Dolce & Gabbana

A rose renaissance with D & G

You might remember a time when many roses in makeup were simply not Museum-worthy.  I'm pleased to say that between Smashbox's amazing rose highlighters (the result of a collab with makeup artist Vlada Haggerty) and this stunner from D & G, the rose motif has redeemed itself. 

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

Dolce & Gabbana Rosa Duchessa

The blush is appropriate for the designers' spring 2018 lineup, which can arguably be described as an explosion of roses.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2018

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2018

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2018
(images from

As a matter of fact, D & G has been celebrating their favorite flower rather heavily the past few years.  A few highlights from recent seasons:

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2017

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2016

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2014(images from vogue)

While there seems to be a noticeable uptick in the use of these blooms more recently, they've been blossoming in the D & G line nearly since its inception.  According to this profile, the first instance of the rose motif appeared in the the fall/winter 1989-1990 collection, which was inspired by actress Anna Magnani in the 1955 film The Rose Tattoo.  The collection was modeled in Vogue Italia by Isabella Rossellini.  Alas, I was unable to find a good photo that actually showed one of the pieces featuring a rose, but I hope this dress from the mid-90s will help trace the evolution. 

Dolce & Gabbana '90s rose dress
(image from 1stdibs)

The runway makeup also has a rose-centric tendency of late.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2018 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2016 makeup(image from

Dolce & Gabban fall 2015 makeup(image from vogue)

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 makeup
(image from

Finally, D & G's makeup itself serves up a rose bouquet.  One of the inspirations behind the beauty line is Stefano's memories of his mother's rose-scented lipstick:  "The rose was everything to the [fall 2015 fashion] collection, not just because it's the flower you give your mother on Mother's Day, but because Stefano's favorite childhood memory of his own mother is the rose scent of her red lipstick. That's why Dolce & Gabbana's lipsticks are uniquely fragranced."  Additionally, the mauve and pale pink tones of the spring 2016 makeup collection took their cue from a rose garden, and later that year a line of cream blushes called Blush of Roses was introduced.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2016 makeup collection(image from

The spring 2018 highlighter, however, is the first time the rose has been visually represented in the makeup.  While I don't think this is the most unique palette - roses in makeup are nothing new, and D & G might have chosen a more interesting motif that reflects their appreciation of Sicilian culture like the carretto or coins as they did in seasons past (and how cool are these fish?!) - I believe design-wise they did a good job.  The rose looks more like a somewhat abstract illustration rather than a literal image of the flower, lending an artful and sophisticated air.  And I can lose myself in the ever so slightly shimmering pink and fuchsia swirls of the powder.  Would I like to have seen the rose embossed rather than a flat representation?  Maybe, but it's gorgeous as is.  I just wish I could find more comprehensive information on the designers' love of roses.  My theory is that the particular character and significance of the rose changes each season to accommodate whatever theme they've created.  For example, the fall 2015 collection was inspired by maternal love and the roses presented as gifts to mothers, while during the previous season, the flower took on a different meaning to fit the Spanish flair of the collection:  "Carnations and roses are the flowers most symbolic of love that were also thrown into the arena to show admiration and love for the toreador in traditional bullfights," explained Gabbana.  I'm not exactly sure what message they were trying to get across with the rose for spring 2018 (other than general theme of love in the case of the clothing and this rather bland description of the makeup collection: "inspired by a springtime garden in Sicily"), but this is one of those instances where I can let it slide due to the beautiful design of the blush.

What do you think of this palette?  Do you like rose-hued makeup?


Letting the sunshine in with Dolce & Gabbana's Sicilian Bronzer

Sooooooo glad I was able to snag this Dolce & Gabbana bronzer!  As of right now it's sold out everywhere in the U.S. and going for double the retail price on ebay, which I find to be pretty obnoxious.  (It's still available at Harrod's but shipping to the U.S. is steep.) In any case, the colorful design is borrowed from part of D & G's spring/summer 2016 fashion collection, which in turn is based on traditional Sicilian "carrettos" - handmade donkey carts.

I really can't stop staring at it.  So many details!

Dolce & Gabbana summer 2016 bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A closeup of our little lady friend:

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

Here's the bronzer itself, in case you're curious about the shade.  It's #30 (Sunshine).

Dolce & Gabbana The Sicilian Bronzer - summer 2016

A few of the carretto collection pieces made it onto the D & G runway.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016
(images from

But at their website you can see the entire collection, which is way bigger than I thought it would be.  Some of my favorite pieces:

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto(images from

What I loved is that D & G presented a great history of the carretto, so you can tell it was definitely a well thought-out collection.  I don't want to rehash the whole thing, but basically these carts were in use at least as far back as the early 19th century, and typically utilized to transport everyday items like lumber, grains, lemons and wine barrels.  The custom of painting these carts stemmed from several things: a practical solution to help protect the wood from damage, superstition (most carts were adorned with religious figures), and, if they were commercial carts, a way to advertise.  Styles varied from town to town, but all shared bright, vibrant color and patterns. 

Sicilian carretto - wheel(image from wikipedia)

I think I spy mermaids on each side of this one!

Sicilian carretto detail

Sicilian carretto(images from

Nowadays the carts aren't used for anything but tourist attractions, but I'm glad some artisans are still painting and keeping the tradition alive.  (You can also check out this site for another brief history.) 

Sicilian carretto(image from wikipedia)

D & G's passion for Sicily's culture is, as with their coin palettes, made abundantly clear in their description of the carts - I actually found it to be the most informative piece in my online search.  I also appreciated that it's a new spin on an old theme; this is not the first time the company has used the carretto as inspiration.

As we look at some more cart photos, you can see the resemblance between them and D & G's adaptation.  Some of the bags, for example, are  high-fashion versions of traditional Sicilian coffa bags, which typically share their pompom decorations with the horses that pull the carts.  The influence also spread to a pair of flat sandals.

Sicilian carretto
(image from

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016(images from

Meanwhile, the carved figures on the wheel spokes and other areas served as inspiration for the heels. I just wish they had worked in a mermaid somehow!

Carretto wheel / D & G shoes(images from and

D & G's decorative patterns overall look like the interiors and side panels of the carts.  Check out these examples from the Museo Carretto Siciliano in Palermo (yes, there is an entire museum devoted to these carts - actually, there's also a second one!)

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum

Sicilian cart museum(images from

The knights refer to those in Sicilian puppet theater.  Sicily apparently has a medieval/chivalry-themed folk tradition, according to this book, so the theaters and carts share the motif as they are both part of the same history.

Dolce & Gabbana spring/summer 2016 - carretto
(image from

Sicily-puppet-knights(image from

As for the little lady in the center of the bronzer, I'm guessing she's some sort of a queen based on this photo of the Puppet Theatre.  I spy a queen on the left with a crown and red dress, just like the one on the D & G pattern.

Sicilian Puppet Theatre(image from

Incidentally, for the holidays D & G expanded the carretto line to Christmas ornaments, candles, stationery and more recently (and most astonishingly) a collection of 100 hand-painted Smeg refrigerators completed by 8 genuine Sicilian cart artists.  That would add quite a pop to your kitchen!

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerator(image from

Dolce & Gabbana carretto refrigerators(image from

Overall, I am seriously in love with this bronzer.  I always enjoy learning, especially through makeup, about some cultural practice or artist that I wasn't aware of previously.  Plus, so few couture houses' makeup have such a specific connection to their fashion - in the case of Chanel and Dior, it seems rather vague and uninspired as of late, and don't get me started on YSL - their Chinese New Year palettes were not a full comeback.  D & G goes the extra mile to ensure that the makeup collection aligns with the clothes.  (Although I do find it odd that they used the carretto as a springboard for the makeup line, but the model for the beauty collection's promos is wearing the lemon print, also from D & G's summer collection.  Why not wear something from the carretto collection?  Eh, I guess it's not important.)  More than that, the original culture behind the fashion itself appears to be at least somewhat researched.  This is what gets me excited - to see aspects of a particular culture that are celebrated and modernized, and that the designer takes care to explain the history behind their designs.  It's a stark contrast to, ahem, other approaches.

So what do you think of this bronzer and D & G's take on carretto style?

Fall Fracas!! (yup, it's a smackdown.)


Fall leaves can be pretty...but also lethal.  This year multiple brands adopted a foliage theme in advertising and packaging.  So instead of the usual one-on-one match, I had no choice but to create a bracketed competition.  Chanel will be squaring off with Dolce & Gabbana for the best leafy ads, while Catrice will fight Laura Geller to see which one has the most tantalizing foliage design.  The winners of each of those rounds will then duke it out to see who has the top leaf motif in all the (makeup) land.  Settle in folks, this is gonna be epic!

Let's get ready to rummmmbbbblllllle!  *ding ding*

In the right corner we've got some luscious promos for the Les Automnales de Chanel collection.  Chanel's strength lies not only in the very orderly yet artful arrangements of plants and makeup, but also in the variety of the types of botanicals.  Can D & G withstand the onslaught of leaves, flowers, berries and twigs in perfect fall hues?

Chanel fall 2015 makeup

Chanel fall 2015 makeup

  Chanel fall 2015 makeup

Chanel fall 2015 makeup
(images from

Well, let's see.  In the other corner is D & G, whose fall collection promos depict an unexpected melange of red, purple and rose leaves that match the makeup.  Will this unnatural and bold color scheme catch Chanel off guard?  Or are the images too repetitive to pack a good punch?

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

Dolce & Gabbana fall 2015 makeup

In the next ring, we have Catrice's "Fallosophy" 2015 collection up against Laura Geller's Italian Garden set.  Catrice throws a sharp right hook with eye shadows, nail polishes and lipsticks all featuring a sleek leaf illustration.

Catrice fall 2015

Catrice fall 2015

Catrice fall 2015
(images from

Laura Geller's Italian Garden set, a QVC exclusive, contains only one item with a leaf design. 

Laura Geller Italian Garden set

However, what the collection lacks in number it makes up for in the palette's color and detail.  Interlocking leaves in a variety of rich fall colors return a powerful blow to Catrice's monochrome foliage.

Laura Geller - Italian Garden palette
(images from

Who are your bracket picks and the final winner?  Tell me in the comments!

Couture Monday (er, Tuesday*): Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition powders

As I mentioned last week, I gasped rather loudly when I saw these Dolce & Gabbana powders at British Beauty Blogger.  As of this writing they're only available to purchase at Harrod's but hopefully they will be making it stateside soon, as they are at least listed at the official D & G website.

The Collector's Edition powders have a striking red outer case and a beautiful embossed design based on an ancient Greek coin featuring the head of Athena in profile.  In a sad attempt to improve my pictures I dug up one of my old art history books on Greek art and used it as a backdrop. 

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition 2014 palettes

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition palettes

First we have the Illuminator, a pale beige with extremely faint shimmer.  Even in bright sunlight I could barely see it, so I'm not sure how much illuminating it can actually provide.

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Illuminator

And here's the bronzer.  I think the design works better when there's more shimmer as it provides a nicer contrast.

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Bronzer

Dolce & Gabbana Collector's Edition Bronzer


The design is not new for the palette, as it was borrowed from one of the many coins that appeared in D & G's spring 2014 ready-to-wear collection, which was inspired by Sicily's ancient Greek heritage and yet another nod to Dolce's Sicilian roots.  Says one reviewer of their runway show that took place in September 2013, "Today was [D & G's] umpteenth collection drawing on yet another facet of Sicilian culture, in this case the island's interaction with Greece in the ancient world. Sounds kind of academic, but it wasn't. Dolce and Gabbana are designers, after all, not history teachers. So when they used old photographs of ruined amphitheaters as prints, they had a pleasing graphic quality. Ionic columns reproduced as heels on shoes were a flash of wit. So were the gold coins that exploded into chunky prizefighter-like corset belts, especially when those belts gripped delicate dresses petaled with Sicily's almond blossom." 

I thought my head was going to explode when I saw the sheer amount of gold coins sprinkled seemingly everywhere, including, yes, a variety of belts:

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 runway

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

In addition to the earrings all the  models wore, coins also appeared in necklaces:

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Shoes and bags:

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear - shoes

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear - bags

In print form:

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

And sometimes in both metal and print: 

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Coins also mingled with the aforementioned pictures of ancient Greek architecture and ruins, either in print or in belts.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

And one look had the trifecta of a coin belt and print combined with the architectural print.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear

Finally, here is the coin that appears on the palette.

Dolce & Gabbana Athena coin detail

This particular coin was taken from this dress.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 ready-to-wear dress
(images from

Since I'm not familiar with ancient Greek coins and I wanted to know whether D & G's versions had any historical basis I did a little light research online.  Athena was often depicted on currency with a variety of motifs on the reverse side, most commonly an owl since she is the goddess of wisdom. 

Ancient Greek coin with Athena
(image from

I couldn't find any depictions of Athena herself (more specifically, her hair/helmet) that looked to be identical to the one on the powders, nor could I find the little flower-like design on the lower right, but I did come across the inscription, ΚΑΤΑΝΑΙΩΝ.

Ancient coin from Catania
(image from

This refers to the city of Catania, one of the Sicilian cities ruled by ancient Greece.  Based on the coin above that depicts the god Apollo, it looks like D & G might have borrowed the sheaf of wheat he wears in his hair and worked it into their depiction of Athena. (I did not come across any coins from Catania that showed Athena, only Apollo.  This doesn't mean they don't exist, I just didn't see any online).

As a side note, being obsessed with mermaids, I had to figure out what the basis was for the design of another frequently used coin in the collection since it had dolphins and as we all know dolphins and mermaids are the best of friends.  I was able to identify it as a coin associated with another Sicilian city.

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2014 - coin belt detail

ΣΥΡΑΚΟΣΙΩΝ is inscribed on the coin, which translates to Syracuse, also founded by the ancient Greeks.  Their patron sea nymph Arethusa appears on many of these coins, wearing a pearl necklace and surrounded by dolphins.

Coin featuring Arethusa
(image from

As the story goes, she fled to Sicily to escape the pursuit of the river god Alpheus.  So she's not a mermaid but I'm satisfied with the myth regardless.  :)

Getting back to the palettes, I haven't been this dazzled by anything in months.  I love that the design came directly from one of D & G's collections as well as the overall theme of Sicily by way of ancient Greece.  Although the design took some liberties with the motifs found on authentic ancient coins and the coins on both the runway and the palettes are literally the same, I feel as though there was some thought put into it - the company really leveraged the coin design by knowing it would look gorgeous on a palette, and I liked their choice of the Athena-inspired coin.  The sea nymph one would be more appropriate for a summer release, plus mythologically speaking, Arethusa doesn't have quite the same standing as Athena.  And it's unique, since I've never seen a rendering of an ancient coin on makeup.  I just wish there was a third powder in a brilliant shiny silver!

Will you be picking these up should they arrive near you?

*I meant to get this post up yesterday but was completely incapacitated with a migraine. I had most of the post completed over the weekend and was going to put the finishing touches on last night after work, but I felt so bad I basically laid on the couch and didn't move for the rest of the evening.  :(  I would have just waited until next Monday, but I was determined to be the first U.S. blogger to have real-life pictures of these palettes!

Quick post: more déjà vu with Helena Rubinstein

I was doing some research on vintage Helena Rubinstein for an inquiry (more on that later) and came across this 1953 ad for Rubinstein's Stay Long Lipstick in special jeweled cases.  Here's a snippet in case you don't feel like clicking to enlarge:  "Madame Rubinstein wasn't content with just having the gem of all lipsticks - now she also gives STAY-LONG a gem of a case!  Cases that are masterpieces of costume jewelry - slim, golden columns crowned with a simulated but fabulous ruby, emerald, coral, turquoise, topaz or sapphire."

(image from

I managed to find an actual case on Etsy (too bad it's sold.)




Do these lipsticks remind you of anything?  Say, perhaps, Dolce & Gabbana's holiday 2013 Sicilian Jewels collection?



These are proof that for all the packaging innovation the beauty industry has produced over the years, there are still some cosmetic designs that are always appealing.   Faux-jewel encrusted lipstick cases will always make the one using them feel fancy, no?

Do you prefer Helena Rubinstein's rounded gemstone cases or D & G's more modern take?  I honestly can't choose a favorite!

Couture Monday: Bejeweled lipsticks from D & G

It was nice to see Dolce & Gabbana coming up with a more collectible lineup for the holidays.  The Sicilian Jewels collection includes four lipsticks with four corresponding nail polishes.  Now that doesn't sound so interesting, but I'd say that at least one of the lipstick colors breaks new ground.  Plus all four shades are encased in shiny gold with a gem that matches the color inside.

I picked up the ones I thought would be most holiday-exhibition-appropriate:  Topazio (gold), Rubino (red) and Smeraldo (green).  Yes, a green lipstick!






Dolce & Gabbana's creative adviser and makeup artist extraordinnaire Pat McGrath had this to say about the green lipstick:  "I think they’re just fun colors to wear if you go out at night, and then you can just try those crazy blues and greens and that’s a fun really encourages you to wear braver lip tones and to have fun with lipstick."   Eh...I'll need more convincing that green lipstick is actually wearable outside the runway.  (See swatches here and judge for yourself!)  Of course, you could also mimic McGrath's technique of blending it into an otherwise red lip:  "For me, I basically keep it on the center of a red mouth, [blending it a bit to] make it more brown and do the whole ombré thing.  But she also mentions wearing it as eye shadow:  "And, I would definitely wear it on my eyes. I do love lipstick on my eyes — I love the cream color and I think it’s a very nice, rich tone. That, on your eyes, is going to be incredible."  Once again, I don't think this is practical.  A cream-based lipstick, even with an eye shadow primer, isn't going to stay put for long on anyone's lids.  It's a trick best left to the runway.

All that aside, I was immensely fascinated with the novelty of this green lip color.






This isn't the first time D & G has adorned their cases with gems - the Lip Jewels palette from their holiday 2010 collection also utilized the same shape and color of the jewel from this year's Rubino lipstick.


However, while this is more or less a repeated design, I liked that it came on the heels of the designers' fall 2013 runway show.  Says Stefano Gabbana, "I love jewels; they are a symbol of power and passion...I love how they reflect the light: that’s why they have always been part of our collections since the very beginning. We adorn with gems our accessories, our corsetry, everything, like in our latest winter collection, which is the ultimate expression of what jewelry means for us."

Indeed, the Byzantine-inspired collection showcased a plethora of bedazzled frocks and accessories, offset by an ubiquitous use of gold.



(images from

In this instance, I think re-using the jewel motif was acceptable since it ties in to a recent fashion collection.  Plus, as McGrath points out, “Matching your lipstick to your nail lacquer is a hot makeup trend.  We chose four new shades that showcase the theatrical and playful side of looking good: they are so shiny and special that they’ll be a perfect complement to any holiday or New Year outfit.  They can be worn in a young, ironic interpretation or with a more grown-up, sophisticated vibe.  Just like a piece of jewelry.”  So it's evident that some thought was actually put into the collection to make it relevant to both the fashion and to the holiday season, when most folks like to break out glamourous, rich jewel tones for both lips and tips.

What do you think of Sicilian Jewels?  And would you wear green lipstick?  I might give it a shot, but only for a fun night out, obviously - I don't think anyone at work would appreciate it.  ;)

Couture Monday: Lacy redux from D&G

I have a little game for you.  Who wants to play Makeup Museum Curator?   Today you can!

I spotted this new collection from Dolce & Gabbana at Saks's website.  It includes nail polish, lip gloss and mascara all in sexy black lace packaging.


There's also the bronzer, which is identical (except for the outer case) to the previously released Sicilian Lace bronzer.

Dg lace 2012

The older one just had a plain gold case:

Dg lace plain
(images from

Now it's time for you to play Curator.  My question is, do you think I need to procure the newer Sicilian Lace bronzer for the Museum, along with the other items in the collection?  Or do you think the older version in the gold case is good enough?   I'm genuinely up a creek here!  The black lace on the newer version is much fancier and the other lace-topped pieces would round it out nicely, but I do have to consider that the fall collections are arriving and I will need funds for those items - why should I buy something that's virtually the same to an object I already own? 

Won't you weigh in in the comments, please?

Couture Monday: the animal magnetism of D & G

RAWR!  I think this is the makeup equivalent of Dolce & Gabbana's sexy corset dresses and tops.  I will get to the fashion in a sec, but first, some pics of the glorious Animalier bronzer:





With flash:




A couple more gratuitous pics in natural light:



While D & G doesn't exactly have the market completely cornered on leopard print, they definitely make extensive use of it in their clothing.  Here's a smattering from their Fall/Winter 2011/2012 lineup:

Dg leopard dresses

Dg top shoes
(images from

Interestingly, earlier this summer D & G launched a new eyewear line called Animalier, so it makes sense that they would release a leopard print bronzer with the same name.   And they even created a short video for the bronzer, showcasing some of their best leopard print designs:


So, all in all I think they did a good job with this bronzer - leopard print is one of D & G's trademarks.  I am curious to know, however, how it will stack up next to Dior's Mitzah palette (coming to the U.S. in September - brace yourselves for another Museum smackdown!)

Couture Monday: D & G gets all jeweled up

Dolce & Gabbana released a rather blingy palette for the 2010 holiday season.  The Lip Jewels compact features 4 shades for lips enclosed in a ruby jewel-shaped case. 


(image from

So, the eternal question for couture-related makeup items:  what does the design of this palette have to do with the fashion?  Apparently Stefano Gabbana wanted a ruby palette "because the ruby ring is so dear to my heart; it represents so many memories."  Additionally, legendary makeup artist and consultant for D & G The Makeup, had this to say:  “The mouth is such a focal point; Stefano, Domenico and I have always believed that drop dead glamour and innermost sensuality comes from an emphasis on the we really worked hard to come up with the shades that were not just our favorites but every woman’s favorites. The three reds we chose are very luscious, shades I’ve worked with time and again on the runway. I’ve played with them a lot-I’ve mixed them together, used them solo-and have come up with very rich passionate looks. And Nude is so perfect for contrast or a really simple natural look… they’re all just gorgeous… overall stunning.”

So while there is no direct relation between the design of this palette and the actual fashion coming down the runway, at least the makeup colors from this palette were used in the show. 

Anyway, I'm sort of kicking myself for not buying this...when I first saw it I have to say it looked somewhat gaudy and over the top, but now I'm thinking it would have been a really good acquisition for a holiday exhibition.  Sigh.  Another one that got away!