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January 2017

Curator's Corner, 1/29/2017

CC logoLinky time!

- Loved this round up of old Tussy ads.

- Let's hear it for the boy: following on the heels of Cover Girl and Maybelline's use of male models, YouTuber Lewys Ball will be Rimmel's new spokesperson.

- How peaceful would it be to have your makeup done by a Buddhist monk?

- Wire and unicorn horn nails are really upping the 3D manicure ante.  Meanwhile, blorange and Lite Brite hair are the latest trends for tresses.  And if all of these are too tame for you, try out some star-shaped glitter as seen at Berlin Fashion Week and Dior's spring 2017 couture show.

- Glad to see I wasn't the only one buying all the highlighters last year - sales of this product jumped 44%!

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, I appreciated this clip of the some of the biggest bands of the decade (save for Nirvana).  Plus, Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs turns 25, and Stereogum notes that both the Mighty Mighty Bosstones' hit "The Impression That I Get" and Built To Spill's album Perfect From Now On hit the big 2-0.  As always with these milestones, I feel unbelievably ancient.

- Cosmo featured the U.S.'s growing merfolk community and a hilarious mermaid name generator to boot.

- Hooray!  So happy that the great signs from the historic women's march will be preserved in museums.

- Yet another exhibition on Riot Grrrl-inspired art...it's great and all but still bummed that my work on it is never acknowledged.  Sigh.

How have you been?  What's been catching your eye lately?












A vintage menagerie from Shiseido

Well well well, what have we here?

Plushies making new friends

To be honest, I really have no idea.  All I know is that when I searched for vintage Shiseido on Ebay, I came up with a spate of white porcelain animal figurines.  Some other things: 1. they represent the animals from the Chinese zodiac; 2. there were a few different designs of each animal; 3. I went into a frenzy trying to collect all of them (unsuccessfully), and; 4. they were produced, or at least sourced, by a company named the Connor Group for Shiseido.  What I'm struggling with is why they were made and for whom they were intended.  I'm also not certain about the exact dates of the various versions, since some of the sellers listed them as being from the '70s, others from the '80s, and still more were made in the '90s, according to accompanying paperwork. 

I'll go in the order of the zodiac, starting with the rat.  Cute, no?  Given the shiny finish (more on that soon) I'm assuming it's from 1972 or 1984, but it's impossible to say.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rat figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rat figurine

Next is the ox, from either 1973 or 1985.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac ox figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac ox figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac ox figurine

Here's a different version of the ox, which I think might be from the '90s.  I was able to save this image from the Ebay listing but unfortunately someone snatched up the figurine itself a while ago.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac ox figurine
(image from ebay.com)

Tigers!  This one came with a fold-out that made things even more confusing. 

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac tiger figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac tiger figurine

The style of the figurine is consistent with ones that are from the '90s, which we'll see later in this post, but the paper it came with clearly indicates it's from 1974.  Plus, there's no mention of Shiseido anywhere, not in the letter or even on the figurine - the other ones with the shiny finish have "Shiseido Japan" printed on them.  The seller also included the original shipping box it came in to the U.S. from Japan, but there were no clues there either.

Shiseido/W.E. Connor letter

Here's a different tiger. 

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac tiger figurine


This rabbit could be from 1975 or 1987.  According to this Etsy seller who had one listed for sale previously, it's from the '80s, but without anything else to go on the date is uncertain.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rabbit figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rabbit figurine

My favorite is the dragon, again most likely from 1976 or 1988.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac dragon figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac dragon figurine

The snakes are pretty cool too, unfortunately I couldn't track them down.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac snake figurines
(image from hautejuice.wordpress.com)

The horse is also tricky.  This one could be from 1978, given that this Ebay seller has another style.  (I have one of them on the way to me).  I got so desperate for answers I actually asked the seller if they had any other information.  No answer yet.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac horse figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac horse figurine

This goat (or ram) is from 1991, according to the foldout it came with.  But it's in a similar style to the tiger that's allegedly from 1974, and also has the same non-shiny finish and no Shiseido name printed on it.  See why I'm frustrated?!

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac goat/ram figurine

Poor little guy has a tiny chip on his nose.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac goat/ram figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac ram fold out

Another version of the goat/ram, which was also sold before I could get my hands on it...no clue as to when it's from.

The monkey is also perplexing.  This one is apparently from 1992.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac monkey figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac monkey figurine

Shiseido monkey figurine foldout

And here's a different version, from the same Etsy seller who had the rabbit for sale, so maybe this one is from 1980?

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac monkey figurine

Shiseido Chinese zodiac monkey figurine
(images from etsy.com)

Here's this year's critter, which I also missed out on.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rooster figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac rooster figurine
(images from worthpoint.com)

This cute little akita was another that got away.  I'm assuming this one is also from the '80s.

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac dog figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac dog figurine
(images from etsy.com)

And finally, a little piggy, ostensibly from 1995. 

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac pig figurine

Vintage Shiseido Chinese zodiac pig figurine

Sadly, I don't think I'll ever solve the mystery behind these figurines.  I emailed both Shiseido and the Connor Group for more insight and was quite disappointed at not hearing a word from Shiseido.  You would think a company that is so committed to preserving their history would be interested in hearing from someone who is equally passionate about it and get back to me.  I don't think it's a matter of them not having any information either - again, since they have a whole museum and are clearly dedicated to recording all aspects of the company, I just know someone there knows something about these figurines!  I bet all the paperwork related to them is sitting in a basement in Shiseido's headquarters, but no one can be bothered to do a little digging.  I did get a reply from the Connor Group but they had no idea what these were and asked for more information.  So I sent pictures of both the figurines and letter that came with the tiger and never heard back.  Sigh.  My best guess is that these were either gifts to employees or gifts for Camellia Club members - in researching the rainbow powders, I learned that the latter group had access to exclusive Shiseido items (um, how awesome are these Erté dishes?!)  However, most of the Camellia Club gifts are labeled as such, whereas there is no such notation on the figurines or the papers they came with.  Shiseido also seems to collaborate with companies for other non-makeup items, like this anniversary plate produced by Noritake, so maybe the figurines were just some random item they had for sale.  Still, it drives me crazy that I don't have a definitive answer.

At least the plushies are enjoying playing with their new friends!

Let's joust!

Wait, don't we need lances for that?

Do you have any idea as to why Shiseido made these figurines?  And which one was your favorite?


Cock a doodle doo!

Consider this part 1 of a 2-part celebration of the Chinese New Year.  Later this week I'll be discussing some really cool vintage Chinese New Year-related finds, but today I'm looking at some contemporary rooster-themed items since 2017 is the Year of the Rooster. 

We'll start with Armani's lovely palette.  The design is similar to last year's, with a striking red outer case and a subtle engraving of the animal on the powder inside.  The characters on the 2017 case, however, apparently mean happiness and luck, whereas last year the character was "fu", which symbolizes fortune or good luck.  Alas, since I'm not familiar with a single Chinese character I can't say for sure what these are and have to rely on other blogs and press releases.

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

At first I was a little disappointed that the rooster was rendered in the exact same style as last year's monkey.  But then it occurred to me that if Armani continues releasing these palettes and maintains the same style of illustration, they will look utterly fabulous displayed together.  ;)

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

The rooster is the 10th sign of the Chinese zodiac.  Roosters are known to be "honest, energetic, intelligent, flamboyant, flexible, diverse, and confident."  They also tend to be incredibly punctual, since for centuries roosters served as alarm clocks.  And this is interesting:  I didn't know this previously, but all the Chinese zodiac signs also correspond to the Chinese elements of fire, wood, earth, metal and water.  While the zodiac animal sign changes each year, the elements change only every 12 years, so each animal/element combination will only be repeated every 60 years.  Currently we're in a fire cycle, so this year it's a fire rooster. 

Armani Chinese New Year palette 2017

Next up is a handful of items from Etude House.  I was browsing their site to order some of their holiday collection, which I found out about quite late in the season, and spotted their adorable Chinese New Year lineup.  Completely different feel from Armani, but super cute and worthy of the Museum.

Etude House Chinese New Year 2017

Other beauty brands were eager to jump on the Chinese New Year bandwagon this year, so in case Armani and Etude House didn't do it for you, here are some more goodies.

Chinese New Year 2017 beauty products

  1. Givenchy Prisme Libre Loose Powder
  2. A'Pieu Full of Color Eyes palette
  3. LUSH Little Dragon bubble bar (this actually isn't new, but I'm so glad it's still around!)
  4. Guerlain Rouge G lipstick
  5. YSL Chinese New Year Blush Palette
  6. Laneige Water Bank set
  7. MAC Eyeshadow x 9

So that's the start of the Museum's 2017 Chinese New Year celebration!  Stay tuned for another (rather mysterious, I might add) Chinese zodiac festivity later this week.  ;)






Friday Fun: Staff picks with Ice Lodge Babos and Ugly Yeti

To help soothe and distract myself from the horrific political unpleasantness today brings, I'm doing another round of staff picks.*  While I strongly prefer summer to winter, some Museum employees are definitely the opposite. 

Makeup Museum winter staff picks

Makeup Museum winter staff picks

Ugly Yeti, Ice Bat and both Ice Lodge Babos went through my personal stash and the Museum's collection to select their top picks, which include: the 2016 Maquillage Snow Beauty compact, Dior Voile de Neige powder, Lipstick Queen Ice Queen lipstick, Stila Adventurous in Aspen palette and Winter Blues trio, Bourjois Rendezvous a Paris Blanc Diaphane, and Chantecaille's Glacier trio.  While Ugly Yeti was partial to that last one, he has decided that KB Shimmer's Yeti or Not polish is now his favorite item.  All of these little guys also love the Guerlain Météorites Perles de Neiges, but I couldn't put that out since I was afraid they'd try to eat it (again).

Makeup Museum winter staff picks

Here are some additional recommendations...as usual, these are by no means a comprehensive list of all the snowy, frosty inspired beauty products out there, just some of what caught their fancy. 

Frosty beauty products

  1. Sephora Early Frost eyeshadow (see also their Let It Snow shadow and Ice Ice Baby eyeliner)
  2. OPI Alpine Snow nail polish
  3. Urban Decay eyeshadow in Frostbite (which also comes in a nail polish and was briefly brought back as a lipstick)
  4. NYX Prismatic eyeshadow in Frostbite
  5. Marc Jacobs Beauty nail polish in White Snow
  6. Armani Eyes to Kill eyeshadow in Ice
  7. Make Up For Ever Aqua Cream eyeshadow in Snow
  8. Makeup Geek eyeshadow in Ice Queen
  9. Stila Stay All Day eyeliner in Snow
  10. Deborah Lippmann Ice Princess nail polish set
  11. Essence eyeshadow in Snowflake
  12. Jouer Lip Topper in Frostbite (this is on its way to me - can't wait!)

The plushies were also intrigued by winter-inspired skincare, especially the cooling products - those help them stay at their desired chilly body temperatures.  Brisk!

Frosty chilly skincare

  1. La Prairie Cellular Swiss Ice Transforming Cream
  2. DiorSnow Brightening Illuminating sunscreen
  3. Origins No Puffery Cooling Roll-On for Eyes
  4. Milk Makeup Cooling Water
  5. Natura Bisse Diamond Ice Lift Mask
  6. Arcona Magic Dry Ice Hydrating Gel
  7. Snow Magic Sheet Mask
  8. Urban Decay Chill Makeup Setting Spray

I encouraged the little scamps to look for other frosty, snowy beauty products with cute packaging.  More recent finds include BeYu's Mountain Glam collection from winter 2015...

Beyu Mountain Glam collection

Essence's Winter Wonderful (holiday 2015) and Ice Ice Baby (spring 2014) collections:

Essence Winter Wonderful collection

Essence Ice Ice Baby collection(images from chicprofile.com)

And MAC's appropriately named Glitter and Ice collection from 2011.

MAC Glitter and Ice, 2011(image from temptalia.com)

They were pretty fascinated so they wanted search further back into beauty history and ended up finding some really cool stuff!

Dubarry foundation ad, 1930s
(image from pinterest.com)

Revlon Fire and Ice ad, 1952
(image from cosmeticsandskin.com) 

Revlon Cherries in the Snow ad, 1952
(image from katezillablog.wordpress.com)

Revlon Snow Peach ad, 1956

They had a good laugh at this commercial.

Then they were trying to figure out how to rescue the poor man trapped in the ice cube...until I explained to them it's just an ad and the man isn't really in there.  Their little pea brains didn't quite get it though.

Cutex Coral Ice ad, 1957
(image from hollyhocksandtulips.tumblr.com)

Here's DuBarry totally ripping off Revlon.

Dubarry Snowball of Fire ad, 1959(image from pinterest.com)

The '60s seriously couldn't get any frostier.

Tussy Hot Ice ad, 1964(image from pinterest.com) 

Cutex Frosted Ice ad, 1969
(image from vivavintage.tumblr.com) 

Bonne Bell ad, 1969
(image from pinterest.com)

Finally, the plushies also appreciated these snowy vintage compacts.  The black Stratton one is my favorite.

Vintage snowflake compact

Stratton snowflake compacts
(images from pinterest and etsy)

The plushies and I hope you enjoyed this little round up of wintry products.  Which of these is calling to you? 

*Just a reminder that you can also check out the holiday/winter exhibition and previous exhibitions too...apparently lots of museums are into the idea of distraction via art today, offering free admission and special programming.  Glad to know I was in step with other museums!

Curator's Corner, 1/15/2017

CC logoWelcome to the first link round up of the new year.  Enjoy.  :)

- Still obsessed with hygge...as it turns out you can incorporate this concept into your beauty routine.

- Maybelline is following in Cover Girl's progressive footsteps with their new male spokesperson.  But, as I've surmised in passing before, is marketing makeup to men really so forward-thinking or just a money grab?

- Would love to see this new perfume museum!

- Here are the latest scoops on Bobbi Brown and Pat McGrath - totally different styles but both so influential.

- Broadly covers dumpster diving for makeup (interestingly, this isn't a new practice).

- Smart hairbrushes are the new smart mirrors.

- Big thumbs up to these women.

- Loved this collection of hair product ads from the '80s and '90s

The random:

- Check out my favorite band doing some amazing covers on New Year's Eve, plus I can't wait for their live album.

- If Gudetama is my spirit mascot, Aggretsuko is my husband's.

- In '90s nostalgia, Wayne's World will be back in select theaters for its 25th anniversary, Cosmo takes a look back at the fashion from the 1999 Golden Globes, and you can also create your very own Big Kahuna burger from Pulp Fiction.

- In other pop culture news, I'm dying to see this movie.  Normally I'm not into musicals but this one centers on evil mermaids - how bad could it be?

- Must be nice to have $1 billion to build your own museum.  Sigh.

- Could you imagine picking up your prescription in this pharmacy?!

How's 2017 treating you thus far?

Back to the zodiac with Ziegfeld Girls

You might remember around this time last year I explored some great Elgin zodiac-themed compacts, along with Estée Lauder's lovely Erté zodiac compact series.  The zodiac seems quite popular as a decorative motif for compacts, since I came across yet more vintage zodiac compacts since then.  Tangentially related (obviously) to the popular Ziegfeld Follies, Ziegfeld Girl compacts made their debut in the early 1940s.  Collecting Vintage Compacts has an incredibly thorough history of the Ziegfeld Girls line so I implore you to go check it out when you have a chance.  Since my research skills are nowhere near on par with that blog's author I will just provide a brief summary of his amazing findings about these compacts.  The creator of Ziegfeld Follies, Florenz Ziegfeld, passed away in 1932; however, his enterprising widow licensed the rights to his name for use to other companies.  In the early '40s, a man named Walter Crane joined a plastics company owned by Dwight Hirsh.  These two businessmen got the idea to manufacture plastic compacts (a natural choice for material given the company's business and also because it was wartime) and somehow managed to secure the rights to the Ziegfeld name.  Crane filed a patent application for compacts in late 1943.  Several different types of Ziegfeld Girl compacts were produced prior to the zodiac series' introduction in 1946.  These were, sadly, a flash in the pan - they didn't sell well and were gone by 1947.

Now let's get to the compacts, shall we?  I found the designs to be so utterly charming - a different sort of playfulness than the Elgin ones, to be sure, but adorable nevertheless.  Like the Elgin compacts, however, these tend to be snapped up rather quickly once they pop up for sale.

I was unable to find an image of the actual compact for Aquarius, but you can see it in this ad.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact ad, February 1946

While encased in not-so-luxurious lucite, each one matches the sign's color. 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Capricorn
(image from worthpoint.com) 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Pisces
(image from ebay.com) 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Aries
(image from etsy.com)

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Taurus
(image from etsy.com) 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Gemini
(image from ebay.co.uk)

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Cancer
(image from etsy.com)

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Leo
(image from etsy.com) 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Virgo
(image from etsy.com)

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Libra
(image from ebay.com)

The one I'm most excited about, naturally, is the Scorpio one.  Not only did one of these compacts come up for sale after me keeping an eye out for many months, but it's also my sign. I couldn't believe my good luck!  You better believe I pounced as soon as I got that Ebay alert.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Scorpio

I have to say that the accompanying scorpions in depictions of the Scorpio sign creep me out a little.  I'm definitely a Scorpio personality-wise, but strictly from a design perspective I wish I were a Capricorn or Sagittarius.  Both are traditionally represented as mythical creatures - Capricorn is sort of a mermaid but with a goat head and Sagittarius is like a centaur.  Scorpions (and crustaceans for that matter - lobsters, crabs, shrimp, etc.), just look like big gross bugs to me.  :P  Oh well, I can't change my sign, right?

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Scorpio

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Scorpio

Anyway, these compacts are positively ginormous.  Here's a comparison photo with a Guerlain Météorites container so you can get a sense of the scale.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact - Scorpio

Sadly, I was also unable to find a photo of the Sagittarius compact, so I found an ad for that one as well.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact ad, May 1946

Speaking of ads, they were really cool to look at.  Just for fun here are some more.

I wish the compact I bought came with the little horoscope insert mentioned in this ad.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact ad, March 1946

Perfect for that glamorous cousin Gloria!  LOL.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact ad, November 1946

I liked this one not only since it features my sign but also because it shows all the different designs as well as an illustration of the horoscope insert.  This must have been from the official launch of the compacts, since it's from early 1946 and mentions special window displays. 

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girl compact ad, January 1946

And a sad sale ad a little over a year later.

Ziegfeld Zodiac Girls ad, April 1947
(images from newspapers.com)

Finally, a funny zodiac-related story: indicating just how obsessed I am with zodiac symbols and decor, a month or so ago I dreamed that Stila released their own zodiac palettes.  They were the same size and shape as the Look of the Month calendar palettes from 2004, and made of cardboard, but each had a Stila girl representing a zodiac sign instead of the month.  The zodiac glyphs were a continuous border around the edge of the palette.  For example, the Scorpio sign looks like a little M with a tail, so that was the border for my sign.  The Stila girls themselves were ridiculously cute...if I had any Photoshop or illustration skills I'd totally do a mockup!  I can see each design clear as crystal in my head but have no means of sharing them, sadly.  I remember being so happy at seeing Stila going back to their roots.

Anyway, did you like the Ziegfeld Zodiac Girls?  What's your sign and did you like the design for yours?

The rainbow connection: Shiseido 7 color powders centennial revival edition

While color correcting seems like a new trend, my experience as a self-taught makeup historian tells me that it probably existed decades ago.  However, I had no idea that color correcting was in effect as early as 1917, when Japanese company Shiseido introduced their "rainbow" face powders.  In honor of the 100-year anniversary of this cutting-edge beauty development, Shiseido released the 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition (that's a mouthful!), which is essentially a re-creation of the original powders using contemporary color correcting technology and ingredients.  The powders come in a gorgeous keepsake box adorned with concentric metallic rainbow lines. I am very fortunate to have such a kind and generous husband who procured this set for me for Christmas. :)

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Does anyone know what this means? 

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

I always get positively giddy over a numbered edition.  In the eyes of a collector, numbering makes the item seem really special...even if there are 9,000 of them produced!

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Centennial Revival Edition

The box design is nearly identical to the original.  Shiseido was ahead of its time back then not just for product innovation but also for packaging.  Chapter 3 of an excellent dissertation entitled "Imperial Designs:" Fashion, Cosmetics, and Cultural Identity in Japan, 1931-1943" by Rebecca Nickerson sheds light on the design process.  In 1915 Shiseido's founder, Fukuhara Arinobu, unofficially passed ownership of the company to his son, Fukuhara Shinzo, who had been traveling domestically and abroad to study art and photography for a number of years prior.  The younger Fukuhara used his passion for art and aesthetics to form an official cosmetics division for the company and in 1916, he appointed a design team consisting mostly of artist friends he had met during his travels to create sophisticated, appealing packaging for all of Shiseido's products.  The creation of such a group, focused on cohesive design and marketing, was cutting-edge for the time.  Their artistic skill proved quite effective: "The design team came up with unique packaging for the face powder.  Each of the seven colors was in its own original eight-sided, white satin box, and the lids were embossed with two concentric gold lines and Shiseido's camellia logo.  Above the logo were the words 'poudre de riz', the French term for face powder, and below it in Roman letters, 'Shiseido, Tokyo'.  The package design was simple yet sophisticated and conveyed a sense of the foreign, which was exactly what Fukuhara wanted consumers to associate with the Shiseido brand. This was Shiseido's second attempt to introduce Western face powders to Japanese consumers.  While most women could not afford or had little interest in Western face powders in 1906, by 1917 consumption was on the rise and greater numbers of women were eager to embrace this new trend in beauty culture.  The flood of modern Western culture, Hollywood films, and a general enthusiasm for 'Americanism' also increased demand for modern fashion and cosmetics.  Shiseido was one of a number of companies to introduce similar face powders around this time, and the 'Rainbow Face Powder' succeeded in making Shiseido a visible player in the cosmetics market." (p. 103).

Shiseido 7 color face powder centennial edition

I was so hesitant to try to peel off one of the seals to open the box, but I managed to do so without ripping it.

Shiseido 7 color face powder centennial edition

For comparison's sake, here are photos of the original powders and you can see more pictures of them from the Shiseido Museum here.  I think the only differences are that the new revival ones are covered in a fabric material whereas the old boxes seem to be made from cardboard (I don't think it was satin), and the camellia logo is at the top of the powder covering in the revival versions - the originals don't seem to have the logo on the inside.  I'm guessing the old ones didn't have the color-coded seals on the boxes either.

Shiseido vintage rainbow powders(image from davelackie.com)

Anyway, why were these so groundbreaking?  Well, besides the design, colored face powder didn't really exist back then.  I've mentioned this excellent paper from art historian (ahem) Gennifer Weisenfeld before, but here's another excerpt explaining why these were a breakthrough: "Tinted face powders were exceedingly rare in prewar Japan and Shiseido pioneered them early on with a series of colors under the brand name Poudre de Riz. The female entertainers (geisha) who worked in nearby Shinbashi and who were loyal Shiseido customers particularly liked the green and purple powder colors because they were thought to flatter the complexion under electric lighting."  Not only did these powders have color correcting ability in less than ideal lighting conditions, Shiseido maintains they were a way for women to "match their face powder shade to their attire."  This was in keeping with the shift towards more Western styles and a desire for more natural looking makeup.  "Gradually, as Japanese cosmetic practices changed over time and moved toward a greater naturalism, the traditional thick white cosmetic foundation (o-shiroi) ceased to be used for daily wear." Finally, the rainbow powders, quite simply, were among the first steps in customized makeup that encompassed a much wider range of colors than were available previously.  This in turn allowed Shiseido to reach a significantly greater portion of the cosmetics market, since the colors could be mixed to suit one's skin tone. Says Jessica Guerra, author of "Consumerism, Commodification and Beauty: Shiseido and the Rise of Japanese Beauty Culture" (another fantastic scholarly piece!), "Through different combinations of the seven provided colors, consumers could create their own shades and color palettes. Understandably, this would mean increased international appeal and marketability as racially diverse consumers could purchase Seven Colors Face Powder and create their own personalized shades based on preference." (p. 29).  Indeed, even today Shiseido touts the customization ability of the revival powders, noting that they also give one "the freedom to experiment and create the most beautiful finish for your skin."

Shiseido hadn't completely abandoned the idea of reviving their rainbow powders until now.  I couldn't read this whole article because it's behind a paywall (thanks, jerks), but apparently in late 2001 the company released a rainbow powder available only to their Camellia Club members:  "Shiseido has resurrected a face powder-Rainbow Face Powder-that debuted in 1917 but in a way geared to the woman of the 21st century. The debut product featured seven colors-white, yellow, flesh, rose, peony, green, and purple-instead of the typical white to offer women the shade that best enhanced their facial features and to create an appearance more suited to the increasingly popular Western-style fashions. Renamed La Poudre Ruisselant, the face powder is sold in specially designed container with lids shaped like a camellia blossom-the symbol of Shiseido."  I tried my darndest to find a photo of this "specially designed container" but only turned up a picture of the refill.

Shiseido Poudre Ruisselante refill
(image from honoaka-japan.jimdo.com)

While I couldn't find a photo, I do think it's interesting to note that Shiseido tried revamping their rainbow powders previously.  Maybe in 2001 the makeup world at large wasn't yet receptive to color correcting and that's why Shiseido offered the Ruisselante powder to only a handful of consumers.  But as color correcting has been all the rage for the past couple of years, now is a great time to re-introduce these to the public, not to mention the fact that it syncs perfectly with the 100th anniversary of the products' debut.  I love how they updated the packaging too - very similar to the original but just enough details to make it modern and special enough to commemorate the anniversary.  I'm still drooling over the shiny rainbow on the box, and the numbering...well, that's like collector's catnip. 

What do you think of this set?  Do you color correct at all?  I do but with liquid or cream concealer rather than powder. :)



What's in store for 2017

Part of my duties as a Makeup Museum curator is keeping track of the seemingly hundreds of trends that pop up throughout a given year.  I do sort of track them via Curator's Corner and prefer to do an end-of-year roundup, but I just didn't have it in me for 2016.  Instead, I'm going to play psychic and attempt to predict what's ahead for 2017, or at least what I want to see this year.  I'm hopeful that parody videos are the death knell for contouring, but unfortunately I think my other least favorite trends that were all the rage in 2016 - liquid lipstick and "athleisure" makeup - will be continued throughout 2017.  Because I'm immensely sick of those already, I'm only going to explore the continuing trends I'm actually looking forward to.  ;)

1.  We haven't seen the last of weird lip colors. 

A ton of odd lip colors arrived in 2016, most of which I purchased (and got brave enough to wear in public!)  I don't want to spend too much time reporting on the unconventional lip color trend since I've already covered it and plan to provide an update to my original post in the next few months, but I will say that strange colors are still going strong.  I just hope they're not only in liquid lipstick form, as we're seeing from Kat Von D and Urban Decay.

Urban Decay liquid lipstick
(image from @urbandecay)

2.  2016 = year of the cushion compact; 2017 = year of the primer.

It seemed like every makeup company released a cushion product of some kind last year.  This year primers are the must-get-to-market item.  Primers have been coming and going for years, but 2017 seems to be a whole new era of this humble necessity.  Urban Decay and NARS are both revamping their primer lineup, while Becca and Dior are both releasing new primers as part of their spring collections.  Smashbox is also coming out with new eye primers.

NARS primers
(image from chicprofile.com)

3. Glitter and rainbows will stick around.

Glitter seemingly covered everything in 2016, from jeans and sneakers to grout. (Um, I think I need to re-grout my bathroom, stat.)  But where it really shined was the beauty sphere, where we saw it on eyeshair, and, thanks to the genius of Pat McGrath's Lust 004 kits, the lips.  It even covered the whole face, which you could apply with glittery makeup brushes.  Guessing from Stila's spring 2017 liquid glitter shadows and Jerrod Blandino of Too-Faced dropping hints about a glitter liner, I don't think this trend is going anywhere soon.

Stila Magnificent Metals spring 2017
(image from musingsofamuse.com)

Rainbows also colored our world in 2016, (so many rainbow highlighters!) along with their iridescent and holographic cousins.  So far the trend seems to be continuing with Shiseido's new rainbow face powders (which are actually 100 years old - more about that in an upcoming post), NYX's duo-chrome highlighters and yet another rainbow highlighter.

Shiseido 7 Color Powders Revival Centennial Edition
(image from shiseido.com)

4. Along those lines, mermaids are the new unicorns.

While mermaid blankets, news of the Splash remake and several companies' mermaid-inspired eye shadows all somewhat bolstered support for these magical creatures in 2016, the year primarily belonged to unicorns.  Not one but two companies introduced lip colors named Unicorn Tears, while unicorn brushes and the not-so-appealingly-named Unicorn Snot glitter gel also helped carry the trend (along with the holographic/iridescent/glitter trend), not to mention unicorn horns and eyeliner.  There was even a unicorn cafe (it's not clear whether they served unicorn hot chocolate.) But I'm predicting - okay, I just REALLY want it to happen - that mermaid beauty will take center stage in 2017.  If these brushes are any indication, mermaids will finally have their day in the beauty sun.  Ironically, the company responsible for these is named Unicorn Lashes - obviously the same one that released the aforementioned unicorn brushes.

Mermaid brushes
(image from popsugar.com)

There's also the rainbow highlighter I mentioned above, which for once is named Mermaid and not Unicorn something-or-other.  :)

Lottie London Mermaid highlighter(image from @mylottielondon)

What do you think of these?  Any other predictions?