Stunning photography interspersed with notes on nutrition, skin, skinheads, an insight to product ingredients, a think piece about the consequences of beauty; Bella Freud on her infamous fragrances. And that's just the first thirty pages.
Beauty Papers is a new biannual magazine that explores the culture of beauty. As the editors, Maxine Leonard and Valerie Wickes best describe it:
"The world is full of relentless imagery of pseudo glamour masquerading as beauty.
In reality this has nothing to do with "beauty", it is about conformity, brand and formula. ...
Without character and emotion, there is no beauty and it is too oppressive to present one ideal to women or men.
Punk said, "screw the formula." ...
There is nothing more inspiring than beauty when the chains are taken off."
And I couldn't agree more.
When indulging in fashion and beauty editorial, it's hard not to appreciate the creative process, the team behind the camera, the time taken to execute the beautiful shots. It is a craft. But, post-production. My issue isn't with colour correction, but the masking of 'imperfections', resulting in the flawless complexion only a child could possibly possess. And they're not the ones buying in to it.
In Beauty Papers - and it feels weird to have to type this - you can see the models' pores, blemishes, very slight veins. They don't detract from the focus of image at all; in my opinion, it enhances it. It's refreshing and it's real. Human over mannequin. It's beauty.
The prose in Beauty Papers is also well written, and relatable. The concisely named essay "White" exploring the evolving perspective of pale skin throughout history is a very well researched and interesting read. As a pale woman myself, it is an unfamiliar yet welcome change to the S/S faux tanning articles I usually flick past. The reader isn't patronised. Nor being pushed products.
There's still a place on my shelves for fashion and beauty magazines but Beauty Papers epitomises, perhaps, the more experimental side to beauty. Hopefully someday those values will too, become mainstream. A must read.