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“Ugly beauty compared to who and what? Compared to my taste? Compared to yours?” says makeup artist, Tom Pecheux. Yet the maestro of maquillage acknowledges that the very concept of ugly beauty is a guiding force of contemporary fashion: the perpetual friction between attraction and revulsion, between apathy and desire, between the ordinary and peculiar.

Conversations about beauty remind Pecheux of his very early years on the job, when he worked for for a modeling school outside Paris and encountered plenty of gorgeous women, but most of whom lacked the strange twist that makes an iconic face or memorable photo. He says, “Those girls were there because someone told them they were ‘beautiful,’ but in high fashion, beautiful isn’t enough.”

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