Quick Friday fun: Spring critters

In honor of the upcoming Easter holiday, I thought I'd round up some truly adorable springtime animal-themed makeup.  Bunnies and chicks and lambs, oh my!  Some of these were limited edition, but it's still fun seeing what was out there. 

  Easter beauty

  1. Tony Moly Petite Bunny Gloss bar
  2. Pupa Non-Conventional Zoo set (ca. 2007)
  3. Bunny lip balm
  4. Deborah Milano Icon palette (these came in so many animals - there are ducks, cats, owls, pigs, seals, elephants, turtles, bears, butterflies...even a moose!
  5. Oh K Bunny Sponge (not actually shaped like a bunny but the packaging is adorable!)
  6. Pupa Pretty Bunny palette (limited edition for holiday 2013)
  7. Peeps flavored lip gloss
  8. Beyond lipsticks - We've seen Paul & Joe's cat-shaped lipsticks but these took the cake for me...I so wish I was able to get my hands on them!  Alas, Beyond released these in 2012 and while I've scoured Ebay I don't think I'll be getting my hands on these.  Beyond apparently has a hard anti-animal-testing stance and created these lipsticks to help raise money for some endangered species:  harp seals, pink dolphins, otters, flying squirrels, and pandas.  Not exactly Easter-themed but I just had to include them!
  9. Lawna cotton swabs - I think these are a prototype and not available for sale, but so cute.
  10. The Creme blending sponge set - I love that they have names!  You get Penny the Pig, Charlie the Chick and Boogie the Bunny.  Like the Oh K sponge they're not shaped like the actual animal but they're precious nevertheless.

Besides Philosophy's Sugar Chick shower gel that I may be hoarding, another Easter-y item I love is this Etude House Bunny Nail set.  How much fun is that rabbit-shaped confetti?!

Etude House Bunny Nail

Etude House Bunny Nail

Etude House Bunny Nail

Have a nice Easter!  And if you don't celebrate I hope you at least have some candy.  :)

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Executing makeup on the astral plane: Addiction x Hilma af Klint

Hilma-af-klint-studio
image from anothermag.com

I thought for sure Addiction's spring 2017 compacts featuring the work of Swedish artist Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) would be unattainable, as they were only available as a gift with purchase in Japan.  Fortunately a seller I frequent was able to get both for me!  I had heard of af Klint before and was intrigued by her work since I have a soft spot for colorful abstraction, but this collection made me admire it even more.  I really have no idea how the collaboration came about as the description at Addiction's website is pretty vague:  "We learned that a woman had painted these magnificent paintings at the beginning of the 20th century and wanted to know more about her." In any case I really enjoyed learning about af Klint and I hope you do too.

Much has been written about the artist, although that's a recent development due partially to the fact that af Klint stipulated that a group of her most significant paintings not be revealed to the public until 20 years after her death, fearing that they wouldn't be understood.  In fact, it took even longer for her work to be recognized; it wasn't until a major exhibition in 1986 that her name was on the art history map, so to speak, and I'm guessing this was also due to the patriarchy at work.  I don't want to spend much time reviewing her entire oeuvre, since I am not an expert and also because af Klint was a prolific artist, producing over 1,000 works (!) in her lifetime.  I'll provide a brief bio and then focus on the paintings reproduced on the Addiction compacts.  (Sources are linked throughout.)

Af Klint was born in 1862 and entered the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Stockholm in 1882.  This was a rarity for the time, as the art schools in most European countries allowed only men.  While producing the usual landscapes, botanical and animal drawings - af Klint was a vegetarian and animal-lover who worked as a draughtswoman at a local veterinary school - she had started experimenting with abstract designs before she graduated in 1887.  Af Klint, along with her contemporary Edward Munch (who, incidentally, once had a show in a gallery in the same building as her studio) were inspired by recent scientific developments involving phenomena unable to be perceived with the naked eye.  Hettie Judah at The Independent explains: "This was a period in which the 'unseen' world exerted a growing fascination – not only the emotional, experiential world of the human spirit explored by Munch, but the discovery of physical forces and elementary particles that formed the known world on a microscopic level.  In the late 1880s Heinrich Hertz proved the existence of electromagnetic waves: in 1895 Wilhelm Roentgen discovered X-rays. A vision of the world pulsing with forces and transmissions invisible to the naked eye was emerging."  Af Klint's interest in abstraction was also influenced by her spirituality - having attended seances since the age of 17, she was greatly intrigued by the spiritual realm, and the death of her 10-year-old sister in 1880 only intensified her interest in the occult.   In 1896 she formed a group with 4 other like-minded women artists and together called themselves The Five.  Roughly 30 years before the Surrealists, these women tried their hand at automatic drawing and writing.  Talk about being ahead of the times!  During one session in either 1904 1905 af Klint was "commissioned" by Amaliel, one of several spirits she claimed communicated with her, to create an extensive collection that would become known as The Paintings for the Temple.  In af Klint's words, the spirit guided her to "execute paintings on the astral plane" to represent the "immortal aspects of man." Completed between 1906 and 1915, the collection of 193 large-scale paintings were divided into several thematic series that "convey[ed] the unity of all existence beyond the fractured duality of the modern world. Different series within The Paintings for the Temple relate to the creation, man’s progress through life, evolution, and the human soul as divided into masculine and feminine halves striving for unity."  It was this collection that af Klint stipulated could not be shown until 20 years after her death, a decision influenced by the opinion of a prominent Swiss philosopher who visited af Klint in 1908 and speculated it would be at least another 50 years until people understood her art.

Anyway, The Ten Largest is the second series in the collection and was completed between August and December of 1907, quite a feat given their enormous size (10 feet tall) and af Klint's petite stature (5 feet).  The Ten Largest traces the human life cycle in 4 stages - childhood, youth, adulthood, old age - and the two paintings chosen for the compacts are No. 1, Childhood, Group IV and No. 5, Adulthood, Group IV.  Why Addiction selected these two in particular I don't know, but they do look lovely on the compacts. 

Addiction Hilma af Klint compacts

Addiction Hilma af Klint compacts

Interestingly, af Klint noted that she wasn't all that aware of what she was painting, taking on the role of a receiver or medium.  She explained, "The pictures were painted directly through me, without any preliminary drawings and with great force. I had no idea what the paintings were supposed to depict; nevertheless, I worked swiftly and surely, without changing a single brushstroke." 

Addiction Hilma af Klint compact

There's something so beautifully organic about these - they appear to be idealized representations of cells, flowers and other natural elements.  I'll let the Royal Academy Magazine give a much better description:  "Snail-shell spirals, concentric circles and zygote-like forms nestle amongst coiled fronds and splayed petals (she also produced intricate botanical drawings), all dancing against radiant tempera backgrounds from terracotta orange to faded lilac. Forms bulge, overlap, conjoin in what an eye informed by contemporary science might liken to celestial bodies or cell mitosis; they are extraordinary pictures, immense and ecstatic." The 26,000 pages (holy crap) of notebooks af Klint kept provide some clues as to the meaning of various colors and motifs.  Blue and lilies symbolized femininity, yellow and roses stood for masculinity, and green was a universal color.  The letter "U" designated the spiritual realm, while "W" denoted physical matter, and spirals symbolized evolution.  This underscores that there was nothing passive about her process; in fact, she essentially studied her own work over the years, an example of which is a 1,200 page notebook that further analyzed the meaning of the images she had painted.  

Addiction Hilma af Klint compact

Here's the original so you can see how it's actually oriented - Addiction re-situated the paintings horizontally to better fit on the compacts.

The Ten Largest, No. 1, Childhood, Group IV - by Hilma af Klint (1907)(image from anothermag.com)

Addiction Hilma af Klint compact

Addiction Hilma af Klint compact

The Ten Largest, No. 5, Adulthood, Group IV - by Hilma af Klint (1907)(image from arteidolia.com)

Here are some of the eyeshadows.  I have 4 of them but couldn't bear to take the plastic off, so I hope you'll forgive me for the tiny stock photos.  I can absolutely see how the colors are inspired by af Klint. I guess they couldn't use the real names of the paintings, so some of them, like Flower Evolution, are merely reminiscent of af Klint's themes.

Addiction Hilma af Klint eyeshadow
(images from addiction-beauty.com)

I'm really glad Addiction is helping to bring af Klint to a wider audience because for so long she didn't get the recognition she deserved.  Five years before Kandinsky declared to have painted the first abstract work, af Klint was completing Primordial Chaos, the first collection in her monumental series.  Some art critics claim that af Klint's paintings were merely diagrams of the spiritual world or depictions of scientific concepts we can't see, not true abstraction (or at least, a different form of the genre).  That sounds plausible, but given that in 1970 the then-Director of Sweden's Moderna Museet turned down the offer of af Klint's entire estate because of her relationship to spiritualism and a more recent incident at MoMA in which af Klint's work was left out of an exhibition on early abstraction per the argument that it wasn't actually art, I'd say there's definitely sexism at work here.  When you consider that Kandinsky, Mondrian, Malevich, etc. all drew inspiration from spiritualism and are heralded as the pioneers of abstraction, leaving af Klint out of the conversation seems blatantly sexist.  When male artists borrowed spiritualist principles they were geniuses but when a woman did she was written off as a kook - not a real artist, just some crazy lady who happened to draw and paint a lot.  Perhaps there's also an unconscious bias over the fact that af Klint subscribed to theosophy, an area of spiritualist belief that was founded by a woman and is notable for being the first European religious organization that actively welcomed women and allowed them to have senior positions.  Additionally, the lack of renown could be the result of societal conditioning; women simply weren't encouraged to be at the forefront of art.  Af Klint was no exception - as noted earlier, she worked largely in isolation and didn't participate in the avant-garde discussions going on in the rest of Europe.  As Jennifer Higgie writes in Hilma af Klint:  Painting the Unseen (p.16): "[...It's] irrefutable that although women artists were tolerated, they were rarely, if ever, encouraged to express the kind of radical ideas that marked their male contemporaries as innovators...even though af Klint was one of the earliest Western artists to wholeheartedly engage with abstraction, the most visible discussions of it as a viable new artistic language were conducted by men, all of whom were proficient at self-promotion."  (Kandinsky was particularly known for puffing himself up.)  In any case, I think these issues make it all the more important to acknowledge her work.  Even if they're not "truly" abstract, af Klint's paintings are still vital to understanding the evolution of modern Western art.  And when you consider the fact that she was  producing these pieces in an atmosphere not exactly hospitable to women artists, it makes her accomplishments even more mind-boggling.  Adrian Searle at The Guardian agrees: "Too often for it to be an accident, Af Klint had an innate sense of how to make a painting, often with no artistic models to turn to. Her best paintings are airy, their forms and geometries delivered with an evident pleasure and openness...The scale and frontality and freshness of her work still stand up, in a way that many Kandinskys don't. Yet looking at photographic portraits of the artist, we see a stern woman who was far from cosmopolitan, and in whom there are few outward signs of emancipation. For a woman to be an artist at all in Sweden in the early 20th century was difficult enough. To be an artist who believed as she did must have made matters even more difficult."

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure out how Addiction got the rights to use af Klint's work on the compacts.  Having a collection inspired by an artist's work is one thing, but actual reproductions are trickier legally.  There is a Hilma af Klint Foundation governed by her family members, so possibly they granted the rights to Addiction, but that would be a huge feat for the company to pull off since the guardians of af Klint's estate protect the use of her work rather fiercely.  And of course there's the age-old question of whether a deceased artist would approve of their work being used this way.  I really can't say in the case of Klint.  On the one hand she seems like someone who wouldn't be interested in makeup - given that her life's work consisted of representing tremendously complex philosophical and spiritual ideas, she may have perceived cosmetics as frivolous.  On the other hand, this may also mean she'd be okay with people enjoying her art in whatever format it appeared.  Says Iris Müller-Westermann, Director of Moderna Museet Malmö, "This was really an artist who dared to think beyond her time, to step out of what was commonly accepted...she had visions about bigger contexts where it was not about making money or being very famous, but about doing something much more humble: trying to understand the world and who we are in it." Af Klint also seemed to believe that women should be equal, and part and parcel of equality is being able to express ourselves however we choose.  I'm not able to paint on a canvas but I can get creative with makeup.  I think af Klint would have appreciated that. 

Overall I'm delighted with this collaboration.  I am possibly the least spiritual person I know, but looking at af Klint's work I feel simultaneously curious about our place in the universe and incredibly at peace.  I can only imagine how I'd react if I saw these in person; an anecdote from the blockbuster 2013 af Klint exhibition notes that many visitors cried when faced with af Klint's monumental works but couldn't explain why, something that's happened to me when standing in front of certain works of art.  As for the Addiction collection, the colors and textures make me want to try to "paint the unseen" - just like af Klint but using my eyelids as a canvas!

What do you think?  Had you heard of af Klint before now?


Curator's Corner, 4/2/2017

CC logoLots o' links!  Enjoy.

- Racked explores the history of makeup perceived as "tricking" men and delves into Sephora's Beauty Talk online community.

- Current fads include butt glitter (it's exactly what it sounds like), meme makeup, and on the hair front, geode highlights and rainbow roots are trending.  Also, I think we've reached peak wacky makeup applicators

- File these stencils and this nail polish under "completely superfluous but still fun" beauty inventions.

- Things I disagree with:  the "fact" that the average woman spends $300,000 on beauty products in her lifetime (I'm a collector and there's no way I will ever spend even close to that!), a no-makeup cafe, and this rather vitriolic response to unicorn makeup.  I might roll my eyes at some of the sillier trends that make the rounds, but at the end of the day I don't care what crazy thing you're doing with makeup - no one's forcing me or anyone else to apply foundation with a hard-boiled egg, you know?  So this author needs to back off...especially since she concludes with suggesting that people try, ugh, contouring instead of fun sparkly makeup.

- As a follow up to that piece and also my report on the holographic/iridescent/mythical being makeup craze, I much preferred this in-depth article on the history of the trend.  It's a great read, plus the author, like me, predicts mermaids will replace unicorns as makeup inspiration this year.

- Kudos to Sephora for their new makeup class and the founder of Lipslut for their "Fuck Trump" lipstick.

- Neon strobing proves you can never apply too much highlighter, driver's license photos be damned.

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, here are 10 quintessential movies from the decade as chosen by The A.V. Club staff.  Not sure I agree with all of their picks, but at least my top 2 (Pulp Fiction and Clueless) made the cut.  Additionally, The Awl rounds up the top '90s scandals.  Juicy!

- "Toys become animal spirits, cuddly receptacles of love, companionship and magic."  Almost cried when I read about this very touching exhibition of stuffed animals.  Also, who wants to go to the chocolate museum with me?!

- Just in time for Easter, please enjoy these bunny succulents.  And if I didn't kill every plant I've ever owned, I'd get these dolphin ones.

- Finally!

- LOL.

What's going on with you?

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Hey dollface: celebrating LM Ladurée's 5th anniversary

It was love at first sight with this precious doll-shaped powder box that Les Merveilleuses Ladurée released in honor of their 5th anniversary.  I mean, even the outer packaging is gorgeous.  As a collector, I was also overjoyed to receive a free tote bag from the seller, which I used as a background for these photos - isn't it pretty?  There is also a beautiful rose shaped blush with the same outer packaging that I have on its way to me, but the star of the show is clearly the powder.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

Both whimsical and sophisticated, this delicate doll figurine is outfitted in a sumptuous blue velvet dress with a purple satin ribbon.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

It looks like it might be heavy in the photos, but it's actually very lightweight and seems quite fragile - I was so afraid it would shatter if I dropped it.

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

I wonder how many people bought this to actually use it and not collect.  While the velvet dress is lovely, you'd have to be really careful to make sure the powder doesn't get all over it. 

LM Ladurée 5th anniversary powder box

When I first laid eyes on this my makeup historian sense was immediately tingling; somehow I just knew this design wasn't new.  Upon searching for vintage doll powder boxes I came across many different kinds, most made of porcelain or ceramic, but the ones made of papier mache stood out to me.  That particular material jogged something in my brain and I suddenly remembered where I had seen them before. 

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Yup, at the 2014 Makeup in New York exhibition!  How could I forget?  I guess I wasn't paying attention to the labels on these even though I took photos of them, LOL.

Terre de Retz powder box label

Terre de Retz powder box label

Terre de Retz was a line of doll-shaped powder boxes introduced by famed French department store Galeries Lafayette sometime around 1920.  This blog post had the full scoop on them and led me to buy this book.  Yes, I bought an entire book on perfumes just to get the tiny morsel of additional information it had on these powder boxes, and also because I had totally forgotten they were in this book as well.  Anyway, they were designed by Georges Duchesne (most of them are signed G. Duchesne) and came in a wide variety of styles ranging from Marie Antoinette-era fashions to 1920s flappers.  I suspect Terre de Retz was the inspiration for Ladurée's anniversary item, as both are constructed from a paper-based material and the general design for some of the Terre de Retz figurines is the same (i.e. the way in which the powder box is hidden and fits into the top part of the doll).

Terre de Retz ad, 1927
(image from cleopatrasboudoir.blogspot.com)

Masterpieces of Perfume book

The ones that appear to be the most common are these masked figurines and ones dressed in a mid-19th century style (at least, they resemble that period to my eye).

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Some other ones I liked:

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

Terre de Retz powder box

My favorites though were the ones that most resembled the Ladurée figurine.  While these ladies flaunt a more French Revolution-era style in terms of hair and makeup, they have voluminous blue skirts, fans and necklaces.

Terre de Retz powder box

This one also has a bow.  I really wanted to buy it but it's missing the bottom part of the box, plus, as I sadly discovered, Terre de Retz figurines are not cheap.  This one is going for $695 on ebay and the lowest price I've seen for one so far is $299.  Maybe someday I will have one for my very own but not right now!

Terre de Retz powder box
(images from rubylane, ebay and pinterest)

While I have no proof that Ladurée drew on Terre de Retz for their 5th anniversary powder box, it would be quite a nice nod to their French heritage.  In terms of a more modern, artsy take on figural powder boxes, I'd dearly love for a company to collaborate with this contemporary artist - while she doesn't make powder boxes to my knowledge (only figurines), I think she'd come up with some amazingly imaginative designs given her style.

Thoughts? 

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Spring 2017 color trend

Holographic.  Iridescent.  Duo-chrome.  Prismatic.  Whatever you want to call it, this spring's color trend isn't a color at all, but as with fall 2015 , a particular finish.  I have to admit I haven't seen it at the high-fashion level, i.e. none of the spring 2017 fashion shows or magazines featured it.  However, after sifting through a lot of runway coverage and the spring issues of all 8 of the magazines I subscribe to, I still wasn't seeing any one color in particular standing out.  Despite talk of peach being all the rage and millennial pink taking center stage, neither of those seemed to be clear winners.  Thus, I went with what I know best and restricted my color trend choice to products aimed at the masses rather than those found on the runways.  As I predicted in January, the holographic makeup trend is still on fire this spring.  When you take into account how many of these color-shifting goodies were released last year (most of which I purchased in my never-ending quest to pretend I'm a mermaid), the sheer number of products continuing to be offered this spring is astonishing.

Spring 2017 trend: holographic

  1. Too-Faced  Love Light Prismatic Highlighter in Ray of Light
  2. Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter and Glow Liquid Eye Shadow in Sea Siren (I'm loving this!!)
  3. Laura Mercier Lightstruck Prismatic Glow Palette
  4. Kevyn Aucoin Cyber Sky
  5. Tarte Spellbound Glow Rainbow Highlighter
  6. Cover FX Custom Enhancer Drops in Halo (loving these!)
  7. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector in Prismatic Amethyst (this one is awesome too)
  8. NARS Duo Eyeshadow in Thessalonique (um, yeah, I bought this as well and it's sooo pretty)
  9. Urban Decay Vice Special Effects Topcoat in 3rd Degree
  10. Bite Beauty Prismatic Pearl Gloss in Oyster
  11. Pat McGrath Labs Eye Gloss in Cyber (from the upcoming Dark Star 006 kit - can't wait!)

It got me thinking about why these shades are having a moment now.  After all, iridescent makeup isn't new, not to mention that we haven't even been seeing much prismatic magic in the way of fashion - usually fashion trends spill over into the beauty world - so I'm curious to know why it exploded in the past year or so.  Heck, holographic even spread to interior design and accessories.  Fortunately, Racked had a great article that explores the history of what the author calls "unicorn" makeup (although I'd argue that mermaid makeup is basically interchangeable when describing the trend) and why we can't get enough of it right now.  I'm incline to agree with her conclusions, which state that the current craze is partially a backlash against the no-makeup makeup look that was THE reigning trend a couple of years ago, and that it's also a response to the turbulent political climate.  Color-shifting, dreamy makeup that reminds us of mythical beings we loved as children (and in my case, still obsessed with) is very comforting when the world seems to have gone to hell in a handbasket.  The author of another excellent piece examining the iridescent frenzy within the sphere of interior design concurs:  while some of the reasons it took off in home goods and furniture are different than for makeup (new technology making prismatic finishes possible, etc.), she writes, "As economic optimism coincides with a tumultuous cultural and political landscape, its no wonder the art and design world is embracing the dreamlike and surreal.  At this point, we may as well coat the world in an iridescent glaze, if only to enjoy the illusion."  Just to put in my two cents, I'd add that the holographic trend's popularity is owed simply to its sheer prettiness and versatility - after playing with many of these items, I can say the effect of prismatic makeup can be subtly ethereal, or you can layer a bunch of product to go full-on rainbow.

What do you think?  Are you game for holographic makeup or is it not your thing?


Curator's Corner, 3/19/2017

CC logoHappy (almost) spring!  Here's your bi-weekly link roundup.

- Three huge beauty news items:  1.  MAC will be available at Ulta.  Now if they would just come to Sephora I'd be a happy girl. 2. There is an entire '90s inspired makeup line.  How perfect would I be to create products for it?!  3.  Urban Decay will be launching a Basquiat collection on April 20.  I'm glad that the potential issues with this collection were mostly addressed...but I'll be sure to expand on this when I get the whole collection in my greedy little paws!

- Speaking of paws, you can now smell like kitten fur

- Lipstick is so pretty to look at, even under a microscope.

- This is a great followup to my brief post on makeup packaging recycling.

- In beauty history, Collector's Weekly had an excellent profile of hallowed brand Santa Maria Novella

- Here's some evidence of what I've known for years (and one of the major reasons I love makeup).

- A friendly reminder not to use LUSH bath bombs as highlighter.  File this under WHY??  With the spate of highlighters flooding the market at all price points I have no idea why you'd try to use a bath product as one.

- Again, WHY??

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Hanson has announced a tour, while Mental Floss unravels the history of those bizarre Mentos commercials. (I wish they also had a history of the Snapple lady.) Meanwhile, musicians reflect on the legacy of Biggie Smalls in honor of the 20-year anniversary of his passing, while in more upbeat news, I'm celebrating the 20th birthday of one of the many great albums by my favorite band.  Birthday wishes are also in order for Buffy the Vampire Slayer (20) and My Cousin Vinny (25).

- Will mermaid-inspired eats replace the unicorn food trend?  I hope so.

- This new fashion museum sounds great but I kinda wish Chanel would donate $6 million to my museum - you'd think they'd want their cosmetics line to be preserved along with their clothing, right?

- Yas queen!!

How have you been?  Are you excited for spring?

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It's 5 o'clock somewhere: boozy makeup packaging

I remember thinking how cute and novel these wine bottle-shaped lipsticks were when they were making a sensation back in the fall.  (I do have one on the way but the package somehow keeps getting delayed so here's a stock photo for now.)  I'm not a wine person - gives me a horrible headache - but I do appreciate adorable makeup packaging so this gets a thumbs-up from me.  I mean on the one hand I'm not fond of wine once again being associated with a clichéd feminine stereotype (all ladies love wine, shopping, chocolate and shoes, amirite?), but on the other hand, this lipstick is just too cute.

Chateau Labiotte wine lipstick
(image from beautyboxkorea.com)

Turns out, this isn't the first time lipstick has been designed to resemble booze.  I was positively tickled when, during one of my customary Friday night vintage makeup searches on Etsy (I lead a very exciting life, I know), I came across this miniature lipstick cleverly packaged as a whiskey bottle.

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

It really is mini!

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick

I'd never heard of Carstairs before, but apparently from roughly the '40s through the '60s they did a good amount of advertising for their White Seal whiskey, which is still sold today.  In addition to the lipsticks, they offered mini screwdrivers and toothpicks, along with seal clock figurines and the usual print advertising.  According to one (no longer active) ebay listing, the lipstick bottles started being produced around 1944 and other listings say they're from the '50s, so I guess they were used as promotional items for a few decades.  Here's a photo of one in Madeleine Marsh's excellent book, which also dates it to the '50s. 

Carstairs miniature whiskey bottle lipstick in Compacts and Cosmetics by Madeleine Marsh

I'm guessing that for the most part, the lipsticks were provided to bars and liquor stores and given away as a small gift-with-purchase, as there are quite a few full boxes of them floating around. I would have bought this one in a heartbeat because how cute would it have been to display it alongside a whole Chateau Labiotte set?

Vintage Carstairs whiskey lipstick set

Chateau Labiotte set(images from etsy.com and labiotte.us)

But the individual lipsticks are obviously a lot cheaper and I have many things I want to purchase for the summer exhibition, so I had to pass for now. ;)  As for the lipstick itself, a company called Christy Cosmetics, Inc. was responsible for producing it.  I couldn't find much information about it online, other than it was a New York-based company and was also the manufacturer of a line called Diana Deering (who was an entirely fictional character, or, as the patent puts it, "fanciful".)

Christy Cosmetics ad, 1944(image from what-i-found.blogspot.com)

Diana Deering ad, 1944

Diana Deering/Christy Cosmetics patent(image from tsdrapi.uspto.gov)

I'm sure there's information about Christy out there somewhere, but as usual I lack the time and other resources to do proper research, i.e., looking beyond Google.  If anyone knows anything about their relationship with Carstairs and how they were chosen to produce their promo items I'd love to hear it.

Uh-oh, we have a situation here.  Once again a certain little Sailor is up to no good.  "It's just my size!" 

Bottoms up!

I better go get this wrapped up and into storage before he smears it all over his face in attempt to "drink" the non-existent whiskey.  In any case, Happy St. Patrick's Day and I hope these lipsticks have inspired you to let your hair down and enjoy some adult beverages tonight!


Makeup as Muse: creative recycling

I had actually been working on a particular artist for the next Makeup as Muse for months - her work is pretty involved - but when the maker of this robot tweeted at me a few weeks ago I decided to hold off a little longer on my original installment and feature his creation instead. Meet Yslabelle (pronounced ees-la-bell), a functioning robot made entirely of repurposed YSL makeup packaging!

YSL-robot-3

Standing roughly 6'6" tall (2 meters), Yslabelle was made from hundreds of boxes and her sword from the Shock mascara and Touche Eclat tubes.  Gathering the materials took 14 months.  I was in awe when I thought Yslabelle was simply a stationary robot statue, but as it turns out, her head is motorized so there's also some movement there.  This is particularly mind-blowing to me given that I can't figure out how to hook up the attachments to our vacuum cleaner.  Seriously though, I was never gifted at science/math/generally understanding how things work so I've never been all that interested in robots; however, my brother-in-law is a roboticist for Boston Dynamics, so that, combined with my own inability to comprehend anything mechanical, has made me appreciate the art of crafting robots a little more. 

IMG_1963-1(images from robotazia.co.uk)

Yslabelle was made by Cyberigs Robots, a collective founded in 2015 by Mark Swannell to develop a collection for Robotazia.  From what I can tell, Robotazia is a permanent exhibition of sci-fi themed robots somewhere in the U.K. that will be open to visitors sometime this year.  I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but I love the idea of all these different roboticists coming together to build cool new robots and repair old ones for the exhibition.  Apparently you'll even be able to grab a snack at the "robo-bistro." 

I have to say that this is a marvelous use of old makeup packaging, and it got me thinking about why more companies still don't offer recycling.  LUSH, Zoya and MAC are the only companies I can think of off the top of my head that have official recycling programs.  Yslabelle also makes me wonder what, if anything, we consumers can do about it besides writing letters and signing petitions encouraging companies to recycle (and as I've said previously, I don't think the entire burden should be on consumers).  As we've seen with other Makeup as Muse posts, beauty packaging can be quite wasteful and it's not always easy to properly dispose of or repurpose it.  I always put the outer paper boxes into our recycling bin, but this still doesn't help the bigger issue of the inner packaging like plastic/metal containers and tubes.  Then of course, there's some completely superfluous packaging like Pat McGrath's sequin-filled bags.  Now, I am a huge Pat McGrath fan and she can do no wrong in my eyes.  I'd be so sad buying a product from her without those lovely shiny sequins - it just wouldn't be the same!  I, along with lots of other beauty bloggers, reuse the sequins for photo props.  However, if her company won't have some way for customers who don't want the sequins to send them back to be reused, we have to get creative.  Enter Parisian fashion student Ana Ouri, who has been sewing the sequins onto her pieces.  Genius!

Ana Ouri - sequins

Ana Ouri - sequins(images from instagram.com)

I am nowhere near as imaginative as Cyberigs or this fashion student, but both projects inspire me to think of cool ways to recycle makeup packaging.  Of course, since I'm a collector I don't even want to think about disposing of my beloved collectibles, and my huge stash (i.e., the makeup I actually use) is so massive I can't imagine actually finishing a product except for samples, so it's mostly a moot point for me.

Have you ever tried to repurpose cosmetics packaging in a more artistic way?  

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Friday fun: Julie Verhoeven for Marc Jacobs

If the psychedelic, whimsical illustrations created by British artist Julie Verhoeven for Marc Jacobs Beauty don't seem familiar to you, it's because they are quite a departure from the relatively restrained style she went with for MAC's Illustrated collection in 2012.  Five years after the MAC collaboration, Verhoeven has again made her mark on the makeup world by working with Marc Jacobs on his spring 2017 collection, lending her talents to create 2 makeup sets, both of which I purchased. 

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The Enamored with a Twist set features a mishmash of motifs, including a clothespin, a disembodied mouth with a row of rainbow colored teeth and couple of goofily grinning faces.  According to the product description, Verhoeven was aiming to create "modern cartoon imagery".  Cartoony it is, but to my eye it has more of a '70s feel.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Three glosses in lovely spring shades are included in the makeup bag.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Velvet Reality is the name of the other set.  This one is my favorite of the two, as I love that frog's face!

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The set contains mascara, a cream eyeshadow stick and eyeliner.

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs Beauty x Julie Verhoeven

The illustrations are crazy and eye-catching enough as it is, but what I appreciated is that they were different from those from the Marc Jacobs fashion collection.  Although, I wouldn't have minded if they had simply chosen a couple and slapped them on the sets - I still would have bought them hook line and sinker.  They're just so fun!

It was quite an extensive lineup so I'm sharing only a few pieces. 

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

"With Marc Jacobs I tried not to be too polite with the graphics, sneaking in some phalluses and domestic appliances that sort of have no reason to be there," she says in an interview.  Indeed, with her Instagram hashtags for these pieces like "#phallicmushroom" and the bizarre inclusion of toasters and vacuum cleaners, her description is on the nose.  Of course, as with the makeup bags, the "Pill Popping Amphibian" is my favorite motif - he has the silliest expression.

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven

I love spike details so these shoes were right up my alley.

Marc Jacobs x Julie Verhoeven
(images from marcjacobs.com and saksfifthavenue.com)

Verhoeven is truly multi-talented.  In the time since I last explored her work, she continues her illustration and fashion endeavors, but has also been dabbling in performance art with some pretty captivating shows in 2014 and 2016.  Still, I felt like these trippy, out-there illustrations were quite different from the rest of her work...until I realized she had collaborated before with Marc Jacobs all the way back in 2002 for a line of Louis Vuitton bags.  As it turns out, this groovy style isn't new territory at all for Verhoeven - right down to the frog motif, the designs for Jacobs this time around are very similar to the ones produced during their previous collaboration.

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven

Louis Vuitton x Julie Verhoeven
(images from fashionphile.com, therealreal.com and chercoulter.com)

Getting back to makeup, I love the soft pastel shades included in the sets, but I'm more enamored of Verhoeven's own style.  An article in the Guardian describes her bold cosmetic choices: "Verhoeven herself is a jumble of different shades: at 9.30am she is sporting cobalt blue eyeliner, hot pink lips and cheeks and a whitened face, alongside blue tights, coral nail polish and a multicoloured dress. And somehow it all fits together. 'I can’t leave the house without the face on, I’ve got that down to under five minutes,' she says. 'It’s also a layer and a disguise, in a way – I’m aware I’ve got a masculine face, so the makeup is supposed to make me disappear. But really it’s absurd because it does the opposite.'"  She definitely gives me confidence to continue wearing crazy makeup colors as I approach middle age...although I'm not a cool artist so I don't know if I could pull it off.
 
Julie Verhoeven
(image from thekinsky.com)
 
Julie Verhoeven
(image from frieze.com)
 
What do you think of this collab?  Do you prefer Verhoeven's more traditional fashion illustrations of women, such as the ones for MAC, or her more surreal style?

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