The Makeup Museum presents: Stila at 25

Makeup Museum Stila Girl Exhibition

I'm so very excited to announce the Makeup Museum's special exhibition in honor of Stila's 25th anniversary!  I was too overwhelmed to do a full history of the brand, so I decided to just focus on the famous Stila girl illustrations.  If you've been following me for a while you know that the Stila girls were sort of the gateway drug for my interest in collecting makeup and seeing cosmetics packaging as art.  For such a milestone anniversary I knew I wanted to pay tribute to them, even though the year is almost over (thankfully - it's been miserable for a number of reasons), especially given that I've been itching to put together a special exhibition for them since at least 2016.  I also wanted to try something totally new for the Museum in terms of exhibitions.  Technically all of them are online, but instead of putting things on shelves and taking photos, I wanted it to have a more "real" online exhibition feel.  I've been doing a lot of thinking the past year or so about how to improve the exhibitions even though I'm so limited in what I can do, and I was really inspired by the Kanebo Compact Museum website, and once the husband showed me Squarespace I was sold.  Well that, and the fact that he kindly offered to design the entire exhibition site for me.  ;)  So I set up a domain there which, if this exhibition is well-received, will serve as the space for the Museum's special exhibitions going forward.  The seasonal ones will remain here if I decide to keep going with them.  Looking ahead, I think I'd rather focus on more specific topics than general seasonal trends.  Not that I can delve too deeply into particular themes given the never-ending lack of resources, but I still want to at least try to do slightly more in-depth exhibitions even though they won't be exactly how I want them.  I'm looking at them as a starting point for bigger things.

Enough of my blabbing about the basic stuff, I want to give some more details about the exhibition itself.  It came together nicely, or at least, it was the one I worked most on with the possible exception of Sweet Tooth (still want to revisit that one!)  I really wanted to get interviews with the key people behind the illustrations, so I put my crippling fear of rejection aside and boldly contacted Jeffrey Fulvimari (Stila's original illustrator), Caitlin Dinkins (illustrator during Stila's early aughts heyday) and Naoko Matsunaga (who took over for Dinkins in 2009).  While I was disappointed at not hearing back from two of the three, if only one responded, I was glad it was Jeffrey since I've been following him for a while on Instagram and I love his approach to art and his personality.  He is quite the character!  It ended up giving me so much confidence I reached out to the grand poobah herself and my curatorship namesake, Jeanine Lobell.  Yes, I actually DM'ed the founder of Stila on Instagram and asked if she'd be up for an interview.  And...and...are you sitting down??  You really need to.  Okay, now that you're sitting and won't have far to fall in case you faint, I can tell you that she agreed to do it!! 

Screenshot of DM

Not only that, she actually answered all of my interview questions!!  You have no idea how ecstatic I was to finally be heard by a major industry figure.  Took over a decade but I finally made contact with a big name!  So that was most exciting, easily one of the most exciting things to happen in the Museum's 11-year history.  And her answers were really good too, I've incorporated them throughout the exhibition so make sure to read through.

As for the items, I didn't take photos of everything in my collection because again, too overwhelming.  The Museum has over 130 Stila items, nearly all of which feature the girls.  I mean...

Makeup Museum - Stila storage

The photos I did take have purposely plain backgrounds because I wanted the emphasis to be on the illustrations.  I tried to have a good mix of memorabilia and the makeup itself.  I even had to iron a few items.

Makeup Museum - Stila memorabilia

I also included a couple photos of things that I don't actually own but are important in getting a full picture (haha) of the illustrations. I'm pleased with how the sections are arranged, and I must thank my husband for organizing them so perfectly in addition to designing the whole site.  I'm thinking of adding a section called Soundbites, a repository of quotes from the both the beauty community and general public telling me why they like the Stila girls or really anything related to the brand, so be sure to email me or comment here.  I really wish I could have an app that would "Stila girl-ize" the user, i.e. you upload a picture of yourself and it would automatically generate a Stila girl style illustration of you, just like this.  And of course, if the Museum occupied a physical space I'd definitely hire an artist to do live drawings at the exhibition opening - how fun would that be?

So that about wraps it up!  Please take a look and tell me what you think of the new exhibition format

Into the MM archives: Stila Look of the Month palettes

When I was re-organizing the Museum's collection storage I realized I had never featured these Stila Look of the Month palettes.  Plus I figured it would be a good follow-up to my vintage zodiac compact post from last week.

In early 2004 Stila released the first of 12 adorable 3-pan palettes sold exclusively at Nordstrom.  They sold for $8 each empty, and for every month Stila recommended specific eye shadows and blush pans from their line to go in the palettes along with other products that would complement the palette items. While mine are not in mint condition, they're in pretty good shape considering that 1. they're over 10 years old at this point; 2. they're made of laminated cardboard, which isn't the sturdiest material; and 3.  I (stupidly) actually used them to house eye shadows for a period of time before moving them to metal palettes.  I totally couldn't remember the suggested shades for each one, but fortunately a very helpful reviewer at MUA listed them all.  Many things are long discontinued, which I've marked with an asterisk.

Here are January and February.  January's suggested shades:  Shore* and Pewter eye shadows, Bloom blush*Other items to go with the colors in the palette:  Grapefruit Lip Glaze, and All Over Shimmer #7 (All Over Shimmers were pressed highlighting powders.)

February's shades:  Cassia*, Shell and Poise eye shadows.  Other items:  Lillium Convertible Color and Demi Pink Twinset* (the Twinsets were double-ended products with a matte lip shade on one end and a high-shine gloss on the other that could be layered together or worn separately.)

Stila Look of the Month palettes - January and February

March's shades: Wheat, Sage* and Espresso eye shadows.  Other items:  Nude Flash*, Praline Lip Glaze

April: Charm* and Cassis eye shadows, Cozy blush*.  Other items:  Fig Lip Glaze*, All Over Shimmer #1*

Stila Look of the Month palettes - March and April

May:  Launey*, Sun and Twig eye shadows.  Other items:  Gerbera Convertible Color, Spangle Lip Polish*

June:  Chinois and Jade eye shadows, Tint blush*.  Other items:  Twinkle Lip Polish*

  Stila Look of the Month palettes - May and June

July: Ray*, Sun and Twig eye shadows

August:  Nude* and Puppy eye shadows, Soar* blush

Stila Look of the Month palettes - July and August

September:  Wheat, Golightly and Java eye shadows.  Other items:  Teak Convertible Eye Color*, Water Lily Rouge Pot*, Gleam Lip Polish*

October:  Oasis, Jezebel* and Mood* eye shadows.  Other items:  Clove Convertible Eye Color*, Amaryllis Rouge Pot*, Praline Lip Glaze, Illuminating Powder Foundation

Stila Look of the Month palettes - September and October

November:  Heather*, Viola* and Pigalle* eye shadows.  Other items:  Berry Convertible Eye Color*, Rose Convertible Color, Fraise Lip Pot*, Illuminating Liquid Foundation

December:  Twilight* and Storm* eye shadows, Cozy blush*.  Other items:  Pomegranate Lip Glaze*, Illuminating Liquid Foundation, All Over Shimmer #8*

Stila Look of the Month palettes - November and December

I simply adore how each illustration perfectly corresponds to its respective month.  The names of the months aren't listed but you can easily tell which is which, or at the very least, which of the four seasons it belongs to.  I like to think of them as a modern, fun version of medieval Labors of the Months - but no work, only play for these stylish Stila ladies.  I also love that the patterns continue on the inside of the palettes. 

Stila 3 pan palette

I would greatly enjoy telling you more about the artist responsible for these particular Stila girls, but that's a special exhibition story for another time. ;)

What do you think?  I know I am seriously pining for Stila's glory days, when they were chock full of these incredibly cute illustrations. Also, if you're curious about any of the discontinued eye shadow shades, I can tell you about those as I own nearly all of them - they still apply flawlessly. 



MM Mailbag: Another Stila surprise!

Vintage Stila memorabilia

You might remember how overjoyed I was in late 2013 when a mysterious person emailed me and asked to bestow a mighty lot of Stila memorabilia.  Well, back in the spring a different mystery Stila aficionado contacted me and asked if I wanted her vintage Stila ephemera.  As with the previous donor, she refused to accept payment, even for postage, and sent me an enormous package chock full of lovely Stila cards and other goodies.  See, Stila fans are the best!!

Now that I'm done gushing about the extremely generous people who graciously donated these items, let's take an in-depth look.

Stila postcards, ca. late 1990s

Stila postcards, ca. late 1990s

Stila postcards, late 1990s/early 00s

Stila postcards, late 1990s/early 00s

Stila postcards, fall 2001 and 2002

Stila pamphlets

Stila 2001 holiday look book

Stila 2001 holiday look book

Even the outer envelope for this has an adorable illustration:

Stila 2001 holiday lookbook envelope

How adorable is this mini 3-ring binder?!

Stila mini binder

Stila mini binder

I think is from around 2003, since the "Look of the Month" palettes had some of the same illustrations and were released at Nordstrom in January 2004.  For example, the little lady below was used in the April palette.

Stila mini binder

The donor also included some pretty cool Anna Sui postcards. 

Anna Sui postcards

Anna Sui postcard

So wasn't that nice?!  Whoever sent this my way, thank you thank you thank you from the bottom of my Stila-loving heart!!  I'm still in awe from the generosity.

Which is your favorite from this glorious batch of rare Stila items?  I love it all, of course, but I think I'm partial to the white postcards, which look to be very early in Stila's history...but the postcard with the girl catching pairs of rouged lips in a butterfly net is pretty spectacular too.


Quick post: Howdy, partner!

Looky what I found on e-bay!  Hooray for adding another vintage Stila paint can to my collection.

Stila Foley's paint can

Stila Foley's paint can

I don't have anything to say except this was a great find for a mere $11!

And with that, I'm off to Rome.  I'll be back late next week with some more spring collections (and a recap of my trip, of course).  :)

I scream, you scream, we all scream for (Stila) ice cream!

I find it extremely hard to believe that Stila is turning 20 years old!  I mean I know it's the truth as I wrote a post on '90s beauty some time ago, but wow!  I'd love to do a brand retrospective blog post and/or exhibition but that will have to be for another time.  Right now, I'm going to talk about the Ice Cream collection*, a lineup of eye shadow trios and blush duos (oh how I love the return to the old round packaging!) that Stila released in honor of their 20-year milestone.  Alas, there's nary a Stila girl to be found, but there are some ridiculously cute illustrations of sweet frozen treats.  They're fun and girly without being childish.


(images from

The collection does not appear to be available in the U.S., at least not yet.  I clicked on this link for the U.S. Asos site for the eye shadow trios and in tiny letters beneath the product description, it says that this item does not ship to Australia or the U.S.  Then why, pray tell, is it listed at the U.S. side of the Asos site?!  Sigh. 

On one hand I think the collection is worth tracking down through other means since it commemorates an important anniversary for one of my favorite brands, and I adore the old round cardboard packaging.  On the other hand, there are no Stila girls involved, which frankly baffles me.  Those girls helped make the brand a success in its early stages and should have been used for such a momentous occasion.   Stila, if you're still in business in another 10 years, let ME handle the design of a limited edition collection for your 30th anniversary.  I guarantee it would be a smashing success as I know what Stila fans want.

What do you think of the collection?  And what are your favorite Stila products/packaging/memories of the brand?

*Thanks to British Beauty Blogger for the heads up on this collection!

Hautelook exclusive Stila travel palettes

Now how on earth did I miss these?!  I'm a little bummed that Stila snuck them onto discount site Hautelook about a month ago.  I'm a Hautelook member so I get their emails, but I ignored their Stila sale alert because there was nothing from them I needed at the moment.  Little did I know that Stila was offering two Hautelook-exclusive travel palettes during the sale:  Sweet in San Francisco and Stunning in Seattle.  By the time I caught wind of them via Pinterest they were long gone.  I actually ended up calling Stila and was told, very apologetically and nicely, that the palettes were indeed exclusive to Hautelook and that there were no plans to sell them anywhere else in the future.  Very bad news for a collector!

The San Francisco palette I was not able to get my hands on so I will continue to pursue it on E-bay. I think I have all of the city-themed travel palettes, therefore I cannot have any gaps in my collection.   I can't really see the details too well from this tiny picture but you can't miss the Golden Gate Bridge.

(image from

Stunning in Seattle proved less difficult to obtain and I was able to snag it on E-bay.  While "stunning" was previously used in the 2011 Stunning in Sayulita palette, the Seattle one makes up for the repetition in the name.  The famous Space Needle in the background is adorable, but what I really liked is this Stila girl's brunette mane in a messy ponytail since it reminds me of me.  :)  I also loved this girl's outfit.  The sunglasses, cuffed skinny jeans and little flats are so cute, not to mention practical.    Sometimes the Stila girls, particularly those depicted in the travel palettes, are wearing fairly high heels that makes me wonder how much sight-seeing they're actually doing in that particular city;  there are only a handful in flats or bare feet.  The Seattle Stila girl is very chic but also knows she'll be walking and/or biking for most of the day - gotta be comfortable! 


Here's the inside with a quote from Stila Global Artistic Director Sarah Lucero.



What do you think of these?  Were you lucky enough to buy one or both at Hautelook?

MM Mailbag: a Stila surprise

Talk about a RAOK (random act of kindness)!  Last week a very mysterious person emailed me, saying that she had a bunch of vintage Stila memorabilia, and asked if I would like any of it.  She had no room for it anymore but hated the thought of throwing it away.  I eagerly responded that I was interested and inquired about pricing.  Not only did this marvelous mystery person say that she would give it all to me for free, she even refused reimbursement for shipping!  I was, and still am, totally stunned by this act of generosity.  And the quality and quantity of the goodies she bestowed upon the museum left me flabbergasted as well. 

Without further ado, I introduce the Mystery Stila Lady collection!  Whoever you are, I cannot thank you enough!!

Rock the Vote postcard - on the back it had instructions for voting. 


Pamphlet (from 1999!):




This was one of my favorites - a postcard set from the 2001 fall collection.







Then there were the workbooks/product guides - I'm assuming these were for Stila employees.









You may recognize this Stila girl - she also appeared on the 2013 holiday palettes, albeit in a different outfit.






Some other great items in the bounty included a cute paper box and silver bag:




I loved everything, obviously, but my favorite item was this 2003 calendar.  It's interesting to see how it foreshadows both the 2004 Nordstrom calendar palette collection and the more recent travel palette series.














You may have been wondering where the month of June was.  I had to save the best for last.  Behold, a Stila mermaid!


My mermaid obsession knows no bounds, so I got heart palpitations when I saw this!  Plus, it may be proof that I'm not completely senile in remembering a long-lost Stila paint can that was created in honor of their counters opening in Copenhagen, which I discussed in my post on mermaids in cosmetics ads and packaging.  I said that I could have sworn the mermaid was blonde, and here she is!  I'm almost positive now that paint can existed and this was the same mermaid used.

Which of these images from the very generous Mystery Stila Lady collection is your favorite?  I still can't believe she donated all of this!!  I'm both a collector and Stila fanatic, so naturally this is awesome, but what's more is that the Stila girls were what got me collecting makeup in the first place so having these really means a lot.


Stila Holiday 2013

Here's another quick post, this time on part of Stila's 2013 holiday collection.  While it doesn't read particularly festive to me, as we know I can't resist a Stila girl and bought two of the four palettes featuring them.




There were also these two, which I did not purchase:


(images from

Additionally, there were the usual lip glaze sets and a very nice "Masterpiece Series" set with just about all the makeup one could want (well, the average makeup user, anyway...for addicts like me it wouldn't be enough - it never is!)  What I like about these is that they'll fit in to any seasonal exhibition.

Will you be buying any Stila holiday goodies this year?

Summer's not over yet! L-Space for Stila

Fall is just a few weeks away and we're already getting glimpses of holiday treats, but I'm stubbornly clinging to summer.  I was searching for a picture of Stila's vending machine for last Friday's post.  While I couldn't find one, I managed to stumble across this new (?) palette that was the result of a collaboration with swimwear line L-Space.  Stila artists did the makeup for L-Space's runway show at Miami Fashion Week, so I'm assuming that's how the collab came about. 

Here's a short behind-the-scenes video of the look Stila created:


And here is the palette itself.  While I don't think it's incredibly special, it was definitely cute enough for me to buy as one huge weakness of mine is Stila girls.  And it will make a nice addition to a summer exhibition. 


Oddly enough, while the blush colors seem to be similar to those used in the runway show, the eye colors have more of a bronzey tone rather than the pale, slightly whitish cast applied on the models backstage.  In fact, when you go to the Stila website, it suggests using Kitten (super metallic champagne) and Opal (sparkly white) to get the eye shadow look rather than the shades in this palette.


The Stila girl is clad in an L-Space bikini - the "Dolly" fringed bandeau top and cut-out bottoms.

(image from

Since I don't shop for swimsuits very often despite my love of the beach, I was entirely unfamiliar with L-Space.  Having browsed through their suits, however, now I see that fringed tops are the line's trademark and what makes their suits unique from other swimwear lines, so it's fitting that they put the Stila girl in one. 

All in all, a cute palette...I just wish Stila would get back to making round cases again.  :)

Celebrate the 4th of July with some vintage Stila!

I bought these paint cans from E-bay a few months ago and realized I still hadn't posted about them, as they're still sitting out instead of in museum storage.  In looking at the red, white and blue I thought they seemed pretty patriotic and very fitting for the celebration of our country's independence. 



These are from 1999 or so, when Stila's "revolutionary" new Lip Polish was introduced.  Magazine junkie that I am, I could have sworn the images on the cans also appeared in print, but I couldn't find any ads in my paper files or online.  However, this Adweek article proved that I was correct - the ads did indeed run in Harper's Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire and InStyle.

Happy 4th!