London-based collage artist Mat Maitland is currently making waves on Instagram thanks to his surrealist pop and augmented reality images. The creative, who has been commissioned for projects by big name brands like Louis Vuitton and MAC Cosmetics, is the brains behind a number of pictures in which he envisages past celebrity icons, such as Princess Diana and Audrey Hepburn, rocking 2018 beauty trends. We're talking plumped up lips, Botoxed brows, extreme contours and unnaturally high cheekbones – and the result is absolutely captivating.
In 2018, a quick scroll through Instagram will inevitably bombard you with pictures of Kylie Jenner, known for her love of lip filler, and a slew of other celebrities having gone under the needle – not to mention beauty bloggers, influencers and makeup artists taking modern skin and makeup trends to extremes. It's easy to lose sight of what is real on social media but of course, how these individuals choose to present themselves is up to them. However, it's interesting to consider what the stars of yesteryear would have looked like if the aforementioned beauty movements were just as big then.
Marilyn Monroe was the first to undergo a digital makeover as part of Maitland's Instagram project. With inflated lips, cheeks and a chiselled down nose, it's Marilyn, with her shapely brows and pin curls, but not as we know her. "I’m super blown away at this as a cultural statement," wrote one of Maitland's followers underneath the picture, while another commented: "Love these. Keep them going, so interesting."
Other celebrities to be given virtual 'tweakments' by Maitland include Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. While many of Maitland's followers have taken to the comments section to blast cosmetic procedures and the use of heavy makeup ("sad", "horrible", "disgusting"), Maitland mentioned that the pictures are not meant to be an attack on these modern trends. Talking to Paper, the artist said: "Some people might look at this series and believe that I am making a hard commentary on cosmetic procedures. This isn't the case at all."
He told the magazine: "I've always been fascinated by people who push beauty to the extreme. One of my heroes, Michael Jackson, explored the idea of transformation early on in his career. Cosmetic approaches to beauty were previously restricted to celebrities and the mega wealthy but these have now become more attainable. Everywhere you look there is evidence of these contemporary ideals of beauty. You can observe the new normal across the world. This is what made me think about identity in our contemporary world. I started to imagine some of the most idolised stars embracing cosmetic procedures and trends if they were still alive today. Celebrities of the past altering their iconic looks to fit in with today's more clone-like ideals."