A beauty blog from the 2008 batch. Blogging before it was 'cool'.


Search This Blog

Illamasqua's Christmas Campaign: Racist or Artistic?

Being an immensely huge fan of Illamasqua as a brand, I had to put forward their Christmas Campaign imagery which is apparently deemed to be discriminatory or racist by a few out there, especially the image in black. Now I have no idea of what was said regarding it but I just wanted to show my support to the brand who I have known closely since the past 2 years (or more!) I believe and have spoken to so many people who are responsible for creating the brand through blogger events and all that sort of stuff.

The only vibe I ever got from Illamasqua was that of passionate expression of art and just that. Every single person working for the brand seems to be clinging on to the brands ethics so tight and actually believing in what they preach that is beauty without any barriers. I always find the brand very warm, caring and catering for people of all caste and creed. In fact one of the very few brands out there who use a variety of models from different ethnicity's in their campaigns, especially the Generation Q one. So when the brand says they had nothing regarding skin colour in mind when creating these images, I believe them 100%.

However, I do agree to an extent that it might remind people of blackface - a form of make-up used in minstrel shows in the 19th century. Also, I do like the peach cheeks in the black imagery but the peach lips are not very attractive. They could have been painted a sexy hot pink or a fun electric blue to amp up the creative quotient and receive fewer complaints consequently. Besides, the suits could have been replaced by something more edgy rather than something that might remind people of the past but that's just my personal opinion.

Of course Illamasqua is clear on intent in this campaign. The issue is not that at all. I think what people are questioning is Illamasqua's artistic taste which they find is not particularly matching up to their previous campaigns. I believe they could have played safe but because creating a stereotype was never on their mind in the first place, they didn't give it a second thought before bringing it out in full form.

Ending with Illamasqua's statement in response to the negative comments, let me know what you think of the images above? 

"We thank and acknowledge your comments regarding the Christmas imagery. Obviously it was never our intention to cause offence; Illamasqua has always celebrated the right to self-expression and we continually push creative and artistic boundaries,
 priding ourselves on working with models of many ethnic backgrounds to reinforce this point. We emphasise that this campaign is about colour ON the skin, not colour OF the skin, depicting polarity between the two images (both images are the same model) not race. "
Sophie said...

I completely agree with you 100%, I read this on their fb page today, and whilst I agree that it should be considered art, the way in which they've dressed the model is rather uncomfortable for me. there are a number of ways they could have dressed the model and the fact they used those colour lips, the same colour used in the "blackface" images is crossing the line. what I think is interesting though is that they haven't apologised, some say they shouldn't have to but I think whilst they can justify themselves, they should recognise the misjudgement in what they have done

(hope this makes sense, I'm tired! But basically, I agree with you!)

Sheefa F said...

@Sophie I guess apologising would just mean they are admitting they have stereotyped which is not the case as they purely see it as art.

Heather Davern Makeup said...

Wow I initially only saw the white half of this image on their website & I loved it. My initial reaction to the full image with the black side was that it still looks effective...looks like they were trying to do an inverted colour effect with it. However I totally agree that the peach lips and minstrel dickie bow suit are questionable. If it was just a coincidence that they chose these things somebody should have seen the similarities. I do love Illamasqua and know their very anti-discrimination but I can see why people are angered by this!

Unknown said...

I personally love this imagery and when I saw the black image by itself and then together with the white image, I saw beauty, art and a visual representation of Illamasqua's motto of beauty regardless of skin colour and providing products that cover everything!!!

I am black and every since dark skinned person Ive shown this to loves this and can see the art in these images . . . even my grandma!

Sheefa F said...

@Ephiphannie - That is absolutely great that there are people out there who are not waiting to take offence on almost everything that brands bring forward and appreciate the beauty of art :)

@Heather - Yup! Someone should have noticed it whilst it was in the making. It could have been handled a bit more carefully that way.

Elena said...

Just found your blog. I don't know this, however i read your post and i agree with you!

Have a nice day, kisses Elena
New post: A low cost Christmas Guide

Sami said...

I don't think it's racist at all! Must say it's great publicity for them though (good or bad - who cares?!)

Sami x




About me:

About me:
Sheefa. 29. London. Spamming the web with ramblings on hair, eye shadow, skincare & cosmetic hoarding in general since 2008. Grab a cuppa and kick back!
Copyright @ Get Gawjus. Blog Design by KotrynaBassDesign