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May 2014

Hautelook exclusive Stila travel palettes

Now how on earth did I miss these?!  I'm a little bummed that Stila snuck them onto discount site Hautelook about a month ago.  I'm a Hautelook member so I get their emails, but I ignored their Stila sale alert because there was nothing from them I needed at the moment.  Little did I know that Stila was offering two Hautelook-exclusive travel palettes during the sale:  Sweet in San Francisco and Stunning in Seattle.  By the time I caught wind of them via Pinterest they were long gone.  I actually ended up calling Stila and was told, very apologetically and nicely, that the palettes were indeed exclusive to Hautelook and that there were no plans to sell them anywhere else in the future.  Very bad news for a collector!

The San Francisco palette I was not able to get my hands on so I will continue to pursue it on E-bay. I think I have all of the city-themed travel palettes, therefore I cannot have any gaps in my collection.   I can't really see the details too well from this tiny picture but you can't miss the Golden Gate Bridge.

(image from pinterest.com)

Stunning in Seattle proved less difficult to obtain and I was able to snag it on E-bay.  While "stunning" was previously used in the 2011 Stunning in Sayulita palette, the Seattle one makes up for the repetition in the name.  The famous Space Needle in the background is adorable, but what I really liked is this Stila girl's brunette mane in a messy ponytail since it reminds me of me.  :)  I also loved this girl's outfit.  The sunglasses, cuffed skinny jeans and little flats are so cute, not to mention practical.    Sometimes the Stila girls, particularly those depicted in the travel palettes, are wearing fairly high heels that makes me wonder how much sight-seeing they're actually doing in that particular city;  there are only a handful in flats or bare feet.  The Seattle Stila girl is very chic but also knows she'll be walking and/or biking for most of the day - gotta be comfortable! 


Here's the inside with a quote from Stila Global Artistic Director Sarah Lucero.



What do you think of these?  Were you lucky enough to buy one or both at Hautelook?

MM musings, vol. 17: permanent collection design

Makeup Museum (MM) Musings is a series that examines a broad range of museum topics as they relate to the collecting of cosmetics, along with my vision for a "real", physical Makeup Museum.  These posts help me think through how I'd run things if the Museum was an actual organization, as well as examine the ways it's currently functioning.  I also hope that these posts make everyone see that the idea of a museum devoted to cosmetics isn't so crazy after all - it can be done!

Today I'll be discussing what the permanent collection might look like if the Makeup Museum occupied a physical space (special exhibitions will be covered in the next installment of MM Musings.)   Exhibition design is, of course, a behemoth topic and I don't expect to thoroughly describe every aspect of it as it applies to a beauty museum, but I thought I'd at least scratch the surface. 

In looking at various museums and exhibitions online, it occurred to me that it's easier to start with what I don't want rather than what would be ideal.  The following pictures are examples of displays that I personally don't find appropriate for beauty objects.  I'm not slighting the hard work that went into these whatsoever, it's just that they will help me remember specifically what I hope to avoid in setting up a permanent display.

First up is labeling.  I have discovered I'm a little very picky when it comes to communicating the information about each object.  For the first example, while I love how neatly arranged all the objects are in rows in this 2008 robot exhibition, I can't see any labels.  I can only assume they're in at the feet of each robot, but what about the ones on the top shelf?  How is a visitor supposed to know what they're looking at?  Obviously robots but I would want to know the name, year, and any other interesting facts.


(images from new.pentagram.com)

Even worse would be tons of objects crammed into one case with no labels.  At least the above exhibition was arranged in an orderly fashion.

(image from whitehotmagazine.com)

I also don't belive that tiny numbers corresponding to the objects really count as labels.  I loathe having to hunt for information.  This labeling system doesn't engage visitors, it just frustrates them (or at least me).  I'm more likely to walk away from a display if I can't readily view the information about each object.  I know it doesn't require a lot of thought to match up the objects to the number.  But it is an extra step, and given that I'm anxious to see as much as possible when I go to a museum, I hate wasting even one precious second having to look up an object I want to know more about.

(image from photos.hodgman.org)

(image from fairyfiligree.blogspot.com)

Even if the numbers are a good size, like in this 2012 Louis Vuitton Marc Jacobs exhibition, I still don't like not having all the information right near the object.  It needs to be front and center.

(image from ibtimes.co.uk)

Second, I don't want a repetitive display.  Below is a special exhibition devoted to Marilyn Monroe at the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum in Italy (Monroe was quite a loyal Ferragamo customer).  This is a subject I'm definitely interested in, but I can already feel my eyes glazing over looking at that very long row of vitrines all set up exactly the same.

(image from dazeddigital.com)

Similarly, I like a good collection of (African?) masks as well as anyone, but I find this layout doesn't do them justice.  One after the other against clear glass atop a concrete base strips them of their individuality.

(image from archdaily.com)

Now that I've shown some examples of what I don't want, let's look at some that I could see working for a beauty museum.  I adore the design of Harrod's Perfume Diaries exhibition from 2010 and would love to have something similar as a permanent display.  Everything is arranged chronologically, and the well-lit cases have niches for each item as well as individual labels.  The white curved walls provide a modern, open airiness - something else I don't want is for the Makeup Museum is for visitors to feel like they're in some creepy old weirdo's cramped basement.

(image from thewomensroom.typepad.com)

Along those lines, I liked how the ads and objects were arranged in this perfume bottle exhibition.  As you know, I frequently include ads in my exhibitions and I think this is a great way to do it.  Again, I thought the crisp white backdrop worked really well - white would be a very effective surrounding for colorful makeup items.

(image from belepok.com)

It's no surprise that the exhibition displays that appeal most to me are for perfumes, since, after all, makeup objects aren't all that far off either in theme or size. 

While this was a shallow dive into the vasts depths of collections display, I think it was very helpful for me to weed through and determine the basic aspects that I would want in permanent displays at the Makeup Museum, which are: 1. clear, easy-to-find labeling for every object; 2. differentiated areas or displays so that the objects' uniqueness can be emphasized; and 3. an open floor plan with lots of light.

Can you envision something similar to the perfume displays shown here for a physical Makeup Museum?  And more generally, do you have any museum display pet peeves? 

Curator's Corner, 5/11/2014

CC logoLinks from the past couple of weeks...I haven't been able to keep up with blogging lately as I was away last weekend and, as I did last year, I got completely sucked into planning an epic birthday party for my niece.  I love party planning but can't multitask, so the blog had to take a back seat.  Anyway, enjoy...lots of great links!

- There was some truly awful/dangerous 19th century beauty advice over at Mental Floss, while Glamour Daze shared less offensive 60-second daily beauty routines from the '50s as well as eye makeup tips from 1941.

- According to the NY Times, we may not even need beauty advice anymore as the "no makeup" trend grows, and apparently we're all wearing too much makeup anyway. However, I greatly doubt the industry will take a hit as a result of the barefaced trend, as evidenced partly by this genius 3D makeup printer.

- Autumn at the Beheld writes yet another scintillating piece, this time tackling the idea of intrinsic motivation when applying makeup.

- Oh, how I love crazily expensive products, like this $14 million mascara. I also love vintage beauty ads and the '90s so I was particularly enamored of this round-up at Into the Gloss.

- Weird lip colors are still trending strongly, with Rihanna rocking green lipstick and Joan Smalls wearing deep violet lips at the Met Gala.  Meanwhile, NYX launched their Macaron Lippies collection, featuring concrete grey and bright yellow lipsticks (among more normal colors.)  I have to admit I am greatly tempted by the grey!

- Cosmetic Candy reviews a must-have new nail product for the mermaid wanna-be (and no, it's not Deborah Lippmann Mermaid's Dream.)

- “Your existence is a dismal and feeble one, and no amount of mascara is ever going to change that."  Loved this new ad "campaign" from Revlon.  ;)

- I was just in NYC last weekend and was bummed the NARS new flagship boutique on Madison Avenue hadn't yet opened.  It will debut on May 16th so I will make sure to check it out next time I'm there.

- Possibly the most exciting beauty news I've heard in a while - Marge Simpson will be getting her very own makeup collection!! 

The random:

- Did someone say art and '90s pop culture references?  I'd love to see this exhibition in Seattle

- Hey Pantone, you were not the first to detail every single color in the universe

- The Awl confirms what I've always known - Sundays are really awful

- On the local front, some delusional Yahoo! Travel writer mistakenly claims that Baltimore is the new Brooklyn.  No, just no.

- I mentioned I'm planning my niece's birthday party.  This year, per her request, the theme is Disney's Frozen.  In my party research I came across a lot of great Frozen-themed stuff, including this Frozen/Thriller mashup.  Not party related at all but I still got a kick out of it.

- Okay, Tokyo, I'll see your Moomin Cafe and raise you an Uglydoll restaurant.  Could you imagine getting to have lunch with some adorable Babos sitting right next to you?!

- Bitch Magazine has a wonderful article on my favorite character on Bob's Burgers and her burgeoning sexuality. 

- Yay! Uniqlo is inching ever closer to my reach, with stores opening soon in Philly and Boston.

Finally, Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there and especially to my own awesome mom.  I like to think that growing up I never gave her any brutally honest cards like the ones rounded up at Buzzfeed.

What's up with you? 

Quick post: Paris in bloom from Bourjois

I was pretty excited to see these Little Round Pots at British Beauty Blogger way back in January and managed to snag a couple of them at Asos.  These limited-edition eye shadows and blushes from Bourjois feature a floral print that originally appeared on their packaging for loose powder in 1934.


However, I was disappointed in the quality.  The flowers are stickers, not printed directly onto the case as in other limited-edition Bourjois collections.



If you look at previous collections from Bourjois, like this collaboration with Nathalie Lété (one of my favorite collections!), you can see how the design is printed onto the case.  It's sturdier than a sticker, which can peel off, and looks much nicer.


Additionally, I was unable to find any images of the Bourjois products that had the floral print allegedly used in the '30s.  So overall this collection was kind of a miss for me. 

Mini-trend: on the road to Rio


I don't know whether it's World Cup fever or the influence of sexy dance fighting, but it seems Brazil is the destination of choice for beauty inspiration this summer (with OPI's Brazil-themed spring collection paving the way).  Check out some highlights from these vibrant collections infused with the Brazilian spirit below.


  1. Promo for Kiko Life in Rio collection
  2. L'Occitane Jenipapo fragrance
  3. Sephora Sol de Rio Bronzing Powder
  4. Promo for Clarins Colors of Brazil collection
  5. Kiko Creamy Touch Eye Shadow Duo
  6. L'Occitane Mandacaru fragrance
  7. Clarins Colors of Brazil Summer Bronzing Compact
  8. Catrice Baked Eye Shadow trio from the Carnival of Colors collection

Interestingly, the L'Occitane au Brésil collection has actually been in Brazil for about a year - it's only just now being released in stores outside of the country.  You can read more about L'Occitane's Brazil brand here - I like that it's all produced in Brazil using sustainable, natural resources and local artists for the packaging.

Will you be partaking in any Brazil-inspired products this summer?

Teatime with Cargo

I'm still on the fence as to whether these items from Cargo are museum-worthy, but I thought they were at least worth writing about.   You may remember that Cargo's packaging and branding underwent a massive facelift last fall, partnering with illustrator Bernadette Pascua (more about that later.)  This spring Cargo has moved on to team up with another talented artist, Meegan Barnes, for a tea party-inspired tin and palette.  The Suited to a Tea collection showcases cheerful renderings of delectable teatime treats as well as Cargo's products. Cupcakes, macarons and lip gloss are neatly placed in a grid against a pale pink background.

Cargo Tea Kit

(images from macys.com)

While the pattern is cute, where Barnes really shines with this collection is her depiction of Chloe, Cargo's new "illustrated muse" who "represents the core Cargo customer".  Unfortunately Chloe only appears at Cargo's website rather than on the actual makeup packaging, which is why I hesitate to purchase one of these items.  It's a shame, since in her figurative illustrations Barnes displays a masterful use of color that simultaneously manages to be both exuberant and delicate, and that's not as visible in the small objects on the Cargo packaging.

(image from facebook.com)





Meegan-Barnes-Cargo-spring 2014
(images from meeganbarnes.com)

The Los Angeles-based Barnes got her professional start in New York in the late '90s.  Since then she has collaborated with a number of fashion labels and magazines, including Banana Republic, Nylon, and Urban Outfitters.  While her drawings for Cargo are still in keeping with her illustrative style, other collaborations as well as her personal work point to an edgier, tougher side that's not apparent in the very sweet Chloe illustrations.  Take, for example, her series "#ModelsFalling". 



Or the women depicted in her drawings for a book cover (Matahari) and t-shirts for Zoo York.  Pretty badass, right?  They're a sharp contrast to the more innocent, girlish Chloe.

Matahari book cover

(images from meeganbarnes.com)

I think one of the marks of a good artist is knowing exactly the feel or vibe of a collection when teaming up with a client and adjusting their style accordingly.  In this case, Barnes turns down the gritty and cranks up the pretty.

While I admire Barnes' work for Cargo, I'm still wondering what happened to the first illustrator Cargo hired for their re-branding effort, Bernadette Pascua.  I contacted the company and was told that she worked on the fall 2013 and winter 2014 campaigns and that Meegan Barnes had taken over for spring 2014. 

Cargo fall and winter
(images from facebook.com)

What Cargo neglected to tell me was whether it was a matter of Pascua dropping out of the project so a permanent replacement (Barnes) was found, or whether it was just that from the start they had decided that artists would change every few seasons.  I guess time will tell.

What do you think of Meegan Barnes' work and the Suited to a Tea collection?