« June 2011 | Main | September 2011 »

August 2011

Mercury rising: Estee Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee

I have to admit that Estee Lauder doesn't normally grab me (starfish bronzer aside), but this piece from their fall collection piqued my interest.  According to this video, Creative Director  Tom Pecheux wanted to create something "modern" and "urban", to reflect the "many faces of the city".   Additionally, in an interview Pecheux says this about the overall concept:  "I was inspired by modern architecture, modern buildings and all the phenomenal reflections you see on glass buildings that show the skyline. Whether it’s a blue sky, a snowstorm or a beautiful sunrise or sunset, it’s never the same skyline colors you normally see because of the unique way the light is reflected off the glass. With Modern Mercury, you can be wearing the same colors, but you will never end up with the exact same look."  This theme is definitely present in the Illuminating Powder Gelee in that you can create a lot of different looks with it, since it can be used as a highlighter or eye shadow, but I'm not really seeing it so much in the actual design.  I guess the wavy pattern is reminiscent of ligh reflecting off of buildings, but it looks more like a weird op-art painting to me.

EL modern  mercury
(image from esteelauder.com)

Thus, I'm still on the fence as to whether the design is interesting enough to be in the Museum's collection.  What do you think?

Couture Monday: Chanel Ombres Tissées

I was pleased to see this pretty little eyeshadow/highlighter combo from Chanel's Aquarelles collection.  The pattern is their "iconic woven tweed", but it's a variation on the tweed pattern they have released previously (Pink Lamé and the tweed blushes) - noticeably different from those. 




With flash:




Here's the idea for the inspiration from Temptalia (why don't they put this at the Chanel website?):  "In the 1920s, Marie Laurencin painted a watercolor portrait of Gabrielle Chanel. Today, Karl Lagerfeld employs that image as a point of departure for the 2011 Spring-Summer Haute Couture Collection, suffused with light and restraint. The atmosphere is pastel-toned, with clean silhouettes of catwalk models styled as ballerinas, evanescent and nonchalant. Soft pinks merge into tones of ivory and dove grey. Every aspect of the cherished rue Cambon style is washed over with the candor of youth. The enigmatic grace of a black satin ribbon tied high around the neck accentuates the mysterious spirit hidden behind the models’angelic faces...Created in the image of the 2011 Spring-Summer Haute Couture Collection, the shade range focuses on a palette of pinks and delicate grey on the eyes, framed by black and bathed in light. An exclusive creation, OMBRES TISSÉES Beiges takes on a fine-knit texture of silvery, golden and pinkish tones of beige. Arranged in three bands within their square case, these satiny eyeshadows smooth transparently over eyelids, while illuminating facial contours with touches of light."

It sounds a little vague, but the actual 1923 portrait by Laurencin shows that once again, Creative Director Peter Philips can take an artwork and create a spot-on makeup look based on it. 

(image from artcyclopedia.com)

You can see the soft pastel shades and the subdued, almost gauzy texture of the brush strokes.  And I'm sure the aforementioned black ribbons tied around the models' necks also found their inspiration in this painting.  It's as if the painting has come to life in the various colors and textures of the Aquarelles collection (the name is also quite apt, as the painting by Laurencin is a watercolor.)  I also like that the tweed pattern is a bit different and softer than the other Chanel palettes, and the fact that idea for the collection comes directly from a specific piece of the brand's history.   Can't wait for the holiday palette - looks like it's going to be a another very inspired piece!

Curator's Corner, 8/13/2011

Mum.cc.3pp This was another relatively quiet week, which I am thankful for.  Here is a batch of links - lots of great stuff this week!

- OMG, Laduree is coming to the states!  In NYC, of course.   Next time I visit I will be eating my weight in rose macorons the way I did in Paris.

- As someone who considers her plushies to be like her children, I was relieved to see this story had a happy ending.

- Good god, I am addicted to Pinterest.

- Collecting Vintage Compacts digs deeper into the story behind a compact rumored to have been designed by Dali. 

- I've been wanting to check out yoga classes for a while now but was too chicken, so my very good friend Valerie kindly offered to take me to a beginner class near her to help ease me into it.  I really liked it and now am not too scared to check out Charm City Yoga.  :D  

- Great post on why Larry David is a feminist hero.

- Finally, my bathroom renovation has begun!  I was not in the least sad to see it destroyed.  Good riddance!   Here it is completely gutted:


I will be sure to post before and after pics when it's all done. 

Note:  I will be taking a blogging break for next couple weeks, enjoying the last few weeks of summer and getting preparations underway for the fall exhibition(s).  ;)

Stila Laguna Beach palette

Summer is coming to a close (sniff!) and so is the second Stila travel palette series.  As I've said before, overall I was disappointed in the concept for these, but that wasn't enough to prevent me from buying them, as I can't resist Stila girls!  It's my dream to have an entire wing of the Museum devoted to them...an entire army marching all over the walls.

Anyway, the last palette in the series is Living the Life in Laguna. 



With flash:




Here's a screenshot of the "polaroids" used to give more information:


And the bio of  "Ali", who I don't think appeared in any of the other palettes.


Poor Ali.  Seems like a trip to the beach would be just what the doctor ordered.  According to the poloroids, she hit up several beaches and a day spa; however, did anyone else notice that the "Attractions" one and the "Shopping" one are exactly the same?  Why not just have one picture with both?  Sigh.  Oh Stila, you kinda blew it with these palettes!  Please give me a job and I will take care of coming up with compelling themes and copy for the Stila girls.  They're too cute not to give them their due diligence!

Since I want to end on a positive note, I will say that I adore the lifeguard house and boardwalk, especially since those images weren't pictured in any of the other beach palettes.  I'll take a beach without a boardwalk any day of the week, but some of my fondest childhood memories are of strolling along the boardwalk with my family on our summer vacations down the shore.  So that almost makes up for the lackluster concept.  Almost.  :)

Taking the plunge

Twitter bird So you may or may not have noticed that I joined Twitter.  I'm still refusing to join Facebook as of right now - my hatred of it knows no bounds - but for the sake of trying to get more interest in the Museum (and to attempt to better grasp this newfangled social media) I'm now a Twitterer.  Or Tweeter.  Or whatever the hell you call it. 

Anyway, you can follow me @MakeupMuseum.  :)


(image from iconspedia.com)

Couture Monday: Chanel Lumieres Byzantines palette

Whew!  It was quite a struggle, but I managed to get my paws on what may be the most exclusive makeup item in recent history.   I bought it months ago but wanted to wait till the rest of the Byzantine collection was actually out (it has been for a couple of weeks now).

*drumroll*  This is the piece de resistance, the Makeup Museum's equivalent to the Louvre's Mona Lisa, THE stand-out in the entire collection thus far (and easily the most expensive many times over, oof):  Lumieres Byzances de Chanel!





Only 1500 were made and of those, only 130 reached U.S. shores.  This one came from the 57th Street boutique in NYC. 


With flash:



And some more pics because I couldn't seem to stop taking pictures of it - too pretty!!



The Chanel Byzantine makeup collection was meant to be paired with the pre-fall 2011 fashion collection.  According to Fashionologie, "The theme was inspired by Gabrielle Chanel's Byzantine cross-adorned cuffs and the Byzantine empress Theodora."  Says Karl Lagerfeld, "Theodora was a circus artist who became empress, like Chanel, who was a little singer and became a fashion empress...I like the idea of these two strong women."  And the Chanel website had a nice little summary of the exact architecture Mr. Lagerfeld was so inspired by:

"The Church of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy was constructed between 527 and 548 during the reign of Emperor Justinian and his wife Theodora. The UNESCO-protected monument is a treasure trove of glittering glass and enamel mosaics, which attracted the lens of Karl Lagerfeld in 2010. Portraying richly-dressed figures laden with jewels, these images bear witness to the extravagance of Constantinople and the splendour of its iconography.

Karl Lagerfeld plays with this aesthetic in conceiving a collection that glitters with reflections of this vanished luxury. Recently unveiled in Istanbul, the collection revives historical ties between Ravenna and Byzantium that saw San Vitale serve as the prototype for the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. Now the capital of Turkey, Istanbul was once known as Byzantium and renamed Constantinople in 330, when it became capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. At the peak of its success in the sixth century, the burgeoning empire gave rise to a brilliant, refined civilisation that survived until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Mosaic-lined basilicas are a testament to the society at the heart of the Christian empire. The last remnants of this iconic art survive in Ravenna to this day."

When I was quickly perusing Byzantine art online1, several things struck me:  the use of gold in the background of icon paintings, the iridescent jewel-like glass of the mosaics, and the overall opulence that the art embodied.  All of these attributes were beautifully translated into the Chanel collection.

First, the gold, both fabric and jewelry:

Gold fabrics


The mosaic-like patterns on some of the pieces (I've never seen anything like the sleeves and collar on the coat on the right!):

Chanel mosaic

And finally, the richness of velvet and embroidery:

Chanel velvet
(runway images from style.com)

And obviously, the Lumieres palette shares these features as well:  gold inlay used to hold the individual shadows, their shiny jewel-like shapes, and rich colors and texture (obviously I didn't swatch the palette, but I bet the cream shadows have a wonderful texture).  I think the best part of the Byzantine collection, besides the lovely and extravagant palette, is that the makeup look of the runway show was directly taken from Theodora's face as portrayed in the mosaic at the San Vitale church. 

Theodora all
(image from paradoxplace.com)
According to talkingmakeup.com, Peter Philips, Global Creative Director of Chanel Makeup, had this to say:  “The links and associations with Chanel are rich and plenty. Karl Lagerfeld gave Sam [McKnight] and me a sketch giving us a rough idea of the direction he wanted for the look, from then the tone was set. Karl also showed us the world-famous mosaic portrait of Theodora, the Empress of the Byzantine Empire Mosaic from the Saint-Vital de Ravenne Basilica, which very naturally became the inspiration for the show’s makeup.  The portrait gave me a focus point : the red eye shadow/liner that she wears on the arch of her eyebrows. This look is all about light and rich textures. The choreography between gold, bronze, black and red can be easily personalized according to the desires of each woman.”

Here's a closeup of Theodora and the makeup at the show so you can really see the influence:

(images from thebolognadiaries.wordpress.com and talkingmakeup.com)

I adore the headbands too - you can see one in this fragment of a floor mosaic from the Met.  The woman, Ktisis, is "a personification of generous donation or foundation":

(image from byzantiumnovum.org)

As a really cool bonus, Chanel made these amazing mosaic window displays at their South Coast Plaza boutique - the Beauty Look Book has some great pictures of them! 

So there you have it.  I do wonder if we will ever see a makeup item quite like this - both in terms of price and how well it ties into a given theme - ever again. 

1 For more on Byzantine art online, check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art's summary here.  For books, I'd check out Helen C. Evans (Curator of Early Christian and Byzantine Art at the Met) and Robin Cormack, Professor Emeritus of Art History at the Courtauld Institute of Art.

Curator's Corner, 8/6/2011

Mum.cc.3ppGreetings.  It was a fairly quiet week so I was able to put some posts together...it's always fits and starts here!  Here are some things that caught my eye this week.

- Aren't these paper eyelashes neat?

- I found this amazing blog, The Beheld, which focuses on the bigger concepts of beauty and the industry in general.  This is not to say that I will no longer be putting up any similarly-themed posts, as one of the goals of the Museum is to present a more thoughtful and academic view of makeup, but I do I feel as though mine won't be nearly as insightful as those of the author!  It's great to see a blog fully devoted to these issues.

- Jersey Shore is back!  Woot!  Can't wait to see what havoc the guidos and guidettes wreak in Florence, although I am a bit jealous they got to go.

- On the local/90s nostalgia front, the radio station I listened to all the time in college is back on the air!  I almost fell over when I saw a commercial for HFS and just about died when I actually tuned in to listen...all my 90s faves were back!

- Finally, I am attending a mojito-themed bridal shower today and I was so thrilled to bring some goodies with me!  I made mint chocolate brownies with peppermint patties, super minty ice cream (the secret to making it super minty instead of mildly minty is to add 2 tsp.  of mint extract to the custard in addition to infusing the milk and cream with mint leaves!), lime sea salt chocolate chunk cookies (first time making these and they were delish - tangy and sweet and slightly salty all at once) and mojito cupcakes.   I even got a Cupcake Courier to transport them all.  After all that baking I was too exhausted to take pics, but I did manage to get pictures of the 2-sided cupcake flags my husband made:

Cc 8.6.2011

Cute, eh?  I do hope I get invited to more parties just so I can bring desserts!  Better yet, it would be great if I could plan an entire thing.  Maybe for fall I'll have a gathering of some kind.  :)

Friday fun: new MM staff member!

The Makeup Museum is pleased to welcome its newest staff member, Cookie Dream Babo!  As you can see, within minutes of arriving he found his way to the cookie jar:

Cookie dream babo

Here's his official story:  "When Babo sleeps he dreams of cookies, but when he wakes up he has even bigger dreams. What are your dreams? See that building over there? See that car? That road? That all came from an idea in someone's mind. So when someone tells you it's all in your head, smile as wide as Babo does, because you're on your way. Babo may be a dreamer, but he knows the dreams become real through action. So now it's time to wake up and eat the cookie."

And as my husband predicted,  he is indeed two-sided.  Cookie Dream Babo will be serving as Education Specialist, when he's not asleep.  I originally was going to have him work as a docent, but he kept nodding off during the practice tours (I think he might be slightly narcoleptic) so I had to move him to education.  Hopefully  he will dream up cool educational programs and events in addition to delicious cookies.  :)

Stila is Wonderful in Waikiki

"Aloha means goodbye/and also hello/it's in how you inflect" - Pavement, Blue Hawaiian


Hope you enjoyed that little musical interlude.  Anyway, it's time to break out the poi and the ukelele 'cause Stila's heading to Hawaii!



With flash:




Here's a screenshot of the Waikiki information page at the website:

Waikiki screen shot

And the bio of "Chelsea" (who went to Paris last year):

(images from stilacosmetics.com)

You know, reading this bio and the polaroids makes me wish Stila had stuck with the diary and map format of the older travel palette series.  Initially I was happy to see a change, but none of these newer palettes seem to measure up to the ones from last year.  The copy is positively insipid (the entry for shopping in this one is particularly bad) and all of the girls sound pretty much the same personality-wise - I'm not even sure why the company bothered to try to write a bio for each.   It's a shame too, as Stila could have done a lot more with these.  Mercifully there's only one left in the series, which I will complain about next week.  :P 

Quick post: Desert Rose bronzer from Lancôme

Whoops, I managed to make it through the entire month of July without posting.   It's summer time and the livin's easy though, right?  Anyway, I'm going to try to gather up the last few summer items before my acquisitions for fall begin, so today will focus on Lancôme's summer bronzer.

I'm not really sure what this was supposed to be.  Obviously a riff on Lancôme's trademark rose, but how exactly is it a "desert" rose?  Maybe the spiky-ness is reminiscent of a cactus?  The pink and peach hues look like a desert sunset?

Lancome desert rose
(image from nordstrom.com)

Meh.  I'm not all that impressed with the design - it could have looked, well, more desert-like, like Armani's Sienna Minerals bronzer from a few summers ago.  Oh well.  I've got an idea of what Lancôme has up their sleeve for fall and I'm not disappointed!