June 13, 2012

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

Be still my heart.

I am going to be upfront with y'all that I cannot be objective about this collection. I'm a nut for vintage styling, and I freakin' LOVE Mad Men - the simultaneously sympathetic and loathsome characters, the exquisite period detailing, the precise balance of pathos and humor, and, of course, the pure masculine glory that is Don Draper.

When Estée Lauder came out with this collection, it was love at first sight. The packaging is just sublime, and I am going to conserve the boxes to store along with the actual product.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

They really outdid themselves with the period-authentic details, while keeping the overall feel fresh and modern. The outer packaging has that mix of pale blue/aqua and gold that calls to mind Palm Springs or Palm Beach, circa 1962, without being too precious.

The Creme Rouge in Evening Rose is a gorgeous, heavy and very, very blingy, with a blue stone on the push-clasp. The kind of thing that inspires any excuse to use in public.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection
Mad Men Limited Edition Creme Rouge in Evening Rose

The lipstick in Cherry is a smaller size, which for the price might seem outrageous, but it is accurate for the period.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection lipstick cherry
Mad Men Limited Edition Lipstick in Cherry

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection lipstick cherry
Size comparison: Cherry below,
a standard GWP-packaged Estée Lauder lipstick above.

Both items are actually a lot less red than I was expecting, with the lipstick being a very clear red with a strong pink undertone, almost rasberry-ish, while the Creme Rouge is beautiful bright rose. I think very warm complexions might have a hard time pulling these off, but they are worth a try if a counter near you has any testers.

With my coloring (light skin, dark eyes, brownish-blond hair), they're pretty damn perfect. The kind of makeup that looks crisp, clean and pretty with just a touch of mascara.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection

The lipstick is an opaque, satin finish cream that applies with a lot of pigmentation on the first swipe. It doesn't have any detectable shimmer, but retains a certain glossiness. I wouldn't call it hydrating, but it is very comfortable on the lips, and wears very well. Like all reds, it stains and therefore lasts longer than the average - up to lunch with no problem. And then you can just whip out the Creme Rouge compact to reapply, and be wonderfully chic about it. ;)

The Creme Rouge is not the usual cream-to-powder concoction. Evoking its ancestry, this rouge is wonderfully creamy and dewy, and retains a soft glow even after it's worked into the skin. It also has a very fine shimmer that is barely apparent, but there. If you are concerned about aggravating the look of oily skin, or just don't enjoy a glowier finish, then this is probably not going to rock you boat. I do think it can be a very beautiful, fresh and vibrant look though, and in the summer, over tanned skin - I think it's just stunning.

It can be applied as is from the pan with the fingers, and blended in for a more dense application. However, I do prefer doing a more sheered out version using the Real Techniques contour brush (probably my favorite brush for cream blushes).

And it can also be used as a lip product. With the creamier finish, it actually feels very nice on the lips, and dries to a satin finish. (Actually, I think it might be a very similar formulation to the one featured in the MAC Casual Colour Collection.)

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatchesEstée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

In each picture: Creme Rouge on the left, Lipstick on the right. Indirect natural light for both, at different angles.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

Picture on the left is under artificial light, the one on the right is in full sunlight.

Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatchesEstée Lauder Mad Men Collection swatches

The Creme Rouge blended out, in indirect natural light on the left, full sunlight on the right. 
You can see more of the shimmer in the sunlit picture.

Availability: Available on the Bloomingdale's site, on the Estée Lauder site, and perhaps at some counters. Unfortunately it's not available in Canada, however the US site will ship to here. The lipstick is 25$ USD, the Creme Rouge is 40$ USD.

Pros: Incredible vintage packaging. Beautiful colors that are both period-appropriate and modern-use friendly. Creamy, blendable and pigmented textures on both items. The Mad Men tie-in, if that's your thing. 

Cons: Difficult to locate and acquire, small size of the lipstick is incongruous with the price. May be difficult for warmer complexions to carry off.

(I purchased both these items from the Estée Lauder website.)


  1. Anonymous14.6.12

    Oh my Lord....I can still see my mom pulling out a similar compact and lipstick tube, as she got ready for some event (or possibly a shopping expedition? No matter - both required the same level of attention, lol!) Such pretty packaging and I love the fact that they're both "period" heavy. The shades themselves are absolutely gorgeous - sophisticatedly modern! I now have to hunt these down, you do realize that, right?! Gorgeous swatches, Maggie!

    1. Ha! Consider it enabling in kind, since you have turned me on to so many things lately. :P

  2. Anonymous16.6.12

    You are killing me with this post Maggie, oh my gosh! I sort of saw these online when the collection was first released, but didn't really think much of it. But those boxes !!! You're right, I would totally hang on to them too, WOW!! I'm not sure if the actual products are really my thing - those kinds of shades run a bit too pink for me - but I could stare at the packaging all day LOL And the images they invoke are just perfect. Go enjoy your prettiest now, and be sure to display them on your beautiful nook you've created :D

    1. Right??? I loooove the packaging so much, it only makes me wish more companies embraced that sort of detailing on a regular basis. It is too bad that the shades are not more universal.

      And I just realized with your comment that the boxes do indeed match my "boudoir". It was meant to be!


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