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July 2012

Desert dreaming

For the past few years I've been mildly obsessed with visiting the desert.  Not so much the far-flung deserts of Africa but more the American Southwest.  I have this urge to wander through cacti, canyons and feel the dry heat and intense sun.  Perhaps my yearning has been encouraged by desert-inspired collections, like Smashbox's Desert Chic (2008), Armani's Sienna Minerals palette (2009), Paul & Joe's Sahara collection (2010), Laura Mercier's Canyon Sunset collection (2011) and Maybelline's Summer Glow bronzers and Bobbi Brown's Desert Twilight collection this year.  And that's only the tip of the iceberg (canyon?).  So many products take their design cue from the desert's sun-drenched, wind-swept sands or the patterns in rock formations.

(Click to enlarge)

Desert-roundup(image sources contained in links)

  1. Vanessa Blake Desert Storm Pressed Powders
  2. Laura Mercier Bronzed Pressed Powder
  3. Lancôme Star Bronzer
  4. Stephanie Johnson Palm Desert makeup bag
  5. Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel Moisturizing Bronzing Powder
  6. Pupa Desert Bronzing Powder
  7. Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Powder
  8. Stila Sahara Sand makeup set
  9. Estée Lauder Illuminating Powder Gelee
  10. Rimmel Match Perfection bronzer

If I were doing a real-life exhibition, I'd include all of these objects.  I'd also try to get some of the amazing photographs by David Benjamin Sherry from his 2012 Astral Desert series on loan.  :)

Breaking Blue Dune Walls, Arizona:


Sand v (Citrine, California):


Sand xii (Violet, New Mexico):


Tangerine Sweep, Death Valley:

(images from davidbenjaminsherry.com)

Wouldn't these look great next to all those desert-y compacts? 

Celebrating the 2012 games, part 1: Stila Lovely in London

I haven't been to that many places outside the U.S., but I've managed to make it to London twice so far (once in 2007, and you may remember I gave a presentation in London last year) and I can honestly say I could see myself living there.  So I was very happy to see Stila had chosen this amazing city for one of their 2012 travel palettes - in part, I'm sure, because of the Olympics.  This palette has a sportily dressed blonde in a Stila-emblazoned track jacket and sneakers (or should I say "trainers"?), complete with duffel bag and volleyball.  The background is chock full of London goodness - Big Ben, the London Eye, plus a double-decker bus and red phonebooth.


Speaking of the Eye and the Olympics, did you know that during the Games it will light up in different colors based on the city's tweets?  How cool is that?

Anyway, here is the inside of the palette:


And the quote - while I think it's fitting for makeup, I think they should have used the British spelling of "colors" to make it more authentic:


What do you think of the palette?  And have you been watching the Olympics?

Stay tuned for more British makeup goodies in honor of the Games!

Curator's Corner, 7/28/2012

CC logoWhole lotta links this week!

How adorable are these makeup and fashion illustrations?  They're also available as gift tags and stickers! 

Beauty High gives us a nice round up of creatively packaged cosmetics.

- Also, here's a student concept for sustainable Sephora packaging

- Look, a whole post and thread about beauty based on famous artists.  This gives me an idea for a new series here at the Museum.  ;) 

- Speaking of artists, happy 125th birthday to one of the Curator's favorite artists, Marcel Duchamp! 

- Loved this article on new and old beauty contraptions (via The Hairpin).

- This new book is on my Amazon wishlist.

- Bella Sugar mentions a museum devoted to fragrance that I hadn't yet heard of. 

- So excited to see the new Bikini Kill record label and releases in honor of the their 25th anniversary!!

Some Baltimore stuff:

- Did you know we're one of the best cities for your skin?

- Pleased to see this shout-out to Bergers Cookies.

- Apartment Therapy provides an excellent guide to Charm City. 

- Here's a peek inside the new J. Crew at Harbor East.  I also need to check out the new Anthropologie.

Anyway, this was the reason my posts were so tardy this week:


As you can see, I was extremely busy on mermaid patrol.  It was so nice to get to the beach after not having been for five years!  The Curator is a huge beach bum and was very grateful her parents treated her to a few days in Atlantic City.  Yes, those are my feet and I'm wearing Dior St. Tropez polish.  :)

Look who arrived!

Please give a warm welcome to the Museum's newest staff member, Power Babo!


I still haven't figured out what the little fella should do around the Museum - I guess after he reveals his super powers to me (besides fetching cookies at light speed) I can determine what else he'd be good at.  :)

Quick post: Mayan or Egyptian?

I saw this collection at Beauty Crazed months ago but am getting around to posting about it only now.  New-to-me brand Marcelle released Riviera Maya for their spring lineup.


(images from beautycrazed.ca)

Pyramid-shaped cosmetics aren't really anything new, but I am enjoying the Goddess Glow pyramid face powder since it appears to have bricks in it much like an actual Mayan pyramid.  Behold Chichén Itzá in Mexico:

(image from britannica.com)

However, I am slightly troubled by the fact that the eye shadow quad is named Cleopatra's Gems.  Which pyramids are Marcelle referring to - those of ancient Egypt or the Mayans?  It's as mysterious as these civilizations themselves.

In any case, the face powder is cute, although not worth owning since Marcelle seems to be confused as to the inspiration for their collection.  ;)

Stila 2012 travel palettes, part 3: Sensational in Sydney

G'day, mate!  Ah, Australia - definitely high on my list of places to see.  In this palette, a brunette Stila girl wearing a flouncy blue frock takes us by the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.  The koala bear on the right is a very cute touch (although I would have been equally happy to see a kangaroo!)


The Sydney Opera House was designed by Danish architect Jørn Utzon  and completed in 1973.  I can't believe how fresh and contemporary it still looks - not dated at all.

Sydney.OperaHouse.Bridge(image from pkmela.com)

Here is the inside of the palette:


And the quote, which is actually an Aboriginal saying:


So far this is my favorite of the 2012 Stila travel palette series - an easily recognizable landmark, a cuddly creature, and a place I've always aspired to visit.  

Your thoughts?

Corno for Lancôme

Lancôme's fall collection is just around the corner, but I wanted to talk about thieir Canadian-exclusive summer collection featuring a collaboration with Quebec-born artist Joanne Corno.  Lancôme makeup artist Lora Spiga worked with Corno to create a collection based on the artist's use of bold, vibrant color, but one that was still wearable and in keeping with the season's trends.  Spiga explained to News Canada, "Corno and I wanted to integrate the same kind of vibrancy in the looks as there is in her paintings, but in a very practical manner, in order to create beauty looks that would translate well into everyday life."


Here is the painting Corno made specifically for the outer packaging for the collection.  The colors were perfectly translated into a collection containing bright pinks, seen in the background and on the woman's lips, but also some understated neutrals, as in the woman's eye shadow.  (For reviews and swatches of the products, Beautezine has the scoop).

Corno.mainimage(images from newscanada.com)

Why Corno for Lancôme?  Julie Tremblay, Communications Manager for Lancôme Canada, noted, “Corno’s art is all about colour, energy and femininty, it is it precisely these qualities that inspired Lancôme to collaborate with this great Canadian talent." 

An interview with Music Is Art shed some light on Corno's style and use of color.  Said the artist, "I like to define myself as an urban expressionist. That is actually the headline of my blog. I always find it hard to describe my work to strangers. You kind of have to see it. I do figurative paintings with bold color mixes. Movement, energy and light are at the core of every single one of my paintings. That’s how you recognize my style...As much as I love vibrant, fluorescent colors, I also like to work with yellowish grey, earthy shades – I call them my potato shades. I love working on contrasts. I usually create color mixes with shades that have nothing to do with each other – one that’s completely off, another that’s excessively flashy. I think color is one of my trademarks in my work."

Let's take a peek at some of her paintings, which definitely fit what she described in the interview.

Face on Yellow with Black Hair, 2012:


I was unable to find titles or dates for these next two, but they are representative of Corno's signature use of bright colors as well as hues that don't necessarily go together.


(images from cornostudio.com)

I'm really liking these paintings - to my eye, they're an interesting cross between fashion illustration and painterly, expressionist portraiture.  Plus, color fiend that I am, I love the bright and crazy shades.  I would have bought some of the Lancôme pieces for the Museum, but I didn't like that Corno's work appeared only on the outer paper packaging rather than the cases themselves, plus since it's Canada-exlusive it means it will be difficult to track it down here in the States. 

What do you think, both of Corno's work and the Lancôme collection?

MM Musings, Vol. 4: Poppin fresh

Makeup Museum (MM) Musings is a series that examines a broad range of museum topics as they relate to the collecting of cosmetics, along with my vision for a "real", physical Makeup Museum.  These posts help me think through how I'd run things if the Museum was an actual organization, as well as examine the ways it's currently functioning.  I also hope that these posts make everyone see that the idea of a museum devoted to cosmetics isn't so crazy after all - it can be done!

Ryan-Gosling-popup copyDefinition and examples

Museum Unbound defines a pop-up museum as a "short-term thing existing in a temporary space. A pop-up exhibition or pop-up museum is usually based on ad hoc contents, visitor contributions, and of-the-moment timing...these work a lot like events rather than exhibitions. There is the element of limited-time only. Pop-ups usually happen in an existing institution."  The author points out that while pop-up museums usually occur within a permanent space, they don't necessarily have to.  They can be staged, or even as "roadside attractions", such as Baltimore's very own Roadside Attractions exhibitions at the city's annual Artscape festival (going on this weekend!)  Meanwhile, Nina Simon of Museum 2.0 describes a pop-up museum as a means for visitors to have a more participatory experience, citing the example of the Denver Community Museum's experimental, temporary pop-up museum where visitors could submit their own pieces and share their stories in a number of ways.  Finally, back in January of this year Prada launched a 24-hour museum in Paris's Palais d'Iéna designed by Milan-based artist Francesco Vezzoli.  It was divided into three parts, "each inspired by a particular type of museum space: historic, contemporary and forgotten. In each of the three sections, Vezzoli has created a 'non-existent museum' where he will show his personal tribute to femininity through interpretations of classical sculptures that make reference to contemporary divas. 'They are my icons turned into sculptures and placed on marble pedestals,' he explained." 



(images from style.com and ifaparis.wordpress.com)

To read more about the museum and Vezzoli's inspiration behind it you should check out the exhibition catalog.

In a nutshell, my definition of a pop-up museum is that it's a temporary exhibition, lasting anywhere from a few hours to several months, that is staged in either a permanent or temporary space and may or may not involve visitor participation.  I get the sense that there aren't really any strict rules, which may make it difficult to plan, but also gives one much more freedom in structuring it.

Implementation for the Makeup Museum

So how does one go about launching a pop-up museum?  Particularly one devoted to cosmetics?  There is a bit of a catch-22 - I think first I'd like to consider what visitors would want to see, which would determine the objects I'd choose to show and the overall exhibition design.  However, finding a location to actually have the pop-up museum is crucial, and the space itself might dictate what sort of objects could be included.  I think the feel of and the objects displayed in a pop-up museum for makeup might change based on whether it was housed in a cutting-edge gallery, a permanent museum, a more experimental art space, or at an arts festival.  For example, for a more traditional, permanant space here in B'more, say, the BMA, a pop-up exhibition on makeup from or inspired by the early 20th century would dovetail nicely with their amazing Cone collection.  Or if the pop-up took place in a gallery featuring contemporary artists, I would include artist collaboration pieces, e.g. Hiroshi Tanabe for RMK, Marcel Wanders for MAC, Anselm Reyle for Dior, Ai Yamaguchi for Shu, etc.

The second issue would be whether I'd want visitors to participate in the exhibition and if so, the extent to which they get involved.  My gut feeling is that there wouldn't be any sort of participation beyond the option to leave feedback either at the site of the pop-up museum or online here.  If I wanted to go for a more participatory route, I could always ask visitors to submit their personal experiences and stories about cosmetics, or ask them to create artworks using makeup.  Frankly though, I'd prefer a more passive role for them - to just show some collection highlights and let visitors absorb them, at least to start with.  As I said earlier, that's one of the great things about a pop-up museum:  there aren't any rules, so launching several over the course of a few years or even months is a definite possibility.

So it looks like I've got my work cut out for me!  However, in writing this I think I've come up with a plan, or at least the first step - research locations in the city that would be willing to host a pop-up exhibition on makeup.  Rather than deciding about what objects I'd want to include up front as I originally planned, it seems the more logical way to go would be to find a space first and go from there. 

What would you want to see in a makeup-based pop-up museum or exhibition?

Curator's Corner, 7/21/2012

CC logoLinks from this week and last...having so much trouble keeping up lately!

- Beautylish introduces us to a new makeup brand that recognizes cosmetics can and should be gender-free.

- I don't think all beauty bloggers are depressed, I think perhaps it's just beauty bloggers for XO Jane. 

- This Alexander McQueen-inspired dress is as good a use for gummy bears as any.

-Beauty High reports that Charlotte Ronson and Nivea have teamed up and are offering you the chance to design your own lip balm packaging

- I still have mermaids on the brain.  These mermaid tails that you can actually swim in are meant for children, but the company makes adult sizes as well.  I would totally rock one if I had access to a pool! 

- A Helmut Lang-inspired red lipstick is the result of a collaboration between online art boutique House of Exposure and Lipstick Queen.  Great color, but not nearly as interesting as the exhibit devoted to red lipstick that went along with its release. 

- I'm excited for the Olympics but even more excited for this 30-minute AbFab Olympics special.  Looks hilarious!

- Bella Sugar has a nice little slideshow of vintage summer beauty ads

- I must make a pilgrimage to the Gelato Museum in Italy.

- New MAC collection coming next spring - are you a Betty or a Veronica?

- Finally, we've got a glimpse of the products for the much-anticipated Shu Uemura/Karl Lagerfeld collaboration, coming in October.

Shu.uemura.karl.lagerfeld(image from kissandmakeup.tv)

Maybe it's the influence of my Dora-loving three-year-old niece, but the "Mon Shu" girl (Lagerfeld's take on a Japanese manga character) sort of looks like Dora the Explorer to me. 

How are you doing?  What's been catching your eye lately, makeup-related or otherwise?

Quick post: YSL Facebook palette

This isn't a post so much as a rant.  Really, YSL?  Instead of coming up with a palette that's based on the fashion of the iconic designer, which would be easy given the rich history and prolific work of YSL, the marketing group devised a palette based on a glorified online stalking mechanism that will most likely be obsolete in a few years.  (Anyone remember Friendster?  Or use MySpace anymore?)  According to Kiss and Makeup, those who buy the palette will also "receive special 'privileges', such as exclusive information, perks and services through their Facebook feed and in store."

YSL.facebook palette(image from kissandmakeup.tv)

I'm annoyed not just because I hate Facebook and I don't like seeing a brand I like selling a palette based on it, but also because I'm one of the biggest YSL makeup fans out there - I not only collect their palettes for the Museum but I use their non-collectible products (love the gel eye liners, Voile de Blush, Rouge Volupté lipsticks, Golden Glosses, and Matt Touche primer, in case you're wondering).  Just because I'm not on Facebook doesn't mean I'm not a YSL devotee, and they should recognize that a few of us want to maintain at least some semblance of privacy online.  If they truly wanted to sell a palette that's a "declaration of love" to their fans, they should make it available to all of their fans, not just Facebook ones, right?

I don't know, perhaps I'm just bitter because only 1,650 of these palettes were made and I know I have no chance of getting it (it's available starting today), or because I'm still mad that something as dumb as Facebook has become so successful and influential. Or maybe because the palette itself is fairly ugly and unimaginative.  Congratulations, YSL, you have the negligible amount of design ability it takes to slap the blue and white Facebook colors and the designer's initials onto the case. 

What do you think?  Do you "like" this palette?  (Ugh, can't believe I just typed that).