The beauty industry was something that, to a tiny, chubby, poor girl with limited artistic talent, seemed rather unapproachable. There seemed to me a certain limit to beauty, and if you go beyond it, it’s simply not beauty anymore, but becomes humdrum or “fucking weird” and while beauty is subjective, even if you openly deny the traditional ideas of beauty in your particular culture, you still know what they are.
Thankfully, even something seemingly as set and unchanging as the ideas of beauty get a facelift, as over the years we’ve seen ethnic faces in the crowd become the norm of any fashion show, and plus-size models take the runway and the covers of magazines. The acknowledgment of the beauty of the transgendered in huge “traditional” places such as Barneys New York.
The artistic visions of designers have become at once both more esoteric and more natural, and the extremes of the industry over-take the pretty-girl aesthetic that has reigned for years. And no better is that demonstrated than in the faces of some of the up-and-coming young women walking the runways.
Style pulls up Molly Blair. They call her “insectile” but her face is reminiscent of Lily Cole’s: dramatically young and innocent attached to a long, long body that seems too mature for it, though the industry’s marked boyishness of figure is intact. And of course, the eyebrows on her furrowed brow bone are so modern, and so, so popular.
Speaking of Lily Cole (can you tell that I’m in love with Lily Cole?) Natalie Westling is an even closer approximation with her rounded face, but they’ve taken the eyebrows off of her and made her grunge, not glam. Intense eyeliner and a serious look to play against her young look and full cheeks.
Next to her, Esmerelda Seay-Reynolds who participated in the same Marc Jacobs campaign with Westling, frames her face with dark brows, and slightly stronger nose. Her eyes are closer together, and her lips plump, and the look is between a pin-up and a perennial flower girl.
Issa Lish, my favorite, would have been called horse-like just a few years back, but her soft hooded eyes and elongated face thrown out by her sharp cheek bones are an incredible addition to Vogue Italia’s cover line-up. Fashion has such a hard-on for the ethnically ambiguous, it might have been a surprise for not to become popular.
The industry continues to be strange and new and wholly far, but as always, it’s exciting and this year will be no different.
(I’d also like to congratulate Poppy Delevingne on her new spokesperson role at Jo Malone! Very fitting.)