Curator's Corner, April 2019
Worlds of swirl: Kathryn Beals for Laura Mercier

MM Summer 2019 exhibition

MM summer.2019.poster.2pp

As you might have guessed from the lack of activity around these parts, I am sad to report that things have remained quite difficult on the personal front.  I don't want to go into details, but let me just say that finding quality, affordable ongoing care for stroke patients is a never-ending quest that eats up every second of spare time and mental energy, not to mention the time spent traveling to another state to visit at least once a week.  And being forced to sell your parents' home where they've lived for over 40 years is far more gut-wrenching than I ever expected, despite bracing myself for it for years.  :(  In spite of all this I was determined to put up a summer exhibition, especially given that I haven't done an exhibition in an entire year!  It's more or less a mishmash of themes from previous years:  the Greek/Mediterranean feel and bathing beauty are from the 2016 exhibition, fruit and critters are from summer 2017, tropical jungle palms/flowers and birds from 2015 and 2018, respectively, and shells are a nod to the one of the themes from 2013.  This doesn't mean I don't have ideas, it's just that I couldn't do the more in-depth theme I wanted this year.  As you'll see, I also made up for the total absence of mermaids in last year's summer exhibition.

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

Starting at the top row, left to right:

Some vintage shell-themed pretties, along with a fairly bizarre Cutex ad.  Oddly enough, this is only one of 5 cosmetics ads from the '50s/60s that feature women's heads underwater.  I'm sure there's a lot more to be said about that...

Vintage Cutex ad and shell compacts

Stratton shell compact

Vintage shell compact


Loved this Bésame Peter Pan Mermaid Lagoon collection!  Kind of an odd choice for a holiday release, but when we're talking about vintage-inspired mermaids the seasonal appropriateness doesn't matter.  I just wish I could have fit more of the collection on the shelf - the fragrance and lipstick are adorable.

Bésame mermaid lagoon

Besame mermaid lagoon palette

Besame shell highlighter


Another brand that turned the tables on traditional holiday motifs in 2018 was Tarte.  While the pineapple palette is cute, it quickly became a source of rage for me - you'll see why later. 

Tarte pineapple palette

Tarte pineapple throne

Tarte pineapple eyelash curler

I cannot believe I haven't featured this 1956 Lancôme ad until now.  Equally unbelievable was the fact that sometime last fall I scored this delightful compact featuring a happy bunch of mer-people.

Lancome skincare ad, 1956

Vogue Vanities mermaid compact, ca. 1950s

Second row, left to right:

Millions of peaches, peaches for pretty is this Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom Utopia collection?!  I wanted to write about it last spring when it was released, but couldn't find a ton of info on the artist so I scrapped it. 

Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom

Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom


This is kind of a sad shelf for me.  It looks okay but it was not what I had planned.

Rodin Olio Lusso mermaid collection

Rodin Olio Lusso mermaid highlighter


During the exhibition's installation, as I was hammering in the Cutex ad over the top left shelf, the Tarte pineapple palette fell and hit almost every object below on its way down.  If you've ever seen "The Price is Right", it was sort of like a destructive version of Plinko.  I was on the top step of a ladder so I couldn't move quickly enough to catch the palette before it destroyed some items in its path.  The end result was the complete breakage of a piece from one of my most beloved collections:  the body oil from last summer's Rodin Olio Lusso x Donald Robertson mermaid collection.  The powders in the Tarte palette also shattered; fortunately I had intended on always displaying the palette closed, and the rug did not sustain much damage.  Plus the oil is still available so I will order another.  In the meantime I could at least display the box for it.  I'm also grateful the mermaid highlighting powder didn't fall and break as that item is long gone.

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

I picked up these beauties from Richard Hudnut last year.  The discoloration you see towards the bottom of the Sweet Orchid box (right below the Hudnut name) is from the aforementioned oil spill - that area was in pristine condition prior to the disaster.

Richard Hudnut Gardenia and Sweet Orchid powder boxes


This was a sneaky but lovely release from Laura Mercier.  I haven't purchased anything Museum-worthy from the brand since possibly 2009.  As soon as I saw the heavenly blue and gold swirls I was sold.  Then I found out an artist was behind the beautiful marbling effect, which made it even better.  If I have time I'd like to get a post up about her work because it's really gorgeous.  MAC's version is more generic/less artistic, but still pretty.

Laura Mercier bronzer

MAC Electric Wonder highlighter

MAC Electric Wonder lipstick


Third row, left to right:

If you follow me on Instagram you might remember how much I adored this little gal.  Now her princess counterpart swam in to keep her company! 

Vintage princess mermaid lipstick holder

Unfortunately she also sustained some injury due to the Tarte palette fall, but at least it's only the side of the holder.

Vintage mermaid lipstick holder

I remember being both excited and dismayed at the release of Too-Faced Tutti Frutti collection last August.  While I loved the plethora of pineapples - my favorite fruit and one of my favorite motifs - I was disappointed it was released a year after the Museum's summer 2017 exhibition as it would have been perfect for the fruity theme.

Too-Faced Tutti Frutti pineapple

Too-Faced pineapple highlighting drops

I really didn't think Anna Sui could top the jellyfish-laden aquarium collection from 2017, but here we are.  Just precious.

Anna Sui summer 2019 makeup

I love the makeup, but the mini fragrance was also insanely cute.

Anna Sui summer 2019 makeup

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid compact

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid blush

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid highlighter


Here are the images I included in the background so you can see the mermaid print better.


(images from

The Volupté seahorse compact was featured in the summer 2014 exhibition.  This year, I was able to add Elgin's beautiful ruby and turquoise rhinestone encrusted version, along with an original ad.  Someday I hope incorporate a sparkly vintage Ciner compact and Estée Lauder's more recent one.

Vintage seahorse compacts

Elgin compact ad, 1949

Bottom row, left to right:

Guerlain truly spoiled us this year with their Terracotta bronzers. 

Guerlain Terracotta 2019

Guerlain terracotta bronzers 2019


Here are some better versions of the vase and wreath photos.  It's a shame the Met didn't have a shot of the top of this vase, which has the most similar pattern to the Guerlain Hestia Island bronzer.

Greek oil flask

Golden laurel wreath
(images from and

Uh oh, a vintage mermaid lipstick army has invaded the Museum!  But I think the bathing beauty by Boots 17 should be able to keep them from misbehaving.  (Unless they're vicious killer mermaids who feast on human flesh).

Vintage Boots 17 and New Fashion lipsticks

Vintage mermaid lipsticks


I simply couldn't pass up the pattern and texture of YSL's summer palettes.  Clarins, true to form, served up another gorgeous bronzer as well.

YSL summer 2019 palettes

Clarins summer 2019 bronzer

Clarins 2019 bronzer

Lastly we have LM Ladurée's summer collection, which was stunning inside and out and smells heavenly too. 

LM Ladurée summer 2019

LM Ladurée summer 2019


So that about wraps it up for summer 2019!  Thank you for bearing with a regurgitation of previous summer themes.  Despite the lack of originality I still think it was visually appealing.  What piece was your favorite?  Are you looking forward to next year's exhibition, which already has a theme and title?  I'm debating whether to put in a few more pieces I couldn't fit this time around even though they're not quite in line with the concept I've chosen...but I guess I have a whole year to think about it.  ;) 

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