Louis Vuitton Models Without Makeup- What Do You Think?

A picture of Louis Vuitton's model line-up for the Fall/Winter 2010 show was recently leaked online and caused an uproar of men (and maybe some women) posting about how awful some of these models looked (without makeup) and commenting on how unattractive some of them were, in general.

(click to enlarge- source: Jezebel)

Note that Victoria's Secret models Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima are included in the lineup, as well as Elle Macpherson.  I'm really confused why some men seem to think these models are completely unattractive.  Most women are lucky if they look fabulous without a touch of makeup, and I think a lot of these models do fall into that category of still looking quite cute with no makeup on and their hair pulled back.

Like the article stated, runway and high fashion models tend to go against the norms of what men find attractive and beautiful.  

An excerpt from the article:

Modeling is just one of the many areas of the fashion industry that does not give much consideration to men and their alleged needs. It is not created or intended to serve men's tastes. What these men are noticing is merely fashion's long-established tendency to find and glorify the most unusual good looks, rather than the interchangeably pretty, thin-but-curvy, pneumatic appearances that are validated by beer ads and Maxim throughout the West. 

Most men aren't married to those "Maxim" type women (and even they, without makeup and airbrushing aren't without flaws.)  It makes me wonder what the wives or girlfriends of the men making the mean-spirited comments about these models look like in the morning with no makeup on.  I know I sure don't look fantastic when I go to bed at night with my makeup washed off, proactive mask dotted onto any blemishes, and eye cream under my eyes (but hey, beautifying overnight is important for a glow-y morning so sometimes looking like a Halloween monster before bed is necessary- at least it's dark!)

The same issue can be seen on shows like America's Next Top Model where a lot of men (and women) don't find the models  attractive, by conventional standards. You'll notice though that the top-paid models like Victoria's Secret Models and the most popular runway models do tend to be more conventionally (if not exotically) beautiful than some of the lesser-known high fashion and runway models who can be a little quirkier or unique-looking.

Here are my questions for you:

1.  Is it ridiculous for men to criticize how women look when they aren't wearing any makeup? Are men holding women to a crazy standard?  (think of all of the men that tell their wives or girlfriends that "they prefer them without makeup"...are these the same men trashing these models?)

2.  What do you think about conventional versus non-conventional beauty? Do you find sort of unique looking models to be inspiring or interesting, or do their looks not appeal to you?

3. There seems to be this obsession with "celebrities caught without makeup" type photos...why do you think that is? Is it because it makes us feel better about ourselves, or do people just love to trash someone the moment they aren't styled and made-up the way they usually are?

Share your thoughts and comments below! Thank you for reading!

Before I go, here is a vacation picture of model Alessandra Ambrosio, looking naturally gorgeous:




  1. Forget their conventional/unconventional looks...let's focus on how absolutely unhealthy they look. It is NOT NATURAL to see that much collar bone sticking out. It's sickening to see this trend continue. I thought women actually stood a chance after last year's outrage over the size of models. I say kudos for men not thinking they're attractive. It gives hope to the rest of us, Maxim or not.

  2. anon- my collar bone sticks out a bit and I am not stick thin. Yes, some of them are too thin, definitely, I agree with you on that, but that's the industry. Calvin Klein recently said they will no longer use size 0-2 models but instead they will use 2-4 size models in their campaigns and shows. I feel like the sample sizes used to be 4's and 6's... it amazes me that they ever got down to zero.

    As someone who is pretty tall, I can't imagine any amount of dieting being able to get me into a zero (nor would I want to be a zero)...you can't move bones.

  3. I'm way more disturbed by those sun glasses. What is that about?

    I think what men and women find attractive in women is almost always never exactly the same. I firmly believe that women dress for other women or gay men so the fact that men did't "get" the appeal of these models isn't surprising.

    I think that there are plenty of people out there that will criticize you for wearing too much make up and being fake and there are just as many that will complain about the horrors of a celebrity with a bare face.

  4. I think everyones "attractive" is different. I think ingeneral, high fashion models are not your tipical "attractive" look. I think they have a "different" look and thats why they are a highfashion model. I think any girl would be lucky to look half way decent without makeup, and ontop with their hair pulled back. I do think some of those models are better looking than others, but we all look different without makeup, so I dont see what the big deal is.


  5. I am sorry but I think they look ill as well. Not necessarily because of their weight (although Adrianna Lima, who is super beautiful looks larger than most of those girls and well all know she is tiny!) I think it's the dark eye circles and their facial expressions. Elle looks gorgeous IMO but if you notice, she is the only one smiling. It just goes to show the power of a smile! Thats what bother's me the most, they look miserable.
    I am liking your blog Veronika. I enjoy your reviews and your recent articles that make us think.

  6. Jennifer- I totally agree! Everyone's perception of what is beautiful is different, and THAT'S the beauty of the world- we are all free to be attracted to what we like :)

    Laura- women most definitely dress for other women, no doubt about it!

  7. T- thanks for your comment :) You're right-when someone isn't smiling in a photo, it does make them look kind of drab!

  8. I think fashion models are a different kind od "beauty" vs say bikini models. Also, makeup and photoshop does a world of different. The model is just the starting canvas...

  9. I think some of them look...like they partied too hard. That's me being nice. Some models are too thin. I don't think collar bones signify anything because mine stick out and I am not stick thin. I may be a 0 but I am only 5'2.

    I think some of them look fine. Some are not very "attractive" but that's my perception of attractiveness. It varies between different people. I don't look "gorgeous" without make-up. I shudder to think what some would think of that. Men have a different idea of what's beautiful than we do.

    I love Alessandra Ambrosio.

  10. Eek they look awful. No wonder men criticized them. They look unhealthy and it's not because they're thin and not wearing makeup. It's the severely pulled back hair and lifeless expressions. I bet if they had their hair down and smiled they would look lovely a natural.

  11. FJ- PP mentioned that as well- a smile makes a world of a difference! Unfortunately, I think they ask them NOT to smile for these kinds of pics.

  12. It doesn't surprise me that men don't fine that LV line up attractive. There isn't one model there that my husband would find attractive. I don't either. Those photos are basically just a glorified mugshot. That type of picture does nothing for those models, not even for the VS models in there.
    Now, if they would smile, I'd think most of them would be attractive- and that goes for most models that walk down the runway (or pose for print) with virtually no expression, lifeless and cold.
    To answer the question, I don't think men are bashing these women because they aren't wearing make-up. I just think most men just want women who are fun, energetic and look like they have life to them!
    PS- I thought of you the last night when I watched The City- I think Olivia looked great as a brunette (even though I didn't think so from the photos you posted awhile back of her)! Did you watch?

  13. As a young teenager, I sometimes feel confused and dismayed at what other boys/males find attractive, because I myself consider myself to be a more non-conventional, and find other non-conventional women FAR more beautiful than just ur typical airbrushed girl. It really baffles me how beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes i find it frustrating. Please have more of these posts, I absolutely love them, and I think I speak for many young women when I say that I am still trying to find the true meaning of beauty.

  14. I think the obsession of seeing celebrities without makeup is because it shows the world they are just like one of us regular people. Not all dolled up by professional hair stylist and make up artist. They are "real" people and not always picture perfect.

    With models it is sad that men are outraged that women have to make up on to look beautiful. Very superficial in my opinion. I think these models look gorgeous with out the makeup.

  15. Many people look at others and see the flaws first. We do this to ourselves, our own faces and bodies. We have to re-condition our minds just to look at ourselves in the mirror and see the good, not just what we would like to change.

    If we could all be a little less critical of ourselves and others, I think it would do wonders for all of our self-esteem.

  16. I think for the most part they all look pretty good. I agree, I don't think they are supposed to smile for these pictures.
    I have ridiculous dark circles under my eyes (thanks mom)and I've always been very thin (again, thanks mom). It's nice to see these girls as themselves.
    p.s. an awful lot of them have quite a bit of cleavage.

  17. I, too, wonder what the wives, girlfriends, etc. of these men look like. My guess is that they don't have long lasting or healthy relationships, so the women that they're with probably have had tons of surgery and/or wear makeup all the time when they're around these men.

    I'm rather ashamed to say this, but I used to wear makeup on nearly 24/7 when I was dating my ex-boyfriend, who was really judgemental and superficial. I felt really ugly without makeup on, and sometimes with makeup on because of the comments he'd make about other women. I'm so much happier now without him in my life :)

    Another great post, Veronika. I always look forward to reading your blog because you aren't just focused on one subject :)

  18. I forgot to add that I think Alessandra Ambrosio, Adriana Lima, and Laeticia Casta (the first model on top) all look gorgeous! If I had flawless skin like they did, I would never wear makeup.

  19. thanks so much for your comments everyone :) a lot of great points here! I think we can all agree smiling is attractive :) If they were smiling, most of them would look pretty, even without makeup (though some are clearly wearing eyeliner)

  20. In regards to the smiling thing, most of the time you aren't supposed to smile. They want to see your natural state, hair off your face, and no smiling. That's the modelling world.

  21. The fact that men don't find these women attractive is interesting, because it seems to go against the articles & studies out there that show what men do find attractive: facial symmetry and natural makeup. Models have very symmetric faces.

    I have noticed that when I go out with no makeup, my hair in a ponytail, wearing jeans & a cargo jacket, men don't look twice at me. However, if I put on makeup, wear my long hair down, and throw on a dress & heels, they stare. They seem to be attracted to things that remind them of sex (these pictures do not).

    I agree with T that it is more about the dark circles & facial expressions than about weight. I am naturally a size 0 (5'4" tall and 108 pounds). I am a mother of a one-year old and bounced right back to a size 0 after gaining 60 pounds during pregnancy. I must say it is hard to constantly hear that people don't find thin women attractive... It's not any better to bash on skinny women than to bash on overweight women. Women of all sizes and shapes are beautiful.

  22. People like seeing the without makeup pictures of celebrities because they look just like everyone else. No prettier. The truth is that with the right MUA, hairstylist and clothing stylists, almost ANYONE can look that good.
    I also agree with the people who said that everyone finds different things to be pretty. That is so true and it makes what I said above even more true.

  23. I just typed a huge long thing and realized Andi said the exact same thing I was saying. SO I agree with her :)

    We'd all look fabulous all the time if we had a team of people making us up everyday.

  24. I agree with Andi and Holls - as far as models and celebrities go; it is their job to look good. If you get paid to look good and you have a personal trainer, makeup artist, stylist dermatologist etc at your disposal it would be pretty easy to have perfect hair, skin, figure etc. I think these no makeup pictures just help us to realize that they are not always perfect.

  25. I agree with the smiling/hair issue -- most of the women pictured in these photos would look gorge sans makeup, so long as they were smiling and had their hair down. These pictures are basically "washing my face and going to bed because I've worked for 14 hours" looks and that's a terrible way to showcase a woman, "attractive" or not. I believe I look horrid without makeup and of course, hubbs says different but it is what it is and that's why I DO wear makeup and that's why a lot of celebs & models do too.

    I think the fascination with celebs w/o makeup is that it makes us all realize they're really not these "superhuman" people that were just born as perfection. I don't think its that we like to criticize them more it just seems to make them all a bit more realistic

  26. I'm no model expert, but models do go to castings with no makeup on and their hair pulled back so that whoever is casting can say "oh, i can do this or that with this person's makeup or hair." I think the main reason men are saying bad things like this about this set of women is that the word "model" is usually synonymous with exceptional beauty. And when these models are shown in a natural state with no makeup on (a state which people normally don't see) people start to talk. It's not surprising to me that this is happening, and maybe with a little more background about the process people who understand a little more. People criticizing famous people on their looks is nothing new and its one of those things that seems to just "come with the territory" of being in the spotlight.

  27. Like some ladies already mentioned, I too would LOVE to see what GF’s or wife’s of these men look like. Or those men themselves for that matter.
    And how many women actually look good with their hair pulled back like that, no make-up or any facial expressions? If you actually look at each model individually most of them have beautiful features. And with just their hair down and a smile on their face they would look beautiful, even without any makeup on.

    Some of them are way too thin (especially for their height)…I agree with that. But being a size 0 doesn’t make you unhealthy. I’m 5’ 6”, size 0, my collar bone sticks and I AM very healthy. I’ve been thin my whole life and my bone structure/built is small.

    Everyone’s perception of attractive/beautiful is different. But one thing many people need to do it look at themselves before they judge others.

    Great post Veronica. :)

  28. Everyone’s perception of attractive/beautiful is different. But one thing many people need to do it look at themselves before they judge others.

    Lilly- I couldnt agree more with your above point! I always wonder how someone can say someone is ugly...how do they piercieve themselves if they go around calling everyone ugly?

  29. I saw this yesterday too, and this is yet another reminder of why I am so lucky I married the man I did! Sure with the right lighting, makeup and clothing, I could then photoshop myself into looking like a Maxim model if I wanted - but that isn't real. He knows that, and fortunately there are men out there that realize the difference.

  30. Some of those girls just scream Im Hungry...FEED ME PLEASE!!!

  31. Male/female perceptions of beauty aside, I think the most interesting/telling thing about these photos and the women in them is that they're evidence of just how cynical and disconnected from reality the fashion industry often is.

    Are runway models a size 0 (or MAYBE a 2) because that's the size at which women look best? Absolutely not, and you'd be hard pressed to find very many people who think so. Runway models are a size 0 because that's the closest a human can get to the size and shape of a coat-hanger, which is what clothes are designed to look best hanging on.

    Likewise, models are generally instructed to wear very little or no make up, and very plain clothes with their hair pulled back from their face when they go on go-sees, because designers don't actually care what they (the models) look like. They only care what they (the designer) can MAKE them look like.

    Being a runway model is a bit like an exercise in learning how to disappear completely.

  32. Great post Michele - excellent description of the modeling industry!

  33. They are so cute! Look at Kurkova, she looks like she just rolled out of my math class... Naturally cute girls, and actually, not all of them are sickly skinny. Look at Adrianna Lima and Laetitia Casta. And Elle looks like a rock star even without makeup.

    As for men's comments - my experience is - the least attractive ones are the loudest ones to comment on girl's looks. People say stupid stuff out of their own insecurities and what better place to do it than on the internet, where you can hide behind any nickname you want.

    Girls, you're beautiful! Nothing's more attractive than a women who is in peace with herself and the world that surrounds her. :-)

  34. anon- amen to your last comment!

    I agree that often it's men who are unhappy with themselves that are making comments about these women.

    I think Elle Mcphereson is clearly wearing makeup in her photo though.

  35. There's only about 4 that I find attractive. The rest are disgusting, pale, and should eat some jelly donuts. I'm talking to you first column third row - good god.

  36. @anon---honestly, calling women "disgusting" (any women, regardless of how they look)is really, really not helpful for anyone.

  37. Whatever just get on with your lives!!!

  38. LMAO

    I have a six pack and my collar bones stick out. Having low body fat % is actually healthier than most may think in America. And lots of healthy guru works hard to get body fat down to below 10%. You have to be extremely healthy and eat very clean to keep under 10% all year long. It becomes a lifestyle and you wouldn't eat things that hurt your body at all. You would feel energetic, happy, and confidant.

    I personally have a regular diet of chicken breast, kidney beans, olive oil, fish oil and stuff like that but no the "dieting" most people think we who intends to lose fat do because "dieting" doesn't promote fat loss. It may promote short term weight loss but not fat.

    I have I have said enough. But I just want to tell you that having low body fat % is actually healthy.

  39. They look like a rehab group for anorexia.

  40. Arghhh why aren't my comments appearing....


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