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February 2012

Special exhibition: Woven

Woven poster

Woven:  Textiles in Makeup Design explores the ways in which cosmetics appropriate clothing materials.  Delicate lace, nubby tweed and soft cashmere are just a few of the designs that have been imprinted onto makeup items in recent years.  Conflating powder and fabric,  these items fuse the normally separate spheres of makeup and textiles.

There has always been a significant relationship between beauty and fashion.  Makeup is needed to finish the overall look at runway shows; many couture houses have their own beauty lines; and fashion designers collaborate with cosmetic companies for limited-edition collections.   Then there's the idea of "fashion for the face" - that makeup should be just as stylish and expressive as the clothes one wears.  The items in this show take the concept literally by embossing patterns used for clothing onto makeup. 

I hope you enjoy the first Makeup Museum special exhibition!




(Top shelves, left to right)

Chanel Tweed Effect blush and Physician's Formula Cashmere Wear Bronzer:




Burberry eye shadow and lipstick:




Shu Uemura Prima palette:



Dolce and Gabbana Sicilian Lace palette:




(Bottom shelves, left to right)

Chanel Ombres Tisseés palette:




MAC Jeanius eye shadows:




Dior Lace-Effect Powder:





Armani Jacquard eye shadow palette:




Exhibition notes 

Inspiration:  I was originally inspired by this blurb in InStyle Magazine from March 2011.  Yes, nearly a year.  That's how long this idea has been in my head! 

Lucky mag article

Logistics:  This was one of the smaller exhibitions I've put together, yet it took the longest.  Since it's the first non-seasonal exhibition I've done I had to put a bit more thought into it.  And due to the position of the shelves, photographing exhibitions in this space is always difficult. 

Curation:  There are so many more things I could have included - I would have loved to have purchased the Revlon and Valerie Beverly Hills palettes that the InStyle page mentions.  Chanel's Pink Lamé was originally in included in the exhibition, as well as Stila's Perfectly Peach tweed-texture clutch and the black satin Brilliant clutch palettes, but I only have so much space.  So I picked out what I thought would be most interesting and in keeping with the theme (which is why I ultimately ruled out Stila's purse palettes, as only the outer packaging involved textiles and not the makeup itself).  Also, I'm not a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow but that white suit really is the best example of Armani jacquard that I could find.

Paper/design:  If you look closely, you'll notice I selected a woven-textured paper for the labels.   A big thanks to the husband for laying them out, helping me with the exhibition poster, and for letting me move his stuff off the shelves temporarily.  :)

Quick post: beauty exhibition at the Center for History

Mrs.Winslows syrupSo exciting!  There's a new beauty exhibit at the Center for History in South Bend, Indiana called "Gizmos, Corsets & Concoctions: Our Obsession with Health & Beauty."  From the website:  "Gizmos, Corsets & Concoctions: Our Obsession with Health & Beauty explores some of what has been experienced over time in the pursuit of health and beauty. Seeking to look or feel better, people have willing to imbibe, don and endure many interesting cure-alls throughout the years. A wide variety of medicinal and cosmetic offerings have been available, some hawked by fast-talking peddlers and others provided by highly respected institutions. Whether looking for better health, treatment for ailments, or transformation into the current pinnacle of beauty, people have turned to medical sources, even the 'magic potions' of sideshows. Some did the trick; others caused more harm than good."

The exhibit contains beauty ads from the 19th and 20th centuries, contraptions like a "permanent wave" hair-styling machine from the '30s, and even a replica of a doctor's office with elixirs and tonics.  Too bad I'm not going to Indiana any time soon!  I'd love to see it.

(via The Beheld)

(image from centerforhistory.org)

Curator's Corner, 2/25/2012

Mum.cc.3ppAnother winter week DONE and we are that much closer to spring!  Here are some things from the interwebs this week that caught my eye. 

- Something I would definitely install at the museum is this makeup wallpaper (via Addicted to Beauty). 

- According to new research, humans were meant to sleep twice a day.  See, I always said naps should be mandatory!

 - I got a kick out of this Mondrian-inspired sandwich.  

- Jessica at XOJane.com discusses Marian Keyes's book Saved by Baking - I must get it, seeing as how I bake 2 to 3 desserts nearly every weekend as therapy. 

- F*ck Your Noguchi Coffee Table is a truly hilarious blog (found via Apartment Therapy).  With their post on wall-mounted guitars, they definitely got our number.  Oops.  Here's one of our living room walls.


I swear we didn't hang them up to be hipster design snobs - it was out of practicality!  If they're not on the wall they take up a lot of room.

What was catching your fancy this week?


A woman's work is never done: Shop MAC/Cook MAC

This is one of the strangest collections from MAC yet and I'm still not quite sure what to make of the concept behind it.  Won't you join me for a little musing?

Shop MAC/Cook MAC is a small-ish collection - not as large as previous February collections (see Hello Kitty, Barbie, Fafi), and features bright spring colors packaged in girly hues with some gingham thrown in.

Shop mac

Cook mac
(images from theshadesofu.com)

My first thought when I saw the promo image and the collection title was "WTF is this, Stepford Wives on acid?"

Main promo(image from maccosmetics.com)

All I could think about was the grocery store scene in The Stepford Wives, especially after seeing this image from the invitations to the private promotional events at MAC stores.

Shop aisles(image from specktra.net)

Stills from The Stepford Wives (2004):

The-stepford-wives(image from listal.com)

Stepfordwives shop
(image from smh.com.au)

It gets even weirder - apparently at the promotional events they had Shop MAC/Cook MAC rubber gloves, emblazoned with the words "Domestic Goddess!" (with a rhinestone serving as the exclamation point), along with cleaning sponges, as giveaways to the lucky invitees.  There was also a tote bag.

MAC's description didn't help me much in wrapping my head around the theme.  "Shop 'til you drop with a tongue-in-cheek collection that elevates the everyday into the extraordinary...Gourmet glamour is here. Look delicious while you whip it up! Our recipe for kitchen kouture is here in savoury shades for Eyes and Lips. Dishy Nail Lacquers, too. Bon appétit!"  Okay, yes, tongue-in-cheek for sure, but I'm still confused.  Why make the main promo image so creepy? MAC's ads are usually pretty avant-garde, and I get the idea that this was meant to be kitschy and fun, not actually a veiled insinuation that women should go back in time and stick to domestic chores while being dressed to the nines.   But having a bunch of spaced-out, unsmiling women taking on activities associated with traditional femininity is odd, especially in the current political climate (at least in the U.S.)  As for the giveaways, I think people attending MAC events would have appreciated something besides rubber gloves and sponges (the tote bag is reasonable).  It was a good theme - the idea that we've come so far that we can actually poke a little fun at the way things used to be is encouraging - but it wasn't executed as well as it could have been.  What I'm trying to say, I suppose, is that the main ad and 2 of the giveaway items didn't sit well with me for reasons I still can't clearly articulate...perhaps, because, the fun that the collection intended becomes lost in objects that represent the drudgery that women had to perform daily, as well as the humorless expressions of the models in the ad.  Then again, maybe I am the one who lacks humor.  ;)

What say you?

New to me brand: Laqa & Co.

As I mentioned in the Curator's Corner on Saturday, I was flabbergasted to see this brand had slipped through my curating radar.  All of the packaging design for Laqa & Co., a line that features nail polish in pen form, is created by up and coming artists.  And each one gets part of the profit from every item sold.   As I noted in a comment at Lovely Package, we've seen makeup companies collaborate with artists for a limited-edition collection (or in the case of Shu Uemura, even start their own award for burgeoning artists), but not for permanent lines.  What's even cooler about the products is that you can actually buy the art to hang on your wall.  Genius!

Laqa & Co. introduced their nail polish pens a few years ago, but has recently come out with lip pencils.  We'll start with those.

Bossyboots by Liam Brazier:

Bossy boots - liam brazier

Fairyblood by Hazel Nicholls:

Fairyblood 2

Lambchop (no artist was given for this one):


Ring of Fire by Field:

Ring of fire - field

Wolfman by Mark Mawson:

Wolfman - mark mawson

But the items I'm most excited about are the nail polish pens, since the website provided big pics of the designs that appears on each (although some only showed a partial image of the them - for those I included a smaller size of the full image.)  Here they are in alphabetical order.

Bells and Whistles by Pomme Chan:

Bellsandwhistles - pomme chan


Birthday Suit by Amy Ross:

Birthday suit - amy ross

B-day suit

BMX Bandit by FOE:

BMX bandit - FOE

Bmx bandit

Fancypants by Cindy Rodrigiez:

Fancypants - cindy rodrigiez


I Want a Pony by Hazel Nicholls:

I want a pony - hazel nicholls


This is one of the ones that got cut off - as you can see, the full image is actually a nesting doll!


Nookie by James Roper:

Nookie - james roper


Pimpin' by Katie Kirk:

Pimpin - katie kirk


Squid Ink by Carol Del Angel:

Squid ink - Carol del angel

Squid ink

Those Meddling Kids by Soo Lee:

Thosemeddlingkids - Soo Lee


Toff by Tatiana Plakhova:

Toff - tatiana plakhova


Topcoat by Martin Sati:

Topcoat - martin sati


I loved this print because of the skulls, but adored it even more after seeing the entire image (sad subject matter aside - it's supposed to represent Bambi's mother):


WTF by Géraldine Georges:

WTF - geraldine georges


Here's the full image:


You can read a little blurb about each of the artists at the Laqa website.  There are also a few nail polish pens that aren't at the website currently - I do hope they're not discontinued!

Blurple by Nazario Graziano:


Tigerblood by Paul Price:


Ahem, I think these would make a very nice gift for a certain curator.  ;)  Because, you see, I clearly need ALL of them.  I dare say these are the ultimate, literal embodiment of the museum's mission - to look at cosmetics design and packaging as art.

What do you think?  Do you have a favorite?

(all images from laqaandco.com and b-glowing.com)

Idun Minerals

I spotted this line a while ago at Makeupalley and couldn't get it out of my head!  Meet Idun Minerals, a mineral-based makeup line from Sweden.  These products echo beauty balm creams in their promise to nourish and protect your skin at the same time as improving its appearance, and in the fact that they were also developed by a dermatologist.

That's all well and good, but what's interesting to me about this line are the illustrations - each face product features a different one.   I looked closely at the packaging and hoped the name on it would lead me to the person who did the illustrations, and indeed it did!  From what I was able to piece together, the niece of Maurizio Gucci, (grandson of Gucci pioneer Aldo) Patricia Gucci created them.  The original pieces hang in Idun's Stockholm headquarters.


Idun foundation


Idun concealer


Idun blush



Brush box:

Idun brush
(images from nelly.com)

I wasn't able to find any of Gucci's other works, but I was inspired by another artist.  Perhaps since the brand is Swedish I've got Scandinavia on the brain, but in any case these designs are reminding me of Norwegian painter Edvard Munch.  The bold lines and broad, heavy brushstrokes of saturated color are similar to my eye - not so reminiscent of The Scream, for which Munch is most famous, but his self-portraits. 

Self-Portrait against Blue Sky, 1904:


Self-Portrait with Bottle of Wine, 1906:

images from bc.edu

Of course, the girls adorning Idun's packaging are much sunnier than Munch's angst-filled subject matter!

Now that we've had our little art comparison, which one of Idun's packages is your favorite?   I think mine is the bronzer - I love that the girl's head is enveloped in a peach (or some kind of fruit).  :)

Curator's Corner, 2/18/2012

Mum.cc.3ppThis was an important week, not because it was Valentine's Day but because both of my parents' birthdays occurred.  Happy b-day Mom and Dad!  Anyway, here are some good linkies for the week.

- Here's a very informative interview at Worn Through with dress historian Aileen Ribeiro, author of Facing Beauty: Painted Women and Cosmetic Art, which I will be buying ASAP.

- Another awesome-sounding book brought to my attention by The Beheld.

- Collecting Vintage Compacts shares an amazing photostream of compacts on Flickr...oh my how I'd love to have those for the Museum!!

- In other makeup design news, I was pleased to see a shout-out to the packaging for Benefit's new Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundation at TheDieline.

- There's a brand that I should have known about way earlier!  My interest was piqued when I spotted this British makeup line at AddictedtoBeauty.  Then, I just about died when I read more about the packaging over at Lovely Package.  Must. Get. Everything.  Stay tuned for a proper post on Laqa & Co.

- Finally, one of my favorite incarnations of the latest meme that's been making the rounds on the interwebs, brought to you by the always hilarious Pink Sith.  I thought I'd play too, so here's my contribution:


What have you been interested in this week?

Friday Fun: cheery lip balms

Happy Friday!  I thought I'd round off this V-day week with a quick post on some very cheerful lip balms to keep your pucker in tip-top shape for smooching your beloved. ;)  Thanks to Beautifulwithbrains and BritishBeautyBlogger for bringing my attention to these.

I've always admired Soap & Glory's witty product names and clever copy, and these lip balms fit right in.  A Great Kisser balms come in Chocolate Cherry, Juicy Peach and Sweet Coconut flavors and feature a smiley, retro-looking woman on the packaging. 



(images from soapandglory.com)

They remind me quite a bit of Benefit's earlier items, like the Roadside Attraction palettes.  

Then we have Love & Toast's Pucker Up tinted lip glaze set.  I was vaguely familiar with the line as it's made by Margot Elena (who also does the design for Tokyo Milk, the most beautifully packaged bath and body line I've ever seen), but I thought the collection consisted only of bath and body items.  I was wrong - apparently Love & Toast dabbles in makeup as well, as these lip glosses demonstrate.


There's also a lip butter sampler set that I'd love to get my hands on:

(images from loveandtoast.com)

The prints on all of these are wonderful - they work great on the items themselves, but I could see them making awesome gift wrap too!

So what do you think?  Which design is your fave?  Naturally I can't choose...I definitely want all of them!

Roses are red...and blue, and orange

If you didn't get flowers yesterday, no worries.  This spring a fresh crop (ha) of roses has popped up to adorn your cheeks.   I like to think that makeup companies were aware of my disdain for traditional rose patterns and had their design teams come up with new twists on the motif just for me.

First up is Anna Sui.  Like Lancôme and Chantecaille, the emblem of Sui's makeup line is the rose so we've seen this before.  However, these particular roses are more lush and certainly more colorful than past offerings, plus they are actually scented with tea rose.  (I can't vouch for this as I don't own them...yet).

(image from gooddealer.com)

These are the available colors.  I'm trying to resist the urge to get all six, but wouldn't that make a lovely bouquet of blushes?

AS rose shades

Next, let's take a peek at Boots 17 Spring Fling palettes in Hazy Days and Spring Brights.  I spied these over at Lipglossiping.  I like that while it's a more traditional rose rather than one of those big ruffly garden ones, the leaves and background keep it from straying into the boring territory into which other roses have fallen (I'm looking at you, Chantecaille Fall 2009 palette).  The vintage-y looking photo and chevrons on the outside of the compact are a nice touch.


Boots17springfling(images from glitter-junkie.tumblr.com)

Finally, drugstore mainstay Milani steps up their game with their new Illuminating Face Powders.  I think these are the most romantic-looking of the bunch...

Milani rose main

Milani roses
(images from milanicsometics.com)

...as they remind me of the clusters of roses you'd see on a wedding gown, like this one by Monique Lhuillier:

MH gown

Or J. Crew:

Jcrew dress
(images from weddingbee.com)

So what do you think?  Are of any of these rosy palettes appealing to you?  I know that for me, there may be a rose garden exhibition in the works.  ;)

Valentine's Day smackdown!!

Valentine's Day is almost over, but I'm still going to put up a V-day Museum smackdown!  It's the perfect antidote to all those cutesy cards and stale chocolate. 

Hearts battle

What makes this smackdown different from previous ones is that three (instead of 2) valiant items will be fighting for the champion title.  (Insert "three-way" joke here). 


First up we have Stila's Make Me Blush palette from 2011.  Make Me Blush's overlapping hearts include some gilded ones that mimic candy hearts.  Stila cleverly put the company name in the middle of one.





Our next warrior is Stila Love at First Blush palette from 2012.  Like its 2011 predecessor, this palette features overlapping hearts, but sets itself apart by a square shape and gradiated shades of pale lavender, pink and rose.




With flash:



Our third competitor hails from the drugstore.  Physician's Formula Happy Booster blush boasts a pink metallic outer case and a plethora of pillowy hearts.




With flash:



So which one captures your heart and comes out on top in the Museum's Valentine's Day Massacre?  Will Physician's Formula's fluffy-hearted, shiny pink offering conquer Stila's palettes?   Will old-timer Make Me Blush, with its sprinkling of gold hearts, dominate its newer competitors?  Or will Love at First Blush's trendy yet subtle ombre shades vanquish its two foes?  Tell me in the comments!