MM Musings, Vol. 6: Going mobile
Curator's Corner, 12/1/2012

Tick tock: Marcel Wanders for Cosme Decorte


I've been waiting to report on this beautiful compact since July (!), when PJ at A Touch of Blusher posted about it.  You might remember that Dutch designer Marcel Wanders collaborated with MAC in both 2010 and earlier this year.  This holiday season, Mr. Wanders teamed up with Japanese luxury brand Cosme Decorte, which as far as I can tell, is virtually impossible to get shipped to the States.  It's extremely disappointing because this compact was only available for pre-order by phone at Japanese department stores, and since I lack a contact in Japan I am completely out of luck in getting my hands on it.  Another one that got away!

Anyway, these pictures are taken from the Cosme Decorte website.  I was determined to find the English version of the descriptions, and fortunately I found it at their Facebook page.  However, the print is tiny and you can't enlarge the pictures, so some of the words here are missing because they were too small to read.

Here is the first image and introductory text.

"Inspired by a locket on a necklace where precious memories are held, and pocket watches, the compact case evokes a pleasant sensation of the past.  Coupled with modern stylistic elements, the case is rendered (?) a new beloved treasure.  The sparkling silver case radiates glamour and daintiness, mirroring the allure that is the essence of a beautiful woman.  When the case is open, a sleeping beauty awakens to transform you with her radiance.  She is an artwork in pink beige powder, soft as air, rendering you divine. 'Between dream and reality awakes the true soul of imagination.'"


The company and Wanders developed a little story for this fairy who will grant you silky soft and smooth skin.  "A beauty lies curled in slumber, a delicate flower waiting to blossom.  She sleeps happily in wait until at last the compact is opened.  She stirs, as she awakens, her beauty radiates from within, dusting an airy well of loveliness upon women everywhere."


Next is a description of the case itself.  I adore the patterns as well as the engraved Wanders/Decorte names on the sides.  "A hexagon with a flower-like symbol of beauty.  Intricate pattern.  Looking like the fine texture of flawless skin.  The design is a fusion of Cosme Decorte's beauty ideal, which is what the brand has been seeking for as long as forty years, and a symbolic motif of Marcel Wanders, a world renowned artist.  Seen from different angles, shadows over concaves and converses convey different expressions, revealing the life cycle and the vibrancy of skin."


Finally, there's a summary of the case and powder, the description almost identical to the introduction.  If you look really closely you can make out the faint outline of the fairy within the powder.  "A sparkling silver case, reminding you of a pendant or pocket watch.  Quietly opened, greeting you is an extremely pale pink beige powder.  Take it on a puff and gently skim over the cheeks.  Silky grace and velvet, moisture and gloss.  All the skin wants comes together in a veil, enveloping your skin gently in moisture.  Containing golden (?) powder and pearl powder, it also protects the skin from ultraviolet rays, with a soft touch.  Hold the compact in a portable velvet case in your bag or a purse.  Every time you lift the lid, a fairy appears in a soft air to transform your skin into a vision of beauty and awake the purity of your mind."

Cosme-Decorte-wanders-powder(images from

I love the idea of this little sprite coming alive and sprinkling her magic skin-perfecting fairy dust when you open the case.  And I think the design of the case is much more representative (not to mention more expensive-looking) of Wanders's work than his collections for MAC.  While I did take a look at some of his designs in writing about those collections, let's take a little refresher course with images that are more relavant to the Cosme Decorte compact.

The use of silver and crisply defined hexagons are reminiscent of the promo ads Wanders created to go with his Christmas collection for Dutch department store De Bijenkorf in 2008.  (According to this article, De Bijenkorf is the "Harrod's of Holland".  As a dedicated shop-aholic, I thought I was familiar with every major department store in the world, but I had never heard of this one!)  Wanders created a collection inspired by his take on the three kings - in his version of the story, there are three queens instead of kings.  The white queen is shown below.

Wanders-de bijenkorf white

Fairies have also made an appearance in Wanders's work.  Take, for instance, the "Forest Muses" flock wallpaper he made as part of his recent "Whispers" collection for Graham & Brown.  "Transient and daring they are camouflaged to the naked eye. It is but the soft whispers they breathe that beckon you forward. Darkness breaks and in a moment the fairies emerge dancing through the damask forest. 'Closer, closer”, they whisper “may we dance for you?'”

Wanders-grahambrown(images from

Here's a closeup so you can see the fairies a little better.

(image from

Overall, I thought this compact was exquisite and unmistakably Wanders.  It's also a good reflection of his most recent work, which I'm finding has a slighter softer feel while still retaining the strong geometric/showy modern Baroque patterns he's known for. 

What do you think of the compact?  And if anyone knows someone in Japan who can pick it up for me, let me know!  ;)

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