Beautiful can be scary
e are surrounded by it every day and most likely have experienced it ourselves: the pursuit of beauty and perfection. Everywhere we go we see advertisements with beautiful models beckoning us to try products that claim to add shine to our hair and plump our lips, or wear suits and dresses that are said to make us look beautiful or dashing. We see how good those models look and we want to emulate that, so we buy whatever product they are selling. We do this even though we know that the image isn’t real, that the models have been airbrushed and that their hair and makeup has been done by professionals.
Here lies the inspiration for the impossible footwear you see in the video. These “shoes” are a collaboration between artist Leanie van der Vyver and Dutch shoe designer René van den Berg and were the product of van der Vyver’s final thesis.
van der Vyver states in an interview with Joanna Douglas, “After working in fashion for seven years, and therefore being well aware of the manipulation images in fashion suffer for a perfect result, I still compare myself to them and other current beauty ideals. My frustration with my own inability to overcome these feelings of inadequacy was what brought ‘Scary Beautiful’ into fruition. The shoes formed part of my graduation project that was a result of my thesis. The conclusion of my thesis investigation was that people are not satisfied with what they look like, and that perfection, according to the beauty and fashion standards, has reached a climax. Humans are playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.”
The title of the project suggest the paradox that occurs when people take the pursuit of beauty too far. None of this is to say that people should not try to look good or feel good about their appearance, but it is an intriguing visual metaphor for what we sometimes put ourselves through both physically and mentally for the sake of aesthetic “perfection”