What would the stars of bygone days look like if they were to jump on today's beauty trends? It’s a concept currently being explored by artist Mat Maitland, whose new series of images captures the sirens of yesteryear, complete with Botox, face fillers, nips, tucks and eyebrow lifts. The Instagram generation – led by the influence of celebrities like Kylie Jenner and Bella Hadid – has become used to seeing plumped-up lips, razor-sharp cheekbones and tiny, symmetrical button noses. In fact, according to predictions from Harley Street Aesthetics the plastic-surgery industry is expected to be worth £8.5bn by 2022. But, when applied to famous faces from history, the departure from beauty standards of the past is clear to see.
Speaking to PAPER Magazine, Maitland said: “Some people might look at this series and believe that I am making a hard commentary on cosmetic procedures. This isn't the case at all. I've always been fascinated by people who push beauty to the extreme. One of my heroes, Michael Jackson, explored the idea of transformation early on in his career.
“Cosmetic approaches to beauty were previously restricted to celebrities and the mega wealthy but these have now become more attainable. Everywhere you look there is evidence of these contemporary ideals of beauty. You can observe the new normal across the world. This is what made me think about identity in our contemporary world. I started to imagine some of the most idolized stars embracing cosmetic procedures and trends if they were still alive today. Celebrities of the past altering their iconic looks to fit in with today's more clone-like ideals."
Among the line-up are Elizabeth Taylor, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana, who’ve all been given some modern-day tweakments. Liz Taylor’s statement violet eyes have been sidelined by ginormo pillowy lips; Grace Kelly’s had a do-over with a Kylie Jenner Lip Kit and Audrey Hepburn’s cheekbones could cut glass. The photos have divided the internet, with some users commenting “what happened to the days when everyone had a different face & owned it … instead of the pumped, pulled, tucked lookalikes of the 21st century” [sic], while others are calling for the images to be made even more extreme: “Do more than just lips and a filter please, if we are spending an hour on our makeup for these trends at least dedicate the same time on work, no highlighter SMH [shaking my head].” “This is so great!” another user commented. “I think she needs more fake eyebrows though.”
Whatever the verdict, ultimately these images show just how much beauty standards for women have changed over the last decade and beyond. It paints quite an unnerving picture.