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December 2011

Curator's Corner: Looking forward, looking back

Janus-head1-297x300(image of Janus from civicvirtue.info)

Mum.cc.3ppAs you may know, I hate New Year's.  I just find it to be horribly depressing and the notion of making resolutions is unbearable.   Previously on New Year's I've posted about aspirations rather than making resolutions or even setting goals, and it works for me.  These are what I ASPIRE to do, not necessarily accomplish.  This way I let myself off the hook and I won't feel so sad when I don't get them done! 

- Research pop-up museums and see if something like that would be doable.

- Continue making exhibitions a little more "museum-y" by adding accompanying labels.

- Unveil a series of special exhibitions.

- Make some progress on the long-talked-about coffee table book.

- Be more organized about blogging so that I actually write posts on time (gasp!) rather than writing a bunch and back-dating them all.  It's a very bad habit.

- Do a couple of giveaways.  I have at least 3 brand-new items that I don't feel like trying to sell on E-bay.

- Most importantly, research social media to see how to get more people interested in the Museum and following the blog.  A corollary aspiration to this is to not get too down when I still get no substantial increase in interest/followers, and continue posting as if people actually read this blog.  I've been basically talking to myself since the Museum's inception, but I'll keep doing so because I believe in what I'm doing.

Here's a quick recap of the year.   I think I've made a tiny bit of progress in 2011!

- Wrote 121 posts.

- Joined Twitter.  I can't say I find it all that useful and it's so hard to keep up with.  I'll do something for 5 minutes and when I check again it's like "57 new tweets".  Maybe eventually I'll get the hang of it.

- Debuted a new (and hopefully improved) exhibition format.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's.  I'm off to have a few drinks and pass out before midnight.

Curator's take on 2011

No, I'm not doing "11 for 2011", but I do want to take a look back on the year and highlight the things that stood out most to me.

I was pleased to see more connections between makeup and art this year.  We had both drawings of makeup as well as portraits created with lipstick and other products:


images from bellasugar.com

And a perfume bottle exhibition means makeup can't be far behind!

Now for some trends.  2011 was most definitely the year of the crazy nails.   From high art-inspired...

Mondrian nails
(image from beautylish.com)

...to reproducing pop culture, nails were the big accessory.

Nightmare before christmas nails
(image from thegloss.com)

On the slightly less wild side, Sally Hansen debuted nail decals to allow easy application of designs, while a host of companies (OPI, China Glaze) introduced "crackle" nail polishes.

image from chic-steals.com

(image from chicprofile.com)

It was also the year of the crazy eyelashes -  from shells and paper to Lancôme's creepy "Doll Lashes" mascara, lashes were subjected to variety of enhancements.

Etsy lashes
(image from bellasugar.com)

(image from thegloss.com)

(image from lancome-usa.com)

In terms of advertising, Makeup Forever met consumers' demands for non-Photoshopped models and produced the allegedly first un-retouched ad for their High Definition Foundation.  Problem was that the model was so perfect she didn't need to be retouched anyway - it makes very little sense to advertise foundation on a young model that has flawless skin already.

(image from huffingtonpost.com)

Fortunately the conversation isn't over, as towards the end of 2011 Jezebel reported that companies may be forced to stop using Photoshop for cosmetic ads. 

On the color front, coral swept past bronze as the spring and summer's go-to color...

Spring 2011 trends

...while fall brought on the blues.

Fall 2011 blue trend

There are so many more items from the year that caught my eye, but I'll leave you with this:  the weirdest/most morbid 2011 beauty award goes to Illamasqua, for offering funeral makeup services.

Curator's picks and pans: the best and worst makeup designs of 2011

As 2011 comes to a close I thought I'd share what I think were the three best and worst makeup designs of the year.

My picks for the best:  MAC Art of Powder palettes, since they were directly inspired by various art genres:




The Dior Lady Dior palette - a modern update of their classic bag perfectly captured in makeup form:


And of course, the Chanel Byzantine palette - rich in both art and Chanel's history.


And now for the worst!

Chantecaille classic palette.  I'm not sure why they bothered putting their initial on each color - it doesn't make this palette any less boring. 

(image from chantecaille.com)

Too-faced holiday collection - not only is this ridiculously juvenile, it also looks very cheap, like it belongs in a dollar store:

Picture 1
(image from sephora.com)

Finally, the Stila Love and Empowerment travel palette - incredibly uninspired when it shouldn't have been given that it was based on a movie (which in turn was based on a best-selling book).  Honestly, most of the travel palettes this year weren't great.  I hope Stila comes out with better things in 2012.


So what do you think about these picks?  Take a peek in the archives to pick out your faves (and least faves) and let me know in the comments!

MM holiday/winter exhibition 2011

As I always say, better late than never.  That's pretty much the motto of the Makeup Museum.  :P  Here's the holiday 2011/winter 2012 exhibition.


Starting with the top shelf and moving left to right, Dior Crystal Boréal Pendant:


Wong Kar Wai for Shu:


Guerlain Météorites Impériales:


Second row, Armani Madreperla palette:


Guerlain Parure de Nuit powder:


Third row, Clé de Peau Holiday Vintage palette 2009:


Chanel Lumiere Sculptée Highlighting Powder:


Bottom row, Paul & Joe holiday 2009:


NARS Hanamichi eye shadow palette:




I also set up a little holiday/winter fun auxilliary exhibition.  This one is devoted to parties, presents and frolicing in the snow.  :)

Top shelf:






Bottom shelf:




Royal flush: Guerlain Impériale Météorites (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 4)

For the 2009 holiday season Guerlain Creative Director Olivier Échaudemaison wanted to create a collection that signified royalty but was still relevant to the modern woman. The star of the collection is the Météorites Perles Impériales, which houses their signature small clusters of highlighting powder in a glittering, marcasite-like cylinder case topped with clear rhinestones.







With flash:


Here is Échaudemaison's vision:  "A new story and a new Christmas tale, illustrated – as before – by Princess Natalia. This time, she was proclaimed Empress!

A tribute to the femme-enfant, so wonderfully interpreted by Romy Schneider in Sissi: The Young Empress. A tribute also to history: Guerlain fondly remembers being distinguished as the very official and exclusive “Her Majesty Empress Eugenia’s patented Perfumer” in 1853. Seems like only yesterday!

In the 21st century, inspiration from the past and from all things exotic is the fuel of creation. We continue to like opulence, but in a more balanced way. Splendour is underlined with humour: while jewels bedazzle with their brilliance, the cascading rivers of diamonds may not come from Place Vendôme!

The nobility of precious stones and fabrics is enhanced with the elegance of luminous, delicately scintillating makeup. The ingredients used to achieve it are at the leading edge of sophistication, combining shades of gold with the finest powders and easy-to-apply textures, for the best possible results. Our Empress may thus apply her own makeup, without the help of a maid or… a makeup artist. A dreamy modern beauty who plays with makeup to feel sublime, an evening, a night… for a lifetime."

That's all well and good, but I think the theme of royalty was better expressed in the Les Ors collection of 2010.  Still, this is a nice piece and laid the groundwork for that collection, so I can't complain too much.  :)

Clé de Peau 2009 Vintage Holiday Palette (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 3)

I was seriously blown away when I saw this powder from Clé de Peau.  "Inspired by the eternal allure of vintage jewelry," it boasts a multi-faceted jewel shape with a diamond-like sparkle.  Even the box and outer case have the same design.





With flash:



Since every store was sold out when I called around for this I wound up getting it through E-bay, but I maintain that it is well worth it.   Definitely a holiday exhibition showstopper!

What's all the buzz about? (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 2)

Guerlain's Les Ors collection for the 2010 holiday season is an elegant ode to their signature bee motif.  In 1853 Pierre-Francois-Pascal Guerlain created a citrus scent for Napoleon III's wife, the Empress Eugénie.  Eau de Cologne Impériale was housed in a bottle decorated with 69 gilded bees, the emblem of the family's coat of arms and the Napoleonic empire.  The bee then became the symbol for the Guerlain brand and is still used on their perfume bottles today.

Picture 1
(image from neimanmarcus.com)

This collection was a vast hive of golden bees - they appeared on every single piece, even the mascara. 



Midnight Star and Or Impérial Sublime Radiant Powder Face & Body:


Météorites Perles d'Or:

(image from dbeautyjunkie.com)

My favorite piece, the Météorites Voyage Poudre d'Or.  This gorgeous bee-patterned powder is encased in a silver compact featuring a gold bee hovering amidst black Swarovski crystals.

(image from nordstrom.com)

I could only afford one item at the time (and not the beautiful compact above, which is what I really wanted but it retailed for $170), so I settled for the eye shadow quad.



With flash:


The honeycomb pattern on the shadows can be seen a little better on these exquisite, hand-painted bottles from Bergdorf Goodman:

(image from blog.bergdorfgoodman.com)

Overall I thought this was a pretty amazing collection - an expression of the brand's history (the bee symbol) combined with the gold theme, which pays homage to and updates the use of gold on the original perfume bottle, makes for museum-worthy pieces.

Couture Monday: Yves Saint Laurent bow collection (Ghosts of Christmas makeup past, part 1)

YSL's 2008 holiday collection celebrated the designer's use of bows.  From the press release:

“One should always be tempted to untie a woman’s clothes” – Yves Saint Laurent

A symbol of femininity and the love that Monsieur Yves Saint Laurent had for women, the bow — be it demure or sexy, a velvet loop or a satin tie — has woven its way through his collections. Here, gracefully placed at the small of the back. There, tied around the neck in a protective, airy gesture to veil a lovely décolleté in transparent chiffon. Or just there, on the hip to highlight the endless length of a leg.

For the 2008 year-end holidays, the BOW COLLECTION reinterprets the symbol and pays tribute to the Couturier. With a look created by Val Garland, the sparkling, mischievous eyes of Coco Rocha are hidden behind a thick fringe of hair and her laughing lips are defined with an intense, plumping lipstick.

While not as stellar as some of their past releases, I did enjoy the shiny gold compact with a matte  bow on it:


With flash:


Too bad there was no pattern on the inside. 


Let's see, does Yves Saint Laurent really make use of bows in his fashion?  Indeed.  In searching the runway shows at style.com, I don't think there was one season where bows didn't make at least one appearance.  Here are a couple examples.

Some dresses:

(image from net-a-porter.com)

(image from style.com)

And bags:

(image from purseblog.com)

(image from bluefly.com)

And, of course, the iconic dress from 1983, which was the inspiration for the Esprit Couture palettes from fall 2007:

image from chicshoppingparis.blogspot.com

(image from kissandmakeup.tv)

Looking at those makes me think this holiday collection was pretty much recycling the bow theme, and not executing it nearly as well as the Esprit Couture palettes.  Overall, pretty meh.  It's been a long time since YSL has done a truly interesting palette - let's hope in 2012 they do something more creative.

Curator's Corner, 12/17/2011

CC logoIt's almost Christmas, hooray!  Oddly enough I don't think Santa is bringing me any makeup - I opted for more workout clothes from Lululemon. :P

Here are some links from the week.

- Jane has a spot-on article about men who don't like makeup on women.  Sigh. 

- A round-up of beauty books from The Hairpin

- Did you know it was National Cupcake Day this past Thursday?  I didn't.  But I do plan on making a batch of eggnog cupcakes for my mom when I visit her later this week. 

- For those of you celebrating Christmas, here's some nail fun.  OPI Merry Holidays...


...plus China Glaze Twinkle Lights layered on top...


...equals one hell of a festive manicure!


- Finally, a little announcement:  now that I've written about most of the newest holiday stuff, this week's posts will be a series I'm calling Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past.  They will be devoted to the holiday collections of last year and earlier, which for whatever reason I didn't cover when they were actually released.  So go back in time with me and celebrate the pretty items from yesteryear!

Light as a feather: Guerlain 2011 holiday

Guerlain released this highlighting powder, Parure de Nuit, as the crown jewel of their holiday collection.   The wispy, delicate striations of cascading feathers and the soft pink, coral and blue tones make me think this might be more appropriate for a spring collection, but it's pretty nevertheless.







With flash:





But why feathers?   The description from the press release provides the missing piece of the puzzle.

"For Guerlain’s Holiday 2011 make-up collection Belle de Nuit, Creative Director Oliver Échaudemaison takes his inspiration from the legendary fragrance, Vol de Nuit (Night Flight). Evoking the changing shades of the night sky, he created daring tones that are both dark and dramatic with mesmerizing iridescent accents. With lacquered and blue-green details, the products are encased within boxes that reveal the blue and black zebra motif found on the original Vol de Nuit box design. Belle de Nuit is a sophisticated and enchanting limited edition collection that is as fleeting as nightfall."

Besides the gorgeous feather pattern, Guerlain did indeed add some very nice blue-green details.

The teal brush, cleverly tucked away inside the compact:


Teal-lined velvet pouch:


The interior of the box:



Here's a vintage ad for the perfume, for comparison of the pattern:

Vol de nuit poster

I like that Guerlain didn't make this powder quite so literal.  Rather than repeating the propeller-inspired design of the Vol de Nuit bottle (which was also used for the perfumed shimmer powder for this 2011 collection), or using an illustration of an actual bird, the use of feathers merely suggest the idea of taking flight.   Nice job, Guerlain.