Couture Monday: Lancôme's Pout à Porter series
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It's a "given": MAC's Baby Bloom collection and Duchamp

MAC released a new collection last week called Baby Bloom, consisting of a new tinted moisturizer and tinted lip balms.  Maybe it's just me, but I found the campaign image to be really creepy.

Baby bloom
(photo from

Between her eye staring lifeless off into space and the vine wrapped around her neck, it seems like the model is laying dead in a field.   And it got me thinking of a piece by Marcel DuchampÉtant Donnés: 1° la chute d'eau / 2° le gaz d'éclairage, which translates to "Given: 1. The Waterfall, 2. The Illuminating Gas".  This work was installed in 1969 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (where, incidentally, the Curator once worked) after Duchamp's death.  It is quite possibly the most enigmatic and, in my eyes, scariest piece of modern Western art.

You go up to the door and peer through 2 of the holes in it...


And this is what you see:

Etant donnes
(photos from

Pretty eerie.  While I don't think Duchamp meant for the piece to be particularly scary, that's always how I perceived it.  It's the same with the MAC photo - while trying to come up with an eye-catching ad, the company instead created a fairly disturbing image.  Neither shows the woman's face in full; a flower completely obscures the model's eye in the MAC ad, while you only get a glimpse of the woman's hair in Duchamp's work (and trust me as someone who looked at this on a weekly basis - no matter how much you crain your neck, you NEVER see her face.)  Regardless of whether you find the images disturbing, both make you wonder why the artist/designer chose to represent what they did.

Anyway, if you're in the Philly area I highly suggest you check out Étant Donnés in person, especially since there will be an exhibition in honor of the 40-year anniversary of its installation starting on August 15.

p.s. For more on this work and others by Duchamp, the following makes for good reading:  Duchamp:  A Biography by Calvin Tomkins;  Étant Donnés by Anne D'Harnoncourt and Walter Hopps; Marcel Duchamp, a collection of essays edited by Anne D'Harnoncourt; and Rudolf Kuenzli's Marcel Duchamp:  Artist of the Century.

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