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July 2016

Curator's Corner, 7/31/2016

CC logoYour bi-weekly link roundup. 

- Arabelle wrote an excellent piece on beauty product names for Racked.  I had been playing around with a post on names for about 2 years and never did anything with it - this article is everything I wanted to say but much more eloquent than I could be. 

- Fashionista has a decent history of tanning.  It's good but once again I prefer Autumn's thoughts on the subject.

- Looks like we've hit full saturation on the 100 layers of makeup craze.  Previously we've seen nail polish and liquid lipstick, and now beauty vloggers have covered foundation, brow products, highlighter and face masks, along with the whole shebang.

- I've always maintained that eyelash curlers were totally harmless.  I guess this proves me wrong.

- I don't think we've ever seen beauty products this close up before.  So cool!

The random:

- So much '90s stuff my head is about to explode.  In a good way, of course.  :)  Milestones include the 20-year anniversary of Sublime's self-titled album and Fiona Apple's Tidal (and check out this remake of the video for "Criminal"), along with Tickle Me Elmo.  Also, South Park will debut its 20th (!) season, Third-Eye Blind came out of retirement, The Blair Witch Project is finally getting the sequel it deserves, MTV is launching a "classics" channel that will run '90s favorites Beavis & Butthead, Daria, etc., there will be a '90s-themed concert with the likes of Biz Markie and Lisa Loeb to celebrate the return of Crystal Pepsi, and I couldn't stop laughing at this footage of politicians doing the macarena at the 1996 DNC.  Finally, it's hard to believe that just 21 years ago the thought of a woman being president was considered "offensive".

- On the more current pop culture front, I'm not sure how I feel about one of my favorite TV shows getting Americanized.  But I am super excited for the new seasons of American Horror Story and Documentary Now. Also, there might be a show about mermaids.  Eeee-vil mermaids!

- Speaking of mermaids, I clearly require one of these crowns.

How are you doing? 

Quick post: Celebrating (sort of) National Lipstick Day with Urban Decay

In honor of National Lipstick Day I thought I'd take a quick peek at how Urban Decay's lipstick tubes have essentially come full circle with their new Vice collection.  When the brand launched in 1996, the gritty, decidedly un-pretty feel of both the packaging and color names were fairly groundbreaking.  The design of the Vice lipsticks, which debuted earlier this summer, is a nod to the shotgun shell-shaped cases in which the lipsticks were originally housed. For your viewing pleasure I took some comparison photos (and skipped directly over the now-discontinued Revolution lipsticks.)

I kind of wish they kept the brown cardboard boxes and punk-inspired font.

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

The Vice packaging is definitely more sleek and modern, plus the company's name is engraved on the case, which makes it a little more luxurious than the somewhat plain-looking former case.  The only drawback to having a shiny metal case vs. a brushed metal finish is that the former gets very fingerprint-y very quickly.

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

Urban Decay lipsticks, '90s vs. 2016

Nostalgia is a powerful thing.  I remember thinking how edgy the whole Urban Decay line was and how badass the shotgun shell packaging looked - whipping one of these out made me feel like a rebel and even a little dangerous, which I enjoyed.  In hindsight, however, I think this design should be left firmly in the '90s.  I don't want to write a whole big long whiny essay because, you know, it's a special day for us makeup junkies, plus it's Friday and I wanted to keep this post light, but I must point out that I'm not sure Urban Decay should have referenced their original packaging at all, as much as I liked it back then.  Given all the gun violence we have now (and it was a problem in the '90s too, to be sure, but I was young and dumb and not as "woke" as I am now) any beauty product that evokes mass shootings shouldn't exist.  I understand you can't avoid it completely - we commonly refer to lipstick shapes themselves as bullets - but no matter how cool Urban Decay's packaging seemed in 1996 and its importance in cosmetics history, I just don't think it's appropriate now.*  I'm not the only one who shares this sentiment either.  Says Tynan Sinks at XO Jane, "In 2016, perhaps we could model our lipstick packaging after anything but bullets," while the author of A Life With Frills remarks, "I don't agree with the fact that Urban Decay are marketing these lipsticks as looking like shotgun shells. I understand that Urban Decay are a brand that like to push boundaries (and I love them for that) but given the way guns are used in the world now and the impact they have, it's not appropriate to trivialise them like this."  I think Jane at British Beauty Blogger says it the best:  "I get it that the roots of Urban Decay are all about the badass and the edgy and going against the grain – who needs make up to look pretty? It should speak to our rebellious side or our sexy side – but not, er, our inner killer."  I fully appreciate that Urban Decay wants us to remember that they were among the first companies to run completely contrary to many outdated notions of what's attractive and why we wear makeup, but I think in this instance they should have gone in a different direction.  Having said all this, I won't stop buying the Vice lipsticks anytime soon (I own 3 and have my eye on several more) but I felt the need to at least mention my issue with the packaging.  So, um, happy National Lipstick Day, I guess.  Leave it up to me to put a bit of a damper on it.  :P  At the very least, the tubes make an interesting case study in how the brand has evolved in the past 20 years. 

What do you think?  And did you own the original Urban Decay lipsticks?


*I'm particularly aghast that these lipsticks actually exist and are for sale.  Just...no.

Shu Uemura Art of Hair cleansing oils

It's kind of a moot point that these beautiful Shu cleansing oils slipped through my radar last year, as 1. they were Australia-exclusive and I had no way of purchasing them; and 2. they're technically hair products, so it's a bit outside the Museum's purview.  Still, they're pretty awesome looking so I wanted to share them anyway.  

As the first installment of their Art Series, in May of 2015 Shu teamed up with 3 Australian artists to design 3 bottles for the brand's Cleansing Oil Shampoo.  The collection was released at a VIP event at Sydney's China Heights Gallery.  

Shu Uemura Art of Hair cleansing oils(image from buro247.com)

First up we have fashion designer Emma Mulholland, whose quirky, surf culture-inspired pieces are making her a favorite among the likes of Kanye West, Azealia Banks and Grimes.  Photos of her spring/summer 2015 collection, entitled "Risqué Business", adorned the walls of the gallery where the oils were being displayed.

Emma Mulholland - Risque Business collection

Emma Mulholland - installation view

Mulholland, a graduate of Sydney's TAFE, made her solo debut at Australian Fashion Week in 2013 and cites '80s and '90s pop culture as her main sources of inspiration.  "I love pop culture and watching movies is one of my favourite ways to relax. I like movies from the 80s and 90s mainly so I’m always inspired by them, also a lot of bands and musicians from those times too," she says.  I can definitely see these  influences in her work, from the '80s pops of neon and geometric shapes to the '90s-esque platform sneakers and overall silhouettes.

Emma Mulholland - Spring Break collection

I'm particularly fond of her "Spaced Out" collection - it's an incredibly fun riff on the conspiracy theory that aliens built the Egyptian pyramids.

Emma Mulholland - Spaced Out collection, fall/winter 2013

As for the Shu collab, Mulholland explains, "Shu Uemura got in contact with me about the Art Series and it sounded like a really exciting project so I jumped at the opportunity to work with them. It was great because I got to look back through my archive prints and work with them on choosing one that would work for the bottle. [It's] a print from one of my very first collections ‘Bad as I Guana Be’. The theme was the Mexican desert but mixed with basketball—so that’s how it came about."  It's totally bizarre, so naturally I love it.

Emma Mulholland - iguana print

Emma Mulholland - Bad as I Guana Be collection, spring 2012/13(images from emmamulholland.com, , buro247.com and theurbanlist.com)

Next up we have tattoo artist Dean Carlyle.  I was unable to find any information on how the collaboration with Shu came about, or any other biographical information about him, but I think we get a good sense of his aesthetic just by looking at his tattoos.  Big, bold, traditional-style tattoos are his jam - none of the delicate, single-needle stuff we see so much of these days (although I must say I prefer the latter!)  These are definitely not for the faint of heart.

Dean Carlyle tattoos

Dean Carlyle tattoo

As for the Shu oil, you can see the rest of the illustration as it was installed in the gallery.  The stock photo of the bottle at the beginning of this post only gives a partial view of the fierce woman that wraps around the side and back of the bottle.

Shu Uemura Art Series installation view

I think the design on the Shu oil is most reminiscent of these drawings by Carlyle.

Dean Carlyle tattoo artwork

Dean Carlyle tattoo artwork

Dean Carlyle tattoo artwork

You can catch a peek of more of his work at the gallery.

Dean Carlyle tattoo artwork(images from deancarlyletattoo.com), styleicons.com, and buro247.com)

Finally, we have New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based illustrator Andrew Archer.  Originally trained as a graphic designer, Archer is influenced by woodblock prints and his stints living in Asia, which is readily apparent in his work.  Archer created a Japanese warrior-inspired design for the Shu collab.  I think this one best represents the product given its emphasis on the hairstyle.

Andrew Archer - Shu Uemura

The Shu collab caught Archer a little off guard, but he was pleased with the end result.  He says, "I was initially curious as to why [Shu was] wanting my work specifically for the collaboration, most beauty brands play it pretty safe with their imagery and in contrast Shu Uemura wasn't at all shy about wanting to get something different, stylistic and contrasting incorporated into their brand. This was almost entirely what made me want to work with Shu Uemura - the chance to create something unique, and present something to a new audience who could join in the visual journey Shu Uemura and I created together."

Andrew Archer - Shu Uemura print

Archer describes his style as "free flowing, confident but quirky coloring and surreal," which we can see in these prints for the FIA Formula E racing championship series.  I also like how sharply Archer captured not only the cities in which the championships took place but also the speed and motion of the cars -  you can practically hear the "whoosh!" as they zoom by.

Andrew Archer - FE series

Andrew Archer - FE series

Andrew Archer - FE series

Of course, I'm partial to sea creatures.  I think you can especially see the influence of woodblock prints in these two.

Andrew Archer

Andrew Archer - California magazine cover

Some more of his work at the China Heights Gallery:

Andrew Archer - gallery installation(images from andrewarcher.com and buro247.com)

Overall, I'm dismayed that this collection was exclusive to Australia, and I find it odd that it didn't even make it to the Asian markets - if they had, I may have had a chance of acquiring these.  I know technically they're hair products but I still would love to have gotten my hands on them.  What's even sadder is that there is another artist series that Shu did earlier this summer and it's the same Australia-exclusive shtick, so I can't get those either.  (I'm still going to cover the series anyway though so stay tuned!)  Finally, I really admire whoever curated/installed the gallery show.  If I had a physical museum, artist collabs would look a lot like this.

Which is your favorite?  I liked all of them but I think Emma Mulholland's is my pick.  While she didn't create an original design specifically for the collaboration, the sheer absurdity of the lizards and basketball print, plus the fact that it had absolutely nothing to do with hair care, made an excellent choice for the bottle in my opinion.


Makeup as Muse: Karen Shapiro's ceramic makeup

I thought I'd keep it light and breezy for today with these delightful ceramics by artist Karen Shapiro.  Shapiro found her true calling in ceramic sculpture after spending 30 years as a pastry chef.  As for subject matter, she is drawn to popular household brands; her objects are inspired by her fascination with the textures, colors and shapes of everyday items as well as the Pop Art tradition.  Shapiro tackles many common goods in ceramic form, but obviously what I want to focus on is her rendering of beauty products. 

Karen Shapiro, Clinique lipstick, 2013

Shapiro's preferred artistic method is based on a Japanese technique known as raku, which was historically used to create tea ceremony pottery and involves removing the pieces from the kiln while still red hot and allowing them to cool in open air.  Unlike the traditional raku, however, the Western/American raku that Shapiro uses maintains the removal of the pieces while still glowing, but rather than cooling in an open space, the pieces are then "subjected to post-firing reduction (or smoking) by placing in containers of combustible materials, which blackens raw clay and creates cracks in glaze."  The crackling has the effect of making the products seem older and/or more fragile than we might think of them otherwise, which provides an interesting contrast against these everyday, seemingly plain objects. Says one reviewer, "The crackle glaze does give Shapiro’s sculptures a very different vibe from that of 1960’s Pop Art. It tends to legitimize their claim as valuable objects deserving permanent counter space—as opposed to disposable packages."  Perhaps if makeup items are viewed through a ceramic lens, people might be more accepting of the idea of them belonging in a museum, yes?

Karen Shapiro - Clinique lotion and lipstick

Karen Shapiro - Clinique lipstick, 2014

Karen Shapiro - Great Lash, 2009

Most of the beauty products appear to be older versions from the '70s through the '90s.   Along with Clinique's lipsticks in the old green tubes, there are others like this L'Oreal nail polish bottle, which looks to be from the '80s or '90s to my eye.  (Speaking of nail polish and crackling, wouldn't it be cool if she made one of those crackle nail polishes that were all the rage circa 2011 or so?)

Karen Shapiro - L'oreal nail polish
(images from winfieldgallery.com)

Can you identify what time period this Cutex bottle is from?  I couldn't at first and thought for sure it had to be around the 1930s or so, given the Art Deco-esque font.  But I searched and searched and searched and everything I saw indicated that Cutex bottles simply weren't shaped like that back then.  Low and behold, the December 1995 issue of Sassy magazine (yes, I'm becoming a vintage magazine hoarder - that's a problem for another day) contained a photo of a nearly identical bottle!  Much to my embarrassment I never would have guessed this is from the '90s.  I like to think of myself an expert on the decade, especially on beauty and makeup, but this is one item I don't recall.

Karen Shapiro - Cutex nail polish(image from williamzimmergallery.com)

Sassy magazine, December 1995

This Revlon Charlie Nail Gleamer dates to the late '70s/early '80s, based on a 1978 ad I found.

Karen Shapiro - Revlon Charlie nail polish

Revlon charlie nail gleamer ad, 1978(image from theguardian.com)

But Shapiro goes all the way back to the '50s and even earlier for some truly vintage pieces.  I love this '50s era version of the Revlon polish.

Karen Shapiro - vintage Revlon nail polish

The Outdoor Girl powder dates to about 1931. 

Karen Shapiro - Outdoor Girl vintage face powder

Some other favorites:

Karen Shapiro - Bourjois Evening in Paris talc bottle

Karen Shapiro - Bourjois Evening in Paris talc bottle

Karen Shapiro - vintage Lyon's Cold Cream

Too bad I didn't know this talc box existed - it would have been perfect for the summer exhibition.  Oh well.  I couldn't find any for sale anyway.

Karen Shapiro - vintage Sweetheart talcum powder
(images from rakukaren.com)

Much like seeing actual vintage makeup items, all of these made me smile and ponder bygone eras.  Says gallery owner Chris Winfield, "I call them pop icons, except they have a little surface development and a patina that gives them a friendly, used quality...some pieces, many of which are from the '30s, '40s and '50s, are quite nostalgic. They have an historical element but are still around, which gives them popular appeal.  Collectors tend to buy two and three pieces and then put them on a kitchen counter or vanity, places where the actual items would go."  Whereas traditional Pop Art could be seen as a somewhat negative commentary on mass production and consumption, Shapiro's items exist without any sort of pointed critique directed at our current cultural climate; there's no sharp irony or parody here, just a sentimental quality that elicits pleasant feelings and memories.  While the items can evoke some powerful nostalgia, due to the fact that they're also imitations of everyday items, they lack the pretension of "high art" and seem right at home...in, well, your home.  The artist herself summarizes her work nicely:  "My work is fun, it's whimsical...I feel lucky I can make a living at it. It's not conceptual; it's literal. People don't have to understand it; it's already understood."

What do you think?  I'd love to own one of these so I may have to reach out to one of the galleries for pricing.  There is a Noxema jar on 1stdibs but of course I'd prefer makeup to skincare.  ;)

Curator's Corner, 7/17/2016

CC logoBefore we get to links, a quick blog note:  I have made the decision to slow down a bit in terms of posting.  Previously my goal was to do 3 posts a week, plus Curator's Corner.  Instead I'll be posting 1-2 times a week and Curator's Corner will go up every other week.  I was having so much trouble keeping up and I realized there was no sense in making myself crazy trying to maintain some arbitrary posting schedule, so I'm switching to something more manageable.  

Now for some links!

- As an old person, I am greatly confused by Pokemon Go.  However, I do know that it's enough of a phenomenon that there are special beauty tie-ins to the game

- Not gonna lie, I totally downloaded these new beauty emojis

- The latest wacky trends include ear makeup, galaxy freckles, graffiti hair and mirror nails.  All of these are exactly what you think they are.  Plus, did you know your manicure can double as a metro card?

- Speaking of trends, John Oliver hilariously tackles contouring and brows.

- Can I get something off my chest?  You might remember I wrote about the Smithsonian's collection of beauty and hygiene products back in May. I'm a little frustrated that nearly 2 months later Racked covered it (and snagged an interview with the curators, no less) whose article in turn was picked up by Jezebel and Byrdie.  I just get annoyed since it's not new information - I'm almost certain I was the first blogger to write about the collection, but no one pays attention when I do it. 

- Once more, with feeling:  you can be a feminist and wear makeup.

- In addition to it being National Ice Cream Day, it's also National Tattoo Day.  Allure has a nice little history of tattoos.

- Remember the 100 layers of nail polish challenge?  For whatever reason someone saw it necessary to follow that up by applying 100 layers of lipstick

- Happy 25th to Bobbi Brown!  May you continue putting out delicious shimmer bricks and gel liners and other products I can't get enough of.

The random:

- As I mentioned last week, I joined Instagram. Little did I know there was actually a scientific reason behind my yearning to join.

- The Julie Ruin's latest album, Hit Reset, dropped last week.  Needless to say I love it.  Check out interviews with the fabulous Kathleen Hanna here and here.  Meanwhile, my other idols Sleater-Kinney will be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame later this year.

- "I try to avoid sticking clamshells on my boobs." Broadly covers the real-life hustle of professional mermaids.  (Also mentioned in this article is a professor in Alabama who is studying the history of mermaids. That would be my 2nd dream job behind makeup museum curator.)

- In '90s nostalgia, Spice Girls' "Wannabe" turned 20 (I feel even older now) and I loved Lebowski Week over at Uproxx.  I'm also ordering Seinfeldia to read when I'm at the beach in a few weeks.  While not '90s, another cultural milestone was reached with the 15th anniversary of Legally Blonde.

- Loving this new-to-me art history blog.  And as a final anniversary listed in this installment of Curator's Corner, I'm wishing a very happy (and weird) 100th birthday to Dada.

What have you been up to?












Vroom vroom! Makeup and cars

Buckle up and start your engines, 'cause you're in for a wild ride!  Well, as wild as this boring old curator can be.  ;)  I almost feel like I need a flow chart or diagram to explain the myriad and complex ways cosmetics can be related to cars, and by extension, women. I can't go into much detail since that would be an entire book, but I can provide a basic summary.  The first thing that comes up when I searched for "women and cars" is images of "hot" (read: young, thin, usually white) women standing next to, or perched on top, a car.  Traditionally these women have been used to sell cars to men; but instead of the opposite (i.e. showing hunky male models), makeup can be used to persuade women consumers into buying a car, and sometimes vice versa (a car is used to sell makeup).  Makeup and car collaborations are fascinating, I think, because they're so obviously an attempt to coax a population that's usually not associated with cars into taking an interest in automobiles, and what better way to do that than to appeal to a woman's supposed vanity?  Obviously, I love makeup and don't believe many aspects of it are un-feminist, but I do find trying to reach a female customer almost solely through the use of makeup to be remarkably sexist.  These tie-ins are also interesting when we think of the admittedly shady strategies used by Mary Kay.  Instead of being a passive consumer of cars and cosmetics, a woman could sell makeup to earn a pink car - the reverse of some of the ads and collaborations we're going to look at today. 

Starting in the 1950s makeup became a way to get women on board with the idea of car ownership.  As this site devoted to the Dodge LaFemme, the first car marketed specifically to women, explains, "Shortly after World War II (and the Korean War) America entered a new era of prosperity and success. The days of one car families were fast becoming obsolete and families were now buying second cars to accommodate their new lifestyles. Suburbs were springing up outside urban areas and super highways were the wave of the future...Living in the suburbs meant the breadwinner had to drive to work downtown each day, leaving the housewife without a car. With the current prosperity being experienced in America, it seemed natural to go out and buy a second car for 'the wife'. But what car to buy?...Gone were the days of 'the wife' simply staying at home. If 'the wife' was getting a new car, then Dodge needed to produce a car that 'the wife' would want to be seen in."  

In addition to the cars' overall design that was meant to entice women, an exclusive makeup kit was included to emphasize that this was a vehicle made especially for the ladies.  The 1955-56 Dodge LaFemme was a pink (naturally) car that boasted not only a matching raincoat and umbrella - if, heaven forbid, you got a flat tire in the rain - but also a special compartment hidden in the armrest supplied with an Evans compact and other items. 

Dodge La Femme

1956 Dodge La Femme

1956 Dodge La Femme interior

1956 Dodge La Femme makeup

From the photo below it looks like Elizabeth Arden's Ardena was also included, which seems odd - why go with two cosmetics brands?

1956 Dodge La Femme makeup kit(images from historydaily.org)

Apparently La Femme failed to be a popular seller.  Despite the alluring inclusion of cosmetics, the rest of the marketing was not on the same level as that for other automobiles.  "Some suggest that the flop of the La Femme model was due to its lack of marketing exposure. It was only displayed on single-sheet pamphlets; there were no shiny demonstration models and no evidence of magazine, radio and television advertisement. It was likely most American women never even knew it existed at the time."  Well, color me surprised - promoting a car geared towards women was not treated with the same importance as other (men's) cars?  Shocking!  Sarcasm aside, it is interesting that Dodge didn't see the need to spend the same amount of advertising dollars.  If anything, I would think a car company would have to work doubly hard and put more funds towards marketing for a segment of the population that typically did not own cars.  Guess they thought the makeup kit alone would hook women in without having to do a ton of additional advertising.

Despite this failure, Elizabeth Arden followed suit in 1959 with a tie-in to the Chrysler Imperial.  The makeup and skincare kit was stashed in the glove compartment.  The advertising also highlighted women's ability to be totally in control while still, of course, retaining a ladylike manner:  "The Imperial 1959 is powerful but well-tamed...does what you ask, instantly, serenely...you sit head-high, imperially straight, as becomes a woman whose car is so much hers that even the interior fabrics are an obedient and tasteful foil for her ensemble."  In a world where women couldn't even have a credit card in their own name, I could see how the prospect of independence and power through owning a car solely for her use would definitely be appealing.  Still, if we're to follow the aforementioned '50s narrative of suburban families with the husband as primary breadwinner, how empowered could his wife really be?  Even if she drives a car designed for women, the man still paid for it. 

Elizabeth Arden Chrysler Imperial ad, 1959

Elizabeth Arden Chrysler Imperial ad, 1959(images from imperialclub.org)

While Chrysler made a bigger marketing attempt than Dodge by placing ads in Vogue, I'm not sure if the sales of this car in "Arden Pink" fared any better than LaFemme.  Nevertheless, automobile companies had alternatives for getting cars on women's radar via other sorts of collaborations with makeup companies.  Take, for example, this 1955 Cutex ad for a red shade inspired by Ford's Scarlet Thunderbird that "separates the sirens from the sissies!"  If you're woman enough to wear this color, you're woman enough to own a Ford.

Cutex Slightly Scarlet ad, 1955(image from flickr.com)

Yet another tactic was the giveaway.  In 1967, Dorothy Gray and its sister brand Tussy (owned by the same company) advertised sweepstakes to win cars in the same shades as their lipsticks, which naturally had car-themed names like Defroster. 

Dorothy Gray Honda ad, 1967(image from ebay.com)

Tussy Mustang ad, 1967(images from przservices.typepad.com)

More recently, in May Givenchy revived the idea of a car designed just for women in the launch of the Givenchy Le MakeUp, produced by French manufacturer DS.  Le MakeUp borrows Dodge's concept of esconcing an exclusive makeup kit in the armrest.  The car is also "fitted with a special LED lighting system on the two sun visor mirrors in the front seats, for ease of make-up application before or after driving. Floor mats feature the limited edition Givenchy logo, while the dashboard is rose pink." While the exterior isn't pink, I can't help but be amused by the fact that they retained at least some inclusion of the color. 

Givenchy-Le MakeUp-car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car

DS 3 Givenchy Le MakeUp car(images from forbes.com)

Not only that, but "Whisper Purple" is used for the roof, mirrors, a hubcap accent and finally, to fully tie the car to the makeup, as a nail polish in the cosmetics kit.  There's also a video of Ruth Crilly, founder of the popular beauty site A Model Recommends, highlighting the car's various features while wearing the makeup.

Givenchy whisper purple nail polish(image from dsautomobiles.co.uk)

While the promotional copy claims that the car was designed to "meet to meet the expectations of many modern-day women who are always on the go," Givenchy's Artistic Director for Makeup Nicolas Degennes says, "I dreamt of a car that would enhance the beauty of women. They would be beautiful because they would be at the helm of the new DS3, a vehicle that characterizes this era. Beautiful because of colour, the reflections on the face. Beautiful because of the liveliness of the pink interior.”  Indeed, even the style of the tires, one the company calls "Aphrodite," reference beauty ideals for women.  All of this further bolsters my opinion that the notion of gendered cars is astonishingly dated and sexist.  Givenchy may have come up with a modernized version of the "Arden Pink" Chrysler or Dodge LaFemme, and while many more women today are making their own car payments, the cosmetic aspects of the DS's design remain firmly in the '50s.  Especially since the inclusion of makeup in a car meant for women completely ignores the fact that this is the 21st century, and there are men who wear makeup as well as non-cis genders.  Finally, there are still folks out there who think all women do before/during/after taking a spin in their car is applying makeup. The remarks at this website regarding the Givenchy car take the cake:  "Girls don’t have such a great reputation as drivers, and a car with a makeup kit? Well. Let us only hope and pray that some 20-year-old doesn’t stop in the middle of a highway to dab a fresh layer of paint on her lips." Oof.

Along these lines, even in the art world women can't escape the traditional link between cars and makeup.  For International Women's Day in 2012, Indian car artist Sudhakar Yadav created several cars in the shape of a shoe, purse, lipstick and eye shadow as a tribute to women.  Stereotype much? 

Lipstick car

Eyeshadow car(images from huffingtonpost.com)

I mean, don't get me wrong, these look like a lot of fun and I give the guy credit for acknowledging there even IS an International Women's Day.  I'm sure his intentions were good and these were made as art, not to sell cars.  But it still rubs me the wrong way.  Obviously all women care about is makeup and shoes and bags, and they would appreciate the artist's offering of wacky cars only if they were in the shape of girly things.* 

As a seemingly harmless response to all of this, I'll leave you with Italian brand Collistar's summer 2016 lineup.  The company teamed up with, fittingly enough, Fiat to create a collection celebrating the 500 model. 

Collistar spring/summer 2016 collection

Collistar Ti Amo spring/summer 2016 collection

How adorable are these blushes?! 

Collistar Ti Amo spring/summer 2016 collection(images from chicprofile.com)

Personally, I generally hate cars (their design and history bores me, not to mention that they're dangerous...I have a terrible fear of driving), and no amount of cool makeup is going to make me more accepting of them.  And I sure as hell wouldn't buy a car designed just for women - I dislike the fact that in 2016 some companies are 1. still thinking in terms of binary genders for products that should so obviously be gender-less, such as cars, and 2. still thinking that a car's key selling points to reach women need to involve makeup.  The Collistar collection, however, is something I'd gladly snap up if I had access to it.  ;)

What do you think? 

*The art cars remind me of the time my sister attended a conference on women business leaders, and the swag was all Clinique products.  Not like, a tech gadget or a nice business card holder or something.  (Ironically, my sister doesn't wear a stitch of makeup.  I believe her exact words were, "I don't even use this shit!") 

MM summer 2016 exhibition

Summer.2016 poster.2pp

For this summer's exhibition theme I couldn't decide between a Mediterranean vibe or bathing beauties.  There were lots of other ancient Greece/Italian-inspired ads and items, but sometimes I could only find the ad and not the corresponding object or vice versa, which was driving me crazy.  Not to mention the fact that I would have felt pressured to write something on the use of ancient Mediterranean beauty ideals in both vintage and contemporary makeup, and I simply didn't have time.   What it boils down to is that I didn't have enough items from either theme to fill up 16 shelves worth, so I ended up doing both.  It's kind of an odd combo but in the end it was too difficult to do just one.  Plus I threw in a couple of items that didn't really have anything to do with either theme.  But overall, I still think the exhibition screams summer and I hope you do too. :) 

Oh, and the husband had the brilliant idea of posting the jpegs of the labels, so while I still printed out and mounted the labels on the shelves, they're in electronic form here as they're much easier to read than my usual crappy, blurry photos of them.


(click to enlarge)


MM summer 2016 exhibition top shelves

MM summer 2016 exhibition bottom shelves

Top row, left to right.

This ad was so bizarre/funny I had to buy it.  The "Italian Touch" campaign must have been quite large, since I found the ad in 3 different languages and also this bust used to promote the collection in store.  (It's so expensive but I may cave and buy it soon - it's very unique and I don't have any store props in the Museum's collection.)

Max Factor ad, 1957 and Leaning Tower of Pisa lipstick holder

Max Factor Italian Touch ad, 1957

You might remember I fell in love with this Leaning Tower of Pisa lipstick holder when I spotted it in Lips of Luxury.  One came up on ebay so I pounced.

Leaning Tower of Pisa lipstick holder

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian Bronzer:

Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian Bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana Sicilian Bronzer

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Charlotte Tilbury/Norman Parkinson collection:

Charlotte Tilbury Norman Parkinson collection

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

I am so grateful to Collecting Vintage Compacts for his very thorough posts on the Pompeian company (here and here). 

Pompeian Bloom ad and box

Pompeian Bloom powder box, ca. 1920-1926

Here is the ad text.  Incidentally, "Madame Jeanette", a "specialiste en beauté", was a completely fictional character dreamed up by the company.  (For you Simpsons fans, I guess it was a Tipsy McStagger sort of situation.) 

I don't even know where to start with the racism here.  Despite the inclusion of a "dark" tinted face powder, there's zero mention of dark skin tones themselves...plus there's also the use of "oriental" as a shade name.  Yikes.  As always though, I think it's important to include these types of ads to demonstrate how unacceptable this would be today.

Pompeian Bloom ad, 1926

Pompeian Bloom ad, 1926

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Second row, left to right.

This was another long-time wishlist item of mine that I was finally able to acquire.  I explored vintage lipstick holders back in 2013 and knew I positively had to have a mermaid lipstick holder of my own.  This one is from a company other than those I had seen before, but it's authentic.

Vintage Napco mermaid lipstick holder

I was going to put some fun-colored blue and green lipsticks in there but ultimately decided I didn't want to obscure the little gal!

Vintage Napco mermaid lipstick holder

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

NARS summer 2016:

Konstantin Kakanias for NARS

Konstantin Kakanias for NARS

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Anthropologie The Artist's Studio featuring Lou Taylor:

Anthropologie The Artist's Studio featuring Lou Taylor

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Third row, left to right.

Paul & Joe summer 2016 face powder:

Paul & Joe summer 2016 face powder

Paul & Joe summer 2016 face powder

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescues:

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescues

Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Quench Lip Rescues

Guerlain Terra Ora bronzer:

Guerlain Terra Ora bronzer

Guerlain Terra Ora bronzer

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Too Faced Bathing Beauty palette and Chantecaille dolphin palette:

Too Faced Bathing Beauty palette and Chantecaille Les Dauphins palette

Too Faced Bathing Beauty palette and Chantecaille Les Dauphins palette

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Bottom row, left to right.

NARS Adult Swim promo (summer 2014) and Special Edition O blush...I could have sworn I tore out the Adult Swim ad from a magazine because I remember how much I liked the image, but went through my clippings and realized I hadn't.  Oops. 

NARS Adult Swim ad and Special Edition O blush

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

The Balm Beach blush and Stila Capri Colors trio

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition powders:

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition powders

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition powders

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Try as I might, I was unable to find a Woodbury ad that featured this particular box.  All of the ones I could find depicted a slightly different version of the box (the goddess figure is shown perched on a shell surrounded by flowers).  There are also other ads that have the same goddess as the powder I have, but she appears on a round box that's actually a set containing powder, blush and lipstick. 

Benefit catalog (2008) and vintage Woodbury powder box

Makeup Museum summer 2016 exhibition label

Any favorite pieces from this year's summer exhibition?











I'm on Instagram

InstagramI don't know why but I felt a compelling urge to join yet another social media platform that 1. I don't understand, and 2.  will never be able to keep up with. (How do millennials keep up with all this social media?!)  I've held off for a while on joining Instagram because of my lack of photography skills.  But then I learned there are such things as filters, so maybe my photos won't be so bad. Plus there are so many great artists and photographers on there, and I found it's a heck of a lot easier to keep up with them if I had an account.  Not to mention how much I adore looking at pretty pictures of makeup, and Instagram seems like the best place to get a quick fix, even more so than Pinterest and blogs. 

Photos of things you will see @makeup_museum:

  • Makeup collectibles I'm too lazy to write a post about here
  • Beauty products I actually use
  • Home decor
  • Art and design
  • Fashion
  • Baltimore and other cities
  • Any other things that strike my fancy

I think that about covers it.  I only have 3 photos right now but obviously will be adding more, so stay tuned.  And do you have any tips for me?  I'm still learning the ropes so I'd be grateful for any advice.  :)


Friday Fun: Totally cute is an understatement

Care to guess why I bought Too-Faced's Totally Cute palette in a matter of seconds after seeing it online?  Two words:  mermaid stickers!!  I'll get to those and the artist who created them in a second, but right now let's take a look at the actual palette.

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

Obviously I didn't put any stickers on mine. #collectible

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

Too Faced Totally Cute palette

I liked the guide almost as much as I liked the stickers.

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Does anyone else think the drawing of Too-Faced founder Jerrod Blandino looks a little like Hermey from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?  He just needs his hair in the opposite direction and a little elf hat. 

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

I spy a mermaid!

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

Now for the even cuter part.  The palette comes with 2 sheets of kitschy stickers that I don't think I'll ever tire of.

Too-Faced Totally Cute stickers

Too Faced Totally Cute palette guide

But if you order from Too Faced's website directly, they will add a bonus sheet of stickers!  I didn't know this, however, and placed my order at Sephora.  I nearly cried when the sheet with the mermaid stickers wasn't there, as I had seen it at various other blogs and couldn't figure out why it wasn't included.  So I headed over to the Too Faced site and realized this sheet is exclusive to them.  So naturally I had to order it and then returned the other palette to Sephora.  Because MERMAIDS!!

Too Faced Totally Cute bonus stickers

So now let's take a look at the work of Humberto Cruz, a.k.a. iscreamcolour, the 32 year-old San Diego-based artist behind these adorable illustrations.  After graduating in 2007 from the Art Institute of California in San Diego, Cruz worked at a grocery store to make ends meet.  His luck changed for the better after joining Instagram and getting the attention of major fashion designers like Jeremy Scott.  With over 26,000 (!) followers now, his prospects are definitely looking up.

Cruz has done some great editorial pieces for the likes of Nylon - I was so excited when I opened this month's issue to see his work.

Iscreamcolour - Nylon July 2016

And some wonderful illustrations for V Magazine, showing off the best looks of the week (a feature that no longer seems to exist - not sure why).  The constantly fluctuating nature of fashion, particularly in cities known for being on the cutting-edge of trends, captures Cruz's imagination.  He remarks in an interview, "It’s always changing every season. I just like the way people express themselves with clothes. Here in San Diego we don’t get to wear those things, interesting things. It’s not New York or Paris."

Iscreamcolour - Cara

Iscreamcolour - Katy Perry

Iscreamcolour - Rhianna

While these are a lot of fun, his Instagram is pure gold.  Cruz clearly shares my affinity for mermaids and cites Disney's The Little Mermaid as a favorite subject to draw when he was young.  "As a kid I was always into different characters, the Little Mermaid...I would watch the movie and pause it to draw the characters and specific scenes."

Iscreamcolour - Merboy

Iscreamcolour - mermaid and octopus

Nearly died when I saw these punk mermaids - two of my favorite things, together at last!!

Iscreamcolour - punk mermaids

Like me, he also seems to have a taste for '90s pop culture.  Since he was just a kid in the '90s, it makes sense that he includes motifs like troll dolls ("I collected them as a child and I’ve started buying them again on eBay," he says) in his illustrations, but I also love his representations of the decade's icons in general. 

Iscreamcolour - Drew Barrymore

I remember Lil Kim's 1999 VMAs outfit like it was yesterday!

Iscreamcolour - Lil Kim

Iscreamcolour - '90s supermodels

Iscreamcolour - Spice Girls

Iscreamcolour - Spice Girls

Iscreamcolour - 'N Sync

Iscreamcolour - Cher

Iscreamcolour - Romy and Michelle

Sometimes mermaids and the '90s collide, as in these '90s era photos of Leonardo DiCaprio sporting a mermaid tail.

Iscreamcolour - Leonardo DiCaprio
(all images from @iscreamcolour)

As for Cruz's fascination with stickers, he maintains that they serve as a perfect backdrop to his celebrity illustrations.  "I’ve always collected [stickers], and had them in a box. I wasn’t inspired for a few years after I was finished with school. I’m drawing celebrities, thinking what should I do with the backgrounds? Should I use my stickers? Are they going to stay there in the box forever? It’s better to look at them in a drawing," he says.  

I feel as though Cruz and I are kindred spirits - we love collecting, mermaids, and anything from the '90s.  The mark of a good collaboration is when you can tell it's a particular artist's work, but slightly modified to fit the brand they're working with.  In this case Cruz was right on the money.  Not only did he use his signature cute symbols like troll dolls and and anthropomorphic food, he incorporated other motifs so that the stickers specifically captured the playful essence of this palette and of Too-Faced as a brand.  Both the fun side of makeup in general (blue lipstick, "I wake up for makeup") and Too-Faced (images of the company's other products, a caricature of Blandino and his dog Clover, etc.) were well-represented.

What do you think?  And did you collect stickers growing up?  I did, among many other things. :)

Curator's Corner, 7/4/2016...plus my first tattoos!

CC logoHope those of you in the U.S. are having a relaxing and peaceful 4th of July.  So much to catch up on. 

- Lots of trends over the past two weeks:  lip "tattoos", emoji hair tapestries, snowglobe nails and a technique known as draping.  Also, possibly for the first time, zits made a fashion statement. (I liked this rejoinder explaining why it wasn't appropriate to glorify acne on the runway).

- In beauty history, Jonathan Walford of the Fashion History Museum in Toronto discusses lip stencils, and Fashionista offers a succinct history of red lipstick

- These parents get a big thumbs up from me. This vlogger, not so much.

- On the social media front, Instagram may pose a threat to our individuality, Snapchat stole some makeup artists' looks to use as filters, and Urban Decay introduced a Tinder-like app for lipstick.  You can also try on lipsticks via Facebook Messenger now, or choose your new lip color by virtual kisses (although I really don't like the idea of kissing my smartphone...they're apparently filthy.)

- Other beauty breakthroughs included magnetic eye lashes and a new foundation finder that actually worksMeli from Wild Beauty helped pioneer it, so while I haven't tried it yet I bet it's way more effective than anything we have currently (looking at you, Sephora Color IQ.)  Very exciting!

-Olympic medal or highlighter?

The random:

- Not sure how you can "accidentally" discover a previously unknown color, but a new shade of blue has been unearthed. I'm eager to see it appear in makeup form.

- Jezebel had a lovely history of mermaids and our collective fascination with them.

- In '90s nostalgia, Crystal Pepsi is coming back to the U.S. in August (yes! loved this stuff), Uproxx brings us the history of Seinfeld's "urban sombrero", '90s Fest will expand to several venues (alas, none close enough to me), Blink-182 releases a new album, and a Refinery29 staffer attempts taking care of a tamagotchi.

- As proof you're never too old to get tattoos, Dame Judi Dench received her first at the age of 81.  Which brings me to...my first tattoos!  This was a very long time in coming - I swear it's not part of a midlife crisis.  I had been wanting a Phi Beta Kappa tattoo on my arm since I got inducted into the society 16 years ago during my final semester of college. But everyone kept saying tattoos were a bad idea, blah blah blah.  Plus I'm petrified of needles.  So I kept putting it off.  Then last November around my birthday I realized it had been 15 years that I first got the idea and still hadn't followed through despite never wavering on my desire to get the tattoo, so I started researching artists.  I visited several shops in Baltimore and was quite unimpressed, and right around the time I was searching Keith "Bang Bang" McCurdy's book was released and I decided to check him out.  After perusing the portfolios of the other artists working at his shop I knew I was in the right hands.  So I made an appointment and did the deed!  Joice was seriously amazing - incredibly warm and sweet and made me feel instantly at ease.  And I was so pleased to see she was left-handed.  :)  I have no idea why I was so afraid of the needle, as it didn't resemble anything remotely needle like.  It just looked like a regular pen. 


PBK tattoo

The second one I've been wanting for probably about 5 years.  It's based on this necklace pendant, which is the first piece of jewelry my dad gave my mom (her name is Concetta but she goes by Chet or Chettie), and they'll be celebrating their 50th anniversary next year!  I'm really close to both my parents and I've always loved the design of this necklace, so I knew it would make a great tattoo.  I feel like my mom is with me in spirit so this is a perfect physical manifestation of that closeness.



Blur-tacular photo but I'm too lazy to take a clearer picture.  Trust me, it looks great.


Neither of mine hurt, although that could be because I got them in pretty low-pain spots.  Just felt like some slight pinching.  As for the husband, he showed his solidarity in getting a finger tattoo inspired by our beloved plushies.  Specifically, it was based on Yoyamart Babo.

Yoyamart Babo


He also got this really cool overlapping circles tattoo on his wrist.  Joice is amazing with color so I may have to get a colorful mermaid from her eventually. ;)


So that wraps up Curator's Corner.  How have you been?  And do you have a tattoo or are you thinking about getting one?  Please feel free to email me with any questions.  I'm by no means an expert but I did a ton of research before taking the plunge, so I can probably help with general stuff, like finding an artist, aftercare, etc.  :)