In a Lennyletter article earlier this year titled “Time to Uncover,” the singer Alicia Keys announced that she was eschewing makeup after becoming frustrated with “how much women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny, or sexy, or desirable, or perfect.” She concluded it by writing, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.” After the essay was published, a number of public figures posted their own makeup-free photos, and when Keys appeared on The Today Show, her interviewers, Tamron Hall and Al Roker, removed their own makeup live on air.
In furthering Keys’ message—that women should be appreciated for all aspects of their selves, not merely their physical appearances—Pirelli is hoping a movement that’s long been felt on social media and among women themselves can turn into good branding, even for a company that’s historically benefitted from the promotion of impossible beauty ideals. It’s an institution acknowledging that many women reject long-held benchmarks for what they should be aspiring to. So while Lindbergh’s images of Lupita N’yongo, Charlotte Rampling, Nicole Kidman, and Zhang Ziyi capture a sea change that’s very much ongoing, they’re also a sign that in recent years, fashion as an industry has played a very small part in revolutionizing the way women see themselves.
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