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August 2018

Finnish fabulousness: Clinique x Marimekko

"There must be freedom of movement.  If one feels like running, there must be freedom to run; if sitting, there must be freedom to sit."  - Annika Rimala

This collection was released way back in early spring, but I kept putting off writing about it because the thought of trying to condense the entire history of iconic Finnish design house Marimekko made me want to cry.  Fortunately, I no longer feel that obligation since Clinique mercifully chose patterns that were the work of a single Marimekko designer:  Annika Rimala (1936-2014).  So I will be focusing just on Rimala and the 10 designs that were selected for the Clinique collection.  While I still felt the urge to educate myself a little further beyond what I could find online, hence the purchase of two books on Marimekko, I won't be attempting to rehash their nearly 70-year history and aesthetic.  Suffice it to say that Marimekko's output is beloved the world over, having been celebrated in numerous museum exhibitions and appearing in countless collaborations with other brands.  It can also conceivably be recognized as the world's first lifestyle brand.

Clinique x Marimekko

I'm still not sure why Clinique decided to team up with Marimekko. The rather generic and bland quotes in the press release didn't shed any light either.  "'Marimekko was created to bring colour and happiness into people's everyday lives. Sharing the same joyful approach to life, we're thrilled to partner with Clinique to offer something surprising and exciting to customers around the world,' says Päivi Paltola, Marimekko's Chief Marketing Officer.  'This collection captures the quintessential modern aesthetic of Marimekko and the bright vibrancy of Clinique to inspire and empower women by bringing the joy of possibilities to her every day,' says Jane Lauder, Clinique Global Brand President.  'The prints chosen for the collection represent some of the most recognizable and celebrated Marimekko designs of all time. They capture the craftsmanship behind Marimekko's art of print making: utilizing overlays of colour and surprising colour combinations to create impactful designs,' says Minna Kemell-Kutvonen who is in charge of Marimekko's print design."  I couldn't find any concrete reason for their partnership (why Clinique?  Why Rimala?  Why now?) but I was still delighted to see the work of such a legendary design house on makeup packaging.  And while it's not the first time Marimekko has appeared on cosmetics (see Avon's 2008 collection), I thought it was very nicely done.

Let's meet Annika Rimala and her designs, shall we?  Rimala originally studied graphic design at the Institute of Industrial Arts in Helsinki.  In 1959, upon a recommendation from a neighbor who worked at Marimekko, Rimala applied for a job with the company and worked in their children's clothing store Muksula.  Just a year later she became one of their chief fashion designers, a role she held until 1982 when she left to start her own business.

Annika Rimala
(image from marimekko)

Rimala not only played a pioneering role in establishing the company in their early years as a global purveyor of timeless, versatile prints, but also helped put Marimekko on the map as a leading fashion house.  Rimala carefully ensured her prints worked in a variety of scales while also finding her own individual voice as a designer.  As the biography in Marimekko: Fabrics, Fashion and Architecture states: "According to Rimala herself it was difficult at first to find her own direction, because [previous Marimekko designer] Vuokko Nurmesniemi's influence was so strong, even after her departure in 1960...Rimala's first fabrics were small-patterned and 'quiet,' but as she grew more confident she increased the scale and chose stronger colors.  The first collection was followed by a series of lively designs, whose colors and forms were inspired by the era's youth culture...whether the patterns were free-form, checked, or striped, an essential feature of Rimala's clothes was variation in scale...her working method began by testing the practicality of a pattern in black and white.  Color was added only when she was certain that the pattern and dress form were compatible.  It was important that they form a structural whole" (p. 299).  What I found most interesting about Rimala's style is its egalitarian (dare I say feminist?) bend, i.e. it was designed for women's freedom both intellectually and physically, which aligned with Marimekko's vision at the time.  "From its inception Marimekko had provided clothes for independent, educated women who kept a watchful eye on the mood of the times, irrespective of age.  The Marimekko woman liked to be portrayed as an academic and an independent professional.  Marimekko offered clothes that were different.  Even if these designs were sold in large numbers, the women who wore Marimekko believed they were asserting their own sense of independence...[In the late '60s] Rimala increased the volume of the dresses, favoring spaciousness and comfort, especially at the sleeves and shoulders.  Rimala began the debate on fashion versus function, or ergonomic design in clothing, which intensified at the end of the decade.  In her view clothes needed to be designed so that it was possible to move freely in them - to run, jump and sit," notes Ritta Anttikoski in Fabrics, Fashion and Architecture (p. 97-99).*

Here are the 10 patterns that were selected for the Clinique collection, in rough chronological order.  I tried to find both vintage and contemporary examples of these prints.  Again, you'll see how well they work in the '60s as well as today and in a variety of mediums. 

First up is the Tarha (garden) pattern from 1963.

Clinique x Marimekko Tarha pattern

Vintage Marimekko dress, Tarha pattern

Marimekko - Tarha designs
(images from rubylane, finnstyle and finnishdesign)

Next up is Hedelmäkori (fruit basket) from 1964.

Clinique x Marimekko - Hedelmakori pattern

Marimekko Hedelmakori print dress, 1976

Marimekko - Hedelmakori pattern(images from wear.jp)

Here's Kukka (flower) from 1965.

Clinique x Marimekko - Kukka pattern

Marimekko - Kukka pattern
(images from wear.jp and global.rakuten.com)

As the Marimekko website points out, Rimala's graphic design training is especially apparent in the Laine (wave) print from 1965. 

Clinique x Marimekko Laine pattern

Marimekko dresses, Laine print(images from finnstyle.com and amazon.co.jp)

The Pikku Suomu (small fish scale) from 1965 worked equally well as the larger version (Isu Suomu).

Clinique x Marimekko Pikku Suomu pattern

Marimekko - Iso Suomu jumpsuit, 1967(image from makedesignedobjects.com)

This contemporary dress and bag prove that while silhouettes might have changed, the print holds up beautifully after over 50 years.

Marimekko - Pikku Suomu print dress

Marimekko Iso Suomu print
(images from pinterest and sokos.fi)

I honestly thought these next two, Petrooli (paraffin/oil) and Klaava (tails) were the same, but I was wrong.  Petrooli debuted in 1963, while Klaava was introduced in 1967.

Clinique x Marimekko Petrooli and Klaava patterns

Marimekko - Petrooli print dress, 1963
(image from pinterest)

Marimekko Petrooli print(images from wear.jp and sumally.com)

If I'm not mistaken it appears the Klaava print is a blown-up version of Petrooli. 

Marimekko Klaava print dress, ca. late 1960s
 (image from auctions.roseberys.co.uk) 

Marimekko - Klaava print dresses
(images from marimekko and wear.jp)

A trip to Mexico inspired the Papajo (papaya) pattern, which Rimala designed in 1968.  "Carvings found in Maya temples gave her the idea for the Papajo pattern."

Clinique x Marimekko Papajo pattern

Marimekko - Papajo print dresses

Marimekko Papajo print dress

Marimekko Papajo accessories
(images from finnstyle.com and global.rakuten.com)

Now for the two patterns I neglected to buy, not originally realizing that there were 10 distinct patterns.  Whoops.  Here's Keidas (Oasis) from 1967.

Clinique x Marimekko, Keidas pattern
(images from clinique)

Marimekko Keidas print dresses, 1967

Marimekko - Keidas prints, 2016
(image from marimekko)

I swear the Puketti (bouquet) print from 1965 didn't make it onto any of the Clinique products except for the bags in this Macy's gift with purchase.

Clinique x Marimekko GWP
(image from 247moms.com)

Marimekko Puketti print dress, 1964

Marimekko Puketti print dress
(image from wear.jp)

Marimekko Puketti print accessories
(images from cloudberryliving.co.uk and cms.whiterabbitexpress.com)

On the one hand, I'm glad Clinique limited their pattern choices to ten.  This was an appropriate number to get a good sense of Rimala's work without the collection getting too huge.  On the other hand, Rimala had so many amazing designs, it's a shame more weren't chosen.  For example, the Tasaraita (even stripe) pattern, which she introduced in 1968, is one of her best-known and represented a completely new and unique way of thinking about fashion so I'm still scratching my head as to why it didn't make the cut. "In the late 1960s Rimala began to take an increased interest in design for everyday life.  The denim streetwear that had become common led her to conceive a product that would suit anyone, regardless of age, sex, or size, that would be timeless, and that could be worn anywhere and at any time.  In addition, its price would be modest. The result, Rimala's Tasaraita (even stripe) cotton jersey, became one of Marimekko's widely sold products." (Marimekko:  Fabrics, Fashion and Architecture, p. 299).

Marimekko Tasaraita pattern, ca. 1969
(image from mtv.fi)

Marimekko Tasaraita pattern
(images from finnstyle.com)

In any case, while I love the work of other Marimekko designers, I have to concede it was a smart move on Clinique and Marimekko's part to select just one designer.  There's no way each one could be well-represented given their prolific work throughout the years - how could you possibly narrow it down to just 1-2 patterns from each?  

Overall I was pretty impressed with this collection.  I would have liked to see a more elegant version of Avon's embossed Marimekko powders using Rimala's designs, but putting the prints the lipstick and gloss packaging worked well.  As we've seen, it's virtually impossible to make Rimala's patterns look bad, as they were specifically designed to be adapted for any size and medium.  And of course I'd like to know why they chose Rimala out of all the other Marimekko designers and why this collaboration was happening now, but I guess I can't be too picky.  :)

What do you think of this collection?  Which is your favorite print?  I adored all but I think Laine is my favorite. 


*Catering to an "educated" customer sounds remarkably classist, so Marimekko made sure to update this in their book In Patterns (p.11): "Long before the term target group even existed, the company oriented its products to a certain group - intelligent and well-educated women.  And what woman wouldn't want to count herself among those who are visible, strong, and influential, those who point the way.  Nowadays at Marimekko we no longer think about the customer's level of education but rather about her character."  While I believe this is merely lip service delivered by the marketing department, at least Marimekko recognizes that their old way of thinking about their desired demographic isn't acceptable now.

Sunday funday: Holika Holika x Peko

As with Gudetama, I wasn't sure what I was looking at when I first laid eyes on Holika Holika's collection featuring a character named Peko, but was definitely intrigued.  Japan is known for its adorable mascots and this little gal is one of the earliest ones.  Peko-chan, as she's affectionately known around the world, is the official mascot for Milky, a chewy, sweetened milk-flavored candy introduced by the Fujiya company in 1951. Naturally I had to try it for myself...plus I figured the candies would be good for photos.  :)

Milky candy

Fujiya's fascinating history goes even further back, having been established in 1910, but obviously it's Peko I want to focus on.  I limited myself to 3 items from the enormous Holika Holika collection.  I love Peko's little pigtails and slightly stuck-out tongue, and her cheeks remind me of those from the Utz girl.  (I'm not the only one who sees the similarity in these two mascots).

There is a foundation cushion compact inside this milk container, but obviously I couldn't bring myself to open it.

Hollika Hollika Peko

Hollika Hollika Peko blush

Hollika Hollika Peko hand cream

Who is Peko, exactly?  There wasn't a definitive history that I could find, but this brief article states that Peko is an eternally 6 year old girl who was born in the "land of dreams somewhere on earth" in 1950.  She stands at 100cm (about 39 inches, so just over 3 feet tall) and weighs 15kg (33 lbs - obviously neither measurement is meant to represent your average 6 year old).  Her hobbies include baseball and pogo stick jumping, called "hopping" in Japanese, and her favorite animals are puppies. Her name is inspired by "beko", the northern Japanese dialect for "cow".   In 1951 her boyfriend Poko was born, who is also forever a child, just a year older than Peko.  Poko comes from the word for "boy" ("boko").  (I bought the hand cream especially for Poko.) Both characters were originally introduced as papier-mache dolls, but proved so popular that they expanded into all sorts of materials as well as outfits and costumes.

Peko and Poko papier mache dolls
(image from fujiya-peko.co.jp)

Peko chan evolution
(image from j-subculture.com)

Peko Milky ad, 1962(image from pinterest)

Peko Milky ad, 1969
(image from flickr)

Peko chan figurine, 1960s
(image from amazon)

Superman Peko chan, 1960s
(image from yahoo.aleado.com)

Peko figurines
(image from hisaek.wordpress.com)

From the candy's earliest days, Peko and Poko statues were almost always found outside Fujiya stores, sporting a variety of outfits depending on the season or in honor of special holidays. This tradition continues today (and, sadly, these figures are stolen quite frequently). 

Peko and Poko statues, 1950s
(image from flickr)

Poko statue, 1950s
(image from patrickmacias.blogs.com) 

Peko and Poko statues, 1960s
(image from meijishowa.com) 

Here are some more modern examples.

Peko statues(image from tokyotimes.com)

Peko statues
(images from ameblo.jp and jpvisitor.com)

Peko statues(images from flickr and ameblo.jp)

Peko statues(images from ameblo.jp and flickr)

Of course I found the mermaid version!

Peko mermaid statue
(image from kikilalacafe.blog.com)

In 1961, American designer Raymond Loewy re-designed the Fujiya logo, and during that decade Peko occasionally sported the new design on her overalls.

Peko figurine, 1960s(image from flickr)

Somewhere along the line, in an effort to make sure the character was recognizable despite all her different outfits, Fujiya created a set of rules for company designers to follow.  According to this blog:  "To standardize the look of Peko, the company created a rulebook on Peko, regulating facial expressions and poses of Peko. The rulebook is considered an important secret document of the company."  So while Peko has a seemingly infinite wardrobe and continues to evolve ever so slightly, you can always tell it's her. 

I love these mini figurines, they remind me of the ones I had as a child.  (I'm dating myself here but does anyone remember Charmkins and Strawberry Shortcake figurines?  They were both scented, incidentally...my obsession with things that shouldn't necessary have fragrance obviously began at a young age.)  If I were a kid now I'd set out to collect each and every one.

Peko figurines
(image from aliexpress.com)

In 1995, Fujiya introduced "Dog" to join Peko and Poko.  I'm not quite sure what the point of this rather unimaginative character is.  Reminds me a bit of the addition of Poochie to Itchy and Scratchy in The Simpsons.

Peko Dog
(image from play-asia.com)

Anyway, like Gudetama, Peko-chan is the star of a staggering amount of merchandise.  You can find just about anything - from phone cases and pens to socks and poker chips - featuring Peko-chan.  There are also the wildly popular Nendoroid and Bearbrick figurines.

Peko Nendoroid
(image from hype.tokyo)

Peko Bearbrick
(image from bearbrick.com)

I'm particularly fond of the crossovers with other Japanese characters like Monchhchi and, of course, Gudetama.

Peko Monchhichi Bearbrick
(image from gacha-hobbies.com)

Peko x Gudetama
(image from jpinfo.com)

It's not surprising how much merch Peko appears on, given that she's as widely recognized in Japan as Ronald McDonald is in the U.S.  There was even a whole pop-up museum devoted to the character in late 2010 to celebrate her 50th anniversary.

Peko pop-up museum
(image from gettyimages.co.uk)

Peko pop-up museum

Peko pop-up museum
(images from kn-mydays.blogspot.com)

However, some claim there is a rather dark side to this seemingly harmless character.  Apparently there's an urban legend that's circulated for years claiming that Fujiya based Peko on a real-life child...who was also a cannibal.  Those cute little dots on Peko's cheeks?  They're not the innocent blush of childhood but her mother's blood.  As the story goes, during WWII there was a massive food shortage in Japan, and a mother and young daughter living in a small village (the father was off fighting the war) were literally starving.  The selfless mother cuts off a piece of flesh from her arm to feed her little girl.  And then:  "When Peko took her first bite of human flesh, she was amazed of how sweet the flesh tasted. She proceeded to kill her mother and eat her entire body. Peko continued her life as a cannibal.  They say that the reason why her tongue is always out is because she's licking her mother's blood off her cheeks. The name of the candy is 'Milky', but when you rearrange the sounds, it becomes 'Kill Me', which were her mother's final words. That's why the slogan of the company, when translated from Japanese is, 'Milky tastes like Mama'".  Um, that's pretty disturbing.  Unfortunately Poko is also part of this very macabre tale.  "After devouring her mother, Peko-chan was still hungry. She attacked Poko, breaking open his skull in order to eat his brain. Poco was in such pain that he committed suicide by biting off his own tongue and swallowing it.  They say that the reason why Poco-chan never has his tongue out in the pictures is because he doesn't have one, and the reason why he always wears a blue hat is to hide his broken skull and exposed brain." Yikes. 

Hollika Hollika Peko

In looking at this collection again, I think I'm going to put the Holika Holika stuff in our off-site storage space because right now I'm a little freaked out and kind of don't want it in the house.  I don't really believe this story is the basis for Fujiya's Milky mascots - I maintain they were meant to be totally innocuous and cute characters for children, and the gruesome tale is just one of those stupid fake stories from the internet's nascent days - but it's creepy nevertheless, especially when some of the early versions of Peko and Poko were downright terrifying.  I'm wondering if, over the years, Fujiya made a deliberate attempt to show Poko without his hat to defuse these rumors.

Poko lollipops
(image from tofucute.com)

Peko and Poko
(image from rakuten.com)

Poko x Hello Kitty
(image from press.ikidane-nippon.com)

Anyway, scary urban legends aside, I'm pleased to see such a well-loved mascot on a makeup collection.  As with Gudetama, I'm still scratching my head as to why a Korean brand is presenting this collaboration rather than a Japanese company, but I guess it's good there's a makeup representation at all.  I just wish there were more versions of Peko as there were with the Gudetama collection.  While the Peko collection was huge, it didn't reflect many variations of the character.  I would have loved to see (non-creepy) vintage iterations or a depiction of Peko and Poko playing with makeup.  It's basically the exact same packaging as the candy, which is cute, but they could have done a little more.  Then again, I might have ended up buying almost all of it the way I did with Gudetama, which is not great for the Museum's budget.

What do you think of Peko?  Had you heard of her before?  And do you think she's really a ravenous cannibal? 

MM 10-year anniversary giveaway WINNER!

Huge thanks to everyone who took the time to enter the Museum's 10-year anniversary giveaway!  I was so happy to have so many entries from all over the world.  I really loved seeing all your comments too, but Typepad's commenting system is trash (I really need to install Disqus) and I was overwhelmed trying to reply to everyone.  So I apologize for not getting back to you, but rest assured each and every comment was read and very much appreciated. 

Now onto the winner!  Museum interns Origins Babo and Babo Bear volunteered to do the honors. 



Woohoo!  I'm so excited for you to get your stuff! 

Uh-oh, here we go again. 

MM staff

"Oooh, little pink sparkly cookies!"  "And look, pink champagne jelly to spread on top of them!  Yummy!" 

MM staff

Sigh.  Since I've come to anticipate staff eating the giveaway prize I kept a close eye and managed to pry out the goodies from those little teeth before they could damage them.  So don't worry, your items are still in pristine condition! 

Thank you again to everyone who entered.  If you didn't win, don't despair - I remembered how fun giveaways are so I will plan on allotting some of the Museum's budget for more of them!  They probably won't be big 10-item ones like this, but I think smaller ones are nice too.  If it's free, it's all good. ;)  And please let me know in the comments what sort of items/brands you want to see in future giveaways. 



Tiny Makeup as Muse: lipstick sculptures, continued

I'm roughly three years overdue with this installment of Makeup as Muse, but it's a summer Friday so I'm throwing caution to the wind and posting about these amazing micro sculptures by British artist Hedley Wiggan.  Unlike fellow lipstick sculptors May Sum and Theresa Nakhoul, Wiggan isn't really involved in the cosmetics industry, but can carve basically any material that's thrown at him. In 2015 he was commissioned by Heathrow Airport to replicate five iconic buildings from the world's major cities to celebrate Heathrow's first lipstick trend report.  According to HuffPo: "Thanks to its in-terminal retail shops, London Heathrow Airport boasts the largest range of beauty lines in Europe under one roof. The airport released a “Lipstick Colours Of The Year” report, using global sales data to determine the preferred shade of cities all over the world, like New York (classic red), Dubai (rose pink), and more. The report also provides tips to master the perfect lip and a brief history of lipstick."  Wiggan reproduced Dubai's Burj Khalifa, London's Big Ben, NYC's Statue of Liberty, Paris's Eiffel Tower, and Shanghai's Tower. 

Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculptures

I'm astonished at the detail on these.  Carving anything this size is obviously challenging, but lipstick is a totally different animal from other materials given their softer texture.  Says Wiggan, "[The process] was really difficult.  Lipstick is a different material altogether. I had to stick them in the fridge and had 10 minutes sculpting time.  I got some cheaper ones to practise on and I could tell the difference between cheap and expensive lipsticks."  Another reason to treat yourself to high-end lipstick!  I wonder how Pat McGrath's or Chanel's lipsticks would perform as sculptures.  :)

Hedley Wiggan - Burj Khalifa lipstick
(images from hedleywiggan.co.uk)

Here's a pic to give you a better sense of the scale:

Model with Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculpture(image from thisiscow.com)

I also loved how the sculptures were displayed.  I think Heathrow did a nice job showing them in individual cases and putting photos of the actual buildings below.

Hedley Wiggan lipstick sculpture installation(image from themoodieblog)

The display also featured a much larger (2-story high!) lipstick sculpture of the Statue of Liberty.

Lipstick sculpture(image from heathrow.com)

I'm so glad there's a video showing how he works.  It's amazing to watch.

So who is Hedley Wiggan and how did he get into art?  His initial experience is somewhat heartbreaking:  "At age 8 he entered an art competition, hand drawing a Tyrannosaurus Rex with just a graphite pencil, poster paper and a small stamp of the dinosaur to use as a model. A box of chocolate was the prize. The motivation for Hedley was to present the chocolate to a girl in his class for whom he had a deep affection. Hedley dreamed of winning her heart.  His confidence was quickly shattered when his teacher, who was the judge of the competition, immediately disqualified him in disbelief. He said, “You must have cheated and traced this entry.” If only the judge had known that Hedley had been drawing assignments for his friends in class.  Disheartened by this undeserved outcome, Hedley did not pick up a paintbrush and draw again until age 40 when he broke a pencil and noticed it looked like a hand."  In 2012 Wiggan attempted his first carving of an Olympic torch in honor of the London games, which required working around the clock for a full month while also managing his day job as a hospital technician.  His professional medical background came in handy:  "I tried at first with a scalpel but it was too big for the lead so I started using pins and needles and basically anything small enough that I could get my hands on," he says.  (He now uses his own hand-made tools to achieve the necessary precision, as well as a microscope.)  

Hedley Wiggan - Olympic torch

Wiggan wasn't met with much success at first.  "When I tell people what I do, they don't take me seriously, they look at me and think I am talking rubbish," Wiggan noted.  But with the tutelage of his older brother, who also creates micro sculptures, as well as his own hard work and determination, a mere 3 years later he had landed the Heathrow commission and received global attention after making a sculpture of One Direction's Harry Styles.  That same year he also had his own exhibition in Paris.

Hedley Wiggan - Harry Styles lipstick sculpture
(image from theboltonnews.co.uk)

While Wiggan doesn't consider himself strictly a "micro sculptor" - he also paints - his miniature sculptures are probably what he's best known for.  In addition to lipstick, pencil tips and tiny glass jars serve as the foundation for these mini masterpieces. Wiggan cites Dali, Manet and Da Vinci as his favorite artists and draws on a variety of subject matter, from celebrities and fictional superheroes to historical figures and mythical beings. 

Hedley Wiggan superheroes pencil sculptures

Hedley Wiggan - Prince guitar

Hedley Wiggan - Shakespeare and Dickens


Hedley Wiggan - fairy sculpture(images from hedleywiggan.co.uk)

I adore the lipstick sculptures, but my inner mermaid is enamored of Wiggan's shark teeth sculptures that were commissioned by London's Sea Life Aquarium in 2015.  The display was meant to attract visitors and increase awarness for ocean conservation.   Says Wiggan, "I was very excited […] at the chance to work on such a great project as it was for a great cause, and I also love all marine creatures.  I hope that the sculptures will educate visitors to the Sea Life center and teach them the real beauty that surrounds us all.  We [must] treat all creatures with the respect they so rightly deserve.”

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture

Hedley Wiggan - shark tooth sculpture(images from divephotoguide.com)

However painstaking these are to make, Wiggan finds that the enormous amount of concentration required is akin to meditation; he genuinely enjoys creating his art and is pleased that people are enjoying it in turn, even though he's not sure exactly what they find so appealing about it. "I feel like art chose me. I find it so relaxing and it makes you more aware of things. You just take so much in...I feel really blessed that people like my work.  I think my art has tapped in to something — I am not sure what that is, but it is going well."  I just wish he'd get back to lipsticks...I wonder how much it would cost to have a mermaid lipstick sculpture!

What do you think?  Which of these is your favorite?


Makeup Museum 10-year anniversary giveaway!

10 years

Ten years ago today I wrote my first blog post.  While I haven't accomplished anything in the past decade and toyed with the idea of discontinuing the blog earlier this year, obviously I chose to keep going.  Well, "chose" may not be totally accurate - I just realized that I would be lost without my identity as a makeup blogger/makeup museum curator and couldn't figure out a way to officially make a clean break and say goodbye, so I'm continuing to muddle through.  I'll be doing a 10-year anniversary exhibition with more thoughts on blogging and the Museum later this year, but for now, I want to celebrate my loyal readers - all 2 of you - with a chance to win a 10-piece giveaway!  I feel quite ashamed I haven't done a giveaway since 2015, so I hope having 10 items makes up for the lack of free goodies over the past couple years.

Makeup Museum 10 year anniversary giveaway

One lucky winner will receive the following:

  1. Pat McGrath Lust 004 Lip Kit in Bloodwine
  2. Urban Decay Heavy Metals palette
  3. Chanel Lumieres de Kyoto
  4. Rodin Olio Lusso Mermaid Illuminating Powder
  5. Vaseline Lip Bubbly
  6. An adorable notebook by beauty illustrator/editor ByMinoue
  7. Republic Nail Frida Kahlo lipstick in Maravilla
  8. Republic Nail Frida Kahlo lipstick in Clavel
  9. Chantecaille Les Paillettes
  10. NARS Andy Warhol Flower Palette no. 1  (I know I gave this away before, but I came across yet another extra I had and given that's one of my all-time favorite collections I thought it would be perfect to include.)

And of course, a choice of samples...or all of the ones I currently have on hand, whatever you'd like.  :) 

There are lots of ways to enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.  Please note that for all of the Instagram entry options, you must be following me there for them to count.  Yes, it's open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be announced next Tuesday, August 14th.  Good luck and thank you!  
















Curator's Corner, July 2018

CC logoHere's the monthly rewind for July 2018. 

- Allure had an interesting history of Armenia's beauty industry, while Racked has yet another piece on makeup for incarcerated women.

- Lots of somewhat unsurprising industry news but still worth a mention:  fast beauty suffers the same problems as fast fashion; Sephora continues to dominate sales even in more niche categories once cornered by smaller, indie brands; and if companies won't stop animal testing for the animals' sake, they should at least do it to meet consumer demand.  Finally, congrats are in order for Mother, whose company's value has surpassed that of "self-made" (LOL, nope) billionaire Kylie Jenner.

- Despite this report, I highly doubt mascara is going anywhere...especially for those of us who don't have the time/money to regularly splurge on lash extensions or tinting.  This sort of privilege goes hand in hand with the no-makeup trend.  Who needs foundation when your skin is flawless from expensive dermatological treatments?

- On the manicure front, '80s-inspired jelly nails are, like, totally rad.  And if your mom won't let you have press-ons, you can DIY them with clay like this 10 year old.

The random:

- Doesn't get any more '90s than 311 and the Offspring covering each other's songs, or explaining all the lyrics to Barenaked Ladies' 1998 irritating but admittedly catchy hit "One Week".  Plus, make way for a Spice Girls exhibition.

- Ooh, here's another fun way for me to pretend to be a curator besides blogging. 

- If we ever find a house, I will definitely be using this wallpaper in some capacity.

- Bawling.

- As for my summer vacation, unfortunately my annual 3-day trip to the Jersey Shore got rained out so I missed having any beach time, but I did have fun hanging with my parents at their house.  The plushies were very content as my dad always fully stocks cookies and other sweets.

Dessert feast!

Polishing off some brookies and brownies

How did July treat you? 


Oodles of doodles: Burberry spring/summer 2018

While I'm not Burberry's biggest fan at the moment, I did want to share their spring/summer 2018 blush (leftover inventory of which I'm hoping doesn't go up in flames).  As with previous releases the design is a makeup version of one of Burberry's seasonal pieces.  In this case, the blush borrows one of the patterns from the Doodle collection, an illustration-based lineup created by British artist/director Danny Sangra.  I like that they chose the artist collaboration from their spring collection rather than blindly using an in-house design.  Lovely though they can be, using the work of an outside artist is a nice change of pace. 

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush

Burberry Doodle blush detail

Burberry Doodle blush detail

The particular "doodle" on the palette appeared on this trench coat and sweatshirt.  It may have been on other pieces but I didn't spot any.

Burberry Doodle trench coat
(image from bergdorfgoodman)

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from farfetch.com)

As usual, I felt the need to show the exact part of the pattern used.  I believe the eye on the right was moved down from where it was in the original pattern so as to fill some blank space.  It's an incredibly strange design that looks almost surreal or psychedelic to my eye.  Between the hand that appears to have a pinky finger with teeth, the square made up of tiny x's, the arrow shapes and the words "oh" and "England", there's some weird stuff going on here.  However, that's par for the course with this artist.

Burberry Doodle palette detail

So as not to leave you in the dark about the style of the artist who created this very odd pattern, let's take a peek at Danny Sangra's illustrations and his collaboration with Burberry.  I have to give them credit for seeking out a young, fresh artist who was able to infuse this venerable brand with a little cheekiness.  Sangra, who studied graphic design at London's prestigious Central St. Martin's, has been drawing approximately since he was 8 years old, when he took a tumble off a chair at his mother's hair salon.  "I was a little shaken so to calm me down, my mum’s assistant got me to draw some cartoons. That is literally the day I started to draw with enthusiasm," he says.  Most of his images consist of vintage magazine pages covered in offbeat phrases and words - sometimes surreal, sometimes hilarious (or both), but always visually compelling.  They remind me a little of drawing in your junior high textbook or passing funny notes during class; there's something a bit juvenile about marking up these images that makes me giggle.

Danny Sangra

Danny Sangra

I cracked up at this one, since it reminded me of the time I left a magazine out on the kitchen counter only to come home and find that my husband had blacked out the cover girl's teeth and gave her a mustache.  I can't for the life of me remember who it was (maybe Katy Perry), but it was just one of those moments that made me hysterical laughing.  Nothing like coming home from work and being unexpectedly confronted with a graffitied magazine.  (I asked him why he did it and he said he was just bored and thought it would be funny.  Fair enough.)

Danny Sangra

Scribbling random words and images in fashion magazines may have gotten Sangra in trouble with his parents when he was a kid, but proved to be worthwhile long-term:  in the summer of 2017, his "doodles" caught the attention of Burberry, who gave Sangra free reign to re-imagine some of their campaign images from their archives with his signature humorous style in a project called "Now Then".  Phrases are scattered across the photos in an almost stream-of-consciousness manner, infused with British silliness that doesn't fall into stereotypical traps.  He explains, "I tend to play with colloquialisms, surreal thoughts and kitchen sink-esque observations...it feels like a very British commentary.  [T]ypically, I write things that need to be deciphered. However, for the Burberry project, from the beginning it was meant to be very British – but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just 'Big Ben’ and ’London Bus' British! I was born in Yorkshire, but have lived in London almost half my life; I wanted a lot of colloquialisms which I knew would bring a humour to the project." 

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This one was my favorite.  "I'll put the kettle on." 

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The advertising project led to more work with Burberry - an augmented reality app*, a Snapchat takeover, and of course, Sangra's work appearing on Burberry's clothing and accessories. The color schemes for both the app and fashion items were coordinated due to, ironically, Sangra's colorblindness.  "I've always been very specific about colour – because I have to be!...For the bag collection, it was actually dictated by the Augmented Reality project I did previously with Burberry. Because I was painting in Virtual Reality, and the colour had to pop against whatever real-life situation people chose to use the app, I went for primary colours. Then, when it came to designing the bags, we felt it would be good to keep the world cohesive, which is why I made the bags bright unlike the archive illustration pieces."  Sangra kept the primary colors as well as Burberry's traditional brown check pattern, but also added a healthy dose of vibrant shades.

Burberry Doodle tote bags

Burberry Doodle tote bag
(image from juice.com.sg)

Burberry Doodle wallet
(image from tradesy)

Some of the clothing even bordered on neon.  (And I swear the pink on this dress is the same shade as the blush palette.)

Burberry Doodle dress

Burberry Doodle sweatshirt
(image from nordstrom)

Sangra also did live illustration at several Burberry flagships across the globe, decorating customers' bags as well as the store windows.  “It's always an entertaining way to connect with the people passing by...Kinda like if the store was talking to you. That seems an over the top way of describing what I'm doing -- essentially it's Burberry letting a tall bloke paint random things on their windows,” he says.  This sort of hands-on artist involvement with a brand isn't new - see OB for Shu Uemura and Donald Robertson - but Sangra brought his unique brand of irreverence and wit to the concept.  Unsurprisingly, he didn't want the run-of-the-mill "pretty" window displays:  "I knew I would write “How do you say roast beef Yorkshire pudding” in the Tokyo store window, but I didn't know I was going to lay down and pretend I was asleep! I've kept every window on the tour 'internationally local' – but once I'm in the window, who knows! I've been getting away with more and more as this tour progresses. I want people on the street to stop and take it in. I don't just want some pretty windows."  

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As to be expected, Sangra also had a field day with customizing the bags at these events. 

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

It was a fruitful collaboration to be sure, but the key to its success was Burberry giving more or less carte blanche for Sangra to do as he pleased, which is quite refreshing in the land of artist collaborations.  He explains, "[W]hat surprised me was how much freedom they have given me. Usually, with companies of that size, there's tons of restrictions – but Christopher [Bailey] and the team have just let me get on with what I do. Obviously, I reacted to the fact it's an illustrious British brand that is so ingrained in the culture. Whatever I did, it had to feel honest."  Sangra clearly enjoyed this freedom, even poking gentle fun at the Burberry brand.

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

Danny Sangra for Burberry

What I like most about Sangra is obviously his sense of humor; the fact that he doesn't take himself or art in general all that seriously makes his work easily accessible.  His approach:  "I think you need humour across the board in general. Humour allows for more interaction. It seeks to unify rather than segregate (most of the time). I have a difficult time when I see people taking art too seriously. Art shouldn't be elitist, it should inspire. Humour is just another tool to create a response. I tend to use humour as a cloaking device...I think the humour [in my work] comes from me not trying to sell the work; I'm just writing whatever is on my mind, from either my own points of view or my characters’ points of view. I don't really try make stuff funny, it's just the way it comes out. There's an awkwardness to the way I present it that adds to it – you either relate to my work or you don’t, I’m not trying to hook you in!"  

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Additionally, Sangra's clever use of text, whether alone or scrawled over magazine images, is the key ingredient in making his work come alive.  While Sangra is also a film director, reading and writing serve as the foundation for his creative process.  "I'm not a heavy reader as I lack the patience, but I'm trying! I find reading gives me the most inspiration...I write more than anything else these days. I constantly write notes. Words, conversations etc. Those tend to ignite a project. I'll hear a phrase and then I'll either think of a film I can make with it or how it could become a series of images."  Jotting down a few phrases on a slip of paper seems overly simple - I can see how some wouldn't consider it "real" art - but keep in mind that the written word is essential to the work of tons of "real" artists (i.e., Basquiat, Barbara Kruger).  The process is slightly more complex than you'd think.  Having said that, I don't believe Sangra's scribbles are incredibly high-brow or overly conceptual pieces (although his in-store antics could certainly serve as performance art), but sometimes it's nice not to be confronted with anything that could be remotely construed as pretentious.  With Sangra, what you see is what you get; there's no affectation here.

Danny Sangra
(images from instagram unless otherwise noted)

Getting back to the Burberry palette, I'm so curious to know whether Sangra is aware that one of his illustrations appeared on a makeup item.  While I think it would have been incredibly fun to present him with an empty palette and have him come up with something just for the makeup line, I still appreciate that Burberry used one of his existing designs rather than relying on their usual seasonal collection.  As for the design itself, the fact that it's such an odd jumble of images makes it memorable and takes away the haute couture formality and seriousness that can sometimes plague makeup releases from high-fashion houses.  By choosing possibly the strangest illustration Sangra had created for Burberry, the blush perfectly represents not only his work but also a more playful, casual side of the brand that we don't often see.  I must add, however, that I think it would have been hilarious to have one of the Now Then images on the outer packaging.  ;)

What do you think? 


*I had no idea what an AR app was.  Fortunately this article explains it in a nutshell:  "The augmented-reality feature interacts with users’ camera feeds to digitally redecorate their surroundings with Burberry-inspired drawings by the artist Danny Sangra...The new augmented-reality feature allows users to export the images they create, enhanced with graffiti-like doodles, to social media in a Burberry frame."