100 Years of Beauty

How do you sum up 100 years? Should you analyze year by year or it best to focus on trends over a decade? Is it possible to hone in on one variable and develop a clear picture or are too many facets intertwined? Earlier this year, The Cut decided to find out. Their mission? Sum up 100 years of style trends in countries around the world.

100-Years-of-beauty-Ebony-and-Ivory-comparison-1940s

Image courtesy of Vintage Makeup Guide

In addition to the quick historical videos, researchers discuss the work behind the looks. Robin Park, the researcher behind the Korea series, mentions the Japanese colonialism that colored more of Korean fashion in the 1930s and 40s. After Korea split at the DMZ, Park explains, beauty in North Korea was gauged less on products and more on what a woman contributed to the community. For this reason, makeup styles in North Korea remained largely unchanged from the 1950s on. South Korea, on the other hand, embraced capitalism and the subsequent global style trends that accompanied it. Visit the project’s Pinterest board and you can view the research and the final look side by side.

While styles change, it’s clear that standards of beauty haven’t budged too much. All of their models are relatively light-skinned and have the big eyes, clear skin and features typically considered attractive. Buzzfeed branched out slightly with their take on style over the centuries, but the resulting video creates a more overarching narrative than a closeup on one place over time. But when 100 years of anything gets distilled into a one-minute video clip, some details are bound to fall through the cracks. With future episodes in the works and many other copycat projects piggybacking on the concept, there’s a lot of potential for growth, change, and further insights.

Visit The Cut’s YouTube channel to watch existing episodes and subscribe for future updates.

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