Welcome to the 2019 edition of Curator's Picks and Pans! It's been a bad year for me and the Museum, but at least there was some great makeup! And some not so great too but again, they were a welcome distraction.
First up are my picks, i.e. the items with what I thought had the best concepts and design.
1. Mikimoto holiday 2019 collection: I haven't even written about this one yet - I hope to get a post up early in the new year - but as with last year's holiday collection as soon as I laid eyes on it I ordered without batting an eye. This year Mikimoto partnered with artist/illustrator Brecht Evens, who created even more mermaid-laden and fantastical underwater scenes than last year's collection.
(image from mikimoto-cosme.com)
2. Paul and Joe x Doraemon: I must admit I was totally unfamiliar with Doraemon, a wildly popular manga character from Japan, when I first heard about this collection. It was a perfect fit for Paul & Joe given the founder's love of cats as well as her penchant for quirky, playful prints and collaborations (see the 2016 Warner Bros. collaboration.) I hope to write about it sometime in 2020.
(image from blog.ulifestyle.com)
3. Chanel Eiffel Tower Illluminating Powder: I don't have much to say about this other than it was released in honor of the opening of Chanel's first beauty-only boutique in Paris. The embossing was so lovely and intricate, and the exclusivity made it impossible for me to resist - it was only available at Chanel boutiques in France and and the French website (I acquired it through ebay). Plus it's a fabulous piece to have if I ever want to revisit the Museum's fall 2015 Paris/French-themed exhibition.
As the Museum continues to expand its vintage holdings, for the first time I'm including my top vintage acquisitions.
1. Stila paint cans: The picture shows the Museum's entire collection since I was too lazy to weed out exactly which ones I got this year, but back in February I bought 20 rare vintage (okay, maybe not quite vintage yet but very close) paint cans on ebay from a former collector who didn't have room. I was sad for her but glad I could give them a good home. Plus they really added something extra to the Stila girl exhibition.
2. Volupté Petite Boudoir: among my many weaknesses are novelty compacts and palettes. I had been coveting this adorable vanity-shaped compact for ages, so when I saw one in excellent condition at a great price I pounced. For photography purposes (and because I love miniatures) I purchased some mini makeup items as accessories.
Here's an ad for it from one of my collector's guides, in case you're curious.
And now for the more lackluster releases this year.
1. Madonna by Too-Faced: A hugely successful brand collaborating with a pop culture icon seems like a surefire hit, but dear lord was this unimaginative. I'm truly shocked at how boring this was. Between the flamboyance of Jerrod Blandino and Madge's propensity to push boundaries, I expected way more not just in packaging but the entire concept.
(images from shop.madonna.com)
2. Revlon x Mrs. Maisel: Another squandered opportunity, and much like the Estée Lauder Mad Men collaborations, a good idea but poor execution. You would think The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel would be a goldmine for inspiration. Midge worked at the Revlon makeup counter so the brand makes sense, but why the packaging didn't get a fabulous retro/vintage treatment I'll never know.
(image from ew.com)
3. Guerlain Rouge G Wild Glam case: Maybe it's sour grapes because I can't afford it, but I wasn't a fan of this one. It's a cool design, but not $290 cool! I honestly have no idea what Guerlain was thinking.
(image from neimanmarcus.com)
If I'm going to pay 300 bones for a lipstick case (and I've done it before, embarrassingly enough) it better at least have some sort of handmade element or utilize precious materials. As far as I can tell, neither of those things came into play here. It's just plain old rhinestones (not even Swarovski - I mean COME ON) and a silver-toned case, not real silver plating. And it wasn't handmade by a jeweler, just designed by one. It does say the rhinestones were "hand-set", but I'm skeptical. Plus this other rhinestone-encrusted case is within a normal price range, costing a mere $36. Finally, I'm confused by the snake motif, as it doesn't have any significance for Guerlain that I'm aware of. It felt like a very uninspired piece overall.
And those are some makeup highlights and lowlights of 2019. (I was going to do picks and pans for the past decade but immediately got overwhelmed, so I'm keeping it simple.) What do you think of these choices? Please visit the archives and let me know!