LOTTA VOLKOVA, WILLIAM NDATILA AND MANY OTHERS ARE PUSHING THE HORIZONS OF TRADITIONAL BEAUTY BEYOND BOUNDARIES KNOWN UP UNTIL NOW. BRANDS HAVE STARTED NOTICING IT AND THINGS ARE CHANGING.
Everybody in the business knows Lotta Volkova, the stylist, fashion-editor, casting director and consultant of fashion. On top of that whenever she joins forces with Demna, Gosha, Sander and Marc Jacobs, images need no caption as we all instantly recognise her raw and anti glossy touch.
Even on Instagram, Lotta’s style is unmistakable: dummies in twisted poses, split-faced animals, displaced dolls that become coat hangers and a smoking Barbie playing Sylvia Von Harden, are collected on her page as if they were part of a completely alternative sticker album. Unusual and annoying images, showing a grotesque taste that dare not censor brutal subjects or, rather, of unusual beauty, not adhering to that trend that pushes many in showing themselves invincible and perfect on Instagram.
In her work, Lotta plays with common dress codes, mixing them with influences from subcultures, giving therefore life to a never before seen result. This mechanism is no novelty in fashion. Ever since we can remember, Miuccia Prada manages to make the ugly attractive, foreseeing what no one thinks could exist but that we all will soon find ourselves loving. However, things change when the “ugly that is in fact beautiful”, far from being a mere inspiration for the designer, is applied to a platform like Instagram that, by reaching millions of people, is gaining more and more power in influencing the way we, users and consumers, think and act. Our habits have gone through changes and the fashion world perfectly reflect this transformation.
And just like that, an image that, rather than resembling a make-up advertisement like those we’ve grown accustomed to, looks like one of those that Lotta & the crew could post, has been chosen by Gucci for the new beauty advertising campaign. The “imperfect” smile of Dani Miller becomes the emblem of a new vision, not one of those trends that come and go as “ugly shoes” a few years ago, but a brand-new opening to which our eye is getting more and more used.
William Ndatila, better known as @williamcult on Instagram, artist co-founder of CULT11AD, commenting the image on his account, in his usual spontaneous style that always leaves its mark, in fact sees the rise of what he calls the “Anti-Zero Sum Beauty”, that is to say a more inclusive concept of beauty. Ndatila emphasizes that, for a long time beauty brands have focused on the promise of extinguishing our insecurities by relying on their products, when in reality those insecurities were being increased by perfect human beings shown to us by the very same companies. The lipstick on Dani’s lips, continues Ndatila, reminds us however that smiling is not the prerogative of those with perfect teeth: everyone is allowed to show their “flaws” and nothing can be excluded from being beautiful, not even those images of decomposed Barbies and jointed mannequins that are changing the rules of the game.
Text Edvige Valdameri