Wednesday, 3 February 2010

A Manifesto to Celebrate Difference and Self-Expression

After listening to the make-up artist Alex Box (Illamasqua) talk at the IMATS show this weekend, it is clear that she uses make-up as a language, and references her fine art background to investigate alternate methods of representing the self. As she so succinctly puts it, "I want to fly the flag for a very different way of wearing make-up". While fashion may have given her the context to develop the concept for identity as a make up artist, being told to dilute her work when first venturing out as a make up artist had the opposite effect and she vehemently opposed amending her vision. It is only now that the fashion industry understands that she is capable of saying so much more through make-up and that she herself has a vision for the future of make-up.

During the dicussion Alex proposed a new way of demonstrating beauty, and cited the Alexander McQueen Spring 2010 catwalk show and the film Avatar as symbols of the almost casual way society has begun to accept human augmentation and radical cosmetic transformation. This in turn has given the fashion industry a better understanding of how she intends to develop her work.

Used as a tool to subvert dominant patriarchal ideals of beauty, designed cosmetic bodies have the potential to be used to stage new non gendered identities. Refashioning the face and body opens up the possibility of highlighting the artificial nature of beauty while undermining neo-romantic conceptions of the body as 'natural'. Although conventional make up practices present the altered face as natural, it is possible to envisage the normalising of cosmetic practice that actively seeks the artificial construction of the face.

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