Ugly is Beautiful! What the ugly says about us.
It stings our aesthetic eyes. It has crept in everywhere, as if it were ready to take its revenge. The ugly is back. The ugly, the filthy, the disturbing, irritates us at Balenciaga, moves us with the return of the banana, or stirs up our embarrassment on social networks. But why is it so present?
Is the Cat-Walk to blame?
Until a few years ago, Crocs were the very definition of bad taste, an almost universal taboo. Then fashion suddenly decided to elevate what the average person considered ugly to the height of cool. Designers are redoubling their creativity to sublimate the "dad shoes" or hideous total looks worn by the most beautiful women of the moment, with an imitation Tati bag on their shoulder.
Of course, this is not the first time that fashion has been provoked. What is questionable is that the cult of the anti-aesthetic is escaping the catwalks to express itself well beyond the realm of clothing style.
A plague that does you good
The taste for the ugly questions our definition of what is beautiful and acceptable. After having accentuated the dictates of the perfect body by publishing our intimacy, social networks are seeing more and more users claiming a right to ugliness or celebrating the most atypical parts of their body, notably through #bodypositive. Actresses are sharing elaborate make-up-free selfies, fitness blogger Morgan Mikenas proudly displays its hair, and the trend among teenagers is to pose unfiltered with their acne pimples.
The latest taboo to be put on display to make itself heard is illness - and if possible mental illness. In her Netflix documentary, Lady Gaga tells us all about her fibromyalgia. And Kanye West and Mariah Carey seem to be vying for the status of the most bipolar star of the year - 'it's ok to be weird'.
If your idols' woes haven't totally comforted you, come and film yourself crying on the Tears webcam platform inspired by the work of the artist Laurel Nakadate. Here you can sublimate your Sunday night darkness and watch videos of other strangers not exactly in top form - Cry Porn is beautiful.
The ugly on-demand seeks to shake up the norm to free us from the tyranny of the superego. A way of marking our individuality and our right to exist as we are.
A new pact of authenticity for brands?
Is this ugliness always sincere when it says it wants to make us feel less guilty? The ugly makes brands plead authenticity, but it also allows them to not go unnoticed. In a world of ultra-worked aesthetics, we scratch under the varnish to find sediments of the real, the repulsive, anything goes, as long as it is imperfect.
Axe encourages men to take on a big nose and protruding ears in its "Find your magic" campaign. Without fear of contradicting his "Successful living", Diesel invites us to assume our loser side in his film "Go with the flaw". So yes, the actors are not perfect, but they are still tall, slim and stylish. In short, very close to the norm - except for one detail.
The "pretty ugly" is the heartfelt cry of a brand that is sincere and emotionally connected to its targets. We no longer want them to serve us a fantasy reality in the form of a graphic charter, nor do we want them to erase what makes us who we are. We want them to reflect all our diversity: with what we say is beautiful, as well as with what we claim is ugly.
Underneath its casual air and apparent ease, the ugly trend is in fact terribly demanding. In order to liberate us mentally and still make us dream, brands must find the optimal friction point between ugly and glamorous. An exhilarating chiaroscuro where the truth shines through without breaking the charm of the ad.