Vera Neumann for MAC
March 22, 2012
In keeping with the optimistic spirit that pervades the first week of spring, I present to you the Vera Neumann collection for MAC. "Brilliant butterflies, flashy florals and gorgeously geometric graphics…A colourful collaboration between M·A·C and the artist known worldwide as Vera, who merged fine arts with linens, murals, textiles and silk scarves in her punchy, painted patterns. Now in shades plucked straight from her most lavish prints, M·A·C Vera embraces the luxe, lighter-than-air spirit that delivers the kind of startling, look-at-me statement that defines what it means to be an instant classic." The colors are definitely Vera-inspired, but what interested me the most were the Pearlmatte Face Powders, which feature the artist's signature ladybug perched on what appears to be the edge of one of her wildly popular scarves. I picked up Sunday Afternoon:
Despite being a pretty big design/art enthusiast, I have to admit I wasn't familiar with Vera Neumann's work. An artist turned textile designer, Vera's somewhat kitschy, colorful prints were household staples from the 1950s through the '70s.1 (I imagine she was sort of like the Orla Kiely of her time.)
From what I gathered she was best known for scarves:
(images from artfire.com, cherryrivers.blogspot.com, and curiouscrowvintage on Etsy)
And a wide range of kitchenwares:
(images from yorkshiregalhomeshop, hotcoolvintage [both on Etsy], thevintagetraveler.wordpress.com, and thamesandbrass on Etsy)
Note: These aren't necessarily the best images that came up, but I was determined to show authentic, vintage work by Vera rather than the ubiquitous reproductions found nowadays! Anyway, I think my favorite works by her are these cheerful sun prints she created for the 1964 World's Fair.
(image from ellenbloom.blogspot.com)
Getting back to the MAC palette, I thought I'd include some examples of the ladybug that accompanied her signature.
(images from sixballoons.blogspot.com, retrorenovation.com, vintagedetail.blogspot.com, smilesgowitheverything.com)
"A ladybug means good luck in every language," she explained about her signature motif. While I think it's great that MAC worked it into some of their collection's pieces, I think they could have done more for the outer packaging given the enormous wealth of prints and patterns to draw from. Maybe they just couldn't get the licensing to use her prints on the packaging, but I'm doubtful given how many companies have churned out Vera collections. In any case, this powder is quite charming and will make a nice piece for a spring exhibition.
What do you think, both of Vera's work and the MAC collection?
1For a great summary of her work and life, check out this post. And if you're really into Vera, buy this book.