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Shu Holiday 2008: the magic of Mika

One of my very favorite things about Shu Uemura is how frequently the company collaborates with outside artists to create truly unique and beautiful packaging.  This holiday season Shu teamed up with photographer Mika Ninagawa, whose photos of flowers and exotic fish adorn the packaging for the limited-edition collection.  What I love most is Ninagawa's exquisite use of color - every photo used for the collection is chock full of bold, sharp color, but it's still delicate rather than garish.  

A very generous donor kindly bestowed all three palettes upon the Museum in honor of the Curator's birthday.  Here's the Adorned Marguerite palette:

Mika marguerite
Gift of GGD


Luscious Rose:

Mika luscious rose
Gift of GGD


And the Winter Sakura palette:

Mika winter sakura
Gift of GGD

So why Mika Ninagawa and why flowers?  Given the company's history of working with Japan's top artists, it wasn't much of a surprise that they'd work with Ninagawa.  According to Vanity Fair, Mr. Uemura, as a longtime fan of her work, approached the photographer in May 2007 about collaborating on the project.  As for the flowers, the artist explains in the video at Shu Uemura's website that her attraction to them is based on a flower's fleeting beauty: "flowers wither...but with photographs I can trap the beauty." (The name "Mika" also means "blooming flowers" in Japanese.)  I was also struck by her thoughts on the collection itself.  To her, it was created for women who "pursue their own vision" and "dress up for their own beauty."  Given the array of colors in the collection - the Luscious Rose palette, for example, contains a couple of basic neutrals but also a dark blue and purple -  women can indeed "pursue their own vision" no matter what that vision is, since the range of colors allows for so many possibilities.
Finally, the last reason I'm so taken with this collection is that unlike the other artists Shu collaborated with, Ninagawa is vocal about her healthy appreciation of cosmetics:  "Wearing makeup is so special I can't imagine life without it." Amen!
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