Lessons in Beauty From Paris Fashion Week Goers

Artist and photographer Maansi Jain asks a cross-section of PFW attendees, "What is it to be beautiful?"

You encounter many strange beauty rituals when you visit Paris. Even more so during Fashion Week.  The unsung heroes include: bright red lipstick used with finesse to both ensnare sexual partners and mark wine glasses; the tiny portion diet regime; back-of-the-uber nose powder sessions; not to mention the Miu Miu-inspired tousled bedhead paired with Givenchy (or botox). But what of the elusive je ne sais quoi factor? We decided to investigate, interrogating beauties of all types in attendance at last week’s shows to discover their definition of true beauty.

Surprisingly, the general attitude towards beauty is theoretically quite healthy; the verdict coolly unprovocative. ‘Beauty’ is heralded as a performance of confidence and, supposedly, ‘ugly’ doesn’t even exist. Are the times changing? Are we finally conquering impossible beauty standards? All we can say at this point is that no truth serums were present at the time of questioning. And no lie detectors were harmed in the making of this production. Please enjoy a sample platter of opinions that we hope will make you feel good about yourself because, darling, you’re probably beautiful too!

@madame_cartozo: “I love everything that’s not ordinary. I don’t give a shit about fashion. Labels and designers are the antithesis of beauty and I don’t like the prescriptive nature of the fashion world. As Alexandre Vassiliev said, ‘If a woman is wearing only designers, she doesn’t have any taste.’”


@demoiselle_cacha: “Beauty is in your attitude. It’s natural. To be vulgar is ugly. But to mix things that seem incompatible, that’s what true beauty is made of — something unconventional.”


@assia.s.kaddour: “I love playing with makeup; it’s a game for me. I love it for the colours and for the textures. I think you can find beauty everywhere and it’s sadness that’s ugly.”


@j_kun: “Beauty is to be your true self and to be natural. I’d say my clothes are more important to me than my makeup. Though lipstick can help!”


@nathalieours: “Beauty is in the soul; it’s charm that leaks out of a person. With age, beauty becomes more internal. Evil is ugly.”


@chennn_y: “Beauty is confidence! I’m a cool girl and I love wearing cool outfits.”


@yeungchin406: “Beauty is an aura and when you hone your aura you can make something new. This is fashion. ‘Ugly’ is a challenge to traditional beauty and is more important than beauty because it can bring us new ideas.”


@_adamisaiahstokes_: “Beauty is about your personality and how you carry yourself. I don’t believe in ‘ugly’; if you cherish yourself there is no distinction between beautiful and ugly.”


@hwahwalala: “Beauty is what the beholder sees and it’s twisted from one person to another. We all have beauty. I feel beautiful when I’m true to myself and I’m not good at compromising this.”


@amiira.real: “Beauty is personality, and it’s for other people.”


@oksanadobriyvecher: “You can’t say what beauty is. Every person can have it but what someone else might see as ugly, I see as the opposite. For example, I have big ears, but I find it beautiful.”


@anastsasiia: “People should see beauty in everything around them. I don’t like it when people don’t find certain desires beautiful. I’m not beautiful but, still, someone might think so. We are living in this world and we should appreciate it.”


@martinahornakova: “Beauty is everything I’m obsessed with. It’s about colour and makeup. Ugly is something violent but nothing visual.”


@drakkar._noir: “You see beauty in someone’s smile. It’s about charm.”


@kristenvbateman: “I love experimenting with makeup and trying something new everyday. The way I dress is completely about me. I’ve never been into whats going to appeal to men.”


@olivianatalie: “Expressing myself makes me feel beautiful. I like not following the rules and doing whatever strikes me. I think ugly is more about bad traits, like being selfish. Being kind makes you beautiful.”


Browne: “Beauty is ceremony.”


Ocean: “Beauty is something natural and classy. It’s simple.”


@bbymilo6: “Buying new clothes makes me feel happy and fresh. It makes me feel beautiful. I don’t think you can define ugly; everyone is beautiful in their own way.”


@floguan: “Dressing however you want is beautiful. Everyone’s gonna judge you anyway so you just gotta take it on the chin!”

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