Answer : NO
In the beauty industry, especially in high fashion, beauty is not the opposite of ugliness. Instead, the beauty standards of high fashion play a complicated game with the more conventional standards of popular and mainstream fashion. They negate the ‘pretty’ aesthetics of mainstream magazines and advertising, where models do look more like the evolutionary ideal: young, health, smiling, radiant. They also negate the ‘sexy’ aesthetics of commercial magazines like Cosmopolitan and Men’s Health: provocative, sexualized, exaggeratedly feminine or masculine.
In effect, high fashion has followed a similar trajectory as art has followed in the 20th century: away from beauty that is directly understandable to everyone, continuous with everyday life, towards a form of beauty that negates everyday beauty, or even negates the idea of beauty itself.
High fashion’s idea of beauty is a constant exploration for something that is different: different from conventional ideas of beauty, different from other magazines, different even from what they themselves hailed as the new beauty standard only a year ago. In this search for aesthetic distinction, high fashion beauty has become increasingly distinct from what our inner ape desires. But for those in the know, the effect is aesthetically pleasing, in highly specific ways. It is the beauty of the unexpected.
Prof. Giselinde Kuipers. Chair, Sociology Department, University of Amsterdam