« November 2009 | Main | January 2010 »

December 2009

A look back at 2009: curator's picks

As the year comes to a close I felt the need to share my top three items/collections from 2009 - three because, come on, I couldn't pick just one!  Companies put out some really beautiful and thoughtfully designed pieces this year.  It was so hard for me to narrow it down to 3, but here they are, in no particular order.

1.  Smashbox Artist Palette.

Smashbox artist  

In September 2008 I mused about how cool it would be if a company came out with a paint-splattered compact or palette.  Lo and behold, Smashbox released their "Artist Muse" collection in early 2009.  If this isn't directly inspired by Jackson Pollock I don't know what is.

2.  Chanel Fleurs Celeste palette.

Fleurs celeste 09  

Oh, this was so lovely.  I adored the way the delicate white flowers were replicas of the paper headpieces worn by the models on the runway for Chanel's spring collection.  This palette definitely captured the fashion house's design and spirit for the spring season. 

3.  Shu Tokyo Kamon Girls cleansing oils.

Kamon girls oils  

Not only was the packaging totally gorgeous and so culturally appropriate (a manga artist designing for a Japanese makeup line?  Too perfect!), each girl actually had a little personality all her own.  Plus I always love how Shu's collaboration with relatively obscure designers exposes makeup consumers to artists that they never would have heard of otherwise.  

What were your faves from 2009?  (Hint:  if you need ideas just go through the archives at the right.)

An ideal cut: Cle de Peau Vintage palette

Cle de peau holiday 2009 I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!  I headed up to see my family and then off to the Big Apple for a few days in the hopes of finding this treasure from Cle de Peau.  Simply named the Holiday Vintage palette, it was inspired by antique jewelry.  Sadly this was not available at either the Saks or Barney's Cle de Peau counters in NYC, and it doesn't appear to be sold online anywhere (except for E-bay, where it's going for $160 - $35 more than the already whopping retail price of $125.)  This would have been a very nice addition to the Museum's collection, but it's a wee bit out of the budget.  I guess it's good in a way, as the spring 2010 collections are looking quite delectable!

(image from temptalia.com)

MM holiday 2009 exhibition

Welcome to the 2nd holiday exhibition by the Makeup Museum!  I actually have a theme this year, which is "Crystal Sparkle" since so many of these holiday items are decked out in crystals.  Enjoy!  

Main exhibition:


MAC Holidazzle postcard, Stila blush, Chanel Lumières d'Artifices palette:

 Stila clutch palette, Armani 2008 crystal palette, YSL Bow Collection palette:


Stila holiday can, Dior Night Diamond palette:


Benefit catalog and Dior Aurore Boreale pendant (I wanted to drape it over the shelf somehow but couldn't figure it out without using thumbtacks, and I didn't want to put holes in the wall.  Oh well.)

Guerlain Imperiale Meteorites and Shu Planet Cat palette:


Armani lipstick and Lancôme Sparkling Cherub palette:


Now for the auxiliary exhibition!


Life of the Party Quickie Chronicle by Too-Faced, along with the Armani Black Lace palette:


Benefit holiday catalog and Guerlain Gold Temptation Meteorites:


Tsumori Chisato for Shu poster and Paul & Joe palette (and a little piggy!):


Another auxiliary exhibition:



Finally, if you're still reading, here are a couple bonus pics of all the snow we got here on Saturday.  Isn't it pretty?

Snow monument

Snow park

The Curator wishes everyone a very merry Christmas!

Crystal smackdown 2009

Boxing poster
Yesterday's post reminded me that last year (a year ago today, actually!)
I pitted Dior's and Armani's holiday palettes against each other since both prominently featured crystals to see who did a better design with them. This year both companies offered up more crystal-laden goodies, so it's time for another crystal smackdown! 


The competition is much stiffer than last year.  In the right corner we have Dior's Crystal Boreale pendant. In 2008 Dior's crystals weren't even real Swarovski, but this year the company clearly upped the ante by placing no less than 52 Swarovski crystals on the pendant, 4 of which are the "aurora boreale" iridescent crystals Swarovski created in 1955 exclusively for Dior.  

Crystal boreale

In the other corner we have Armani's "Black Lace" palette which features the usual clear Swarovski crystals but also black crystals, all arranged in a lovely circular pattern.  The pattern is echoed in the highlighter contained within.  Armani's has several weaknesses, however:  the crystals are off-center and there is no interesting story behind the design.  

Black lace top

Black lace first tier

So who do you think did crystals better?  Will Armani's elaborate (if ill-placed) pattern beat Dior's seemingly haphazard crystal cluster?  Or will Dior's prismatic gems, complete with historic backstory, trounce Armani's misguided "Black Lace" design?  Determine the winner by posting in the comments section!

Couture Monday: Another crystal palette from Armani

Armani loves to break out the Swarovski crystals this time of year (see last year's holiday palette) but like the 2008 palette this doesn't seem to have much to do with Armani fashion.  There isn't any sort of attempt to connect it to Armani's work in the product description:  "Shimmering and glittering palette adorned with fine crystals. Inside, an embroidered silky powder highlights the face and the décolleté. Featuring festive eye shadow shades."  Well, that's great but I'm a little disappointed there wasn't any link to the fashion.  In any case, here are some pics:

 Black lace top


Black lace first tier

Second tier:

Black lace second tier

I just couldn't resist getting a lipstick as well as the palette!

Black lace 95

This is truly a beautiful design, however, I'm disappointed not only by a lack of connection to Armani fashion but also by the sloppiness of the crystal placement.  If you look at both the palette and lipstick case, the crystals aren't aligned properly - they're completely off-center.  I didn't bother to demand a replacement since I figured they're probably all like this, but as a collector you want your items to be in pristine condition.  Oh well.  

MAC goes for baroque

MAC's latest collection, Baroque Boudoir, features a pretty damask design "etched like the fine filigree of a French baroque settee" according to the website.  French baroque settee?!  Let's see if the pattern resembles French Baroque style at all.  

Lip gloss and lipstick:

Mac baroque

And the compact:

(images from maccosmetics.com)

French Baroque is most often associated with Louis XIV (1643-1714), who was responsible for the construction of Versailles.  Here's a pic from the King's bedroom in the famous palace - check out the wallpaper!

(image from essential-architecture.com)

And here's a sofa:

(image from chestofbooks.com)

While the design is nice and similar to actual French Baroque, I don't think it's quite MM-worthy so I'll be saving my pennies for the spring collections.  ;) 

Cat Power: Tsumori Chisato for Shu Uemura

I've been excited for this collection ever since I heard about it a few months ago.  Shu has done another wonderful collaboration for their holiday collection, this year with designer Tsumori Chisato.  Chisato got her start in 1977 working for Issey Miyake and launched her own line in 1990.  Her work is described as "print-heavy with a healthy dose of manga/bohemian cuteness."  And not surprisingly, this aesthetic is reflected in the Shu collection - lots of stars and cats!

Here's the mirror, which was surprisingly large in real life - much bigger than the usual compact:

Tc mirror

I'm in love with the little pawprints on it:

Pawprint detail 

Planet Cat palette - I didn't even notice the kitty had a crystal for an eye until I saw it in person:

Planet cat palette

Blush/highlighting powder:


Inside of the blush, which sadly did not include the entire cat design (there's a plastic overlay on top which tricked me!), just the silhouette of the head:

Blush inside

There were also several lipsticks and this palette, which, alas, was not in the Museum's budget:

Planet ribbon
(image from sephora.com)

I found these designs to be in keeping with Chisato's work, especially in this star dress, shirt and socks:


The metallic dots from this dress even made an appearance on the compact for the blush:

Metallic dots
(images from lagarconne.com)

Apparently the "lucky cat" is one of Chisato's favorite icons, but she doesn't seem to use it frequently in her work.  The only piece I found with a cat was this purse:

(image from polyvore.com)
But that's okay - I think these cats go better on makeup than fashion items anyway!  Overall I think Chisato did a fabulous job in this collaboration.  Her sense of fantasy and whimsy comes through very clearly, and I always love when fashion designers re-use their iconography in a new and creative way for makeup.

Ooh la la! Bourjois Rendez-vous à Paris collection

Maybe it's all the planning and research I'm doing for my trip to Paris next year, but I'm drawn to anything French these days.  Naturally when I saw this collection I had to have every item, especially after finding out the illustrations were done by French artist Nathalie Lété.  Each one shows a Paris landmark or neighborhood.

Rose D'or blush, featuring the Eiffel Tower:


Argent, with the Opera Garnier:


Beige Rose, with a little map:


Violet Absolu, featuring the Place Vendôme:

Violet absolue

Noir Precieux and a lovely view of the Seine:

Noir precieux 

Sadly, Asos.com was out of stock of one of the eye shadows (Blanc Diaphane, which has an awesome picture of the Arc d'Triomphe) and 2 of the blushes (Lilas D'or and Ambre D'or) and Ulta doesn't seem to be carrying them, so I wasn't able to get my hands on those.  (A note about ordering from Asos:  it must be some weird UK thing that allows you to place items in your cart only and submit your order, only to get an email a few hours later telling you your items are out of stock.  The same thing happened with my fiance when he ordered some Grenson boots from a UK site - he was able to hit the submit button but got a notice later saying they weren't available.  It's VERY frustrating!  I'd rather know up front the items aren't available rather being able to add them to my shopping cart.)  Anyway, here are stock pics of those:

(images from asos.com)

Whenever an artist collaborates on a collection I'm anxious to see their regular work to see if there's any resemblance between what they created for a brand and their own oeuvre.   After looking at her website, I don't think there was anyone more appropriate to do illustrations for this historic French brand than Parisian Nathalie Lété.   She seems to have struck a perfect balance of whimsical and chic, playful and sophisticated, and so much of her work pays homage to her hometown.  Some examples:  the notebook on the left shows the Montmartre neighborhood along with a duck cheerfully pulling a butterfly on a string.  The rug on the right depicts a cloud of butterflies soaring among the Eiffel Tower, which has a French flag sitting atop it.  Both works are imbued with passion and pride for Paris.

Paris love

You can also see her affinity for nature in these lovely prints ("Botanica") and this rug, simply titled "Jardin".   These stylized flowers and butterflies definitely made their way into the Bourjois collection.


Finally, these chocolates have a similar concept overall to the Bourjois collection:

(images from nathalie-lete.com) 

All in all I'm very impressed with this collection and think Bourjois did a sensationnel job in their choice of Lété.  I do hope to acquire the rest of the collection at some point.

Quick post on vintage compacts

Vintage compacts BellaSugar posted pictures of some truly amazing vintage compacts today, dating from the 1920s through the '50s.  The detail on some of them was astonishing, and the materials they were made out of  - Bakelite, sterling silver, to name a few - are definitely something you don't see nowadays.  I just wish the authors had specified where they found these beauties and roughly how much they cost!

(image from bellasugar.com)