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Beauty according to... Isamaya Ffrench.
It’s hard to distill Isamaya Ffrench into being just a ‘make-up artist’. One minute she’s transforming herself into a grotesque tentacled beast, the next she’s recreated the delicate glass tears of a Man Ray photograph. The result is unsettling and exquisite, glamorous and eldritch, otherworldly and at times, just plain bonkers.

As such, she doesn’t just represent the beauty of today, but rather the expressive possibilities of beauty tomorrow. One that’s defined by monstrous prosthetics, lipsticks in the shape of phalluses, and CGI renderings of celebrities with mythological animal parts. Indeed, no other make-up artist, and globally not that many people in the industry, divert so much from their initial set of skills, with such energy and success.

‘I’m sort of beauty adjacent,’ as she puts it. She has redefined the role of a make-up artist, or rather has made that role work for her, which is why there was no one better to front this second issue of System beauty.

Captured by Juergen Teller, we meet Isamaya in her studio, surrounded by objects, tools, and obscure ephemera she’s collected along the way. She also speaks to the artist Jordan Wolfson about finding depth in ugliness, interrogates the notion of femininity with the actress Gwendoline Christie, and shares why she’ll never get bored of the beauty industry.

Elsewhere in the issue, Fara Homidi and Paloma Elsesser dissect what makes a brand, Pierre Dinand reflects on designing the industry’s most iconic perfume bottles, and Pharrell Williams reframes skincare as self-care. Meanwhile, Cho Giseok pays homage to the cultural history of Korean beauty; Takahashi Homma and Tomihiro Kono explore Japanese street style through the language of hair; and Liv Liberg and Ana Takahashi reflect on the growing pains of youth.
System explores with style and substance the dialogues at the heart of the global fashion industry.

Its biannual magazine offers exclusive long-format conversations with fashion’s most relevant, most powerful and most opinionated individuals, accompanied by portfolios created by the industry’s most in-demand image-makers.

Exploring and commenting on fashion’s constantly shifting landscape, System is a platform for deep thoughts and real opinions – shared within the industry and, in turn, influencing the broader world.

© System Magazine