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September 2020

No cities to love: Yoon Hyup for Bobbi Brown

I was hoping to post about Bobbi Brown's collaboration from this past spring, a partnership with British artist Morag Myerscough, but I realized I never got around to writing about an Asia-exclusive collab from last year so I'm covering that first.  In the spring of 2019 the brand teamed up with Korean-born, New York-based artist Yoon Hyup, whose abstract urban landscapes, appropriately enough, have been created and displayed in cities across the globe.  For Bobbi Brown's cushion compacts the artist made three designs:  New York Skyline (Manhattan), Spread Love (depicting the Brooklyn Bridge) and Band of Light (representing Times Square). 

Bobbi Brown x Yoon Hyup

Bobbi Brown x Yoon Hyup

Bobbi Brown x Yoon Hyup

Hyup (b. 1982) was born and raised in Seoul. He began what would become a lifelong love affair with skateboarding and skate culture at the age of 9. 

Childhood photo of artist Yoon Hyup
(image from recessnewyork.com)

While skateboarding is a key inspiration for his work - his lines and dots represent how he feels when skateboarding (like "flowing water", he says), music remains his primary influence.  He studied violin for most of his childhood, getting scolded for improvising during lessons.  As a teenager Hyup discovered hip-hop and graffiti magazines at a nearby U.S. naval base, further feeding his appetite for skate culture, music and art.  In college he started out studying graphic design as he wanted to design skateboards, but quickly realized he enjoyed painting more.  One night at a party a DJ asked him to paint while he spun, and for Hyup, there was no turning back. He has painted to music ever since. "From the early 2000’s, a hip hop party called “Afroking Party” was getting popular in Seoul. I would hang with DJs, MCs, B-Boys, skaters, writers and photographers there. It was the first place where I exhibited my artworks and perform live painting. A DJ crew wanted me to paint live while he performed his set, a mix hip hop, funk, disco, we’d perform all night. That was when I was 23 or 24 years old, and then I met more and more people, they would learn about me and ask me to do more paintings.  I started to use lines and dots when I performed live painting, because I wanted to express something quick while DJ Soulscape and DJ Plastic Kid were spinning."  Hyup listens to a variety of jazz, hip-hop, funk, soul and disco. To get an idea of what such a mix sounds like, you check out one of his playlists here.

Yoon Hyup, Rhythm, 2019

Hyup likens his improvisational process to jazz or rap.  For larger projects he sketches the overall structure, but generally does not draw beforehand.  "I don’t sketch when I paint. If I need to sketch, I would only put the big structure. Other than this, I only do with free-hands on canvas or wall paintings without sketches. It may be similar to a jazz performance which only has a plan but plays impromptu. It’s similar feeling from listening improvisational music, funk or freestyle rap. When I skate, I feel rhythm and flow...I like to express these feelings with lines and dots." 

Yoon Hyup, Night in Paris, 2020

Hyup's forté is vibrant city life, but he is equally adept at representing more calming scenes, such as tropical vistas and clouds.  And while he cites American graffiti artists such as Futura, Lee Quinones and Mark Gonzales, along with Jean-Michel Basquiat and designer Don Pendleton as influences (I'd add Mondrian to the list), Hyup also reinterprets elements of traditional Korean art.  Paintings of clouds, along with the use of obangsaek - five colors associated with the cardinal directions - are the artist's way of paying homage to his cultural heritage. "Many traditional Korean forms, such as vine clouds and wind clouds, surface in my paintings. I often paint with the five colors associated with my native country – red, blue, yellow, black and white.  This color palette can be found in many things that relate to Korean culture, such as art, dress, and the painting for architecture. I use those colors to pay honor to my roots. I also find other colorways from nature and things around me."

Yoon Hyup, High Up, 2019
(images from yoonhyup.com) 

Hyup's work generally consists of cityscapes, but occasionally his playfulness shines through via characters from pop culture.  I'm delighted with these portraits of Cookie Monster and the Pillsbury Dough Boy!  Fun fact: I was obsessed with the Pillsbury Dough Boy when I was little and have a decent collection of memorabilia.  I'd love to see Pills on a shirt, similar to the Mickey Mouse ones Hyup made for Uniqlo.

Yoon Hyup, Cookie Monster

Yoon Hyup, Pillsbury Dough Boy

Also, how precious is this holiday wonderland he created in Shanghai last year?

Yoon Hyup, Shanghai Times Square, 2019
(images from @ynhp and yoonhyup.com)

As for the collab with Bobbi, I'm not sure how it came about or why Hyup decided to partner with the company. (I emailed to request an interview but never heard back, sadly.)  "I collaborate when I already know the brand well enough or when it naturally happens. Honestly, I haven't had to think about a brand I want to collaborate with because luckily, clients have always come to me and proposed collaborations. Sometimes I don't do it when I don't understand the brand well enough or it doesn't fit well with my style," he says.  A cosmetics collaboration doesn't seem like it would align with the artist's interests, especially given his previous work for sportswear and apparel stores located in urban locations, like Nike's Gangnam headquarters and the Rag and Bone store in Soho.

Yoon Hyup mural for Nike headquarters in Gangnam

Yoon Hyup mural for Nike headquarters
This mural centers on the number 23, worn by basketball star Michael Jordan.

(image from idnworld.com)

Yoon Hyup mural for Rag and Bone in Soho, 2014
This mural, entitled Wishing a Bright Sunny Day, has rightfully drawn comparisons to the work of Keith Haring.

(image from hypebeast.com)

Hyup also designed the cover art for a CD box set for Ella Fitzgerald in honor of the singer's 1ooth birthday in 2017, which was fitting given jazz's influence on his process. 

Yoon Hyup - Ella Fitzgerald 100th birthday box set

So makeup seems a little out of left field.  I also can't figure out why only the city of New York was featured on the compacts, as these were Asia-exclusive...it would have made a bit more sense to include Seoul as well.  Perhaps it's Hyup's love for NYC that propelled the focus on New York. In any case, I believe all three of the designs were new for Bobbi Brown, but there are similarities.  Here's Rooftop Jam (2019) and Spread Love (2014) - the latter has the same name as the cushion compact showing the Brooklyn Bridge.

Yoon Hyup, Rooftop Jam, 2019

Yoon Hyup, Spread Love, 2014
(images from yoonhyup.com)

Yoon Hyup for Bobbi Brown

While I'd still like to unravel the mystery of the collaboration's origin, I enjoyed this collection nevertheless.  Hyup's improvisational method perfectly captures the frenetic pace of cities, and I don't think his work would have the same effect if he painted without music.  And New York is always magical so if they had to focus on any one city I'm glad it was the Big Apple.

What do you think?  Which case is your favorite?  Mine is Band of Light. I don't like to actually visit Times Square in person, but this image is so vibrant I can practically hear its pulse. 

Interview with a curator: Andra Behrendt of Perfume Passage

I had the great fortune of getting in touch with Andra Behrendt, curator of the Perfume Passage museum.  She's a member of the International Perfume Bottle Association and sends out a quarterly eNews for their Compacts & Vanity Items Specialty group. The eNews focuses on compacts and related vanity items that are a part of the IPBA. She also runs Lady A Antiques, a shop she established in 1993.  Andra kindly agreed to an interview, which I am extremely grateful for since not only has it been ages since I've interviewed anyone but more importantly, she has over 35 years worth of beauty history knowledge and experience to share. Enjoy!

Makeup Museum: How long have you been in the antique business?

Andra: I have been an antique dealer since 1993 as Lady A Antiques. As a dealer I specialize in celluloid covered boxes and albums from the 1900s, jewelry from Victorian through Deco, German bathing beauties from the 1920s and ladies accessory items such as compacts, purses, perfumes, hatpins, powders and puffs. I've had a website since 1997 and display at antique shows throughout the Midwest. I admit I don't update the website as often as I used to as I try to save the more unusual items for the shows. I have been a collector since I was a teenager, my aunt collected jewelry and she introduced me to antiques and collecting.

MM: How and why did you end up focusing on perfume and vanity items?

A: I gravitated toward enamel items and starting finding compacts and purses for my inventory. Then as my inventory of these items grew, I started meeting more collectors of these items at the antique shows. Now I specialize in the ladies vanity items!

MM: How did you get involved with the IPBA?

A: In the mid 1990s, before the internet, if you were interested in a special category of collecting, you joined a collectors club! I think at one time I belonged to a collector club for hatpins, combs, jewelry, purses, plastics, compacts and of course perfumes. That's how people met other collectors and shared their knowledge. I love to learn about the items that interest me and collectors are very generous in sharing their knowledge. The International Perfume Bottle Association has always been one of the more professional collectors club with a board of directors, annual convention, newsletters, etc. They believe in educating collectors about the history of the items we love so much. And many perfume collectors also collect related vintage vanity items such as compacts, purses, powders and lipsticks. The IPBA has always included compacts and related vanity items in addition to perfumes.

MM: Tell me about your experience as curator at Perfume Passage. What exactly do you do in your curatorial role?

A: I met the founders of Perfume Passage at one of the IPBA conventions about 10 years ago. When the museum started gathering information about compacts and vanity items to eventually display at the museum, I began evaluating the items they accumulated, providing information on their history, etc. When the museum was ready to begin installing displays, I started assisting with the showcases in the galleries and drugstore displays, focusing on the compacts, vintage makeup items and vanity items. I've been documenting the museum's collections as we are developing an online database for public use. I also assist with writing articles for the museum's website and eNews. As we just opened in May 2019, there are a lot of projects in the works!

MM: What are some of your favorite compacts/lipsticks/other makeup items and why?

A: I've always loved enameled items and the Art Deco time period. So my favorite compacts are the detailed enameled compacts from the 1920s and 1930s. I also like the whimsical figural compacts as they tell such an interesting story.

MM: What is your favorite era for makeup and why?

A: I'm drawn to the 1920s as it was an era of growth and change for women. There was a reason for compacts and makeup for women during this time and it was evident in the products that were produced. Looking back at some of the makeup items, it's almost humorous to think that "ladies really used" some of these products!

MM: Why do you think makeup history is important and worthy of preservation and museum display?

A: Compacts, purses, perfumes, powders and all vanity items were significant of their time periods and their manufacture was influenced by cultural and social trends. Just like most items that we collect today, there was a reason for their use and need. And these initial reasons don't always exist today, but are part of our history. With makeup, compacts and perfumes, people still use them and the reasons for using these products are mostly the same, but the products are different. But it's those early products that evolved into what is being used today and I don't think that should be forgotten. And it's a fascinating history if people take the time to learn about it. Perfume Passage and other related museums, such as yours, provide people with the opportunity to learn about this history as well as view wonderful items that didn't start out as collectible, but certainly are now!

MM: Any thoughts on current makeup/beauty culture? The Makeup Museum focuses on contemporary cosmetics, artist collaborations, etc. in addition to vintage objects, so I'd love to have your insight on what makeup and trends are out there now!

A: That's a very interesting question. I admit that I've really never worn makeup, I use just a little blush as my skin is so pale! I don't wear perfumes either. So it is kind of funny that I'm so in love with the history and products that are vanity related. And I honestly don't follow the contemporary cosmetic industry at all, just what I see on TV or read in magazines.

MM: Do you have any tips for compact collectors?

A: As with any item that we collect, buy what interests you. And while condition is usually the top priority for me, I also like the unusual. And before the internet, when many collectibles could only be found at shops, shows or auctions, collectors seem to buy for quantity. The internet has opened a whole new world for collectors, allowing us to see and purchase items that we would often never have a chance to find. So items that were considered "rare" or "one of a kind" can be found online. So I think collectors have more choices on what to collect or perhaps what to focus their collections on. While many compact collectors have a little bit of everything in their collections, you'd be surprised how many collectors focus on just Deco, or enamels, or figurals.

MM: Can you share some of your favorite compacts?

A: Sure! Here's a 1920s F&B sterling floral/scenic enamel tango compact.

1920s F&B enamel tango

A 1930s Evans mesh purse with an ornate beaded/pearl/enamel compact lid:

1930s Evans mesh purse w ornate compact top

A 1930s green floral enamel double compact with tango lipstick:

1930s double enamel tango compact

A 1958 Chicago White Sox compact. Back then, Tuesday's was ladies day at the ballpark and the owner of the team had a give-a-way of this compact! The other teams that I know of that had a similar promotion with compacts were the Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles and New York Giants.

1958 White Sox compact

Finally, a 1920s celluloid lady compact, the top "dress" slides and there's a mirror and powder puff inside.

1920s celluloid lady compact
(all images provided by Andra Behrendt)

Andra, thank you so much for taking the time to answer the Makeup Museum's questions and for your incredibly valuable insight!  I encourage everyone to check out the Perfume Passage website and sign up for their newsletter. If you're in the Chicago area and can visit in person, so much the better.  And if you're a collector, be sure to add Lady A Antiques to your shopping list!

A visit from the future and past: Paul & Joe x Doraemon

I distinctly remember ordering this Paul & Joe collection in April of 2019, as my dad was still in the ICU and I felt guilty for taking a few minutes to place an order before visiting him.  But I knew the collection would sell out immediately so I had to go for it.  Adorable though it is, I kept putting writing about it until this year, and then when I finally got around to doing some research I discovered this little guy's birthday is September 3, 2112 so I waited a bit more (although obviously I couldn't hold off for another 92 years unless cryogenics actually worked.)  Please give a warm welcome to Doraemon, a robotic cat from the future!

Paul & Joe Doraemon

Doraemon is a manga series created by a duo of Japanese writers Hiroshi Fujimoto and Motoo Abiko, better known by their pen name, Fujiko Fujio, in 1969.   Fujimoto was inspired by three specific events:  his wish for a machine that would come up with ideas for his writing, his daughter's toy that caused him to trip, and the sound of some neighborhood cats fighting.  The story chronicles the misadventures of Nobita Nobi, a preteen boy who is described as goodhearted and kind yet lazy.  He gets bad grades due to his laziness and is frequently bullied. 

(image from doraemon.fandom.com)

Doraemon is sent back from the future by Nobita's great great grandson, Sewashi Nobi, to help Nobita grow up to be successful and alter history so that his descendants will be more prosperous.  However, since Nobita's misfortunes continue as an adult which affects his future offspring, Sewashi is poor, so he can only afford a mediocre and not particularly helpful robot. 

(image from vsbattles.fandom.com)

That premise sounds interesting in and of itself, but there's more. Doraemon has a special four-dimensional pouch on his tummy where he stores various futuristic gadgets intended to help Nobita.  Some examples, according to the Doraemon Wiki page: "Bamboo-Copter, a small piece of headgear that can allow its users to fly; the Anywhere Door, a pink-colored door that allows people to travel according to the thoughts of the person who turns the knob; Time Kerchief, a handkerchief that can turn an object new or old or a person young or old; Translator Tool, a cuboid jelly that can allow people to converse in any language across the universe; Designer Camera, a camera that produces dresses."  These sound like fantastic ideas, but you can see where they're heading. While the devices were supposed to make Nobita more successful, the series focuses on the hijinks that ensue as he uses them incorrectly or for the wrong purposes. 

Doraemon gadgets(image from doraemon.travel.blog)

As with nearly all the protagonists in Japanese series, Doraemon's character is carefully conceived with a complete backstory.  The "Dora" part of his name derives from "dora neko" (stray cat), while "-emon" is an archaic suffix for male names - just Fujimoto having a bit of fun by giving a character from the future an obsolete moniker.  The reason for Doraemon's blue color and rounded head is that shortly after his creation in the robot factory, a mouse nibbled his ears off and frightened Doraemon so badly he turned blue - he was originally yellow in color. Poor thing!

Doraemon - original yellow
(image from says.com)

As for Paul & Joe, they spared no details.  All of the products are covered in a delightful floral print featuring Doraemon in a variety of poses.

Paul & Joe Doraemon lipsticks

Paul & Joe Doraemon lipsticks

The lipstick caps as well as the lipsticks themselves are engraved with Doraemon's face.  These lipsticks, you might recall, use a technique known as kintaro-ame.

Paul & Joe Doraemon lipstick

Paul & Joe Doraemon lipsticks

Paul & Joe Doraemon face powder

How cute is the embossing?!  And the bell on the pouch recalls the one Doraemon wears around his neck.

Paul & Joe Doraemon face powder

This is perhaps my favorite piece of the whole collection.  Not only is the outline precious, the balm is scented like dorayaki, pancakes filled with a sweet red bean paste that are Doraemon's favorite snack.

Paul & Joe Doraemon lip balm

Doraemon's cultural impact cannot be overstated. After 1,465 stories in the original manga and 2,372 episodes between two TV series to date, in his native country the character became as iconic as Mickey Mouse is in the U.S.  The popularity of the Doraemon series in Japan can be attributed to several factors, such as the dawn of a new technological age in the late 1960s and economic prosperity starting in the late '70s (the first animated Doraemon show premiered in 1979).  And while it was intended for children, it's also relatable for Japanese adults, whose workaholic culture perhaps makes them envious of Nobita's lackadaisical style. However, Doraemon's appeal is universal. Despite varied receptions in different countries, people from all over the globe generally identify with Nobita's struggles and Doraemon's attempts to help.  As Caitlin Casiello, a Yale Ph.D. candidate in Japanese and film and media studies, explains to the Japan Times, "A lot of the appeal of 'Doraemon' is actually that Nobita is so familiar and relatable — he’s average, goofy, lazy, a bit uncool, but still a good kid — so we recognize him. Therefore, Doraemon would be our friend, too. This contrast between a normal boy and time-traveling robot cat makes us feel connected to Doraemon, like participants in their adventures." 

Doraemon and Nobita

As with Sanrio characters, there are literally thousands of Doraemon-branded products and collaborations, which raked in $5.6 billion in sales as of 2016. Even Takashi Murakami got in on the Doraemon action. 

Murakami Doraemon
(image from jw-webmagazine.com)

Murakami Doraemon plate
(image from artsy.net)

Naturally I checked to see if there was a Doraemon museum since Japan seems to have one for everything, and lo! There is a Doraemon museum a mere 30 minutes outside Tokyo. The museum is technically named the Fujiko Fujio Museum after Doraemon's creators. The displays run the gamut of original sketches and a recreation of Hiroshi Fujimoto's study to a life-size Anywhere Door.  

Fujiko Fujio museum

Fujiko Fujio museum
(images from fujiko-museum.com)

Speaking of collabs, if you think Paul & Joe's collection is the first makeup brand to feature Doraemon, you would be mistaken.  In the fall of 2015 Korean brand A'Pieu unveiled a Doraemon collection.  The Paul & Joe one is different not just in terms of packaging but in the product lineup.  A'Pieu offered eyeshadow palettes, cushion compacts and lip gloss and also incorporated Doraemon's younger sister Dorami in the packaging.

A'pieu x Doraemon, 2015
(image from rinesoo.wordpress.com)

To sum up, the Doraemon collection is absolutely on brand for Paul & Joe, given their previous dalliances in cartoon collaborations, the founder's love of cats, and the fact that Paul & Joe makeup is produced by Japanese company Albion.  Still, I'd love to know more about how the partnership came about and why in 2019, as Doraemon's other "birthday" is 1970 when the manga made its official debut.  In any case, it's adorable and I'm glad I was able to learn about an important Japanese cultural icon from this collection.  And if you missed it, don't despair - word on the street is that a second Paul & Joe Doraemon collection is coming for the holidays. So maybe that will be more appropriate for the series' 50th birthday.

What do you think of this collection?  Had you heard of Doraemon previously?  I obviously had not!  I watched a few clips from the TV series and while he's cute, he did not capture my heart the way another Japanese character did.

Curator's Corner, August 2020

CC logoLinks for August, plus another special milestone.

- I'm just gonna go ahead and toot my own horn - I was honored to be interviewed for an article on gender-inclusive beauty over at Mission Magazine. Not the most insightful quote but at least I got a mention!

- You could say I'm supremely excited for this new Pat McGrath lipstick, along with Byredo's new makeup line.

- Let's hear it for Juvia's Place, who is providing $300,000 worth of grants for black-owned businesses.

- Some new beauty shows to binge: Jackie Aina's Social Beauty, a documentary featuring Black women fostering social change through beauty and Rosie Huntington Whiteley's About Face, which will explore the stories behind major brands.

- AOC shares all the details of her beauty routine, including her favorite red lipstick.

- Allure consults its crystal ball for their latest issue, predicting the future of beauty products and evolving beauty standards.

- Move over, Cheeto nail polish. Everything Bagel is where it's at. (I will most likely end up buying this.)

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, Animaniacs is being re-booted and some enterprising person is marketing a Friends-themed advent calendar.  Also, in reunions no one asked for, Smash Mouth returned to further the spread of COVID with a concert in South Dakota.

- Loving this new museum of BLM protest art, plus it's proof that a museum does not need a physical space to be meaningful and educational.  Meanwhile, the International Mermaid Museum just opened.

Finally, in addition to the Museum's anniversary, August is the month for me and the husband's anniversary. Since we got hitched on our exact 10-year dating anniversary, we're celebrating a total of 20 years together this year. Woot! If you've been following the Museum since 2010 you know we had a lovely wedding day and a wonderful honeymoon. Here's some wedding miscellany to celebrate, including our stationery that the husband designed, my shoes, jewelry, and of course makeup. I know I need to get rid of the Estée Lauder Double Wear foundation and probably the Bobbi Brown lipstick I wore, but I can't part with them. (Hey, at least I got rid of the mascara and the Stila Kitten eyeshadow pan is a replacement).  I also included a couple of Museum wedding-related pieces, like Stila's June Bride palettes and a cute little Elgin compact from the '40s, which unfortunately suffered some chipping.

Wedding anniversary makeup

How are you?  Are you looking forward to fall?