Couture/Fashion

Quick post: freeing the beast with Burberry

Apologies in advance for this short and rather sloppy post on Burberry's latest palette...the Curator is both generally exhausted and busy as a little bee working on more exciting things like the fall exhibition and some truly amazing holiday collections.  This is not to say that Burberry's fall blush is subpar; as a matter of fact, I think it may be the most intricate one they've released to date.  The detail on the leaves is beautiful, but I think my favorite part is that they're raised slightly above the background - it really allows the interplay of matte and shimmer textures to shine.

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

Burberry fall 2017 blush palette

As with previous seasonal palettes, the print is a reproduction of one that appeared on some of the pieces from the fall 2017 fashion collection.  In particular, the fall palette borrows one of Burberry's "beasts" prints, which were inspired by the fanciful mythical creatures lining the pages of medieval English manuscripts.  This particular print surfaced on much of Burberry's line: womenswear, menswear, accessories and kids' clothes.  (There was another beast print that was used on this lovely beauty box but I skipped it as I didn't think it was that special, plus I need to budget for many holiday items!)

Burberry fall 2017

Burberry fall 2017

Burberry fall 2017

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

For the life of me though, I couldn't find an exact match for the pattern on the palette, so I think it may have been modified slightly to fit better.  More specifically, I'm noticing two key differences on the right side of the palette.  It looks like the beast's profile has been erased and replaced with some leaves, and another four-petaled flower has been added in place of his paws/hooves.

Burberry fall 2017 beast print and palette comparison

I also went slightly insane trying to distort the print in Photoshop so that it matched the exact angle of the palette's print.  In the end I couldn't figure it out and gave up before I threw my computer out the window.  I can rotate images just fine but couldn't seem to do any fancy stuff (distort, warp, skew, perspective, etc.)

Burberry fall 2017 beast print and palette comparison

It would have been great if Burberry had kept the print exactly as it was - wouldn't you have liked to see a little medieval beast peeking out from your blush?  I also would have appreciated it if they would have been a little more specific in their references so I could have found the original images.  For example, even though the spring 2017 blush's design wasn't my favorite, I was overjoyed when I found the exact wallpaper print they used, and all they needed to divulge was that the wallpaper was at the V & A.  This time it would have been useful to know the specific medieval manuscripts they were looking at so I could have done some digging.  (I did do a cursory search for medieval manuscript illustrations but didn't see anything strikingly similar).

Anyway, despite these slight missteps this was one of Burberry's prettiest offerings and certainly Museum-worthy.  What do you think?  Oh, and if you crave a daily dose of medieval manuscript illustrations chock full of mythical creatures and other assorted weirdness found in the margins of these tomes, this is the Tumblr for you. ;)


Wrapped up in books: Olympia Le-Tan for Lancome, revisited

Lancôme has teamed up with a number of fashion designers in the past and this fall they're giving one of their previous partners another collaboration.  You might remember French designer Olympia Le-Tan's beautiful, but largely unaffordable, lipstick book set from 2013.  Perhaps Lancôme realized that the $1,500 price tag wasn't attainable for most and decided to grant us peons a chance to get our impoverished mitts on another Lancôme collection designed by Le-Tan.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad Lancôme revisited Le-Tan as a collaborator and offered a more affordable collection that still represents Le-Tan's signature quirky, literature-inspired style.  

If you're not familiar with Le-Tan, in a nutshell she is a London-born and Paris-bred designer - and daughter of renowned illustrator Pierre Le-Tan - who came up with the genius idea to recreate vintage book covers in clutch form.  While this may not initially sound like a novel idea, what makes these minaudieres so special is their rendering in embroidery.  Surrounded by her father's classic book collection and having learned embroidery during her teenage years from her grandmother, Le-Tan combined these inspirations to make one-of-a-kind pieces.  Rather than bland reproductions of random book covers slapped on a bag, these are pain-staking, handmade creations that reflect Le-Tan's personal relationships with books and art.  In other words, I get the sense they're not chosen at random, but are carefully selected based on the meaning they hold for the designer.   The embroidery itself is notable for the fresh, modern treatment provided by Le-Tan.  Not to sound ageist, but when I think of embroidery I typically associate it with old lady frumpiness.  Le-Tan thoroughly updates the embroidery craft to give it a more youthful and fashionable spin.  The Curator hopes someday to own one of these clutches for herself, but in lieu of that, right now I can have these beauties from Lancôme.  Before we dive into the collection, let's take a quick peek at what Le-Tan's been up to since last time.

Her latest collection for fall 2017 is an ode to Hitchcock.

Olympia Le-Tan, fall 2017

Some other highlights include a take on crazy 60s psychedelia design for spring 2017, a return to classic book covers for pre-fall 2016, the elementary school-inspired spring 2015 collection, and a delightful maritime theme for spring 2014.  I know of some sailors who would love it. ;)

Olympia Le-Tan, spring 2017

Olympia Le-Tan, fall 2017

Olympia Le-Tan, pre-fall 2016

I'm in love with this beaded upgrade to the squiggly pattern of traditional composition books.  Something that I normally saw as fairly ugly and mundane is elevated to a beautiful objet d'art.

Olympia Le-Tan, spring 2015

Olympia Le-Tan, spring 2015

Olympia Le-Tan, spring 2015

Olympia Le-Tan, spring 2014

My favorite since we last looked at Le-Tan's work though is the "Framed" collection from fall 2016, which consists of art history classics translated into gorgeous embroidered bags.  Yes please!

Olympia Le-Tan, fall 2016

Olympia Le-Tan, fall 2016(images from olympialetan.com)

Now that you've seen some of Le-Tan's newer work, let's get to the Lancôme yumminess.  The collection consisted of nail polishes, the brand's relatively new Matte Shaker liquid lipsticks, a palette, cushion compact and several of the classic L'Absolu Rouge lipsticks in the shape of...wait for it...a pair of lips!  So meta.  And so cute! 

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

I love that the palette came in its own dust jacket, just like a fancy first edition of a beloved book.

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

The embroidery is pretty spectacular.  I know it's obviously not hand-made like the actual bags, but it's very nicely stitched.  I'm not sure whether my photo conveys that it looks much more expensive than it is.  Le-Tan notes she's proud of "how beautifully the make-up palette is made," adding, "I didn't think we’d manage to create such a pretty piece made of embroidered fabric...in all the collaborations I’ve done so far, this is the first time we’ve managed to produce an embroidery. It really does look just like one of my minaudières."

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

As she did with the previous Lancôme collection, Le-Tan dove into the company's archives (so wish I could!) to get inspiration for the various motifs on the packaging.  While the floating lips are consistent with the former collection, this time around Le-Tan was also quite smitten with the brand's cherubs, which represent the makeup branch of Lancôme.  She explains: "There are always interesting things in the archives of any Maison. And since the Lancôme brand has such a long history, I couldn’t resist delving into it. The idea behind my brand is – among other things – to reinterpret the design styles of the past and add my own personal touch. I like to build on something rather than start from nothing. That gives me more layers of storytelling to work with. In this case, there was this little cherub that I wanted to reinterpret – by making it more feminine, for a start."  From there she designed, appropriately enough, a bookish, girly angel blissfully lost in a tome about Lancôme.   The scrolls are a great touch, since they also figured prominently in Lancôme's early advertising.  I've included some examples below for your viewing pleasure...or, I guess, mostly for me since you know I can't get enough vintage makeup ads. :)  Meanwhile, the rose is a nod to Lancôme's official symbol for their perfumes.

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme 

Lancôme ad, 1945

Lancôme ad, 1948

Lancôme ad, 1947

Lancôme ad, 1947
(image from hprints.com)

As for the colors in the palette, the selection came easily to Le-Tan: "Usually when I choose a theme, I straightaway start thinking about what colours would fit with that and it doesn’t take me long to put together a palette. In fact when I worked with Gilles Dufour, I was the one in charge of colours. I have zillions of coloured sheets of felt in my office. I cut bits off the all the ones that make me think of the theme. Then I put them together, I see which combinations work and which don’t... For this collection I did the same thing, I brought together bits of felt in colours I liked and wanted to see translated into make-up."  

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

So let's take a look at the lipsticks.  I picked up Rouge Profund 1988, but in hindsight should have also gotten the other shade that was available in the U.S., Olympia 1980.  The others were Rouge de Rose 1955 and Anemone 1959, which didn't seem to make it statesideApparently they were all updated and named after the original shades, but the Olympia one still has me scratching my head.  I had assumed the years following the names were the years they were released, but Le-Tan says that Olympia 1980 was named after the original Olympia shade that debuted in 1949, so I'm not sure where the 1980 part of the name fits.  In any case, all of them are shades of red, which makes sense given the designer's love of red lipstick (which was also apparent in the previous collection). 

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

The lip shape is fairly surreal and once again echoes the surreal touch Le-Tan brought to the 2013 Lancôme design.

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme

Finally, there was a cushion compact, which also wasn't available in the States.  Fortunately it's mostly the same design as the palette, so I don't feel the need to track it down. 

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme(image from lancome.ca)

Here's the original sketch...Le-Tan clearly inherited her father's talent.

Olympia Le-Tan for Lancôme - sketch
(image from instagram.com)

All in all, I think this is a great collection that perfectly combines Le-Tan's unique, whimsical style with Lancôme's vision.   Her slightly offbeat take on certain motifs used throughout the brand's history is truly original and refreshing.  Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed Lancôme's many variations on rose-embossed powders, but this is something totally new and different from those.  So this collection gets an A from me.

What do you think?  


Da Bears: Moschino for Sephora

It was quite the quest to get this collection into my grabby paws, but with the help of my phone's alarm and my lovely mother-in-law, I was able to nab this highly coveted collaboration between Moschino and Sephora. 

Moschino x Sephora

As soon as I laid eyes on it in July I knew I had to have it for the Museum, especially considering that one of the Museum's interns is a sweet little cubby who would be very happy to see it.

Moschino x Sephora

Moschino x Sephora

I don't think I'm getting these back from him.

Moschino x Sephora

Moschino x Sephora lip gloss set

Not only did my MIL go out of her way to get to Sephora (and early - she got there at 9:10 and there were already 2 people waiting!), she picked up the shopping bag palette for me in addition to the eye shadow palette.  And also refused to accept reimbursement for either item.  I'm a very lucky girl, yes?

Moschino x Sephora shopping bag palette

Moschino x Sephora shopping bag palette

And here we are!  The star of the collection, the most coveted and hard to get.  My MIL reported that the store only got 6 in stock.  The two women ahead of her got theirs (1 each, thankfully), my MIL got one for me, and then she said the guy behind her bought the last 3, the jerk.

Moschino x Sephora eye shadow palette

Moschino x Sephora eye shadow palette

Babo Bear insisted on doing a little more modeling.

Moschino x Sephora eye mask

Let's explore a little bit of the fashion behind the teddy bear and shopping bag motifs.  Franco Moschino (1950-1994) began his irreverent line in 1983, poking fun at the world of couture despite (or perhaps because of?) being totally immersed in it.  I'm ill-equipped to fully explain his style since I am not a fashion historian, but I found some good articles here, here and here if you're so inclined.  I was flabbergasted to learn that both the bears and bags seen on the runways the past few seasons were inspired by Moschino's original designs - I had mistakenly believed that both were new concepts dreamed up by the ever-wacky Jeremy Scott, Moschino's current creative director.  Little did I know that Moschino had a sense of humor about high fashion long before it was, well, fashionable.  Scott is doing an excellent job of carrying that torch by putting his own spin on Moschino's original aesthetic and adding some new motifs (I adore this "capsule" collection, controversial though it was), but the teddy bears and shopping bags are not actually his brainchild.  This was the famous dress and hat from Moschino's 1988 fall collection that put the bear motif on the fashion map.

Moschino teddy bear dress, 1988

Moschino teddy bear dress, 1988
(images from pinterest and betrendymyfriend.com)

The shopping bag dress had debuted a year prior.

Moschino 1987(image from pinterest)

Under Rossella Jardini, Moschino's director from the designer's untimely death in 1994 until 2013, both of these iconic pieces were resurrected for the house's 30th anniversary.

Moschino spring 2014(images from vogue.com)

Scott took over in October 2013, and wasted no time building on the teddy bear empire by releasing the Toy fragrance roughly a year after his appointment.  This was not unexpected, seeing as how before his post at Moschino, Scott had designed these teddy bear sneakers for Adidas in 2011.

Jeremy Scott Adidas sneakers
(image from sneakernews.com) 

I love the Surrealist-esque "This is not a Moschino toy" on the bear's shirt, since it's one of my favorite art movements, but also because Franco Moschino was also inspired by both Surrealism and Dada so it fits perfectly with his original vision.  I'm less crazy about the fact that you have to remove the bear's head to apply the perfume, however.  (See last year's Halloween post for similar creepy items). 

Moschino Toy perfume(images from vogue.co.uk)

Scott also continuously works in new iterations of teddy bear fashion.  I'm truly impressed by how he's able to reinvent one of Moschino's stand-out pieces while remaining true to the original designer's vision as well as his own - the iconography is similar but has been modernized to reflect contemporary culture, taking on a slightly different meaning now.  This article explains it better than I can:  "For Scott, the teddy bear motif has been a career theme of symbolic materialistic significance similar to how Jean Charles de Castelbajac famously used it, but in the context of the American designer's new era at Moschino, the teddy bear's connotations are something else.  When fangirl mania was at its height circa early-mid 90s and teen idols like Take That were climbing a never-ending fame ladder, their hordes of fans would bring teddy bears to concerts and outside hotels, throwing them at the bad as tokens of their support. With the teddy bear as their mascot, this generation of ultimate fangirls displayed the innocent, childlike obsession that lies at the root of fandom in pop culture, and portrayed the spirit of materialism and unapologetic commercial opportunism it generates. Franco Moschino created his house in a time when the foundation of this kind of excessive 90s fandom was being built - courtesy mainly of Michael Jackson and Madonna - and while his work dealt more with the consumerism of the time, brand idolisation was a huge part of Moschino's genetics."

Moschino fall 2015

Moschino fall 2016

Moschino spring 2017

Ditto for the shopping bag, incidentally.

Moschino resort 2016(images from vogue.com)

Getting back to the Sephora collection, obviously the packaging is a natural extension of the Toy fragrance.  I think Franco Moschino would be pleased not only by Scott's fashion but by the Sephora collection as well.  The packaging is slightly absurd and therefore lends a tiny bit of Dada flavor (especially so with the brush set), and I personally think the shiny gold finish is poking gentle fun at our cultural obsession with status symbols and "bling".   And since the collection was in collaboration with a higher-end makeup store, there's the trademark Moschino mix of humor and quality.  As for Scott, I think he had fun with the collection as well, noting that he "loves the power of makeup and the way it can transform your mood."  He also points out that a makeup line from a couture house allows accessibility for those who can't afford the fashion, which I'm always in favor of.   "I learned very early on how much young people love my work, and sometimes they don’t have the means to get it. This is another way for me to do Moschino and not sacrifice quality. It’s a lot more accessible. I love to be able to put my arms around more people and have them be a part of the Moschino family in some capacity."  However, the irony of this was how difficult the collection was to procure, and many people didn't get theirs.  It's a long story and I don't want to tell it, but I will say that the collection's release and sale was an example of how NOT to sell a highly anticipated collection with so little stock.  I think Sephora really screwed the pooch and I feel bad for those who couldn't get their hands on it, especially when you have unscrupulous ebayers selling the goods for over twice retail.  How's that for affordable?  I wish Sephora would do what MAC did when Selena sold out immediately:  make more for another run, and also release it worldwide (as far as I know the Moschino collection was only available in the U.S. and Canada).  It would be silly not to from a profit perspective - obviously lots of folks really wanted this collection so Sephora could stand to make even more money if they re-released it.

What do you think of the Sephora collection and Moschino?  After reading more about the history of Moschino and Scott's current creations I'm pretty enamored of the line and wouldn't mind owning a few pieces. It's kitschy, offbeat, clever but also well-made.


A baby's breath bouquet from Givenchy

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.

Givenchy summer 2017 bronzer

Behold!  An explosion of beautifully embossed blooms spreads over the entire surface of the bronzer.

Givenchy summer 2017 Gypsophila bronzer

Givenchy summer 2017 Gypsophila 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.

Givenchy summer 2017 Gypsophila lipstick

Givenchy summer 2017 Gypsophila lipstick

Givenchy summer 2017 Gypsophila lipstick

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.

Givenchy spring/summer 2015

Givenchy spring/summer 2015

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.

Givenchy spring/summer 2015

Givenchy spring/summer 2015(images from vogue.com)

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. 

Thoughts?


You're invited to Gucci's ladybug picnic

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. 

Gucci ladybug blush

Gucci ladybug blush

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?

Gucci ladybug bags

Gucci ladybug leather coin purse

Gucci ladybug shoes

Gucci ladybug brooch and keychain

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.

Gucci kids clothing

Gucci kids shoes
(images from gucci, saks, bloomingdales and net-a-porter)

Still, I was puzzled about the ladybug motif.  I did find them lurking in the spring and pre-fall 2016 collections, among many other creatures and insects. 

Gucci spring 2016

Gucci pre fall 2016

Gucci pre fall 2016

Gucci pre fall 2016(images from vogue.com)

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.

Gucci Garden collection

Gucci Garden collection

Gucci Garden collection

Gucci Garden collection(images from gucci.com)

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.)

Gucci-Garden- snippet

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.

Thoughts?


Ms. Min for MAC

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.

Min Liu for MAC palette

Min Liu for MAC palette

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." 

Min Liu for MAC palette

Min Liu for MAC palette

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.)

Classic of Mountains and Seas illustration, 1597(image from commons.wikimedia.org)

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.) 

MAC Min Liu display

Mac-min-liu-show-dance

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.

MAC Min Liu show

MAC Min Liu fashion collection
(images from mt.sohu.com)

Obviously the clothing was also used in the MAC campaign ads - here's a slightly better glimpse of it. 

MAC Min Liu ad

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. 

What do you think?


Armani's runway palettes: high-end makeup blind boxes?

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. 

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 palette

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.

Armani spring 2017 palette

Armani spring 2017 makeup

Armani spring 2017

Armani spring 2017 makeup

I also think the makeup paired really well with the clothes.

Armani spring 2017 ready to wear

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.

Armani spring 2017 palette

Now let's play the matching game.  I found the exact portion of the fabric in this look.

Armani spring 2017 ready to wear
(images from vogue.com and giorgioarmanibeauty-usa.com)

However, I had to flip it both vertically and horizontally to get it to match the one on the palette case.

Armani pattern spring 2017

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

What do you think?

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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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