Feminism

Guy Bourdin and NARS

Um, wow.  I was pretty excited for the latest NARS collaboration with fashion photographer Guy Bourdin...until I actually started looking at his portfolio.  As a feminist I found it troubling, to say the least.  As someone who enjoys art and fashion, I can appreciate how groundbreaking Bourdin was in terms of fashion photography.  And I understand why Francois Nars chose him as inspiration for this collection, as it was Bourdin's work that inspired Nars to become a makeup artist - the way he captured the rich, saturated hues in many of his photos was truly genius. I recognize that the collection isn't meant to glamourize violence against women but rather to celebrate the bold colors in Bourdin's work.

HOWEVER. 

I'd say about half of the Bourdin photos I've seen portray violence against women, and another sizeable portion seem to signify that women are nothing more than blow-up dolls to be used and discarded.  I could even consider overlooking these disturbing images if they were part of a larger body of work that didn't glorify dead/objectified women, but I found nearly all of his photos to be fairly repugnant.  I could also perhaps consider separating the images from Bourdin himself - just because his photos dehumanize women doesn't necessarily mean he is a misogynist.  Unfortunately, that's not the case on that front either.  He was just as anti-woman as you would suspect from his photos.  Maybe it's because I'm from a different generation.  In the '70s these images would have been considered "daring" and "pushing the envelope".  In 2013, using offensive pictures to sell something isn't a novel idea.  The "edginess" of showing a woman stuffed headfirst into a trashcan has long worn off; this image and others like it are solely abhorrent.

In my cursory research on the matter I found that I'm not alone in my dismissal of this collaboration.  These bloggers said it better than I could, so rather than write any more about this I encourage you to read their thoughts on the topic:  Temptalia and InTruBeauty.

What do you think?  Will you be passing on this collection?


Cultural appropriation in cosmetics ads

This recent post by Jonathan Walford, founding curator of the newly opened Fashion History Museum, briefly discusses some fashion collaborations that caused a stir due to their cultural insensitivity.  It also spurred me to write about how the same issues exist in beauty marketing.  (The many other instances of cultural appropriation in fashion and the "We're a culture, not a costume" campaign launched a few Halloweens ago were also caught in my mind.)   Normally I like to avoid anything remotely controversial, but to fully explore cosmetics history sometimes it's necessary to take a look at the industry's dark side.  I'll be using the fashion industry as a guide for this post, since cultural appropriation is conducted similarly in the beauty industry.

First, what is cultural appropriation?  Entire books have been written on the subject, but in the context of fashion or makeup, it's when companies take a culturally important symbol or idea (usually of a non-dominant or marginalized group) and use it for profit rather than true cultural appreciation.  In short, "when designers take cultural styles and put them out of context, market them in a disrespectful manner, or simply act without permission, this is cultural appropriation."  (You can read this excellent primer on the subject for more information).  Cultural appropriation is marked by a failure to acknowledge the significance behind a cultural artifact or the reduction of a group to a harmful stereotype.  It may not be quite as overt as out-and-out racism (like this sadly unforgettable 2012 Illamasqua ad or these Cibu hair products) which makes it hard to recognize at times.

Why is cultural appropriation a problem?  Because it not only erases important cultural meanings and histories, it also directly ties into the larger issue of racism.  As one fashion blogger writes, "I don't think the issue of institutional racism and discrimination can be completely divorced from the question of cultural appropriation.  They feed into one another. One would not exist (at least not in the same way) without the other...reducing an entire culture to a simple 'inspiration' for your outfit, art project, fashion collection, or photoshoot is disrespectful and unhelpful, especially when we look at the bigger picture."  I also think it speaks to the cluelessness and/or indifference of some beauty/fashion industry leaders, which, given that it's 2013, I find ridiculous - that lack of cultural unawareness is inexcusable, and given that they're clearly not doing their research on the culture they're appropriating, extremely lazy. 

Now let's take a look at some examples of cultural appropriation in beauty ads from the past.  I'm going to keep my comments on each one brief, since unfortunately there are a lot.

A 1940 ad for Coty's latest shade Tamale references "dark-hued" skintones - not necessarily in a perjorative sense, but it's problematic since not all "Latin-American" women have the skintone Coty describes. 

Coty Tamale
(image from vintageadbrowser.com)

As for this Harriet Hubbard Ayer ad for "Mexican Rose" lipstick, I dislike that merely slapping a sombrero on the model's head signifies Mexico.

Harriet-hubbard-ayer-1962-mexican-rose
(image from hprints.com)

In 1963 the film Cleopatra starring Elizabeth Taylor debuted.  Prior to the film's release, in 1962 Revlon created an entire Egyptian-themed collection that included Sphinx Pink lipstick and a Sphinx Eyes eye shadow and liner set.

Revlon-sphinx-collection
(image from flickr.com)

And even before that, other companies romanticized ancient Egypt to sell products, including Angel Face (1958) and Harriet Hubbard Ayer (1960).  

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(image from flickr.com)

Harriet-hubbard-ayer-rose d'egypte
(image from hprints.com)

These strike me as problematic due to their fetishisation of women in ancient Egyptian history, the watering-down of a culture to highly glamorized images, and the exoticising of non-Western cultures.  Multiple companies participated in this last tactic as well.  These ads for Revlon Persian Melon (1957), Dorothy Gray Jewel of India (1960), and Elizabeth Arden Sheik lipstick (1963) present a strong othering through the depiction of a variety of Middle Eastern cultures while at the same time using Western-looking models - I suppose to make these faraway places to seem, as one of the ads suggests, "mystic" rather than threatening.

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(image from weheartvintage.co)

Dorothy-Gray-Jewel-of-India
(image from etsy.com)

Elizabeth-arden-1963-sheik-lipstick
(image from hprints.com)

This idea of non-Western cultures as "exotic" curiosities is persists today, although perhaps it's not quite as blatant. Take, for example, this ad for Catrice's summer 2013 collection. The first part of the ad copy reads,  "African appeal: colourful, traditional, exotic."    

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Catrice-Fall-2013-LAfrique-Cest-Chic-Collection-nails
(images from chicprofile.com)

Another feature of cultural appropriation, or at least, insensitivity, is the lumping together of distinct groups without recognizing their unique characteristics.  I'm a bit embarrassed to say I own a lipstick from MAC's 2008 Style Warrior collection and have actually used it in an exhibition.  Not only does the ad copy mention stereotypes ("Amazonian Princess, African Queen, Crouching Tigress"), it combines all the discrete cultures from whence they came.  I frankly don't care that they tried to justify this with the word "cross-cultural".

Mac-style-warrior-promo
(image from kingsrowe.com)

Mac-style-warrior-lipstick
(image from hotbeautyhealth.com)

There's a similar issue with this Art Deco ad for their summer 2013 collection.  The ad copy says that it's inspired by the "amazing colors and warmth of Africa".  One could argue that this isn't really cultural appropriation because the inspiration is so vague and doesn't reference a specific people within the continent, but at the same time that very fact is troubling - does the model accurately represent how all African women dress?  I guess it's not supposed to and simply be evocative of Africa as a whole, but it looks like a costume some marketing director dreamed up.

ArtDeco-Cosmetics-Tribal-Sunset-Summer-2013
(image from makeup4all.com)

The Art Deco ad brings me to my next point.  One of the biggest offenders in cultural appropriation within beauty advertising is the use of exclusively white models to represent a non-white culture, like this ad for indie brand Lime Crime's Chinadoll collection from 2012.

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(image from beautyandbrainsblogger.wordpress.com)

Two beauty bloggers have expressed quite well all the things wrong with this ad, so I won't rehash it here.  I will say that, as the others have pointed out, it basically reinforces some very negative stereotypes.

And sometimes, the company is so lazy it doesn't even point to which culture it's ripping off.  This was my frustration with Pupa's China Doll collection (which, as I revisit it, seems to align with Lime Crime's offenses), and Marcelle's Riviera Maya collection.  Then there's also Essence's "Tribal Summer" collection this year, which confuses Aztec culture with Native Americans. 

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Essence-Summer-2013-Tribal-Summer
(image from chicprofile.com)

The ad copy:  "Tribal dance! The new essence trend edition “tribal summer” ensures a stylish mix of patterns, trendy Aztec prints and cool tribal designs in warm colors like orange, pink, red, purple, lilac, copper and gold to spread the pure feeling of summer. This trend edition offers lots of must-haves for all urban squaws. These include our popular pigments in bright colors, longlasting lipsticks and a bronzing powder with a tribal embossment. The absolute highlight is the tip painter set so you can create THE nail trend of the summer – Aztec nails – on your nails. And there are also cool nail feathers and a feather hair extension for the ultimate tribal look!"  I'm not really sure how you get from tribal to Aztec to "squaws" back to Aztec and finally back to feathers.  

In 2010 there was a collection that was considered so offensive it was pulled even before it could hit the shelves (good job, beauty bloggers!)  The fashion label Rodarte collaborated with MAC for a collection inspired by the city of Juarez, Mexico:  specifically, the bloodshed from the city's drug wars and the innumerable women who have disappeared served as a point of departure for Rodarte's fall 2010 collection, and was the foundation for the MAC collaboration.  The product names included Ghost Town and Factory, while the promo image...well, it speaks for itself.

Rodarte-mac
(image from blog-3-2-1.blogspot.com)

Long story short, after a huge public outcry the collection was not distributed for sale to MAC stores.  (The Awl has a great piece describing the whole debacle.)  I think what bothered me most wasn't that the Mulleavy sisters were ignorant to the situation in Juarez; rather, they had actually visited the town and decided to romanticize the women workers waiting in lines for their factory jobs in the middle of the night.  Essentially, they directly used the suffering of the people of Juarez to sell clothes and makeup.

Now that we've seen some obvious examples of cultural appropriation in beauty ads, let's talk about how one can determine cultural appropriation.  Looking at the Makeup Museum's collection, there are some pieces that walk the very fine line between appreciation and appropriation.  What makes some okay and some not?  As one author points out, "The former is acceptable when designers or companies create completely unique items that are only inspired by cultures, not direct imitations...it’s important for companies to understand the importance of a certain object, pattern, design, or idea to a culture before using it."  More guidelines are offered by Fordham law professor Susan Scafidi:  "Consider the 3 S's: source, significance (or sacredness), and similarity. Has the source community either tacitly or directly invited you to share this particular bit of its culture, and does the community as a whole have a history of harmful exploitation? What's the cultural significance of the item — is it just an everyday object or image, or is it a religious artifact that requires greater respect? And how similar is the appropriated element to the original — a literal knockoff, or just a nod to a color scheme or silhouette?"  These are important things for me to consider moving forward. 

I do think there's a benefit to cosmetics companies borrowing from various cultures or groups - it brings that culture a little closer to those who might not be able to experience it firsthand in a way that's different from other means.  As scholar Johanna Blakeley writes, "Like other art forms, fashion is a powerful conduit for cultural diplomacy, translating the aesthetics of one nation or culture to people in far-away places who wouldn’t necessarily have had the occasion to think about that other world. What’s unique about fashion as an aesthetic object is that it’s something you wear: it provides the opportunity for an extremely intimate connection with a foreign perspective and it gives people the opportunity to literally walk in the shoes of another culture. The fact that fashion design elements can be sampled quite freely makes it even more likely that cross-cultural communication can occur…at the very least, in the form of fashion trends."  I think the same can be said for makeup.

As long as companies put some thought into these types of collections and not be insensitive to the cultures they're celebrating, that they can successfully launch a collection inspired by a particular group.  (One of the best examples of cultural appreciation, rather than appropriation, that immediately came to mind was NARS's 2011 Modern Kabuki collection.)  And while some companies may remain indifferent or unaware of how their next collection may be perceived, others recognize their previous missteps, demonstrating that redemption is possible.

That was long!  If you made it this far, thank you.  And I'd love to hear your thoughts.


That's not what I heard: Beth Ditto for MAC

Beth-ditto.for.mac
(image from maccosmetics.com)

I'm a big Gossip fan, so when I first heard about Beth Ditto collaborating with MAC I could hardly contain my excitment.  However, once the collection arrived I couldn't help but be a little disappointed - there is no special limited edition packaging, and just one product that is only marginally interesting from a design perspective:  the face powder in Powder to the People.

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With flash:

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I didn't really get the whole polka dot thing until I read the "behind the scenes" interview in which Ditto reports that her beauty icons are Grace Jones and Peggy Moffitt.  Perhaps this picture of Moffitt inspired her?

Peggymoffitt-dot
(image from blog.stylesight.com)

While I liked her thoughts on beauty and color ("Makeup offers someone the unique freedom to become someone else for the day, 10 minutes or the rest of their life...I’m passionate about colour. My best friend and I sit and look at Pantone books for fun"), I was still slightly taken aback by the choice of polka dots for the promo image and the powder.  Beth Ditto, to me, is incredibly fierce and untameable and awesome, and I don't think polka dots capture these qualities.  She's such a badass, and then...clownish dots.  There just seems to be a disconnect there.  Then again, I don't know her at all - I only have my own perception of her as a really cool singer, so this might embody her personality better than I think.  Also, the collection doesn't have to represent her, necessarily, just her beauty inspiration.  Still, I maintain that overall this collection is uninteresting design-wise, and it's disappointing given the amazing person MAC worked with - so much more could have been done, I think.

What are your thoughts?  And do you like Gossip and Beth Ditto?  Actually, don't answer that unless your answer is yes.  ;)


It's a mad, mad, mad world for Estée Lauder

So, was everyone excited for the season 5 premiere of Mad Men?  I have to admit that I don't watch the show, but I'm still intrigued by Estée Lauder's two-piece collection.  It includes a cream blush and lipstick, outfitted in pleated gold cases inspired by the company's original 1960s designs.  The outer boxes have a swirly, ultra-feminine floral motif in pale blue and gold.

EL.mad.men(images from esteelauder.com)

I wanted to see whether this collection had any relation design-wise to the company's vintage packaging to so I did a little research.  As these examples show, pleated gold did figure prominently in Estée Lauder compacts from the '60s.

El.vintage.examples(images from juliasbeadedjewelry on etsy.com and artfire.com)

It's okay that the Mad Men collection echoed Estée Lauder's chic '60s packaging, but I would have liked to see an exact replica of a real compact from their archives, rather than a new design that was vaguely inspired by older pieces.  Anyway, while it's lucrative to have product tie-ins to a hit show at any time, it's especially fitting that the company chose this season to introduce the collection.  Recent issues of Lucky, Vogue, and Elle magazines feature the retro trend that rocked the spring 2012 runways.

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Retro.romance

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Elle did an especially long feature with this style (thanks to my H. for scanning all these!)

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The gingham in this picture reminds me of MAC's Shop/Cook collection.

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So Estée is right on trend. 

The thing that's sticking in the back of my head, though, is this article at The Gloss.  Writes Jamie Peck, "[T]his leaves me a bit ambivalent. On the one hand, I love the cat’s eyes, curvy figures, and red lips of 1960s style. On the other, I’m wary of mindless nostalgia for an era that was actually pretty terrible for women in a lot of ways, ways Mad Men examines with unflinching honesty. Much like the men who see Don Draper and go out and buy a Brooks Brothers suit in an effort to be like him (i.e, tortured and constantly lying?), I worry some women might be taking the utterly wrong message from the show if thinking about Mad Men gets them in a happy, makeup-buying mood and not a gutted, 'this shit’s not fair, why won’t they let Joan fulfill her intellectual potential?' mood.  Then again, it’s totally possible to appreciate an era’s aesthetic beauty while acknowledging that said beauty is tied to some very problematic history. I just wish that sentiment had been present anywhere in the press release."  Like Peck, I do think it's possible to enjoy the '60s look (and packaging design, of course) while remembering that that time period wasn't exactly enlightened in terms of how women were perceived.  I mean, that's kind of my point in getting  into collecting vintage compacts - while the objects are beautiful in and of themselves, they act as an historical reminder that women didn't always have the rights they have now.  

But I think the thing that really prevented me from buying the collection, however, was that these were vintage-inspired from actual Estée Lauder designs.  Don't get me wrong, I love retro-looking packaging.   As I noted earlier, however, I think the company could have dug through their archives a little more thoroughly - they could have taken an amazing design from the '60s and recreated it.  

What do you think?  And do you watch Mad Men?  Am I missing out?


Friday fun: The Balm Girls lipsticks

I was perusing The Balm's website for a post on some of their newer creations (Meet Matte, Nude 'Tude palettes) and I stumbled across these.  I'm not sure why they're not up at Sephora but they should be.  Not only are they cute representations of film's famous Bond girls, they have funny names.

Anita ima

Foxxy amanda

Mia mai
(images from perfumania.com)

I don't think they're meant to be exact reproductions of Bond girls (except for Ima Goodkisser, whose white bikini getup is identical to that of Ursula Andress in Dr. No) but they spot-on  '60s Bond girls. 

I'm not going to go into a lengthy essay on the feminist (or unfeminist) implications of packaging like this, but I do want to mention the topic.  Some scholars have made the argument that Bond girls are feminist icons (see the book Shaken and Stirred:  The Feminism of James Bond), or at least, not the symbols of patriarchy they appear to be on the surface.  However, these particular illustrations seem to make the girls  eye candy and nothing more.  Notice that the men, although relegated to the background, are leering at the girls, their gaze ever present.  Plus there's the issue of putting these women - who arguably have been seen over the years as mere accessories - on an accessory itself.

All my feminist leanings aside, I'd still argue that these are harmless and fun.  These retro items always makes me wonder who did the illustrations!


Quick post: The Help, Stila girl style

Late to the party, as usual, but I thought I'd do a quick post on this anyway.  I'm not really sure how I feel about the fact that Stila released this palette.  Yes, they've done movie tie-ins before (Legally Blonde, Just My Luck, Vanity Fair) but after reading Jill's piece at Feministe on the movie, I don't think Stila should have jumped on the marketing bandwagon with this.  In addition to the Stila website, the palette appeared on HSN website as part of a bunch of The Help product tie-ins.

First, some pics:

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With flash:

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Quote - they really should have used something from the book or movie...does anyone know if this appeared in either?

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Anyway, to get back to the feminist angle on this, Jill says, "I’m not sure what to do with the fact that the Home Shopping Network is featuring a collection inspired by The Help...sure, the American south is very beautiful and there’s no reason to demonize every aspect of it, but the marketing of products inspired by the movie (and events on plantations) works not just because those things are aesthetically pleasing but because there’s a romantic attachment to the Antebellum South. And, well, you can’t divorce that white person nostalgia from slavery and segregation.  So marketing KitchenAid mixers and gumball-sized faux-pearl necklaces as being 'inspired' by a movie about segregation and racialized domestic work strikes me as… clueless, to be generous."  I think this is a really good point and now I feel a bit bad about buying this palette.  Especially since, once again, it's uninspired.  Sigh.


Friday fun (?): Child's play

Some recent collections have gotten me wondering about why makeup companies have been doing packaging that would appeal more to little girls than to women (or even teenagers.)   It started with Too-Faced's 2010 holiday collection called Enchanted Wonderland, which included 2 pop-up palettes featuring the girlie trifecta of fairies, flowers and tons of pink. 

Too_faced holiday 2010
(images from talkingmakeup.com and beautifulwithbrains.com)

I have nothing against pop-up palettes - I love Urban Decay's Alice in Wonderland and NYC palettes - but it seems that Too-Faced took it just a step too far by making theirs fairy-themed, or at least, didn't execute it in such a way to make it seem sophisticated the way Urban Decay did.  The palettes look more like something that my 2 year-old niece would be drawn to rather than an adult.

After this collection, I started noticing a spate of odd, "little girl"-type cosmetics.  I've already discussed the packaging for Tarina Tarantino and MAC Wonder Woman, but Sephora has introduced the Hello Kitty line, along with a set of flower-shaped brushes. 

Child'splay
(images from sephora.com and nordstrom.com)

Finally, the new ad campaigns for Illmasqua's Toxic Nature and MAC's Quite Cute collection feature women whose clothing and accessories definitely have little-girl elements to them (butterflies, pigtails and exaggerated tutus for Illmasqua, stuffed animals and bubbles for MAC):

Blonde Wasps_face

Green wig_full body

Not only does MAC present a sort of overgrown tween in the image, it revels in the theme.  According to the ad copy, Quite Cute is "a style ride that combines postage-stamp-sized puppies with pixie swizzle-stick fashion and butterfly kisses for cute boys and even cuter shoes!"  I have a vicious sweet tooth but that's too saccharine even for me!

Media_quitecute001
(images from illmasqua.com and temptalia.com)

Now, I have defended more kiddie-esque makeup and collaborations, such as various Disney, Barbie and Alice in Wonderland collections.  And I love stuffed animals - the entire Museum staff is composed of plushies!  It's okay for grown-ups to take comfort in and enjoy the delights of childhood on occasion.  But I feel as though the line between sweetly childlike and just plain immature needs to be drawn somewhere.   With this kind of packaging and advertising, are companies encouraging the infantilization of women?  Or possibly the sexualization of little girls?  (Tutus aside in the Illmasqua ads, some of the models are wearing fishnets and heels.)  I don't think anyone can say for sure.  I do know that I am slightly confused as to what makes certain ads and packaging that are centered around kid-friendly themes feel more acceptable than others.  Good:  MAC's Hello Kitty line.  Bad:  The regular Hello Kitty line.   Maybe it's simply a matter of personal taste.

What do you think?  Are these designs playfully whimsical or painfully juvenile?  And if the latter, do you think it encourages a societal view of women as children or is it totally harmless?


Friday fun: small wonder

I have to say that I was initially excited about MAC doing a Wonder Woman collection...until I saw the packaging.  It was just, well, sad. 

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(image from nordstrom.com)

I guess I was hoping for something more interesting and not so juvenile and cheap-looking - something that better represented Wonder Woman's character.  Says the copy for the collection:  "Our Artists work wonders every day – now with the help of one of entertainment history’s most exciting feminist figures…Wonder Woman is the original incarnation of what makes women forever wonderful!...In that same spirit of fantasy and wonder, M∙A∙C creates a vivid collection of accessories that are sure to bring you a sense of feminine infallibility, totally peerless power – you ARE Wonder Woman if you want to be."  Additionally, there has been the argument, and I agree with it, that Wonder Woman can be considered a feminist icon.  That larger debate is outside the scope of this post, but suffice it to say that the packaging seems to be appealing to children than adults, and doesn't necessarily reflect the more grown-up themes of Wonder Woman's strength and power.  MAC could have easily chosen better images and kept basic black packaging (similar to their Hello Kitty collection).

But the outer boxes for the items, along with the tote bag and t-shirt, which I bought for the Museum, were more intriguing.  I liked that they brought an actual comic book element into these:

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And I think the fold-out I got was the best piece in the whole collection, even though it's not technically part of it and was sent to me with the t-shirt for free!

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Now, one simply cannot have a conversation about comic books and their heroes (or in this case, their heroines) without considering the work of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.  At least, I can't.  Lichtenstein painted almost identical large-scale copies of sections of comic books.
Sweet_Dreams_Baby popartpal
(Sweet Dreams Baby!, image from popartpal.com)

Whaam!, from 1963, is actually based on an original 1962 DC comic called "All American Men at War":

Whaam
(image from artchive.com)

I really enjoyed how MAC exaggerated the the Ben-Day dots in the fold-out much like Lichtenstein did in his work. 

Thinking of Him, 1963:

Thinking of him globalgallery
(image from globalgallery.com)

Girl with Hair Ribbon, 1965:

Roy-Lichtenstein-Girl-with-Hair-Ribbon-large-1193436336
(image from reproduction-gallery.com)

So, to summarize, there are many layers of meaning about this collection if you want it to be - it intersects makeup, comic books, feminism and pop art.  Works on so many levels!


Hot topic: Yayoi Kusama for Lancôme

I'm pretty bummed Lancôme isn't getting in these fabulously cute Juicy Tubes that were designed by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama in honor of the famous lip gloss' 10th anniversary - why, Lancôme, why??  There's just as big a market in the U.S. for these as other regions!  Grrr.

Yayoi kusama
(photo from glossy-kiss.blogspot.com)
 

Kusama is famous for her works featuring a dot motif, which is included in the Juicy Tubes design.  Here it is on a larger scale in an installation from October 2008:

Yayoi-kusama 001
(photo from contemporaryartlinks.blogspot.com)

Here's something else tremendously interesting about this artist, at least to me!  When I first saw the collection online her name didn't ring a bell.  But when I called Lancôme to find out if it would be coming to the States and said her name aloud, something caught in my memory.  After I hung up I said it a few more times to myself like a dork and realized that, ta-da, she is mentioned in a song by my one of my very favorite bands!  How cool is that?  If you listen carefully at the 3:10 mark you'll hear it.  :)


Friday Fun: Too-Faced Quickie Chronicles

Long overdue, but today I'm looking at the Quickie Chronicle palettes by Too-Faced.  According to Sephora, company founder Jerrod Blandino was inspired by a documentary on 1950's "pin-up" magazines.  Each of these limited-edition palettes (only 7,000 of each are made), has a different story written by Blandino on the back to express the personality of the woman on the front, and by extension, the makeup look the palette colors will provide.  But every palette has the same text at the top:  "She had always been a good girl. She played by the rules, never kissed on the first date, and agreed Daddy always new best. But then the innocent girl picked up the Quickie Chronicles, and honey, she was never the same."

Almost of the images are from PC Designs, while some, like the Miss Sixty palette (which was done in conjunction with the women's fashion line), seem to be original artwork.   To the best of my knowledge I am missing only one of these - the "Rent" palette, which does not feature a pin-up girl but images of the actors in the play/movie Rent.  Seeing as how I'm not into musicals I never bothered to buy it, but maybe I should to make the collection complete.

TF quickies small

The feminist in me doesn't think a series of 50's-style pin-up girls is the best representation of women, and the copy for some centers on women using their looks to snag a man and his money.  For example, take this text from the Bathing Beauty palette:

"The Bathing Beauty knew she needed a man to bankroll her leisurely, luxurious lifestyle, but she couldn't decide what sort. He, of course, had to be willing to buy her diamonds for absolutely no reason at all, and she positively had to have beach houses in Malibu, Maui, St. Barths, The Rivera, and Monaco so she could work on her beautifully bronzed glow year round - and this kit was always at her side to help her lure in the bait."

Yikes.  That aside, I do think the creator meant all of the copy to be tongue-in-cheek and not serious, and I love that he actually writes for each one to make them unique and represent the feel of each palette.  As a consumer I think it's great to be able to pick up one of these and know that the makeup inside directly relates to the image on the outside.  Looks like you can judge a book by its cover!