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Malaysian fashion designer Moto Guo made a powerful statement at last week’s Milan Men’s Fashion Week show. But it wasn’t his gender-fluid clothing designs in his new “Picnic in the Society,” line that got all the attention. It was what his models weren’t wearing: makeup. Not only did they stride down the runway sans foundation and concealer, some of their natural blemishes were enhanced while others were given dramatic rashes and rosacea. According to Roberta Betti, the makeup artist for the show, the only makeup used was MAC coffee eye pencil and mahogany lip liner.
“Don’t wash your face because zits are cool now,” New York Magazine announced after the show. But not everyone was amused by Guo’s zits-and-all approach and the tongue-in-cheek press coverage it’s inspired. Some believe the show made light of a sensitive issue for people with problem skin. “[In the press] There were references to ‘teenage’ beauty, to being ‘pizza-faced’, to falling asleep with your makeup on to get the look,” Ellen Scott wrote in The Metro. “All of which is actually pretty damn rude, and reinforces offensive stereotypes about the reality of acne.” Although it’s unclear whether Guo was mocking people with acne, it’s tough to knock his choice to celebrate reality in industry obsessed with promoting unrealistic body images.