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March 2009

Prescriptives in full bloom

While I sort of think roses are a tired motif (see Lancôme, Chantecaille and Valerie Beverly Hills), I was pleasantly surprised to see this palette from Prescriptives.  I believe this is the first time the company has come out with an embossed palette.  Below is the cool blush (it also comes in warm, which has peach shades):

Px 2009

While I don't think the design is anything outstanding, I thought it would be nice to have Prescriptives' first venture into pretty packaging on hand.  Plus they had a friends and family 30% off sale online and that sealed the deal for me!

Couture Monday: Armani's spring palette

A315_L The creators behind the big couture houses' spring palettes seem to be suffering from the winter blahs.  Armani's Pink Light palette for the spring 2009 collection is nothing more than Armani's signature slapped on top of a plain black compact.  While all of the colors in the collection are great for spring (lots of luminescent, fresh pinks living up to the Pink Light title) the packaging for the palette could have been a bit more creative.  I guess they wanted something very simple to go with the basic colors in the palette.  "This limited-edition palette is embossed with Mr. Armani's signature, a distinct design for a classic spring palette."  I don't know about distinct, but I guess the colors could be described as classic for spring.  In any case, I'm excited about the upcoming Bronze Mania collection, which features a very interesting, desert-like patterned palette. 

News brief: innovations in cosmetic packaging decorations

According to this article by Cosmetic Design Europe, a company called RPC Beauté has created two new ways to decorate cosmetic packages:  HotFix and EcoCoat.  Hotfix is an automated process for setting gemstones into plastic.  Up to now, placing stones into plastic had to be done by hand, rather than mass-produced, which upped the price of the finished item.  RPC Beauté general manager Gerald Martines noted that with HotFix, "capacity can match typical production outputs for million-unit ‘blockbuster’ launches as well as limited series...by ensuring a uniformity of cost in affixing stones to the pack, the biggest decision facing brands is how much to spend on the stones themselves.”  Does this mean we can get emerald-studded compacts and ruby-encrusted lipsticks for mere pennies?   Probably not, but I thought this was a pretty interesting development.

The other innovation is Eco-Coat, a new environmentally-friendly alternative to varnishing on plastic but one that looks just as nice.  Eco-Coat does not emit the greenhouse gases the way regular varnish does, and the fact that it is thinner than varnish coats means "logistics and handling are significantly simplified and reduced."   What's more, it can come in a variety of finishes, including metallic.  Shiny AND eco-friendly?!  I'll be waiting to see which company employs this new technique first - will it be the usual suspects (Cargo or Urban Decay) or a cosmetics giant like L'Oreal?  Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

MAC and Hello Kitty, part 2: Kitty Kouture

After the frenzy of the initial Hello Kitty release died down a bit, MAC released two new items  as an extension of the Hello Kitty line:  Dazzleglass lipglosses with a dangling Hello Kitty Swarovski-crystal studded charm, and a compact also patterned in Swarovski crystals. 

Hk kouture
(photos from maccosmetics.com)

For $90 I'm inclined to buy a plain MAC compact and glue on the crystals myself!  I did find it interesting that in addition to the regular Hello Kitty line MAC felt the need to release these items.  "The ultra-luxe way to be pampered and playful! Announcing our limited-edition, glittering Swarovski crystal compacts, the collection privé of Kitty Kouture world. The ultimate in exclusivity, a sophisticated client's social status is all but assured!" says the website.  It seems MAC wanted to introduce a bit of high-end luxury a la Armani into the packaging, knowing that Hello Kitty collectors and a few MAC addicts would buy these items without batting an eye at the price.   MAC is considered "mid-end" rather than a luxury brand like Chantecaille or Serge Lutens (hello, $75 lipsticks!) so I think Hello Kitty was a good way for them to introduce a more high-end appeal into their line.  

The Cat's Meow: Hello Kitty for MAC

For MAC's big (and by big I mean that the collection was both hugely popular and also had a ton of items) spring collection this year they partnered with Sanrio to create a Helly Kitty line of cosmetics.  Hello Kitty is normally white, but I'm guessing that due to MAC's signature black packaging and the fact that they were trying to make this somewhat sleek and sophisticated (about as sleek and sophisticated as Hello Kitty can be), they changed her coloring to black.  All told, the collection contained 33 beauty items and 9 non-makeup accessories, bringing us to a grand total of 42 items.  Alas, the Museum's budget could not accommodate all of these so I got what I thought were the most important. 

Lucky Tom palette:
Lucky tom palette

Some lip products: Fashion Mews lipstick and Nice Kitty lip gloss.  I loved the Hello Kitty imprint on the lipstick!

HK lip products

Brush holder with mini brushes - no, I don't want to take them out of their packaging!
Brush holder

Plush doll:

Here are some of the other accessories that I wasn't able to get my hands on - key chain, tote bag, bracelet and makeup bag:
(photos from maccosmetics.com)

For this collection MAC also created a 4-minute video ad.  After watching it I'm still not sure the collection totally comes together for me - perhaps it's a commentary on the many moods of Hello Kitty?  After all, the makeup for the collection was sold in two parts on the website - one listed as Hello Kitty Mild (the sweet, innocent Hello Kitty we're most familiar with)  and one as Hello Kitty Wild (the mischievous, slightly naughty side of the famous icon.)   In any case, it was only a matter of time before Hello Kitty put her stamp (paw?) on the adult cosmetic world. 

Hello Kitty seems less out of place than other MAC collaborations that have been done in the past such as Disney Tint Toons and Barbie.  While MAC took companies that primarily marketed to children and worked with them to create an adult makeup line, Hello Kitty is already heavily marketed to adults in some fashion or another.  There are credit cards emblazoned with the Hello Kitty logo as well as a $600 leather shoulder bag - items clearly not meant for children.   While some adult women certainly collect Disney memorabilia and Barbie dolls, these companies focus more on the kid market.   So having Hello Kitty team up with an adult cosmetic line like MAC isn't too far out of left field.

Overall I'm pleased with the collection.  I like that they modified Hello Kitty to reflect the spirit of MAC, both in packaging and in concept.  MAC cosmetics allows the user to create many different looks, and this is embodied in both the video and the Mild vs. Wild collections.  It'll be interesting to see who MAC will team up with next spring, as this will be a tough act to follow!

Couture Monday: Chanel's 2009 spring palette

I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed with the spring 2009 palette from Chanel.  The gypsy-inspired collection features dark eye shadows and bright red lip colors.  Peter Philips, Chanel's global creative makeup director, was digging through Chanel archives when he found sketches of gypsy dresses by Gabrielle Chanel.  He used those as a jumping-off point for the collection.  The Gypsy is a heroine with very distinctive beauty codes...The gypsy’s eyes are as dark as her lips are fiery. She has the passion of travel in her veins, that of celebration, dance, and especially that of darkness and mystery.”  While I think the colors overall go with Philips' concept (including lipsticks called Fuego ["fire" in Spanish] and Gipsy Scarlett - both fierce reds), I'm not sure where this palette fits in.

Spring 09

Interlocking Cs are a Chanel icon, but that doesn't exactly scream "gypsy" to me.  The design was recycled from an exclusive Nordstrom palette released last summer - a similar palette is currently being sold at Neiman Marcus:

Cs powder
(photos from neimanmarcus.com)

So while I was happy to see that Mr. Philips took his inspiration from bohemian-style dresses designed by Mademoiselle Chanel, this palette sort of missed the mark.  What would have been more interesting is creating a palette that incorporated a pattern from one of the sketched dresses he unearthed while going through the archives.  The Chanel C's are nice, but very uninspired unlike the rest of the collection.  Here's to hoping Chanel will come out with a more innovative palette for the fall season.  

Spring Museum update

As the Beatles would say, it's been a long cold lonely winter.  But spring is officially here!  It's still chilly here and the Curator is still not feeling up to snuff, but decided to keep up this exercise in futility.  I've joined the American Association of Museums with an individual membership, and will be talking to some staff there about getting the museum up and running!  While it most likely will never come to fruition, the blog will still be in existence.  Also, the graphic designer that I am using has hired someone to work on the museum's logo.  Hopefully I will have some samples to post soon and will rely on you, dear reader, to help me choose the winner.

So stay tuned...I will be catching up on all the lovely items that were released during my hibernation.  :)