The cover of Beauty Papers shot by Elliott Erwitt


BEAUTY SPOT: Beauty Papers, the indie biannual London-based publication, has released its latest issue, Etiquette, which features work by contributors including Elliott Erwitt, Jake and Dinos Chapman and Val Garland. The magazine, founded by Maxine Leonard and Valerie Wickes, aims to take an alternative approach to beauty.

Leonard is a makeup artist and Wickes is a creative director who runs her own consultancy agency. They said the purpose of their publication is to offer a creative platform where artists, photographers, writers and cultural commentators can play. They are interested in alternative ways of exploring beauty and are looking for collaborators who can offer a fresh perspective.

Jake and Dinos Chapman have been supporting the publication since its launch in 2015, and for the latest issue they said they wanted to explore the “underbelly of culture and the nonsense of it all.” That resulted in a limited-edition cover with an eerie drawing of a skeletal figure with a deformed face and exposed lungs. Jake Chapman also contributed a poem for the issue.

Elliott Erwitt, the 89-year-old American documentary photographer, shot a cover for the Etiquette issue that features a striking black-and-white portrait of the editor and stylist Haidee Findlay-Levin.

Other key features in the magazine, which spans 216 pages, include interviews with the likes of François Nars and Odile Gilbert, who share their creative journeys, as well as a shoot by photographer Julia Hetta and hair stylist Rudi Lewis exploring the ceremony of hair.

In the ever-changing media landscape, Leonard and Wickes have been rethinking the concept of advertising in print, and are eschewing traditional brand advertising for bespoke imagery they create in-house on behalf of brands. Chanel, Nars and Comme des Garçons are among the brands that have collaborated with Beauty Papers so far.

“The reason we chose not to advertise is because we’re force-fed billboard campaigns and media imagery all the time. An advert by a premium brand doesn’t need to be in Beauty Papers,” said Leonard, adding that Beauty Papers also wants to make a more lasting mark with its content. “With Instagram coming into play, as soon as that ad has gone up, it’s gone in a day. So we want the print aspect of what we do to be an archive of expression and a point of where we are in the industry.”

Beauty Papers still writes about products, but aims to look at them in a different way. “The people that read Beauty Papers don’t need to be told that a lipstick by a premium brand is what they should be wearing, they make that decision for themselves,” Leonard said. “As a makeup artist, I don’t believe in tutorials or how to videos, I find them restrictive, I think telling somebody how they should look is unhealthy.”

Among the publication’s next steps is the relaunch of its web site that will merge the print and online experiences. “We don’t want to distinguish between the two, we want a 360-degree experience, because that’s the modern day that we live in,” Leonard said.

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