Beauty Papers is a biannual magazine spearheaded by creative duo Maxine Leonard and Valerie Wickes, offering an outlet to liberate creative beauty and “give beauty a brave new face". The publication tackles, through a series of articles and editorials, the complexities of modern beauty with a focus on “freeing it from its formulaic shackles,” to offer a new, more contemporary definition. “The beauty discussion is no longer just reserved for hushed conversations about classical painting or a particular Holloway star or model,” the duo explain. “It’s now served up on a daily, minute by minute digital basis and is enmeshed in our lives.”
The pair met on various photo shoots – Valerie studied graphic design at St Martins before specialising in fashion and branding and Maxine who worked as part of Shu Uemura’s creative team, completing her studies at London College of Fashion. Whilst on an advertising job in Paris together, they discussed their frustrations with work and found they had common ground. It was on the train home that they decided to collaborate, going on to launch Beauty Papers in June, 2015.
Issue four is focussed on the concept of etiquette, exploring the potentially outdated tradition through the lens of beauty. It examines the ideas of “request” or “imposition” and unpacks the unwritten and embedded rules that have been with us for centuries, often dictating our perception or definition of beauty.
One of Beauty Papers’ most impactful features is its covers and issue four is no different, offering a choice of seven images. With only a simple logotype anchored to the centre of the cover, the photography is allowed to speak for itself dictating a powerful tone-of-voice for the publication. The decision to have multiple covers was to reflect Beauty Papers’ spirit of diversity and individuality, instead of allowing one image to define their principles: “without character and emotion, there is no beauty and it is too oppressive to present one ideal to women or men.”
Beauty Papers features the work of several leading creatives such as Gary Card and Elliot Erwitt, something they believe is a result of allowing artists a space to be truly creative. “Print is a luxury and we explore different ideas that engage with our audience. Jake and Dinos Chapman have a limited edition cover and we have also printed posters as well as mini-booklets of artist’s work in the past. We like the idea of the issues becoming an archive of where we are in the industry,” explain Maxine and Valerie.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor.