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June 2012

Curator's Corner, 6/23/2012

CC logoWhew, another super busy week flew by.  Here are the links.

- Now, you know I spare no expense when it comes to beauty items, but really, Clé de Peau, a $13,000 lotion?  For heaven's sake, you could get a host of fancy dermatalogical treatments or even plastic surgery for that price, and I'm sure they'd be more effective than than a moisturizer!  At less than 2 oz. per jar, even if one bought all three jars that are being produced, it wouldn't last very long either.

- A local business writer declares Lululemon to be the winner in a battle with Under Armour, which I was glad to read.  Baltimore is such an Under Armour town but I hope the tide is turning to Lulu's favor.

- Since Pulp Fiction is the Curator's favorite movie, I greatly enjoyed this remix

- I have no idea why I didn't see this site before, but it is hilarious.

- Well, duh!  I think any makeup addict worth their salt knows how filthy cosmetics counters are, so this isn't really news to us.  I hardly ever use the testers at makeup counters and if I do, I only swatch on my hands (never my face) and make sure to thoroughly wash them afterwards.  

- Finally, last Sunday Museum Advisory Committee member Sailor Babo visited the tall ships in the Inner Harbor for the Sailabration.  You can read all about his adventure here.


How was your week?

MM Smackdown! Battle of the Butterflies

Butterflies were a popular theme for the spring/summer 2012 season.  I was going to do a squaring off just of Paul & Joe's highlighting powder and Pop Beauty's blush/bronzer combo, but couldn't resist adding Mark's All the Highlights palette to the mix.  As with the Valentine's Day Massacre, we have three instead of two worthy opponents in the ring for the Battle of the Butterflies. 


Let's get ready to rummmmbbbblllllle!  *ding ding*

First up, we have Pop Beauty Sunblossom Blush Bronzer featuring a simple butterfly silhouette.  What it lacks in detail it makes up for in size, measuring a good five inches across.



Next we have Paul & Joe's Highlighting powder.  Paul & Joe put a unique spin on the butterfly by placing it offset within the palette and including overlapping wings in the background.  And of course, let's not forget how prettily the green outline and dots complement the green outer packaging.



Our third contender is a sneaky little surprise from Mark for their spring collection.  This palette features a shimmery purple butterfly with a swirl design on its wings against a background of raised cartoony flowers.  Its vibrancy plays well off the softer pastel hues (cream, pale pink and lavender) of the flowers.



So who wins the Battle of the Butterflies?  Does Pop Beauty's butterfly have the upper hand due to its size and simplicity?  Will Paul & Joe's harmonious combination of pink and green vanquish the other two?  Or will the shimmer and square shape of the Mark palette obliterate old favorite Paul & Joe and manage to defeat a palette nearly twice its size?  Tell me in the comments!

p.s. Since I was so short on time the husband the designed the kick-ass poster, so a big thanks goes to him.  :)

Quick post: Happy solstice!

I was hoping to get the summer exhibition up today, but that didn't work out.  *grumble*  Instead I'm honoring the solstice and the longest day of the year with Stila's solar-powered compact.

Stila solar compact
(image from stilacosmetics.com)

Isn't this cool?  One side contains a matte powder and the other is a highlighter.  According to the description, the "solar panel lasts approximately five years and can be fully charged up to one thousand times."  Plus the compact is refillable and made from recycled material.  Talk about eco-friendly!

Enjoy all the delicious summer daylight!

A pair of international beauty exhibitions

Some very exciting beauty-related exhibitions have been cropping up!  First up, Shiseido had a two-day exhibition in honor of its 140th (!!) anniversary at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past weekend.  The exhibition is called Un Trait Plus Loin ("A Streak Further", I think) and features beautifully designed ads from a range of time periods. 

A few highlights:

Shiseido 2012


(images from blog.birchbox.com, ca.fashionmag.com and luckymag.com)

They hung some of the ads from lanterns, which is unique but doesn't necessarily allow a close look. 

(image from beautylish.com)

In conjunction with their anniversary, Shiseido is selling a limited-edition bottle of its Eudermine facial lotion with the original design from 1897.  And if you buy that, you'll also receive limited-edition blotting papers designed by Ayao Yamana, "a legendary Shiseido designer from the 60s and 70s."  I must admit I am tempted!

While I do love me some vintage makeup ads, there was an exhibition in Hong Kong that sounded even more amazing.  "An Ode to the Complexion: The Art of Skincare and Beauty Objects from the 18th Century to the Present", devoted to Guerlain items and other treasures, opened at shopping mall Pacific Place on May 23rd.  It was brought to my attention by my mother, who tore out the ad for it she spotted in a travel magazine during her recent two-week trip to China and Hong Kong.  How fortuitous!  I don't think I ever would have known about it otherwise and it just happened to be going on while she was there (unfortunately she didn't have time to check it out).

(click to enlarge)


What's really awesome about this exhibition is that it offered makeup demonstrations to recreate looks from the different decades of the 20th century.  Such a great idea, I will definitely steal it. :)

Most of the items were powder boxes and compacts, and belong to two French collectors, Anne Camilli and Jean-Marie Martin Hattemberg (Hattemberg is the author of Lips of Luxury).

Guerlain bird compact

Guerlain powder

Guerlain compact bronze
(images from frenchmay.com)

Guerlain compact

Guerlain La-Poudre-aux-Ballons-
(images from butterboom.com)

Some real-life pictures.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think the labels I create for my exhibitions are a little more informative and visually appealing. 


Météorites!  I'm pleased to say I own one of these: the black, crystal-encrusted Perles Impériales on the right in the middle row.  I also recognize the bee-adorned Perles d'Or in the same row on the left. 

Guerlain exhibit meteorites
(images from my-lifestyle-news.com)

I'm a little shocked at the care for these objects, or lack thereof.  I can't be 100% sure from the pictures, but it looks like there are no protectors on top of the open powders, thereby exposing them to dust.  The horror!  I mean, I don't put the plastic coverings on top of my items since they're only open for a few minutes while I photograph them for exhibitions, but if my items were to be in an official exhibition sitting out for days or weeks, I would demand some type of clear covering so as to protect the powder.

The exhibition also included lipsticks.  It's an interesting way to display them - I always have the lipsticks upright in my exhibitions, but to have them all laying down in neat little rows is a good way to do it too.

Guerlain exhibit
(image from allmadeup-nowheretogo.blogspot.com)

As you can imagine, I was really excited about these two exhibitions.  I hope to see more of them, and maybe they will be in the U.S. so I might actually have a chance of seeing them!  And of course, maybe curate a few of my own exhibitions.  :)

Curator's Corner, 6/16/2012

CC logoAnother crazy week!  I mean seriously nuts workwise.  Here are this week's links, plus lots of pics from a very busy and fun day here in B'more. 

- This exhibition of couture dresses constructed out of paper looks interesting. 

- Remember that it's Father's Day tomorrow.  Here are some cute cards for dear old dad.

- The Curator is a pizza fiend, so the idea of being able to get pizza from a vending machine is quite intriguing! 

- I got up super early this morning to run my second race, the Baltimore 10-miler.  You may recall that I ran my first race a little less than 2 months ago (also a 10-miler) and I managed to shave nearly 5 minutes off of that time!  I'm still slow as molasses and I think the Baltimore course was easier than the one I ran for my first race, but I was still pleased.

Here I am waiting to run...is this thing going to start or what?


Then we were off.  It was a really fun race and some parts were very pretty and scenic.  I will say that parking was an absolute nightmare - if I run it again next year I will have to leave at like 6am for a 7:30 start, even though we live only about 15 minutes away.

Heading towards the finish line - I like this pic because it finally looks like I'm running.  Every other picture taken of me while running I look like I'm walking (I guess because I practically am since I'm so slow!):


All sweaty and posing for pics for my parents, who drove 2 hours to see me finish!  Yes, my dad is carrying my mom's purse - she gets tired of holding it and makes him carry it on occasion.  Poor guy.


Afterwards we walked around a bit and I got my official time and my race swag (a very nice white pullover with a Baltimore 10-miler patch on the one sleeve).  We tried to get the two free beers each runner is allotted, but the line was about 100 people deep so we just went home. 

Then it was off to the Charm City Craft Mafia's Pile of Craft show!  So much fun.

Photo 1

I had been wanting a silver necklace with my initial on it for a while, so when I spotted these from Metamorphosis Metals I had to get it.


I also picked up this pretty little terrarium from Planted.  I don't care how much fun F*ck Your Noguchi Coffee Table makes of them, I thought it was so cute!


Since I love anything miniature, it was the teeny lady in yellow that made me buy it.  I like to pretend she's having some kind of spiritual journey through the desert.


After some delicious sandwiches and matzoh ball soup at Attman's, we headed back home where my parents gave me some things they had picked up on their trip to China, one of which was an ad for a Guerlain makeup exhibit (more on that later).  Then sadly they had to skedaddle since it was almost time for the Baltimore Pride parade and they didn't want to get caught in detours and traffic.  After they left I was going to take a nap since I had been up early for the race (and didn't sleep well the night before because I was nervous) but as this was the scene outside, it was a bit too noisy for me to sleep.

Photo 4



And since it's Sailabration weekend, I also had to contend with the noise from the Blue Angels flying overhead.  They sounded like they were going to fly right into our building, yikes!

How was your week?  Any fun weekend plans you'd like to share?

A bronzer for pandas from Lancôme

Lancôme released this very pretty, if enormous, bronzer for their summer 2012 Bronze Diva collection.  While the design isn't new, I was pleased to have picked this up seeing as how I missed it the when it was originally released with the Bronze Riviera summer 2010 collection.

The palette features a cluster of bamboo leaves and a setting sun against a textured background.   I love the Asian-inspired feel to it.




With flash:


While bamboo has been a traditional theme in Asian art for centuries, the way this particular design is silhouetted, combined with the woven texture, looks like the work of contemporary L.A.-based artist Devon Tsuno.  Tsuno works with spray paint and acrylic on handmade paper, and his most recent paintings focus on "L.A.'s non-native vegetation."

Here's a peek at some of his work from 2011, which I would dearly love to hang up in my imaginary beach house on some tropical island.

Blue Palm:




Transient Seedlings:

(images from devontsuno.com)

Do you see the resemblance between these and the bamboo bronzer?   Tell me in the comments!

Quick post: More of the latest foundation technology

Romi digital foundationMove over, airbrush and BB creams!  There's a new frontier in foundation technology and it's called Romi Digital Foundation. 

I spotted this newfangled contraption over at Beautylish last week, which the author describes as a cross between the egg-shaped Beauty Blender foundation sponge and a Clarisonic brush (for those of you not familiar with Clarisonic, it's an electric facial cleansing brush made by the same company that brought us Sonicare toothbrushes).  According to the product description at HSN, where you can purchase it for a mere $89.99, you simply load in the foundation cartridge and click it on to apply.  The device allegedly delivers 5,000 "pats" of foundation per minute, producing a flawless finish. 

I love both my Clarisonic and Beauty Blender, so if I had an extra 90 bucks sitting around I'd be all over this to see if it really delivered.  While I think it's an interesting idea, I'm not sure it'll replace the usual sponge/brush/fingers application so many people rely on during their daily makeup routine.  After all, airbrush foundation devices do give an nice even finish, but most women don't own them (in my experience, they hire a pro to apply airbrush foundations for special occasions, i.e., their wedding day).  So while the Romi Digital Foundation kit costs much less than an airbrush foundation dispenser (usually these run about $200-$300), I still don't think it'll be a staple for most people, especially since the foundation itself is only available in three shades.

Is this "digital foundation" the wave of the future or simply another gimmick?

Couture Monday: Pucci for Guerlain, take 2

Guerlain collaborated with fashion brand Pucci for the cosmetics company's spring 2007 collection.  Five years later, the two teamed up again to give us the Bella Azura summer collection.  I think Guerlain's press release did a nice job of describing the collection:  "'Guerlain by Emilio Pucci' embodies the union of two prestigious Houses in perfect synergy. This exceptional makeup collaboration draws its inspiration from summertime in the Italian Riviera, with its light-hearted and energetic 'dolce vita' attitude that welcomes the warm, sea weather. Created by Guerlain Creative Director, Olivier Echaudemaison, and Pucci’s Image Director, Laudomia Pucci, the collection embraces summer with delightfully sunny shades and vibrant bursts of color. The common thread of this second collaboration is a motif inspired by an iconic print, 'Winter Capri', taken from the Emilio Pucci archives. Exclusively retouched for this collection, this signature print, a blue flower interlaced with swirls and flames, adds a joyful and elegant Pucci touch to the Guerlain summer products."

I picked up two items:  perennial highlighting fave Météorites and the powder brush. 

Guerlain did a great job putting different parts of the print on the sides of the Météorites box.




Interestingly, the sides of the container are plain blue - the 2007 Météorites container had the print on the sides as well as the top.


With flash:


Here is the blue-tipped brush, complete with its own Pucci-printed carrying case.



There was another collectible item that the Museum, sadly, did not have the funds to purchase (I suppose I could have, but that would have meant not buying other necessary summer 2012 items):  the Bronzing Powder & Blush.  The shiny wood case was supposed to be reminiscent of yacht paneling.  "The star of the collection, this exquisite powder and blush combines two success stories: Guerlain’s legendary Terracotta powder and Emilio Pucci’s iconic prints. The world of beauty and fashion unite in a single case to beautifully enhance the complexion. Half bronzer and half blush, this hybrid powder has a lightweight formula and offers a universal harmony of four shades. The outer case pays tribute to the paneling of a Riva yacht with an ebony-colored varnished wood. Presented in an accessory pouch printed with the Pucci motif, this is the ultimate summery accessory."  

(image from nordstrom.com)

I didn't buy it because it was the most expensive of the three items shown here, and I think the Météorites is always the "star" of any Guerlain collection, no matter what the ad copy says.  Still, it's a gorgeous piece and if I didn't have to sacrifice buying something else, I would have gotten it.

Anyway, let's talk a little about the "Winter Capri" print.  I couldn't really find anything on the history of it - the design process used by Pucci to create it, how it was used previously, etc.  I do know that it still exists today in scarf form:

Pucci capri scarves
(images from saksfifthavenue.com and polyvore.com)

I searched through many runway archives to see if it had been used there, and sure enough, it made an appearance in the fall 2010 collection.

Pucci fall 2010
(images from style.com)

I think it works better in the bright blue and aqua hues in the Guerlain collaboration, but it was very interesting to see it take a darker turn for a fall collection.  Other than this example and the scarves I was unable to turn up anything else on the print.  I do wonder why Pucci decided to resurrect it for this particular collection, although I'm happy they were using an actual Pucci print.  For the 2007  collaboration Guerlain came up with a new, "Pucci-inspired" print, which I did find a little odd (although very pretty) - why not just use an existing one?  In any case, I'm enjoying the 2012 collaboration more than their previous one.  I find the print more appealing, and I like that it was a unique one from the archives that hadn't been done to death.

Do you like this collection?  And are you a Pucci fan?

Curator's Corner, 6/9/2012

CC logoSince I totally fell off the blogging wagon last week, links today are from the past 2 weeks.  I hope to be more on the ball with posting this week, but I can't promise anything as it's shaping up to be the busiest week I've had in a while.  To say my life is in flux would be an understatement.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy this huge batch of links.

- I want to get this adorable Marks and Spencer palette for my mom - she loves owls so this would be perfect, but I don't think I can get it stateside.  Hmph.

- The Art of Scent exhibition opened at the Museum of Arts and Design in NYC.  How about an Art of Makeup exhibition?  I know someone who could curate it.  ;)

Beautylish rounds up "international Klein blue"-inspired beauty products.  I'm embarrassed that as a former art history major I had no idea there was a brilliant shade of blue invented by Yves Klein.

- In the world of themed days, last Friday was National Punch a Hipster Day.  I can't decide if I like that more than National Talk Like a Pirate Day (September 19).  And this past Wednesday was National Running Day.

- This Serious Eats post on Mack's pizza at Wildwood's boardwalk got me nostalgic for my childhood vacations at the Jersey shore.

- '90s woman that I am, I cracked up at these Clueless candles.  "You're a virgin who can't drive."  "That was way harsh, Tai."

- Love the idea of having a museum mascot.  Surely one of the Museum's staff members could fill that role but I couldn't bring myself to choose! 

The award for the most exciting beauty news of the week goes to the Shu Uemura/Karl Lagerfeld collaboration coming up for the 2012 holiday season.  Can't. Wait.

And the award for the most exciting fashion news of the week goes to my favorite store, who is now FINALLY offering online shopping in the U.S.  Previously the only way to get my paws on it, short of a trip abroad or to NYC, was to order by phone from one of the few U.S. stores.  My credit card is weeping.  Here's my haulage (all shirts), as modeled by museum staff.  And I will be picking up more, of course, now that the buying process is easier.


As I mentioned in my post on Anna Sui's pirate-inspired summer collection and as these next 2 pictures will demonstrate, I'm a bit obsessed with skulls.  Just a little.  ;)



How was your week?

That's not what I heard: Beth Ditto for MAC

(image from maccosmetics.com)

I'm a big Gossip fan, so when I first heard about Beth Ditto collaborating with MAC I could hardly contain my excitment.  However, once the collection arrived I couldn't help but be a little disappointed - there is no special limited edition packaging, and just one product that is only marginally interesting from a design perspective:  the face powder in Powder to the People.




With flash:


I didn't really get the whole polka dot thing until I read the "behind the scenes" interview in which Ditto reports that her beauty icons are Grace Jones and Peggy Moffitt.  Perhaps this picture of Moffitt inspired her?

(image from blog.stylesight.com)

While I liked her thoughts on beauty and color ("Makeup offers someone the unique freedom to become someone else for the day, 10 minutes or the rest of their life...I’m passionate about colour. My best friend and I sit and look at Pantone books for fun"), I was still slightly taken aback by the choice of polka dots for the promo image and the powder.  Beth Ditto, to me, is incredibly fierce and untameable and awesome, and I don't think polka dots capture these qualities.  She's such a badass, and then...clownish dots.  There just seems to be a disconnect there.  Then again, I don't know her at all - I only have my own perception of her as a really cool singer, so this might embody her personality better than I think.  Also, the collection doesn't have to represent her, necessarily, just her beauty inspiration.  Still, I maintain that overall this collection is uninteresting design-wise, and it's disappointing given the amazing person MAC worked with - so much more could have been done, I think.

What are your thoughts?  And do you like Gossip and Beth Ditto?  Actually, don't answer that unless your answer is yes.  ;)