Normally on Fridays I liked to post about fun, playful makeup collections. While at first glance Yazbukey's collection for Shu Uemura is just that, upon further investigation I am underwhelmed. It's a shame as I spent a lot of the Museum's budget on a collection that doesn't seem to be worthy of it.
Yazbukey is the namesake brand of a Paris-based, Turkish-born accessories designer who launched the line in 2000. Bukey's personal history is quite fascinating - she comes from a royal family and speaks 5 languages - and her experiences growing up in many different cities, along with playing in her uncle's Plexiglas factory, is directly expressed in her colorful, tongue-in-cheek bags and jewelry. Unfortunately, I found her unique perspective sadly lacking in the Shu collection.
So what spurred me to buy it? First, as a collector I'm always afraid of not getting my hands on a limited-edition item before it sells out, so there was definitely an element of rushing to buy without doing any research. A corollary to the collecting aspect is that I have some sort of compulsive urge to acquire every single limited edition Shu cleansing oil - they're just one of those types of items I have to have. Second, Yazbukey's work seemed pretty strange to me, and I tend to gravitate towards any weird fashion (as long as it's not the "creepy" type of weird.) Finally, I found the candy-colored cleansing oil boxes, each with a different eye shadow design and phrase, to be quite appealing.
According to a Yahoo! Beauty article, each of the four oils represent a distinct personality: Daring Tina (blue Blanc: Chroma), Romantic Betty (yellow Ultime8), Smart Lola (green Anti/Oxi), and and Sexy Yaz (pink Pore-finist). Bukey describes her vision: “I wanted to do something on girl power, and by playing with makeup, I think you can become the woman you want to be, if only for a moment. Maybe at some point you want to be very sexy like Marilyn Monroe, but the next day you want to be an intellectualized beauty like Lauren Bacall...that’s why I chose four girls that are like Wonder Woman—they put their makeup on, twirl, and suddenly they’re someone else." Additionally, these girls are all in love with "Shu Shu", which is meant to be a playful twist on the French phrase "mon chouchou". As the article says, "Mon chouchou is also a French term of endearment that describes your 'favorite person' and the phrase that loyal client Frank Sinatra inscribed on a makeup case that he gave to 'shu shu baby' (aka the late Mr. Shu Uemura, for his birthday.)" So that explains the text in each word bubble.
I got this makeup bag as a gift with purchase.
But when I started really researching Yazbukey I was disheartened to see that all of the designs on the Shu collection were more or less carelessly slapped on to the packaging. The above makeup bag, for example, is a copy of this phone case from the spring 2015 collection except that the word bubble is moved to the other side and contains text.
(image from anthemwares.com)
Meanwhile, the eye shapes that I thought were unique to the Shu cleansing oil packaging were also from the spring 2015 collection. As mentioned above, supposedly each one embodies a different personality but looking at pictures of other work I have a really hard time believing that.
But why would this bother me, you ask. After all, Paul & Joe consistently transfers patterns from their fashion collections onto their makeup, while countless other fashion houses (Dior, Chanel, YSL) have created perfect replicas of their signature items in powder form. So why am I disappointed that Yazbukey followed suit? For starters, Paul & Joe might use prints from their fashion pieces in makeup, but they're always careful to also include totally new and different prints. As for all the couture items, embossing a powder with a classic design rather than placing it on the outer packaging greatly elevates it - there's a certain art in ensuring that a motif will translate well to powder. I also think my disappointment stems from looking at Yazbukey's collections, which demonstrate a far greater range of creativity than we're seeing in the Shu collection.
Take, for example, the "Fabulous Market" spring 2014 collection, which includes seashell-shaped bags and a cheeky seashell t-shirt.
Yazbukey also has a talent for creating several variations on a collection's theme - no one-trick ponies here. The spring 2015 "My Heart Belongs to Paris" lineup offers a plethora of French iconography, from baguettes to striped shirts and berets to a traditional artist's palette. There's even an homage to can-can dancers (I'm assuming that's what those leg earrings, necklace and brooches represent.)
(Just as an aside, how awesome is this lipstick necklace?! I would totally wear that.)
(images from yazbukey.com)
After looking at these and previous collections I could see how whimsical and quirky Yazbukey is. She weaves together various cultural references and skillfully combines non-traditional (Plexiglas, shoelace fabric) with traditional (metal, macrame) materials to make accessories that are both fun and oddly luxurious. I just wish this came through in the Shu collection. I'm not sure how it happened, either, as the Yahoo! article insists that the designer oversaw the creation of the line, which allegedly took a total of 20 months to complete. "[Bukey] wasn’t going to let a team of marketers make decisions and slap her name on a lipstick and call it a day—she wanted to play an integral role, deciding on everything from packaging design to eyeshadow colors. 'I needed to try everything, see it on different people, and ask around to see if they were happy with it—I needed to be 100 percent into it,' she explained. “'I’m also a control freak!'” Again, I'm having difficulty reconciling this claim with the Shu collection. I imagined something different, items that better captured the nuances in her work. How about compacts that are actually in the shape of her trademark lips and eyes? Or a highlighting powder embossed with one of her signature mouse bags? I just felt like so much more could have been done, and it was a missed opportunity (much like MAC's Philip Treacy collection).
What do you think of Yazbukey and the Shu collection?