Illamasqua's gender-fluid Christmas campaign has just dropped and it's as full of colour, individuality and creativity as we'd hoped. Featuring Munroe Bergdorf and self-identified 'gender capitalist' model Rain Dove, the makeup brand's statement reads loud and clear: 'MERR
Y XMAS: Celebrate Without Chromosomes'. "We are not afraid to talk about complex issues that affect our generation," Illamasqua's statement reads, "whether they be race, gender, age, or the environment. We seek to create an open, equal and diverse society."
During the fallout of being let go from her L'Oréal contract for calling out systemic racism, in an interview with R29, Bergdorf explained her reasons for working with Illamasqua. "I’ve worked with the brand for quite a number of years and they’ve always been really supportive with my career. They've supported me and encouraged me to use my voice, and think deeper as well. I like that they also ask their customers to think deeper – it’s not all about 'Here, buy our product' and play it safe."
In the campaign, Bergdorf wears an electric-blue Precision Gel Liner, lilac Antimatter Lipstick in Vibrate, and Sophie Powder Blusher in a baked rose hue. Her hair, worn curly with a rolled '50s back fringe, is coloured to parallel the shades and tones in her makeup. "The ideologies of Illamasqua are so in-line with mine – everybody is as beautiful as each other, and it's all about our differences," she states. "What makes us individual is what makes us beautiful."
"Gender is a very comforting thing to some people. And a lot of people are confused by fluidity," states Dove, who appears in the campaign wearing gunmetal Powder Eyeshadow in Hype, a coral Antimatter Lipstick in Lyra, and a sunshine-yellow Powder Eyeshadow in Superstitious swept across cheekbones. "I don't think gender and gender labels are bad, I think that gender reinforcement and limitations are bad. When people try to make others live a certain lifestyle because they're born with a specific genitalia and assigning them with duties and obligations, even sexpectations, it's dangerous and it's limiting. It's not the label, it's the limitation."
Living your identity colourfully is key to the campaign's message. Stating that "gender is colourful", the brand highlights that fashion's recent foray into gender was "beige, oversized, 'boys in girls clothes'. But gender is not neutral: it is bold, colourful, and above all individual." Of course, colour is at the forefront for legendary stylist and accessories designer Judy Blame, who styled the campaign. The beauty looks were created by makeup maestro Sharon Dowsett, who explored "colour and texture and how the unique placement of both can celebrate and highlight an individual's personality".
Illamasqua has brought us a rainbow-filled Christmas campaign, full of character, individuality and colour. As the brand's statement reads: "It's not about being a girl; it's not about being a boy. Forget the biology. It's about being free to explore your individuality, celebrating who you are today, and who we all want to be tomorrow." Props to Illamasqua for recognising that gender limitations have no place in beauty – let's hope more brands follow suit.