Art museums are the hottest new beauty collaborations


Art museums are the hottest new beauty collaborationsProperty of Hearst

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Enchanted by this Flemish painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art new exhibition “Tudors”? You can take it home! Good kind of. You can wear it on your nails. Los Angeles-based jewelry and nail polish brand J.Hannah recently collaborated with the Met to create a Polish collection inspired by the rich, ornate jewel tones found in a 1597 portrait by a Bruges artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger. “Who wouldn’t want to bring home a little piece of that glamor?” Morgan Pearce, managing director of marketing, brand partnerships and licensing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, asks.

Beauty brands around the world are reimagining the way we interact with museums with unique, limited-edition collaborations on makeup, fragrance, nail polish, and more. But these brands don’t just draw inspiration; they work hand-in-hand with museums to create quirky offerings that bring artwork to your home or, in J. Hannah’s case, to your fingertips.

In New York, the Met has an ongoing history of collaborative beauty-focused partnerships, including past product launches with Estée Lauder, Pat McGrath Labs, Le Labo and J. Hannah. “The goal of all Met collaborations is to use artwork to tell an inspiring story that connects the guest to some of the 5,000 years of human history and creativity housed at the Met,” Pearce said. “The world of beauty gives us so much room to play.” And they will play.

In 2018, the museum collaborated with Pat McGraththe world’s most famous makeup artist, for the Costume Institute’s Spring 2018 exhibition, “Celestial Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” The collection included a decadent eye shadow palette and iridescent lip gloss, both wrapped in paints from the exhibit.

The candles

At the end of last year, Harlem Candle Co. released a candle called Seneca on the occasion of the Met exhibition, “Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room”. Fast forward to October 2022, New York-based fragrance brand Le Labo has launched a special edition candle celebrating not an exhibition, but a single painting: the unfinished piece from 1908 “Under the Cork Oaks” by Henri-Edmond Cross. Le Labo chose a perfume already in its arsenal, the complicated and multi-layered Laurier 62. The lesser-known scent was selected for its intricate – or “beautiful chaotic mess,” as the brand notes – ingredients that deliberately counteract the silence of the artwork. Sketched watercolor and graphite work is found directly on the candle label, and the fragrance has notes of bay leaf, rosemary, eucalyptus, thyme, cumin, and more, intentionally crafted to create a warm and contrasting olfactory journey.

In Paris, the brand of home fragrances and avant-garde candles Career Brothers (founded in 1884) joined forces with the National Museum of Natural History (National Museum of Natural History) for a symbiotic collaboration. The philanthropic partnership with the beloved national museum is not only historic, but it is also a point of patriotism. “The institution is highly revered in France,” said Julien Pruvost, the creative director of Carrière Frères and its sister brand, Cire Trudon, says, adding that the museum dates back to 1635 when it was a royal medicinal garden for Louis XIII. The museum has several locations, including the most famous in Paris called the Garden of plants (the Jardin des Plantes) in the Latin Quarter of the capital. The historical point of view? This is the first-ever brand collaboration for the museum, notes Pruvost.

The first collection, launched last summer, includes three uniquely scented candles. From the packaging to the fragrance, the candles are a celebration of historic French botany. The biologists and archivists of the museum, Pruvost, and the perfumers of Grasse have joined forces to find plants in the archives that are both unusual and steeped in history (in the hope of reviving the botanical exploration of the plant).

The three original scents are absinthe, acacia and water lily. Each is paired with its corresponding archival print (some never before seen in public) decorating ships, with many designs dating back to the 17th century.

This partnership not only celebrates unseen (and rarely felt) history, it also gives back to its inspiration. Proceeds from the collaboration go directly to the museum, Pruvost says. Supporting the institution was important to Carrière, given all of his accomplishments. “The museum is committed to conservation, research and education, a particularly important theme for the future of environmental protection and the maintenance of the interest of young generations in nature”, explains- he.

For Pruvost, the unique partnership, a dream come true, is also personal. His love for the institution goes back to his childhood spent constantly surveying the Parisian gardens, and even in elementary school, where he attended educational gardening programs with the museum.


The textural splendor of Marcus Gheeraerts the YoungerThe 1597 portrait of Ellen Maurice inspired Jess Hannah Révész, the founder and designer of J. Hannah, to start a three-piece polishing kit. The painting of the wealthy heiress dripping in jewels is part of the Met’s new exhibition, “The Tudors: Art and Majesty in Renaissance England”, on view until January 2023. “The exhibition highlights a community of artists who came together to create opulent works of art for their Tudor patrons,” says Pearce.

The collaboration with the Met, the third with the jewelry and polish brand, was hijacked to ensure creative perfection. “Our varnishes are often heavily inspired by works of art, museum artifacts, ancient relics and artists’ palettes,” says Révész. “In this way, it was natural to collaborate with the Met – having the freedom to creatively explore and interpret an element of their extensive archive was the perfect mission for us.”

Besides the 1597 portrait, Révész also found herself particularly drawn to the miniature portraits popular at the time. These pocket portraits are closely tied to jewelry, she explains, noting that the mini artworks were often worn as medallions.

The three shades in the set are inspired by the rich pigments and inventive techniques of Tudor-era art, and are just as ingenious today as they were in the 16th century. They include Velor (a richly layered crimson inspired by tapestries and opulent garments), Bijoux (a deep emerald tone depicting a garden at night), and Relic (a golden tone that pays homage to delicate jewel detailing).

“It’s fascinating to bridge the gap between such a grand historical archive and then go and design a product for today’s guest,” says Révész. “It’s incredibly fun to imagine how a museum visitor could interpret these colors for themselves while taking something tangible out of the exhibit.”

The history of beauty and art

Adele Bloch Bauer
“Lauder bought by Gustav Klimt Adele Bloch-Bauer I for the Neue Galerie, which was, at the time, probably the most expensive art purchase on record”, Doreen Bloch, Executive Director of the make-up museumsaid.brandstaetter pictures – Getty Images

The worlds of beauty and art have long been linked. “Historically, the beauty industry and the art world have always been very closely linked since at least the mid-1900s,” Doreen Bloch, executive director of the New York-based company. make-up museum, said. Take the beauty mogul The long friendship of Helena Rubinstein with Salvador Dalí and Pablo Picasso, or the generous contributions of the Lauder family to the Met, the Whitney and the Neue Galerie. “Lauder bought by Gustav Klimt Adele Bloch-Bauer I for the Neue Galerie, which was, at the time, probably the most expensive art purchase on record,” Bloch adds. (Arguably the most famous of Klimt’s paintings, the piece cost Ronald Lauder a $135 million in 2006.)

When it comes to museums and beauty, Shiseido has been supporting artists for over a century. Since 1919, the Tokyo-based brand has promoted emerging local artists with the Shiseido Gallery. You can even visit the Shiseido Corporate Museum showcasing brand artifacts; “the only beauty brand in the world that does that to our knowledge,” says Bloch.

Revlon co-sponsored an entire exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum for 2019″Frida Kahlo: Appearances can be deceiving.” Not only did Revlon help with the financial staging of the exhibition, but it also provided Kahlo makeup artifacts. As part of the exhibit, visitors could see the artist’s red lipstick (her favorite being Revlon’s Everything’s Rosy), her blush (Revlon Blusher in Clear Red), and even a color wardrobe. of Revlon nails (from red to frosty pink).

Since 2017, Swiss luxury juggernaut La Prairie joins forces with Art Basel. From New York and Miami to London and Switzerland, the brand has supported a wide range of high profile projects by emerging artists. One of his most impressive projects to date is the June 2022 fair in Basel, where La Prairie brought together five emerging women artists to pay homage to the female figures of the Bauhaus movement. The luxury brand also has an ongoing conservation project close to home with Switzerland’s most popular museum, the Beyeler Foundationto return four trainers Pieces by Piet Mondrian.

Where do the beauty and museum collaborations go from here? “Given the journey of cosmetics in the Western tradition, from renegade and indescribable in the early 1900s, to an essential, everyday, mass-produced product in the mid-1900s, to art and haute couture during decades, it makes sense that we’ll see more such partnerships over time, as museums reach out to young patrons who see moments of experience, and makeup gains its place in the halls hallmarks of art history,” says Bloch.

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