« November 2012 | Main | January 2013 »

December 2012

Curator's Corner, 12/29/2012

CC logoI haven't done a Curator's Corner in a few weeks, but I was still gathering links along the way.  I can't believe this is the last one for the year!

- Beautiful with Brains presented some interesting vintage ads that actually encouraged women NOT to be skinny.  Imagine that.

- Still more NARS/Andy Warhol awesomeness with this video.

- Just in time for a sparkly, shiny New Year's, Threaded brings us a great history of sequins

- In other fashion news, archaeologists have unearthed what they believe is the world's oldest bra

- Pulp Fiction remains the Curator's favorite movie, so I was thrilled to see this take on its representation of gender at Bitch Flicks.

- Design Crush had an excellent round-up of pretty winter illustrations.

- On the local front, I finally found a place to get the tattoo I've been wanting for over a decade!!  And there's a new pizza place opening in Hampden.  Pizza fiend that I am, I'm excited to try it out.

- Finally, the year's best memes.  I'm pretty sure my top two are Grumpy Cat and What I Think I Do (although the latter wasn't included in this slideshow - not sure why, as it's hilarious).


Beauty highlights and trend round-up, 2012

My role as a Makeup Museum Curator isn't limited to collecting objects and organizing exhibitions.  I think another important part of my "job" is to record beauty trends and other items of note in the beauty world.  Year's end is the perfect time to do so, yes? So let's take a look at what was all the rage in 2012.

First, the product trends.  2012 will go down in cosmetics history as the year of the BB (beauty balm) cream.  Seemingly all brands released a version (or several) of these lightweight, skincare-packed foundations.  The second half of the year also saw the rise of CC (color correcting) creams, which are newer and improved versions of their predecessor. 

New skin 2

Nail art was still going strong throughout all of 2012.  Unlike 2011's nail trends, which focused more on color and finish, this year the products on the market were more focused on texture.  Brands provided more of a 3D approach, with textures ranging from velvet to beaded to actual metal, and even miniature people (my favorite).


In terms of color, a combination of neon and nude ruled the spring collections...

Spring 2012

...while dark, vampy oxblood was fall's go-to shade.

Fall 2012 oxblood

On the non-Makeup Museum exhibition front, 2012 was a successful year.  Both Shiseido and Guerlain showcased fantastic exhibitions with historic ads and products, while the Center for History in Indiana unveiled "Gizmos, Corsets and Concoctions:  Our Obsession with Health and Beauty".  There was also a small exhibition devoted to red lipstick in honor of a Helmut Lang-inspired lipcolor created by Lipstick Queen.


2012 was also the year we saw some particularly offensive ads, unfortunately.  MAC led the way with dazed-looking models for the Shop MAC, Cook MAC collection and its overly retro Office Hours promo, but Illamasqua truly took the cake with its incredibly racist ad for their holiday collection, which featured a model in blackface. 

Main promo

And as I did last year, I leave you now with the weirdest beauty phenomenon:  bagelheads


MM Curator's picks and pans for 2012

Now that Christmas is over, it's time to reflect on the past year and start gearing up for 2013.  As I did last year, I want to take some time to look back at my three favorite and least favorite collections/items from the year. 


We'll start with my top three.


1.  Paul & Joe Meow collection.





Sophie Albou knows how to properly celebrate 10-year anniversaries!  In honor of their beauty line turning 10,  Paul & Joe released an extensive collection filled with wonderful little details.  Three words:  Cat-shaped blushes.


2. Mamechiyo for Shu Uemura.





Kimono designer Mamechiyo created some truly beautiful and representative designs for Shu Uemura's best-selling cleansing oils.


3.  Andy Warhol and NARS.





Come on, it’s no surprise how much I adored this collection!  I devoted two lengthy blog posts to it, one giveaway and one special exhibition.  I do hope NARS has more art collaborations up their sleeve for 2013.


And now for my pans for this year.


1.  Guerlain Cruel Gardenia highlighter.



So boring – this was basically a replica of Laura Mercier’s previously released Rose Rendezvous palette, both in color and design.  How about some originality?


2.  Estée Lauder Mad Men collection.



This wasn’t really very much of a collection – only 2 pieces, and both were quite lackluster in terms of the great inspiration the company had to work with.  While it wasn’t totally awful (see the last item in this list for that), it wasn’t all that creative.  I was pretty disappointed.


3.  YSL Facebook palette.


YSL.facebook palette

My scorn for this abomination knows no bounds, and I think I’d still feel that way even if I didn’t hate Facebook as much as I do.  I won’t repeat my issues with this palette now, but you can read the full rant here if you’re so inclined.


What were your favorite 2012 collections/items?  And your least favorite?  Take a spin through the archives and let me know!

MM Holiday 2012/Winter 2013 exhibition


I wanted this year's holiday/winter exhibition to have sort of a retro vibe to it.  I wasn't sure exactly what period - anything from the 1920s (I was very inspired by Boots No. 7 Deco Darling collection and Clé de Peau's 2010 holiday palette) through the '50s (Too-Faced Life of the Party palette, Bobbi Brown Party Shimmerbrick and MAC holiday 2012 eye palette all have a 50s feel).  But I knew I wanted it to have an old-school glamour about it and an emphasis on snow, which I think the exhibition poster captures perfectly - silver and gold and stylized snowflakes.  I also chose pale grey paper with golden shimmer for the exhibition labels.  So I guess the theme would be snowy vintage glam?  In any case, enjoy!


Top shelves:



Bottom shelves:



Now for the individual shelves, starting with the top row, left to right.

Paul & Joe Sleigh Ride set:




Too-Faced Life of the Party palette and On10 lip balm:






Steamcream tins (a full post about Steamcream will be coming early in the new year):




MAC Antiquitease postcard and Guerlain Météorites Perles in Gold Temptation:




Second shelf, left to right.

Benefit Holiday catalog and Lancôme Petit Trésor eye shadow:




Armani Black Gem palette:




Stila holiday items:



Elegance Fabulous Rouge palette...while this was a spring release, the red and green signaled Christmas to me, and the shape of the lace pattern reminded me of pizzelle cookies - making these is a holiday tradition on my mom's side of the family. 




Third shelf, left to right.

Shiseido Camellia palette and an illustration showing how the camellia logo changed over time:





Dior Voile de Neige palette:





Clé de Peau Holiday Vintage palette:





Paul & Joe Winter Wonderland Trio:




Bottom shelf, left to right.

Bourjois Little Round Vintage Pots:




Chantecaille postcard and Bobbi Brown Party Shimmerbrick:




MAC Fabulousness Eye Kit...oh how I adore mint green!




Clarins holiday mailer and Odyssey palette:






Finally, I took a picture of the paper used for the exhibition labels so you could see how pretty the golden shimmer is.


Happy holidays, and I hope everyone stays warm and cozy this winter!

Ghosts of Christmas makeup past: Clé de Peau 2010 holiday vintage palette

Part two of this year's Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past is devoted to this gorgeous highlighter by Clé de Peau, released for the 2010 holiday season.







With flash:


The golden raised stripes look like rays of sunlight streaming down from the sky, and to my eye, have a very Art Deco feel to them.  For example, compare them to the ones on this mirror:

(image from treadwaygallery.com)

Or this vintage fur clip:

(image from jewelry-4-u.com)

A detailed description of the characteristics of Art Deco period would take way too long, but here's a good little overview on the jewelry of the time (this would be the most relevant, as the Clé de Peau holiday vintage palettes are modeled after antique jewelry).

Take a peek at 2009's palette and let me know whether you prefer that one to 2010's.  Personally, while I think they're both gorgeous, I love the 2010 one more.  

Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past: Guerlain Forever Gold

Do you remember last year when I started the series I call Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past?  Well, it's back this year!  Although this year's series will consist only of 2 posts rather than an entire week's worth. 

Today I want to take a brief look at Guerlain's 2007 collection called Forever Gold. There wasn't a backstory for this as there was for some of Guerlain's other holiday collections (Les Ors, Impériales), but the packaging was quite extravagant.  Gold with a subtle sprinkling of dotted white stars perfectly represents holiday glamour and luxury.

There was the Forever Gold powder housed in a fancy perfume bottle complete with atomizer, which provided a delicate dusting of fine golden shimmer to hair and face, as well as lipstick and a gold mascara.


There was also this lovely highlighting compact.

(images from bellasugar.com)

But the item that called to me the most was the Météorites Perles in Gold Temptation.  The packaging for this looks more coppery to my eye.  But why split hairs?  It's so pretty!



For the life of me I couldn't get the lid off the container so I haven't included photos of the actual highlighting pearls, but I think they are silver and gold.

Overall I don't think this was Guerlain's most exciting holiday collection, but it certainly was very luxe and an excellent addition to a holiday exhibition. 

Quick post: A fine mesh eye shadow from Lancome

I bought this despite the fact that it's not so special from a collecting standpoint.  But the glitter on the outer compact and the metallic mesh-like pattern that evokes a fancy party dress on the inside - both perfect for a holiday exhibiton - drew me in.





With flash:


To me the pattern almost resembles puzzle pieces or jewelry more than fabric, but the overall sparkliness makes me completely overlook it.  I also liked that it was blingy and festive without the haphazard use of Swarovski crystals.

The last unicorn: Paul & Joe holiday collection, part 2

 Adorable squirrels and deer weren't the only critters Paul & Joe had up their sleeve for the holiday season.  The company also released two makeup sets, Frozen Lilac and Sleigh Ride.  Each contains a cream blush, loose powder and a satin pouch, all housed in a white box with a lilac wreath. 

"Every snowflake is one of a kind and original - you too can be unique with this distinctive Paul & Joe print collection that will add a touch of winter wonderland magic to your holidays!"

I picked up Sleigh Ride.



Isn't this purse so cute?


The cream blush has a sprinkling of shimmery white snowflakes.





With flash:



The most interesting piece in the set, in my opinion, was the loose powder, which inexplicably features a unicorn with flowers it its flowing mane.



The unicorn was first described by the ancient Greeks and was revived as a symbol of purity in the Middle Ages.  They were believed to be invincible and their horns were thought to have strong healing powers.  Let's take a look at some unicorns in art history - namely, two sets of medieval tapestries which are perhaps the most well-known unicorns in art.  We'll start with the Metropolitan Museum of Art's seven amazing tapestries depicting a  hunt for the magical unicorn. 

Here are the hunters entering the woods to prepare for the hunt.


The next tapestry depicts the unicorn in captivity.  "He is tethered to a tree and constrained by a fence, but the chain is not secure and the fence is low enough to leap over: The unicorn could escape if he wished. Clearly, however, his confinement is a happy one, to which the ripe, seed-laden pomegranates in the tree—a medieval symbol of fertility and marriage—testify. The red stains on his flank do not appear to be blood...rather, they represent juice dripping from bursting pomegranates above. Many of the other plants represented here, such as wild orchid, bistort, and thistle, echo this theme of marriage and procreation: they were acclaimed in the Middle Ages as fertility aids for both men and women. Even the little frog, nestled among the violets at the lower right, was cited by medieval writers for its noisy mating."


Here is the taming of the unicorn.   "He seems so docile, in fact, that he is oblivious to the dog licking the wound on his back and stares loving at the maiden who must have subdued him. Most of her figure is missing, the result of damage incurred after the tapestries were looted in 1793. The remaining traces include the maiden's right arm, clothed in red velvet and visible between the beard and throat of the unicorn, and her fingers, seen gently caressing the bottom of the animal's mane. She sits in an enclosed garden (hortus conclusus), often a metaphor for the purity of a maiden."


This next tapestry depicts the unicorn trying to defend itself against the hunters.


Finally, the unicorn is killed and taken to the castle.  "It has been suggested that the doomed unicorn is an allegory for Christ dying on the Cross; the large holly tree (often a symbol of the Passion) rising from behind his head seems to reinforce this association. In the other episode, at right, a lord and a lady receive the body of the unicorn in front of their castle. They are surrounded by their attendants, with more curious onlookers peering through windows of the turret behind them. The dead animal is slung on the back of a horse, his horn already cut off but still entangled in thorny oak branches—probably symbolizing the Crown of Thorns. The rosary in the hand of the lady and the three other women standing behind the lord encourage a deeper reading of the scene, perhaps as a symbolic Deposition by the grieving Virgin Mary, John the Baptist, and the Holy Women."


(images from metmuseum.org)

I much prefer the Lady and the Unicorn, the other famous tapestry series, to this one that portrays the killing of the poor creature.  The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, housed in the Musée National du Moyen Âge in France, were discovered in 1841 and depict the five human senses.  The meaning of the sixth tapestry, called "To my only desire", remains a mystery. 

I'm not sure exactly what order they go in, but here goes.


Lady-unicorn-sight- cluny
(image from musee-moyenage.fr)

Some details:

(image from guardian.co.uk)

(image from musee-moyenage.fr)








The lady is making a flower wreath, while the monkey sniffs a flower he has taken from her basket.






Mmm, candy!

(images from musee-moyenage.fr)


(image from en.wikipedia.org)


Finally, À mon seul désir:

(images from en.wikipedia.org)

(images from musee-moyenage.fr)

You can also enjoy this lovely panoramic view of the tapestries:

Lady-unicorn-tapestries(image from pbase.com)

For more information on the meaning of each tapestry and why they were devoted to the five senses, check out this excellent post at the Culture Concept.  You can also get this book.

Getting back to the Paul & Joe set, I found it to be an odd combination of motifs - lilacs, snowflakes and unicorns don't all seem to go together.   I guess it is pretty wintry in the use of all-white packaging, from the outer box to the cream blush to the loose powder.  And it will look cute sitting on a shelf for a holiday/winter exhibition, which is, of course, one of the most compelling reasons to buy it!

What do you think of this set?  And do you have a fascination with unicorns?  Me, not so much, but as you know I am obsessed with mermaids.  :)

Squeee! A positively nutty holiday collection from Paul & Joe

Paul & Joe's holiday offering this year is a veritable treasure trove of woodland creatures, a nice departure from the usual overabundance of cats.  I love squirrels so I think even if I wasn't a collector I'd be buying this. 

The Winter Wonderland set contains a lip balm featuring a sweet little fawn resting among pine branches, a smoky eye shadow with a squirrel about to feast on an acorn and surrounded by snow-like white dots, and an eye shadow duo with another darling squirrel holding a pinecone and sitting under swirling silver snowflakes.


The metallic silver branches against the white packaging are so pretty.


It's funny how I normally hate script fonts, but I find the font on these to be utterly cute - I think it really adds to the charm of the animals and the wintry forest they inhabit.


Here's the lip balm.



With flash (note that the white dots aren't shimmer/glitter - just the dewiness of the balm):


The smoky shadow:



With flash:


Duo eye shadow:



With flash:


Paul & Joe's fall fashion line did not feature any squirrels or deer, but there were a few foresty friends.  The sweater on the left shows a family of owls dwelling in a tree, along with a raccoon and fox.  The raccoon sweater on the right is positively delightful, although I would have liked to have seen a squirrel instead.

(images from paulandjoe.com)

Did you think this set was as adorable as I did?   And do you like squirrels?  (The correct answer is yes!)