It's nice to return to Curator's Corner, hopefully I can keep it up in 2020.
- Why I'm just discovering this book on Maybelline's history is beyond me, but in any case I'd like to check it out.
- Ditto for this amazing blog. I have no idea how our paths didn't cross sooner, but the author recently reached out to me regarding the Sweet Tooth exhibition, and as it turns out we are nearly identical in how we perceive beauty trends and which ones stand out to us. Saffron has written extensively on food and dessert-themed beauty, but also on cutesy makeup that seems to be intended more for children than adults (see my 2011 Child's Play post) and makeup marketed and packaged as art supplies (a topic I touched on briefly in 2016 and am hoping to unveil an exhibition of later this year). She's also tackled topics I've had in my drafts folder for years, like apothecary-inspired beauty, CBD products, and zodiac-inspired beauty (you know I love vintage zodiac compacts and there are so many more zodiac-themed products nowadays so I've been wanting to do a full roundup!) Plus she's really into design/packaging and vintage makeup too. Her "Highlights" feature is like Curator's Corner, and sometimes we even do the same color trends. I found my beauty twin! So yeah, go add her blog to your bookmarks and feed reader.
- More good content comes from Dazed Beauty, including a piece on the weirdest beauty trends from 2019, a critique of Frida Kahlo-themed tweezers, an article on why we get attached to certain makeup items (or in my case, all makeup items) and a review of a new film called Toxic Beauty, which is just like it sounds - highlighting the harmful ingredients used in cosmetics and the industry's lack of regulation.
- I love yellow so naturally I was feeling this graffiti-inspired look at Dior. I'm less excited about the commodification of mental health care in the name of "wellness" and "self-care" in the beauty industry.
- Sometimes I try to do a trend review at the end of the year, but that clearly wasn't happening in 2019. Instead, please enjoy these links on the biggest trends of 2019 as well as the decade. One "trend", if you can call it that, that I'd like to leave behind is influencer drama. I'm not big on influencers anyway and frankly, I don't care what they're fighting about. It's irritating that it gets press coverage when there are so many other topics that need attention.
- We can't have a trend roundup without looking ahead to the following year, so here are some forecasts. I'll also throw in my prediction that merch will continue to be huge among beauty brands. Along with color-changing cosmetics and the crystal-themed beauty trend, it's yet another topic I want to cover in 2020.
- The next installment of Makeup Museum Musings will be on either inclusivity or the definition of museums. This piece at Jezebel came in handy for background research for both topics.
- As a Gen-X'er who started having problems sleeping a few years ago, I need to buy this book ASAP. You might also remember the author as the woman behind the long-gone '90swoman.com, where I wrote a guest post on '90s beauty well before the resurgence we're experiencing now.
- Speaking of that magical decade, Alanis Morissette has announced she's touring with Liz Phair and Garbage in honor of Jagged Little Pill's 25th anniversary. Plus, for those of us who still pine away for the days of VHS and Blockbuster, this guy opened a video store in his basement.
- One good thing from 2019 was the arrival of Baby Yoda. Makeup Museum staff is worried that I think he's cuter than they are so I have to make them extra cookies as reassurance.
And here's a summary of the year on the personal front. Usually I try to keep the personal stuff to a minimum, but since the Museum is a one-woman show, my personal life inevitably affects Museum business. In 2019 the following took place:
- My father had a massive stroke in March and has not recovered the way we were hoping. We had no illusions - we knew recovery would not be a straight line and that he wouldn't be the same - but nearly 10 months out he has shown little improvement from the initial episode and is still severely limited physically and cognitively. It was a bad stroke to begin with, but my father had the added misfortune of developing every conceivable complication and setback. He is currently getting a second chance in another acute rehab facility, but if he is not able to do basic movements by the end of his stay (such as transferring himself from bed to wheelchair, etc.) he will require full-time care.
- Speaking of home, my parents no longer have one. My mother was not thinking clearly (obviously seeing your formerly healthy and totally independent partner of over 50 years go downhill so quickly and then not improve is beyond devastating) and over the summer sold the house she and my dad owned for 43 years. This was my childhood home and where I spent every Christmas, even as an adult, so my eyes swelled shut from crying so much on Christmas Eve as we spent it in the hospital rather than the house.
- As a result from a nasty fall and broken arm a week before Christmas of 2018, my mother required surgery in June to repair the damaged nerve as she had lost use of her left hand. We are glad the surgery went well and she has regained full use of her hand, but that fall back in late 2018 was definitely an omen of worse things to come. Plus, having surgery while also taking care of one's spouse who is recovering from a severe stroke is not exactly good timing.
- A few weeks after my mother's surgery my grandmother died. My father did not attend the funeral and it's unclear if he fully understood that his mother passed away.
- This isn't a big deal, but it upset me nonetheless. My favorite band put out a terrible album. Maybe if my dad hadn't had the stroke I wouldn't have taken it so hard, but there seemed to be a parallel between what happened to him and what happened to the band. It's like they've been replaced by an imposter. Sure, we get glimpses of how they used to be, there are some moments where they're recognizable, but for the most part they're shells of their former selves. Every time I look at my dad I think, "That's not him, where is he?" So the same with Sleater-Kinney - it didn't sound anything like the band I knew and loved for so many years. I bought tickets for a DC show before I heard the album and ended up not going. The unique energy and pure magic they made was entirely absent. And now that their drummer left they will never be the same...again, just like how my dad will never be the same.
- Finally, as one last fuck-you from this miserable year, a group of rather unethical entrepreneurs decided it would be a hoot to steal the Museum's name and proclaim to be the "world's first" museum devoted to makeup. And there are a slew of other copycats starting cosmetics museums but all claiming to be the first and only makeup museum, which is obviously ridiculous as even my museum isn't the first! And it certainly isn't the only one either. I found out about most of these entities back in March, literally the day before my father had the stroke - another premonition. Given his health issues I was unable to deal with the situation swiftly which only made it worse. I may elaborate on the whole disaster at another time in a separate post but for now I'm waiting until I get more information from my attorneys. I am also in the process of hiring a PR firm. If anyone knows of a good social media strategist do let me know.
TLDR; the Curator got her ass kicked repeatedly and thoroughly in 2019 and that's why things around the Museum were so quiet. I don't know what's going to happen in 2020, but even though I feel like I've already lost, I know I'm not giving up on the Museum without a fight so I am going to try my best to explore the topics and exhibitions I’ve been wanting to cover. And by the way, if anyone tells me that it could be worse and that I should be grateful for the things I didn't lose in the shitshow that was 2019, they will be met with a forceful punch to the throat. I am grateful and well aware of how much worse things could be - in fact, because I fully recognize this could very well be the year or decade that I lose another close family member, my home, my job, my collection, I'm terrified of what's to come on this dark timeline I can't seem to escape. I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...and at the same time I’m throwing myself full force into Museum projects while I still have the opportunity.
Please tell me you had a better 2019 than I did! Despite my sad ramblings, I hope you stick around and continue to support the Museum in 2020 and beyond.