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April 2009

Spring 2009 exhibition

Spring has sprung here!  So I've chosen my most springy, hopeful pieces to display. I was inspired by this lovely work by Botticelli:


Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, c. 1482 (photo from historylink101.com)

So here's my own version of Primavera.  :)

Main exhibition:


Some detail shots:

Px stila

Madame b

Shu birthday palette and YSL Palette Pop:

Shu ysl

Stila hankerchief palette with some friends:


Here's the auxillary exhibition in the hallway.

Bottom shelf:

Bottom shelf

Part of the top shelf:

Top shelf

Finally, here's the other auxiliary exhibition in the office:


And some details:

Office barbie

Pj shu

Pj fan

I think this is my favorite shelf - MAC Culturebloom postcard, Chanel Faeries quad and a Chantecaille Papillon eye shadow.


Happy spring!

Laura Mercier Gilded Garden shimmer bloc

I was surprised and pleased to see this little number from Laura Mercier's spring collection.  Normally this understated line doesn't go into patterns on their items (with the exception of a basic diamond pattern on their shimmer blocs) so this is a nice change.


Gilded garden 2009


I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, however, given that the brand had previously released violet-embossed eye shadow palettes last spring.


Violet quads

As with Estee Lauder's floral palettes from this spring, we'll have to wait and see if Laura Mercier continues with these designs.

More flowery goodness from Paul & Joe

Paul & Joe has released its cheery spring collection entitled "Ingenue", consisting of two palettes and two lipsticks.  The concept:  "You have long anticipated the arrival of spring.  It is the stage where your dreams will come to life.  Where you will come to life.  Performing like the heroine in an old Hollywood movie...innocent and delicate, with a coquettish air of sexiness.  And perhaps a frisson of passion?  Become a super-starlet - immerse yourself in the role with touches of colour on eyes, lips and fingertips...you will be the leading lady for spring." "Our fresh-faced colours, textures and shades have transformed you into a picture of youthful grace and vivacity...with some innocent experimentation and some flawless rehearsals, you will take centre stage as this season's most stunning ingenue."

The Starlet palette:

Spring 09 palette

Spring 09 palette inside

And the lipsticks, Backstage and Opening Night:

Spring 09 ls

I love that the print on one of the lipsticks is the same as the one on this romper from the summer 2009 lineup:


Even more interesting is the descriptions provided for each piece in the collection.  Maybe I'm just getting old, but I don't seem to remember a concept/description for each individual item, only for the collection as a whole.  In any case, each palette and lipstick had its own little story, which I thought was great.

Pj lipstick 09

Palettes 09

Anyway, overall I think this collection is well thought-out with a likeable concept.  The idea of that one could feel like a fresh-faced "ingenue" with these products is very suitable for spring.  Okay, plus the packaging is pretty and sweet...that's always what draws me in! 

Going against the grain: Smashbox's Mother Earth palette

Smashbox me In honor of Earth Day today I'm looking at Smashbox's new Mother Earth palette.  It rivals Cargo's PlantLove line in that it features both organic products (4 eye shadows and a blush) and packaging made from sustainable materials.  And for every palette purchased a tree will be planted by Trees for the Future, which is also a strategy adopted by Cargo. 
As our planet gets more polluted and global warming increases, let's hope more companies come out with more environmentally-friendly packaging and products.  It's becoming more common now, but it's still not totally mainstream.  I'd love to walk into Sephora and have each and every product be organic and come in recyclable/compostable packaging that also didn't harm the environment during production.  Hopefully this will be a reality in a few years.  In any case, Happy Earth Day! 

(photo from sephora.com)

Couture Monday: D & G's new line

Italian couturiers Dolce & Gabbana have created their own line of cosmetics.  They've already ventured into fragrances, so it was just a matter of time before they developed a makeup line.  The line took ten years to create, and the designers recruited world-famous makeup artist Pat McGrath to help develop the products. The campaign ads, featuring a very sexy and sultry Scarlett Johannson, reflect the concept behind the line.  According to Allure magazine (April 2009, p. 62) the goal is "to play up a woman's sex appeal".  

The ads show Johannson modeling two looks: a slightly retro one with red lips and nails and a more modern one with smokey eyes and nude lips.

Sj dg red lips

Sj dg smoky
(photos from dolcegabbanamakeup.com)

I think they did an excellent job reflecting the line in the ad campaign.   I noticed that the corset/bustier is very similar to this D & G dress:

Dg bustier dress
(photo from nordstrom.com)
As for the collection itself, the packaging consists of pale gold - fitting considering the duo's love of the metal (many of their pieces include gold touches, and the pair even owns a restaurant called Gold.)  

Dg makeup
(photos from dolcegabbanamakeup.com)

The product names also correspond to the designers' oeuvre.  "We decided to call some of the products with the names of some important objects for us and for our brand...For instance, Stromboli -- from the turbulent landscape of Stromboli's charred, glistening black sand, one of our favorite isles...Dahlia -- the flower we love most or Ruby -- our favorite stone," stated Dolce


The designers seem to be very hands-on in the development of their line, which comes through in all aspects - marketing, packaging and product line-up.   This is somewhat rare for a couture house, as most of the time the makeup is distinct from the fashion and usually doesn't represent the overall feel of the brand, so I'm happy to see how well D & G's style is reflected in their cosmetics thus far. 





Friday Fun:(?) Too-Faced Smurfette Highlighting Powder

Too-Faced is well known for their Quickie Chronicles palettes, but this past January they came out with a something in a different direction:  a collection based on the '80s animated series The Smurfs.   (For those of you who remember watching them on TV, the show was actually an outgrowth of the Smurf cartoons, which made their debut in 1958 in a Belgian newspaper.) 

As part of the So Smurfy collection, this palette features a highlighting powder with the first female Smurf printed on it.


The collection also included an eye shadow palette, eye liner, and lip gloss (which Sephora no longer seems to have up on its site):

Smurf collection
(photos from sephora.com)

I was never a big  fan of the Smurfs when I was little, but I thought this collection was just plain fun.  Then I did a bit of poking around online and discovered the story behind Smurfette.  BellaSugar sums it up nicely:

"Even as a kid, I thought the story of Smurfette's genesis is as sexist as they come: Gargamel creates Smurfette to seduce and destroy the all-male Smurf clan. Alas, her dark hair, 'big nose' and simple smock are not pretty enough to do so. Papa Smurf comes along, works his magic, and poof! Smurfette is, as Papa says, 'new and improved' with long blond hair, a smaller nose, a shorter dress, and high heels. So, while it's just a cartoon and the Too Faced collaboration is meant to be fun, it's safe to say that Smurfette and I have some baggage to work through."

Make that three of us.  I had absolutely no idea that's how Smurfette was created and was a bit dismayed Too-Faced chose to resurrect this particular cartoon when the company could have chosen from a dozen other '80s shows.  I did some more digging and was amazed at the analyses that have been written about the intersection of this cartoon character and feminism (or lack of it), including a wonderful piece by Katha Pollitt on the "Smurfette Principle" in children's TV shows.  Still, when examining the Too-Faced concept, it makes sense that creators Jerrod Blandino and ? would choose Smurfette to star in a collection.  Their logo is a supermodel named Envy:  "She's the 'It girl' every girl wants to be and all the boys have to have!...always remember Envy's mantra, 'why be pretty when you can be gorgeous?'"  These statements directly correspond to the copy Sephora came up with to describe the Illuminating Powder:  "Smurfette's signature color-correcting shades blend together for the prettiest perfection—you're sure to be the hottest girl on your Smurf turf."  Like Smurfette's transformation and Envy's mantra, the idea is that one can use this powder to go from "pretty" to "gorgeous".   Hmmph.  Obviously this is a harmless collection, but it still irks me a little.  I think Too-Faced should stick with their tried-and-true Quickie Chronicles pin-ups (which can also be considered anti-feminist to some degree, but that's another post.)  

Chantecaille and butterflies

It all started with a face powder embossed with a butterfly in the center.  Then Chantecaille released three eye shadows, each with a different color butterfly.  In the spring of 2006 the Garden in Kyoto palette, featuring 2 butterflies in gorgeous spring shades, was released.  Finally, the coup de grace was a beautiful holiday palette with gold and silver butterflies.  While the Museum is missing the butterfly face powder, I was able to procure the 3 shadows and the palettes.  Aren't butterflies the best symbol for spring?

Papillons Violet, Rose and Bleu:

Papillon shadows

Garden in Kyoto:

Kyoto 2

The Muse (a.k.a. Ethereal Eyes) palette:

Ch. muse

Chantecaille has since moved on to feature other endangered species in their limited edition items, but the butterflies will always remain very special as they were among the first to use such intricate embossing.

Estee Lauder's spring fling

I've always admired Estee Lauder's fancy jeweled compacts, but this season they seem to be focusing on the makeup itself rather than its outer packaging.  Their Fleur de Lys and Vivid Garden powders feature intricate floral patterns in gorgeous spring colors. 


El compacts 2009 (photos from esteelauder.com)

While I love the colors and the dragonfly on the Vivid Garden palette, I find the fleur-de-lis palette particularly interesting since the emblem has such a rich history.  It's a bit too long to go into here, but it was traditionally a symbol of the French  monarchy and appears in much French architecture and art. Here are a couple examples.

The ceiling of Sainte Chapelle:
(photo from sacred-destinations.com)

A stained-glass window at Bourges cathedral:
(photo from uark.edu)

The Arts Council of New Orleans even commissioned artists to produce fleur-de-lis structures around the city to represent its French heritage:


Nola art
(photos from nolanotes.com)


It's a little odd that this motif made an appearance considering it had nothing to do with the collection, but since this is the first time Estee Lauder has branched out into designs onto the actual makeup rather than the outer compact I won't be too harsh.  ;)  I also like that the design on the palette is a bit more abstract than the traditional fleur-de-lis.  
Let's wait and see if this is a continuing trend for the brand.  

Smashbox Artist palette

Methinks Smashbox and/or Vogue magazine was reading my blog post on Shu's fall collection a few months back, where I surmised that it would be pretty cool if a makeup company came out with Pollock-esque paint-splattered compacts.   Look what Smashbox has released:

Smashbox artist 

The interior:

Muse inside

The rest of the collection:

Muse face

Sb muse

(photos from smashbox.com)

And the accompanying Vogue blurb (which appeared in the February 2009 issue), complete with a picture of Pollock just as my post included:

Pollock vogue

I'm glad to see that Vogue recognizes that the line between art and makeup is getting increasingly blurred, which is what I've been trying to convince people of for years!