Alessandro Michele does not believe in perfect smiles. One look at his new Gucci Beauty campaign will tell you this. There is not a pearly white in sight. Not a waxy veneer. Not even braces-straight alignment. Rather, the campaign details a gap-toothed, grinning model with sallow snaggleteeth and shiny red lipstick. That model is Dani Miller, the frontwoman of punk band Surfbort, and Miller always believed makeup was to “cover up”. “Growing up, I felt like I needed to wear makeup to cover pimples and feel more attractive,” the singer tells Vogue US. “But if you switch that idea around and put some power into your flaws, they can become your best assets.” This was Michele’s missive from the outset: to subvert traditional standards of beauty with endearingly strange realness. “The idea is to create a humanised point of view, however strange,” Michele says. “But the strangeness is human, so it’s beautiful.”
Humanisation is somewhat of a foreign concept in beauty. In an industry haunted by perfection, “strangeness” is often misplaced. Instead, it’s a world of over-blown, over-filtered “perfection”; one of of pore-less skin, of Anime-worthy sparkle, of blinding white teeth. On social media, we’ve grown so accustomed to filtered imagery, a raw, untouched photo looks out of place. Odd. That idiosyncratic, imperfect smile is enough to stop anyone dead in their scroll: myself included. In beauty circles, it’s been a conversation starter, to say the least. Did they forget to photoshop her teeth? Is she missing a tooth? It’s a real dialogue which played out and quite frankly, considering how well-adjusted we are to visual “perfection”, a predictable one at that. When it comes to a brand trying to sell you a lipstick, it’s unlike anything we’ve seen before. And yet it’s just so very important in the beauty Zeitgeist of today: don’t fit the mould? No worries!
It’s a sentiment echoed by Miller. “Your flaws are not actually flaws. Yes, there are traditional beauty standards, but if you don’t fit into that, you can still have a party with your quirks and celebrate yourself.” And what better way to celebrate than with 58 shades of Gucci Lipstick. Relaunching its beauty vertical over the weekend, Gucci’s dedicated lip range launches in the US later this month with satin, sheer and balm finishes. Shaking things up at Gucci since January 2015, Michele is just the person to lead Gucci’s new-era Beauty and disrupt a few normative ideals along the way.
Accompanying Miller’s crooked smile sits the tagline: For the bright and the beautiful. A powerful and timely celebration of all those bright, beautiful and imperfect, it’s beauty told through that iconoclastic, inclusive Gucci lens. Here’s to strangeness and shiny lipstick.