all the gold things can stay

On December 27, 2013 by theseventhsphinx

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One of my favorite side-effects of the resurgence of vintage and retro aesthetics is the old school packaging popping up here and there. If lipstick is good, lipstick in a weighty gold tube is better.

A great example is this Albeit lipstick I mentioned briefly before (wearing here). Estée Lauder’s Mad Men collection has the same vintage look, as does Charlotte Tilbury’s new line. What can I say? I like the color gold. I agree that one can have too much of it and that it is sometimes tacky beyond redemption…but there it is. I want it. And it’s festive in the bargain.

A great formula is key, of course, but packaging is part of the experience. Even if the act of using the product is private, as I think is more often the case for our generation (fading is the image of the woman pulling out a compact to touch up in public), still each element adds its weight to the whole, marking the difference between the perfunctory and the ceremonial. Naturally it feels special to use objects we find beautiful, and their beauty helps us to be mindful of our task. More appreciative, maybe. If we have chosen truly to our taste. It is the case for me, when I choose truly to my taste.

Elizabeth Arden, Estée Lauder and YSL have always understood this. Michael Kors had the right idea from the start with his new collection (we agree about the supremacy of gold, Michael and I). Props to biodynamic brand Dr. Hauschka for their satisfyingly luxe packaging, and it’s not as metallic but I quite like Clarins’ packaging, too.  Once in a while Revlon releases one of their retro pigments in vintage packaging and I keep waiting to run into one. Certain designer brands, too, do limited edition packaging once in a while that I think really lovely (think Givenchy, think Armani). Tom Ford, though he doesn’t go full-on with the gold, has that Midas air about him, everything he has a hand in glinting in the light.

I find value in that sensation of using something special. Often I wouldn’t think of these objects as especially important to me or tangled in sentiment (if so it is a sentiment that begins and ends in their aesthetic appeal), rather as influential when directly in use. I think I take it to something of an extreme, and want every object in my little empire of possessions to feel special, purposeful, chosen. Really a lot of them do, though. A lot of them are. It is perhaps not too unrealistic a desire.