The rise of the grotesque in beauty

Our obsession with perfect beauty is subsiding and being replaced with grotesque, ugly or alien looks. Emma Chiu, Creative Innovation Director at Wunderman Thompson New York, explores the trend

Images of mutated bodies, digital disfigurements and face-altering makeup is creeping up across social media and beyond. No, this is not a crime scene. This is ‘beauty’ as we know it being reconfigured by artists and influencers who are taking cues from dark surrealism and transgressive art. Here, the familiar human form is being hacked away and beauty is given a haunting and provocative makeover.

“There’s an anti-beauty movement going,” explains Bunny Kinney, editorial director at Dazed Media. “One that’s looking at more extreme manners of transformation, whether it’s through cosmetics, surgery or technology.” In September 2018, Dazed Media created Dazed Beauty, a new platform to elevate a broader spectrum of beauty, providing a space for artists to “document, deconstruct and experiment with beauty in all its forms.” The types of aesthetics featured on the site includes forked tongues, skin-feet heels and melting eyes.