Rescue Beauty Lounge GOMM Collection
Before I show the swatches, I want to share a little of my thoughts about Rescue Beauty Lounge. Please scroll straight to the photos if you don’t care to read so much.
Not long after I got to know about Rescue Beauty Lounge, they launched the Fall 2011 LʼOiseau de Feu, or Firebird, collection. This was a collection with colours inspired by the weather changes due to a hurricane. Accompanying it was a description of each shade that read like a beautiful poem. To add on, there was a piece of “accompanying music”, which provided the names and “soundtrack” to the collection.
I was awestruck by the creativity that went beyond the colours of the nail polish. Before this, I was just a nail polish enthusiast, eager to try out a newly discovered brand. After the release of the Firebird collection, which excited not just my love for colours, but also my love for the written word and music, I became a die-hard fan of RBL and its creator, Ji Baek. To me, this is a brand that is very much about creativity and art, and about sharing Ji’s love for all things beautiful with the world through her nail polish.
This year, when Ji announced a new collection inspired by one of her favourite artists and the latter’s artworks, I gained not just new insight into Ji’s interests and inspirations, but also new respect for her. She was not just paying tribute to someone she loves, but also sharing this artist’s beautiful works with the nail polish world.
Unfortunately, I can’t name the artist here. Neither can I use the full name of the collection. If you follow Ji’s blog or the chatter on social media, you may have heard about Ji’s announcement about a week ago that the museum managing the artist’s estate has issued her a cease & desist order. You can read the details on Ji’s blog if you haven’t.
To cut a long story short, RBL has to stop selling shades from the GOMM collection (as it is now referred to) after about six months. In addition, she can no longer mention the name of the artist in relation to this nail polish collection. She also has to rename the shades so that they are no longer associated with the artworks some of them were named after (RBL chose to strike off part of the original names).
I purchased my set during the pre-order period so they came with the original names. I will be referring to them by their new names. However, in my first mention of the names, I will indicate which part of the original name has now been struck out.
There are seven shades in this collection, an unusually large collection since the previous RBL collections I know of typically had 3-4 shades. Here are all seven together.
I did two coats of each polish, with no top coat. They all applied nicely, in that typical RBL formula of a creamy and highly pigmented polish that flowed smoothly for an easily opaque coverage.
First up, we have Oriental Poppy. This is a bright red (poppy red, I assume, not having seen real poppies before) with subtle pink and gold shimmer. It was tricky trying to get the shimmer to show up in the photos though.
The shimmer showed up better in a close-up shot of the bottle.
Sante Fe Roadis a somewhat earthy orange that brings to mind the adobe houses associated with Santa Fe. I’ve always liked photos and paintings of Santa Fe, with the beautiful houses made of earth and the bright, clear skies. The shimmer in this polish is a light green, which makes for an unusual combination. This turned out to be my favourite in this collection, as I really like how it looks against my skin tone.
Ghost Ranchis a metallic brown with bronze-y shimmer. I almost didn’t get this one as I’m not huge on browns. But since I wanted basically all the other shades in the collection, I decided I needed to get to this complete my collection (hoarder instincts at work!). I do like it, to be honest. It is one of those neutral colours that look really elegant. Suitable when you want to wear a colour that’s not loud and yet get you some appreciative looks and comments.
Next, we have Bella Donna. White polish can be tricky. I applied this tentatively and I admit I chose to apply it on the pinky, with the smallest surface area. Didn’t want to muck it up and have to re-do everything since I swatched them at night. But, whoa, Bella practically applied itself! It applied so easily without streaking!
Also, it does not end up looking chalky as it is more of a jelly finish. I love the squishy look of jelly polish, and this definitely looks so squishy that I want to, well, squish it tight! Of course, as is typical of jelly polish, it is a little sheer. There was VNL with two coats, but you can always add a third if you need it opaque.
Here’s a photo without flash (artificial lighting at night).
Faraway Nearbyis the colour I imagine the clear blue skies of Santa Fe would be like. It has shimmer of a lighter blue. As I’m writing this, my mind is drifting to a faraway place where I’m lying on a deck chair, staring up at the wide expanse of clear blue sky above me! I so totally get the name of this polish now!
The next shade is Jack in the Pulpit. It is a deep yet muted teal, not quite green and not quite blue. I love the bright blue shimmer in it, although the base colour seems to look more dull against my skin tone as compared to the swatches I’ve seen.
Last, but by no means least, we have Abiquiu, a light green with silvery shimmer. The shade reminds me of the cactus my friend’s family had outside the door to their flat, which grew so tall that it hit the ceiling!
Again, this ties in so well with shades like Sante Fe and Faraway to give one the feel of Santa Fe. I’ve never been there but the pictures I’ve seen show such distinctive landscape and architecture that I have such a strong impression of the place.
Abi is my second favourite in this collection. Can’t quite say why except I love the shade.
The GOMM collection is now open for public sale on the Rescue Beauty website. If you have the intention to get the shades from this collection, you may want to make sure you get them before RBL has to stop selling them forever (they cannot be featured in future Bring it Back collections).
My Take on the C&D
I find it sad that Ji’s attempt to spread her love of art has to take this unfortunate turn. It baffles me that an organisation whose mission is to spread the name and works of an artist should be taking steps to stop the spread via a different medium, among a different sort of community. It is one thing to protect intellectual property. It is another to resort to legal methods when they could have explored ways for a win-win collaboration.
If anything, I’m sure that this announcement will help RBL sell more of this collection more quickly since they are now “Limited Edition”. To many in the nail polish community, it is RBL, rather than the museum, that is the victim in this episode.
In the long run, it is the artist and art that are likely to suffer. This RBL collection got a lot of people curious about the artist and her works. When it no longer becomes available, fewer people would come to know of it and become curious about the inspiration behind the nail polish.
On a wider scale, creators and designers of fashion and such could become more cautious about using existing art and artists as their inspiration, in case something similar happens to them. That seems to me to defeat the efforts of the artistic world to make art more accessible to the masses.
Not everyone will deliberately step into an art museum, but more would if their interest was piqued by something. For instance, if not for the song Vincent (Starry Starry Night), I probably would not have looked up the different pieces of Van Gogh’s works that inspired the lyrics, and content myself with knowing only about his sunflowers and night skies.
I have a theory that all this is for a practical reason, but I’m not going to spell it out since I have no evidence of it and would not want to get into trouble for saying it. Whatever the case, I don’t think this move by the museum was the best for their PR and their mission.