Gucci Beauty’s campaign shots are the perfect antidote to the airbrushed shots we’re usually exposed to - but why has it become such a talking point?
The ways in which beauty is represented in the media has been slowly changing for some time now. First came the skin positivity movement, which sees women embracing their flaws and refusing to be ashamed of their skin. Then YouTuber Em Ford created a video that redefined what pretty was, and earlier this year renowned photographer Rankin joined in and launched a powerful photo series called #SelfieHarm.
Now, Gucci has become the first luxury brand to challenge the idea of what perfection is by championing different kinds of teeth in its new lipstick campaign.
Never one to shy away from the limelight, the shoot is to promote the re-launched Gucci Beauty line (available online now), specifically the lipsticks, and it’s safe to say it’s garnered media coverage as people try and come to terms with the polarizing nature of ‘imperfect’ teeth.
The series of close-ups, shot by Martin Parr, features models Achok Majak, Mae Lapres and Ellia Sophia alongside Surfbort frontwoman Dani Miller. They’re all wearing the new lipstick range, but it wasn’t the make-up that got people talking.
The closely cropped photos of toothy grins depicts teeth of all kinds, from small and straight-bottomed, to angular and gapped. Dani Miller’s teeth are the most unusual in the campaign as she is missing her lateral incisors, but, somewhat unsurprisingly, it’s also the most liked of the series on Instagram.
Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci has said of the campaign, “The idea is to create a representation that is close to reality with a humanized point of view, however seemingly strange. But the strangeness is human so it’s beautiful.” It’s clear he isn’t concerned with the normative ideas of perfection, but are people ready for strange beauty?
Responses vary from support of the widening horizon of mainstream beauty to outrage and cringing. Gucci’s marketing team have even come under fire for using the guise of diversity to create a money-making media buzz.
One person commented on the brand’s Instagram, “This is not Gucci at all. Turning a true Italian luxury brand into joke. This is truly disappointing and very depressing.” Somebody else succinctly wrote, “Is this a joke?”
Many people with hereditary lack of these incisors came forward to share their joy at being represented, with somebody commenting: “I’ve dealt with the insecurity and shame of my missing lateral incisors all of my life. There is something truly dehumanizing about feeling like you’re not allowed to smile or talk too excitedly out of shame. This is beautiful.”
The series is nothing if not conversation starting. You only need to scroll to the comments section to witness the impassioned keyboard warriors fighting for and against.
Some feel cheated by the campaign, presumably because it has eschewed the status quo of what is expected of high end beauty imagery. The anticipated airbrushed, poreless, perfect teeth image has been consciously avoided and replaced by something that jars against it’s competitors - and it’s truly refreshing to see.
When Georgia May Jagger came onto the modelling scene, she reignited the conversation about gappy front teeth that Madonna had initally sparked on her rise to fame. The real question here though is what is the conversation? Interviewers can’t help but reference both Madonna and Jagger’s ‘quirky’ teeth as tantamount to their identity, when in all honesty, their teeth are perhaps the least interesting thing about them.
Thanks to reality TV and over-edited Instagram pictures, veneers are commonplace in our everyday lives and we’re subconciously taught that teeth should be straight and bright white, and those that aren’t instantly become a talking point - because for some reason teeth incite a more visceral response than other body parts, but that doesn’t mean brands should avoid being inclusive in the future.
Gucci has brought all of our teeth prejudices to the forefront, and now is the time for brands to follow in those footsteps and keep representing all kinds of pearly whites.
Image credits: Gucci Beauty