers performed in her earlier works."  Additionally, I wonder whether Kusama had anything to do with the naming of the Lancôme glosses - Peace and Flowers is possibly a nod to her prolific anti-war activism in the '60s

Anyway, I thought this collection design-wise was more interesting than the previous Juicy Tubes Kusama created.  And I wish it wasn't Australia-exclusive!  Lancôme seems to be withholding many of their limited-edition collections from the U.S., such as the aforementioned Once Upon a Week collection, along with the Corno collaboration from last summer.

What did you think of this?  Do you prefer the older Yayoi Kusama Juicy Tube collection or this one?


Couture Monday: Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

Today's installment of Couture Monday was supposed to be dedicated to Chanel's Mouche de Beaute Illuminating Powder from their Versailles cruise collection, but much to my dismay, I received a very unpleasant surprise when I opened the compact on Saturday.

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Yes, 2 fingerprints in the middle-left of the powder!!  Hello, trying to run a museum here!  Unless they're vintage, the items need to be in perfect condition.  So while I wait for a new and hopefully pristine compact, I thought I'd share this collaboration between Lancôme and handbag designer Olympia Le-Tan (thanks to British Beauty Blogger for the heads up on this!)

In honor of the first anniversary of Lancôme's in Love range, Le-Tan made an embroidered clutch that holds six lipsticks and six nail polishes.  Says Le-Tan, "I wanted to design the cover of an imaginary novel called 'Rouge in Love'. My idea was to create a 'mise-en-abyme', a book within a book. It is held by two hands with painted nails and surrounded by little red and violet lips that seem to dance around. I love drawing lips, so it was the perfect opportunity... The clasp and side, instead of having a gold finish like my other designs, are silver, like a mirror. Perfect to look into during the evening if you want to touch up your make-up."

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Rouge-in-love-clutch-inside
(images from lancome-usa.com)

I believe this is the outer box:

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The designer "reading" her creation.

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(images from olympialetan.tumblr.com)

You can also watch this charming little video showing how the imaginary novel came to life.

 

I bet you're curious as to why I have only included stock photos.  The reason?  This limited-edition item is selling for $1,500!  Only 100 have been made, and Lancôme model Emma Watson and several fashion editors have already snagged the first few.  I personally think one should be donated to the Museum where it will be lovingly cared for and preserved rather than having it get destroyed by the grubby paws of some unappreciative editor who will carry it once or twice and then carelessly stuff it in the back of her closet, but unfortunately, that's how these things work.  If you think about it, $1,500 actually isn't bad for a designer bag, and especially one that's filled with high-end cosmetics.  But from a makeup collecting standpoint where most contemporary items are less than $100, it's definitely a bit much.

In any case, if you're not familiar with Le-Tan's work, she is famous for these book-clutches - smallish handmade purses with embroidery and felt that bear her reimaginings of first-edition covers of classic books.  As a lifelong bookworm, I absolutely love this idea.  Some of my favorite designs:

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(images from bagfetishperson.blogspot.com)

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Isn't the inside of this Madame Bovary clutch amazing?

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(images from lastdollstanding.blogspot.com)

My favorite classic book is 1984, and lo and behold, she has created a book-clutch for that one.  I prefer the special red edition on the right.

Le-tan-1984
(images from anothermag.com and olympialetan.tumblr.com)

Here's one in action, as modeled by Natalie Portman:

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(image from appleandeden.wordpress.com)

Influenced by her world-renowned illustrator father to become a designer, Le-Tan at first selected her favorite books as purse inspiration.  As the clutches gained popularity, she started choosing books based on theme.  Typically, only 16 of a particular book clutch are made, with new editions out each season.

I thought the Rouge in Love clutch was very well done - even if it wasn't in Le-Tan's signature book-clutch format, the colorful and lively lips and hands design would be instantly recognizable as her work, and it also clearly conveys makeup and the pure bliss it can bring.  What do you think of this collaboration?