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June 2009

Friday Fun: One Hot Minute by Benefit


Benefit has a history of coming up with packaging that perfectly fits their "Who says makeup has to be serious?" motto.  I had been a bit disappointed that the company hadn't come out with anything all that interesting packaging-wise (Coralista blush and Hello Flawless foundation left me cold), but they have redeemed themselves with this adorable highlighting powder housed in a watch-themed tin, which obviously fits the name of the product.  Cute!

(photo from sephora.com)

Perfect hexagon of the honeycomb: MAC Honey Light powder

Normally I try to keep things varied and wouldn't put up back-to-back MAC posts, but this is part two of my Friends and Family haul so I wanted to share!  The latest limited-edition collection, called Naked Honey, puts a sexy spin on this sweet amber treat.  While most of the collection has the usual black MAC packaging, the two highlighting powders feature a lovely honeycomb pattern.  I picked up Honey Light:


It's nothing all that detailed and intricate, but I thought the use of this pattern for a honey-themed collection was really cute and clever.  Next up (collectible-wise) from MAC:  Graphic Gardens! 

Fierce factor: MAC Style Warriors collection

This collection was released back in May, but fortunately I waited until MAC had a Friends and Family 25% off sale to procure some items.   I was also greatly inspired by the African art collection I saw last weekend at the BMA.  "Everything from Lipglass to Beauty Powder Blush exotically packaged to liberate the animal spirit of Woman, Wild Things and Style Warriors everywhere."  I'll say.  There are the usual animal prints, but MAC takes up a notch by adding silver designs that look  like those found in African art.


The pattern on the lipgloss in particular looks strikingly similar to the one on this plank mask from Burkina Faso:

African mask
(photo from uiowa.edu)

I'm guessing the packaging designers at MAC just got lucky, but it's possible they actually did look at some African art in coming up with this pattern.  In any case, the packaging definitely represents the collection, which is always a good thing in the Curator's eyes. 

Under the sea: Chantecaille Protected Paradise palettes

Chantecaille came out with these lovely palettes last year.  Five percent of proceeds went to the Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation.  The intricate fish are gorgeous, but I think the tiny seahorse on the right is my favorite part.

Chante pp eyes small

And the face powder:

Chante pp face small

Next to Chantecaille's butterfly eyeshadows, these are easily the most detailed of the compacts the company has come out with.  While I'm still not tired of summer, especially after enduring the coldest winter my city had in almost 30 years, I'm hoping Chantecaille will come out with something equally gorgeous this fall.

A pigment of the imagination: Shu's Mirage collection

My post on Armani's Sienna Minerals palette reminded me of Shu's spring Mirage collection - lots of desert-themed makeup lately!  All we need is a collection called Oasis.  Anyway, the idea behind these was  to "create an illusion-like, unforgettable makeup image that gently and gradually arises like a mirage."  I understand the concept behind the makeup shades, but I'm not really sure how the abstract designs on the compacts are supposed to represent a mirage. 

Mirage 09
(photos from nordstrom.com)

To me they look more like billowing smoke.  I think it would have been more interesting to have a mirror image of the design on each side.   While this collection was a bit of a miss for me, Shu definitely redeemed itself with the lovely Tokyo Kamon Girls collection, which I am still adoring.  (Availability udpate:  I spotted some of the oils in Allure magazine's July issue, which means they will definitely be available in the U.S.!)

Here comes the...eyeshadow? Stila June Bride palettes

I've been so excited to post these palettes but diligently waited till June.  As I'm taking a stroll down the aisle myself next year, I'm especially happy to share these!  These were a Japan-exclusive release in the summer of 2006. 

I like that the bride is wearing pink instead of traditional white, and that the bridesmaid has a little flower in her hair:

June bride

The interiors of both: 

Bride inside

June bride inside

I'm not sure if these were meant to be marketed to brides-to-be.  I know I bought them well before I was even engaged, just because I have to have every palette with a Stila girl on it!  But if so, I think the colors in the bride palette are a nice change from the usual neutral tones meant for brides (i.e., Bobbi Brown's bridal palette or the recently released Nars palette) - the blue eyeshadow could be the bride's "something blue".  :)

Couture Monday: Armani Sienna Minerals bronzing palette

A324_L I was a little disappointed in this palette, especially after seeing the spring offering, but I do appreciate the different colors and texture of it.  While most makeup brands are pushing a beached-based bronze look (and Armani does do this somewhat with its Mediterranean palette), I feel this bronzer represents a departure from the usual advertising.  The texture and reddish-brown tint evokes a dry, desert landscape instead of a beach - something you'd wear out West to the canyons of New Mexico, rather than, say, the islands of the Caribbean.   While I'm guessing the overall effect of the product is essentially the same as other bronzers, I like that Armani offered a different approach and representation for a summer staple (a staple for us pale people, anyway!) 

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!

Everything's coming up roses: The Body Shop's spring collection

In addition to the rose-patterned offerings by Prescriptives and MAC this spring, the Body Shop has hopped on this floral bandwagon and came out with its own rose collection.  Here are the blushes and a lipstick (there were 3 lipsticks total, and all had a light rose scent.)

Rose blush and lipstick

The eye shadow and a blush stick:

Rose es blush stick
(photos from thebodyshop-usa.com)

I've said it before and I'll say it again:  while I'm always happy to see designs on makeup (I do think they deserve a museum, after all), I'm getting a bit tired of roses.  Especially for spring - with all the lovely flowers available during the season, I think companies could definitely come up with something besides roses.  How about a peony or tulip-inspired collection?   Oh well.  To liven things up a bit I've decided to present a little dose of art featuring roses.

Salvador Dalí's Meditative Rose (1958):

(image from theartistsalvadoredali.com)

Cy Twombly's The Rose ("IV" of four paintings, 2008):

 Cy twombly rose 4 

And here they are installed at the Gagosian Gallery:

Cy twombly (images from gagosian.com)

Let's hope we see a different floral motif next spring!

Exposing the overlooked: Public Collectors

I found this site via New Curator a few weeks ago, and I was massively impressed with the concept.  "Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible.  Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public."  In other words, it's a great opportunity for collectors to exhibit and share their items  with the world, objects that might be overlooked by museums and galleries.  You can access inventories and selected photos from the collections, and if geography allows and the collector is willing, you can meet them in person to see their some or all of their collection firsthand. 
I spoke to Marc Fischer, who runs the site, and he kindly agreed to put the Makeup Museum up! Check out the complete MM inventory and select photos.  A big thanks to Marc!