Smashbox holiday sets by Yago Hortal
Curator's Corner, 12/6/2015

Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past: Cosme Decorte x Marcel Wanders - the Muse and the Pearl

As I do every year, I'm expressing my despair that these beautiful collector's pieces by world-renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders for Cosme Decorte are not available in the U.S.  I have seen a few pop up on e-bay but at well over retail prices, so I've been missing out on them, but I'm beginning to think I should just suck it up and go for it as they are true art objects.  Anyway, today I'm bringing you yet another holiday piece I wasn't able to post about last year due to generally being busy and an epic stomach flu that wiped me out for almost a week.

For Cosme Decorte's holiday 2014 compact, Marcel Wanders created a theme entitled "the Muse and the Pearl".  The outer case is inspired by an oyster shell, while the design on the powder takes its cue from Vermeer's famous painting Girl with a Pearl Earring.  The official description is as follows:  "Oyster shells are home to desirable silky white pearls and are eternal symbols of luxury and beauty. The compact’s natural sculptural form is a small treasure to the hand and to the eye, evoking a premium and delightful experience.  The powder is impressed with an image from the story which inspired the product, 'The Muse and the Pearl Earring'. It describes Dutch Master painter Johannes Vermeer in his studio suddenly overcoming a creative block at the sight of his model putting on a delicate pearl earring.  The armor of an empowered muse and jewellery to behold and cherish, this compact powder elevates the world of high-end cosmetics."

I'm in awe of the case, which features one of Wanders' signature star patterns as well as a beautiful sunflower-like motif in gold at the bottom.

Cosme Decorte x Marcel Wanders holiday 2014

The design on the powder is so delicate and feminine - an excellent counterpoint to the sharp geometry of the outer case.

Cosme Decorte x Marcel Wanders holiday 2014

Cosme Decorte x Marcel Wanders holiday 2014 story
(images from

I liked that Wanders did another take on one his key inspirations (used previously for the MAC collaboration) and incorporated the pearl idea so perfectly between the oyster shell-shaped compact and inner design - it's rather genius for a soft, light-infusing powder.


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