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September 2012

Curator's Corner, 9/29/2012

CC logoThis week's links.

On the beauty front:

- I love the Lunachicks so I was happy to see this interview with Theo Kogan, who, interestingly, has her own cosmetics line. 

- Yeah, "bagelheads" is a thing.  I can't say I've ever been freaked out by any sort of body modification - piercings and earlobe stretching don't faze me in the least - but this I found to be horrifying.  Fortunately the effect disappears in 24 hours.

- I loved Katy Perry's manicure that payed homage to Daria, but isn't she too young to even know who Daria is?  This 90s woman thinks so.

- Jenn at Literature Couture rounds up the latest and greatest fall offerings from Sephora

- Autumn at The Beheld wrote a truly wonderful analysis of MAC's Office Hours ads (and mentioned me in the process!) *blush* 

- Speaking of great analyses, I would dearly love to see Autumn's take on this Benefit video ad in which Sarah Colonna (if you're a Chelsea Lately fan you'll know who that is) plays beauty cop.  I'm still on the fence as to whether it's actually funny.  I admit I laughed, but that's mostly because I'm familiar with Chelsea Handler and her ilk's brand of bitchy humor.  But it is offensive...I just hope the women who were receiving fines for beauty violations were actresses.

Art and miscellany:

- It was one of the Curator's favorite artist's birthday earlier this week. 

- Oh, to be in Paris again.  I want to see this exhibition on Impressionism and fashion at the Musée d'Orsay.

- GQ writes up a fantastic history of one of the best TV shows ever made in honor of the 30th anniversary of its premiere (via The Awl).

- No peace and quiet for the Curator this weekend (or anyone living in the vicinity of the Baltimore Book Festival, grrr) but I was able to escape the noise for a few hours by going to a different festival - the Maryland Renaissance Festival, an annual fall outing for the husband and I.


Rennfest 2012


Jousting arena - unfortunately we had to leave before the joust started.


We're instilling the tradition into my neice and nephew, who accompanied us last year and this year - they love it!

How was your week?

Elephant walk with Chantecaille

As we've seen with the Bengal Tiger powders, Sea Turtles palette and many other items, Chantecaille has demonstrated a commitment to preserving wildlife.  This fall, the company will donate 5% of the proceeds from their L'Éléphant palette to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an organization that "rescues, fosters and release baby elephants orphaned by ivory poaching."


The colors are Ivory, Grasslands, Iron Ore and Red Earth and were inspired by "the trends seen on the fall runways and the lustrous colors found in the Kenyan landscape."  Eeek.  If I were talking about the fact that elephants have long been hunted for their tusks, I wouldn't celebrate it by naming one of the shades Ivory.

I also don't think it would have hurt to have some more detail on the elephants themselves.  I mean you can tell it's an elephant, but compared to the intricacy of, say, the Protected Paradise palettes, Chantecaille could  have done a little more.





With flash:


There is also the blush in Elephant Fun (5% of proceeds from this blush will also be donated):



With flash:


This isn't the first time elephants have appeared in makeup design.  You might remember Lancôme's Sun of India palette from fall 2008, or Guerlain's summer 2009 collection, which featured elephants on several of its products.  More recently, for its 21st anniversary Fresh released a set of three limited-editon soaps with illustrations by R. Nichols, one of which has an elephant.

(image from fresh.com)

(I think I'll do a post on the soaps, as I'm branching out into collecting pretty bath and body items as well!)

Bringing attention to the plight to save the elephants as well as their environments is the focus of many contemporary artists' work.  Some of the most notable is that of South Africa-based artist Andries Botha

Wounded Elephant, 2008:


You Can Buy My Heart and Soul, 2006:



The artist's statement on this piece:  “In African mythology the elephant reincarnates carrying the soul of a murdered God. It is thus the embodiment of the transmigration of souls. It is also the metaphor for the world’s preoccupation with Africa as an exotic location. The elephant thus embodies the world’s romanticism with Africa. In part it is the Colonial panacea: wildness can be contained, civilised and taken back to the ballrooms of the First World as a trophy.”  The elephants (constructed out of driftwood) therefore remind us not only of the ugly business of ivory hunting, but the larger issue of colonialization.

More recently, Botha completed Loxodonta Africana (2011):

(images from andriesbotha.net)

Like the earlier Wounded Elephant, on the surface this sculpture depicts the pain these animals are caused as they are hunted.  On a deeper level, Botha's work touches on the opposing themes of burgeoning life and untimely death.   It also points to the shrinking elephant population, which is the result not only of hunting but the destruction of their natural habitat.   He states:  "For some time now I have been mesmerized by embryos floating palely and ghostlike in bottles of formaldehyde hidden in back rooms of laboratories, museums and similar such dark archives.    They are forms of arrested life, hauntingly beautifully swimming eternally, having us muse about life under- realized. In December 2010 I did a long travelling pilgrimage into the more arid regions of South Africa pursuing bushmen cave paintings of elephants...in the Cedarberg mountains I found many more paintings of elephants, ironic testamonies to an abundance now no longer present...At that time the haunting image of  Andrea Mantegna's 'Martyrdom of St. Sebastian' kept floating into my sub-conscious.  I decided to shoot a number of arrows into the 'Loxodonta Africana'. The unborn elephant hunted in the womb.  A thought came to me then of illuminating the elephant from the inside and that the arrows took on the character of a type of spectral halo, transforming or recreating the dichotomy between two extremes, mortality and beauty.  It struck me in retrospect that 'Loxodonta Africana' could be interpreted as a silent protest from within the contemplative embrace of my studio...our ever expanding industrial sensibility increasingly diminishes the natural habitat of the elephant.  The very idea of living within a 21st century industrial capitalism that finds a place with enough space for the elephants to be wild and free, would be the challenge and the symbol of a humanity that begins to pay more attention to an ever depleted natural universe."

Makeup and massive sculptures are two very different ways to raise awareness of a particular issue. Botha's work is a more meaningful, poignant way of drawing attention to the problem of elephant poaching.  He is an individual person putting a lot of time and work into this cause, while Chantecaille is a cosmetics company whose charity efforts come second to its primary goal of making money.  Having said that, both are contributing to the common goal of eliminating elephant hunting (or in the case of Chantecaille, fostering orphaned baby elephants).

What do you think of the palette's design?  And of Botha's work? 

(Andries Botha was brought to my attention by mymodernmet.com).

Worse for wear but wearing it well

This palette by brow guru Anastasia, called She Wears It Well, didn't catch my eye initially.

(image from sephora.com)

However, I became intrigued once these pictures surfaced of flash cards that were included with the palette.  Not only do they give a description of the colors, they feature vintagey fashion illustrations depicting a particular look with a face chart on the opposite side to show you how to achieve it. 

Anastasia used old Hollywood and the glamour of the 1930s as the part of the palette's theme, but she also wanted to keep it realistic and wearable for today's woman. "Classic Hollywood glam and modern moxie.  Inspired by makeup designed to sculpt, adorn and beautify the women of the 1930s, Anastasia created her She Wears It Well Eye Shadow Palette to bring the drama and beauty of Hollywood's golden age to the modern girl."

You can see the mix of the two vibes in the first card, which combines a vintage photo with contemporary dress styles.


Here are the looks that can be created with the palette.





Anastasia-nightowl(images from mypinktasticlife.com)

I'm not sure which illustration I like the best - the sex appeal of the women depicted in Cat's Meow and Speakeasy, the sophisticated elegance of Eyes and Dolls, the femme fatale vampiness of Night Owl, and the girlish fun of Cut a Rug are all pretty great.

I was curious to know who did the illustrations, and a quick search yielded the name Jason Shorr.  Shorr, a Los Angeles-based freelance illustrator, graduated from ArtCenter College of Design’s Illustration program in 2010 with a BFA in Illustration.  He interned for Disney and worked extensively with the Princess and Fairies team there (does anyone else find that hilarious?)  According to his Tumblr, for the She Wears It Well palette illustrations he was very inspired by the works of Rene Gruau - hopefully you recognize this is the legendary Dior illustrator whose sketch of the "New Look" became the star of not one but two recent Dior palettes.

Shorr also created this cover girl for the Anastasia palette, although it ended up not being used.


Some of his other work includes sketches of celebrities, like this one of Florence Welch wearing a McQueen gown to the Met Gala earlier this year.


This one of Madonna, amazingly enough, was created using an iPad.


Shorr also dabbles in fictional characters, like Effie from The Hunger Games:


And, of course, Disney characters.  This painting of Maleficent is part of a Disney villains series Shorr is currently executing.

(images from jasonshorrillustration.tumblr.com)

Due to its easy-to-wear shades, the She Wears It Well palette seems to be quite popular - it's sold out at the Anastasia website - but for me, the real treasure would be the flash cards.   I could definitely see them fitting into yet another exhibition that I have flitting about in my head.  ;)

Which look do you like most?

Couture Monday: Dior welcomes you to a golden jungle

Like the revamped Tailleur Bar palette, Dior seemingly has recycled another palette from seasons past.  The fall 2012 makeup collection, entitled Golden Jungle, contains a leopard print palette that borrows from the Mitzah palette from last fall.  Actually there are two leopard palettes, Golden Khaki and Golden Browns, but only the latter was released in the U.S.  I would have liked to have both but ultimately decided it wasn't worth tracking down Golden Khaki.

Here it is, just for fun:

(image from retailtherapy.onsugar.com)

And here is Golden Browns. 




I noticed that this particular leopard spot is exactly the same as the one that's in the middle of the Mitzah palette.


Anyway, here is the Golden Browns palette with flash:



Unfortunately, the U.S. also did not receive this cool nail duo that yields a crocodile skin effect, which is a nice addition to a jungle-themed collection.

(image from retailtherapy.onsugar.com)

According to the collection's press release, Dior's famous leopard print has been "revamped":  "In February 1947, Christian Dior presented his first collection to the international press in the Dior salons of Avenue Montaigne in Paris. Along with the Huit and Corolle lines that would inaugurate the era of 'The New Look,' the couturier revealed another of his favourite themes: Leopard Print. Fashion editors were smitten, the room burst into applause and women rediscovered the mysterious allure of this iconic, timeless print.  At once avant-garde, sophisticated and sensual, the Jungle Motif has been a signature of the House of Dior from its debut. Actress Marlene Dietrich and the muse and friend of Mr. Dior, Mitzah Bricard, were its first fervent ambassadors. With each decade and runway show, variations of leopard print are cleverly reinterpreted by Dior Couture. In the Dior Autumn/Winter 2012 makeup collection, Tyen revamps the Jungle Motif with another hallmark of Dior, a touch of shimmering gold, embodying the luxury of the urban jungle and inspired by the deep, earthy tones of the jungle."

I'm not sure why they chose to revamp it this for this season, as leopard print did not make an appearance in either the ready-to-wear or couture shows.  However, there was some houndstooth pieces at the ready-to-wear show. 

(images from style.com)

Why not have used that instead of essentially copying the Mitzah palette from last year?  SighDior Beauty had been on a hot streak collectible-wise but this season the company is just recycling previous items.  I hope they return to originality and come up with something that pays homage to the designer but isn't a rehash of what they've done before. 

Curator's Corner, 9/22/2012

CC logoThis week's links, plus a few pics of my new boots!

- Here's another exhibition on punk, this time focusing on graphic design and drawings. 

- Next time I visit my parents I think I'll have to make a trip to this pizza museum.

- The Onion has a hilarious short piece on people feeling guilty for looking at paintings too fast.

- Speaking of The Onion, I wish this was fake news but sadly, it's real:  The Ontario College of Art & Design forced its students to fork over $180 for an art history text book that doesn't contain any images.  WTF??

- Interesting story on the growing number of South Korean men who wear makeup.

- The NARS/Andy Warhol collection was up in its entirety on Gilt earlier this week and included some exclusive collectibles.  Too bad Gilt wouldn't donate the set to the Museum.  I'm a collector, you think they'd want me to preserve it for posterity, right? 

- Baltimore is the nation's third dirtiest city.  Seems about right, judging from the amount of trash that regularly gets left on our front steps.  But at least Hampden made it to the top 20 hippest neighborhoods in the U.S.

- I love these silly theme days.  The 18th was National Cheeseburger Day, while the 19th, as everyone knows, was National Talk Like a Pirate Day

- Finally, here are some lovely new boots my very sweet husband treated me to. 


And here they are modeled by the Museum's Rights and Reproductions Manager, Seasick Sailor Babo. 

"I'm king of the world!"



After this picture was taken he started wobbling and then threw up, but fortunately he missed the boots.  :P

What were you into this week?

Paul & Joe fall 2012 collection, part 2: lip-tacular

The second part of Paul & Joe's fall 2012 collection was the release of new paper lipstick cases.  They're sold empty so you can put your favorite Paul & Joe lipstick into your favorite case.  Pretty nifty idea!  I just got them empty since I'm only interested in the packaging and won't actually be using them as lipsticks.


The first case features a melange of grey doves, pink and purple flowers and blue and grey swirls on a white background.


The next one has a showy floral pattern in white, green and bright fuchsia.


You know Sophie couldn't resist having at least one of these cases be cats, right? 


I love this one - pink and ivory flowers with tassel tendrils against a baby blue background.


Finally, another cat.  Well, a precious-looking kitten.


The initials that appeared on the brushes with the Collection Sparkles items are also here on the lipstick cap:


While I think the paper cases are a great idea, some people want a case that's a bit sturdier.  So Paul & Joe created this retro-looking refillable metal case.  I have no idea how they got that shade, but it's an absolutely dead-on '50s mint green.  Plus the ridges seem more authentic than the lipstick cases from Estée Lauder's paltry Mad Men collection.


I also love how they worked the iconic Paul & Joe chrysanthemum into the cap:


But the 10-year anniversary celebration isn't over yet!  There was also this pretty set, consisting of a pouch, pressed powder, blush, blotting sheets and eye shadows.   I didn't purchase it given the designs were the same on all the products and I didn't want all of them. 

(image from paul-joe-beaute.com)

So that concludes all the goodies from Paul & Joe fall.  Did you like the Collection Sparkles or the lipstick cases more?  And which has your favorite design out of all?

Paul & Joe fall 2012 collection, part 1: tweeeeeeet!

Paul & Joe is feeling lovey-dovey with their fall 2012 collection called Love Story.  "Your beautiful love affair with Paul & Joe began 10 years ago.  Let's celebrate with these gorgeous new products!  Love story is a sweet, tender, and sometimes passionate assortment of original new colors, textures and products that celebrate love and romance." 

The Collection Sparkles lineup consists of three blushes, each bearing a unique print and two kissing parakeets imprinted into the powder.


I also enjoyed the updated brush.  The brushes that come with Paul & Joe products used to have the Paul & Joe name on it, but these have the initials in a fancy scripted font.  I'm not sure whether this is just for the fall 2012 collection and they'll go back to the old brush style with future collections or whether they'll keep the initials, but I like it.


First up is Les Tourtereaux (079):



With flash:


The same print appeared on a dress for the fall 2012 collection.

(image from paulandjoe.com)

Next is True Love (080):



With flash:


Finally we have Inseparables (081):



With flash:


This delightful pelican pattern appeared on both a dress and a top for the fall 2012 collection.  I must say I never thought pelicans would work for clothes, but Sophie Albou really knows what she's doing when it comes to prints!

(images from paulandjoe.com)

Looking at these made me think of the work of bird-watching king John James Audubon and his amazing book The Birds of America, containing literally hundreds of bird prints and drawings.  In honor of the creatures used in the Paul & Joe collection, here is a Carolina parrakeet (now extinct, sadly), and the American white pelican.  Audubon also provided detailed descriptions for each bird and their behavior (and addressed the reader - seems very quaint!)

"Doubtless, kind reader, you will say, while looking at the figures of Parakeets represented in the plate, that I spared not my labour. I never do, so anxious am I to promote your pleasure...The flight of the Parakeet is rapid, straight, and continued through the forests, or over fields and rivers, and is accompanied by inclinations of the body which enable the observer to see alternately their upper and under parts. They deviate from a direct course only when impediments occur, such as the trunks of trees or houses, in which case they glance aside in a very graceful manner, merely as much as may be necessary..."  (You can read the full description here).

(image from grahamarader.blogspot.com)

For the American white pelican, Audubon noted, "I feel great pleasure, good reader, in assuring you, that our White Pelican, which has hitherto been considered the same as that found in Europe, is quite different. In consequence of this discovery, I have honoured it with the name of my beloved country, over the mighty streams of which, may this splendid bird wander free and unmolested to the most distant times, as it has already done from the misty ages of unknown antiquity...the birds experience the cravings of hunger, and to satisfy them they must now labour. Clumsily do they rise on their columnar legs, and heavily waddle to the water. But now, how changed do they seem! Lightly do they float, as they marshal themselves, and extend their line, and now their broad paddle-like feet propel them onwards...Thousands there are, all gay, and the very manner of their mirth, causing the waters to sparkle, invites their foes to advance toward the shoal. And now the Pelicans, aware of the faculties of their scaly prey, at once spread out their broad wings, press closely forward with powerful strokes of their feet, drive the little fishes toward the shallow shore, and then, with their enormous pouches spread like so many bag-nets, scoop them out and devour them in thousands."

(image from fineartamerica.com)

"Gay" and "Mirth"?  I guess using a pelican as a cheerful print was a very good choice. 

So, what do you think of the Paul & Joe Collection Sparkles?  Which one is your favorite?  And do you bird-watch?  

Stay tuned for the rest of Paul & Joe fall 2012.  :)

Quick post: My little China girl

Here's an odd fall 2012 collection from Italian cosmetics brand Pupa.  They've borrowed from other cultures before (see their nesting doll collection) but I don't think this collection had too much thought put into it.   Called China Doll, the collection is supposed to embody "the preciousness and elegance of the Eastern world to create a new, refined neo-geisha style...four new multiplay colors in a limited edition that complete the look with delicate Oriental-chic details."  Fair enough, but traditional, genuine antique china dolls (as in glazed porcelain) were mostly made in Germany, then in the U.S. and Japan - they actually don't have anything to do with China.  Even if Pupa was referring to a china doll-like "porcelain" look that can be achieved with the products in this release, it still doesn't make a lot of sense.

What's even stranger is the star of the collection, a highlighting blush which shows a geisha (?) holding a parasol.  I don't know what is to the left of the parasol - is that her hand coming out of a robe?  A rickshaw?  Hard to tell from the picture.

(image from pupa.it)

Even if Pupa was trying to do a Chinese theme, geishas originated in Japan.  The company sort of glossed over what exactly was the Asian influence in the collection description, throwing out generic, made-up words like "neo-geisha" and "Oriental-chic". 

To sum up:  this is yet another case of a cosmetics company getting its cultural references wrong (see my previous post on this).

(Thanks to Beautiful With Brains for bringing this collection to my attention).

Couture Monday: Get your croc on with YSL

We've seen crocodile-patterned palettes before, but I thought the print looked particularly smashing on the gold outer casing of YSL's Palette Couture for fall 2012.  Very luxe!  


Apparently crocodile is the "emblem of the YSL accessories and leather goods collection," according to the press release.  I don't know why they never used it on a makeup item before.



With flash:


While I think crocodile-themed items always make a good addition to the Makeup Museum, I was disappointed that this was more or less a rehash of YSL's summer 2012 bronzers:

(image from nordstrom.com)

 Plus, there was no crocodile to be found anywhere for the fall 2012 ready to wear show.  The look was supposed to be "contemporary Amazon" (which was also the theme for the fall 2012 makeup collection).  The strong shoulder contours and metal chain mail accompanied by dark blood-red lips and slicked-back hair definitely evoked fierce women warriors.


But what really stood out to me was the use of calla lillies.  According to Style.com writer Tim Blanks, "Backless dresses in a chain mail made of metal and rubber were the ultimate expression of [designer Stefano] Pilati's hypersexualized vision.  So he naturally picked the calla lily, Roman symbol of lust, as the floral accent for the collection."

YSL-fall-2012-callas(images from style.com)

I think that these flowers would have made a more interesting and relevant design for the palette than crocodile print.  What do you think?