I can't believe I'm just now getting around to writing about this lovely little piece from Givenchy, as I've had it in my possession since, maybe, March? But I figured it's better late than never when discussing pretty makeup items. Alas, this will be another quick post since I couldn't find much information about the inspiration behind this bronzer.
The outer case, while furnished in Givenchy's signature sleek shiny black with gold lettering, doesn't really compare to what's inside.
Behold! An explosion of beautifully embossed blooms spreads over the entire surface of the bronzer.
I also picked up the lipstick - minty green becomes quite sophisticated when rendered in leather. I don't have anything else to say except that mint green is one of my favorite colors so naturally I had to buy it.
Back to the star item: the Gypsophila bronzer borrows its pattern from ones that went down the spring/summer 2015 runway. Gypsophila, I discovered, is just a fancy name for baby's breath.
While the print is pleasing on its own, the addition of pearls sewn onto the flowers really takes it up a notch. The pattern stands out more given the raised, smooth texture of the pearls and their subtle sheen. It's these pieces that most closely resemble the pattern on the bronzer - the single pearls on some of the leaves as well as the curved rows are nearly identical to the bronzer's flowers.
I'm not sure what meaning baby's breath has for Riccardo Tisci, formerly chief designer for Givenchy, other than that it's allegedly his favorite flower. The blooms were described in the show's press release as "poisonous romantic flowers", whatever that means - are they intended to be dangerous or sweet? I guess both? Who knows...especially since baby's breath, to my knowledge, isn't poisonous at all. I also can't figure out why a print from 2 years ago by a designer that's no longer with the company is showing up now. It just shows there's really no alignment between the fashion and cosmetics sides within Givenchy.
Having said all that, this bronzer is a showstopper for sure. While I'm not including it this summer's exhibition as it didn't fit the theme so well, I will hopefully remember to add it to the checklist for next spring.
This song from my childhood immediately popped into my head when I spotted Gucci's new palette.
I was pleased to see Gucci doing something a little different packaging wise. It's a relatively new line, launched in fall 2014, and I honestly haven't been interested in it either for collectible purposes or actual use. But this new blush got me hoping this is the start of many more limited-edition items with fresh designs. And I usually hate bugs with a passion, but ladybugs (along with fireflies) are acceptable to me. :)
I didn't take a picture of the front of the case, as it was simply Gucci's usual interlocking gold G's. They could have put a ladybug print on the outer case, but as this is their first try at a limited-edition item I shouldn't be too critical. Inside, the powder is embossed with a single ladybug sporting 6 spots.
Before I purchased the blush I did a quick search to see whether it had anything to do with Gucci's clothing - ladybugs seemed so random. However, Gucci offers a healthy selection of items sporting the little critter.
I think the print on these tote bags would have been perfect for the outer case of the blush, no?
Especially adorable is their children's line. I have no interest in having kids and would most likely never drop serious cash on their clothing (I mean, they grow out of it so quickly!), but damn, children's clothing is just precious to look at.
These collections gave me a bit more context for the ladybug design. Upon seeing them mixed in floral and animal prints, a blush palette with a ladybug didn't seem too far out of left field. The Garden collection, an online-exclusive capsule collection released in the summer of 2016, was another addition to the flora and fauna frenzy that the brand seemed to be partaking in that year.
Yet I just couldn't figure out why there was so much emphasis on, well, nature at Gucci. It wasn't until I read a brief description of Gucci's history and how its relatively new Creative Director, Alessandro Michele, has been modernizing the house's traditions. "Reflecting its clientele’s dynamic, well-traveled and sportif lifestyles, the brand very early on began incorporating animal motifs into its designs. Gucci’s famous horse-bit icon drew from the passion for horseback riding among its Italian aristocrat customers...since taking over as Creative Director in January 2015, Alessandro Michele has been drawing upon Gucci’s archives and this history of fauna fervor by incorporating a large variety of animals into his designs. With each collection the designer adds several more creatures to his Gucci stable, drawing on their cultural symbolism to provide layers of meaning to his heavily referential and often occult-tinged themes. Michele’s ever-increasing insectarium collects together dragonflies, beetles, ants, bees, ladybugs, moths, and butterflies. A lepidopterist and entomologist's dream, Alessandro Michele's collections for Gucci are a fantasia of insect life. Bugs are joined by a parade of mammals on clothing and jewels: tigers, rabbits, lions, horses, cats, foxes, and many more. Gucci’s sparkling, brash menagerie is woven into velvet; formed into metal studs, large sculptural rings, and cascading earrings; beaded and sequined; patchworked out of fur; and even needlepointed. Each creature has its own symbolic meaning." Finally, we have an answer! I guess because I didn't investigate their makeup earlier and also because Gucci just isn't on my fashion radar, I had no idea they had a history of using animal and flower motifs. Now that I know, I admire Michele's examination of Gucci's archives and his take on motifs that he presumably selected from them, along with his own new additions. The flora and fauna read modern and sophisticated rather than stale and stuffy, or worse, cutesy. And as the article points out, high-end materials also help elevate ladybugs and their pals. It's whimsical luxury (or luxurious whimsy) that still is in keeping with Gucci's history and aesthetic.
As for the significance of the ladybugs themselves, Farfetch says they're a "symbol of luck and protection that has come to be a signature from Alessandro Michele." I don't know about that, but when considering his designs from the past few seasons and knowing that he's updating Gucci's traditions, a ladybug on the blush palette seems to fit. Despite the lackluster outer case and the fact that I would have liked to see a more intricate and colorful design, it was still Museum-worthy. Instead of a single ladybug, the part of the Garden collection print with it would have been awesome, rotated like this (yes I know it's small but you get the idea.)
But overall it was a good first effort from Gucci and I hope they do more in this vein. I also hope I can remember to work it into next spring's exhibition. It would look particularly nice next to Dior's Flower Blossom palette, which is the only other palette I can think of that has a ladybug.
Before I delve into the summer collections, I thought I'd look at one last release from the spring. MAC teamed up with Chinese fashion designer Min Liu (a.k.a. Ms. Min) for a small collection featuring Min's signature modern twist on traditional Chinese style. I picked up the standout from the collection, a blush/highlighter palette embossed with a truly gorgeous wave pattern.
I didn't have to search very hard to find the inspiration behind the colors Min chose, along with the wave design. In an interview with online magazine Buro 24/7, she explains, "There are actually four main colors in this collection which are China red, lush peony pink, shimmering platinum, and bold ink black. Each colour is rich in meaning and contains a distinct energy in traditional colour theory. Red promises loyalty and bravery. Pink is a metaphor of beauty. Silver introduces the gods and spirits. Black brings honesty and integrity...The philosophy behind my collaboration with MAC is that everything is about how energy flows, casting a distinct aura, vitalising all forms of life — humans, water, mountains, earth, oceans, clouds. That no matter how it shifts and changes over time, the world maintains an eternal rhythm. It's also inspired by the ancient masterpiece Shang Hai Jing (The Guideways through Mountains and Seas), which is about Chinese mythology culture, spirituality, and folklore...[It's] an allegory for the energy that flows between mountains and oceans and across vast landscapes, spanning time and space. To open this compact is like feeling the universe in your hand. Somehow it reminds me that there is a universe out there."
I personally think the design resembles the waves from this 1597 illustration of the Guideways Through Mountains and Seas. (It also reminds me of Hokusai's The Great Wave, but that's a completely different cultural reference.)
So it's pretty, but what does the makeup have to do with Min's fashion? Well, the designer created a beautiful capsule collection to coordinate with the makeup, which was unveiled at Shanghai's fashion week in a rather dramatic runway show. (There's probably a lot more information in this WWD article, but of course it's behind a paywall and my library doesn't have the April issue available yet. Sigh.)
The clothing was simply stunning and the makeup was spot-on. I can't imagine a more harmonious collection. I can also definitely see the traditional-meets-contemporary vibe of the clothing, which is better described by Min: "The style of Ms MIN has always been inspired a lot by tradition, culture and spirituality. There's been this conversation between modernity and tradition, Yin and Yang, contrary and balance and ultimately, discovering the harmony of all elements together. Anything relative to beauty reminds us and inspires us: beauty of life, beauty of energy, beauty of this world, and beauty inside of ourselves." And as for her general perspective on makeup, Min emphasizes owning your look. "I'm wearing the makeup, the makeup is not wearing me," she says. It's a good reminder not to wear anything that makes you uncomfortable; otherwise it will indeed look like the makeup is wearing you and not the other way around.
Obviously the clothing was also used in the MAC campaign ads - here's a slightly better glimpse of it.
Overall, I can't say I'd wear any of Min's clothing, but I appreciate her aesthetic. And I think the MAC palette totally captures it by updating a motif inspired by an ancient Chinese text, along with the color scheme - the shades chosen have certain traditional meanings in Chinese culture, but combining them into one palette, along with how they were used on the runway and campaign, gives them a modern feel.
Thank goodness for Instagram, because without it I might never have known Armani was doing another runway palette this spring! As with the previous runway palettes it features a fabric print taken directly from the latest ready-to-wear collection packaged in a lovely tulle pouch. While last spring's didn't really catch my fancy, I deemed this season's palette (along with fall 2016's) Museum-worthy.
I feel this palette was better equipped than previous ones to help you recreate the runway makeup look, which was simply gorgeous - a pop of bright blue messily smudged along the top lashline paired with peachy-beige cheeks and glossy peach lips. It sounds like it's been done before, but this look was a new iteration of the sexy disheveled eye in that it used bold color rather than the usual black, and there didn't seem to be any eyeshadow at all. While I can't use this palette since it's a collectible, I bet I could swap Pat McGrath's magnificent Ultraviolet Dark Star kit.
I also think the makeup paired really well with the clothes.
As with the previous runway palettes, my hunch is that there are a handful of different fabric swatches that appear on the palettes. The one in the stock photo, for example, shows a slightly different section of the pattern than the one I have.
Now let's play the matching game. I found the exact portion of the fabric in this look.
However, I had to flip it both vertically and horizontally to get it to match the one on the palette case.
I'm enjoying these runway-inspired pieces from Armani. Arguably they're not earth-shattering from a design standpoint in that they're literal reproductions of the patterns on the clothing, and sometimes I wish Armani would return to bedazzled and/or embossed powders for their seasonal releases, but the joy in these lies in the fact that you never know what you're going to get in terms of the exact part of the pattern that appears on the palette. It's like a blind box toy of sorts (I'd dearly love to have blind box makeup!) and it's also a fun little game to go through the runway photos and find the particular fabric swatch you have. Or at least it is to me since I'm a dork that way. :D
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).
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.
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.
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."
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.)
The first tier contains 4 shadows for building a smoky eye.
The second tier consists of face powder imprinted with the same floral pattern as the case. *swoon*
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
My favorite piece from the runway, and I think the one that most resembles the palette, is this beautiful column dress.
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!
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?!
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."
Bella's eyes are actually part of a plastic overlay on top of the blush, but she's still pretty adorable without it.
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.
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.
My favorite, obviously, was the punk-inspired Rebel Chouette...at least, her spiky crown looks to be pretty punk. She's particularly lucky too!
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. :)
The past two runway-basedpalettes 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.
The top tier is a highlighting powder.
Underneath are the eye shadows.
The pattern came straight from the floral print on the runway pieces.
The pattern on my palette can be seen on the left lapel and right sleeve of this jacket.
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!
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.
Once I saw the bird on the tube of the lipstick refills I had to get a couple, which I normally don't do!
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.
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.
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.