we had faces then

A conversation on the phone, poolside in Surrey yesterday, with one of my best friends - since we were teenagers - my beautiful friend Sherri, in NY, got me thinking. We grew up in a time, and a community, where a lot of girls got nose jobs for their 16th birthday. Some of those same 'girls' are now grown women who regularly get 'work' done. Sherri is, and always has been, one of those natural beauties (her whole family have these luminescent pale blue eyes: they're all beautiful, even her brother), and she's just such a sunny, happy soul, she radiates inner beauty. Neither of us are the facial reconstruction 'type'. But we were talking about how, as we age, it seems our faces are.. melting. Drooping. We don't notice it until we see a photo. And then.. it's like it's us, but our faces, our jaws, are kind of.. melting.

I guess that's where the term 'face lift' came from. But I started thinking about how 'work' - botox, and especially collagen lip whatever stuff.. I'm just wondering if, say, 20 years from now, we'll look at films of Angelina Jolie, for example, and think that those puffy lips look dated. (I remember one film: ah, yes, Mr. and Mrs. Smith - where her puffiness literally moves around her lips, from scene to scene. It's her top left in one, bottom right in another.. it distracted me from watching her steal Brad from Jen, right under her perfect nose).

My curiosity got me pulling all kinds of photos from backstage.. and my obsessive photo shoot of the mannequins at the Arcadia Press Day - so I can feel a series coming on.

Oddly, you don't see that kind of 'work' on models - or at least, I didn't, backstage at London Fashion Week last February. Now some of my grown peers are starting to look alike: their smaller noses make their eyes somehow seem more.. beady. And they can't lift their eyebrows in surprise, or frown, but their cheeks all somehow seem.. puffier. And I look at someone like Sarah Jessica Parker and think: has she brought the nose back? Or was that Princess Di?


Unknown said...

Really interesting post with great photos, I think we have a more sort of alternative beauty nowadays and we aren't so concerned about the typical beauty of faces. I think people are much more self conscious about their body shape than their face, but thats just one opinion!

the nyanzi report said...

Here's what I think about getting 'work' done to your body. If you are in a financial position to afford it, then go ahead. After all we only get one chance to live. If you think it will make you happy, whether inwards or outwards, then go for it!

The Friend said...

My Dear Friend Mrs. Dot.... you brought tears to my eyes...thank you for the beautiful words!
I agree that if you can afford to get work done and that's your pleasure ....go for it. but whats interesting and I think the point is that THE LOOK of the moment has become the reason for people changing their appearances just like a new LOOK in fashion or re doing your kitchen to a current LOOK for that matter. So in years to come we will look back on the features of people's faces and bodies and we will be able to say that was the LOOK in the years 2000-2025.

Anonymous said...

What an interesting way of looking at it. The thing I always find strange about people who've had 'work' done is that it doesn't look real. Sometimes they remind you of what they looked like when they were young, but you find yourself looking at them in segments, not as a whole, wondering: fillers in lips, a centimetre of flesh out of each side of their faces, botox in forehead and eyes?? And so on. So the work is a kind of barrier to communication.

It strikes me as a particular problem in acting. Just thinking of Nicole Kidman here, who I've found unwatchable since Brokeback Mountain, when I spent the whole film watching her collapsing eyebrows - too much botox so she couldn't control one of them. It must have been a nightmare in the edit. But I understand the impulse, especially in a youth-obsessed industry. It's hard to watch the blurring outlines of your face. Ageing sucks. Did I look better in my 20s? No doubt about it. But I do know there's nothing that will make me look like that again. Priscilla Presley - a lesson to us all. She looks like the Joker these days.

jill said...

Lu: I remember thinking the same thing! It made her look confused. I am really starting to think about how our idea of 'beauty' changes with fashions.. I can really feel a few posts forming in my (imperfect) head.

Can't believe - Sherri! the Friend - you've managed to make a comment! Welcome to the Digital Age, dear friend!!

David - that's a valid point. And I forgot - or wasn't being sensitive, I guess - to understand that for some people, young women especially, if there is an aspect of their physicality that they just hate, it probably is affecting their lives.. for that kind of thing, absolutely, it's worth it. I just feel that too often, in our case growing up for example, these girls - and they really were just girls - were going under the knife and changing their appearances before they really had any idea who they were. I see their daughters now with their 'old' nose, wearing it regally, with pride, and they are beautiful.

And Kate: your comment led me to your blog, which started me thinking about Audrey Hepburn, and now you've inspired me for a future post, so thank you, each of you.

Unknown said...

Of course that would be okay, it would be fantastic! I love your post 'On the street where you live', it's amazing that you got to see them before they were auctioned! I just listened to the song and was singing along!
Have a lovely rest of week!

mtg said...

Beautiful Meryl Streep comes to my mind after reading your post...

adrielleroyale said...

Pretty much the only thing I have ever thought about doing would be breast implants. I am really small, and just get so annoyed at always being the smallest. My friends all have plenty to spare and we always joke that I could give them some of my hips and they could give me some of their boobs then we'd all be perfect! lol I had come to a really good place a while ago when I didn't feel the need anymore, but lately... sigh.. Well, I'm sure I'll get back to the self assured person I was sooner or later. :)

Veshoevius said...

Maybe if we lived in a society which values people (especially women) as they become older the changes to our faces wouldn't disappoint us so much - I find it horrifying to think that people are prepared to fork out so much money and risk the dangers of surgery to conform to someone else's ideal of beauty. I've been seeing headlines of some woman who has won £6m for disfigurement after such surgery - the before and after photos are enough to convince me that however droopy my face is, it really is fine as it is. Whatever happened to promoting people, especially women, to embrace self acceptance?

jill said...

Oh thank you, each of you who took the time to write this. This is what I love most about blogging: this kind of conversation. It's interesting - Adrielle you're saying basically what Kate is saying, that the.. for lack of a better word, self criticism - the areas of our physicality that we want to change - has shifted in a generation from changing our faces to wanting to change our bodies. It's funny: I've always been small: I pert size B, even A depending on the cup - I'm a little less pert now - but that's not something that ever occurred to me, to want breast implants. It's really making me think that we are so affected by our peers - at any age.

Veshoevius, I saw that article recently, too. And I was thinking the same thing: what was she thinking? I didn't see the before pictures but it was clear from the after that she had been an absolutely normal, attractive woman.

Embracing self acceptance.. we're not going to find it anywhere in this industry. That is, I feel, why we (or at least, why I - and you - and the kind of people who come to my blog, or your blogs) - this little community of women who blog technically about fashion - but what we're really talking about is exactly that: supporting each other, encouraging each other to just. be. happy. with. what. we've. got!