Illamasqua’s “Blackface” Ad Campaign

Mimi ON Nov 29, 2012 AT 3:05 pm

Illamasqua’s Ad Campaign

“Not dreaming of a white Christmas” is Illamasqua‘s slogan for their Christmas campaign this year – but unfortunately for the brand things turned from dream to nightmare this week after the makeup brand became the centre of a racism row. Illamasqua released their new advertising campaign (pictured above), and promoted it on Facebook where it caused quite a stir.

The campaign advert consists of two images, with the first model dressed head to toe in a white suit and top hat, with blanked out makeup and bleached white hair. The only pops of colour to be seen are her doll-like rouged cheeks and blood-red lips. Meanwhile the second image is the polar opposite, a black model, wearing all black, with a bright blush hue and lacquered lips.  But Facebook followers seemed to find complaint with the image.

The colour cosmetics company was left flustered after consumers began writing scathing comments underneath the picture, dubbing it racist and vowing to throw out all of their Illamasqua products.

However, not all consumers are offended by the campaign and have defended it. One commenter wrote, “Oh, come on. This isn’t racist. I’m a black woman saying this. It’s obvious that this is art. There’s more than enough real racism in this country to deal with without attacking legitimate art”.

The abuse, however, was enough for Illamasqua to release a statement, in which they tried to explain themselves.”Given that our objective with this imagery was to be playful, striking and fresh with the creation of mirror images in white and black, using colour ON the skin it is very saddening that those making negative comments are focusing on colour OF the skin. The colour of the skin didn’t come into it at the time we created the imagery so we are absolutely shocked by the cynicism behind some of the comments”.

The cosmetic company is renowned for its bold experimentation and extreme transformations with make-up.

But have Illamasqua pushed the makeup/ art boundary too far with this campaign? Let us know your thoughts at @BeautyantheDirt on Twitter.


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