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April 2015

Curator's Corner, 4/26/2015

CC logoThis week's links.

- Where are they now?  Late '90s/early 2000s beauty trends, that is.  The Hairpin finds out

- Rouge 18 shares a 2,000 year old Roman face cream.  Here's the story behind it

- Glad someone decided to parody that ridiculous Dove ad I mentioned in last week's Curator's Corner.

New York's MTA needs to STFU.

- Here's a makeup artist recreating album art on her face.  Other cool beauty stuff is this very elaborate and animated (!) nail art.

- Selena fans, rejoice:  a new MAC lipstick may be released in the pop singer's honor. 

- New cosmetics legislation has been introduced with the intent of giving the FDA to have some authority over the industry.   

- The makeup-applying robot was kind of a bust but this new shampoo robot might have some promise. 

- Ylang ylang, a key ingredient in Chanel's No. 5 perfume is quickly becoming scarce.  Don't fret though!  While it doesn't contain ylang ylang, Chanel's new Misia fragrance has something even better: what they're calling a "lipstick accord".  Perfume that smells like makeup?  I'm in. 

- I don't know about you, but between the new huge LUSH flagship store opening and Fortnum and Mason revamping their beauty department, I'm about to hop a plane to London.  (And I still want to see the McQueen makeup exhibition!)

- Ramen or sake?  No, I'm not offering you Japanese cuisine, but rather the latest spa treatments there:  A ramen noodle bath and a sake soak.

The random:

- This post reminded me that the Makeup Museum site could use a refresh. And by "could use" I mean "desperately needs" a makeover.  But I have no idea even where to start.

- I am not running at the moment (still, ugh!!) but I was still mentally cheering on those who ran the Boston marathon earlier this week.  Here's the history behind the first woman to force her way in.

- In '90s nostalgia, Friday turns 20.  Bye, Felicia.

- Awful confession time:  on a whim the husband and I decided to give Mike Tyson Mysteries on Adult Swim a go and...it's hilarious.  I KNOW.  The man is a convicted rapist.  I shouldn't be watching the show in the first place, let alone find it funny.  *turns in feminist card*  Just needed to get that off my chest, not endorsing the show in any way.

- Happy 4/20.

How was your week?

Friday Fun: Sailor Babo meets Sailor Cat

Paul & Joe face powder spring 2015

For the life of me I can't figure out why Paul & Joe decided to create a print of a cat wearing a sailor hat, but I know a certain Makeup Museum staff member was very intrigued.  Then again, this isn't the first time Paul & Joe decided to dress up their cats.

Sailor Babo makes a new friend

Getting a closer look

He admired the kitty's pipe and asked me if he could get one. 

I like your pipe!

Unfortunately, as with the MAC Hey Sailor collection, I don't think I'll be getting the powder or the pouch back.  Sailor Babo and Sailor Cat are kindred spirits. 

This belongs to me now

I think I hear Sailor Babo offering up some rum so I better get going before things get too out of hand!

Makeup as Muse: Hasan Kale

Via Design Crush I found these absolutely amazing teeny tiny paintings on just about any object you can think of, including, yes, makeup.  The Curator loves anything miniature so naturally I was quite smitten.  Actually, forget miniature - these are micro!  

For over 30 years, Turkish artist Hasan Kale has been creating "micro art" on a dizzying range of small objects.  His favorite subject is his native Istanbul, but occasionally he branches out with other motifs.  While I'm impressed with all of the things he perceives to be his canvas, I was especially interested in his venture into makeup and beauty.  Take a gander at this very intricate painting at the tip of a lipstick bullet.  I'm dying to know how he did this without nicking the lipstick and having the color mix in with the painting. 

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

I think I want to hire him to do my next manicure...

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Hard to tell for sure, but this look like a cotton swab.  Again, I have no idea how he got such a precise, detailed scene onto this - I would think  the fibers would absorb the paint that's applied. 

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Here are some non-beauty-related but equally awesome pieces.  While these tiny paintings can seem like a novelty, there is serious effort involved.  Due to the miniscule size of the canvas, one wrong brushstroke can ruin the entire thing - Kale sometimes holds his breath to keep his hand steady.  And it can take up to three days to finish one of these micro paintings.  Three days doesn't seem like much, but it's actually a very long time when you consider that his canvases are only about half an inch wide.  Talk about patience!

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale

Micro art by Hasan Kale
(images from instagram.com)

In this interview, Kale states the following about his work:  "These are objects from daily life that people hardly ever think about.  We don't pay much attention to them.  Through my art I want to stress how nice these things can be.  I deliberately choose difficult objects, though how small they are or how well they absorb paint is not so important.  What is important is that they come to life and bring joy to people."  That made me smile.  Also, based on his comment about absorbing paint, I'm guessing he doesn't prime trickier surfaces like lipstick or cotton swabs, making the level of detail all the more miraculous.  It seems unbelievable, so much so that the artist recorded several videos of himself at work to prove it's all done by hand.

What do you think?

Couture Monday: Burberry Runway palette

I thought I'd try to brighten up this grey dreary Monday by sharing a very cute palette from Burberry.

Burberry spring 2015 runway palette

Burberry spring 2015 runway palette

The palette's design was taken from a sweater and hand-painted bag from the Burberry Prorsum spring 2015 collection. 

Burberry spring 2015 rain or shine sweater
(image from us.burberry.com

Burberry spring 2015 satchel
(image from saksfifthavenue.com)

One of the inspirations behind Burberry's spring 2015 collection was vintage book covers, which is evident in both the "rain or shine" sweater and some other pieces that came down the runway.

Burberry spring 2015
(images from style.com)

In doing a quick image search for vintage book cover illustrations I could definitely see their influence in the Burberry collection, particularly the work of George Salter.  I'm not sure why Burberry decided to go in this direction for spring (plus, using vintage book covers as fashion inspiration isn't a new idea) but I'm happy to see literary themes any time of year.  :)

Getting back to the palette, I think the design works equally well on clothes and makeup.  I also liked that this was a change of pace for Burberry beauty.  I usually think of their makeup as being refined and sophisticated but at times it can get a little stuffy - they don't have a ton of what I'd consider "fun" (read: loud) colors and textures.  I was pleased to see them let their hair down and be a bit more relaxed and playful with this palette. 

What do you think?

Curator's Corner, 4/19/2015

CC logoMany, many links from the past two weeks. 

- If you're in Charlotte, NC I strongly encourage you to visit the Body Embellishment exhibition that opened last week at the Mint Museum.

- I have to say that beauty advertising has been getting on my nerves lately.  While this French commercial for Garnier warning women that they can look older in a matter of hours and Dove's latest campaign encouraging women to walk through entryways marked "beautiful" and "average" seem to have little in common on the surface, they're both equally obnoxious.  Plus, a beauty writer resigned over a (spot-on) critique of the Dove ad.  Let's just go back to ads that feature pretty products artfully arranged, shall we?  (As a side note, I really wish I had been one of the women in the Dove ad - just to f*ck with them I would have asked where the "ugly" entrance was.)

- R.I.P., Dr. Brandt. :( 

- Please don't bathe in pig's blood to preserve your skin's youth. 

- In less gross wacky beauty ideas, there's a new Japanese collagen-infused beer, a makeup-applying (badly) robot, a perfume that actually helps you smell better as you sweat, plus NARS is offering a chance to win their newest goodies from a virtual, futuristic piñata of sorts

- Who's never had their mascara smudge or lipstick smear after a long night?  Disney princesses, that's who. But if you want to know what they'd look like with slightly disheveled makeup, this illustrator's latest project is right up your alley.

- A very scary reminder to always wash your makeup brushes and don't use anyone else's without washing them first!

- "'That lipstick started to give them back their humanity.'" In honor of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp this week, Autumn at The Beheld writes a moving piece based on an excerpt from one soldier's account of the evacuation.

- Beautiful with Brains gives us a few centuries-old recipes for blush, while XO Vain recaps the most popular nail shapes throughout history.

Aerin Beauty released a lipstick duo inspired by one of Gustav Klimt's most well-known portraits in conjunction with an exhibition focused on the history of the artwork at Neue Gallery.  (The exhibition opened a day after new film Woman in Gold premiered, which also tells the history of the painting.) It's not unexpected, however: it was Ronald Lauder that founded the Neue Gallery in 2001 and donated the Klimt piece 5 years later.  All in the family, as they say.

- The Cut interviews the founders of Fantastic Man magazine, who explored the idea of men wearing makeup in their latest issue.  Yes, it actually includes spreads of made-up dudes sporting blue eye shadow and full-on lipstick skillfully applied by Dior's Peter Phillips.

- What does black eyeliner mean to you?

- Enjoy some beauty haikus.

The random:

- April 9th marked the first Riot Grrrl Day in Boston. Let's make it a national holiday!!

- Speaking of national holidays, in honor of National Equal Pay Day, a pop-up store in Pittsburgh is charging women 76% of the retail price of items, while men are charged the full price.  I think this is a genius way to call attention to the wage gap (yes, it still exists!)

- More praise for Sleater-Kinney

- As someone who follows 1,180 blogs and counting, I definitely believe I suffer from binge reading disorder. (via This Is Glamourous)

- Let them eat cake. ("Them" being people you hate.)

How have you you been? 

Quick post: Baby you're a firework

While I've just ordered the latest Shu collection, I still wanted to quickly recap their spring 2015 collection called Metallic Bouquet, which was "inspired by hanabi, a festival of fireworks that vividly decorates Tokyo nights".  You can read more about hanabi here

I really liked the promos for the collection - there was definitely a firework design but also a floral element and a metallic texture for most of the products (hence the Metallic Bouquet title).

Shu Uemura spring 2015

Shu Uemura spring 2015

Shu Uemura spring 2015 Metallic Bouquet eye shadow
(images from chicprofile.com)

I picked up one of the eye shadows, which I have to say looked better in the stock photos than it did in real life.  The fireworks design wasn't as defined.  Hmph.  I also would have liked to see a collectible palette with a fireworks pattern.

Shu Uemura spring 2015

I liked that Shu tried to tie in their spring collection to an age-old Japanese tradition, but what really motivated me to purchase this for the museum was that I had just discovered the work of photographer Sarah Illenberger.  Her 2014 series Flowerworks involved arranging and photographing flowers to look like fireworks. 

Flowerworks by Sarah Illenberger

Flowerworks by Sarah Illenberger

Flowerworks by Sarah Illenberger

Flowerworks by Sarah Illenberger
(images from sarahillenberger.com)

I don't really have anything else to say.  I just thought it was cool that both this artist and Shu had the same idea of intertwining flowers and fireworks.  I do think that Illenberger's work executed the idea better.  ;)

New MM staff member: Dr. McCoy (a.k.a. Dr. McCook)

I'm so not a Trekkie but this little guy was way too adorable to pass up.  Please say hello to Dr. McCoy! (I call him Dr. McCook - our Babos shorten "cookie" sometimes to just "cook").  He arrived back in early March but I'm just getting around to taking his staff photo now.

Babo as Dr. McCoy

If you're unfamiliar with Star Trek, as I am, here's a good compilation of Dr. McCoy.  Seems kinda uptight, no?  I find his personality incongruous with that of a happy-go-lucky, very affectionate Babster, but whatever.

I'm not sure what he should do at the Museum.  Maybe work in Visitor Services with Space Babo, since they're naturally best buddies.  :)

Brand profile: Rouge Baiser

A few weeks ago I was browsing a farmacia in Rome, trying to determine if there were any good drugstore products I should bring back to the States, when I saw this display.  I knew I had seen that image of a red-lipped woman wearing a blindfold before, but where?


Aha!  It was at good old hprints.com, where I end up browsing vintage makeup ads for hours.  I had assumed it was a long-gone brand since it's not sold in the U.S., but apparently Rouge Baiser is alive and well in other countries.

Rouge Baiser was launched in 1927 in Paris by a French chemist named Paul Baudecroux. Considered to be the first "kiss-proof" lipstick, the original formula was actually so indelible that it was banned from the marketplace, having been declared too difficult to remove.  (I don't know who made that decision, but I'm guessing that if they were alive today, they would certainly ban glitter nail polish - talk about hard to remove.)  I'm no cosmetic chemist, but here's some more technical information on the original formula if you're interested. According to this article, Baudecroux used "eosin dissolved in propylene glycol to make Rouge Baiser...a strong stain was produced with this lipstick as the eosin was in complete solution when it came in contact with the lips. Some said it was too strong! However, as other chemists also discovered, using propylene glycol was not without its problems. As well as having an unpalatable taste, propylene glycol is affected by changes in the atmosphere – losing water when the air was dry and picking it up when the air had a high humidity – with potential effects on the integrity of the lipstick." 

While the original formula was modified, Rouge Baiser still marketed its product as being the no-smear, long-lasting answer to women's lipstick prayers.  Several prominent illustrators worked on the ads, including André Edouard Marty:

1947 Rouge Baiser ad by André Edouard Marty

Charles Kiffer:

1947 Rouge Baiser ad by Charles Kiffer

And Pierre Fix-Masseau:

1947 Rouge Baiser ad by Pierre Fix-Masseau

1947 Rouge Baiser ad by Pierre Fix-Masseau

1948 Rouge Baiser ad by Pierre Fix-Masseau

But in 1949 famed fashion illustrator René Gruau created the iconic image of the blindfolded woman with red lips, which, as my Rome pharmacy photo attests, is still used today.  You might remember Gruau from his work with Dior.  I think there is a story here on how Gruau came up with the idea for this design, but I can't read French and once again, Google Translate makes no sense.

1949 Rouge Baiser ad by Rene Gruau

He came up with several equally chic variations for the brand as well.

1949 Rouge Baiser ad by Rene Gruau

1949 Rouge Baiser ad by Rene Gruau

1950 Rouge Baiser ad by Rene Gruau
(images from hprints.com)

Interestingly, more illustrators worked on the Rouge Baiser campaigns following Gruau, yet his remained the brand's trademark. 

Pierre-Laurent Brenot, known as the "father of the French pin-up":

1950 Rouge Baiser ad by Pierre-Laurent Brenot

Carl Erickson (a.k.a. Eric), who was more well-known for his work with Vogue and Coty:

1957 Rouge Baiser ad by Carl Erickson

And Pierre Couronne, who also did work for Dior's lingerie line:

1960 Rouge Baiser ad by Pierre Couronne
(images from hprints.com)

(Now here's an odd coincidence: with the exception of Carl Erickson, all of the illustrators I've mentioned here lived quite long, well into their 80s and 90s.  Perhaps working on ads for a long-lasting lipstick translated into lasting long themselves.)

Fast-forward to today: From I can piece together, Rouge Baiser is sold only in France and Italy.  It was acquired in 1994 by the Deborah Group, an Italian company that dates back to 1903.  To celebrate the 80th anniversary of the brand, in 2007 a series of lipsticks featuring Gruau's illustrations was released in France.  Called "L'Authentique", the line consisted of reissued shades in a matte, long-lasting texture meant to mimic the original formula. Unsurprisingly, "L'Authentique" was the preferred lipstick of the ever stylish Audrey Hepburn in the '50s.

Rouge Baiser lipsticks
(image from graphemes.com)

Rouge Baiser L'Authentique lipstick
(image from doitinparis.com)

Rouge Baiser was then launched in Italy in 2012 with the same outer packaging for a few of its lipsticks.

Rouge Baiser Italy

Rouge Baiser Italy launch
(images from tentazionemakeup.it)

And now I am very sad since I realized I should have bought some.  In looking at the photo I took more closely, you can see that the packaging with Gruau's illustrations was available (I guess it's permanent and not limited-edition).  I was just so distracted by the image on the display itself I didn't even look at the products!  For shame.

What do you think?  For those of you living in the U.S., do you think we should start a campaign to bring it here or is it not worthy?  I personally want it for the packaging alone!

Couture Monday: Philip Treacy for MAC

For their latest fashion collaboration MAC teamed up with British milliner Philip Treacy to create a small collection based on the designer's renowned hats, a natural choice as MAC has worked with Treacy for over 20 years on his runway shows.  The collection is divided into three parts to reflect the three chosen designs, with each one focused on a different part of the face (lips, eyes and cheeks):  "A kind of futuristic Hollywood, one is all about color and the other is a kind of Gothic, modern future," Treacy notes.

This feathery number inspired the bright lipsticks in red and pink, while the black lace one served as a muse for the bold blue eye liners.



I think the most interesting one is this silvery arched hat, which I'm assuming is the "futuristic Hollywood" Treacy mentioned.  He explains, "It comes from an image of Greta Garbo in a movie called Mata Hari, so I just ordered it to be made up a bit more 21st-century."  

(images from allurabeauty.com)

The modified version of the design appears on two highlighting powders.  I picked up Blush Pink.

MAC Philip Treacy powder

MAC Philip Treacy powder

Treacy's outlandish designs are probably best recognized on celebrities, most notably British royalty:

Philip Treacy - Kate Middleton
(image from starstyle.com)

Princess Beatrice - Philip-Treacy (image from fashionbite.co.uk)

And let's not forget Lady Gaga.  I believe she is the only pop star who can truly pull off his creations.  Seriously, is this not a fashion-music match made in heaven?

Philip Treacy - Lady Gaga
(images from abc.net.au)

Just for fun I decided to take a peek at Treacy's spring 2015 collection.  These were my favorites - I imagine putting one of these on would be like wearing a garden on your head.

Philip Treacy spring 2015

Philip Treacy spring 2015
(images from philiptreacy.co.uk)

Getting back to the MAC collection, Treacy says the colors are a direct representation of his aesthetic.  He also recognizes the joy a shiny new makeup bauble can bring.  "It’s what Phillip Treacy make-up could look like - it’s about color, exuberance and beauty...you can transform yourself with beautiful make-up. It is an enhancer; people buy a lipstick to cheer themselves up. It’s about having fun with what you’ve got."  

While I do think this was a well-edited and thought-out collection in terms of colors, I would have liked to see more design-wise.  There was a huge opportunity here to recreate some of Treacy's designs in powder form, and I feel it was squandered.  The highlight powder is nice but it doesn't necessarily scream "couture millinery" - unless you saw the accompanying promo image, it looks like just another pattern.  And while I don't think copying a design exactly as it appears in fashion is always the solution, I think it would have been ideal in this case.  (See Dior's Lady Dior palette as a good example of a literal representation of one of their most iconic pieces.)  So I was a little let down by this collection, as I don't think it fully captured the range of Treacy's work from a design perspective.  

What do you think?

Curator's Corner, 4/5/2015 (plus a Roman holiday)

CC logoHappy Easter and Passover!  Here are some links from the past couple weeks, along with a recap of our trip to Rome, if you're so inclined.  :)

- Here's an inside look on how lipsticks are made

- The V & A is relaunching the blockbuster 2012 Alexander McQueen exhibition (originally at the Met), and with it, a special exhibition devoted to runway makeup from his shows.  So wish I could get to London right now! (via British Beauty Blogger)

- Refinery 29 rounds up some of the best beauty memes

- Not impressed with these "odd" beauty jobs (lice-picker, anyone?) - how about a consultant who works with makeup companies to select artists for collaborations?  I'd be so good at that.  ;)

- Yahoo! Beauty reports on the rise of "boy beauty", a.k.a. blogs run by men focused on male grooming.  It's no surprise this is catching on, as both Cosmetics Design and Beauty Packaging constantly report on how companies are forever trying to tap the men's market. 

- XO Vain has a great piece up on feminism and makeup, sparked by the excellent book Fresh Lipstick:  Redressing Fashion and Feminism (which has been on my "Recommended Reading" list on the left side of the blog for ages but that I've never reviewed.) 

- Very informative article on makeup trends in the early 20th century.  I'm kinda bummed though as I feel I should have been the author (and the author of all the other subsequent articles as well - apparently this is the first post in a series.)  Hey Jezebel, I'm more than qualified to write some beauty history posts for you, and I'd do it for free.

The random:

- Another very positive review for Sleater-Kinney.

- I love these breakthroughs that allow the blind to more fully experience works of art and the colorblind to see color

- I'm usually not into April Fool's Day pranks but this was a good one.

- My parents, as usual, have bestowed way too much Easter candy on the husband and I so I'm looking forward to using up some of the Cadbury eggs they gave us in these recipes.

And finally, if you're interested, here's a recap of our vacation in sunny Roma!  While Paris and Amsterdam ultimately won out for our honeymoon we decided to take on the Eternal City for our five-year wedding anniversary.  Technically that's not till August but we didn't want to wait until then since we heard it gets quite hot and crowded in the summer months.  As a former art history major I've been wanting to go to Rome for years, plus Italian is my favorite cuisine - can never get enough pizza and pasta (I eat pizza literally once a week and go a little nuts if I don't have my weekly pie.)

Our hotel was situated near the Spanish Steps, which are lovely, although unfortunately teeming with street vendors aggressively trying to sell you selfie sticks and other crap.  Towards the end of the trip I was about ready to forcibly take a selfie stick from one of them and beat them senseless with it.

Spanish Steps - so crowded!

I was obliged to have a picture in front of the Sephora at the base of the steps, because, duh, that's what beauty junkies do when visiting other countries.


And look at this!  Further up on the Via del Corso is another Sephora, then a Kiko, then a MAC.  I didn't go into the Sephora or MAC since we have those in the States, but I did spend a bit of time playing in the Kiko store and brought back a few goodies. 



Also, this is genius - a tape dispenser so you can swatch nail polishes!  Why don't all stores have this?


But on to the really important cultural stuff.  We covered the Colosseum and assorted sites nearby:



Rome ruins

Trevi Fountain, which unfortunately was undergoing cleaning or restoration or something. Not gonna lie, was a little disappointed.

Trevi fountain

Mouth of Truth - I absolutely had to see this since it's one of my favorite movie scenes.


Piazza Navona:

Piazza Navona

Vatican Museums (plus the Sistine Chapel - no pics of that since they don't allow photography in the chapel):


Vatican museum - floor mosaic

Rafael - School of Athens

St. Peter's:

St. Peter's - Pieta by Michelangelo

St. Peter's interior

St. Peter's - Baldaccino




Villa Borghese park and museum:

View from Villa Borghese park

Bernini - Apollo and Daphne

And a bunch of fountains, which I loved since so many of them featured mermen!

Piazza Barbarini


Happy to be among the mermen!

Here's some of the food.  Oh, the food. Pizza and pasta and gelato galore!!  I was in my glory.  I feared I may have to be rolled home, despite all the walking we did.  Fortunately I still managed to squeeze myself onto the plane. 






This restaurant was so cool - it was originally a sculpture studio for one of Canova's pupils.

Canova Tadolini entrance

Canova Tadolini restaurant sculptures


The gelato was so tasty...I did have tiramisu one night but I think gelato was my favorite sweet in Rome.


We were quite enamored of this gelato place.  They had liquid chocolate on tap!

Come il latte

Come Il Latte - fountains


And the last part - reuniting with my beloved Museum staff.  We took a couple of plushies with us (including Sailor Babo - you can see his adventures here) but obviously we can't take all of them.  Giving them a good squeeze was literally the first thing I did as soon as I set foot in our place.  I worry so much about them when I'm not home and was so relieved to see them safe and sound.


Overall, Rome is a gorgeous city and I hope to go back to see even more things - we covered so much but certainly not everything, not by a long shot.  It is truly an art historian's dream, and the food can't be beat.  I will say that it was an exhilarating but exhausting trip...I think for our next one we're going to a resort of some kind to really relax.  Don't get me wrong, we had a fabulous time and I'm so grateful I got to go (and to the husband for organizing it all - he seriously planned everything), but sitting on the beach all day would be a nice change of pace compared to our usual travels.  

What have you been up to?  Have you been to Rome or do you plan on going?  Please feel free to email me with any questions...I'm not a Rome expert by any means but I can tell you some more details about getting around, finding places to eat, things I wish I knew before I went, etc.