Whether for good or bad,
‘Feminist’ was one of the terms trending in 2014.
Suddenly, celebrities like Beyonce were being criticized for their overt sexuality despite calling themselves feminist, while others, like Taylor Swift, were mocked for saying that the belief that women are equal to men is something inherent, and not assigned to a label. In contrast, other public figures like Lena Dunham took the label of feminist as something they had to push and shove in the ear of any reporter that would listen, thinking it was something that gave their voice a right to be heard, even when their extremes were sensational.
The last time I checked, being a feminist doesn’t mean you can’t wear red lipstick and put on a show-stopping performance in the world’s most flattering jumpsuit. Enjoying one’s own beauty is not something we should feel ashamed of, in fact, loving ourselves as women gives us more power than most can dream of. Chanel finished their Spring runway show in September with the most fashionable picket line protest we may have ever seen, showing out for female empowerment even in a highly stylized world.
With new supermodels such as Cara Develigne and Jourdan Dunn moving into the spotlight, we’re seeing a slight shift in what the fashion world is pursuing. While these women are still flaunting less-than-impossible-for-a-normal-human-being figures, their trademark looks both on and off the runway showcase cleaner, natural looks. For red carpet looks, instead of caked-on bronzed, contours and highlights, we’re seeing bold, bright lip colors paired with soft, barely there face makeup.
It could be a coincidence, but the runway makeup trends for 2015 seem to be taking a step to show that the new woman is fresh faced, sexy, fierce, and empowered, whether she wants to use makeup to enhance those qualities or not.
For the Marc Jacobs 2015 Spring Runway show, Francois Nars, founder and creative director of NARS, said that all they used on models was tinted moisturizer, and a bit of concealer under the eyes. Other designers such as Zac Posen, Jason Wu, and Givenchy have also jumped on the bare faced bandwagon in their collections and campaigns.
What’s refreshing about this tilt in the fashion world is not just the obvious. Of course we’re all sick of seeing magazine articles about “how to” somehow magically recreate the work of highly paid, professional makeup artists with just the right products, or being expected to maintain the level of maintenance and absurdity showcased on public figures like the infamous Kardashian clan. But, what’s exciting about this movement is seeing designers use little details like a bold, cherry red lipstick, subtly winged eyeliner, or the infamous strong brow to convey not only a feeling of beauty, but also one of empowerment.
Even if you’re not a lipstick person, you can’t even tell me that a bright lip color doesn’t make you look in the mirror and feel like a force to be reckoned with. And it doesn’t come with hours of poking, prodding, and plucking, it’s simply an extension of a feeling we already have in ourselves, whatever the feeling may be that we want to bring out. Embracing that doesn’t make us as women any less powerful, in fact, it may make us more so. And if that isn’t feminist, I don’t know what is.