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September 2013

Couture Monday: Antonio Lopez for MAC

Lopez at work while Juan Ramos looks on (image from latinoaids.org)

Like the stars of previous cosmetics collaborations (Warhol, Basquiat), the work of fashion illustrator Antonio Lopez (1943-1987) has been particularly popular of late. With an exhibition at SCAD this summer, along with a beautifully detailed monograph and accompanying exhibition last year, Lopez's art is enjoying a robust resurgence.  The MAC collaboration honors this extremely influential artist and uses images that represent perhaps his best-known style from the early '80s for the packaging.

Born in Puerto Rico in 1943 and raised in Harlem, Lopez attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and landed a short-lived job at Women's Wear Daily in 1962.  Within a year he left to become a freelance illustrator, and by 1965 he was earning $1,000 per illustration.  Lopez spent most of the 1970s in Paris, where he befriended the likes of Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent.   In the early '80s he returned to New York, continuing his work for magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Interview and Vanity.  (You can read a brief bio here.)

Onto my purchases. 


I picked up one of the eye shadow palettes:



Cheek palette:



Lip palette:



And the makeup bag - I love the velvet backing:



The image is a 1983 portrait of Maria Snyder:

(image from elle.com)

And the mirror:


I'm not sure who the model is, but here's the original image:

(image from theantoniolopezbook.com)

Let's take a look at Lopez's work and how it captured the essence of the heady times in which he lived.

Some psychedelic work for Intro Magazine, 1967:


(images from sweetjanespopboutique.blogspot.com)

A similar style for Elle Magazine, May 1967:

(image from trendland.com)

In 1970, we can see his style changing with the dawn of a new decade.

(image from notedelhotel.blogspot.com)

As early as 1972, we can see a bolder, more graphic style that serves as the foundation for some of his most notable illustrations in the '80s.  


Mr. Chow's Drawing, Paris III, 1973:

(image from fashionschooldaily.com)

An illustration of Brigitte Bardot for Interview magazine, 1975:

(image from independent.co.uk)

The following images most closely resemble those on the MAC products. 

Vanity Magazine, 1981:

(image from style.com)


(image from wewastetime.wordpress.com)

Yves Saint Laurent ad, 1984:

(image from theantoniolopezbook.com)

So what made Lopez stand out from other fashion illustrators?  For one, in the early '60s most fashion illustrations resembled very basic, catalog-like depictions of clothing.  Lopez galvanized the medium, infusing representations of designer garments with an energy and movement they previously lacked.  Secondly, Lopez understood how to both capture and evoke a particular era.  André Leon Talley, Vogue editor and a former colleague of Lopez, remarks that Lopez "knew how to suggest the mood of the time."  Adds East of Mayfair Director Janina Joffe, "The greatest fashion artists create desirable images that capture the entire spirit of an era and still remain timeless. Antonio Lopez was a definitive master of this skill."

Finally, Lopez's work disguinshes itself from from that of other illustrators in that it heavily influenced the designers - they took their cue from his work rather than the other way around.  In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Mauricio Padilha, one of the authors of Antonio Lopez:  Fashion, Art, Sex & Disco, had this to say:  "Some of the models, he wouldn’t even put clothing on them. He would have the model standing next to the clothing in a leotard or whatever and he would illustrate how he saw the clothing onto the model’s body. It became something different and a lot of times designers would go back and then rework their outfits so it looked more like his illustrations."  Indeed, Lopez's influence is still rippling through the psyche of various designers today.  "[A] fresh crop of fashion designers, stylists and photographers seem to have been thumbing through Antonio's back-catalogue – the December 2012 issue of Vogue Italia featured a Steven Meisel covershoot titled 'High Gloss' that paid homage to the heady world of hedonism captured in Lopez's polaroids, eye-obscuring Jerry Hall mane and all. The same imagery – and that lop-sided hairdo – roamed Jonathan Saunders' spring catwalk in London...Antonio, of course, wasn't only about girls – his eroticised drawings of male models populated campaigns for Versace and Missoni in the eighties.  Those exaggerated images – man as hunter-gatherer in buttery-leather and luxury knits, respectively – were fodder for Kim Jones' sophomore menswear collection for Louis Vuitton, where the emphatic shoulders, artfully wrapped capes and chiselled jawlines whispered of Antonio heroes past.  Their feminine counterparts, the sketches of Jerry, Pat et al, inspired the disco diva bugle-beaded gowns of New York designer Jason Wu's 2013 pre-Fall collection, translating Antonio's pen marks into cashmere and chiffon," writes Alexander Fury at The Independent.

Getting back to the MAC collaboration, MAC Creative Director James Gager states that it was Lopez's "tremendous zest for living" that was the catalyst for the collection.  He adds, “When you see the pictures and the drawings, you want to re-meet these people at a party or on the street. You want to stop them and say, 'You look incredible!'”  I suppose if any company is going to launch a collection inspired by Lopez's hedonistic vibe expressed in bold colors and strong lines, MAC is appropriate.  However, I would have liked if they could have indicated which models were in the illustrations that appeared on the packaging.  The promo ad reunites three of "Antonio's Girls" (Jerry Hall, Pat Cleveland and Marisa Berenson), but it's unclear if any of them are in the illustrations that were selected.  Plus, I stumbled across this image and thought it would have been perfect for a makeup collection:

(image from theantoniolopezbook.com)

Anyway, I prefer Lopez's earlier work of the late '60s to the flashier designs he created in the late  '70s and '80s.  The colors appear garish and incongruous, the lines harsh and severe.  Of course, it could just be that I simply don't care for '80s fashion, and Lopez amplified the excess of the decade.  If I find the '80s aesthetic to be unappealing, Lopez's work certainly heightened it (i.e., made it seem uglier than it actually was.)  Conversely, if you love '80s fashion then Lopez's work sublimely elevates it.

What do you think, both of Lopez as an illustrator and of the MAC collection?

Curator's Corner, 9/28/2013

CC logoLinks from this week and last. 

- Finally we have a sneak peek and some information on NARS' collaboration with fashion photographer Guy Bourdin.  I have to say the packaging isn't wowing me the way the first glimpse of the Warhol collection did last year, but we'll see.

- Autumn at The Beheld shares some great insights on beauty and grooming, courtesy of her awesome-sounding grandmother.

 - Men in the U.S. aren't ready for cosmetics?  Gee, you don't say.

- I thought Demeter had the market cornered on odd fragrances, but there's another company that's giving them a run for their money with a new toast-scented perfume.  I'm incredibly curious to know if it actually does smell like toast and how it would work with my body chemistry.  

- Yikes!  Glad we've done away with radiation-infused bath salts and other lethal beauty products.  Then again, nowadays some people (myself included) are having a botulism-based substance injected into their faces...which I'm sure in another few decades will seem completely insane.

The random:

- Vindication!  I've always known afternoon naps are completely necessary!

- Google turned 15 yesterday.  In related news, I am ancient.

- Oooh, an exhibition devoted to pizza!

- Finally, we welcomed another addition to our treasured plushie family. 


At first the others were a little afraid, then realized he wasn't spooky at all - just another cuddly ball of fluff who also loves cookies!

How was your week?

Yay or neigh on Chantecaille's fall palette?

(top row images from jcrew.com, modcloth.com, shopbop.com; bottom row from cusp.com, paulandjoe.com, and revolveclothing.com)

Bird motifs are SO 2011.  "Put a horse on it!" seems to be the rallying cry for many designers this fall, as evidenced by the clothing above.  Chantecaille is on board the trend as well with their Wild Horses palette.  As with previous animal-themed palettes, 5% of the proceeds go to an organization that helps the animals - in this case, the Humane Society.  According to the video at Chantecaille's website, there were over 2 million wild horses roaming freely in the Western part of the United States at the start of the 20th century; that number has now dwindled to just over 31,500.  Horses are quickly losing their land to make way for sheep and cattle.  The Humane Society works to pass legal protections for the horses and to  "persuade the government to manage populations with humane, effective, economical methods"  instead of allowing them to be sold and slaughtered. 







When I first saw this palette, I do what I always do when it comes to animals appearing on beauty products - try to remember whether I'd ever seen horses in an ad or on another palette.  There was Paul & Joe's Carousel collection this past spring which featured horses, but they were really more merry-go-round ponies than living, breathing horses.  So I decided to do a little research and, to my surprise, horses have made it into a number of makeup ads.

Elizabeth Arden first used an equestrian theme in 1937 and revisited it 10 years later.


(images from hprints.com)

Guerlain, 1953:

(image from hprints.com)

And the best of the bunch in my opinion, simply because the ad copy cracks me up, is Revlon's Stormy Pink ad from 1963 (you can still buy this shade today!):

(image from ebay.com

Hunting scenes involving horses also made it on to several compacts, like these beauties from Tussy (1960s) and Stratton (1950s):

(image from etsy.com)

(image from etsy.com)

So horses in beauty ads and products weren't as rare as I suspected. 

Getting back to the Chantecaille palette, this isn't my favorite.  First of all, I'm not a horse fan.  There I said it.  I just don't understand how they're considered the "graceful, majestic creatures" they're usually made out to be.  To me they're just not...attractive.  This doesn't mean, of course, that I think they should be wiped out or that I'm indifferent to them being rounded up and slaughtered, but purely from an aesthetic standpoint I find them to be rather uninteristing and ugly - awkward, smelly and somewhat dangerous, with no real redeeming qualities.  The other reason this isn't my favorite offering from Chantecaille is that this is the 6th animal-themed palette in a row (following sharks, elephants, turtles, tigers and dolphins) with the same four-pan design, so frankly I'm getting bored.  Would it kill Chantecaille to shake it up a little and come up with a different design?  I wish they would revisit their glory days of the Protected Paradise palettes.

Anyway, what do you think of this palette? 

Fall 2013 color trend

Unlike fall seasons past, 2013 did not have a single clear "it" color that I could discern.  Gray, red and seemingly every shade of purple from mauve to plum were popular, but none of those really stood out to me as a runaway favorite.  After many confusing weeks I just threw up my hands and declared that an edgy, moody green, tinged with gold or sometimes muddied with brown, would be my choice for THE color of fall 2013.


  1. Clarins Eye Quartet Mineral Palette
  2. Armani Eyes to Kill Intense eye shadow in Gold Hercule
  3. Clinique All About Shadow eye shadow quad in On Safari
  4. Prabal Gurung for Sally Hansen nail polish in Loden Green
  5. Armani Face & Eye Palette
  6. Stila Magnificent Metals Foil Finish eye shadow in Metallic Laurel
  7. Lancome Vernis in Love nail polish in Black Sepia
  8. Dior eye shadow palette in Bonne Etoile
  9. Chanel Le Vernis nail polish in Alchimie
  10. NARS Eye Paint in Mozambique

What do you think of this shade?  Personally I love basically any green shadow (very flattering on brown eyes) and polish so I'm all for it!

Once upon a time...there was Paul & Joe's fall 2013 collection

I have to be honest, this wasn't my favorite Paul & Joe collection.  It didn't feel quite as thoughtful as most of their others.  "Fairytale Autumn 2013 is a classic collection that recalls the timeless innocence of childhood fables with grown-up, sophisticated textures and tones.  Join us for an inspired, romantic makeup tale that will captivate and enthrall - because the most beautiful stories always begin and end with Paul & Joe Beaute."  Eh.  It's an okay theme, I guess, but I don't think it was executed very well from a design standpoint.  The primary components of the collection were three sets adorned with a butterfly pattern.  These were nothing special to me - I thought the butterfly on the Midsummer's Dream collection blush last year was much nicer - so I didn't purchase any.


The color choices for the cases seem odd for fall, as yellow, purple and aquamarine read much more spring/summer to me.  Plus the clever details that usually inhabit Paul & Joe's offerings are sadly absent.  It's just a plain box with some butterflies and the same text on the inside of each box.

There were also three lipstick cases, which I did buy even though I wasn't crazy about the collection overall.  What can I say, they're only $5 and I know they'll come in handy for one exhibition or another.


Oddly enough, none of these prints, including the butterflies on the sets, appeared on any of the clothes for Paul & Joe's fall season.  I looked at every collection - pre-fall, fall (both men's and women's), Paul & Joe Sister, men's spring 2014, etc. and these were nowhere to be found.  The fact that these prints seemingly came out of nowhere, coupled with the lackluster idea behind the collection, makes this among my least favorite Paul & Joe releases.   But their holiday collection is full of cuddly kittens, so I have no doubt they will regain their footing come December.  ;)

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!



Curator's Corner, 9/14/2013

CC logoNo posts for me for this week, but I was still trying to keep up with the interwebz.  Here are some links from this week and last.

- Most holiday 2013 collections aren't out yet, but we're already seeing spring 2014 makeup trends via NY Fashion Week.  I'm excited because the season is shaping up to be very mermaid-inspired, as evidenced by the beauty looks at Badgely Mischka and Ohne Titel.

- Snail slime has made an appearance in some beauty products before, but now the trend is going a step further with the snail facial (ugh!).  In other odd beauty ingredient news, for something slightly less gross but possibly painful, a new bee venom-based skincare line is set to debut at Sephora.

- Rouge Deluxe gives us a sneak peek of LUSH Christmas goodies.  I can't wait for the penguin bubble bars!!

- If I had money to burn I'd totally buy this new beauty history book by L'Oreal.  Too bad it's currently only available in France and costs approximately $372. 

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Swagger New York crossed classic cartoon characters from the decade with collections from NYFW, ending up with such remarkable creations as Lisa Simpson in Marc Jacobs and Beavis and Butthead in Jeremy Scott.  Personally, I would have loved to have seen Dr. Katz rocking some Thom Browne (which would be especially fitting given Browne's "asylum" theme for his women's collection.) (via Refinery29)

- Exciting news in the art world:  not only was a new Van Gogh discovered, a previously unknown newspaper article about the infamous ear-slicing was unearthed.  What's most interesting to me is that it references Van Gogh's attachment to his depictions of sunflowers, as the article reports he told Gauguin, "The sunflower is mine."  I've always felt the same way regarding sunflowers.  ;)

- The Awl/Hairpin had articles on two of my favorite (unrelated) topics:  Riot Grrrl and jellyfish.

- Finally, the pumpkin spice trend is taking over the world.  And since I gulp down Pumpkin Spice lattes pretty much non-stop every fall, I couldn't be happier.

What were you reading/interested in this week?

Blog note

Just a quick update - I had a big work event this weekend, the preparation for which ate up all my time so I was unable to get any posts ready for this coming week.  (Don't you hate it when your real job interferes with your blog?!)  But never fear, I'll be back and posting this weekend.  :)

Quick post: vintage compact blog

Vanroe-compacts-iconWhen I was researching the compact from my previous post, I came across this amazing blog that's chock full of great information and drool-worthy pictures of vintage and contemporary compacts.  Run by Jane Johnston, Director of Vanroe Compacts, the blog has incredibly useful articles on a variety of topics related to vintage compacts, like how to start your own compact collection (invaluable for me, as I'm still just scratching the surface of vintage makeup), how to refill a vintage compact, and brand histories.

Ms. Johnston seems quite knowledgeable, so I'm wondering if she can help me track down another one of these vintage Stratton compacts with mermaids on it...that's one I definitely need.  :)