The limited-edition packaging for the 15th anniversary of Fresh's Rose Face Mask reads very fresh and spring-like to me so it feels a little weird posting it when there's a fall nip in the air, but I positively had to share its gorgeousness. British artist Jo Ratcliffe was responsible for the graceful, swirling composition.
You would think roses would be a fairly straightforward motif to illustrate, but to get them to look modern and youthful (i.e., not looking like an old lady's nightgown) is trickier than you'd expect. Ratcliffe explained the process to Nylon magazine: "Roses are a very traditional thing to draw, so I knew that I needed to make something that stood out but also fit within the brand’s aesthetic. It was a challenge: We went through a few stages of drawing women, then we removed details but kept the curves and the feminine lines. Then we just reduced [the image] to roses. I started to make drawings that weren’t so botanical looking, but then they looked too much like tattoos. It’s one of those things that you think is going to be very easy, but proves to be quite difficult...with fashion illustration, you need to follow trends, and I just discovered through doing this that beauty products remain quite classic. You can make it modern, too, but the twists have to be really subtle...once I started to draw roses on their own, it felt really difficult to make something that was unique, so I started to add in these paint marks and things that felt more organic and more like a sketchbook. I wanted to create something that was a little wild looking—something that stands for natural beauty." Ratcliffe also told Allure, "Roses feel like a very English flower to me, but also a little bit punk, given their beauty and their thorns. I was inspired by beautiful old botanical drawings of roses and thinking of ways of reinterpreting them into something more modern...I wanted to bring a kind of motion in an irregular way so that it felt a little wild and alive." To do that, she "began to paint with Indian and acrylic inks, layered with a more loose version of traditional roses, which I painted using gouache. I brought in a layer of blue so there was a hint of something unexpected but that also helped bring the sensorial essence [of the product] to life."
You can see how the drawing came to life in this video. I noticed she's left-handed...my fascination with southpaws knows no bounds.
She also made a print for a scarf that was available as a gift-with-purchase at Fresh's Marylebone store in London. Obviously I'm annoyed I couldn't procure it.
Let's take a peek at Ratcliffe's other work, which displays a truly impressive range. We know she can do fashion and beauty illustrations, both from the Fresh collab and her live fashion illustrations during runway shows, like this one for Peter Pilotto:
But she's equally skilled at abstract work.
And more detailed portraits, such as this editorial for V magazine featuring illustrations of supermodels posing with various beauty products. This spread also shows Ratcliffe is capable of putting a different spin on beauty products depending on the client. Whereas for Fresh the design was simply modern and pretty, for this magazine she gave the makeup an appropriately edgy, high-fashion, sleek treatment.
She also works on a variety of animations for top fashion companies. I think my favorite is this Devil Panda/Angel Panda video for Jimmy Choo.
What I was most surprised about though was that she was the one behind the excellent Sephora holiday 2014 graphics. I thought they were so cool that I actually saved an email I got from Sephora spelling out my name in that crazy makeup font as well as the little promo brochure.
At the time I couldn't track down who the artist was, so I'm glad I finally found out. This work also shows how varied Ratcliffe's work is, even between beauty companies. I never would have guessed this is the same artist who created the Fresh packaging.
Overall I think the Fresh piece is lovely and well-thought-out. And if you're actually going to use it, so much the better, as the pretty factor will instantly skyrocket for any vanity or bathroom. I'm also really impressed with the variety of styles Ratcliffe is able to execute - no boring repetition or recycling previous work here.
What do you think?