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May 2016

NARS's new hat

It's just a regular Orgasm blush with a stupid cheap printed plastic overlay...it's still the same pinky-gold cult favorite as before!

But it's got a new box!  I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it I want it!!!


The clip above is the first thing I thought of as soon as I saw this new, "special edition" of NARS's famous Orgasm blush.  Did it stop me from buying it?  Of course not.  It's the same exact blush, just in a bigger size and with a photo of a chic model in sunglasses.  The photo, mind you, is only printed on the plastic overlay, not on the blush itself. 

Nars Special Edition blush

Nars Special Edition blush

Nars Special Edition blush overlay

Nars Special Edition blush

All of the things I've read about this talk it up as a "collaboration" between Nars and Fabien Baron of Baron & Baron.  Who is that, you ask?  Baron is a hugely successful art director who works with the world's biggest fashion and beauty brands.  The problem is that he has been Nars's own art director for many years - he is responsible for everything from the design of Nars' boutiques to his Makeup Your Mind book to the minimalist black packaging.  Playing this up as some sort of new, special partnership is completely misleading.  Additionally, Baron is also Editorial Director for Interview so, obviously, a close comrade of photographer Steven Klein (ugh) and Baron was the one who helped select the images that went on the Nars/Steven Klein collaboration packaging.  I do find it interesting that in his Instagram feed he chose to post this photo from the December issue of Interview rather than the offensive one that actually ended up on the cover.  But I suppose that given the aforementioned aspects of the brand (I mean, I loved the design of the L.A. boutique), Baron isn't all bad.  As another example, I did find this captivating video that he directed for the debut of NARS Larger Than Life eye liner in 2011. 


Anyway, while this blush wasn't the most innovative thing NARS has done packaging-wise, it's a vast improvement over previous collections.  And I'm looking forward to the holiday 2016 Sarah Moon collaboration - hopefully it will be on par with the Warhol collection.


Book review: Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup

Maybe it's because I read this when I was incredibly cranky for various reasons (I had a stubborn cold and was dealing with nearly an entire month of rain/overcast skies) or maybe it's because I was so impressed by Lisa Eldridge's Face Paint last fall, but in any case I was completely underwhelmed by Gabriela Hernandez's Classic Beauty:  The History of Makeup.  I hate to be harsh because I admire the Bésame line, which Hernandez founded, and I know she shares the same love of makeup as the rest of us beauty junkies, but this book disappointed me on virtually every level.  Hernandez, like Eldridge, takes us through a basic history of makeup from ancient times to today, but without any nuance or even excitement.  The tone was distinctly monotonous and dull, whereas with Face Paint I was positively glued to the text.

First, this tome was riddled with typos and inaccuracies.

Classic Beauty book
Just one example of a typo...should be "drawn", yes?

Little things, like Madonna's "Material Girl" coming out in 1985 (it was released November 30, 1984), or that YSL introduced "his" Touche Eclat in 1992 when it's common knowledge that the brains behind the YSL line at that point, Terry de Gunzburg (who started her own By Terry line in 1998) was the person responsible for that particular item, were driving me crazy.  Or citing L'Oreal as a department store line, or stating that Chanel introduced her quilted bag in 1957 - the bag is named the 2.55 for the month and year Coco created it, for God's sake.

Also, I thought Grace Jones was the ultimate androgynous beauty?

Classic Beauty book

Classic Beauty book

Classic Beauty book

Speaking of Chanel, by far the worst offense was the claim that Chanel introduced their lipsticks in the 1940s (p.121) and then on page 215 it's stated that Chanel introduced their lipstick line in 1975.  Which date is correct?  Trick question:  neither!  Chanel actually introduced their makeup line in 1924.  (I also remember this because there was an amazing Chanel lipstick case from the '20s in Jean-Marie Martin-Hattemberg's Lips of Luxury book.)  It's just odd because I checked the sources in the bibliography and they seem reputable, but perhaps they were wrong and Hernandez was unfortunately relying on their incorrect information.  However, that doesn't explain the issues with what should be easy-to-find information, like the dates of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.  (She died in 1603 so maybe the numbers here were transposed?)

Classic Beauty book

At least in a different timeline the starting date of the queen's reign is correct.

Classic Beauty book

Also, why have all these timelines?  I understand not every beauty milestone can fit onto one, but there were ones by decade and then a larger one in a completely different format towards the end of the book, and it just didn't make any sense.  Which brings me to my second issue: visually the book was unappealing.  I understand that it's not possible to get the rights to certain images, but there were some things that I think should be fairly simple to include, like a photo of Elizabeth Arden.  You mean to tell me there was not a single photo of Arden that could have been used?  And in its place was this rather sad sketch. 

Classic Beauty book

And who did these illustrations for each decade?  They're college art student-quality at best and certainly don't capture the look of each decade.

Classic Beauty book

Finally, the writing lacked any sort of clear personality or voice.  It was just so...flat.  Definitely not the kind of thing you'd expect from someone who was so inspired by vintage makeup that she started her own vintage-looking line.  Makeup "facts" were presented in a bland, tedious fashion - how a makeup artist could make something like the history of cosmetics so lifeless is beyond me.  Hernandez also concludes with a rather unfeminist perspective.  She starts with some drivel about believing that "each woman possesses unique features that make her beautiful inside and out", which, insipid though it may be, isn't that bad.  But then she immediately contradicts it by saying that the overarching goal of makeup application is to look attractive.  At least, that was my takeaway.  "The challenge is to recognize your best features and to create the most confident and attractive person you truly can be.  It is true that when you look attractive, you feel good.  It is uplifting when you look your best at all times, even for the simplest of tasks."  Um, no.  I can think of at least 5 instances where I look nowhere near what you'd call attractive and yet still feel okay about myself (running, for example.)  And I don't always use makeup to look attractive, I use it as a creative outlet.  A few weeks ago I wore that matte grey Smashbox lipstick I picked up in my spring haul.  Sure I looked like a zombie but I didn't care - it was so much fun! I didn't give a flying fig that grey lipstick isn't flattering on me, and I will continue to buy shades that make me "unattractive" for the pure joy that using those colors gives me.   None of that seemed to be addressed here, which was troublesome for me.  Finally, "look your best at all times" is a sequence of words that has no business existing, like, ever.  It is not "uplifting" for me to look my best when I'm at the supermarket or getting the mail.  Sheesh.

Classic Beauty book

Bottom line:  If you're looking for a comprehensive history of cosmetics that is both accurate and a fascinating read, go with Lisa Eldridge's Face Paint and skip this one.

Has anyone else read Classic Beauty?



Letting the sunshine in with Dolce & Gabbana's Sicilian Bronzer

Sooooooo glad I was able to snag this Dolce & Gabbana bronzer!  As of right now it's sold out everywhere in the U.S. and going for double the retail price on ebay, which I find to be pretty obnoxious.  (It's still available at Harrod's but shipping to the U.S. is steep.) In any case, the colorful design is borrowed from part of D & G's spring/summer 2016 fashion collection, which in turn is based on traditional Sicilian "carrettos" - handmade donkey carts.

I really can't stop staring at it.  So many details!

Dolce & Gabbana summer 2016 bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A closeup of our little lady friend:

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Here's the bronzer itself, in case you're curious about the shade.  It's #30 (Sunshine).

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A few of the carretto collection pieces made it onto the D & G runway.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016
(images from vogue.co.uk)

But at their website you can see the entire collection, which is way bigger than I thought it would be.  Some of my favorite pieces:

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto(images from dolcegabbana.com)

What I loved is that D & G presented a great history of the carretto, so you can tell it was definitely a well thought-out collection.  I don't want to rehash the whole thing, but basically these carts were in use at least as far back as the early 19th century, and typically utilized to transport everyday items like lumber, grains, lemons and wine barrels.  The custom of painting these carts stemmed from several things: a practical solution to help protect the wood from damage, superstition (most carts were adorned with religious figures), and, if they were commercial carts, a way to advertise.  Styles varied from town to town, but all shared bright, vibrant color and patterns. 

Sicilian carretto - wheel(image from wikipedia)

I think I spy mermaids on each side of this one!

Sicilian carretto detail

Sicilian carretto(images from slowitaly.yourguidetoitaly.com)

Nowadays the carts aren't used for anything but tourist attractions, but I'm glad some artisans are still painting and keeping the tradition alive.  (You can also check out this site for another brief history.) 

Sicilian carretto(image from wikipedia)

D & G's passion for Sicily's culture is, as with their coin palettes, made abundantly clear in their description of the carts - I actually found it to be the most informative piece in my online search.  I also appreciated that it's a new spin on an old theme; this is not the first time the company has used the carretto as inspiration.

As we look at some more cart photos, you can see the resemblance between them and D & G's adaptation.  Some of the bags, for example, are  high-fashion versions of traditional Sicilian coffa bags, which typically share their pompom decorations with the horses that pull the carts.  The influence also spread to a pair of flat sandals.

Sicilian carretto
(image from slowitaly.yourguidetoitaly.com)

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016(images from vogue.co.uk)

Meanwhile, the carved figures on the wheel spokes and other areas served as inspiration for the heels. I just wish they had worked in a mermaid somehow!

Carretto wheel / D & G shoes(images from academia.edu and dolcegabbana.com)

D & G's decorative patterns overall look like the interiors and side panels of the carts.  Check out these examples from the Museo Carretto Siciliano in Palermo (yes, there is an entire museum devoted to these carts - actually, there's also a second one!)

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum(images from tripadvisor.com)

The knights refer to those in Sicilian puppet theater.  Sicily apparently has a medieval/chivalry-themed folk tradition, according to this book, so the theaters and carts share the motif as they are both part of the same history.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto
(image from dolcegabbana.com)

Sicily-puppet-knights(image from grandvoyageitaly.com)

As for the little lady in the center of the bronzer, I'm guessing she's some sort of a queen based on this photo of the Puppet Theatre.  I spy a queen on the left with a crown and red dress, just like the one on the D & G pattern.

Sicilian Puppet Theatre(image from gettyimages.com)

Incidentally, for the holidays D & G expanded the carretto line to Christmas ornaments, candles, stationery and more recently (and most astonishingly) a collection of 100 hand-painted Smeg refrigerators completed by 8 genuine Sicilian cart artists.  That would add quite a pop to your kitchen!

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerator(image from wallpaper.com)

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerators(image from 2modern.com)

Overall, I am seriously in love with this bronzer.  I always enjoy learning, especially through makeup, about some cultural practice or artist that I wasn't aware of previously.  Plus, so few couture houses' makeup have such a specific connection to their fashion - in the case of Chanel and Dior, it seems rather vague and uninspired as of late, and don't get me started on YSL - their Chinese New Year palettes were not a full comeback.  D & G goes the extra mile to ensure that the makeup collection aligns with the clothes.  (Although I do find it odd that they used the carretto as a springboard for the makeup line, but the model for the beauty collection's promos is wearing the lemon print, also from D & G's summer collection.  Why not wear something from the carretto collection?  Eh, I guess it's not important.)  More than that, the original culture behind the fashion itself appears to be at least somewhat researched.  This is what gets me excited - to see aspects of a particular culture that are celebrated and modernized, and that the designer takes care to explain the history behind their designs.  It's a stark contrast to, ahem, other approaches.

So what do you think of this bronzer and D & G's take on carretto style?

Curator's Corner, 5/22/2016

CC logoSo much to catch up on...I'm still wiped out from my niece's Star Wars b-day party yesterday but I think a good time was had by all.  :)

- Look out, it's attack of the bubble masks!

- So glad someone else knows that contouring has officially jumped the shark and made an appropriate parody tutorial.

- Hair trends over the past few weeks include stencilling and Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde hair.  As for facial hair, brows and lashes go full color.

- Questionable beauty advice: putting one's face in a bowl of ice upon waking (no),  applying foundation with a sock (no) and using limes as deodorant (definite NO).

- Racked has an interesting piece on the "new" lip gloss and how glossy lip texture is becoming trendy again.  (I never thought it was out to begin with...)

- I think this artist-run beauty salon is more my speed, but a spa inside a Burger King doesn't sound bad either.

- Now this is a 100-years-of-beauty video I can get behind.

- Some more science-y articles I've come across are the chemistry behind makeup and this "second skin".

- OMG.

The random:

- I don't feel quite as bad about being so attached to my material possessions, thanks to this new study.

- In '90s nostalgia, it was weird '90s week at Stereogum!  Loved the whole series, but my favorite posts were on the Spice Girls, the story behind Len's "Steal My Sunshine" and of course, the bizarre swing revival that took place in the later part of the decade.  Meanwhile, the Huffington Post shares an oral history of The Craft.

- For you sneaker pimps, check out this upcoming exhibition.

- How come this 15-year-old 's Apple Museum that he started in his basement turned into a legitimate institution in just 5 years, while my poor museum still continues to struggle?  It's an interesting collection but also annoying that it occupies a public space with less effort and time than I've put into my project.

- Oops.

- Loved this piece on the world of professional mermen.  Along those lines, check out these biodegradable can rings - so much better than plastic for mermaids' sea creature buddies.

What's new with you?

Spotlight on the Smithsonian's cosmetics and personal care collection

Well, this is embarrassing.  The Curator is quite ashamed to be learning just now of the Smithsonian's collection of vintage cosmetic and personal care items.  Thanks to an email newsletter from Cosmetics Design a few days ago, I learned that the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has a collection of over 2,200 beauty and health items that will soon be digitized with support from Kiehl's.  (Um, hello, Kiehl's?  I know my museum isn't the Smithsonian but I'd sure appreciate some money to fund it.  Please and thank you.)  So there's an excellent selection of cosmetic objects right here in the U.S., a mere 45 minutes away from the Makeup Museum!  Since I can't get down there within the next couple of weeks I thought I'd take a peek at their collection online.  I was not disappointed - tons of good makeup, skincare and hair care items abound.  I picked out a few items I had never seen before and thought I'd share them here.

Collecting Vintage Compacts has an informative post on the Norida company.

Norida Fleur Savage powder, ca. 1924

Encharma powder, ca. 1930s

Once again, Collecting Vintage Compacts has a thorough history of the Edna Wallace Hopper company, among the first to use the name and image of an actress to sell beauty products.

Edna Wallace Hopper powder, early 1920s

I wish more companies did 3D embellishments like on this powder.  That red ornament survived remarkably well.

Piquante powder

I was so pleasantly surprised to see a little lady peering into a mirror rather than a spider in the middle of those webs!

Glebias powder, 1925

Don Juan lipstick - love the name and the cameo detail is great.

Don Juan lipstick, ca. 1946

Don Juan lipstick box, 1946

I'm really surprised most companies today haven't seized on the lipstick tissue gap in the market.  We have facial blotting sheets but not a lot for lips.  I think they're highly unnecessary but just the thing a company would invent to make money off of (and I'd buy it in a heartbeat if it had a graphic of a cool, cave-painting-esque huntress on it like this package.)

Kleenex lipstick tissues

I always think of multi-use products as a modern invention, but this eyelash and brow pomade from 1920 proves me wrong.

Lash and brow pomade, 1920

So. Pretty.

Magda Toilet Cream

Despite the box's claim of being "absolutely safe and harmless to anybody", the phrase "safe arsenic" seems like an oxymoron to me.

Safe Arsenic Complexion Wafers, ca. 1890

Totally misread the name as cocaine, but it's not.  This hair treatment is made from coconut oil.

Cocoaine hair treatment, 1906-1908

Here are the more health-related items.  I wouldn't necessarily include them in my own collection (well, maybe the bath items/soaps since I collect those too currently) but they're pretty interesting nonetheless.

Queen Beauty Toilet Soap, ca. 1908-1918

For a kid in the '60s I bet bathtime was a blast, what with all this fun packaging.

Crazy Foam monkey bottle, 1965

Crazy Bubbles bubble bath, 1966

More harmful ingredients...we think aluminum in deodorant is bad, what about formaldehyde?!

Thymoform deodorant, ca. 1940

Toothbrushes in the 1890s were usually carved from bone or wood and had pig bristles.  Thankfully most were made from nylon by the 1930s.

Toothbrush, ca. 1894

Who wants to see an old douche?  No, I'm not referring to Donald Trump.  The collection has a whole section of "feminine hygiene" products.  Apparently you were supposed to shove one of these "cones" in, um, yourself and leave it in overnight!  I can't imagine the irritation from the salicylic acid.  *shudder*

Sanite cones

The name "Dr. Shoop" cracks me up.  Also, I learned that a "chilblain" is an inflammation of the skin caused by an abnormal reaction to cold.  #themoreyouknow

Dr. Shoop's Green Salve, ca. 1920

Doesn't matter if you're a horse or a cow or a man - Taylor's Oil of Life can soothe what ails ya.

Taylor's Oil of Life Liniment, ca. 1900

They also had very early versions both Smith's Rosebud Salve and Tiger Balm, brands that are still around today and whose packaging has hardly changed.

What I really appreciated about the Smithsonian collection is that they seemed to have made an effort to ensure that beauty items for people of color were represented, especially in the hair items.  And in the brief histories of skincare, hair care and makeup, the museum included descriptions of beauty practices for women of color and resources on the topic in their bibliography - so many short beauty histories and timelines that I've seen mostly exclude non-white folks.

Walker's Glossine

Afro Sheen treatment

Mr. Puff hair oil

Pro Line Kiddie Kit Hair Relaxer, ca. 1979
(all images from americanhistory.si.edu)

I found it odd that Kiehl's did not have much in the way of vintage items.  It looked like the earliest objects were from the 1980s or so but as the Kiehl's name says, the company goes back to 1851.  I think it's rather telling that they included the 2010 Jeff Koons lotion - see, I told you current artist collaborations with beauty brands belong in a museum!  I'm happy that the Smithsonian agrees with me on that.  The only sad part is that so many of these aren't on display, which I guess is why digitization of the collection is all the more important.  But I think it also begs the question of why not put at least some of this stuff out?  Beauty items don't take up much room, after all.  Maybe Kiehl's should fund a special exhibition of collection highlights.

What do you think?  What's your favorite item I've shown here?


Blog note: farewell to Couture Monday

Now now, this doesn't mean I won't be writing about the latest couture house releases and other fashion designer collabs with makeup brands, it just means I won't be posting them exclusively on Mondays anymore.  I simply needed more flexibility in my blogging schedule - I already have enough trouble keeping up and trying to do "fun" items on Fridays and vintage items for Throwback Thursdays - so I have made the executive decision to do away with forcing myself to post couture/fashion subjects only on Mondays.  Plus, it's a rather outdated notion to declare certain days to be certain subjects at one's blog...it was very common when I started back in 2008, but outside of a few bloggers I rarely see "themed" days of the week anymore.  So onwards and upwards!  Here's to an easier way of doing things at the Museum. :)

Makeup as Muse: Nail edition

I'm excited to share some pretty innovative works of art that use nail products for this installment of Makeup as Muse.  First up we have South African artist Frances Goodman, who has been creating elaborate, organic-looking sculptures using fake nails since 2013.

Because I'm feeling lazy and also because I think this description captures her work well, here it is in a nutshell:  "In her nail sculptures Goodman uses one of fashion’s ultimate feminine accessories – the false nail, which she layers and overlaps to create form, movement, pattern, and structure. False nails, for Goodman, signify a culture of excess and transience. The artist is interested in false nails as an expendable extension of the body – and has counteracted this by using the nails not to extend the body, but through emphasising size and shape to create bodily forms. The artist states: 'Some of the sculptures are abstract and consider ideas of oozing, spreading, and writhing.  Others suggest snakes and scaled creatures.' These enigmatic works are threatening and foreboding--their shape and scale emulate predators, which smother and overwhelm, yet are simultaneously impotent. The layering and positioning of the nails insinuates movement, yet these works are ostensibly static and, on closer inspection, fragile."

I am still curious to know how she attaches the nails together, approximately how many are used for each sculpture, and whether she sketches them out first.  I know I could have a thousand loose fake nails piled in front of me and not have a clue how to mold them into sculptures like this - it's truly impressive.

Frances Goodman, Come Hither, 2013

Frances Goodman, Below the Belt, 2013

Frances Goodman, Medusa, 2013

Frances Goodman, Ophiaphilia, 2014

Frances Goodman, Lick-It, 2015

Frances Goodman, Lilith, 2015

Frances Goodman, Succubus, 2016

Frances Goodman, Violaceous, 2015

This dress was produced in 2014 and I can't help but wonder whether Anna Goswami, a fashion student in the UK who created evening dresses out of fake nails for her final project in 2015, was influenced in any way by it. (I mentioned these briefly last year.)

Frances Goodman, Melusina, 2014(images from francesgoodman.com)

These nail sculptures are not the only beauty-related items in Goodman's oeuvre:  she also makes giant nails and eyelash drawings (both are exactly what they sound like).  Combined with the nail sculptures, they reflect a distinct feminist perspective.  Goodman says, “Women are often asked to make media-influenced choices about our bodies...fake nails and false eyelashes, though, go against that. You’re able to become expressive, to become someone else. You don’t become the idea of who a woman should be. You become the antithesis.”  Working with these materials to create some rather grotesque-looking pieces, Goodman turns the traditional idea of using beauty paraphernalia to look pretty completely upside down, especially in the case of the Medusa - a mythical creature so hideous she turned people to stone with one look.  And in the case of her gigantic, talon-like sculptures of single nails, they become downright menacing.  Naturally I'm drawn to these, as I love any beauty/fashion items that double as weapons. ;)

Next up, we have an update from Lithuanian artist Agne Kisonaite.  You might remember her Giant Lipstick sculpture from 2013, which, while I liked the general idea behind it, I disagreed with her notion that consumers bear most of the responsibility for making "green" beauty purchases.  In any case, Kisonaite is back with another beauty-related piece entitled Glass Blowing, this time using old nail polish bottles. 

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

The artist gathered over 5,000 (!) used bottles of nail polish and divided them into 21 color categories.  The finished piece was whittled down to a mere 1,969 bottles.

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

Kisonaite doesn't say where she got the old bottles, but I'm wondering if Avon was behind gathering them the way they were with Giant Lipstick.  Judging from the boxes in the photo below, it's very likely.  I also wonder what she did with the roughly 3,000 bottles that didn't make the cut.

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016

Agne Kisonaite, Glass Blowing, 2016(images from agneart.com)

Once again, the goal was to bring attention to the problematic lack of recycling in the beauty world.  Kisonaite says,  "[M]akeup goods are often non-recyclable. This is why 'Glass Blowing' project seemed meaningful to me – these 1969 nail polish bottles didn’t end up as a waste: now they grace our home with their lively presence."  I was heartened to see that she wasn't preachy about it this time and putting the burden of recycling squarely on consumers.  I absolutely agree that the industry really needs to overhaul its packaging to make recycling more feasible, especially nail polish - with the exception of Zoya, most companies do not make it easy.  And given that nail polish is considered hazardous waste, it has to go to a dedicated facility.  So, overall I must conclude that it's good an artist is calling attention to the issue.

What do you think of both these artists?  As with nearly all Makeup as Muse artists, I would commission them in a heartbeat to create unique pieces for the Makeup Museum if it occupied a real space.  :)


Estée Lauder iconic print bags: more unanswered questions

Estée Lauder has stepped up its gift-with-purchase game tremendously lately.  I'm an unrepentant sample tramp but I don't even want the beauty items in these GWPs - I only want the bags!  Throughout the spring the company has released four bags adorned with Harper's Bazaar covers from the late '20s and early '30s.

Gwp_sp16_rollover_harpers_bazaar_type(image from esteelauder.com)

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag
(images from ebay.com)

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag(images from harpersbazaar.com)

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag

Estée Lauder Harper's Bazaar GWP bag(image from tradesy.com)

How the collaboration with the publication came about I don't know, but at least the images are straightforward reproductions of the covers.  The other set of GWP bags that Estée has come up with this spring, however, are much trickier to decipher.  Apparently these  illustrations are taken from their spring 1969 campaign.

Estée Lauder GWP bag(image from ebay.com)

Estée Lauder GWP bag(image from ebay.co.uk)

Estée Lauder GWP bag(image from ebay.com)

Estée Lauder GWP bag

While the bags were available at department stores in the U.S., Debenham's in the UK also offered them and provided this description: "Taking inspiration from Estée Lauder's brand heritage, this iconic-print bag has been inspired by Estée Lauder's 1969 luxury makeup collection and book 'a taste for Apricot'."  Obviously I went searching for this "Taste of Apricot" and couldn't find anything beyond a copyright record, a newspaper ad and an ad in New York Magazine, none of which had any of the same illustrations from the bags.  And these aren't new illustrations by a contemporary artist inspired by the 1969 collection either - I gathered these were actually from the 1969 campaign, since Estée advertised these as being from their archives.  Too bad they refuse to let anyone see the original drawings!  I would have emailed them as I did to get further information on their traveling compact museum, but I have no hope of them providing an answer, seeing as how I just received a rather useless reply this past week (a mere month after I had contacted them originally):

"Thank you for your interest in Estée Lauder.  I suggest that you visit our corporate website www.elcompanies.com where there is information about all of our brands, and you can also click on 'Site Map' and select a topic that would be informative or of interest to you. I appreciate the opportunity to respond to your question, and sincerely hope I was able to be of assistance. You are valued as our consumer and we hope you will continue to use and enjoy our products with confidence and satisfaction."

LOL.  So, yeah, not going to waste my time trying to get answers from Estée on these bags. 

Anyway, what do you think of these?  Do these "iconic" prints make you more likely to buy something in order to get the GWP? 


Curator's Corner, 5/8/2016

CC logoLinks for the week.

- This 80-year-old proves you're never too old to wear lots of makeup. 

- Allure rounds up the best beauty looks from the Met Gala, while Teen Vogue analyzes Gigi Hadid's $2,000 manicure she wore for the event.

- In hair news, gems are back and furry-chested men can rejoice.  If you still need more '90s beauty trends, you're in luck:  Bath and Body Works will be bringing back its most popular scents from the decade.

- Despite nasty allergic reactions and salon treatment mishaps, "natural" products really aren't any better for you.

- Tastes like chicken.

The random:

- One of my favorite aspects of the '90s was its sketch comedy, so naturally I liked this article on The State.

- My brain is hyper-sensitive to all things Star Wars-related due to planning an epic Star Wars themed birthday party for my niece, so I appreciated this history of Star Wars Day.

- A tip for climbing up to a priceless statue and taking a selfie with it: DON'T.

Happy Mother's Day!



Friday Fun: Feed your head

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass

As a follow-up to their palette released as a tie-in to the 2010 Alice in Wonderland movie, Urban Decay has launched their Through the Looking Glass collection to go with this year's sequel, which will hit theaters May 27.  Like the previous palette, this one features a pop-up design and a vast array of colors. There are also 5 lipsticks sporting the same crazy kaleidoscope design as on the palette's outer case.

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass

Love this quote on the inside.

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass palette

As for the outer packaging, Urban Decay founder and Chief Creative Officer Wende Zomnir explains, “This was made to look like an acid trip. We took a different approach and decided, ‘Let’s make it really colorful and bright because the shades are like that'...even if you aren’t attached to the film, the butterfly tells the story of what the makeup is all about, which is transformation."

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass palette

The quote on the side of the palette is also a nod to the transformation theme.

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass palette

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass palette

There are 20 colors total (4 more than the previous palette), and 4 are dedicated to each of the 5 main characters from the film:  Alice, Mad Hatter, Time, the White Queen and the Red Queen. “We loved the original construction and keeping it in the same vein, but we wanted to tell a different story with the shades and really bring a focus to the shades,” says Zomnir.

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass palette

How fun are the lipstick caps?  (You might remember that I bought the Alice bag for my trip to Disney.)

Urban Decay Through the Looking Glass lipstick

Naturally I selected the two boldest colors from the lipstick lineup. The blue lipstick was not an accidental creation - it represents both Alice's coat and also shows that Urban Decay is paying attention to the mainstreaming of what used to be considered outlandish colors.  Says Zomnir, “My customer is a very independent thinker. She’s really into self-expression. She loves makeup. While Alice is a very plain character, she’s associated with the blue dress — in this case, it’s a coat — and we were able to pull in that interesting blue with her, and the makeup is rad for all the other characters...Six years ago, Anne Hathaway’s White Queen makeup was a little extreme, but now you see it on the street.” 

The little cup I put the lipsticks in here is a souvenir from my Disney trip.  :)

Urban Decay Mad Hatter lipstick

Urban Decay Mad Hatter lipstick

Objectively speaking I thought this collection was well done.  But personally, I'm a bigger fan of the first Alice in Wonderland book/movie so anything to do with that I'm going to like more than items related to Through the Looking Glass.  This palette is great but I so enjoyed seeing all the characters in the previous palette (my favorite, if you remember, was the caterpillar).

What do you think?  How does this collection compare to Urban Decay's previous Alice-themed palette, and for that matter, other Alice in Wonderland makeup?  (See here and here.)