Expanding the Limits of Iconic Perfection

19 Apr 2012
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Valerie Jacobs

In our online personas, from gaming avatars to Facebook profile pictures, we tend to always put our best face forward. This means not only carefully selecting our most favorable photos of ourselves, but untagging those less flattering pictures, as if it were not actually us in the photo. As our online avatars increase in visibility and technology allows greater customization of both the virtual and the physical, we are likely to see a future where our ideal online selves serve as the testing ground and determining factor in the creation of our offline style. Beauty consumers are looking for products that will enable them to achieve avatar-like facial perfection in all areas: lips, teeth, eyes, hair and skin.

This is particularly evident in the anime-inspired fashion trends of Japan. The look focuses on emulating traditional manga character stylings: large, wide eyes accentuated by exaggerated, often stylized lashes; offset by hair in blatantly unnatural positioning. These once niche decorations are steadily gaining ground, with companies like Paperself (specializing in intricate, artistic eyelashes—now available at retailers like Sephora) and Circle contact lenses, (popularized in Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video) experiencing mainstream exposure.

Beyond make-up and aesthetic add-ons, more permanent cosmetic procedures are also becoming increasingly accepted. In Singapore, high-end shopping malls often include beautification boutiques offering hyper-specialized services from eyebrow consultations to Lasik surgery to dental art, alongside a variety of walk-in options for instant gratification.

As the possibility of perfection becomes more and more of a reality, the fringe ideals and services of today will become part of tomorrow’s daily routine. Further, if currently involved and invasive procedures (e.g. liposuction, facial reconstruction) become more affordable and offer faster recovery, they may become completely ubiquitous. It’s not so difficult to imagine a future in which procedures like collagen injections could be implemented for a night out and reversed before one returns to the office in the morning—as simple as changing an outfit or a pair of shoes.