« April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »

May 2013

Retro deja-vu with The Balm

Ah, The Balm.  I've posted about this line and their unique brand of fun retro packaging a few times before.  While some other brands (Benefit, Too-Faced) have created and continue to come up with designs reminiscent of decades past, The Balm is the most consistent.  Their latest offering is Instain, six long-wearing powder blushes packaged in cases illustrated with a very posh, sophisticated woman clad in vintage-style clothing and accessories.  The overall look suggests a magazine cover.  And while I'm no fashion historian, to my eye the clothes/hats look like they span anywhere from the 1920s through the 60s.






(images from brigettesboutique.com)

I was really impressed with the design since it seemed to be well thought-out.  Not only does a different woman appear on each, but there is a different clothing pattern (lace, toile, pinstripe, etc.).  I'm not really sure I get the fall/spring designations, since houndstooth and argyle scream fall to me while Swiss dots seem rather springy, but I appreciate that they're all exclusive patterns.  The text changes ever so slightly as well - "Keep your color around the clock", "Color that won't quit," etc. While each one is a little different, at the individual level the palettes still have a cohesive look due to the blush color matching the band at the top of the case.

As I looked at these I was reminded of Stila's Front Cover Lookbooks from way back in 2007.  I don't think I ever posted about these (gasp!) so here's a quick peek. (Click to enlarge.  These did come with tubes of lip glosses but I have no idea what happened to them!  Curating FAIL.)


Like The Balm palettes, these resemble magazine covers (albeit contemporary ones) and each one has different text as well.  In Stila's case the text highlights the name of a color contained within the palette.  For example, Front Cover Lookbook No. 1 says "Feel confident & grace-ful" and includes one of Stila's best-selling eye shadows named Grace.


So while the same basic design idea has been done before, The Balm, somewhat ironically I'd say, manages to update it by using their signature retro twist.

Are you digging the Instain blushes?  And what do you think of Stila's previous iteration of the magazine cover idea?

Curator's Corner: Happy Memorial Day!

CC logoHope everyone (in the U.S., anyway) enjoyed a day off!  This week's links. 

- XO Vain gives us a step-by-step guide on how to get the alluring beauty of Twin Peaks' Audrey Horne.

- Love the concept of Bite Beauty's new Lipstick Lab, where you can create your very own custom shade.

- New beauty book alert:  The Power of Glamour:  Longing and the Art of Visual Persuasion is now available for pre-order!

- Rouge Deluxe shows us a sneak peek of Ladurée's fall collection (already!).  I have my sights set on the cream blush, which has a beautiful fan imprint and gorgeously illustrated outer case.

The random:

- Baltimore Fishbowl brings us a timely interview with John Waters.  I say "timely" because I finally saw the man in the flesh this week!  I was getting lunch after some sessions at the AAM conference and almost walked smack into him.  After nearly 7 years of living here, I feel like a true Baltimorean (or Baltimoron, your choice).

- Well, that's a relief.  World Nutella Day will continue after all.

- Finally here:  new episodes of Arrested Development!  But in case you want to re-watch all the previous episodes to refresh your memory before digging into the new stuff, Splitsider provides 53 more jokes you might have missed.

- In mermaid news, please donate to the Kickstarter campaign to save the Coney Island Mermaid Parade.  And if you still don't think mermaids exist, check out yet another special on Animal Planet with new "evidence".  (Okay, it's still all fake like last year's "documentary" but I can't help wistfully believing!)

How was your week?

Scenes from the AAM conference

AAM 2013

Can you guess where I was earlier this week?  Yup, the American Alliance of Museums 2013 annual meeting!  I had been wanting to attend one for years, but when I saw that the 2013 conference would be right here in Baltimore I decided to pony up the dough and go. 

I felt oh-so-important picking up the official conference program and name badge:

AAM program

I attended a few sessions that I thought might be useful for the Makeup Museum, including these:

AAM session

AAM session2

And hit up the expo:

AAM expo

I visited the bookstore on the last day, it was pretty picked clean by that point.  Oh well.

AAM bookstore

All in all, while I didn't find it tremendously helpful (due to the fact that the Makeup Museum isn't quite a "real" museum like the others that were represented at the conference) most of the sessions I attended were at least interesting and did give me some ideas.  I probably won't attend again though until the Museum is an actual organization.  What would be awesome is if there were a conference just for burgeoning museums that would have sessions with step-by-step instructions on how to start your own museum.  I also wish I could have taken my Communications Director with me because he could do the difficult task of networking, but I thought it would look a little strange.  ;)

Swimming with Chantecaille's sharks

This was actually a spring release but I thought it was more appropriate for summer.  Chantecaille is helping rescue yet another animal in 2013.  Proceeds from the Save the Sharks palette go to the BLOOM Association, a group that works to "ban all unregulated shark fin trade".  I'm glad, since shark fin soup sounds pretty gross anyway.  




Instead of depicting a whole shark, Chantecaille opted to show only the fin, which I guess highlights the plight of the charity they're working with.  However, it may have been more visually interesting to make a bigger face or eye palette that would accommodate the full shark.  Plus, while the pleasing color harmony and shimmery textures counter any sort of menacing effect, there's still something a little Jaws-like about showing just the fins.






And here's a tiny dose of art history.  John Singleton Copley completed Watson and the Shark in 1778, which depicts a 14 year-old cabin boy named Brook Watson struggling to escape a shark attack in Havana Harbor.

(image from nga.gov)

While it looks like Watson is a goner, in reality he survived (although the shark did claim the lower part of one of his legs).  So, while we have two wildly different representations of sharks, both point to the majesty and danger these animals embody.

Couture Monday: A luxurious stay with Givenchy

Monday is almost over, but in honor of all the spikes and studs I witnessed at the Met's Chaos to Couture show, I wanted to take a look today at this palette from Givenchy's Hotel Privé spring 2013 collection. 

(image from armocromia.com)

According to the press release, the collection was inspired by "the various French hotels [International Artistic Director] Mr Degennes stayed in, their atmosphere, colours, materials, the feeling of comfort they give."

The design on the palette is a play on Givenchy's signature prism motif, which appears on many of their other products including blush, eye shadow and lipstick. 

(images from sephora.com)

To my eye, the repeating pattern of the metal prism in the spring 2013 palette gives it a very punk, edgy feel while still retaining the elegance the house of Givenchy is known for (hey, the guy DID dress Audrey Hepburn).

Indeed, the punk vibe wasn't just my imagination.  The Chaos to Couture show included several pieces by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy, including this suit with gold prism studs from the fall 2007 collection.



For once, my punk obsession proved to be right on track! 

While I didn't think the palette was special enough to purchase for the Museum, it was definitely worth a mention.  What do you think?

Curator's Corner: a New York minute

CC logoFirst some links, then a little recap of my 48 hours in NYC.  :)

- I love LUSH and I love mermaids, so I was super excited to see this mermaid-shaped bath bomb.  While I prefer the bubble bars to bath bombs (a bath just isn't a bath without bubbles!), I do think I'll pick some of these up anyway - proceeds go to to The Sea Shepherd, an ocean conservation organization.

- An old-timer like me was pleased to see that some of my makeup habits are in line with those of milennial women.  Of those who answered Lab 42's survey, 58% say they buy different products for winter and summer months (yup), and 61% started wearing makeup between the ages of 13 and 15 (also describes me). 

- I wholeheartedly agree with this Jezebel article on why "real beauty" campaigns are crap.

The random:

- Trailer for new Arrested Development!  Can't wait!

- This list of 43 things that make you feel old is spot on.  Sadly, I've been experiencing most of these since I was a teenager.  (My sister calls me an "old soul" - I think I've always been an elderly person trapped in a younger person's body.)

- Cool exhibition on 19th-century fashion plates at the Art Institute of Chicago.

- Interesting commentary on the lack of non-white girls within the Riot Grrrl movement.  While I acknowledge this was an issue within the movement (see pages 64-68 of my thesis), I agree with this comment, which provides an excellent counterpoint to the article and points out that while the movement was nowhere near perfect, it was still important and valuable from both feminist and cultural standpoints. I have a few other arguments to make on the author's other points but they're too long to go into here.

And now for my little jaunt up to the Big Apple!! This pic basically sums up the trip:  eating, shopping and museum-going (our usual M.O.).


I was positively chomping at the bit to see the punk-themed Chaos to Couture show at the Met, and seeing as how another exhibition, Impressionism, Fashion and Modernity was closing soon, I figured now was the best time to head up there. 

I thought the show was great.  It's been getting a huge amount of criticism, but I'm not sure what people are complaining about.  The main thing I keep hearing is that it's not "authentic" punk.  This critique at Bust Magazine, I think, gets it all wrong - the author says, "The Met values history, but in this exhibit, the history of punk was swept under the rug, almost an after thought."  Well, yes, the exhibit wasn't about the history of punk, it was how punk's gritty fashion roots were translated into high-end clothing over the years.  She also remarks, "Because poor people making up their own aesthetic on the cheap is not good enough for the Met.  I'd pay a lot to see one of the DIY leather jackets, from a gutter punk back in the day, displayed next to a Comme des Garcons design. Punk is all about authenticity people! The roots of the subculture are displayed in photo form and in the multi-media installations, but the real uniform is not included as 'fashion.'"  Actually, it was - there were original t-shirts worn by Johnny Rotten and other punk icons.  And I don't think the Met left out pieces by "real" punks due to snobbishness.  It's probably pretty hard to find those authentic items.  What are curators supposed to do, hit up garage sales?  In any case, I'm glad someone else liked it. I picked up the catalogue and couldn't resist a shirt as well.


We also stopped at Ladurée - a delicious splurge.  But what I liked even more than the cookies were these Ladurée tees at Uniqlo!  I went beserk and got four of them.



They all have the little Ladurée logo on the back:


Also got this adorable Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo top - I bought this one because I love how her eyes are closed.  Reminds me of my beloved naps.


Some other deets:  we stayed at the lovely Mondrian Soho.  We stayed there when we were in NYC last year and stayed at the one in L.A. when we went in October.  Very nice.  We ate at Cafe Habana for dinner (yes, you really must get the roasted corn, and the mojitos were delish as well), and one night we had drinks at Raines Law Room near Union Square.  I must admit the vibe of the place scared me a bit (eveything, from the old-timey decor to the ghostly-looking, soft-spoken man who answered the door in a vintage tux, reminded me of the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick's The Shining) but the drinks were amazing.  Later that night we went to a burger place that shall remain nameless because I had to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau - that's how unreasonable the management was.  I generally like to avoid conflict at all costs and keep my mouth shut even if service is not quite up to snuff.  This incident, however, made me livid (as well it should - an informal poll of people I've told the story to were all shocked at the situation).  Besides that, overall I had a wonderful time.  NYC is intimidating and I could never live there, but it's great in small doses.

What did you do this week?  If you've been, what are your favorite places to go in NYC?

Max Factor treasures found

How cool is this?  A man in Torrance, California was helping a friend go through some old boxes in her garage, when he came across a virtual treasure trove of Max Factor memorabilia, including photos, corporate documents and even some makeup!  The friend's father was a facilities manager at Max Factor Studios and when these items were abandoned in company storage, he decided to store them himself rather than throwing them out.  Good for him.




One of the men in the videos, Stephen Woo, was the one who brought this to my attention. He also asked if I'd be interested in buying any of the items! Naturally I said yes, but I have not heard back. :( 

See anything in the vid you'd like to get your hands on?  I know I did - face powder and lipsticks!

Around the world with Cargo, revisited

Way, way, WAY back in early 2010 I posted about these eye shadow palettes from Cargo, each named for a different city.


Toronto baja vienna london
(images from beauty.com)

And almost as long ago, designer discount site Hautelook had a great sale, so I picked up three of them - London, Los Angeles and Toronto:





Los Angeles:



Toronto - sadly, it did not survive transit fully intact:



It's been three years and I still don't know who did the illustrations!  I'd love to know if they were done in-house or if Cargo collaborated with an artist, but that remains a mystery.  Still, these will look great in a travel-themed exhibition, especially alongside Stila's travel palettes.