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‘The Changing Face of Beauty’ by Jordanna Cobella

Jordanna Cobella explains how a Creative HEAD event compelled her to approach her latest collection differently…

“I attended The Coterie session ‘The Changing Face of Beauty” in January this year, and found it so eye opening and such an inspiration creatively.

“One thing that really resonated with me was when the health and beauty director of Vogue, Nicola Moulton, said that research showed only a small a percentage of women feel they can actually relate and identify with the way females are portrayed in advertising today. Women in adverts typically lack presence, personality and have no role outside of superficial stereotypes, and slowly brands are catching on to this and making some much needed changes to the way both sexes are portrayed.

“While the beauty industry is moving towards a more gender-neutral appreciation of beauty in campaigns for fashion, hair and beauty, I really felt like this shift deserved creative attention. I wanted to mark an almost sense of relief that this restrictive and one-dimensional beauty era appears to be coming to an end. To me, the Vogue ‘Real’ issue in 2016 was truly ground-breaking – to see everyday women featured rather than models was so refreshing, and for titles to take a different approach with their shoots (including Rolling Stone choosing to run a front cover showing Adele without an ounce of makeup on!) is also helping to shatter the artifice.

“The fact is, both models/stars and everyday women have insecurities, and we all feel the need to continuously cater to public perceptions, beauty standards and stereotypes. As a female hairdresser, I have witnessed the struggle from both those behind and in front of the lens.  It is so encouraging to see a shift in attitude from both women and men, and it feels empowering to witness the effects this shedding of obligations and the need to fit the mould has begun to have on our industry. As people begin to embrace natural hair textures, or go against the ‘rules’ of beauty and colour, it opens up ways for us all to express ourselves more freely.

“In my shoot, I wanted to capture not only the essence of women’s struggles and lack of expression previously afforded to them in the mainstream beauty industry, but also the limitations women have been conditioned to apply to themselves, with harsh internal critiques and skewed perceptions of self.

“To document the shift in the way culture defines and views beauty, I photographed the models with styling that has traditionally not been viewed as ‘beautiful’ – distressed makeup, inverted colour schemes (i.e. stark white mascara, under-eye shadows) and dishevelled hair. I also used a warped mirror to capture their distorted reflections, representing not only their self image, but their conflicting emotions and the increasing malleability of what ‘beauty’ is in 2017. The finished result is imagery that doesn’t necessarily conform to traditional standards, but is captivating in its own way and importantly, has depth and meaning beneath the surface.”

Hair: Jordanna Cobella
Make-Up: Jo Sugar
Photography: Desmond Murray
Styling: Bernard Connolly