Curator's Corner, 9/14/2013
Once upon a time...there was Paul & Joe's fall 2013 collection

Book review: Lips of Luxury


In preparation to see the exhibition in collaboration with the Makeup in New York event next week (so excited!), I bought Lips of Luxury by Jean-Marie Martin-Hattemberg.  The book is full of beautiful, and true to the title, luxurious vintage lipsticks.  Here's a little taste of the amazing objects in this tome.

Lenox lipstick holder:


Cases modeled after the Leaning Tower of Pisa - I cannot get over the exquisite architectural details.


Max Factor "Watercolor Pastels" set:


The author works in some contemporary pieces as well, like my beloved Paul & Joe. 


Eye candy notwithstanding, Lips of Luxury isn't only pretty pictures to drool over.  Hattenberg provides a brief history of lipstick and the many different shades of the most popular hue (red), and the third chapter is devoted to how it's made today.  The last chapter consists of interviews with top makeup artists and other industry leaders, such as Francois Nars and Givenchy's Nicolas Degennes, who explain in their own words what lipstick and the color red means to them.  While not as thorough as Jessica Pallingston's book on lipstick (which I will get around to reviewing one of these days) I actually think the brevity in discussing lipstick's history and future works here.  Given the volume of glorious vintage items, anything longer than bite-sized pieces of interesting research and facts about lipstick interspersed within would be far too lengthy.  

Having said that, I would have liked to have seen just a few more details on some of the items included.   For example, there's no information other than the date on the Max Factor lipsticks pictured above - was this a display case in a store or an actual set one could buy?   There was also a Chanel lipstick from 1930 in an ivory case, and I was wondering if it was real ivory or just plastic. 

Overall though, I do think this is a great book for any makeup fan to have on hand since it combines beautiful pictures with some history and even a sort of abstract "theory" of lipstick.  And while it's only September, Lips of Luxury would definitely make a lovely holiday gift for the beauty addict in your life!



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