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February 2014

Curator's Corner, 2/16/2014

CC logoIs it spring yet?  No?  Well, while we wait for everything to thaw check out these links from this week and last. 

- Loved this slideshow of '90s beauty products from Elle. 

- Karen at Makeup and Beauty Blog spotted a new eyewear line from Bobbi Brown.  I am intrigued. 

- Beautylish shares quite an illuminating article on the history of Max Factor and the man behind the brand. 

- The Nailympics just concluded in Rome.  I found the highlights much more entertaining than the Sochi Olympics, sadly.

- So this is exciting:  NARS will be teaming up with Phillip Lim for a nail polish line to be released in the fall.

- Less exciting is that Madonna will be introducing a Japan-exclusive skincare line.  I'm honestly a bit surprised she hasn't jumped on the beauty bandwagon prior to this - it seems that every pop star has their own fragrance or nail polish line. 

The random:

- Uglydoll is releasing yet another Babo.  However, I'm not finding him to be nearly as adorable as the rest of the little scamps in the Babo family, plus I'm not a Kiss fan, so I think this will be the first Babo I will not be purchasing.

- Sooooo dying to hit up the newly opened Ladurée in Soho!  I've been waiting for it to open since I spotted that it was coming back in September.

- I'd love to see this exhibition on the history of women's shoe design...too bad it's in the Netherlands!

- Just about died when I saw this trailer.  Two words for you:  Killer. Mermaid.

- I was equally excited when my favorite Kids in the Hall character, Buddy Cole, made an appearance on the Colbert Report!  On a related note, I never really "got" Stefan on Saturday Night Live until I started binge-watching KITH on Netflix and witnessed the genius of Buddy Cole.  Then it all made sense.  Buddy is essentially the original Stefan. 

- One final pop culture note:  if you're not watching Broad City you really should start.

How was your week?

Happy Valentine's Day from Napoleon Perdis, c/o Felicia Aroney

I have to admit that I hadn't paid much attention to Australian makeup artist Napoleon Perdis's line - nothing about it appealed to me.  I'm also not into Valentine's Day.  But a few days ago I came across these nail polish and lip gloss sets at Refinery 29 and was intrigued by Perdis's collaboration with fellow Aussie Felicia Aroney.   The "Lovebirds" collection features five different sets of nail polish and lip gloss housed in a bag adorned with a painting by Aroney.

(image from westfield.com.au)

Fittingly, all sets are named after birds.  This is Flamingo:

(image from shop.nordstrom.com)

Dove and Skylark:


Goldfinch and White Swan:

(images from shopdavidjones.com.au)

As for Aroney, her art is shaped by her Greek heritage and being born and raised in Australia.  Her artist statement summarizes the various influences on her work and explains why birds are a recurring motif: "My greatest influences are the amalgamation of my rich Australian upbringing and my Greek heritage. My fascination with the appearance of ancient Greek ruins and the ritual of the re-painting of homes on the Greek Islands stirs my imagination and shapes my art. Layers of paint being re-applied on walls over the centuries, exposing glimpses of colour from a previous life, reminds me of the passing of time. Using a palette knife and using specially made canvases designed to carry the weight of the paint, I prompt the viewer to study the canvas where they can see subtle crevasses of colour.  I incorporate the beautifully animated Australian Fairy wren bird. They delight the canvas with their communicative nature. Incorporating both the Fairy Wrens and the textured Grecian backgrounds are a way of marrying both my heritages."

Indeed, the paint in the backgrounds is so thick that Aroney "carves" her signature into it (in the lower right).  I like how the delicacy of the wrens plays off of the dense, heavy layers of the background.  For the Perdis collaboration, Aroney painted an entire series of "love birds" for the Napoleon Perdis Lifestyle Store and Gallery in Sydney. 

This is Love Birds (2014):


I Pick You (2014):


In for the Kiss (2014):

(images from feliciaaroney.com)

However, I think the painting that was actually chosen for the makeup bag was one completed in 2013 entitled Sunday Chatter.

(image from facebook.com)

How did the collaboration come about?  Aroney explained to the Sydney Herald, "Napoleon loves my paintings, and has bought several, which are in his homes in Australia and America...he rang me from Los Angeles and proposed this idea of applying one of my art works to a makeup bag, and he thought the Love Birds would be appropriate for Valentine's Day." She adds that she's happy her work made its way to beauty items:  "My art is there to be shared, viewed and discussed and I love that I can apply my creativity in a different way."

What are your thoughts, both on Aroney's work and the resulting collaboration with Napoleon Perdis?  I'm still on the fence as to whether one of these sets will make it into the Museum's collection.

MM Mailbag: Tussy Two-in-One Lipstick

A while ago I received an email from a woman whose son was playing in an abandoned lot and managed to find an old lipstick tube.  What was remarkable about it, she noted, is that it was double-ended.  She asked if I could identify it and see if it was worth anything.  Fortunately I was able to find some information and correctly identify it, although it wasn't too difficult as the brand name of Tussy was etched on one end. 


Tussy was originally owned by perfume and skincare purveyor J. Lesquendieu, which in turn was owned by Lehn & Fink starting in 1929: "Lehn & Fink, a New York based pharmaceutical company established in 1875, was mainly known for household products such as Lysol disinfectant and Pebeco toothpowder. After their purchase of Dorothy Gray, they went on to acquire Lesquendieu (which included Tussy) in 1929."

(images from archives.newyorker.com and ebay.com)

When I was trying to guess the approximate date of this two-sided lipstick I obviously found Tussy ads to be very helpful.  I knew it wasn't any earlier than 1940, but then I was also able to rule out 1941 through 1947 by comparing the tube in the pictures sent to me to the ones in the ads.


(image from ebay.com)




(image from ebay.com)




(image from hprints.com)

By summer of 1948 Tussy Two in One lipsticks had made their debut, as evidenced by these newspaper ads.  Oddly enough I didn't come across any full-sized color magazine ads for these two-in-ones.  These are from May 27, 1948 and June 17, 1948, respectively.

Tussy-news-ad-may 27 1948-june-1948
(images from news.google.com)

Here's another ad from 1949 that better shows the lipstick and available shades.

Tussy-june 9 1949
(image from news.google.com)

And here's what one looks like in mint condition:

(image from worthpoint.com)

For the holiday season in 1949, Tussy expanded on the double-ended product theme and devised a lipstick and perfume tube, combining their Optimiste perfume with their lipstick of the same name.

(image from news.google.com)

(image from ebay.com)

They repeated the perfume/lipstick combination in late 1952 with their Midnight perfume and lipstick.

(image from ebay.com)

(image from flickr.com)

Interestingly, Dorothy Gray, also owned by Lehn & Fink at this point, released a similar product in 1952 with their Golden Orchid perfume on one end and a lipstick on the other, which was available in four shades.

(images from ebay.com)


Also in 1952, Elizabeth Arden jumped on the double-ended lipstick bandwagon with their "color-over-color" lipstick combinations.

(image from amazingadornments.com)

Tussy was not the first to come up with double-ended products.  Two-sided perfume cases were quite popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, and in the 1920s a company named Ripley & Gowen came up with a "tango" compact (a compact with a lipstick or perfume case attached by a chain) that had a double-ended tube containing lipstick on one end and brow pencil on the other. 


(images from tri-stateantiques.com)

Brow pencil appears to be an odd choice, but I'm assuming that in order to the maintain the thin, straight brows that were in style in the 20s brow pencil was a necessity - perhaps so important that R & G saw it appropriate to make it the other item besides lipstick in a two-sided case.  While others had produced double-sided products, to my knowledge Tussy was among the first companies to come up with a double-ended lipstick.  And their interest in two-sided products didn't end in the late 40s, as evidenced by their "Flipsticks" that were introduced in 1962:

(image from myfdb.com)

With the plethora of double-ended beauty items nowadays, I think it's safe to say that Tussy was a pioneer in helping to make them a commonplace product rather than a novelty.  Getting back to the original lipstick that was submitted, I can't say it's worth very much given the condition, but it's still interesting from a beauty history perspective.  If I found it I would definitely hang onto it.

Do you use double-ended products?  I don't because I like to store everything vertically rather than horizontally and it drives me crazy that I can't see both ends!


Makeup as muse: Red (Hong Yi)

I'm kicking off yet another series at the Makeup Museum that I'm calling Makeup as Muse, in which I feature an artist that uses beauty products as inspiration for their work.  For the first installment I want to highlight the work of Malaysian artist Hong Yi, a.k.a. Red, which I stumbled upon last week at My Modern Met and was blown away by these beautiful pictures celebrating Chinese culture/new year.  Red's oeuvre largely consists of using non-traditional means to create images, and for her latest series she decided to use makeup.  She explains, "Chinese art requires a lot of precision and skill — one stroke can make a huge difference, and many times, less is more.  I felt that this is similar to how a woman carefully puts on her make-up."












(images from Red's Instagram)

Red has worked with many non-traditional materials over the years.  She created a portrait of  Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made of sunflower seeds in homage to his installation of 100,000 porcelain sunflower seeds at the Tate.


She has also done portraits using overlapping coffee cup stains, such as this portrait of Malaysian business leader Francis Yeoh.

(images from redhongyi.com)

Particularly interesting to me was the 31-day project in which she made detailed images using food.


She must have worked quite fast on this reproduction of a Marchesa gown - I'm guessing the cabbage leaves would have wilted quickly.


My second favorite series (behind the makeup one, of course) was a collection of colorful birds rendered in flower petals and twigs.


(images from redhongyi.tumblr.com)

According to her biography, Red seeks to "use mundane, ordinary and often overlooked objects to make beautiful art."  While this may not be a new concept, Red's execution is what makes her work unique.  People have painted pictures using non-traditional materials before, but it's Red's creativity that sets her apart.  Take, for example, the use of mascara wands to make the cattails growing on the sides of a pond:


Never have I looked at a mascara wand and imagined it resembles this!  Her ability to see beyond an everyday object's given purpose or design is remarkable.  She says, "I am inspired by patterns in nature, and by everyday objects and materials that we are all familiar with. I want to challenge myself to not take these objects for granted, but to see potential in creating art using these objects."  The intricacy of her work is also extraordinary, as it must take a fair amount of time and skill to transform these unusual materials into a detailed image.  You can see in all of the works above how painstaking the process is for arranging one of her chosen mediums - be it flower petals or loose face powder - to compose a coherent picture.  I could probably sit for days with a million flower petals and be stumped as to how to produce a bird from them.  I'm curious to know whether she sketches everything out first or just gets to work.

What do you think?  Are you as impressed as I am?  I wonder how much one of those makeup creations would go for...

Deep thoughts: On blogging and finding balance

Tightrope-walkerToday I'd like take a step back and ask my fellow bloggers how you manage your time.  I've been blogging for over 5 years yet I still struggle with time management.  I have two main things I try to accomplish each week:  work out 4-5 days and write 4 posts.   Seems easy, right?  I work full-time, but with no kids or even a long commute, I'm puzzled as to why I still can't seem to either blog consistently or exercise consistently or both.  No matter how much I plan or schedule, I'm never really on the ball.  It's frustrating, especially when I see bloggers who are busier but can keep up without a hitch.  I guess all of the other little things add up (like seeing friends/family, errands, cleaning, keeping up with over 1,000 blog subscriptions, taking on bigger blog projects like exhibitions), plus I need some time to, you know, just relax with a book or watch a movie.  So that's a decent amount of juggling.  Still, I know I can't be THAT busy.  I'm baffled as to how I can't get more done, nor do I see a solution to the problem.  Admittedly I have a low threshold for busy-ness.  I don't like multitasking or cramming lots of things into one day. Given my disposition and personality, perhaps I'm simply attempting too much while other people can take on much more and not feel stressed...or maybe I'm just lazy.

My question to those of you who work full-time in addition to managing a blog is, simply, how do you do it?  How do you find balance between work, life, and blogging?   I'd love to hear any tips and advice!

Curator's Corner, 2/1/2014

CC logoLinks from this week and last. 

- Ommorphia Beauty Bar breaks down Chanel's glittery yet ethereal beauty looks from at their spring 2014 couture runway show. More cutting-edge couture looks are rounded up at Fashionista.

- Science proves that it's not my fault that I'm attracted to shiny objects - it's simply human nature.  Maybe all beauty addicts are just dehydrated?

- The BBC banned red lipstick for its female hosts of children's programming, claiming that it's too provocative.  I'm not really sure where to start with the many ways in which this is absolutely ridiculous.

- I love the combination of chocolate and mint as much as the next person, but not in my toothpaste.  Ew, Crest! 

- In other cosmetic abominations, the latest trends apparently include eyebrow implants, boob deodorant, and earlobe lifts.  Oof.  Is there any body part the industry won't seize upon?

- Having said that, an XO Jane writer shows us that it's possible to work in the industry without making women feel bad about their appearance.

- Loved this student concept for a girls' skincare line.

- Benefit is teaming us with Le Sportsac this spring.  I spy a few new bags in my future.

The random:

- This is awesome: a supercut of every "all right!" uttered by Linda Belcher of Bob's Burgers.

- Dude, I voted for you twice.  Don't diss art history.  Without art history, for example, no one would understand Christian Louboutin's spring ad campaign.  Beautiful shoes are important, no?  ;)

- Habitually Chic gives us the grand tour of the home of By Terry creator Terry de Gunzburg.

- California has gone crazy for cats:  A cat-themed art exhibition opened in L.A., while San Francisco got its first kitty cafe.

- One of a curator's worst nightmares took place at the Tate.  Can you hear me shuddering through the computer?

In '90s nostalgia/things that make me feel old, Green Day's Dookie turned 20 today

What have you been up to this week?