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June 3, 2014

Beyond the Skin

Jonas Åkerlund Takes Model Shaun Ross on a Hyperkinetic Trip Through LA in the Final #DefineBeauty Film

“Hollywood is so good at only seeing what’s on the outside, and using that first impression instead of going deeper,” says Jonas Åkerlund of the location of the final film in the #DefineBeauty series, in which he follows American model and actor Shaun Ross around the back streets and freeways of Los Angeles. “I think Shaun has spent all his life with those reactions. Look again and you see that this guy is really beautiful.” The Swedish filmmaker is known for music videos that span over 25 years—from Madonna to Beyonce, Iggy Pop to U2—and feature films including the darkly comic 2002 release, Spun. His gothic style is apparent in today’s portrait of the famed albino model, who recently starred in Lana Del Rey’s 30 minute film, Tropico. “When Shaun showed up on Hollywood Boulevard, Darth Vader and Mickey Mouse were affronted,” the filmmaker says of filming Ross, who was styled by his wife B. Åkerlund. “Like, ‘What the fuck is this guy doing here?’” Elements of Beyond the Skin were shot by Ross himself with a camera provided by the director, whose cat was given a supporting role. “She’s also albino so I thought they might have a connection,” says Åkerlund. “They actually did. She wouldn't stop sitting on his head.”

Look one: Top & skirt by Yuima Nakazato.
Look two: Head piece by Maiko Takeda, cape & pants by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.
Look three: Leather jacket by Bohemian Society, metal mesh top & bracelets by Michael Schmidt Studios, boots by Gasoline Glamour.
Look four: Jacket by, Hyein Seo, top & shorts by Yuima Nakazato, shoes by Nereku.

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Spotlight

Aesop: Aesthetic Science

The Fabled Australian Beauty Brand Opens the Doors of its Research Studios

In celebration of its 25th anniversary this year, Melbourne-based science-beauty brand Aesop invited photographer Rene Vaile to document the laboratories where its team of specialists analyse each extract, vitamin and nutrient that goes into the holistic range. Founded by Dennis Paphitis in 1987 as an alternative to the chemical-filled cosmetic goods of the time, the brand focuses solely on using ingredients that benefit the body, including green tea, geranium leaf and mandarin. "A good product needs to begin from a sincere and authentic perspective," explains Paphitis of the company’s ethos. "It must be designed with integrity and a sense of timelessness." Taking sustainable living as a basic mantra, Aesop is also known for its sensitively placed and design-strong outlets across the world, such as the Grand Central Terminal booth opened last year and built out of 1,000 copies of The New York Times. Here Senior Chemist Rebecca Watkinson talks to us about the processes involved in developing Aesop’s celebrated products and the best way to take care of your skin.

How do you come across new ingredients to experiment with?
We are continually researching and exploring new ingredients, and often look to other industries for inspiration, particularly the food industry. The most recent example of this would be blackcurrant seed oil, which we use in our Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Facial Treatment. Blackcurrants have long been known as a “super-food” for their anti-oxidant properties and essential fatty acid content. We saw that this could be an interesting topical ingredient.

How long does it take to perfect a new product?
It typically takes 18 months to two years to fully realize a product, with much collaborative effort and many iterations between concept, development, testing, manufacture and launch. Sage and Zinc Facial Hydrating Cream was ten years in the making, and not without its challenges, but was certainly worth the wait. 

Everyone’s skin is different. How do you define and test health and beauty?
We endeavour to make our products as applicable and relevant to as many skin types as possible. Our philosophy of skin care is based on scientific evidence that what most skin types require is to be cleansed, moisturized and protected. We counsel our clients to take care of their skin by using the highest quality skin care products and sun cream, drinking pure water, eating fresh food and getting as much sleep as possible.


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Spotlight

Fleurs d’Excès

Dior Haute Joaillerie's Victoire de Castellane Unveils Her Botanical Sculptures at Gagosian Paris

For her debut solo art exhibition Fleurs d’Excès, Victoire de Castellane remade the Gagosian Gallery in Paris into an imagined Eden. NOWNESS was given exclusive access to the wearable, one-of-a-kind jeweled sculptures prior to the show's opening. “In real life I don’t like flowers,” De Castellane reveals. “I can’t get attached to something that dies so quickly, so I make flowers that live forever.” Created from precious materials including lacquered silver, white gold, nephrite jade, rubies and smoky quartz, the flora are named according to the artist’s fictional classification system—with monikers such as Heroina Romanticam Dolorosa and Crystalucinea Metha Agressiva—to connote the illicit pleasures of mind-altering substances while hinting at their potential peril. Parisian-born De Castellane discovered her calling at the tender age of five when she took apart one of her mother’s charm bracelets to make a pair of earrings. After 14 years of designing costume jewelry for Chanel, in 1998 she joined Dior to launch the house’s Haute Joaillerie department. Facehunter's Yvan Rodic was there to shoot the show's opening and private after-party hosted by Larry Gagosian and Giovanni Testino; click here to see images from the Paris Fashion Week event.


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