Look here: vintage lipstick mirrors

As with lipstick holders and tissues, another piece of makeup ephemera has seem to gone nearly extinct:  the built-in lipstick mirror.  Sure, there are still some run-of-the-mill fabric and leather lipstick cases with mirrors inside, and some contemporary companies have recycled the basic designs, but no current lipstick mirrors are as novel as their vintage counterparts.  Today I'll take a look (haha) at the various vintage contraptions and mechanisms that allowed for a quick lipstick touch-up.  As usual this exploration is not intended to be a comprehensive history of lipstick mirrors, but a brief overview and theories as to why they have mostly disappeared from the beauty milieu as well as the reasons they were even produced in the first place.

The simplest design consisted of a mirrored tube, favored by the likes of Avon and Flame-Glo.

Vintage Avon mirrored lipstick tube
(image from etsy.com)

Flame Glo mirro-matic ad, July 1959

The second most basic and inexpensive option was the humble lipstick clip, which attached directly to the lipstick tube.  The adjustable design meant that it could fit virtually any tube and was easily removable. 

C-lip lipstick mirror ad, September 1946

C-Lip lipstick mirror clip on advertisement, July 1947

Vintage Lip Vue lipstick mirror clip on(image from ebay.com)

Coty24 ad, Feb. 13, 1957

I purchased a couple of these clips for the Museum's collection.  Here we have the "Looky" mirror, which was patented in 1957, and Compliments, which most likely dates to around the same time.

Vintage Looky and Compliments lipstick mirrors

Vintage Looky and Compliments lipstick mirrors

The only design flaw with these types of mirrored tubes and clip-on mirrors was that they would be easily smudged since the mirror was exposed.  Enter the folding lipstick mirror and clip!  Elizabeth Arden's Rolling Mirror lipstick debuted in 1959, and while I couldn't find an exact date for Stratton LipViews, they probably were released around the same time and continued to be sold until the early '90s.

Elizabeth Arden Rolling Mirror lipstick ad, Dec. 1960


Elizabeth Arden Golden Rolling lipstick mirror ad, Dec. 1960

Stratton lipview

Stratton lipview
(images from etsy.com)

Avon also made a far less elegant plastic version.

Avon clip on lip mirror

The mirror could also be protected from smudges and scratches via a sliding mechanism instead of a folding one, as shown in this fan-shaped Stratton lipstick holder.

Vintage fan-shaped Stratton lipstick mirror

Stratton fan-shaped lipstick mirror

These next few will put a spring in your step.  Spring-loaded, sliding cases in which the mirror popped up when the lipstick was opened were also quite popular.  Shown here is Volupté's Lip Look, which dates to 1949-1950.  Elgin, Elizabeth Arden and Kotler and Kolpit offered similar cases.

Vintage Volupté Lip Look lipstick mirror

Vintage Volupté Lip Look lipstick mirror

Elizabeth Arden "Looking Glass" lipstick ad 1936


Elgin lipstick mirror ad, Dec. 1953

Vintage Stratton lipstick mirror

Given how many came up in my search for lipstick mirrors at Ebay and Etsy, it appears that the most widely available model of the spring-loaded variety of lipstick mirrors was a silver carved case accented by gemstones.  They're unmarked, meaning no particular company patented the design and choice of metal.  I believe they were mostly sold in department and jewelry stores.

Vintage sliding case lipstick mirror

Vintage sliding case lipstick mirror
(images from etsy.com)

Despite the silver cases' ubiquity, I'd say the most recognized name-brand spring-loaded lipstick mirror was Max Factor's Hi-Society, which was heavily advertised from their debut in 1958 through approximately 1965.

Max Factor Hi-Society lipstick ad, 1959

You might remember I featured these in the Museum's holiday 2016 exhibition.  I'm still hunting down all the designs, which actually isn't difficult given how many the company produced. 

Max Factor Hi-Society lipstick cases

Max Factor Hi-Society lipstick case ad, 1959

Max Factor Hi-Society lipstick cases


Next up is a more complex version of the folding mirror.  Instead of a tube clip, this was an entire folding hand mirror with the lipstick hidden within the handle.  Here's an unmarked, super blingy version.  Stratton also made a bunch.

vintage folding lipstick mirror

folding lipstick mirror ad, May 1, 1953

Here are some rather dainty petit point and floral versions by Schildkraut.

Vintage Schildkraut folding lipstick mirror

Vintage Schildkraut folding lipstick mirror
(images from ebay.com)

Vintage Schildkraut folding lipstick mirror
(images from ebay.com)

Schildkraut's represent possibly the earliest form of lipstick mirrors, judging from the patent.


The folding model's popularity continued well into the 1960s, as evidenced by Kigu's "Flipette".

Kigu Flipette lipstick

Kigu Flipette lipstick

Kigu Flipette lipstick
(images from etsy.com)

Kigu Flippette lipstick ad, 1964
(image from vintage-compacts.com)

Finally, there are the handle inserts.  This item from Revlon would appear to be a regular hand mirror, but the lipstick is cleverly hidden in the handle.  It was introduced in 1950 as the "biggest news in lipsticks since swivels were born".  How very exciting.

Vintage Revlon lipstick mirror/wand

Vintage Revlon lipstick mirror/wand

Revlon lipstick mirror ad, March 1950

Of course, Max Factor upped the design ante with their "Doll Set" lipsticks, which were introduced in 1967.

Max Factor doll lipstick ad, 1967

Max Factor doll lipstick

Max Factor doll lipstick
(images from pinterest)

Now that we have a good sense of the types of mirrors that were available, let's spend a little time thinking about why they were made, or at least, why the advertising claimed they were the greatest things since sliced bread.  The first reason built-in lipstick mirrors were a necessity - again, according to the advertising at the time - was the ease provided by a fused lipstick and mirror.  Presumably women who wore lipstick also would have also carried around mirrored powder compacts, which could be used for lipstick touch-ups.  Fumbling around in your purse for a mirrored compact when you just needed to touch up your lips and not your face powder, apparently, was too difficult to handle on a regular basis.  As this 1935 newspaper blurb states, "Keeping lipstick and mirror together is the biggest trouble."  Oh, the horror!  (Bonus points for the blatant racism at the beginning of the piece.) 

Detroit Free Press, Aug 13, 1935

Such a "harrowing experience" to not be able to find a mirror!

Volupte Lip-look ad, Oct. 1, 1949

The second reason was that the lack of digging around for a mirror meant lipstick could be applied more discreetly, you know, for "when you want to sneak a look while the boyfriend's back is turned." (More bonus points for the weight/food shaming piece below the lipstick article.)  Much like lipstick tissues, lipstick mirrors were meant to be used to avoid an etiquette faux pas.

The Atlanta Constitution, Oct. 4, 1939

This 1940 column takes the idea of discretion a step further.  As we've seen time and time again, a woman's makeup habits are dictated by what men think.  "We suspect that the bold-face manner of applying lipstick is due for a set-back as a table pastime.  Recently we heard more than one rumor that men are expressing a dislike for the practice.  And it is a smeary, messy looking operation for a beloved with his own dreams about a natural beauty.  Better keep him, if not guessing, then not too much in-the-know about your coloring source."  Heaven forbid a man actually see a woman mend her lipstick!  Ladies, please keep your silly frivolous face painting to yourself so as not to ruin TEH MENZ' unrealistic expectations of so-called natural beauty.  I can't roll my eyes hard enough. 

NY Daily News, Feb. 23, 1940

Thirdly, one can't be seen with a beat-up compact.  Women should always present the prettiest possible cosmetic cases when in public.  Seriously though, at least this 1956 clip is straightforward in proclaiming that a lipstick mirror is merely aesthetically pleasing instead of a necessary accessory in the battles against flaunting your makeup application and a messy purse in which no separate mirror can be easily unearthed.  Just a little dose of "extra glamour".

The Journal News, Feb. 10, 1956

And of course, let's not forget that as part of their goal of making a healthy profit, beauty companies are forever trying to invent another superfluous gadget or product and declaring it the next must-have.  Perhaps lipstick mirrors were the mid-century version of vibrating mascaras.  In any case, despite the lack of popularity for the built-in lipstick mirror as well as the cynicism of modern-day makeup wearers like myself, several brands forged ahead with attempting to resurrect the lipstick mirror over the past 20 years or so.

In late 1999, with much fanfare, Givenchy introduced their Rouge Miroir lipstick designed by by sculptor Pablo Reinoso. Reinoso became Givenchy's Artistic Director for their fragrance and beauty line shortly after the lipsticks' release. 

The March 2000 issue of Vibe magazine proclaimed the sleek, futuristic design to be the height of convenience: "No more knives or rearview mirrors".  Wait, who uses a knife to apply lipstick?!

Givenchy Rouge Miroir
(image from amazon.com)

A year or two later, Estée Lauder launched their Pure Color lipstick line.  I believe these mirrored cases came out in the mid-2000s when Pure Color lipsticks were at their height.

Estée Lauder Pure Color lipstick
(image from amazon.com)

Some more recent examples I found include this mirrored tube from Kailijumei, a brand best known for their "flower jelly" lipsticks. 

(image from kailijumei.com)

Guerlain's Rouge G series was introduced in the spring of 2018 and comes in a variety of collectible cases (and, duh, I'm working on acquiring them all).  The mechanism is similar to Stratton's in that they won't close unless there's a lipstick bullet inside.  While practical, it makes for quite the hassle to take photos of the cases only as they keep popping open.  I have to tape them closed, which is a less expensive option than buying lipstick bullets to go in each case.

Guerlain Rouge G

Guerlain Rouge G open

Finally, I spotted this folding lipstick mirror from J-beauty brand Creer Beaute, which was included in their 2018 Sailor Moon-themed collection.

Creer beauty sailor neptune

Creer Beauty Sailor Neptune folding lipstick mirror
(images from alphabeauty.net)

Still, these designs are not nearly as common as their predecessors from the early-mid 20th century.  Why did the popularity of the built-in lipstick mirror fade over time?  One theory is that lipstick packaging with built-in mirrors is more expensive than non-mirrored packaging, and therefore, not as appealing to consumers.  Guerlain's Rouge Gs, for example, cost $55 ($33 for the bullet and $22 for case) while their KissKiss lipsticks are priced at $37.  Going further back in time, Elgin's spring-loaded mirrored case by itself was $5.50, while the price of an average lipstick was $1.10.  Why pay for a mirrored lipstick case if you (most likely) already have another mirror available?  Yes, you might have to dig around in your purse a bit, but at least it won't be lighter for having spent money on a lipstick/mirror combo.  This theory could also explain why clip-on mirrors were seemingly everywhere, as they were the cheaper route to fusing lipstick and mirror. 

Another theory for the continuing disinterest in built-in lipstick mirrors could be that for the last 5-10 years there's been increasing demand for less, or at least recyclable, packaging.  While some higher-end brands are refillable, most lipsticks sold with a built-in mirror don't appear to have a refill option, and consumers may be less likely to buy a mirrored lipstick tube knowing yet another packaging component will eventually end up in the ocean.  Plus, while the new designs are relatively slim, they're still bulkier than lipsticks without built-in mirrors.  The majority of beauty consumers, myself included, don't want anything taking up more room in their purse or makeup bag. 

Finally, I believe beauty consumers are savvier than they were in the early days of the industry and are less susceptible to marketing and gadgets.  A built-in lipstick mirror may have been considered revolutionary in the '40s because swivel tube lipstick had been invented just a few decades prior, but by the '70s these mirrors may have seemed old hat.  So certainly by the 21st century we know these designs are not truly a breakthrough, nor are they anything that would be considered a necessity.  I featured no fewer than 6 Kailijumei lipsticks in the Museum's spring 2017 rainbow-themed exhibition, and just now noticed there were mirrors on the tubes.  The fact that the mirror didn't even register with me, a person who enjoys re-applying her makeup and has spent countless hours poring over product packaging, until now when I'm actually discussing lipstick mirrors shows just how unnecessary a built-in lipstick mirror is.  And again, the majority of beauty consumers is likely to be carrying a compact mirror anyway, rendering a lipstick with a built-in mirror redundant.  We also know that makeup companies update older designs and market them differently to see what sticks.  To cite Guerlain's Rouge G, the description at the website highlights how the user can select both the color and case to suit their individual taste.  "Every woman is unique...choose your lipstick from a wide range of shades to match your look: from the most nude to the most extravagant.  Choose your case from an array of styles – from the most timeless to the most trendy".  Rouge G has the same basic mechanism as the spring-loaded lipsticks of yore - it's especially similar to Max Factor's Hi-Society with the array of designs - but the marketing focuses on the customizable aspects (a concept that has spiked in popularity over the last two or so years...I've been meaning to write something about the craze for name engraving/customization) rather than the newness and convenience of a dedicated lipstick mirror.

What do you think of the built-in lipstick mirror?  Would you consider it a must-have?  While I certainly appreciate the aesthetics, it's nowhere near a necessity for me.

Worlds of swirl: Kathryn Beals for Laura Mercier

As soon as I laid eyes on the mesmerizing swirls of this Laura Mercier bronzing compact I knew it was a Museum must-have.  Only when I visited their website to find the official name of the compact for the summer exhibition label did I discover that this beauty was the work of California-based artist Kathryn Beals

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer

I was hypnotized by the marbleized pattern well as the color scheme of celestial blues with ribbons of gold. 

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer

I believe the bronzer is a cream formula so it began "sweating" a bit when I placed it the windowsill to take photos. 

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer

Beals, a self-taught artist raised in British Columbia, is a third-generation painter who began selling her artwork at the age of 13.  Her love of the outdoors led her to pursue a career in forestry studying aspen trees.  She eventually switched to painting full-time, and both her professional background and camping adventures in the Northwest made landscapes her primary subject matter. 

Kathryn Beals, Death Valley Superbloom

Her technique changed in 2017, when she discovered "fluid pouring" in which streams of variously colored acrylic paint are poured onto a canvas to form abstract, yet organic-looking, imagery. "[I] immediately fell in love with the way fluid paintings come out looking like something in nature; from cells to rocks to aerial photos to galaxies," she says. In this way they function sort of as nature's inkblots in that the finished product can resemble different natural phenomena to different viewers: one might see a night sky or geological formation while another sees a microscopic organism or ocean waves, or it could be all of these simultaneously. Beals also credits her grapheme color synesthesia - meaning she sees words and numbers in color - and migraine auras as key influences on the patterns she creates.

Kathryn Beals, Pink and Yellow

Kathryn Beals, Ocean Colors

Beals began experimenting with incorporating metallic leaf into her abstract works to add a bit of structure and sheen to them. She pioneered a unique metal leafing technique by using liquid adhesive to outline natural details (trees, rivers, etc.) and applying gold, silver or copper leaf on top. The paintings are then topped off with a layer of shiny resin for a reflective, three-dimensional effect. Earlier this year she launched her own online course to train other artists in this technique. All of Beals' series are based on nature - riverbeds, forests, and glaciers seem to be her favorite sources of inspiration.

Kathryn Beals, Gold and Sunrise

Kathryn Beals, Gold Aurora Borealis

Kathryn Beals, Glacier series 2

Kathryn Beals, Glacier series 2 detail

Kathryn Beals, Riverbed series 7

Kathryn Beals, Riverbed series 11 - green geode

Kathryn Beals, Riverbed series 6

Kathryn Beals, Riverbed series 6 detail

To give you a better sense of Beals' process I've included this video. I love how it combines a slightly haphazard technique (acrylic pouring) with a more intricate one (metal leaf outlines) to create a perfect marriage of abstraction and traditional landscapes. It also looks like she's left-handed, and you know how cool I think lefties are.

I enjoy Beals' work, but I'm even more impressed by her charitable mindset. She is fully devoted to donating a good portion of the proceeds from her art sales to various nonprofits. She explains, "I want to remember my connection to forestry and the outdoors in my work, so I use my art to raise funding for conservation nonprofits. As a cancer survivor, I want to give back, so I plan to do a benefit series every year with my artwork." In the past Beals has given The Nature Conservancy, the American Cancer Society, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Doctors Without Borders, among others. Her most recent series this month raised over $5,000 for Leave No Trace, an organization that educates those who manage public lands and the public itself on reducing their environmental impact. From 2017 till now, Beals has donated over $20,000 to charitable organizations and hopes to raise $100,000 in her lifetime. I'd say she's well on her way! And, uh, I also know a museum she could donate to. ;)

Anyway, I was pretty excited to find that Beals had posted the original artwork that was used for the Laura Mercier bronzer at her Instagram.

Kathryn Beals

Of course I had to highlight the section that's on the case.

Laura Mercier Mediterranean Escape bronzer/work by Kathryn Beals
(images from kathrynbeals.com and @kathrynbeals)

I'm still itching to know how the collab came about and why Laura Mercier selected Beals for this piece.  I left a comment on the artist's Instagram to no avail, but that's par for the course I suppose given how infrequently artists actually respond to my requests.  Oh well.  I think the company may just happened to have been one of the over 6 million views of this 2018 viral Facebook video/artist interview, and approached Beals for a collab.  But I'd like to talk with the artist and get her views on makeup and beauty, especially since she looks to be bare-faced most of the time - I'd be curious to know if she'd actually use the product her artwork appeared on.  I also think it would have been really cool if Laura Mercier had added clear acrylic on top of the case to make it resemble one of Beals' finished pieces even more.  (Check out NARS's Man Ray lipstick coffrets if you can't picture what I'm talking about.)

What do you think of this bronzer and of Beals's work?  If you had to choose, would you buy this one or MAC's Electric Wonder collection?

MM Summer 2019 exhibition

MM summer.2019.poster.2pp

As you might have guessed from the lack of activity around these parts, I am sad to report that things have remained quite difficult on the personal front.  I don't want to go into details, but let me just say that finding quality, affordable ongoing care for stroke patients is a never-ending quest that eats up every second of spare time and mental energy, not to mention the time spent traveling to another state to visit at least once a week.  And being forced to sell your parents' home where they've lived for over 40 years is far more gut-wrenching than I ever expected, despite bracing myself for it for years.  :(  In spite of all this I was determined to put up a summer exhibition, especially given that I haven't done an exhibition in an entire year!  It's more or less a mishmash of themes from previous years:  the Greek/Mediterranean feel and bathing beauty are from the 2016 exhibition, fruit and critters are from summer 2017, tropical jungle palms/flowers and birds from 2015 and 2018, respectively, and shells are a nod to the one of the themes from 2013.  This doesn't mean I don't have ideas, it's just that I couldn't do the more in-depth theme I wanted this year.  As you'll see, I also made up for the total absence of mermaids in last year's summer exhibition.

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

The Makeup Museum summer 2019 exhibition

Starting at the top row, left to right:

Some vintage shell-themed pretties, along with a fairly bizarre Cutex ad.  Oddly enough, this is only one of 5 cosmetics ads from the '50s/60s that feature women's heads underwater.  I'm sure there's a lot more to be said about that...

Vintage Cutex ad and shell compacts

Stratton shell compact

Vintage shell compact


Loved this Bésame Peter Pan Mermaid Lagoon collection!  Kind of an odd choice for a holiday release, but when we're talking about vintage-inspired mermaids the seasonal appropriateness doesn't matter.  I just wish I could have fit more of the collection on the shelf - the fragrance and lipstick are adorable.

Bésame mermaid lagoon

Besame mermaid lagoon palette

Besame shell highlighter


Another brand that turned the tables on traditional holiday motifs in 2018 was Tarte.  While the pineapple palette is cute, it quickly became a source of rage for me - you'll see why later. 

Tarte pineapple palette

Tarte pineapple throne

Tarte pineapple eyelash curler

I cannot believe I haven't featured this 1956 Lancôme ad until now.  Equally unbelievable was the fact that sometime last fall I scored this delightful compact featuring a happy bunch of mer-people.

Lancome skincare ad, 1956

Vogue Vanities mermaid compact, ca. 1950s

Second row, left to right:

Millions of peaches, peaches for me...how pretty is this Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom Utopia collection?!  I wanted to write about it last spring when it was released, but couldn't find a ton of info on the artist so I scrapped it. 

Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom

Sulwhasoo Peach Blossom


This is kind of a sad shelf for me.  It looks okay but it was not what I had planned.

Rodin Olio Lusso mermaid collection

Rodin Olio Lusso mermaid highlighter


During the exhibition's installation, as I was hammering in the Cutex ad over the top left shelf, the Tarte pineapple palette fell and hit almost every object below on its way down.  If you've ever seen "The Price is Right", it was sort of like a destructive version of Plinko.  I was on the top step of a ladder so I couldn't move quickly enough to catch the palette before it destroyed some items in its path.  The end result was the complete breakage of a piece from one of my most beloved collections:  the body oil from last summer's Rodin Olio Lusso x Donald Robertson mermaid collection.  The powders in the Tarte palette also shattered; fortunately I had intended on always displaying the palette closed, and the rug did not sustain much damage.  Plus the oil is still available so I will order another.  In the meantime I could at least display the box for it.  I'm also grateful the mermaid highlighting powder didn't fall and break as that item is long gone.

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

exhibition installation disaster

I picked up these beauties from Richard Hudnut last year.  The discoloration you see towards the bottom of the Sweet Orchid box (right below the Hudnut name) is from the aforementioned oil spill - that area was in pristine condition prior to the disaster.

Richard Hudnut Gardenia and Sweet Orchid powder boxes


This was a sneaky but lovely release from Laura Mercier.  I haven't purchased anything Museum-worthy from the brand since possibly 2009.  As soon as I saw the heavenly blue and gold swirls I was sold.  Then I found out an artist was behind the beautiful marbling effect, which made it even better.  If I have time I'd like to get a post up about her work because it's really gorgeous.  MAC's version is more generic/less artistic, but still pretty.

Laura Mercier bronzer

MAC Electric Wonder highlighter

MAC Electric Wonder lipstick


Third row, left to right:

If you follow me on Instagram you might remember how much I adored this little gal.  Now her princess counterpart swam in to keep her company! 

Vintage princess mermaid lipstick holder

Unfortunately she also sustained some injury due to the Tarte palette fall, but at least it's only the side of the holder.

Vintage mermaid lipstick holder

I remember being both excited and dismayed at the release of Too-Faced Tutti Frutti collection last August.  While I loved the plethora of pineapples - my favorite fruit and one of my favorite motifs - I was disappointed it was released a year after the Museum's summer 2017 exhibition as it would have been perfect for the fruity theme.

Too-Faced Tutti Frutti pineapple

Too-Faced pineapple highlighting drops

I really didn't think Anna Sui could top the jellyfish-laden aquarium collection from 2017, but here we are.  Just precious.

Anna Sui summer 2019 makeup

I love the makeup, but the mini fragrance was also insanely cute.

Anna Sui summer 2019 makeup

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid compact

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid blush

Anna Sui summer 2019 mermaid highlighter


Here are the images I included in the background so you can see the mermaid print better.


(images from modaoperandi.com)

The Volupté seahorse compact was featured in the summer 2014 exhibition.  This year, I was able to add Elgin's beautiful ruby and turquoise rhinestone encrusted version, along with an original ad.  Someday I hope incorporate a sparkly vintage Ciner compact and Estée Lauder's more recent one.

Vintage seahorse compacts

Elgin compact ad, 1949

Bottom row, left to right:

Guerlain truly spoiled us this year with their Terracotta bronzers. 

Guerlain Terracotta 2019

Guerlain terracotta bronzers 2019


Here are some better versions of the vase and wreath photos.  It's a shame the Met didn't have a shot of the top of this vase, which has the most similar pattern to the Guerlain Hestia Island bronzer.

Greek oil flask

Golden laurel wreath
(images from metmuseum.org and getty.edu)

Uh oh, a vintage mermaid lipstick army has invaded the Museum!  But I think the bathing beauty by Boots 17 should be able to keep them from misbehaving.  (Unless they're vicious killer mermaids who feast on human flesh).

Vintage Boots 17 and New Fashion lipsticks

Vintage mermaid lipsticks


I simply couldn't pass up the pattern and texture of YSL's summer palettes.  Clarins, true to form, served up another gorgeous bronzer as well.

YSL summer 2019 palettes

Clarins summer 2019 bronzer

Clarins 2019 bronzer

Lastly we have LM Ladurée's summer collection, which was stunning inside and out and smells heavenly too. 

LM Ladurée summer 2019

LM Ladurée summer 2019


So that about wraps it up for summer 2019!  Thank you for bearing with a regurgitation of previous summer themes.  Despite the lack of originality I still think it was visually appealing.  What piece was your favorite?  Are you looking forward to next year's exhibition, which already has a theme and title?  I'm debating whether to put in a few more pieces I couldn't fit this time around even though they're not quite in line with the concept I've chosen...but I guess I have a whole year to think about it.  ;) 

Curator's Corner, April 2019

CC logoSeeing as how I couldn't get it together for a February recap and obviously got sidetracked over the past 6 weeks, I figured I'd start fresh with the April installment of Curator's Corner.  Here's the monthly rewind. 

- So gimmicky yet I'd love to visit this YSL pop-up.

- In packaging news, pens and pencils are experiencing a sharp increase in popularity, while modular makeup gets a Lego-inspired twist.

- Would you like some toast to go with the buttery skin trend?

- Just a gentle reminder that inclusivity in the beauty industry doesn't end with base makeup

- In honor of Earth Day:  the good, the bad and the ugly in beauty recycling and waste reduction.

- Interesting piece on how house brands are getting the "exclusive" treatment.

- Whenever I finally get around to watching the new Pet Sematary I'm going to keep an eye out for Church's makeup.

- I've read this article on digitally applied makeup several times and still can't wrap my head around how it actually works. 

- One of beauty's most infamous cult products turns 20.  Happy birthday, O! 

- Speaking of '90s makeup...

The random:

- Continuing with the '90s theme, in sad nostalgic news, the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's passing occurred on April 5, while a documentary on deceased Blind Melon frontman Shannon Hoon premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. 

- Normally I refuse to spend more than $15-$20 on pajamas (Old Navy is my go-to), but I had to splurge on these adorable mermaid jammies.  There's also a shorts version.

- Despite all the turmoil on the personal front, I managed to pop up to NYC for a couple hours to catch the amazingly comprehensive Hilma af Klint exhibition at the Guggenheim, which turned out to be the most visited show in the museum's history.  It did not disappoint!

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

Hilma af Klint

As I predicted, af Klint's work is even more breathtaking in person.  I was thrilled to have gotten a chance to see it.

How has your spring been?

In crisis mode: a personal update

If I never see another ICU I will be a happy camper.

I wish I could say I was taking another blog break to tackle some big exciting projects, or because I just needed a little time off, but my absence has been for much sadder reasons.  In the early evening of Monday, March 18, my father suffered a severe hemorrhagic stroke.  If you've been following me for a while you know I'm very close to my parents so I'm heartbroken for him as well as my mom, who has been married to him for over 50 years.  While we are incredibly grateful he is still alive (at the time of this writing - I now live in constant fear that something equally horrible or worse will happen), my family and I are devastated at the damage the stroke has done.  My dad as I knew him isn't here right now, and it's uncertain whether he'll be coming back even remotely the same. 

Spring 2019 bmore
I basically missed spring.

My parents live a few hours away, so juggling travel and a full-time job is making things difficult logistically. I have not spent one weekend at home in Baltimore since early March and since I do nearly all blog/social media stuff on the weekends, there's literally no time to dedicate to the Museum right now.  Obviously that's the least of my worries, but I wanted to note the other contributing factors for having to abandon the blog at the moment.

I've always wanted the Museum to be a happy place, so discussing this depressing situation further doesn't seem appropriate. I'm logging off again now, but I hope to be back to Museum business in the next few months, or even weeks - if I can focus enough and manage to take pictures off-site, blogging may be a good distraction.  I also know my dad, internet-illiterate though he is, would want me to keep going. (And of course I'm still buying makeup regularly! I'm at least able to concentrate for the few minutes it takes to place an order.)  Fingers crossed intensive rehab will lead to significant improvement for my dad. 

Father's Day 2017

Thank you in advance for any well wishes and good thoughts/vibes, as we need all the ones we can get! 

When pigs fly: Chikuhodo x Mochichito

MochichitoApologies for the back to back artist collaboration posts. I was hoping to have a February recap in between but work has been sapping my spirit even more so than usual, so I ended up abandoning Curator's Corner last month.  I don't think you'll mind too much though, once you see the positively amazing porcine-themed brush from Chikuhodo, who teamed up with illustrator/graphic designer Mochichito (a.k.a. Steph Fung) to celebrate the Chinese New Year.  You might remember how smitten I was with Chikuhodo's Moon Rabbit brush, so as soon as I saw this one I knew I had to add it to the menagerie.  If I remember I'll try to update this post with comparison shots to that brush so that those of you who actually intend on using it can see how the size and shape compare.  I will say that as with the Moon Rabbit brush, the quality of the bristles of the Mochichito one appears impeccable - super soft and fluffy.

Chikuhodo x Mochichito brush

The detailing and craftsmanship are simply stunning.  The handle has a scene depicting two piglets resting on fluffy silver clouds and a gold crescent moon, while silver and pink cherry blossoms bloom behind them.

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Naturally I had to take tons of close-up shots so you can appreciate the beauty, but I'm not sure if they do it justice...it's much more charming than my pictures were able to capture. 

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

As with the Moon Rabbit brush, there's a touch of iridescence on the silver portion.

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Just when you think they couldn't possibly get any cuter, Mochichito ratchets up the adorable factor by giving the piggies tiny silver dimples.

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

So who is the woman behind all this preciousness?  Fortunately I didn't have to do much digging, as Beautylish has a brief but informative interview with the artist posted online.  Mochichito is the brainchild of Steph Fung, a graphic designer who began focusing more on her illustrative pursuits several years ago.  Fung earned her BFA in Digital Media from Otis College of Art and Design in 2011. While she is an accomplished designer, the Mochichito project allows her to indulge her love of anything kawaii and handmade crafts. A lifetime doodler - "I loved drawing in notebooks when I should have been taking notes," she says - the Mochichito brand is a natural progression of Fung's passion for illustration.  Interestingly, Fung is primarily a digital artist, i.e. what you see is not made by hand on paper and then translated into a digital format - her illustrations are originally drawn on a screen.  Adobe Illustrator is her favorite tool, as she claims she's "never been very good at traditional mediums."  I find this fascinating since I believed it would actually be much more difficult to be creative with digital illustration techniques given their limitations, but the ingenuity displayed in Mochichito shows that if you're a true artist, the medium doesn't matter - you'll find a way to uniquely express your vision.

Fung's subject matter consists largely of animals and flowers, with some playful critters that don't actually exist in nature.  Yes, there are mermaids!  She explains: "I would probably describe my style as kawaii cute! I always try to have fun with word play or convey a fun idea or concept in my art. I love bright colors (but also pastel), animals, and cute faces (is that weird?)".  Nope, not at all!

Mochichito - Bunilla

Mochichito - flower kids

Mochichito - Mother's Day mermaid

Mochichito - frog mermaid

Mochichito - Mushrumbrella

Fung finds inspiration in a variety of places.  "I’m very much influenced by anime, stationery and lovely packaging, fashion, music, and other people’s art—there is so much to see at your fingertips these days."  Indeed, Fung is mindful of what her fellow artists are up to, and seems to enjoy participating in 100 day Instagram challenges with them.  My favorite are these cheeky illustrations she completed for #100daysoflittledudes, which also show her aforementioned love of word play. 



The Mochichito store offers an array of stickers, pins, and more recently, acrylic toys based on the illustrations Fung created for the "100 days of tiny terrariums" Instagram challenge.  I hope to see stationery or even stuffed animals some day!

Mochichito stickers

Mochichito pins

Mochichito - terrarium toy

Mochichito - terrarium toy

Speaking of which, I think another reason Mochichito's work resonates with me so much is the fact that she has a stuffed teddy named Little Bear that accompanies her on her travels.

Mochichito - Little Bear

As for the Beautylish collab, previously Mochichito was responsible for designing the store's Lucky Bags, which are essentially Japanese fukubukuro - a custom for the new year where bags are filled with mystery contents offered at a much lower price than if you purchased them individually.  For example, a $75 Beautylish Lucky Bag typically has full size items worth $150 or or more.  In 2018 Fung took inspiration from the Japanese legend of the Seven Lucky Gods who are said to grant good luck (shown top to bottom, left to right in the illustration below):  Bishamonten, Daikokoten, Hotei, Benzaiten, Ebisu, Jurojin, and Fukurokuju.

Mochichito - seven lucky gods

Mochichito - seven lucky gods

Mochichito - seven lucky gods for Beautylish 2018 lucky bag

This year, Beautylish tapped Fung again to come up with an illustration for a Chikuhodo brush to celebrate the lunar new year.  Fung shares the creative process behind the adorable end result:  "Since the design was for the Lunar New Year, I knew I wanted to include a moon. 2019 is the Year of the Pig, so I thought making a large, gleaming moon as the pigs' playground would be so cute. Incorporating some floral elements into the design would add some soft, delicate touches to frame the scene.  The story behind the design is really up to the viewer! I wanted to keep it kind of open-ended. You could think of the pigs as two lovers, a mama or papa pig and their piglet, or just two frolicking friends." 

Chikuhodo x Mochichito - original brush illustration

It was Fung's first time designing a brush handle, and I think she translated the design to suit the handle beautifully. "It was definitely different from anything I’ve worked on in the past. I had to keep in mind the shape and curvature of the brush and make sure all of the important parts of the artwork would be seen from the front of the brush, but also how I might continue the artwork around the sides and back of the brush, while also keeping in mind how it would photograph."  I agree that you have to think differently about how an illustration would work in 3D versus on a flat surface, and Fung executed it perfectly.

Chikuhodo x Mochichito

Overall, obviously I'm in love with this brush and all of Mochichito's work.  Art with a more serious style or message is great, but sometimes your eyes and brain just need cute things.  And it could be because I've just discovered it and have been watching it nonstop, but Mochichito's characters remind me so much of those from Adventure Time, a truly whimsical kids' cartoon that I can't seem to get enough of lately. There's just something so comforting about cuteness!  As for Chikuhodo, the designs on their brush handles tend to be more elegant and sophisticated, so going the kawaii route was a refreshing change of pace.

What do you think of this brush and Mochichito? 

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

There's a reason you haven't seen much of Pai Pai at the Museum as of late:  unfortunately, the company wasn't doing enough business in the U.S. so they ceased their short-lived shipping here.  But the good news is that a fellow collector sussed out another Mexico-based store that carries the line and will send it to the States.  After missing out on several really cool collaborations I was finally able to resume adding Pai Pai to the Museum's collection.  Without further ado, I introduce their latest release, a collaboration with Ana Leovy

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

I had hoped to get the exclusive scoop on the collection and emailed the artist for an interview.  Much to my disappointment she did not respond.  (And you wonder why I'm continually discouraged - this is the second artist in a row to turn me down).  Nevertheless I was able to cobble together some information on Leovy's work.  For the Pai Pai collection, it appears she created four different paintings to be used on four lipstick cases.  To my knowledge they are untitled. 

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Nuez

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Beso de Angel

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Opalo

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Copal

Here are the colors in case you're not a crazy collector and actually want to use them!

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Nuez and Beso de Angel

Pai Pai x Ana Leovy - Copal and Opalo

Ana Leovy is a young Mexico City-based artist whose vibrant, woman-centric paintings have garnered the attention from everyone from the likes of Man Repeller to Elle Mexico.  Originally trained as a graphic designer, Leovy reignited her love of painting after earning her Master degree in illustration at a university in Barcelona.  Upon completion of her degree she moved back to Mexico to pursue painting full-time.  She states in an interview, "Although I love graphic design, being an artist gives me so much more creative freedom. People come to me now because they like my style and they trust what I will create for them, whereas from my experience working with design clients, they were a bit harder to please – and I was stressed all the time. Art doesn’t feel like a job at all, it brings me lots of joy and peace, especially when seeing the reaction of people who have bought my work, it’s the best feeling ever!"


Thematically, Leovy's work consists mostly of the female form.  Their bodies are often asymmetrical, out of proportion and show a range of colors, reflecting Leovy's commitment to depicting diversity in body shapes, sizes and skin tones.  "We all come in different shapes and colors, I think that is so interesting and awesome. We should learn to embrace our uniqueness. I like playing with distorted bodies in order to avoid falling into any specific beauty category. I think it’s important to encourage diversity; my work isn’t about creating beautiful people, but trying to send a message of self-love and empowerment. Perfection is not necessarily beautiful; to me different is more exciting.  We already have perfection in photography...I want everyone to be able to relate to my work regardless of their skin color or body shape." While this may seem disingenuous coming from someone as gorgeous as Leovy - I tend to roll my eyes at beautiful, thin women (especially models and actresses) who preach "loving your body" - I believe she is sincere.  The proof is in her work; you will not find skinny, conventionally beautiful model types in any of Leovy's paintings.  This is a refreshing change from other illustrators, especially the more fashion-based ones.  Leovy's women are modern and yes, well-dressed (the artist loves fashion, citing Mara Hoffman and Elie Saab among her favorite designers), but without the reinforcement of beauty and fashion stereotypes.  This makes her work seem much less intimidating and achieves her goal of being relatable to the average woman.

Ana Leovy

Ana Leovy

Another reason Leovy's work seems more welcoming than other depictions of women we see so frequently in beauty collabs is the overwhelming spirit of camaraderie and sisterhood.  “All my life women around me have been nothing but inspiration. I love being able to confide in them," she says.  I particularly love this scene of women having a picnic in a lush garden, clearly enjoying each other's company (along with some wine and Vogue magazines!)

Ana Leovy

Ana Leovy

I also enjoy the feminist bend in Leovy's work, which shows an awareness of the inequality faced by women.  She states:  “Sadly we are still a very chauvinist community where you get blamed for being out too late or the way you dress...It has never been my intention to become too political, however I think now more than ever it is important to stand up and support what you believe in. It is amazing to see so many movements all around the world demanding what should be natural; equality, love and acceptance. So after seeing all this it is impossible not to feel vulnerable, getting involved in such topics are a small way of showing support.” 

Ana Leovy

Ana Leovy

Depicting women by themselves, enjoying their time alone is another way Leovy expresses a more feminist angle.  "[Mexico] is a country where most women are raised to be married and have children, nothing else. Even though this has been a year of very feminist-oriented social media, I believe we’re still lacking the day-to-day actions that go in hand with these movements, to really practice what we preach,” she says.  Showing women without a male partner, and even happy without a male presence, emphasizes the notion of women's independence as well as a rejection of the societal expectations of marriage and procreation.  It's rare that you see women living "happily ever after" totally on their own; single women are generally still viewed as defective, or at the very least, lonely spinsters.  That's why I love seeing Leovy's paintings of women in a room by themselves, reading, watching TV in their sweats or simply having a moment with their thoughts, as these pieces fight back against the stigma single women endure.  (And even if you're partnered, it's important to have some time alone on occasion to maintain your sense of self.)

Ana Leovy

Ana Leovy

Now that we've covered the main themes in Leovy's oeuvre, I want to talk a little about her style, particularly her use of color.  The landscape and textiles of her native Mexico as well as the tropical environment of the Caribbean, where she lived for several years, shaped her preference for vibrant colors.  The unexpected combinations reflect Leovy's "no rules" approach.  "When it comes to color in my work I believe the more the merrier, it's the part of the creation process I enjoy the most, I follow no rule or guideline whatsoever and I love it...Choosing the color palette is my favorite part, I love letting myself flow and see what comes out. I think the colors I choose are sort of a personal journal of my mood swings."

Ana Leovy

While Leovy's style is uniquely her own, I can't help but notice a striking resemblance to Matisse.  Another article points out the similarity between Leovy and Matisse in terms of color, but I'd also argue that the use of a somewhat flattened perspective, background patterns, and overall composition are reminiscent of Matisse's interiors.  Some examples, alternating between the two artists and starting with Matisse:

Henri Matisse, Anemones and Woman, Harmony in Blue
Ana Leovy
Matisse, Woman in a Purple Coat, 1937
(image from henrimatisse.org)
Ana Leovy
Henri Matisse, La Musique, 1939
(image from henrimatisse.org)
Ana Leovy
Henri Matisse, Interior with Etruscan Vase, 1940
(image from clevelandart.org)
Ana Leovy
Even the way the vases of flowers are rendered look like Matisse, as seen in his Yellow Odalisque (1937).
Henri Matisse, Yellow Odalisque, 1937
(image from spectator.co.uk)
Ana Leovy

In terms of format, Leovy enjoys both large and small scale. “Every format has its good and bad side, big canvases might feel intimidating at first but once you get started they are so much fun, love a big white space to intervene. However, tiny pieces are the cutest and I also enjoy doing them. So I guess I love them all, I like being able to change formats and not being stuck with only one, I think I would find that boring,” she says.  For the Pai Pai collection, I thought for sure the works she created would be large, but they actually look tiny.

Ana Leovy for Pai Pai
(images from @analeovy_art)

So that brings us full circle to the Pai Pai collection.  Overall I really enjoy Leovy's work, as it's a change of pace from the fashion illustrations we've seen in various other collabs, and obviously I love the feminist vibe.  I also like how Pai Pai switches it up for each collection by choosing artists with wildly varied styles. Leovy's paintings are totally different from, say, the work of Jorge Serrano and illustrations of Pinut Brein.  Pai Pai always keeps me guessing and it's another aspect I love about the brand - they never stick to one type of artist.  I just wish I could have gotten some information about how the partnership with Pai Pai came about, what Leovy's approach to makeup is (if any - she looks rather au naturel!) and whether anything in particular inspired her paintings used for the collection. 
What do you think of this collection and Leovy's work?  Which image is your favorite?

A "presentation of beautiful facial lines": makeup drawings by Alexander Bogardy

Alexander Bogardy

If you haven't already checked out Beauty and the Cat's blog, I highly recommend it - not only is this duo chock full of useful information on beauty, they're hilarious to boot.  A few months ago they posted some very interesting makeup drawings on their IG stories and naturally I had to find out more about them.  After Beauty and the Cat assured me they weren't going to write about them and gave me their blessing to do so (I don't want to steal other bloggers' potential content!) I decided to forge ahead with a post on the illustrated makeup guides of Alexander Bogardy (1901-1992).  The self-taught Bogardy has been classified as both an outsider artist and a folk artist, which is evident in his simplistic style.

Bogardy was born in Hungary, most likely in 1901*.  His family came to the U.S. when he was a small child and settled, of all places, right here in Baltimore.  He was a man of many talents, studying violin at the Peabody Conservatory (which is a block away from Museum headquarters!) in the 1920s, and in the '30s he had switched to boxing, becoming a prize fighter known as "The Baltimore Kid".  By the '40s he had moved to DC to study mechanical engineering at George Washington University and worked as a machinist in the U.S. Naval Gun Factory.  Unfortunately, crippling arthritis forced him into early retirement in 1952.  It was during this time that Bogardy began taking painting and cosmetology classes, as he was encouraged by his doctors to continue doing some light activity with his hands to stave off further deterioration from the arthritis. While it's not certain if he actually worked at a salon, he certainly cut and colored the hair of his close friends and family, and often gave away his paintings to them.  A lifelong devout Catholic - he attended mass every single day - most of his work depicted Biblical stories and religious figures.  Personally, I'm an atheist who never had any interest in religious imagery (despite having somehow attended two Jesuit universities - go figure), but I'm struck by the female figures in Bogardy's paintings.  The women are usually shown sporting full-on makeup, brightly painted fingernails and perfectly coiffed hair, reflecting his fascination with beauty rituals.

Alexander Bogardy, Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread, c. 1955-1970

In 1962 Bogardy completed a booklet on hair styles and general hair care entitled "The Hair and its Social Importance".  It served as both a hair care guide and an outline of his cosmetology accomplishments, including his diploma from Warflynn Beauty College in DC and a letter from the Clairol Institute regarding a hair coloring competition he had entered a decade earlier.  He didn't win, but just the fact that he had received any type of correspondence following up on the competition made him believe he was an award-winning hair color expert, and only served to intensify his joy of sharing his cosmetology expertise with others.  As historians Margaret Parsons and Marsha Orgeron note in this article in Raw Vision magazine, "It is certainly a feature of the art of Bogardy’s self-styling that he perceived recognition in so many guises, and that he derived so much apparent pleasure and pride from sharing with others an appreciation of his work in the applied crafts of cosmetology."  They also speculate that part of Bogardy's interest in cosmetics came from his Hungarian heritage.  "Born in 1902, he was about the same age as two American beauty tycoons of Hungarian origin, Erno Laszlo and Estée Lauder. The distinctive successes of these two, who were both from working-class immigrant families, would have appealed to Bogardy’s sense of ethnic pride and upward mobility."  

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

After some 20-odd years of painting and illustrating, sometime in the 1970s, Bogardy abandoned his artistic pursuits to take up flamenco dancing.  It makes sense given how diverse his interests were, and the fact that he comes across as fairly eccentric.  Speaking of which, let's get to the makeup illustrations, shall we?  According to the Smithsonian, where I was able to gather all the images, these illustrations were completed sometime between 1960 and 1970 and consisted of pencil drawings on 11" x 14" paper.  They were divided into five sections showing five basic face shapes, and were further broken down into makeup categories - brows, mascara, eyeshadow and liner, foundation, powder, lip color, and blush, highlighter and contour placement - and provided detailed instructions for each facial type.  At the top of each face type illustration Bogardy writes a short thought on female beauty, and at the bottom explains how to identify a particular face shape.  While the face shapes differ, the eyebrow advice on each side is the same:  "To find where the brows are to start, hold a straight line up from the nose on either side and remove stragglers in the middle.  Pluck brows from below.  The termination of the brow toward the temple must not reach past the line of observation drawn from the tip of the nose to the outer corner of the eye and continue upward beyond the end of the brow.  This point of intersection where the line of observation crosses the eyebrow is therefore the length of the brow."  Interestingly, this advice is more or less still prescribed today - you can find where your brows should start and end by lining up a pencil on the side of your nose.

Here's the "circular type face":

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The "rhythmic diamond type face":

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The "symphonic rectangular type face":

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The "melodious square type face":

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

And finally, the "Romantic Inverted Triangle type face":

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The drawings are a pleasure to behold, with the technicality and precision of their lines demonstrating Bogardy's previous experience in engineering.  This is a bit of a contrast to the messy, sometimes confusing prose surrounding them.  Though it's neatly rendered, as well as being historically useful in that it might shed some additional light onto beauty schools' curricula during the '50s, overall the text reads like a beauty- and religion-inspired word salad.  Spiritual or mystical references are scattered throughout basic beauty tips.  As Parsons and Orgeron put it, "Delicate disembodied hands hold small brushes and apply make-up to mannequins.  Around the edges are animated and often incoherent lessons on female beauty, godliness and the finer points of cosmetic application."  I'm glad I'm not the only one who couldn't quite grasp what he was trying to say!  Bogardy began each section of the beauty notebook with drawings entitled "propitious and serene countenance of providential. sequel".  I honestly have no idea what he what that means - perhaps it was an opening prayer for a book of makeup psalms.  The rest of the text on these pages addresses the features and makeup that will be discussed in the coming sections. 

"Eyelashes:  the prancing the dancing and gliding admonition of youth, the manifestation of joyful and hilarious entity convey forth envious intensity of astonishment in its blaze of enthusiastical beauty."

"Eyebrows:  A vivacious design of nobleness in the accentuation and the grandeur of the eye in quest of endearment in the field of esthetic faculty."

"Eyeshadow:  the gracious and dignified ornamentation heads symbolism of external evidence of confiding in the ostentation of perspicuous beauty."

"Eyeliner: heighlights [sic] and dramatizes the eye in a grotesque illusion of flight the youthful significance of tender years to glow in the evening and glitter throughout the night."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Lips:  Relaxed lips reflect a picture on which to meditate a medly [sic] of vibrant colors, the stimulating emotion formulate a decisive allure in encouragement to feminity and the furtherance in lineation of lip beauty."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Facial contour:  in the summarization of the countenance of milady correlate to achieve the distinctiveness of portrayal to emulate your imported perfection in the beautiful design of the face."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"The assemblage of vigoration, even though by modification yet it is the doctrine of enlightenment to augment or diminish the augur passion for a tenacious existance [sic] in the world of the beautiful."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

For your reading pleasure I have also transcribed most of the lengthy text for the makeup categories - thank goodness the Smithsonian offers a zoom feature so I could get up close.  This was not nearly as painstaking as I imagine it was for Bogardy to write out the same text for each and every drawing.  At first I thought he had traced it somehow, but upon further inspection it looks like he wrote out the same text for each individual illustration, changing only a few sentences related to face shape. 

Let's start at the top of the face with the brows and work our way down the face.  The text at the top for each one reads:  "Eyebrows the arch of beauty, the setting character of the face, its revealing charm add untold and neverending joy to the make-up, in the presentation of beautiful facial lines.  Since its great importance creates determination in your expression it must indeed add to the characteristic in the beautification of the face and further add sublimity to the countenance; beautifully arched eyebrows accentuate to the lovliness [sic] of your forehead, the revelation of your personality the irresistable [sic] magnetism the captivating power to eliviate [sic] and achieve beauty in facial transformation far removed from your fondest dream.  One look at your artistically shaped brows will invite another and most certainly a delightfully furtive look and lo, the deliverance of a beauty into the arms of beau monde."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Feminine allure means make-up in its entirety a beautiful figure together with make-up, so artistically blended as to modulate a peerless extravaganza, therefore, the eyebrow make-up, eyebrows should start at a point and above and even with the eye duct and the eyebrows terminate at the line of observation, drawn from the flare of the nose to the outside corner of the eye and upward to the temple.  To be in unison with the above paragraph you must have natural brow line for it is the eyebrows which give that authentic and picturesque expression to the face.  Use dark brown brow pencil on dark, red and naturally black brows, use light brown on blond brows.  Sharpen your brow pencil with a razor blade, trace brows with a short sketchy hairlike stroke, to assume brow lashes; after penciling, brush your brows gently with an eyelash brush to soften the brow line and should follow your natural line."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The text on the right side provides brow instructions for that particular face shape, while the left side drawing indicates the measurements for the brow arch.  I adore how scientific and precise the diagram is.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Next up is eyeliner.  Top and left side text:  "The serenade for our beautiful women is something magical in transforming an already pretty face to a re-dedicated beautiful countenance of perfection through the glorious enchantment of colors in make-up.  It is indeed a resplendent presentation to dedicate this asignment [sic] to the lining of the eye or eyeliner, it is so called for it has a tendency to increase or decrease the space of the eyes to afford accent and to become a mark of distinction and indeed to enhance the eye and to further add brilliancy and beauty for daytime and evening wear.  The dramatic touch of colors for the eyeliner may be blue black; brown or charcoal, green or match the color of the mascara."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Eyeliner is a mark of beauty which gives prominence to the eye, it accentuates eyelashes and outlines the eyes in such a manner as to give it everlasting spark, fire and warmth, the governor of the inner feeling and indeed visible traces of charm.  The eyeliner brings forth by means of this beautiful eye marking artistically applied to the upper eyelid at the very base of the lashes; this eyeline addition is so pronounced as to accomplish the objective in alterations in facial lines through illusion.  The action movement you may observe above in the application of color to the eyelid to form the eyelining, and also showing the eyelid being held taut to allow for a clean and fine eyelining.  Note:  the termination of the eyeliner is upward and reflects extra eyelashes and concludes a photographic medium."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Since memory serves beauty correctly with beatitude and the elevation of thought to dignified outlook of a new and astute personality through the noble art of eyelining which places great significance upon the eye as a whole and certainly the face exhibits magnificence and since an eyeliner emphasizes your eye in such a magnitude as to accentuate the lashes and outline the eyes care must be taken as to how this beautiful addition of eyelining must be placed so as to bring forth the richness the softness and brilliance of the eyes.  In the classification of type faces the eyeliner plays an influential nobleness in the eye make-up, therefore this great mark of beauty significantly outlined in the scope of this phrase, the study and application of the eyeliner, the distinguished mark of embellishment."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

This time the individualized instructions are on the left side of the drawing.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Moving onto eyeshadow, here's the text at the top:  "Glamor an artifice of glorification, mistified [sic] by the magic touch of color nourished by imagination and placed high upon the scale of beauty, through the medium of optical illusion, thereby improving upon the gift of nature.  She alters her face with paints and powder, lighting her face and a pinkish touch she adds and behold she darkens her brows and brightens her lids; therefore the ladylike look is certainly high fashion, for it depends on flawless grooming for that smooth, young and luminous look effervescence of the eyeshadow which creates the illusion of depth and expresses your mood.  We cannot stress the point to [sic] strongly and to enumerate an eyeshadow to enhance the color of the eyes to compliment the eyelashes and to make your eyes what you want them to be, an illusion of beauty of charm and of course the window of endearment and beau ideal for naturally yet flattering look of a modern girl."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Do not extend eyeshadow beyond line of observation, draw from the outer corner of the eyes to end of eyebrow covering entire eyelid.  Apply eyeshadow 1/8 inch away from the inner corner of eye duct along the top of eyelashes with an upward motion and blend sidewise useing [sic] a small brush if you prefer one which indeed is a good practice."

"The chick [sic] face technique of applying eyeshadow.  Apply eyeshadow with your little finger then sponge pat over the shadowed area to achieve that subtlety accent that is shadow gives eyes more depth, emphasis and color.  To elaborate therefore; with your little finger place a thin layer along the lashes as shown.  Now spread upward and outward just to the tip of the eyebrows graduating the shade from dark tone upward to a lighter tone; immediately the eyes become colorful, larger and radiant.  Experiment:  it is good experience and excellence in grooming." 

For daytime wear Bogardy recommended green, grey, violet, blue and brown depending on eye color ("used sparingly"), and advised adding a hint of metallic glam for nighttime:  a "silver tint" for green or blue eyes and gold for brown or hazel. 

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"A delicate issue is at hand when applying brown eyeshadow for its application is intricate; to distribute a heavy layer of eyeshadow a hurried or unskilled method will most certainly age the face, therefore; in a skillfull [sic] manner apply a delicate tint of brown from the upper from the upper half of the eyelid to the eyebrows; then use a green or blue as indicated above on the chart and spread from the lashes and lower lid and blend with brown eyeshadow of the upper lid.  A systematic arrangement of placing eyeshadow, is to smooth liquid foundation on eyelid first, then the shadow then dust on a little powder.  This tones down the color and keeps eye lashes from smearing, assuring a firm and beautiful eyeshadow make-up."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

Next up are the lashes.  "There is nothing like knowing you look your loveliest to arouse in you a holiday spirit.  Make-up can do a lot to make such feeling possible; therefore, the simple steps in mascara application create an extra dramatic and vibrant plea of suplication [sic].  To apply mascara, moisten a brush for mascaras finest hour of loveliness with water, remove excess and rub over a cake of mascara until the bristless [sic] are covered.  Now brush the upper lashes from roots to tips, hold brush against lashes in an upward curve for a minute or so for setting it in position; for the final movement, use second clean and dry brush to even the color and to separate each hair."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The instructions for each face shape are provided in the lower left.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"The eyelashes will appear longer if you apply mascara as pictured.  Use an ordinary tea spoon and bend at the base of the elliptical form; now place the edge between the upper and lower lash closeing eye. Wet brush and apply mascara from above lashes, forming the curvature to the lashes, open eyes, and retouch tips of eyelashes."  Has anyone ever tried the spoon trick?  I've always used a regular eyelash curler.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

The right side text consists of some very wordy instructions for simple mascara application:  "A great statement is held to an equally great esteem and great indeed are the uttered words of the blessed that a pretty face is the fortune of the girl possessing it, however skillful use and knowledge of make-up in the symmetrical arrangement will invariably achieve for you the desired resultant from careful application of color in the present asignment [sic] of mascara make-up.  Therefore in useing [sic] cream mascara press the color from the tube on a clean dry brush, now brush on the upper lash from close to the roots up and out to encourage lashes to curl in that manner with just a touch on the lower lashes.  A second film of mascara will give them added thickness.  Seperate [sic] the lashes allowing a more natural appearance.  Now remove excess mascara with a clean and dry brush."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"The summer night dreams bring forth another melodious day, the symphonic color of the fields, the animating glow of the leaves the scent of the flowers and fragrance of beauty have no other desire but to fulfill itself whether it is shown proudly out in the chords of variation of tender application of mascara, its warmth apparently will infuse a feeling of self-confidence and optimism.  Thunderstorms make us particularly restless and irritable.  The spirits rise in summer and the outlook of our beautiful women show forth the creation of beauty to intrigue femininety [sic].  As autumn changes leaves to the colors of make-up so mascara bewails the fact that a not too luxuriant eyelashes may be compensated by the ornamentation of applied mascara."  Okey dokey.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

And now we're onto the face, starting with foundation.  "The mastery of any art requires tecnique [sic] therefore tecnique [sic] is reached through practice in the use of the hands and color selection by the eyes as directed by the thoughtful mind. The face may be made to look larger or smaller through the use of proper make-up.  The types of base which conforms and does justice to your face is here outlined.  The cream base which requires great care in its application and since lanolin is immersed in its base it is beneficial for dry skin.  Pan-cake having cream base is good for touching up the initial make-up and to cover large pores and blemishes; use a fine grained wet sponge which caters to oily skin and blends color uniformly.  Liquid foundation usually good for all skin types exclude where oiliness is extreme.  Before useing [sic] liquid foundations shake bottle well so that colors are fully mixed, then place a small portion on the forehead, cheeks, nose, chin and neck and blend, useing [sic] an upward stroke from deep neckline to the hairline.  Liquid make-up produces an even tone in flattery a radiant finish and beautiful coverage of lines and blemishes." 

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Bogardy's foundation application tips (I was getting really tired of typing it all out so I just did screenshots of these).

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

Next, Bogardy advises on the application of face powder. Top text:  "The Romantic, the Rhythmic, The Melodious delicacy is music in the making, which brings forth the gentle touch of femininity through the glorious touch of make-up as applied to the face and neck; therefore, to be in a holiday mood means looking your lovliest [sic], the following pages show exactly how through optical illusion, glory of placing together skillfully the combination of colors and the natural disposition of powder.  Now observe, correct powder is essential; in its determination consider the patron's age, coloring and whether it is for daytime or evening wear.  Powder weight depends on skin type, for dry skin use a light weight powder for normal skin use medium weight powder, for very oily skin use heavyweight powder. In its distribution to the face and neck be sure that the powder is visible throughout the face and neck area; this is called powdering movement, which is followed by the removal of the excess powder, which in turn is called the powdering off movement.  Therefore, the charm of music, the elegence [sic] of Romance, the Gayety [sic] of Glamour is yours indeed, by the mere investment of but a precious few moments in the glorification of Highlight, Shadow, Rouge and of course the Majestic Revelation of Powder."  That's certainly a spirited way of looking at face powder, yes?

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The text on the right side includes useful application tips for, ahem, mature women - don't want that powder getting caught in all your wrinkles!  "The choosing of powder may be obtained as follows:  stand in a strong light and by applying powder to one side of your face you notice that it melts or blends into your skin as if it were your own color, it brings forth a cleaner and an exquisite fine look it gives a lift in your skin life, it tones down irregular red spots, the purpose of the powder therefore is to have the make-up firmly fixed and sheen removed.  Powder is used in successive order as after highlights, shadow and rouge, use powder in abundance with a generous pad of cotton loosly [sic] sprinkled there on and pat in well leaving a finished look and blending well along the edges, with powder the same shade as the powder base do not rub the excess powder, but brush lightly and firmly with a soft brush made exclusively for this purpose.  It is important that you brush in the direction of the hair growth on the face brushing gently until all sign of powder seems to have disappeared, care must be taken when brushing over wrinkles, to make certain that it is gliding smoothly over the surface and the cavity of the wrinkled area in which case you gently pull apart fine lines and powder to avoid creases at the eye region.  Pull apart laugh lines gently at the mouth area and powder.  At the neck area you do likewise gently pull apart fine lines and powder.  Now with a cotton pad saturated with cold water gently press cotton pad to the area of the face and neck, this moistening movement will firmly establish your make-up.  The finishing touch is executed by wetting sponge and you immediately squeeze dry.  With this freshly squeezed sponge blot off excess moisture." 

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"The approach to beauty is a necessity rather than luxury.  The woman's role in the home and business demand that she bring forth through the art of optical illusion her natural color as much as possible.  The professional beauty of yesterday was the envy of young and old is forever gone as every smart girl accepts make-up as a daily routine. She certainly accepts the chores as a girl from Heaven, for modern makeup is sheer magic, as the finished makeup is the dream of youth, the charm of glamour and the exciting touch of a new look, as grace can be gained by thinking; therefore nothing is either good or bad but thinking makes it that way; immaculate and perfectly put together.  Now let us see, pleasure is a great beauty treatment in itself for fun places gleam in your eyes adds color to your cheeks, gives your face a lift in an appealing manner.  Worry the opposite to pleasure, places not only wrinkles in your face and neck but strains two thirds of the muscles of your face; therefore sagging envelopes the face and neck area." 

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

The next section is particularly interesting as it reveals the secrets of old-school contouring and highlighting through the use of lighter or darker foundation.  Top text:  "Like a musical score, make-up cannot be thought of in terms of words and no amount of words can convey beauty to the face unless by painstaking application of color hither and yon.  Since our aim is to bring out all the good points of the face and to balance the features as in the Circular Type face as may be observed in the diagram, through the principles of optical illusion or the perfection in the placement of colors to such a high degree of satisfaction as to promote a great delight even to the most critical influential fashion critic.  Therefore to bring out a feature and to make it seem more important use a light shade of foundation as it will create highlights.  To minimize a certain feature of the face or by transforming the face to a lesser degree of importance use a dark shade of foundation as the darker tone illusions.  Remember that if you are useing [sic] rouge over the foundation base, make sure that you blend out the tell tale edges thoroughly so that the formation of visible irregular lines disappear."  The bottom text reads, "In short:  the vision of an unreal image or in make-up, is is the most important essence, the essentials of optical illusion, which creates beauty; while unreal nevertheless, it is beautiful beyond the scope of imagination.  Now let us observe; a wide and natural looking mouth will also by appearance seem to reduce the width of the chin.  If you have hollow cheeks, place rouge above hollows and blend back towards to temples.  The fact that you have used two shades of make-up foundation should never be evident.  Blend the outer edge into the other until there is no sign of one shade blending into the other shade, only the beauty of the rainbow remains radiance of light and the intrigant [?} beauty of the shadow.  A heavy jawline will look more feminine when you blot out the corners with a dark shade of base."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Again, I was getting too tired to type up all the text, but I've linked to each one so you can zoom in to see the advice for each face type.

Diamond type face:

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970


Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)


Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Inverted triangle:

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

I saved the lips for last.  Again, Bogardy emphasizes the importance of lip color as another tool for balancing the rest of the facial features.  Top text: "There are many things in Heaven and Earth to be showerd [sic] upon us, but behold the tantamount and beautiful coverage of the lips by color to lament to a fervent capricious feeling of glory through the symetrical [sic] and balancing movement of lip make-up.  Therefore the very beautiful coloring or lip make-up will always show the way to a consoling way of our gracious desires which is indeed a divine interposition and an earthly admiration." 

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Using a tube of lip rouge press a tiny bit on a smooth and hard surffaced [sic] object and work into the brush.  Now star with your upper lip at the center and work out in both directions with an even and unbroken line.  The lower lip may be outlined, but keep within the natural line of the lips to form a beautifully arched lip line from one corner to the other.  If the shape of the mouth may not be defenite [sic] apply darker correction line with lip brush now dust a very thin film of powder over the lips then blot off excess with a wet cotton pad; the lips must be dry in order to fill in with a lighter color, now allow lip rouge to set a minute, then blot on tissue, you may dust a very light film of powder over the lips which allows the setting of lip color.  A very effective and long lasting of rouge may result by the re-application of rouge.  As you know the lip rouge comes in several different formulas select the type that will do the most good for your mouth.  You may like the indelible type formula lip rouge as it is very pretty and long lasting."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

Right side text:  "In lip make-up, expand the corners of the lips as in a smile so that the corners of the mouth are taut, which allows brush to penetrate fine lines for thorough coverage and far enough inside the mouth and into the corners to be complete and even with lip brush for accuracy in outlining.  Biting down carefully on a tissue blots much of the oils in the newly applied rouge and lasts and lasts without smearing."

Bottom text:  "A cheerful aspect of those beautiful lips an expression of surprise a confirmation of melodious sincerity and true sympathetic appeal which may be summed up as the absolute unbreakable rule of successfull [sic] make-up as a simple harmony which rhymes into a balanced medium of lip make-up.  As nature did not provide each and everyone with beautiful contoured lips or color which blend into warmth of beauty; therefore the final touch which completes the make-up is the application of a lip rouge and its various names as lip tint, lip coloring or lip shading; before applying lip tint be sure your lips are thoroughly cleansed, every trace of lip make-up must be removed and generous application of cold cream to your lips will clean to the best advantage and wipe with tissue."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

As with the others, brief tips at the end of the left-side paragraph are included for each facial type.  Here's an example for the rectangular type:  "In lip design of a rectangular type face where a rather long face hold forth in prominence, to balance therefore the lips will have an asignment [sic] to harmonize the most important area of the face and to augment the beautiful colors to bring equilibrium to a face of symphonic poem, that is interest to that effect may be had by elevating of the highest point on the lip for an interesting show in prominence.  The lower lip must be full to minimize the large area consisting of the chin and cleft, the lip rouge to form a tiny upward flare at the corners of the lower lip."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Bogardy's book had some skincare tips, which generally hold up fairly well in the 21st century.  The text was the same for all so I did not include all the drawings of the different face shapes.  "Beauty is a thing which gives pleasure to the senses; therefore, to achieve the objective, submit with great care to the following.  Once a day if time permits several times a deep cleansing ritul [sic] must be done for all skin types wheather [sic] creaming the face or leathering [sic] it with soap; small circles about the size of a dime are worked with gentle but firm fingertips completely over entire area of the face and neck in an upward and outward direction; but do not pull or drag the skin.  For the second time apply cold cream with a splash of lukewarm water on the face; lather up soap and again massage into the skin, now rinse with warm then finish with a cooler application of water which you pat dry.  Apply witch hazel or skin refreshener to complete cleansing operation."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

Left side text:  "If you have dry skin use liquid creamy cleanser by day, at night useing [sic] only castile or olive oil soap for cleansing then apply a light film of night cream; tissue off all but a very thin film as the skin must breath [sic].  A protective film of vanishing cream must be used under cosmetics.  If you have oily skin at intervals during the day cleanse with a very mild facial soap and water.  Follow with estringent [sic] cleansing.  Do not use night cream or cosmetics with a very oily base.  Beneficial indeed the use of suphur [sic] and resorcinal ? soap as well as sulphur and resorcinal ointment to dry up the oiliness.  Beauty is only an inner vitality forcing through the skin, it is well to follow the rules of health.  Eat a hearty well balanced breakfast, drink plenty of water before, between and after meals.  Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Lose self in absolute relaxation at intervals during day and plenty of sleep at night.  Do apply cream useing [sic] both hands.  Do massage motion in soaping creaming upward and outward.  Do make sure soiled cream is off face before creaming.  Do use soap and water daily and rinse well.  Do remember hit and miss treatment blotch the skin."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"The four essentials for a beautiful skin.  Cleanliness in leaving face clean, free from dirt likewise hands must be clean before touching face.  Lubrication:  to make skin smooth by the use of a good lubricating cream and repair or beauty stick to cover fine lines and blemishes.  Stimulation:  washing off the mask results in a stimulated circulation which keeps skin flexible and invigorating, leaving face a glow and bring tinge of natural color to the cheeks.  Protection:  In the coverage used to shield the skin against variable changes in the weather use protecting film of vanishing cream at night will keep skin smooth and soft."

Bogardy concluded each section with drawings he titled "Precious moments on a theme of golden silence" showing each of the face types looking up and surrounded by rays of soft golden light. Given his religious bend, these women appear angelic (the light could be a halo) and the upward glance might be directed towards heaven.  The idea of transforming oneself from mere mortal to angelic being via makeup is still strong today - I could probably write a book about the intersection of heaven, angels and makeup.

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970

"Eyes close together will appear wider apart when you spread light foundation from the inner eyelid up the side of the nose.  Too round face will seem to appear oval when darker shade of foundation shadow the periphery outside the oval outline.  The sallow skin picks up a glow from a rose toned powder base or possibly a pink tinge for late evening hours."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"When glasses are worn the eyes are very carefully made up so that there should be enough accent to draw attention to eyes rather than glasses.  If the eyes are widely spaced shadow to the tear duct to make them seem close together, blend the shadow so it is not noticeable of having the darker amount near the lashes."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"A long nose will seem shorter when you darken the tip with a darker shade of foundation.  Having a double chin you must use regular foundation shade, then apply darker tone.  This will tend to minimize the chin area.  Application should be under the jawbone, blend from ear to ear along the jawline."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

"To cover scars is indeed a laborious process but you will reap a rich harvest in the end.  For indented scar or depression, apply a tight cream or white foundation with a no. 3 sable oil brush inside scar, blending into basic foundation by patting, if the scar be a strabeery [sic] form birth mark a heavy opaque foundation will block it out.  Use your regular foundation according to skin type in the surrounding area.  Experiment with different types and colors of foundation in the same family group:  by continued application the colors will become permanently formed about the scar."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)
(images from the Smithsonian)

Stylistically, I'm surprised at how modern these look.  If we ignore the ostensibly '60s era head wraps, the illustrations resemble toned-down versions of MAC face charts and others readily available today.  As for the instructions, despite the lack of diversity (the face types shown are presumably white women, with no mention of varying skin tones or eye shapes), the basic principle of balancing one's features remain somewhat relevant today. Overall though, even after sifting through the roughly 60 illustrations made available by the Smithsonian, I was still not entirely sure what Bogardy's motivation was in producing these.  "The Hair and its Social Importance" was a self-published booklet to be distributed among his circle and hopefully more widely to the public; it's not clear who these makeup drawings were intended for.  Then it dawned on me:  they were probably meant to be a makeup counterpart to the hair booklet, given that it was considered a "hair bible" and my earlier theory that the beginnings of each section comprised introductions for a sort of prayer book.  Parsons and Orgeron confirmed my hunch. "[Our] research during the summer and fall of 2001 turned up approximately one hundred extant paintings and colored-pencil drawings - sketches Bogardy had apparently rendered for a handbook on female beauty and the proper application of cosmetics.  This manual, if he had been able to publish it, would most likely have served as a companion volume 'The Hair and its Social Importance'".  So it was really a matter of him not getting to publish it for whatever reason.  In any case, Bogardy enjoyed making art for others and sharing his cosmetic expertise, but his admiration of women and their presentation of feminine beauty, his dedication to Catholicism and the appeal of daily rituals were really the impetus for the drawings.  "His sense of ritual permeated his personal life, and he was passionate about helping women look beautiful--both for themselves and for God," note Parsons and Orgeron, adding, "Clearly, this is the art of makeup application raised to the level of religious ceremony."

Alexander Bogardy, Untitled, c. 1960-1970 (detail)

Thus, the beauty book was simply a matter of combining the areas he was most passionate about during the '50s and '60s:  cosmetology, art, and devotion to God.  I believe Bogardy presents a unique take on conventional beauty wisdom of the time.  I'm not wild about the idea of women looking their best for anyone but themselves - I don't think we have a duty to look pretty for fellow humans, let alone God, nor do I think women require makeup to feel beautiful - but his enthusiasm for the transformative nature of makeup application elevates one's beauty tasks from the mundane to the divine.  As I noted earlier, I'm not the slightest bit religious or even spiritual, but I do feel like my makeup routine is a ritual of sorts, especially when I can take my time and fully enjoy the process.  Bogardy's drawings express and celebrate the near-heavenly state makeup application can bring.  In our current era of "self-care" and "wellness", they also serve as a reminder to carve a few moments in our busy schedules to do the things that make us feel valued and worthwhile.  Taking pleasure in performing a beauty ritual, whatever it may be, is just as good for the mind as it is for appearance.

That was a lot to take in!  What do you think of Bogardy's beauty illustrations?  Would you use any of these techniques?


*The Smithsonian gives Bogardy's birth year as 1901, but some other sources say 1902.  One of the articles referenced above lists his possible dates of birth as 1901, 1903, 1917 and 1924...although if the Peabody has records of him studying violin there during the '20s I doubt he could have been born in the 19 teens or '20s.  Another article by the same authors states, "While there is conflicting evidence concerning the precise year in which Alexander Bogardy was born, most of the data supports a birth date of April 20, 1901 in Budapest, Hungary."

Curator's Corner, January 2019

CC logoJanuary is probably my most despised month, but at least it's over now!  Here are some noteworthy links (late as usual since I'm not feeling great, and as you'll see, very cranky).

- I was saddened to hear about the death of two beauty visionaries during January.

- But there's good news - the industry is slowing moving towards inclusivity not just for cosmetics but also for skincare

- I had long suspected the story of Elizabeth Arden handing out lipsticks to suffragettes wasn't true, so I was pleased that historian Lucy Jane Santos definitively put that myth to rest.

- Must make a trip up to NYC to see Mother's new beauty pop-up in Bergdorf Goodman and Chanel's beauty atelier

- I'm not really sure what CVS's non-photoshopped ads are supposed to achieve.  I mean, great, but consumers are also aware of the difference makeup and good lighting makes in photos, not to mention these are photos of women who are gorgeous to begin with anyway. 

- Finally, someone says it:  effective skincare is a wealthy person's game.  I don't know about you, but I'm fed up with the usual advice of drinking plenty of water, wearing sunscreen and using various products and getting no results - I've discovered that the secret to good skin actually lies in much more expensive professional treatments (unless you are genetically blessed and don't require any heavy-duty intervention).  I guess the public doesn't want to read about skincare that's out of their reach, but I do think there needs to be more transparency and lowered expectations as to what a healthy lifestyle and over the counter products can do for your skin. 

- While I'm on a tear, here's a piece highlighting the hypocrisy of "Janu-hairy".  Not all body hair is created equal, er, acceptable.

- Can we just let the athleisure beauty trend die already?

- I'm all for being organized and making sure one's makeup stash gets weeded out regularly, and Marie Kondo's methods seem harmless enough, but they fail to answer the question of what collectors are supposed to do with all their precious items.

- I'll believe it when I see it.  (Has anyone had any success using more than 1 code?  Because I sure haven't).

The random:

- In '90s nostalgia, The Blair Witch Project debuted 20 years ago on January, while the star of She's All That comments on the film's problematic nature on its 20th anniversary.  Meanwhile, one of my idols got her original '90s band back together - too bad I couldn't get tickets as they sold out in literally a fraction of a second.

- Speaking of music, I am over the moon that we can be expecting a new album from my favorite band this year.

- As a sort of follow-up to my Ramses compact post, the restoration of King Tut's tomb has been completed. 

- This story of an 80-something self-taught artist presenting his first solo exhibition gave me hope that it's never too late to do what you want.  Well, not really, I'm still pretty hopeless.  But it was nice to see.

Bad kitty!

What's up with you?  How did the first month of 2019 treat you?