The Power of Transformation; Cindy Sherman for MAC
MAC’s latest collaboration with the artist Cindy Sherman is a subversive celebration of the power of make-up to transform. The campaign examines why we wear make-up: not simply to look pretty, but to change our features, to create, to conceal and reveal.
MAC is famous for ignoring the standard paradigm of beauty advertising. Whilst the norm for beauty campaigns is to focus on air-brushed images of perfection, MAC instead celebrates images that don’t conform to stereotypes of pretty. The icons that the brand aligns itself with are unconventional, Hello Kitty, Wonder Woman, Barbie, with models including such nonconformists as Lady Gaga, KD Lang, Elton John and Drag Queen RuPaul. Such collaborations show MAC as supporters of brave and experimental creativity, a brand for those who want to stand our rather than fit in.
And this latest partnership is an exciting continuation of the theme. Cindy Sherman is an artist that focuses on conceptual self portraits that tell dark, intriguing stories about the characters she becomes. She transforms herself with wigs, make-up and costumes into mysterious hitchhikers and film noir blondes, creating subversive and even disturbing narratives. For MAC, three new similarly haunting characters have been created: ‘off-kilter Hitchcock heroine’, ‘Park Avenue Plastic Surgery Maven’, and ‘Fresh Corpse’ (a clown). The subversive and audacious images will be used in a banner campaign for a limited edition collection in October. Each character is designed to tell a different ‘colour story’ showing a ‘palette of possibilities’. MAC describe their objective as wanting to illustrate how transformation can be empowering, and how trying on different personas can lead to fearlessness. This unorthodox message, coupled with the memorable and transgressive images position the brand as unique and significant, a refreshingly far cry from standard beauty campaigns.