Page 1


unnatural 1


p.5 p.7 p.13 p.33 p.47

unnatural 3

boundaries between natural and unnatural are blurred, fantasy seems to be real and authenticity modern

01 INTRODUCTION When trying to answer the question: What can be said about the dominant beauty ideal of western women in the future? , the concept ‘unnatural’ arose. The western beauty ideal in my opinion is a very interesting phenomenon. Nowadays, beauty impressions are overwhelming. Beauty is not only a matter of status, lifestyle, dreams or even part of our identity, but it increasingly became the subject of a broader discussion. Some even suggest that the consequences of today’s role of beauty in society can violate human rights. To answer this question I have undertaken extensive research. In the research magazine STOF you can read more about the answers I have found to the question. In this magazine I studied the history of beauty ideals in the twentieth century, observed the social developments of today and performed a literature survey. The outcomes are that the new western beauty ideal could be captured by using the words ‘natural’, ‘feminine’ and ‘adult’, with an accent on natural; mainly because people are paying an increased social attention to the environment. But one question remains unanswered: how to interpret these words in tomorrow’s society? Our image of nature has changed greatly over the past century. While looking at nature, and its influence on daily life, technology has become an inevitable part of our environment. And in the future, it is likely that we will adapt further to it. With the growing influence of technology, is it then still possible for us human beings to make a distinction between what is natural, and what isn’t? Nowadays, misleading products, images and messages confront us all. Does the reality of ‘real’ still exist? The result of all these developments might be that the dominant western beauty ideal can be described best with the paradoxical term ‘unnatural natural’. Natural appearance is the key, but does not necessarily need to be attained naturally. It’s all about going back to the roots, but then in a modern way. In this book you can adopt to the unnatural changes that arise. You can surf on the wave of time while further insights of this movement will be illustrated. Not only the fashion- and beauty industry is influenced by unnatural natural, but in the mean time food, lifestyle, design and interior also became part of this. First you can read an elaborate report about the research results. Secondly, current examples will be described and visualized. These examples are categorized in three dimensions: 1. Multiple functions, 2. Melting technology and 3. Contradiction. This will be followed by sketches, which will give you an impression of what the possibilities of unnatural are in future. Take a look in the new world of beauty. A movement filled with contradictions, melting and double definitions. Where boundaries between natural and unnatural are blurred, fantasy seems to be real and authenticity modern. I have opened my eyes. I’m convinced. Open your eyes and let it convince you too. unnatural 5

Development of body shapes during 1900 till now.

Here a simplified overview of the development of body shapes during 1900 till now. The time periods in pink have more feminine shapes, where the blue one represents more slender and masculine elements.

02 BACKGROUND INFORMATION My research about the dominant western female beauty ideal is based on three major points. The literature review, the field research and the current social developments are the most important pillars on which I base my vision. We can conclude that appearance will remain important for people. The way we desire to achieve the ‘ideal image’ will always continue. But looking into the future, what will this ‘ideal’ look like? With my literature review I conclude that social factors as economy, politics, health and technology played an essential role in everchanging beauty ideals during the twentieth century. For example, the emancipation of women in the twenties/thirties and eighties promoted more masculine body shapes in those ereas. The rise of the youth culture in the sixties stimulated the skinny, young, masculine girl ideal look. There appears to be a pattern in ideal body shapes in which an ongoing exchange occurs between natural and unnatural, young and old, masculine and feminine. The current western beauty ideal can be described as ‘unnatural’ (photoshop and plastic surgery), ‘masculine’ (body is childish with no shape) and ‘young’ (looking younger and younger is almost an obsession). Nowadays we see that body image takes a more and more central position by being the image of our identity. The field research was used to observe the current discussion of western beauty ideals. What is happening in society and what do we see in beauty and fashion-related publications? The consumer prefers a more realistic female image. Regarding their wish to stop photoshop applications and boycotting the underweight models, this seems a justified conclusion. Fashion magazines, designers and media took the first steps

towards a more realistic female beauty ideal, and used ‘real women’, photoshop-free pictures and plus-size models. Despite these efforts or ‘protests’ the beauty ideal of young, fit and thin still continues to be the most important -although not the only- beauty ideal in fashion industry. The question remains if the tendency towards a more realistic beauty ideal can be permanent, as it is so strongly connected to the commercial world and economy. What can this information tell us about the dominant Western beauty ideal in the future? Focussing on the results of the literature review, the next step in the cycle of ideal images should be described as ‘natural’, ‘feminine’ and ‘adult’. In society we see an accent on sustainability and health. This includes ageing, the battle with overweight, and the consciousness of our environment. Interestingly, these social developments are not in line with current ideals of beauty. In the field research we can see the first steps and efforts that decrease distance between these extremes. Because of the impact of social developments, it is plausible that, in the near future, this gap will be reduced even more. In this process, technology will play an important role. The fact that technology plays a more and more central role in our lives, the perception of the word ‘natural’ has changed. The idea of makebelief beauty is accepted. Technology and science make our wildest dreams and fantasies come true. In the time of post-modernism, the boundary between real and unreal has blurred. This discussion makes us doubt the concept ‘natural’. Do we know what natural is? Does natural mean the same as it did in previous eras? That is where the concept of unnatural comes in.

unnatural 7

A historical overview: the western beauty ideal in the 20th century.

unnatural 9


unnatural 11

looking natural becomes all important


UNNATURAL The whole idea of the concept ‘unnatural natural’ is that there is a constant feeling and experience that contributes to the terms ‘naturalness’, ‘back to basic’, ‘authenticity’ and ‘purity’. But the way this will be realized, and all the possible tools we use to get this natural feeling, look and attitude, are unbounded in their processes. It is just looking natural that will become all-important. In accordance with the research, the idea unnatural will develop more and more and will dominantly be present in any view on future western beauty ideals. This does not mean, that unnatural will be the only movement. Other developments and trends can exist aside. The most important of all characteristics of this concept is the impact of the blurred lines. The blurred lines, or vague boundaries between natural and unnatural, give us a new perception that reflects upon a broader field. Besides the world of fashion, also design, lifestyle, and interior are involved. The translation of these blurred lines can be found in the fact that products increasingly have multiple functions, instead of one. The overlap between technology and health care with the beauty-, lifestyle-, fashion industry, results in services and products that makes boundaries more vague. Because of all this, ‘the consumers’ total confusion is a fact. Now more than ever, they feel a need to control, a need for safety and knowledge about products and services. Before describing possibilities for tomorrow’s ideals and developments, it’s important to look at today’s first examples of unnaturalness. This chapter consists of three dimensions that illustrate the movement and support the idea of unnatural. Every dimension emphasizes one main aspect. This visualization is the result of a yearlong collection of articles - examples from various angles - that show and support the idea of unnatural. The titles of these dimensions are: 1. Multiple functions, 2. Melting technolgy, 3. Contradictions. unnatural 13


Multiple Functions Nowadays there are a lot of products that have double or second functions, through which the original function seems to allocate to the background. The products simulate the idea that users will be ‘naturally’ beautiful. Effective, useful, practical and the idea that it leads to time reduction are important conditions in this dimension.

unnatural 15

you are what you eat

Food flirts with beauty. Food will get a new function: to create ‘natural’ beauty. Some current examples: Coffee against wrinkles (Nestle). Brand Zonnatura offers an effervescent tablet for a sun kissed tan. A Japanese candy company developed marshmallows with collagen. The brand Delo makes a special cap to screw on your water bottle which instantly releases a certain ‘natural’ fluid at the push of the button on that cap. It gives a sexy, de-stressed or energy boost. Articles confirmed that Cheshire cheese would be helpful to decrease wrinkles. Even a Swiss research team asserts that some apple ingredients are good against wrinkles. Company Skin Cosmetics claims that future lip-glosses will decrease appetite. unnatural 17

Wearable skincare Not only the food industry ‘promises’ beauty, the fashion industry and lifestyle industry also create input that helps making you ‘natural’ beautiful. Think of underwear, Indian Knickers, infused with extracts from the Indian Neem tree. It claimed to be the latest miracle to cure cellulite. Fit flops - or ‘Shape up’ shoes to improve your posture and increase leg muscles. And even in bed, there are now pillows and bed linen that will give you a healthy skin.

unnatural 19


melting technology Through the growing impact of technology and science it is possible to make miracles real. For everyone. This results into a strong collaboration between the medicaland technological profession. In this dimension the accent lies on the influence and penetration of ever developing (medical) technology on the beauty and fashion industry.

unnatural 21

Customized technology Customized technology stands for the tendency that brings technology and individuality together. The focus is on the human body. A good example is the Iphone, that creates personal treatments by using applications. Think of the acne light waves -, wrinkle eraser -, love my skin - or sleep analyzer applications. With light and color therapy the results will be realized, customized on your wishes. We can also see customized technology in fashion: The Asics GEL-KAYANO 16 sport shoe, that reads the female period (“ … contains cushioning which expands and contracts in harmony with a woman’s hormones”).

unnatural 23

Beauty is sometimes sold as medication. Fed by a notion of makebelief. Esthetic surgery is a good example. Nowadays, plastic surgery is increasingly performed to create a realistic and ‘natural’ look. What can we see in society? An internal implant bra, which lifts breasts naturally. Neck muscle tissue that will inject for fuller lips. Even the buttocks lifts, which involve reshaping of the bottom, increased in popularity (Wall street journal 11 march 2010). Cosmetic brands promote their brand as valuable and clinical. This is translated into packaging and expression of the products, but will also absorb in brand names (think of Dr. Brandt, Dokter van der Hoog, Dr. Denim, Dr. Harris, Dr. Sebagh, Dr.

Haushka, Bergman Kliniek). We see that the cosmetic industry uses scientific vocabulary like ‘intelligent skincare’ and ‘pro-gene technology’ or ‘stem cell protective make-up’. Scientists even argue that gene discoveries will make the hair dryer needless. Upcoming skincare brands developing products that replicate the results of plastic surgery, but without the expense and the bandages. Effects as slimmed, toned, sculpted, lifted, enlarged and a rich tan can be reached by using crème. All designed for the outside, create the wanted result from the inside. New products are the eyelash-gel, which promises lashes that will ‘naturally’ enlarge and ‘sleep in a tube’ by StriVectins; a fast substitute for the old-fasioned beauty sleep.

Beauty on perscription

unnatural 25

Basic luxury


CONTRA DICTIONS Natural can be considered a green attitude, a green thinking and a green lifestyle. But it is difficult to be consequently “green”. In this dimension we’ll see that ordinary or basic habitats get a modern touch. Products suggest a green feeling. It makes one wonder how ‘green’ it actually is. Contradictions to the limit. On the left we can see a bottle of water from Jean Paul Gaultier. Nowadays, water is the next thing to put in a luxurious bottle.

unnatural 27

The ‘green’ illusion

Every day we are confronted with ‘green’ illusions. On the left you can see a sleeping room in ‘wood’ style, with leaves on the ground and pallets for a bed. We did not see that the mattress and all used fabrics are probably very expensive. (This room was styled for the Lloyd Hotel in 2010) The Philips wake up light alarm clock is a good example of unnatural in lifestyle, it pretends to wake you up in a natural way. Different sounds of nature and the light will smoothly become brighter just as in nature. The latest travel trend is ‘glamping’ (glamorous camping): it appears and gives a feeling that you’re green, but in fact the way in which this is realized is not green at all. It is camping with luxurious possibilities, but is considered ‘back to basic’.

unnatural 29

Natural deception A lot of products give the intention that they bring green forwards. In the beauty industry you see that a natural look is popular, but not without using cosmetics and special products. An other approach is the way products emphasize on extremely ‘natural’ ingredients. From Antarctica, the wilderness, the Atlantic Ocean or special stones from the deep see will bring on ‘natural’ feelings. Off course, not without unnatural.

unnatural 31

Eco chic

In the food industry, organic-, biological- and sustainable food and drinks are not associated anymore with ‘old fashioned’ or ‘goat woolen socks’. We see modern restaurants that offer raw food. It is considered trendy to, in a luxurious outfit, take your expansive glasses and leather handbag, eating raw meat and vegetables.

unnatural 33


impressions of the future So far, this book consisted of background information and examples and illustrations that support the concept of unnatural. We can conclude that multiple functions, melting technology and contradictions make lines between real and unreal, natural and unnatural, basic and luxury more blurred. In the future it is convincing that the concept of unnatural becomes more dominant present. The technological power and the rising consciousness of our environment will support this tendency. In this chapter you will get an impression about tomorrow’s convictions, subdivided in two parts. Starting with a fundamental idea of the new woman. This will be followed by lifestyle impressions and ideas about a new world of simulated experiences.

unnatural 35

new women An impression of the new woman. All dressed in unnatural. What can we expect?

1. Natural’ grey straight hairs created through genetic technologies. 2. Modified apple for more ‘natural’ red lips. 3. Grass juices for full breasts. 4. Pubic hair acceptable. 5. The cool box as new accessory: food that feed the inside and makes you look ‘amazing’ on the outside. Beauty restaurants will make their entrance. On the menu card you can order a good glass of wine, manipulated to secretly increase blood circulation and control wrinkle development. 6. Feed with customized heels, created by esthetic surgery. 7. Shoes that stimulates blood circulation. 8. Shaping underwear creating rounder hips. 9. Organic shirt against cellulites with UV-filter. 10. Pads instead of chemical products.

2 1

3 10







unnatural 37

Make over Part of the cool box will be a collection of pills. Pills to make our bodily wishes come true and record the body about a virus, bacteria or illness. A chip can be programmed, which adapts to your personal needs.

unnatural 39

Inside out

NEW LIFESTYLE Unnatural is an inspiration source in an around the house. Because of the need to melt with nature we bring it into the house, and the house into nature. In the future design and services will do anything to seem to get close to nature, mostly in collaboration with highly sophisticated technical and medical solutions. In this scenario, it is important that sense organs are stimulated. To see, to hear, to feel, to smell or taste makes the experience more valuable. This emotion can be simulated. The outcome is unnatural. unnatural 41

Outside in

1 2 5



4 5

1. Daylight from a lamp. 2. ‘Natural’ view that makes you feel relax. 3. A tree for special respiration, which cleans your lunges. 4. Sinas lamp that gives you vitamin C. 5. (Artificial) grass table that smells like wood. 6. Pillow for a healthy skin. unnatural 43

Reconnect with nature enter a new environment




Simulated environment Products and services will increasingly simulate environments. This is just a starting point for broader areas. For example: Imagining yourself in the fitness, now surrounded by any kind of (virtual) environment you wish for. For instance, you run in a beautiful nature in New Zealand, hearing people talking, smelling the wood and feeling the breeze. unnatural 45

05 CATALOGUE p. 4,5: Happinez, December 2009, photography unknown. p. 8,9: Illustration of Bram van Leeuwen in cooperation with Vivian Elizabeth Sneep. p. 10: Collection of headlines in the media. p. 12: Collection of headlines in the media. p. 20,21: Plaster bandage,, photography unknown. p. 28: Elle Wonen, March 2010, photography Delta Lloyd Hotel. p. 29: Glamping, Correai Ragazzi Arquitectos. p. 34: Road, yaruo-r-o-l-l-o, photography Maako. Traffic sign from, photography unknown. p. 37: Edited image: Aging Barbie:, creator unknown. Upper body: Chrystal Renn in Jean Paul Gaultier’s Prêt-à-porter Spring 2006. Pubic hair: Chrystal Renn in French Vogue march 2010. Legs: Chrystal Renn from the book Hungry: A Young Model’s Story of Appetite, Ambition and the Ultimate Embrace of Curves, September 2009. High heels:, photography unknown. Sport shoe: MBT shoes. Coolbox:, photography unknown. p.38: Collection of headlines in the media. p.40: Tim Walker, pictures, London, 2008. p.42: Bed, p.43: Edited image: Background: Elle Décor Italia, March 2010, created by Tamara Bianchini e Bar bara Malipiero. Pillow: Designed by Cecilia Lundgren. Lamp: Designed by Droog Design. Grass table: Designed by Grass Ottoman. p.44: Nature, Textile View 80, photography unknown. p.45: Running girl,, photography Emma. Remaining images are photographed by Vivian Elizabeth Sneep. unnatural 47


unnatural 49


unnatural, a new look on beauty by vieflavie