Couture/Fashion

Spring 2017 sneak peek: Burberry Silk and Bloom palette

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

I hope Burberry doesn't stop releasing their runway-inspired palettes, as I've become quite fond of them. While their most recent offering isn't my favorite, I will certainly take it over nothing.  For their spring 2017 blush palette, Burberry chose a hexagonal floral pattern that appeared on several items in the fashion collection (and, interestingly, on the runway floor).

Burberry spring 2017
(images from us.burberry.com and vogue.com)

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

One significant item of note that I somehow missed when discussing the fall palette was that the wallpapers Burberry borrowed for patterns to use in their spring 2017 collections are housed in the Victoria and Albert Museum, so off I went to see if I could find the originals.  To my astonishment and great delight they were available to view online!  Here's the one that inspired the spring 2017 pattern.

Wallpaper, ca. 1830
(image from collections.vam.ac.uk)

According to the V & A, this was made around 1830:  "This wallpaper was designed to imitate moulded plasterwork.  Moulded plaster was a fashionable method of wall and ceiling decoration in the 17th and 18th centuries, but it was expensive.  Wallpaper printed in shades of grey and buff was a cheaper way of achieving a similar decorative effect."

Just for my own gratification here are some of the other items that I mentioned in my previous post and the nail polish set, along with the original wallpaper.  These were available for purchase back in the fall, but considered part of spring 2017...sort of.   It's all very confusing to me, but Burberry was testing out the see-now, buy-now approach back in September 2016, hence why I thought the wallpaper-based items at the website were part of the fall 2016 collection.  Apparently Burberry CEO Christopher Bailey is doing away with formal spring/fall collections (in name, anyway) and showing one collection in September and February, with styles that are meant to be "seasonless".  I don't know about that so I'm continuing to refer to the Silk and Bloom palette, as well as the other wallpaper pieces, as part of spring 2017.

Burberry wallpaper-inspired jacket

Burberry wallpaper print tee

Burberry nail polish set
(images from us.burberry.com)

This paper is from the mid-18th century and used to imitate "print rooms".  "This was a room decorated with prints that had been pasted on to the walls, with the addition of printed paper frames and borders. It was intended to give the impression of a room hung with framed pictures. Designing and installing a print room was a fashionable hobby for the wealthy in the 1760s and 1770s. Using a wallpaper with a 'print room' design was a cheaper way of achieving the same effect. This is one of several print room papers from Doddington Hall, Lincolnshire; it was hung as part of the major redecoration of the house undertaken by Sir John Hussey Delaval around 1760."

Wallpaper, ca. 1760
(image from collections.vam.ac.uk)

Anyway, back to the Silk and Bloom palette.  Overall it's pretty and the vibrant rose color is to die for, but there are a couple details I'm not loving.  First, there's this odd rough texture surrounding the flowers.  I'm guessing it was a deliberate attempt to replicate the textural variations of silk fabric, which would make sense given that the pattern comes from silk garments, but I feel like it should be smooth - it almost looks like the palette is defective.  On silk clothing obviously this texture is to be expected, but I don't think it works on a powder surface.

Burberry Silk and Bloom blush palette

The second detail I'm not crazy about is the closeup view of the pattern.  While in other palettes I adore the zoomed-in effect - it allows you to see more detail - in this case the closeup of the flower cluster sort of reminds me of cells under a microscope (in this case, algae cells).

Burberry Silk and Bloom palette

I think the pattern works well on the clothing (and on wallpaper, for that matter), but this is one of the few that, in my humble opinion, did not translate well to makeup form.  (Or maybe I'm still cranky over not being able to snag the adorable heart-adorned First Love palette, grrr.)  Whatever it is, I vastly prefer the spring and fall 2016 palette designs over this one.  It's especially disappointing given that they could have modified the pattern to make it work for makeup - I would have gladly sacrificed a closeup view to have more of the whole pattern, since maybe then it wouldn't remind me of a biology class.  :P  Or Burberry could have chosen a different pattern entirely, like this one.

Burberry spring 2017

This single flower would be gorgeous - with a design like that, I'm envisioning the level of intricacy and color variety on par with Chantecaille's Butterfly eye shadows, and it could have with lots of shimmer on the petals like Sisley's Orchidée palette.

Burberry spring 2017

Or maybe eschew flowers entirely and do something totally unexpected, like the graphic pattern on this bodycon dress?  I bet it would make a great bronzer.

Burberry spring 2017
(images from us.burberry.com)

What do you think?  Check out the Museum's Burberry category for glimpses of previous runway palettes and let me know how the spring 2017 one stacks up in your opinion.  :)

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Ghosts of Christmas makeup past: Armani Black Gem palette

Happy December!  It's that time of year where not only do I share current holiday goodies but also highlight some that came before.  I was digging through the Museum's archives and couldn't believe I hadn't posted about this beautiful palette Armani released for their 2007 holiday collection.

Armani Black Gem palette

A smooth, sleek black case is adorned with a delicate flower pattern offset by black crystals.  I found the design to be rather elegant and understated, similar to the lovely 2008 crystal palette.  (Why they went the the more blingy, "look at me" route in 2009 I'll never know, but I still think that collection's gorgeous too because, well, I love sparkly anything for the holidays.)

Armani Black Gem palette

The first tier contains 4 shadows for building a smoky eye.

Armani Black Gem palette

The second tier consists of face powder imprinted with the same floral pattern as the case.  *swoon*

Armani Black Gem palette

Armani Black Gem palette

Armani Black Gem palette

I touched briefly on the fall 2007 couture collection in my coverage of Armani's fall 2007 palette, but I wanted to expand on it here since I suspect the Black Gem palette was based on the fall 2007 couture collection.  Black crystals showed up everywhere.

Armani couture fall 2007

Armani couture fall 2007

Armani fall 2007 couture

The models were covered literally from head...

Armani fall 2007 couture

...to toe.

Armani couture fall 2007(images from vogue.com)

However, I must include this photo from the fall 2007 ready-to-wear collection.  I wasn't able to zoom in, but I swear the floral pattern is the same as the one on the Black Gem palette, and it looks especially similar because of the black-on-black detailing.  So maybe they combined elements from the ready-to-wear and couture collections in one palette?  I don't know.

Armani fall 2007 ready-to-wear
(image from vogue.com)

I do know that the Black Gem palette is gorgeous and I wish Armani would return to these sorts of designs.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the fact that the more recent runway palettes are literal representations of the pieces from the fashion shows, but I appreciate crystals and embossed powders even more.  ;)  I mean, when I compare, say, the fall 2016 palette to Black Gem, both are Museum-worthy but the latter definitely has a more eye-catching design.

What do you think?  And do you remember the Black Gem palette at all?

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The gold standard: Chanel Ombres Lamées

Initially I was pretty unimpressed with Chanel's holiday 2016 lineup, as early reports indicated that there wouldn't be any sort of show-stopping palette for the season.  But I should have known Chanel had a very beautiful surprise up their sleeve!  Behold, the exquisite Ombres Lamées palette. 

Unlike some of their previous palettes, this one comes in a luxurious pebble-textured box with two separate brushes.

Chanel Ombres Lamées box

Chanel Ombres Lamées

The design is inspired by the fall 2016 runway collection.  We'll look at that in a second, but in the meantime, you must appreciate the palette in all its intricate golden glory.

Chanel Ombres Lamées

Chanel Ombres Lamées

Chanel Ombres Lamées

Chanel Ombres Lamées

Chanel Ombres Lamées closeup

I did my usual "let's find the pattern match from the fashion" but I discovered that the palette was indeed only "inspired" by the fall 2016 collection rather than being a literal recreation of some of the patterns.  Still, the designs on the palette are faithful to the runway pieces in that they represent the gold thread woven into the clothing in a variety of ways, from the traditional Chanel tweeds to chunky knit sweaters and lamé skirts.  There was even a bag in the shape of a spool loaded with gold strands to further emphasize the craftsmanship behind these pieces, which, when combined with the pared-down runway atmosphere, seem more couture than ready-to-wear.

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Of course, this isn't the first time Chanel highlighted gold in a collection (see the pre-fall 2012 collection as well as the fall 2014 and spring 2016 couture collections, just to name a few examples), but once again Lagerfeld has given new life to this shiny staple.  It's a bit more subtle than in seasons past, even though it made its way onto nearly every item.  With the exception of a couple dresses, bags and boots, I felt like I had to look closely to see the glints of gold peeking out along hems, buried in a pair of gloves or crinkled in a skirt.  Gold was a detail and yet it wasn't; it was incorporated into almost every piece but in a whisper more than a shout.  I also think the fact that the gold weave was interspersed within a relatively neutral color palette of ivory, white, beige and black also makes it seem more understated.

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

My favorite piece from the runway, and I think the one that most resembles the palette, is this beautiful column dress.

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Chanel fall 2016 ready-to-wear
(images from vogue.com)

As you can see, it's not an exact replica of the patterns, but the various colors and textures neatly stacked on top of each other is similar to the palette's design. 

Overall, as you might have guessed, I'm pretty in love with this palette.  It's easily the best one Chanel has come out with in about 2 years (this is the last one I was truly wowed by), and it was well-timed - who doesn't want some bling for the holidays?  As for fabric-esque makeup, I don't think anyone does it better than Chanel.  Dior, YSL, Armani, Burberry, et. al. have all come up with some wonderful runway-inspired palettes, but in terms of ones that actually look like fabric, Chanel has the market cornered.  (See the Museum's Woven exhibition for more fabric-themed items - I'd love to re-do it and include Ombres Lamées!)  Oh, and a word about purchasing this beauty: I was told by Chanel.com that the palette wouldn't be released in the U.S. so in my panicked state I ordered from Bonbon Cosmetics, but as usual Chanel's customer service was wrong - the palette will be available on the Chanel website starting November 28.  I saw a notice at Refinery29 yesterday and received an email directly from Chanel this morning notifying me that it's coming, so we have confirmation it will be stateside shortly.  The email also said, however, that it will be available in "limited quantities" so if you want it don't wait!

Do you plan on picking it up?  Any other thoughts?

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The owls are not what they seem: Laneige x Lucky Chouette

As soon as I laid eyes on this collection a while back I knew I had to procure it for the Museum.  For the 3rd iteration of their Laneige Meets Fashion project, this fall Laneige teamed up with fellow Korean brand Lucky Chouette (chouette = owl in French.)  Lucky Chouette is actually a sister line to Jardin de Chouette, a higher-end line founded in 2005 by Jae-Hyun Kim.  Since I'm feeling too lazy to describe the aesthetics of each, I'll direct you to this great profile of both over at Style Bubble.

And now for the makeup!  How freakin' cute are these owls?!

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

I learned that they have names and personalities.  Bella is the pink owl and Vely is the blue one.  Laneige describes them thusly:  "Chouette, which means 'owl' in French, is a symbol of good fortune. An encounter between Laneige and Lucky Chouette gave birth to a lovely pair of owls that promise to bring good luck to all.  We have two muses: Confident, outgoing, and outspoken, Bella Chouette is especially charming with her full lips. Shy Vely Chouette is prudish and prone to blush."

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

Bella's eyes are actually part of a plastic overlay on top of the blush, but she's still pretty adorable without it.

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

Laneige x Lucky Chouette

I figured that obviously Lucky Chouette clothing would be chock full of owls, and my hunch was correct.  While there are plenty of pieces without the owl motif, the bird does figure prominently and comes in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes.

Lucky Chouette

Lucky Chouette

Lucky Chouette
(images from luckychouette.com)

In poking around the Lucky Chouette site, I learned that besides Bella and Vely, the owls from past seasons also have their own names and personalities.  Too bad I don't know Korean, because I'd love to understand the creation story.

I would also be able to read about each owl's style and character traits based on these little bios that pop up when you click on one of the owls.  I always like to see a designer that really thinks about their work.  In the case of Jae-Hyun Kim, these profiles show that she genuinely thought about each creation and their style inspiration - it's not simply "I think owls are cool so I'll just slap a bunch on my clothes", there's actually a story behind each one. 

Marine Bebe Chouette - Lucky Chouette

Icy Chouette - Lucky Chouette

My favorite, obviously, was the punk-inspired Rebel Chouette...at least, her spiky crown looks to be pretty punk.  She's particularly lucky too!

Rebel Chouette - Lucky Chouette(images from luckychouette.com)

Now let's take a quick peek at the original Jardin de Chouette line, which, you guessed it, also works in several owl designs each season.  The photos below are from shows spanning 2006 through 2014.

Jardin de Chouette

Jardin de Chouette

Jardin de Chouette(images from jdchouette.com)

Overall, I enjoy the styles of both Jardin de Chouette and Lucky Chouette - I'd wear one of those owl sweaters from the latter in a heartbeat.  Perhaps it's the extensive use of a beloved critter, or the fact that there's a higher-end line and a diffusion line, but this is reminding me quite a bit of Paul & Joe and Paul & Joe Sister.  Of course, the silhouettes and general aesthetic/feel are different, but both Jae-Hyun Kim and Sophie Mechaly express their allegiance to their favorite animals by working them into their collections in new and exciting ways each season.  I also think Lucky Chouette was a great choice for a collaboration with a makeup line.

What do you think?  And are you more of a Bella or Vely?  I'm more of the shy Vely type, although I like to think I have Bella's lashes.  :)

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One of a kind? Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The past two runway-based palettes from Armani did nothing for me, but their fall 2016 one called my name.  It's especially odd given that I'm generally not a fan of floral prints, and I'd never wear any of what came down the Armani runway this season.  I also think the print itself reads very spring rather than fall, given the delicate, watercolor-esque pastel hues.  However, this palette seemed to be a little more tied into the clothing than in the past 2 seasons.  The other unusual aspect is that the pattern seems to differ on each palette.  Let's take a closer look.

As with previous runway palettes, it comes with a luxurious tulle pouch, and the outer case is decked out in fabric too.  While gorgeous, I don't think it would hold up well in one's makeup bag.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The top tier is a highlighting powder.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

Underneath are the eye shadows.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette

The pattern came straight from the floral print on the runway pieces. 

Armani fall 2016

Armani fall 2016 bags

Armani fall 2016 bags

The pattern on my palette can be seen on the left lapel and right sleeve of this jacket.

Armani fall 2016 jacket(images from vogue.com)

And because I'm obsessed with finding the exact pattern, I cropped and rotated the lapel so you can see precisely where it is.

Armani fall 2016 palette and pattern

As you can see from the stock photo below, the pattern on the palette I received is markedly different.

Armani fall 2016 runway palette(image from giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)

And I noticed the palette that Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog reviewed also has a different pattern.  I wonder if there are just 3 versions or if every single one has a unique swath of fabric.  In any case, these variations are what compelled me to buy it.  Not only was the print the same on each palette from the last two seasons, I couldn't really even match it exactly to the prints from the runway.  They looked like watered down interpretations of the designs, not actual reproductions.  Fortunately (and unfortunately for my wallet, as this was a pricey one) Armani's fall 2016 offering was way more interesting from a collectible standpoint.  :)

What do you think?  Have you seen these palettes in person or do you plan on purchasing?  I'm so curious to know if they're all different!

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Quick post: Paul & Joe fall collection, part 2

We're having more fashion fun today!  In addition to the Looney Tunes lineup, Paul & Joe released a regular fall collection.  This year's theme was "a stroll in the park".  Can't say I really see it but the collection does offer a nice array of the usual pretty patterns.

Paul & Joe fall 2016 makeup

Paul & Joe fall 2016 makeup

Paul & Joe fall 2016 makeup

Paul & Joe fall 2016 lipstick cases

Once I saw the bird on the tube of the lipstick refills I had to get a couple, which I normally don't do!

Paul & Joe fall 2016 lipsticks

Just when you thought Paul & Joe couldn't possibly put cats into any other form of makeup, they surprised us with these precious cat-shaped highlighter pieces. 

Paul & Joe fall 2016 highlighters

Beautyhabit.com gave me the usual complimentary bag.  At this rate I could probably do an entire exhibition just of Paul & Joe bags...not that I'm complaining, of course - I love collectible GWPs.

Paul & Joe fall 2016 makeup bag

As with previous offerings, some of the prints appear to be newly designed just for the makeup, and some were borrowed from the latest season's fashion collection. 

Paul & Joe fall 2016

Paul & Joe fall 2016(images from paulandjoe.com)

Oddly enough, the bird print was borrowed from the spring 2015 collection.  Paul & Joe has done this before, however.

Paul & Joe spring 2015(images from vogue.com)

I don't have anything else to add except that Paul & Joe did another nice job with this collection.  The holiday 2016 collection looks equally fun.  :)

What do you think?


Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry has been on quite a rapidly upward trajectory in terms of their runway palettes - each one seems to be more eye-catching than the last.  So as soon as I got wind of their fall 2016 palette I knew I had to have it as I think it's the prettiest one they've done so far.  Sadly, there doesn't seem to be an additional red and black palette, which many makeup junkies thought there would be based on this photo.  I did a live chat with Burberry and called a store in Soho, and nobody I spoke with had any idea what I was talking about.  Now that the collection has been out for a while, I'm guessing the red and black was just a weird overlay someone decided to stick on there.  Why someone would put a different colored overlay onto such a lovely highlighter is beyond me (and somewhat cruel, leading us beauty addicts to think there would be another palette in different colors) but in any case, the gold is enough by itself.

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Burberry fall 2016 runway palette

Once again, the print was borrowed from their most recent collection.  And once again, I was sent on a wild goose chase trying to figure out exactly which print it was.  There were many floral patterns in Burberry's fall collection, but none seemed to be the exact one on the palette.

It wasn't from these...

Burberry fall 2016 dresses

Or these...

Burberry fall 2016 dresses

They were very close but not 100% identical.  Then I found this trench coat and these 2 dresses. 

Burberry fall 2016

So that's where you were hiding!  Here's a detail to you can see it a little better.

Burberry fall 2016 dress detail

In poking around the Burberry site I also found this nail set, which borrows a vintage wallpaper-inspired pattern.

Burberry fall 2016 nail set

And just for funsies, off I went to locate the print within the clothing.  Some of the women's pieces had a wallpaper print but it wasn't the same.

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

As with the spring 2016 runway palette, the exact design on the nail set was taken from some of the men's items.  I find it a little odd that there seemed to be different wallpaper prints for the men's and women's lines.

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaperprint detail

Burberry fall 2016 wallpaper print t-shirt(images from us.burberry.com)

Again, I'm not sure why Burberry utilized a print that appeared only on the men's side for a nail polish set that's ostensibly being marketed to women, but I must say I enjoyed the hunt!  I'm still debating whether to pick up the set for the Museum, since the pattern is pretty and works well as an outer case.  As for the palette, well, it's easily my favorite of the runway palettes Burberry has released thus far.  I really liked the spring 2016 lace edition, but I think this one is a tad more intricate, not to mention shinier - I love the foil-like gleam of the flowers.

What do you think?  Do you plan on picking this one up?

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Kye for Shu Uemura

I have to admit that the packaging for this collection didn't immediately set off my curadar (curating radar), but given the frenzy over K-beauty over the past 2 or so years, coupled with the fact that Kye is an important up-and-coming fashion designer, I figured it would be a worthy addition to the Museum.  And you know I can't resist Shu's limited-edition cleansing oils. ;)

Kathleen Kye was born in the U.S., raised in Seoul and attended London's Central Saint Martins.  Her clothing line, which was launched in 2011, is notable not just for its edgy, high-fashion streetwear aesthetic, but also for its focus on unisex design.

Kye for Shu Uemura

The pattern on the Shu collection incorporates a seemingly random group of motifs along with Kye's signature.  Uh-oh, I thought - is this just a bunch of stuff Kye slapped on there without any thought?

Kye for Shu Uemura

Kye for Shu Uemura cleansing oil

Kye for Shu Uemura cleansing oil

Nope! I was thrilled to see that the pattern wasn't just an arbitrary scattering of icons that the designer happened to throw on there.  Shu featured this handy dandy little chart explaining the meaning behind most of them. 

"I try to take some serious themes and issues to something light and beautiful." - See more at: http://www.vogue.it/en/talents/new-talents/2013/01/kathleen-kye#sthash.NOgX9LCN.dpuf

Kye-shu-uemura-icons(image from shuuemura-usa.com)

Some of the symbols were also borrowed from previous fashion collections, such as the band-aid (from spring 2014):

Kye spring 2014

And the tattoo-inspired (to my eye anyway), spring 2013 print, where I'm assuming the bird, skulls and roses came from.

Kye spring 2013(images from kyefashion.com)

Kye tells Vogue, "I try to take some serious themes and issues to something light and beautiful."  I'd also add fun and modern to that description.  The symbols pay homage to Korea's history but also demonstrate a playful twist.  I particularly love the representation of the country's national animal in gummy form.  Kye also shows her understanding not just of Korea's heritage but also the present cultural climate for the country's bustling youth through the "24" and the alarm clock symbols.

Overall, while this isn't my favorite Shu collab, I think Kye is the perfect designer to team up with to celebrate Korea's youth culture and the influence it's having on the rest of the world.  And I always appreciate when the artist puts some actual thought into what they're making for the cosmetic brand they're collaborating with rather than either blindly copying old designs or slapping on whatever is appealing to them at the moment.

What do you think?

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Chris Chang for MAC

With this post I'm attempting to forget about MAC's previous misstep.  Fortunately, their collaboration with quirky designer Chris Chang is doing the trick.  After earning her degree at Parsons and an 8-year stint for Prada Taiwan, Chang launched her own line called Poesia.  Reflecting the designer's "fascination with the symbols and icons of her childhood dreams," the line seeks to embody the idea that "clothes should be easy and wearable without burdening women with unnecessary discomfort in structure and silhouette."  It seems fairly straightforward, but when you actually look at Chang's creations, there's a lot more going on than that description implies.  So let's take a peek at some of the MAC collection. 

Naturally I adore the bold shades chosen for both the packaging and the products themselves.  In a press release for the collection, Chang notes, "Color is the integral fuel of my imagination and the spirit MAC and I share. This collaboration is a dream come true for the maximalists of the world."  I would definitely agree that this is the polar opposite of minimal makeup!

Chris Chang for MAC

MAC/Chris Chang box

MAC/Chris Chang lipsticks

The packaging features a silk screen print Chang designed specifically for MAC, containing a mishmash of motifs from her previous collections.

MAC/Chris Chang powder

Unfortunately I couldn't place every detail, but here's an attempt anyway (plus it gives me an opportunity to present some of Chang's fashion).  The vase on the left of the powder case may be inspired by those seen on some pieces from the spring 2016 collection.

Chris Chang/Poesia spring 2016

The butterflies are borrowed from the spring 2015 collection.

Chris Chang/Poesia spring 2015

The birds and goldfish appear on the wallpaper at Chang's website...

Chris Chang website wallpaper

Chris Chang website wallpaper

...but could also be nods to the spring 2015 and 2016 collections.

Chris Chang/Poesia spring 2015


Chris Chang Poesia spring 2016

Overall I think the print on the powder most closely resembles one from the spring 2012 collection.

Chris Chang Poesia spring 2012

Chris Chang Poesia spring 2012(images from poesiaworld.com)

The images on the outer boxes reference Chang's original concept for the MAC collaboration, which was "Kunqu madness".  She explains to Allure:  "The theme is Kunqu Madness. Kunqu is one of the oldest performance arts from China that combines singing, poetry, acrobatics, and dance—and a lot of hand gestures. And Kunqu has a very specific, avant-garde look. The makeup and costumes are exaggerated, so when I was asked to collaborate it took me five minutes to decide that this is going to be around Kunqu. In the collection there are all of the colors you see in the costumes."  For Chang, I'm guessing a big part of the appeal of modernizing Kunqu is the "maximal" nature of it.  She tells Pop Sugar, "When I was going to [Parsons School of Design] in the '80s, people were always talking about minimalism: 'when you’re done with your design, take that one last thing away.' I felt so awkward in this whole teaching method. I thought, 'minimalism?... I’m definitely maxi.' There’s something about Kunqu that’s also very maximalistic and extreme — the makeup, the singing — and also, it’s very poetic."

Chris Chang/Poesia for MAC

Here are some photos of Kunqu performances - I think Chang's idea of "Kunqu madness" is perfectly executed.

Kunqu(image from wikipedia.org)

Kunqu
(image from arts.cultural-china.com)

This picture is particularly fascinating, as I think the butterflies and birds resemble those found on Chang's pieces.

Kunqu-white

The MAC collaboration is not the first time Chang has referenced Kunqu:  check out the headpieces worn by the models for the spring 2012 collection.

Chris Chang spring 2012 runway(image from forbes.com

As a follow up on Chang's views on color, she also told Allure, "[T]here's no color that you can't wear—it's only a matter of how you wear it and how you apply it. It's 2016, and a woman is about to become the president. All of those rules are so outdated, but that's actually a big part of the Asian mentality. Thinking things like 'I can't wear green' or 'I can't wear orange' because it's not becoming against sallow, Asian skin. I say throw that out the door. It's a different time now, you know?...These colors should be used as war paint. Even if it's something just on the lid, it should be worn as paint, really. And I think that's where the direction for makeup is going. It should be worn like abstract art."  Indeed, at a special fashion show held in Shanghai just for the MAC collection, models had the collection's colors applied in a rather avant-garde style.

MAC/Chris Chang fashion show

MAC/Chris Chang fashion show

Chang herself also got in on the war paint action.  She looks pretty fierce!

Chris Chang(images from thatsitmag.com)

This aligns with the designer's outlook on makeup and fashion:  "I've never dressed or designed thinking, Is this appealing to men? Would men find this sexy? That mentality opens a lot of doors for me, for both how I can dress and how makeup should be worn. It's so satisfying for women to enjoy fashion and makeup. Who cares about men?"  She then elaborates, "Women are strong. We’re equal, if not even better. Makeup and clothes are definitely to please a woman and not to please a man. I hate that [phrase], 'man repellent', so we should dress for ourselves.  Love and relationships are such a small part of what a woman can do." 

Chang definitely has it all for me - an appreciation for cultural practices that are thousands of years old, the ability to honor those practices through giving them a thoroughly unique, futuristic take, and a love of crazy bold colors that are worn without giving a damn as to what people find flattering or attractive.  I've never been afraid to wear color, especially on my eyes, but Chang's perspective makes me want to flaunt it in a less traditional fashion (like trying out blue or green lipstick instead of hot pink or grey, which is about as colorful as I get for lips).  I have purchased some pretty out-there lip shades but have yet to find the courage to wear them.

What do you think?  Did you pick up anything from this collection?  And are you a "maximalist" when it comes to makeup shades?

Letting the sunshine in with Dolce & Gabbana's Sicilian Bronzer

Sooooooo glad I was able to snag this Dolce & Gabbana bronzer!  As of right now it's sold out everywhere in the U.S. and going for double the retail price on ebay, which I find to be pretty obnoxious.  (It's still available at Harrod's but shipping to the U.S. is steep.) In any case, the colorful design is borrowed from part of D & G's spring/summer 2016 fashion collection, which in turn is based on traditional Sicilian "carrettos" - handmade donkey carts.

I really can't stop staring at it.  So many details!

Dolce & Gabbana summer 2016 bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A closeup of our little lady friend:

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Here's the bronzer itself, in case you're curious about the shade.  It's #30 (Sunshine).

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A few of the carretto collection pieces made it onto the D & G runway.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016
(images from vogue.co.uk)

But at their website you can see the entire collection, which is way bigger than I thought it would be.  Some of my favorite pieces:

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto(images from dolcegabbana.com)

What I loved is that D & G presented a great history of the carretto, so you can tell it was definitely a well thought-out collection.  I don't want to rehash the whole thing, but basically these carts were in use at least as far back as the early 19th century, and typically utilized to transport everyday items like lumber, grains, lemons and wine barrels.  The custom of painting these carts stemmed from several things: a practical solution to help protect the wood from damage, superstition (most carts were adorned with religious figures), and, if they were commercial carts, a way to advertise.  Styles varied from town to town, but all shared bright, vibrant color and patterns. 

Sicilian carretto - wheel(image from wikipedia)

I think I spy mermaids on each side of this one!

Sicilian carretto detail

Sicilian carretto(images from slowitaly.yourguidetoitaly.com)

Nowadays the carts aren't used for anything but tourist attractions, but I'm glad some artisans are still painting and keeping the tradition alive.  (You can also check out this site for another brief history.) 

Sicilian carretto(image from wikipedia)

D & G's passion for Sicily's culture is, as with their coin palettes, made abundantly clear in their description of the carts - I actually found it to be the most informative piece in my online search.  I also appreciated that it's a new spin on an old theme; this is not the first time the company has used the carretto as inspiration.

As we look at some more cart photos, you can see the resemblance between them and D & G's adaptation.  Some of the bags, for example, are  high-fashion versions of traditional Sicilian coffa bags, which typically share their pompom decorations with the horses that pull the carts.  The influence also spread to a pair of flat sandals.

Sicilian carretto
(image from slowitaly.yourguidetoitaly.com)

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016(images from vogue.co.uk)

Meanwhile, the carved figures on the wheel spokes and other areas served as inspiration for the heels. I just wish they had worked in a mermaid somehow!

Carretto wheel / D & G shoes(images from academia.edu and dolcegabbana.com)

D & G's decorative patterns overall look like the interiors and side panels of the carts.  Check out these examples from the Museo Carretto Siciliano in Palermo (yes, there is an entire museum devoted to these carts - actually, there's also a second one!)

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum(images from tripadvisor.com)

The knights refer to those in Sicilian puppet theater.  Sicily apparently has a medieval/chivalry-themed folk tradition, according to this book, so the theaters and carts share the motif as they are both part of the same history.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto
(image from dolcegabbana.com)

Sicily-puppet-knights(image from grandvoyageitaly.com)

As for the little lady in the center of the bronzer, I'm guessing she's some sort of a queen based on this photo of the Puppet Theatre.  I spy a queen on the left with a crown and red dress, just like the one on the D & G pattern.

Sicilian Puppet Theatre(image from gettyimages.com)

Incidentally, for the holidays D & G expanded the carretto line to Christmas ornaments, candles, stationery and more recently (and most astonishingly) a collection of 100 hand-painted Smeg refrigerators completed by 8 genuine Sicilian cart artists.  That would add quite a pop to your kitchen!

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerator(image from wallpaper.com)

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerators(image from 2modern.com)

Overall, I am seriously in love with this bronzer.  I always enjoy learning, especially through makeup, about some cultural practice or artist that I wasn't aware of previously.  Plus, so few couture houses' makeup have such a specific connection to their fashion - in the case of Chanel and Dior, it seems rather vague and uninspired as of late, and don't get me started on YSL - their Chinese New Year palettes were not a full comeback.  D & G goes the extra mile to ensure that the makeup collection aligns with the clothes.  (Although I do find it odd that they used the carretto as a springboard for the makeup line, but the model for the beauty collection's promos is wearing the lemon print, also from D & G's summer collection.  Why not wear something from the carretto collection?  Eh, I guess it's not important.)  More than that, the original culture behind the fashion itself appears to be at least somewhat researched.  This is what gets me excited - to see aspects of a particular culture that are celebrated and modernized, and that the designer takes care to explain the history behind their designs.  It's a stark contrast to, ahem, other approaches.

So what do you think of this bronzer and D & G's take on carretto style?