Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 May 2020

'The lack of representation inspired me': Lebanese artist Nourie Flayhan illustrates Gucci Beauty’s new campaign

The Italian house chose Flayhan to create images inspired by the new make-up range

Artwork by Lebanese illustrator Nourie Flayhan for Gucci. Courtesy Gucci
Artwork by Lebanese illustrator Nourie Flayhan for Gucci. Courtesy Gucci

Known for her colourful, idiosyncratic sketches of people, often featuring multiple hands or eyes, Nourie Flayhan has already carved out a name for herself as a talent to watch.

Now, it seems that fashion house Gucci has fallen under the Lebanese illustrator's spell, commissioning her to create three unique artworks for its new beauty range.

With a distinctive style, Flayhan's works are surreal and outlandish – exquisitely penned to create a make-believe, parallel universe. The artist's flair for conjuring imaginary worlds is a perfect fit for Gucci, a brand that, under the guidance of Alessandro Michele, has given itself over to the bizarrely beautiful. Some of its past runway shows have featured baby dragons, severed heads and catwalks lit with flames.

The first image Flayhan created for Gucci is typically dreamlike, featuring a four-armed woman inside a snow globe. The words “They daydreamed in their makeshift garden of card cut-out clouds and a lipstick drawn sun. They dreamed of a love in a far-away land. They dreamed of laying in a field of flowers with their love, sharing a ‘Goldie Red’ kiss,” float around her.

Sitting on a bed of flowers, wearing long opera gloves, the drawn woman is holding a lipstick and a globe, while also holding open a book.

The next image is equally magical, with six frames each containing one or two people, inside their homes. Each character has two sets of eyes, and between them are talking on telephones or listening to records, with pianos, a Gucci guitar case and even a parrot in the background.

Around the figures are the words: “And so they wrote letters, ate, chatted the nights away, painted, made masks, shared playlists, fell in love and dreamed of a future filled with light.”

The last of the trilogy is a series of hands, gloved or otherwise, clutching powder compacts. In the centre is a mirror in which another hand applies mascara to eyelashes. The wording reads" Cry, dream, hope and love."

In an interview with Gucci to celebrate the release of the images, Flayhan explained the inspiration behind her work.

"The lack of representation in the media, books, magazines always inspired me. I never saw myself in them, and could never connect. Being an expat and growing up in a country that was not my home country, I always felt at home in the community of diaspora kids who felt displaced and / or had to leave their home countries for a better future," she said.

"I was always inspired by the stories that weaved around me and I always promised my younger self that one day I would bring representation to the forefront via my illustrations – images that I wish I had seen growing up along with other Arab girls / diaspora kids. I am using my voice to share the stories that need to be shared."

This is the second time Flayhan has worked with the fashion house. In 2018, she was one of 15 female artists chosen to create images for the launch of the fragrance, Acqua di Fiori, meaning "Flower Water".

Updated: May 14, 2020 04:39 PM

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