Swan Lake: Polkaros for Guerlain

Easing back into blogging (and spring, hooray!) with this beautiful compact by Guerlain.  In what I'm hoping is a never-ending series of artist collaborations, for their Parure Blanc compact this year the company teamed up with Ros Lee, founder of home decor brand Polkaros.  We'll get to that in a second, but first, let's admire the delicate pair of swans gracing the compact.

Guerlain x Ros Lee (Polkaros)

I absolutely adore the white and pale baby blue hues of the swans, especially with the pops of vibrant orange-red on the their beaks, cheeks and Lee's signature.  It almost looks like they're wearing blush!  The reverse color scheme is genius as well - Lee's graphic design experience definitely shines here.

Guerlain x Ros Lee (Polkaros)

Guerlain x Ros Lee

So who is Ros Lee and what is Polkaros?  Lee comes from quite an interesting background, both personally and professionally.  Born in Singapore into a family of potters, Lee developed a love of art early on and learned pottery skills from her father. After studying graphic design, in 2002 she visited Tokyo to take part in a design festival and was so taken with the city she decided to stay.  In 2005 she won a National Arts Council Takashimaya Scholarship to study art and design there, and the following year entered the Joshibi University of Art and Design.  Majoring in textile design, after graduating Lee landed a job at Tokyo's Accent Corporation as a lifestyle product designer.  Five years later, Lee began working as a consultant/accessories designer for Clinique and decided to start her own line of home goods on the side, and Polkaros was born.  Lee explains why she chose the name: "I hoped that the products I create would carry the same characteristics as the polkadot pattern – happy, cute, classic, timeless and simple. It always amazes me how you can find polkadots everywhere and in many different eras. This may be a bit overly ambitious but I wish that our products would add a bit of childlike fun in every household and last for decades...I find inspiration from old toys, folk art and ethnic cultures. I love to look at the motifs and colors from the past as they tell a story about a certain time and a different way of life."  In looking at her work, I think Lee definitely achieved her goal.  Everything from plates and utensils to vases and planters are brimming with playfulness without being juvenile.  There's also a simplicity that echoes various forms of folk art - nothing fussy, just uncomplicated shapes that emphasize their handmade nature.



Polkaros - fox planters

Two of my favorites are these dessert-inspired vases.  This one is takes its cue from ice kachang, a Singaporean dessert with shaved ice, jelly beans and syrup.


And this one is inspired by Lee's favorite childhood dessert, tang yuan.


Of course, I'm smitten with this holiday mer-lion print, another nod to Lee's Singapore upbringing.

Polkaros merlion

I also want to briefly highlight some other key elements of Polkaros's style.  It's described as "a lifestyle brand that combines influences from Japanese traditional crafts with modern zakka goods."  While I'm unfamiliar with the former - the only Japanese craft I know about is origami - "zakka" was totally foreign to me.  I found that there are entire museum exhibitions devoted to the concept so a full history is well beyond the scope of this blog post, but in a nutshell, zakka is a way of adding beauty to mundane objects.  This site describes it as a "celebration of humble, everyday objects that bring its users great satisfaction. Zakka aren’t antiques, they’re not expensive, they’re not flashy; they’re familiar and timeless."  Needless to say I love this idea and, like hygge, I think I've been embodying it for years without realizing it - particularly when it comes to office supplies.  (Anything to help me cope with the horror of work is welcome; I'm partial to pretty/funny post-it note pads.)  As we've seen, Polkaros takes basic objects such as planters and utensils and makes them aesthetically pleasing through adding charming little faces and/or playful colors.  As for Japanese craft traditions, they are also well-represented in Lee's work.  Take, for example, this wrapping paper filled with craft motifs.


Or these tote bags bags, which are modern interpretations of traditional Japanese patterns.  From the website, I learned that the one on the left is a Kikko tsunagi pattern, which is inspired by the hexagonal scales on a turtle shell, while the one on the right is Uroko-gara, "a scale pattern made of a combination of triangles that is believed to ward off evil."


Meanwhile, the blue pattern is a twist on seigaiha, a traditional blue wave pattern (and, incidentally, one we've seen on a Guerlain piece before), and the yellow one is inspired by Mizuhiki knots:  "Mizuhiki is the art of knotting rice paper cord into a decorative element."


Then there are also these vases inspired by kokeshi dolls.  Again, kokeshi is such a vast topic I couldn't possibly cover it all, but they are wooden Japanese dolls that originated in northern Japan and date back all the way to the Edo period (1600-1868).  All of Polkaros' kokeshi are ceramic and have individual names and descriptions.  This little guy is known as Riku, who "practices martial arts by day and paints at night."


More recently, Lee created a beautiful collection for Hinamatsuri, a.k.a. "dolls' day" or "girls' day" in Japan that occurs annually on March 3.  It's a truly fascinating celebration in which ornamental dolls representing the Emperor, Empress and various assistants and musicians are displayed in a rather elaborate setup of 6-7 platforms.  Typically people display at least the Emperor and Empress, if not the full arrangement.  These are Lee's representations of the royal couple.

Polkaros Hinamatsuri dolls

And this hanging piece is Lee's take on tsurushi-hina, a traditional decoration consisting of handmade dolls and other objects on strings.

Polkaros tsurushi-hina

I'm impressed with Lee's vast knowledge of Japanese cultural traditions and how she infuses them with her signature modern, playful style. Getting back to the Guerlain collab, I'm not sure how it came about.  Guerlain and Clinique are owned by different parent companies, so I doubt Lee's work for Clinique had anything to do with the partnership.  I'm also a little puzzled about the swan motif.  I love it, but am wondering where the inspiration came from and why it was chosen.  I did a little sleuthing at Lee's lovely Instagram page and saw this photo from a trip to New York in 2014.

May 2014

There was also this swan, with the same overall shape and similar facial design (look at that pop of color on the cheek!) from January 2016.  It was captioned simply "a change of pace" (at least, that's what Google translate told me), and it is indeed a more sophisticated departure from Lee's usual style.  So I'm guessing Lee does have a fondness for swans and I assume they were selected as a more elegant motif to better suit Guerlain's image. 

Polkaros - swan
(images from instagram and

While Polkaros's typical aesthetic is certainly delightful, it doesn't seem to align perfectly with the Guerlain brand.  Once again, I'm impressed with how Lee modified her childlike approach while maintaining the sense of whimsy to fit the likes of a high-end French line. 

Overall, this collab gets an A from the curator.  (It would have been an A+ if the powder inside the compact had been embossed with the same swans.) Not only was I introduced to Polkaros's magical world, I learned a lot about traditional Japanese crafts and the concept of zakka, which I now plan on consciously incorporating a little more into my daily life.

What do you think?  And do you prefer Przemek Sobocki's 2017 Guerlain compact over this one?  They're apples and oranges to me - totally different styles but I love both equally.

Poland meets Japan meets France

I spotted this Japan-exclusive Guerlain compact on Instagram and was afraid I wouldn't be able to snag it, but fortunately one of my trusty international sellers got it in stock.  The beautiful floral pattern is the work of Polish-born, Tokyo-based artist Przemek Sobocki.  I find the navy blue outline to perfectly complement the mix of spring green, pale lavender and an array of pinks, especially set against that pristine white background.  The delicate lines within the leaves lend a realistic, vivid touch. 

Przemek Sobocki for Guerlain

Przemek Sobocki for Guerlain

I really wish I had more information about how the collaboration with Guerlain came to be, but in lieu of that I thought I'd take a look at some of the artist's other work.  Sobocki specializes in whimsical, colorful fashion illustrations in a range of areas, from print (magazine features, ads, etc.) and animated shorts and to store displays and packaging.  Of his sources for inspiration and overall style, he says, "Mostly, I am inspired by cinema and books, and I really like 'reality' with a twist – basically 'magical realism' – I think our lives are not only about what we can see or hear or touch or taste, etc., they are also about the reality 'between the lines.' I am very interested in that part of life and of telling stories in this way; to evoke the feeling of suspense.” 

Przemek Sobocki illustration for Manish Arora, 2010

Przemek Sobocki illustration for Harper's Bazaar Japan

Przemek Sobocki illustration for Elle magazine, 2013

Some of my favorites include these amazing store displays for Japan's famous Isetan department store.

Przemek Sobocki store display for Isetan

Another favorite of mine is the "candyland" Sobocki created for online high-end clothing retailer Farfetch - reminds me a little of Will Cotton's pieces.

Przemek Sobocki for Farfetch

Przemek Sobocki for Farfetch

One thing I found interesting about Sobocki's work is that it's primarily a Western style with just a touch of Asian flair.  After opening two exhibitions in Japan, Sobocki knew he was ready to take the plunge into living there; however, he's not as influenced stylistically by Japanese culture as by his native European roots.  It's there, but in his words, not "obvious":  "I feel very comfortable here so the cultural differences [weren't] really much of a problem...there is definitely influence from Oriental culture.  But I guess it's not as obvious as [that of other artists] who live in Asia.  I'm still very inspired by European culture but I absolutely love Asian cinema - so the influence is there for sure!"  I feel as though these jellyfish decorating the windows of a Tokyo salon, along with the underwater scene Sobocki created for a child's bedroom, look a little more Asian - they remind me a tiny bit of the scenes you'd find on Japanese wood block prints.

Przemek Sobocki - window mural for Acqua Salon

Przemek Sobocki - window mural for Acqua Salon

Przemek Sobocki - wall mural

Just for fun, I had to include his rendering of the famous Copenhagen mermaid statue for a Farfetch campaign.  ;)

Przemek Sobocki - illustration for Farfetch(images from and instagram)

While his clients are primarily fashion brands, Sobocki is no stranger to beauty-related illustration.  I adore his interpretation of several looks created by the ultra-talented Pat McGrath for Dior.

Przemek Sobocki - editorial illustration
(image from

Here's the actual makeup.

Pat McGrath makeup for Dior

A few more:

Przemek Sobocki - editorial illustration(images from and

Przemek Sobocki - editorial illustration
(images from and pinterest)

There was also this collaboration for a nail polish set.

Przemek Sobocki - UNT nail polish set(image from

Despite his extensive portfolio of store displays and advertising campaigns, Sobocki maintains that illustration is his preferred medium because of the artistic freedom it provides. "[Illustrators] can show things differently. They are not bound by the physical limitations of their environment or the models in the same way that a photographer might be.  Instead, an illustration artist can bend the rules a bit and really explore the concept behind the clothes," he explains

Overall, while I would have liked to see more information about how the Guerlain collaboration happened and the inspiration behind the compact's illustration, it's definitely Museum-worthy.  I must remember to include it in next year's spring exhibition, since it arrived too late for inclusion in this year's.


Pure prettiness: Guerlain holiday 2015

Let's kick off the holiday season with some Guerlain gorgeousness!  I just hope this brief post make sense, as I'm completely doped up on cold medicine at the moment.  :(  Anyway, this year Guerlain decided to house their best-selling Météorites highlighter (or "ballz", as we affectionately call it at MUA) in a beautiful snow globe-esque dome.  While it's made of plastic, the snowy ombre effect, gold center engraved with wintry motifs and the delicate pattern encircling the middle elevate this piece to collectible status.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

Inside is even more of a treat - a scattering of "snowflakes" (star-shaped bits) were added to the usual round particles.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

The pattern on the inside of the box was another delightful design touch.

Guerlain holiday 2015 Météorites

I couldn't resist the lipstick, which is adorned with the same pretty pattern.

Guerlain holiday 2015 lipstick

Guerlain holiday 2015 lipstick

These will look great in the Museum's holiday 2015/winter 2016 exhibition, so I'm pleased.  What do you think of Guerlain's holiday offerings?

Into the fold: Guerlain Poudre de Soie

Ah, e-bay, what would I do without you?  Guerlain's Poudre de Soir highlighting powder was not available in the U.S., so I was very happy to see it pop up on e-bay.  Initially I was not bowled over by the pinwheel design, but as I looked closer I realized this wasn't any old pinwheel but one that was rendered to resemble a delicate piece of origami.  And I knew I HAD to own it then.

Guerlain Poudre de Soir

I also liked the pattern of semi-circles in the background, which, as Lizzy at So Lonely in Gorgeous explained, is called Seigaiha, a traditional Japanese pattern of stylized waves.  If you look closely, it looks like there's also an asanoha pattern on two of the ends of the pinwheel - a star-shaped pattern named for the hemp plant (asa).

Guerlain Poudre de Soir

Unfortunately I couldn't dig up any cultural significance for the pinwheel in Japan so I was scratching my head as to why Guerlain chose this particular motif.  The item description claims that it's a "sculpted silk bow" that was "inspired by the most beautiful Asian fabrics and the ancestral art of origami."  I don't know about you, but I see a pinwheel, not a bow!

Anyway, in lieu of figuring out the exact inspiration for this piece, I thought I'd share some really cool origami that I came across recently.  Did you know there's a whole origami technique called wet folding?  It was pioneered by Akira Yoshizawa (1911-2005), one of the best-known origamists in the world (yes, "origamist" is a word, no matter what spell check says!)  It's basically what it sounds like, although a sturdier paper is used:  the artist applies varying amounts water to the paper during the folding process to yield a mix of soft, curving lines and the usual sharper, creased angles by keeping those parts dry.  About a month ago Colossal featured some new pieces by  Hoang Tien Quyet, who uses a wet folding technique to create all sorts of shapes.  As the article notes, wet folding "gives the paper works a more realistic appearance, adds a rounded quality to the origami, and allows it to appear malleable even though the pieces dry into hardened forms."  What Quyet was able to accomplish using this technique is remarkably inventive. 

Hoang Tien Quyet - foxes

Hoang Tien Quyet - rooster

Hoang Tien Quyet - unicorn

My favorites were the sea creatures - would love to see his take on an octopus or jellyfish!  Or a mermaid...he made a unicorn so it's not entirely inconceivable. 

Hoang Tien Quyet - whale

Hoang Tien Quyet - seahorse
(images from and

And that's your dose of art for the day.  :)

What do you think of the Guerlain highlighter?  And have you ever done origami?  I tried when I was little and I was awful at it, but I loved all the colorful paper.  And if anyone knows the meaning of pinwheels in Japanese culture or any other Asian cultures, I'm all ears.

Get cherubic cheeks with Guerlain's Angelic Radiance Météorites

I'm still here...just been pretty sad and work's been kicking my ass.  The snow we had yesterday on the first day of spring was particularly cruel and depressing.  So today I'm hoping to perk myself up a bit by posting about more spring goodies. 

I thought this past holiday season was the peak of angel-themed items, but Guerlain's Angelic Radiance Météorites proved me wrong.  The design is a departure from previous Météorites as they've got a delicate paper lid, and instead of a pattern there's a scene of two cherubs frolicking among some foliage.  Usually I like a sturdier lid since paper is more prone to damage long-term, but in this case I think it works well combined with the illustration and the soft pink tones.  It also makes me a little hungry - I think a larger version of the box would be perfect for macaron packaging.  :)

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

Guerlain spring 2015 Météorites

I've written about cherubs before and gave some examples of them in Renaissance art, but the ornate decorations on the Guerlain box look more like they were inspired by 17th century art rather than the Renaissance.  I poked around online to see if I could find anything similar and came across the work of engraver Jean Lepautre (1618-1682), whose work, I think, is reminiscent of the Guerlain container.   This site has a concise description of Lepautre:  "[He] has been described as the most important ornament engraver of the 17th century. His prodigious output extended to more than 2000 prints, mostly from his own original designs.  He was not only the originator of the grandiose Louis XIV style but was also responsible for disseminating and popularizing its full lavish repertoire throughout Europe. Le Pautre's often over-elaborate and flamboyant designs frequently included arabesques, grotesques and cartouches, together with elements from classical mythology.  His diverse range of subject matter, influenced by his carpentry/joinery architectural background, included: friezes, wallpaper, alcoves, fireplaces, furniture, murals, ceiling mouldings, fountains and grottoes."

In 1751 Charles-Antoine Jombert produced a 3-volume series of Lepautre's work, and astonishingly enough, the University of Heidelberg digitized the entire thing and made it available to the public. I went through each image and picked out what I thought most resembled the Météorites case.

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornament engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Admittedly I chose this one not just because of the angels but because there seems to be mermaid angels in the bottom panel!

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

I tried to get some more close-up images so you could see the similarities between these engravings and the Guerlain box - the etch marks, the lines of the foliage, even the cherubs' hair are nearly the same.

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre

Work by 17th century ornamental engraver Jean Lepautre
(images from

I wonder whether this is just a coincidence or if the design team at Guerlain had been looking at Lepautre.  I'm also curious as to why they decided to do a scene featuring angels as I didn't think cherubs were a Guerlain motif.  As it turns out, angels appeared on a Guerlain powder container from 1918.  The Poudre aux Ballons were scented with various Guerlain fragrances.  (For the record, this is officially on my wishlist - I hope I can track one down!  I also just remembered that I've come across the Poudre aux Ballons before.)

Guerlain Poudre aux Ballons, 1918

Guerlain Poudre aux Ballons
(images from

You may recall that balloons were used in last year's spring promo image (more about that in a future post.) 

Anyway, while I can't say definitively that Guerlain's latest release is in any way inspired by 17th century ornament engravings, it at least caused me to discover an artist that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.  And I really like the Météorites packaging - so feminine and springy and French.  It may not be as sleek and sophisticated, as, say, the Impériale Météorites (holiday 2009) or the 2012 Pucci collection, but I think it's a refreshing change from what they normally do.

What do you think? 

Walk on golden earth with the Guerlain Terra Ora collection

Guerlain served up a heaping helping of bronze goodness this season.  Here's the Terra Ora collection description from the press release:  "The Terra Ora collection draws its essence from an era of magnificence. The elegance of antiquity stands the test of time with its splendour and aura intact. An ode to gold. With dazzling radiance, Terra Ora bronzing powder and the precious Météorites Perles primer adorn the skin in a warm, divine-like light, giving women the appearance of a modern vestal goddess. Skin kissed by the summer sun is beautifully enhanced." 

The star of the collection is the Terra Ora bronzing powder, outfitted in a substantial wooden case with gold lettering and a magnetic closure.


I was strangely fascinated with the pattern in the wood.


The bronzing powder is embossed with a chain pattern radiating out from the center, with the Guerlain "G" positioned just off to the right and swirled about on top of the chains.





A nice little detail was the chain pattern repeating on the inside of the box.


So what about those chains?  The Terra Ora bronzer design "revisits the jewelled chains worn by vestal goddesses."  I think Guerlain did a nice job tying in the compact's pattern to the imagery in the promo ad.  Not only is the model wearing a chained bracelet and fastenings, she looks quite goddess-y between her golden headband, white dress, and the halo decoration in the back, and of course the gorgeous (albeit photoshopped) glowing skin. 

(image from

While I couldn't find any examples of any sort of jewelry worn by either ancient Roman vestal virgins or the goddess Vesta, whose temple the virgins were charged with protecting, I did find this 19th century drawing of a chain necklace found at Pompeii.

(image from

Here are some other examples of ancient Roman gold chains.  Necklaces from the 4th century AD (click to enlarge so you can see the chainwork, particularly on the one in the middle with the green glass):

(image from

This one with emerald from the 2nd century AD:

(image from

And this one from the 3rd century A.D.:

(image from

Guerlain's description might have benefited from being more vague than it is currently.  I think referring to ancient Roman jewelry in general might have been more appropriate than suggesting a specific Roman goddess or her worshippers (let me tell you, I spent a good chunk of time searching for vestal virgin/goddess jewelry, and there is none!)  Having said that, there are many more examples of ancient Roman gold chained jewelry where these came from, so Guerlain wasn't totally off  base. 

I still think this piece, with its chain detailing and wooden case, is slightly more special than the other compact in the Terra Ora collection: 

(image from

I didn't buy it but I am tempted because it's so summery - a sun motif that's reminiscent of ancient Roman mosaics, perhaps? 

While it's not my favorite offering from Guerlain, I thought they did a good job linking (haha) the chain design to the press release description and promo image they cooked up.  It's certainly evocative of ancient cultures and the goddesses that starred in them.  Now I'm seized with the urge to book a trip to Rome and spend a sunny day walking amongst the ruins. 

What do you think?

Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past: Guerlain Forever Gold

Do you remember last year when I started the series I call Ghosts of Christmas Makeup Past?  Well, it's back this year!  Although this year's series will consist only of 2 posts rather than an entire week's worth. 

Today I want to take a brief look at Guerlain's 2007 collection called Forever Gold. There wasn't a backstory for this as there was for some of Guerlain's other holiday collections (Les Ors, Impériales), but the packaging was quite extravagant.  Gold with a subtle sprinkling of dotted white stars perfectly represents holiday glamour and luxury.

There was the Forever Gold powder housed in a fancy perfume bottle complete with atomizer, which provided a delicate dusting of fine golden shimmer to hair and face, as well as lipstick and a gold mascara.


There was also this lovely highlighting compact.

(images from

But the item that called to me the most was the Météorites Perles in Gold Temptation.  The packaging for this looks more coppery to my eye.  But why split hairs?  It's so pretty!



For the life of me I couldn't get the lid off the container so I haven't included photos of the actual highlighting pearls, but I think they are silver and gold.

Overall I don't think this was Guerlain's most exciting holiday collection, but it certainly was very luxe and an excellent addition to a holiday exhibition. 

No seashells by the seashore for me

File these shell-shaped makeup items under the ones that got away.  First up:  Guerlain Terracotta Pearly Shell bronzer from their 2009 Summer Splash collection.  I have no idea how I missed this beauty!

(image from

According to the press release, this and other items in the collection were inspired by "Akoya, the most famous seashell from Tahiti."  While the inspiration may be Tahitian, the perfectly rendered swirl pattern and the crispness of the ridges therein call to mind these magnificently detailed Egyptian shell illustrations completed from 1809-1817 under Napoleon 1:

Napoleon shells(image from

Second, to add insult to injury, this season I have been trying to track down Wet 'n' Wild Beach Bombshell bronzers for months with no luck.  I've looked online as well as in easily 10 drugstores in several different states, and I can't find them anywhere!  These bronzers are housed in a round compact and are shaped like a seashell with a little starfish peeking out the back.  Stock photos aren't available but you can check out real-life pics at Killer Lip Gloss.  While not nearly as lovely as Guerlain's powder, they'd still make a nice contribution to a summer exhibition, or even a small special exhibition on shells in makeup.

I'm off to add these to my "impossible to find" wishlist. Hmmph.

A pair of international beauty exhibitions

Some very exciting beauty-related exhibitions have been cropping up!  First up, Shiseido had a two-day exhibition in honor of its 140th (!!) anniversary at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris this past weekend.  The exhibition is called Un Trait Plus Loin ("A Streak Further", I think) and features beautifully designed ads from a range of time periods. 

A few highlights:

Shiseido 2012

(images from, and

They hung some of the ads from lanterns, which is unique but doesn't necessarily allow a close look. 

(image from

In conjunction with their anniversary, Shiseido is selling a limited-edition bottle of its Eudermine facial lotion with the original design from 1897.  And if you buy that, you'll also receive limited-edition blotting papers designed by Ayao Yamana, "a legendary Shiseido designer from the 60s and 70s."  I must admit I am tempted!

While I do love me some vintage makeup ads, there was an exhibition in Hong Kong that sounded even more amazing.  "An Ode to the Complexion: The Art of Skincare and Beauty Objects from the 18th Century to the Present", devoted to Guerlain items and other treasures, opened at shopping mall Pacific Place on May 23rd.  It was brought to my attention by my mother, who tore out the ad for it she spotted in a travel magazine during her recent two-week trip to China and Hong Kong.  How fortuitous!  I don't think I ever would have known about it otherwise and it just happened to be going on while she was there (unfortunately she didn't have time to check it out).

(click to enlarge)


What's really awesome about this exhibition is that it offered makeup demonstrations to recreate looks from the different decades of the 20th century.  Such a great idea, I will definitely steal it. :)

Most of the items were powder boxes and compacts, and belong to two French collectors, Anne Camilli and Jean-Marie Martin Hattemberg (Hattemberg is the author of Lips of Luxury).

Guerlain bird compact

Guerlain powder

Guerlain compact bronze
(images from

Guerlain compact

Guerlain La-Poudre-aux-Ballons-
(images from

Some real-life pictures.  Not to toot my own horn, but I think the labels I create for my exhibitions are a little more informative and visually appealing. 


Météorites!  I'm pleased to say I own one of these: the black, crystal-encrusted Perles Impériales on the right in the middle row.  I also recognize the bee-adorned Perles d'Or in the same row on the left. 

Guerlain exhibit meteorites
(images from

I'm a little shocked at the care for these objects, or lack thereof.  I can't be 100% sure from the pictures, but it looks like there are no protectors on top of the open powders, thereby exposing them to dust.  The horror!  I mean, I don't put the plastic coverings on top of my items since they're only open for a few minutes while I photograph them for exhibitions, but if my items were to be in an official exhibition sitting out for days or weeks, I would demand some type of clear covering so as to protect the powder.

The exhibition also included lipsticks.  It's an interesting way to display them - I always have the lipsticks upright in my exhibitions, but to have them all laying down in neat little rows is a good way to do it too.

Guerlain exhibit
(image from

As you can imagine, I was really excited about these two exhibitions.  I hope to see more of them, and maybe they will be in the U.S. so I might actually have a chance of seeing them!  And of course, maybe curate a few of my own exhibitions.  :)

Couture Monday: Pucci for Guerlain, take 2

Guerlain collaborated with fashion brand Pucci for the cosmetics company's spring 2007 collection.  Five years later, the two teamed up again to give us the Bella Azura summer collection.  I think Guerlain's press release did a nice job of describing the collection:  "'Guerlain by Emilio Pucci' embodies the union of two prestigious Houses in perfect synergy. This exceptional makeup collaboration draws its inspiration from summertime in the Italian Riviera, with its light-hearted and energetic 'dolce vita' attitude that welcomes the warm, sea weather. Created by Guerlain Creative Director, Olivier Echaudemaison, and Pucci’s Image Director, Laudomia Pucci, the collection embraces summer with delightfully sunny shades and vibrant bursts of color. The common thread of this second collaboration is a motif inspired by an iconic print, 'Winter Capri', taken from the Emilio Pucci archives. Exclusively retouched for this collection, this signature print, a blue flower interlaced with swirls and flames, adds a joyful and elegant Pucci touch to the Guerlain summer products."

I picked up two items:  perennial highlighting fave Météorites and the powder brush. 

Guerlain did a great job putting different parts of the print on the sides of the Météorites box.




Interestingly, the sides of the container are plain blue - the 2007 Météorites container had the print on the sides as well as the top.


With flash:


Here is the blue-tipped brush, complete with its own Pucci-printed carrying case.



There was another collectible item that the Museum, sadly, did not have the funds to purchase (I suppose I could have, but that would have meant not buying other necessary summer 2012 items):  the Bronzing Powder & Blush.  The shiny wood case was supposed to be reminiscent of yacht paneling.  "The star of the collection, this exquisite powder and blush combines two success stories: Guerlain’s legendary Terracotta powder and Emilio Pucci’s iconic prints. The world of beauty and fashion unite in a single case to beautifully enhance the complexion. Half bronzer and half blush, this hybrid powder has a lightweight formula and offers a universal harmony of four shades. The outer case pays tribute to the paneling of a Riva yacht with an ebony-colored varnished wood. Presented in an accessory pouch printed with the Pucci motif, this is the ultimate summery accessory."  

(image from

I didn't buy it because it was the most expensive of the three items shown here, and I think the Météorites is always the "star" of any Guerlain collection, no matter what the ad copy says.  Still, it's a gorgeous piece and if I didn't have to sacrifice buying something else, I would have gotten it.

Anyway, let's talk a little about the "Winter Capri" print.  I couldn't really find anything on the history of it - the design process used by Pucci to create it, how it was used previously, etc.  I do know that it still exists today in scarf form:

Pucci capri scarves
(images from and

I searched through many runway archives to see if it had been used there, and sure enough, it made an appearance in the fall 2010 collection.

Pucci fall 2010
(images from

I think it works better in the bright blue and aqua hues in the Guerlain collaboration, but it was very interesting to see it take a darker turn for a fall collection.  Other than this example and the scarves I was unable to turn up anything else on the print.  I do wonder why Pucci decided to resurrect it for this particular collection, although I'm happy they were using an actual Pucci print.  For the 2007  collaboration Guerlain came up with a new, "Pucci-inspired" print, which I did find a little odd (although very pretty) - why not just use an existing one?  In any case, I'm enjoying the 2012 collaboration more than their previous one.  I find the print more appealing, and I like that it was a unique one from the archives that hadn't been done to death.

Do you like this collection?  And are you a Pucci fan?