Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

NARS Bento Box for Holiday 2010

Throughout all of his extensive international travels, Founder and Creative Director François Nars has always found Japanese culture to be a great source of inspiration, specifically the concept of Kabuki makeup. Years ago, after traveling to Japan, François brought back a small, porcelain pot with a red film of color– Kabuki makeup for the lips.

Debuting this holiday season after years of development is the NARS Bento Box Set – a limited edition set of two Kabuki cups that were hand-poured with a new exclusive-to-NARS lipstick formula in highly pigmented shades containing Vitamin E. Housed in a handmade bento box, the set also comes with a Kabuki lip brush, designed for precise application by dipping the brush into the cup and blending until desired coverage is achieved.

Fusing two inspirations together, François chose Daphne Guinness to once again be the face of NARS with her evocative portrayal of classic theatrical Kabuki makeup.

Only one thousand sets were created for sale in the United States and will retail for $125, and just over two thousand in total were created worldwide.

Availability: November 1st, 2010, but there is a notification list available at NARS.

See more photos!

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71 thoughts on “NARS Bento Box for Holiday 2010

  1. amelia

    i want this so badly but im not in the US :( it is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS

  2. Big question is… How much will it cost?!

    • $125 – it’s listed in the post!

      • SakurasamaLover

        WOW at that price I would get the real flower pigment, not 2 lipstick in a pot. o_0

        • Ani_BEE

          Shu: mercuric sulfide you can buy a fair amount at that price. ^_^

        • Ryou

          Actually, authentic, top-quality beni would set you back about… Oh, between $700 to $3000 for less than an ounce.

          You CAN, however, get touristy seashell kyobeni for a lot less, but it wouldn’t have nearly as nice of a lustre as a real, high-quality one. (not to mention it would probably only last you a couple applications)

  3. DonnaN

    SO love this…but the price just scared me away….I can’t justify $125 for two lip glosses….YIKES!!!

  4. stephanie

    I love the concept and I want to try the lip

  5. this looks like a geisha theme instead of a bento theme to me, Japanese bento boxes aren’t exactly like that…

  6. Laura T.

    Wow I love this idea. It totally kicks MAC’s ass LOL. This totally reminds me of memoirs of a geisha. there’s this scene where she is putting her makeup on, drawing her eyebrows and painting her lips. augh! just amazing!

    • nicci

      Yea, it does. I couldn’t see MAC coming out with an item like this. It reminds me of Memoirs of a Geisha too. My fab book! This is a neat idea but not fond of the colors or price.

  7. Esther

    OMG!! I so want this!! *A* But it’s NARS, so i suposse it’ll be quite expensive :S

  8. Vanessa

    How much will it cost? I love this its beautiful.

  9. Wow, I’m not interested in the product but the concept and promo photo are absolutely amazing. Especially that promo pic, it’s so *beautiful*. I love Japanese culture too.

  10. Is the price really $125? That’s too much for 2 tiny bowls of lip product imo.

    • Ani_BEE

      I know, I was all excited till it was posted that is was $125US. I shudder to think what it would cost Canadian and with Duty/Tax/Shipping from a second hand seller. >_<

      I won't even spend $30 on a lipstick so I can't justify spending 62.5 each in a pretty bowl.

      I don't mind the bowls since I use a brush to apply lipstick so I'm trilled by the concept and if it was going for $70 or $80 I would get it but I don't believe the packaging cost more then $15 (and more like $5) to produce so what exactly are we paying for here.

      If anyone wants to reproduce this melt down your lipsticks hand pour them into tea bowls/cups and keep spinning them till they cool/solidify.
      (That might come off a bit snarky but I make my own lip palettes from shades I like anyway and technique is simple.)

      If I was making 3 digits I guess it would seem fair and not expensive but part of the reason I don't buy NARS to begin with is that I found the price for one eyeshadow rather rich when I could find the same colour elsewhere.

      • Nothing snarky about DIY! :) Not everybody can afford certain products, and not everybody *wants* to spend a lot on makeup – any of which is fine! So DIY on!

        I’d HAVE to see the Bento Box in person before I could even consider $125 on it. I don’t have room for it, and since I’m lazy and rarely use a lip brush, don’t see it as something I’d use often. It looks cool from the promo, but who knows what it feels and looks like in person!

        • Ani_BEE

          I’m also curious as to how much product is in each bow/cup as well since I can’t figure out the dimensions on this.

          If i get curios enough I might try to recreate it over the winter with some nice tea cups but it’s definitely more for show then practical.

          • Me too! I’m like, well, how much coating is there? LOL!

            I look at this and see it being displayed on a book shelf in one of those really prettily decorated homes… aka not my apartment, haha.

  11. Steph

    NARS has good writers, but all I have to say is. . . lipstick in cups? Unless you are a kabuki fanatic (whatever that is), the only “enticing” thing is that they are new lipstick formula. I’m sure it will be released in their line eventually.
    NARS Fail.

  12. Ashley

    This is really beautiful and unique, and I seriously considered buying it until I did a little further research and saw the price! $125! Almost made me choke on the Diet Coke I was drinking. I will admire from afar 😉

  13. leesie

    This is absolutely gorgeous. I do admit I’d be far more intrigued if it were their cream shadows instead of lipstick, but wow. That is some nice packaging.

  14. jenn

    woah! I thought I loved it until I saw the price!
    BTW Christine I really don’t see the price in your post

  15. Hana

    Gonna have to save up!

  16. Heather

    Too spendy. But really cute! Will you be buying one Christine?

    • No way. I’d love to check it out to review for readers, but it’s not something I want bad enough to spend $125. It’s pretty and artsy, but this is, at the end of the day, more of a collector’s item than anything else, IMO! You could easily display this!

      I think it’s pricey, so it’s gotta be something you really, really want (and obviously, within your budget) to justify.

  17. Taj

    I have made my pre-order without a second thought ! The brush is so nice !!!!

  18. Val

    I love the concept and the packaging but the price is just too horrifying!!! Also, I never use red lipsticks so $125 for 1 lip color…I will pass….

  19. AnneM

    Intriguing concept, much too expensive for the average woman. I hope this is well-researched and not merely a Western European appropriation of Japanese culture. Kabuki theatre has extreme makeup and was traditionally performed by men; bento boxes are not unknown in kabuki, either. Kabuki cup? I dunno. Would love to hear reactions from someone who knows more about Japan.

    • Evelyn

      I believe it’s inspired by Japanese culture, not meant to be an authentic reproduction of Kabuki makeup. After all inspiration goes both ways and there’s nothing wrong with that IMHO.

    • Ryou

      Traditional Japanese rouge (or beni) really is housed in sake cups, actually. Think a thin lining on the inside of the cup, which are “activated” with moisture. A moist lip brush is used to apply it, and the cup is always stored upside-down to prevent drying. Real beni is absurdly expensive, though. Think $700 to $3000 for less than an ounce of product. For that reason, even professional kabuki performers don’t wear them nearly as much anymore, and generally prefer modern stage make-ups created in traditional colors.

      The production process is responsible for the high price, as only a certain species of safflower (benihana) found in Yamagata mountain is used, and only the flowers hand-picked before sunset before July are used. The flowers, however, contain 99% yellow pigments and only 1% red pigment, and isolating the red pigment to make the rouge is also no easy task.

      They do have “touristy”, cheaper version of the rouge, normally housed in a painted seashell. However, it has a less nice “lustre” that real beni has, not to mention that it would probably only survive several applications before you’re out of pigments.

      Ironically, Kabuki was started by a woman, and women played both male and female characters. However, several decades after that, women’s kabuki was banned from being too erotic (the fact that some of the performers were available for prostitution didn’t help) Thus, kabuki became male-only for several hundred years. Today, women are no longer banned from kabuki, though. Some troupes even only use female actors for female characters, and there has been several all-female kabuki troupes, although most of them are short-lived. Despite the fact, onna-gata (male actor playing female characters) remain popular.

      A picture of the traditional beni in the cup:

      A picture of high quality, treaditional beni worn on lips:

      A picture of traditional geisha/kabuki make-up, along with the seashell beni (note the make-up brushes, which are very similar to NARS brushes, but white in color):

      TL;DR: From what I see, this is by no means a “traditional” product, although the packaging and the brush are nearly spot on, but with a modern, NARS-ish twist. The set is definitely something that would make both the kimono geek and the make-up lover in me happy, however, I don’t think I can justify the price. XD;

      • Ann

        Thanks for explaining all of this, I was getting ready to write out a long response and try to explain what beni is and how it was (is? well not by many people, not anymore!) used, so it was awesome to see that someone else has already beaten me to it!

      • Jodda

        Thanks for this post; it is so interesting to read about.

  20. hightea_xx

    though widely unpractical, these are absolutely gorgeous and really have that romanticism to them that i think gives them a bit of a justification to their price… and i’m assuming that when you are done with the lip product, you still have an amazing set of porcelain bowls and a brush, which i could see easily being used for other things (sumi-e pops into mind right away!)

    though it is too steep for me to justify it to myself, they are absolutely stunning and i love whole concept!

  21. Brandon

    If i had a bit of extra money laying around, I would totally get this :)

    I mean, c’mon…NARS Lipstick + amazing Japanese style packaging = me fainting.

    I love that it comes with a nice little lip brush. IMO, taking the time to apply lipstick over a liner, with a brush, blotting it, then re applying REALLY does enhance its staying power. I mean, we spend so much time and effort making sure our eyes look purdy, we sometimes forget about the lips :)

  22. This kind of seems like they’re orientalizing Japan. Making it look so exotic for us Westerners.

  23. i love the idea of something truely collectable like this for beauty collectors! for such a limited production run, i didn’t think the price tag was that bad either – if it were chanel this could easily go for $300-$400.

    the big question is: christine – are you going to get it and if you do, can you bring yourself to actually use it??! lol! i think i’d cry if i bought it and then had to muck it up by using it! hahah! i’d want it to stay pretty and new looking forever! :)

    • If I paid for it, not sure, but unless I get a sample, I won’t be getting it since it doesn’t appeal to me THAT much personally. Sometimes I buy things I’m not into to review, but on something like this, just can’t justify the cost! Plus, it’d probably be sold out by the time I reviewed it, rendering the whole plan a failure, LOL!

      What about you?

  24. Brianne

    I would never wear either of those colors (I’m not big on lip color myself) but I still have to comment that the packaging and presentation of this is beautiful!

  25. Samantha P.

    Bah… I’d love to have this. But the price is quite much – and we never know how much product is in there!

  26. Cintamani

    the lip brush and the bowls are the only think that really excite me but i can get that anywhere here since we have a lots of asian goods here. just wondering if keeping the lipstick in the box would be good enough since it looks like it doesn’t have a lid?

  27. If it was possible to get this with my budget I would. I think it’s really unique. I’d display it- make it a centerpiece of my makeup space.

  28. Anna

    Wow so not worth $125 for 2 lip products!!!!

  29. Emily

    I won’t be getting it, however, I LOVE the concept and thought put into it!

  30. Yumi

    Not sure why it’s called a bento box…thought that was lunch? But the pictures look pretty. No way in hell would I ever get one though, seems so pointless since I don’t even like either of the colors.

  31. Amazing idea, but the price makes me cringe a bit.

  32. Loquita

    Gorgeous packaging and attractive concept…I won’t be buying it, however (too $$$ for what it is, and I am not a lip brush user anyway). I appreciate the creativity, though.

  33. L Dub

    omg, it’s so pretty. There’s no way I could justify the $125 though. :-(

  34. Whitney Sterk

    WOAH! I saw it in a magazine recently but this pic makes it look just delectable! WANT!

  35. Apparently a huge part of the price is due to the handmade box, the brush, and the bowls. I REALLY wish they came out with a collectors edition (the product above) and then one for people who just want the lip product- plastic bowls and a cheaper brush in a cardboard box would be fine with me… I just want to try that pink color!

  36. Sam

    Woah. It’s exclusiveness makes me want to get it!!!! Time to save up! By the time it gets to Australia it should be abt 200 bucks. :'(

  37. Tiffany S.

    The colors are gorgeous and this is an awesome set but I’d rather spend $125 on more than two lip colors and a brush. Are you getting this Christine?

  38. The name is so tacky.
    Packaging is blah.
    Colours are nothing special.
    Price is ridiculous.

    I expect so much better from NARS… My favourite brand :(

  39. i wish i could justify this purchase it is sooo gorgeous!

  40. CrouchingStonerHiddenBong

    It’s is absolutely gorgeous, but $125 ???

    Come ON.

  41. I giggled profusely when I saw this on Lipglossiping, because it’s sop ridiculously impractical. LMAO.

  42. Magdalena

    This is so cool! I’m glad my fave guru ThesPNation did a review on it as well. He explains it so well I had to reserve one at my local store. So excited! Check out his video guys!

  43. Jen

    is there a number written on the brush handle? near the tip? please and thank you!

  44. Kat

    I absolutely adore this new NARS Bento Box… check out what Ocean Drive wrote up about it: