In a revolution of visual artistry, prosthetics have captured our attention. As we see the rise in this makeup style, we wonder how far it’ll go. Prosthetics have been boldly transcending the boundaries of reality and redefining the very essence of on-screen transformations for years.

Credit: Twitter, Melanie Martinez in prosthetics for a music video

Prosthetics and SFX makeup involve the application of artificial body parts and intricate designs. They go beyond traditional makeup to achieve otherworldly appearances. These techniques have a rich history in the Hollywood. While breathing life into characters and creatures on screen, they have recently gained popularity beyond film.

Did these Looks Get Your Attention?

Artists embracing prosthetics include Doja Cat, who dressed as Karl Lagerfeld’s cat, Choupette, at the Met Gala this year. Through skilful application, Doja Cat’s features were altered with a reshaped nose, and other subtle changes, creating a captivating human-cat hybrid look. The artist behind this look is Malina Stearns.

Credit: New York Times, Doja Cat at the Met Gala

Stearns also frequently works with Melanie Martinez for her music videos, performances and red carpet appearances. In some instances, Martinez uses prosthetics to distort her facial features, creating an unsettling and surreal effect. These prosthetics include exaggerated cheekbones, elongated or distorted noses, or reshaped mouths, adding an element of whimsical grotesqueness to her visual style.

Martinez also incorporates prosthetic elements on her body to symbolise or represent certain themes or narratives. For example, she wears prosthetic scars or wounds in her music videos to highlight the pain and struggles expressed in her lyrics. These visual elements further contribute to the emotional depth and impact of her artistic presentations.

Credit: Vogue, Models from the Collina Strada Show

Earlier this year in February, makeup artist Isamaya Ffrench transformed models at Collina Strada’s show into rabbits, horses, and other farm animals. Delicate rabbit ears, fluffy tails, and horse-inspired elements like elongated snouts and hooves brought these creatures to life on the runway, showcasing the transformative and magical potential of prosthetics. They assisted in enhancing a narrative surrounding consuming animals and the cruelty presented to them everyday.

To add to this long winded list of examples, we have Alexis Stone appearing as Jennifer Coolidge at Diesel’s Milan Fashion Week. Drag queen and makeup artist Stone used a range of special effects to blur the lines between reality and fantasy with an uncanny resemblance to the iconic actress.

Credit: Pride, Alexis Stone presenting as Jennifer Coolidge

Notable Mentions

During the 2019 Met Gala, we saw Jared Leto carrying his own head. Not only was this one of the most unexpected looks of the night, but it also contributed to the shock factor of prosthetics. In addition, Kylie Jenner, during Paris Couture Week, wore a lion head on her shoulder. Further exemplifying the transformative power of these techniques. While these may not be perfect examples of prosthetics, they exude the same energy where they garner attention and make statements.

This range of examples highlight the acceptance and appreciation of prosthetics and SFX makeup in the fashion and acting industries. They push boundaries and redefine beauty and identity.

The Future of Prosthetics

Furthermore, prosthetics and SFX makeup evoke emotions, challenge beauty norms and enable self-expression. Looking ahead, the future of prosthetics and SFX may involve more ambitious designs, potentially expanding to full-body transformations such as Stone as Coolidge.

Technological advancements and innovative materials will continue pushing the boundaries of this art form. Opening new possibilities for creativity and self-representation. Where else should we expect to see a growing popularity of prosthetics?

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