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August 2014

Curator's Corner, 8/24/2014

CC LogoThis week's links. 

- Think today's beauty ads are offensive?  Check out this roundup of vintage ones that will truly make you want to crawl into a hole and never come out. 

- Autumn at the Beheld posted an excellent piece on the true value of bargain beauty vs. prestige products

- I got a kick out of these weird lip/chin makeup paintings.

- Nail polish sales continue to decline...my personal opinion is that they've been overtaken by lip and brow products. 

- I'm glad more and more companies are getting rid of phthalates in products, as evidence keeps surfacing that they can lead to hormone imbalances.  Plus, LUSH has unveiled a series of self-preserving products so no harmful preservatives will be added.  But maybe soon we won't even have to worry about ingredients once we can apply makeup electronically.

- If this woman thinks that's what makeup hoarding looks like, she'd probably have a heart attack if she saw my makeup closet.  I have, uh, considerably more products.

The random:

- I'm both skeptical of and really excited about this new technology that may make it possible for the nearly-blind among us (like me) to see a computer screen without glasses/contacts. 

- While I love chocolate, the idea of having a bathroom made out of it is kinda gross to me. 

- I love this.  Reminds me a little of Color Connections but with fashion. 

- 7:35am, 1872:  scientists have pinpointed this date and time as the exact moment Impressionism was born

- One of the ways I'm gearing up for MAC's Marge Simpson collection is watching the Simpsons marathon on FXX.  Here are 10 tips to further enhance your viewing experience

What have you been up to?  Anyone else tuning in to the Simpsons?

Quick post: more déjà vu with Helena Rubinstein

I was doing some research on vintage Helena Rubinstein for an inquiry (more on that later) and came across this 1953 ad for Rubinstein's Stay Long Lipstick in special jeweled cases.  Here's a snippet in case you don't feel like clicking to enlarge:  "Madame Rubinstein wasn't content with just having the gem of all lipsticks - now she also gives STAY-LONG a gem of a case!  Cases that are masterpieces of costume jewelry - slim, golden columns crowned with a simulated but fabulous ruby, emerald, coral, turquoise, topaz or sapphire."

(image from ebay.com)

I managed to find an actual case on Etsy (too bad it's sold.)




Do these lipsticks remind you of anything?  Say, perhaps, Dolce & Gabbana's holiday 2013 Sicilian Jewels collection?



These are proof that for all the packaging innovation the beauty industry has produced over the years, there are still some cosmetic designs that are always appealing.   Faux-jewel encrusted lipstick cases will always make the one using them feel fancy, no?

Do you prefer Helena Rubinstein's rounded gemstone cases or D & G's more modern take?  I honestly can't choose a favorite!

Still going strong: colored mascara

I thought last summer was the peak of the colored mascara trend, but much to my relief it seems to have staying power.  Companies continue to roll out a new crop of mascaras that go beyond basic black. 

Colored Mascara 2014

  1. Chanel Inimitable Waterproof Mascara in Violet Touch and Orange Touch
  2. Armani Black Ecstasy Mascara in shades 3 and 4 (dying to see what colors these will be in person!)
  3. Ciate Lashlights
  4. Elizabeth Arden Lash Enhancing Mascara in Ocean Blue
  5. Milani Lash Art Colored Mascara from the Bella Blue collection
  6. Dior It-Lash Mascara in It-Pink
  7. Avon Super Shock Brights Mascara
  8. Givenchy Noir Couture Mascara in Violet Etonnant

Last year on a whim I picked up Chanel's aqua mascara from their summer collection (still kicking myself for not getting the bright yellow shade as well), and I also got the sparkly bronze mascara that they released for the holiday season.  Having experimented with both I can safely say I'm now a convert of non-black mascaras.  I think they're the easiest way to get some color on your face if you don't want to cover your entire lid with a crazy color or if you don't have time to carefully line your eyes.  You just sweep on a coat or two and voila!  Your face of the day (or night) is instantly fun but subtle.  If you're still hesitant let this guide at Elle magazine help you determine what color will be most flattering and how to pair it with a coordinating shadow.  But be sure to wear it for YOU, not because it's one makeup trend guys like (WTF, Allure?) 

Will you be partaking in this trend or have you tried it out already?

Couture Monday: a new wave from Lancôme

(image from loreal.com)

Lancôme has quite the history of teaming up with top designers, including Alber Elbaz, Olympia Le-Tan and Jason Wu.  This summer the company collaborated with three rising Paris-based designers:  Jacquemus, Alexandre Vauthier and Yiqing Yin, who were tasked with creating a very exclusive (read:  expensive) line of handbags, dubbed Nouvelle Vague, filled with Lancôme's best-selling products.

I was pretty excited to see what these three could come up with since I first heard about the collaboration back in April.  Let's take a look at each bag and see if it's a good reflection of the designer's aesthetic.

First up is Yiqing Yin.  Born in China, she emigrated to Paris at the age of 4 and later studied at the Ecole Nationale des Arts Décoratifs.  According to her website, "her aim has been to create a garment that protects and reinforces, being at the same time a second skin and a supple armour...she imagines structures which are never fixed, shapes that are always in mutation."  I like the bold geometric lines and overall boxiness of the bag - there's something powerful about it.  The lamé gives it a glam touch.



(images from net-a-porter.com)

In Yin's clothing designs we see more of the strong geometric silhouettes, along with dabbles in various textures.  From delicate feathers to rough-hewn wool, Yin can seemingly make any fabric bend to her vision of a "supple armour".  


I can also see why she used lamé in her Lancôme design - this woman is not afraid of shiny materials!

(images from yiqingyin.com)

Next up we have a very cheerful bag from Simon Porte Jacquemus, a 24 year-old self-taught designer who started his own line at the age of 19.  Right when I saw the shape and color of the bag, I knew it came from a young'un.  Indeed, he says of his aesthetic, "I’ll always be sporty and young...[Jacquemus as a brand] is a whole universe, a concept. Something could be a 'Jacquemus'-y shirt, or a 'Jacquemus'-y bike...it’s more of a playful spirit, clean, fresh, and at the same time raw. If you put photos in front of me, I could tell you whether things were Jacquemus-y or not!"



(images from net-a-porter.com)

The bag's shape directly references some of the pieces that came down the runway for his fall 2014 collection.  I find this quote from him to be a perfect description of the collection: "If I had a bigger budget I would do more couture moderne:  more refined, more exacting, spectacular space-age pieces from the ‘60s; that's what I like.  But always mixed with T-shirts and sneakers."  Bigger budget or not, I do find these pieces to have a futuristic '60s vibe.


I also thought the strap attachment on the Lancôme bag looked similar to the yellow strips adhered to this coat.


Circles are definitely this designer's muse as of late.  In addition to Jacquemus's clothing, they appear in many of the images used in his campaigns.



(images from jacquemus.com)

Of the three I think this one is the most youthful and fun.  I couldn't pull off this bag, but I appreciate the style.

Finally, we have Alexandre Vauthier, whose sleek black clutch features his signature gold bar across the front.  As for the fold-out mechanism, he says, "I wanted to have something that opened up like this, very technical. I’m very crazy and obsessed by horlogerie [the practice of clock-making], as well as the precision of haute joaillerie [fine jewelry], like when you cut a diamond. I want to have something that represents this kind of work." 


(images from net-a-porter.com)

A streamlined clutch made its way into both his fall ready-to-wear and couture collections, making a subtle counterpoint to the intricately detailed (and undeniably sexy) dresses he created.

(images from style.com)

(images from style.com)

This bag is my favorite since it seems to be the most versatile of the three - I could easily see myself carrying it with a number of outfits (I think it would pair especially nicely with those leopard print Louboutin pumps!)  I also like that there are individual straps to keep the makeup in place.

I wish I could get all three for the Museum since I feel each one represents their respective designer very well, but given they range from $500 to $1,300 each, it's not happening.

What do you think of these?  And which is your favorite? 

Curator's Corner, 8/17/2014

CC logoLinks for the week.

Shark Week is over, but you should still check out these amazing shark-inspired makeup looks

- September 9th is shaping up to be an important date.  Not only is the killer mermaid movie I've been dying to see since February finally coming out, a new book featuring MAC ads will be released as well. 

- This $1.3 million manicure makes Louboutin's $50 nail polish seem like a bargain.

- Did you know that one of YSL's Touche Eclat highlighting pens is sold every 10 seconds?  Neither did I.  For more cool stats check out this post at beaut.ie.

- The Beauty Plus explores rhytiphobia, a.k.a. a fear of wrinkles. 

- I'm intrigued by the online salon booking system Allure is launching.

- Snail slime facials were kinda yucky, but this bird poop one takes the gross cake.

- Don't try this at home (or, like, ever.)  Beautiful with Brains shares an old recipe for lead face powder

The random:

- Worn Through examines whether handling museum objects with gloves is really necessary.  For me personally I find they do help cut way down on fingerprints left on my collectible palettes, but they also make them a little more difficult to handle.

- The National Gallery in London removes its photography ban, hooray!  Read a collection of reactions here.  And congrats are in order for Amsterdam's Van Gogh Museum, which welcomed its millionth visitor this year.

- Loved this underwater crocheted mermaids and divers project.  I also enjoyed this roundup of depictions of dolphins in ancient art and this new-to-me hilarious Tumblr.

- In things-that-make-me-feel-old news, internet shopping turned 20 this week.

- It's a little soon for me but I'm still super excited to see that Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes will be back earlier than usual.

What's been catching your eye this week?

Couture Monday: We're off to Loubiville!

Louboutin-promoHuzzah!  The designer behind the famous red-soled shoes has launched a nail polish line.  Back in 1992 Christian Louboutin was hard at work creating high heels when he thought his current designs lacked a certain something.  He took a bottle of red nail polish from an assistant, painted the sole, and from then on, the fashion world was never the same.

As a big Louboutin fan myself I was most excited to get my paws on this, especially since I adored the bottle.  Any accessory that can double as a weapon is good in my book.  I thought I'd dig out one of my two pairs of Louboutins for fun, and of course to compare the nail polish color to the shoe sole.  You may remember I did the same experiment way back in 2008, when I compared Lancôme's Piha set to a black pair of "Very Prive" pumps.  So let's take a look, shall we?

First, the bottle.  The smoky ombré bottle has sixteen facets in all, each one polished with a hand-held flame.  The outer box (which I neglected to take pictures of) is also made by hand.  According to an article in Women's Wear Daily (WWD), each one takes 22 weeks to make.  Says Louboutin, "I always loved architecture and architectural elements, so when it came to this bottle, a lot of things came in mind...first of all, there was an importance on transparency. It was important to me that it seemed to float. The ultimate goal of the nail color was to evoke a shiny lacquer imprisoned in a piece of faceted crystal."  The cap takes its design cue from the Ballerina Ultima shoe Louboutin created in 2007 as part of a collaboration with filmmaker David Lynch.  While I personally found the wand to be difficult to maneuver, apparently it's bottom-weighted to make for an easier application. 




 I love these shoes but hardly ever wear them.  They are awesome but not all that practical.



God help us all, I tried to take some "artsy" close-up pictures.  They are not near what I wanted, given my lackluster photography skills, but I tried. I was infinitely fascinated by combining the luxury of leopard print rendered in sumptuous pony hair with the shiny nail polish bottle.  While I failed to adequately capture the beautiful textures of each, these may give you some idea of what I was trying to accomplish.






Is the polish really a match for the sole?  I think so!  (You can also check out swatches at Café Makeup.)  Louboutin notes that he while he wanted the color to be a good match, it was more important to him that the polish be flattering on every skintone.  "I’ve been traveling the world since I was a teenager and so, for that reason, I never consider just one ethnicity. When I’m thinking of the skin of a person, I don’t necessarily see a white skin. When we started to work on the colors, [it was a question of] why would you have just one person try? You have to see it on different skin." (source)


Rouge Louboutin had a very long lead time.  We first heard rumblings about an official Louboutin beauty line in 2012, but even prior to that there were manicures and colors inspired by the designer's shoes.  In early 2007 nail artist Zoe Pocock, working out of the Charles Worthington salon in the UK, debuted the Louboutin manicure in which the undersides of nails were painted red to mimic the soles of the shoes.

(image from facebook.com)

Later that year China Glaze released a shade called Lubu Heels, a black packed with dark red glitter.

(image from sallybeauty.com)

In 2008 the craze for Louboutin-inspired nails was still going strong with the release of the aforementioned (and highly exclusive) Lancôme Piha set, consisting of a black sparkly gloss and red lipstick.


The fad seemed to die down for a while until 2012, when singer Adele sported a silver variation of the Louboutin manicure to match her silver Louboutin heels at the Grammy Awards.

(image from visuellemagazine.blogspot.com)

While the idea of transferring Louboutin's shoe designs to nails isn't new, what makes the official Louboutin polish novel is the obvious lead he took in creating it.  The wealth of information surrounding the development of the collection and photos like the ones below show that he was truly invested in this endeavor, and that he doesn't see it as merely another source of revenue. “The idea is definitely not to put my name on a new product,” he says in the WWD article.



(images from refinery29.com)

I think the quote shown below really sums up the beauty line nicely:  "The red sole was born from red nail polish. I am giving back to nails what the shoe took from the nails many years ago."

(image from cafemakeup.com)

Of course, the launch for the nail polish line was nothing short of dazzling.  Louboutin reconnected with David Lynch, who produced a short film in honor of the collection's release.


At Saks 5th Avenue in New York City, the mythical place known as "Loubiville" took over all the window displays.  I was struck by how elaborate they were.  Incidentally, the nail polish is currently being sold alongside the shoes rather than in the beauty department.  The fantastical cityscape was designed by architect Tarek Shamma and will make the leap from an all-white palette to a more colorful one as new products are introduced.






This arch blew me away - if you look closely you can see high heels forming the pattern.

(images from stylecurated.blogspot.com)

Amidst all the fanfare there has been an undercurrent of criticism.  How much is too much to pay for nail polish?  It seems a lot of consumers, beauty bloggers among them, find a $50 bottle of polish to be outrageous.  But I'd like to point out that you're not paying just for nail polish.  You're paying for both a color and a beautifully crafted bottle that capture the essence of an iconic fashion designer, a collectible meant to be enjoyed by applying but also displayed on one's vanity.   If you're into collecting things like this, $50 isn't necessarily unreasonable.  "Entering beauty, for me, was almost like entering the religion of beauty," Louboutin told WWD.  "If you’re talking beauty, it needs to be beautiful, because we are surrounded by tons of objects now, in every civilization, and there are so many ugly objects. You know, I just want the object to always be present because this is here, this is in your bag, this is in your bathroom. Too many objects are ugly, and I think that I do not want to add in that direction. There is a culture of cynicism, I think, of a certain cynicism with ugliness. That’s really a thing I do not want to participate in."  It really boils down to whether you like the bottle as much as the polish - whether you see it as a beautiful object as Louboutin does.  In that case, I think a splurge is in order.  Additionally, as All Lacquered Up author Michelle Mismas notes, there have been polishes costing $250 and $500 due to the use of real gold and other precious metals in the polish formulas.  There's even the famous black diamond-laced Azature polish which costs $250,000. Personally I'd never pay those amounts since I don't very much care about fancy ingredients, but $50 for a pretty trinket by a luxury designer whose work I greatly admire seems like a decent price.  If you just want a red polish with no frills, then yes, $50 is absurd as there are quality polishes out there at a much lower price point.

So what's next?  As of August 31st, the other colors in the Louboutin collection will be on sale.  There is the Pop group, more "fun" colors with a silver cap that are each named after one of the designer's existing shoe styles.


The Nude group features rose gold caps and shades for a variety of skintones.  Again, Louboutin wanted to ensure there would be a flattering nude shade for all.  "Nude is supposedly something which is going to fade into your own skin, so it just means the color of your skin...so, if you say color of your skin, you have to consider a lot of skin [tones]."


The Noir group will have dark gunmetal caps and include rich, vampy, jewel-toned shades.

(images from bellasugar.com)

There will also be a capsule collection of footwear featuring manicure prints.



(images from style.com)

(images from us.christianlouboutin.com)

Additionally, according to the WWD article, more products will be rolling out within the next 2 years.  I'm keeping my eyes peeled for lipstick.

So what do you think?  Are you a Louboutin fan? 

Curator's Corner, 8/10/2014

CC logoLinks for the week. 

- The Onion does it again with this faux Maybelline ad for the "ideal woman" rubber face mask. (via Jezebel)

- Here's a fascinating video of men's reactions to wearing makeup for the first time. 

- $50 for Louboutin nail polish is nothing compared to Givenchy's $300 crocodile-encased lipstick, which will go on sale for the holiday season in October.

- Kinda gross but at least it's sustainable:  sunscreen made from cod fish bones.  BellaSugar rounds up a few more weird beauty ingredients.  Who wants to try kale nail polish?

- Urban Decay is opening its first stand-alone store...in California (not NYC, as I had assumed when I saw the headline!)  

The random:

- Things that annoy me, along the same lines as last week's Curator's Corner:  what's up with all the toilet exhibitions?  I can't get any funding or even interest for beauty-related exhibitions but people will flock to see chamber pots or slide down an oversized toilet.  The mind boggles.

- Nevertheless, I will say I'd rather have people take their children to exhibitions even if I don't find them worthy.  This artist claims that taking kids to museums is a waste of time, as "children are not human yet."  Ugh.

- Need another Pulp Fiction fix?  Check out this awesome interview with the film's costume designer.  I'm learning more Pulp Fiction trivia every day! 

- Not sure how I feel about this possible Miley Cyrus/Kathleen Hanna collab.  I do know, however, that I'm elated to finally get new music from Self

What's happening with you?

Friday Fun: Staff picks with Museum Advisory Committee member Sailor Babo

"Hmm...I think this might be too big."

Welcome to the first ever Makeup Museum staff picks!  Today Museum Advisory Committee member Sailor Babo will share his favorite nautical-themed beauty finds.  Anchors away!

He fondly remembers MAC's Naughty Nauticals collection from 2008:


And he's a big fan of Claus Porto Cerina hand wash (it's got a boat on it, after all) and LUSH Ocean Salt scrub:


Of course, who could forget his crush on the model for MAC's Hey Sailor collection?  He also likes the ropey center of Dior's Atlantique eye shadow palette from the Transat collection.


While some of the above items may be long gone (ahem, MAC) here are some more recommendations from this little scamp that you can still get your hands on to satiate your nautical beauty cravings.


  1. Too-Faced Bonjour Summer palette
  2. Statement Soaps! Sea Salt Soap
  3. Malin and Goetz Rum Body Wash
  4. Lipstick Queen Hello Sailor lipstick
  5. Elizabeth Arden Pure Finish Summer Escape Bronzing Powder
  6. Bumble and Bumble Seaweed Shampoo
  7. Tarte Lights, Camera Splashes Waterproof Mascara (old packaging shown)
  8. Essie Naughty Nautical nail polish

Sailor Babo also admires this vintage Stratton compact, which as of today is still available at Etsy.

(image from etsy.com)

Much to Sailor Babo's delight, nautical-inspired collections have proved very popular in recent years.  In addition to the aforementioned MAC releases and Dior's Transat collection, there was Misslyn's 2012 In the Navy collection:

(image from beautybutterflies.de)

China Glaze Anchors Away collection from 2011:

(image from makeupandbeauty.ie)

Makeup Factor's 2010 Nautical Style:

(image from chicprofile.com)

And Bobbi Brown's Nautical collection from 2009:

(image from makeupforlife.net)

What do you think of the nautical trend?  Have you tried any of Sailor Babo's picks?

Quick post: Advertising déjà vu with NARS

I came across this promo image for new NARS nail polish line and couldn't take my eyes off it.  A variety of beautiful colors languidly streaming downwards...where have I seen this before?

(image from product-girl.com)

Aha!  I remember being struck by this ad for German brand Uslu Airlines way back in 2010:


In turn, both of these ads remind me of the work of Morris Louis, whom I discussed in my post on the Uslu Airlines ad.  So I won't rehash it here - I'll just give a quick refresher so you can see for yourself.  The new NARS ad has a similar approach to the 1960 painting Where by Louis, although the latter has slightly more subdued, desaturated shades, and the stripes of color aren't quite nestled right against each other.


The drips at the ends also are reminiscent of this untitled work by Louis:

(images from wikiart.org)

There is just something so appealing about seeing beauty products presented in a high-art fashion. Or am I the only one who drools over more artsy ads?  Tell me what you think.