Beauty is big word. It’s also a big deal and one of the largest industries on the planet. But where it sits with us personally, professionally or philosophically can be a challenging concept to address.
“Beauty is many things to many people,” explains fashion and beauty maven, Dhav Naidu. “To some it is purely the art of application and appreciation, to others it is about science and artifice. To me, it is simply about enhancement not disguise”.
For Dhav, who works overseas exclusively in fashion journalism, Australia has provided a more comfortable space to blossom into beauty. Unexpectedly taking over hair and makeup at a fashion show when the talent did not arrive – fate works in such spectacular ways – his first beauty experience was born. Curiosity and fascination followed and, as Dhav romantically declares, the rest is beauty folklore. Yet beauty is as elusive as it is intoxicating.
“My perception of beauty has changed over the years and I want it to change continuously, absolutely,” he says of a journey that began in makeup and transformed to skin health.
“With new discoveries come new innovations and techniques. Our quest for the holy grail of beauty will continue”.
Yet the way the industry is perceived by those from the outside is often superficial, cynical and with suspicion. This is something Dhav is keen to reframe.
“I am interested in the social, economic, science and research of it all. Do you know that the beauty and fashion industry employ all aspects of primary, secondary and tertiary industries. The general media does not give it the respect it deserves. They are more interested in the shallowness of celebrity culture and what’s hot and what’s not.
“There are people out there who are genuinely interested in the science of beauty, how and why we age, how can we age with grace. The proper art of makeup application, ingredients and what do they do? And the list goes on”.
To take a step back and look at beauty in the larger sense then, what it means for us personally, is of prime importance. For Dhav, beauty is not skin deep. Rather, describing beauty as an aspect of character, action and love towards others. It is not selfish or self-serving, and something he seeks both knowingly and without realisation.
“I seek out beauty in nature on a daily basis but also appreciate and applaud a simple act of kindness. I see beauty in words, food and simple affirmations. Beauty is complex and putting it into words does it injustice”.
One aspect of daily beauty comes from nature where Dhav’s partner has created an oasis of kitchen garden delights, pretty blooms and trees that fill the evening air with perfume. It is a sensorial space to explore, discover and rediscover – a constant source of inspiration and respite. And so, from fashion runway to gardens, to the state of the world today, perhaps our ideals of beauty should stem in compassion.
“We are all hurting or readjusting in some way. Spare a thought for others less fortunate”, Dhav suggests.
“Fear and uncertainty do something to people; we are trying to make sense of what is happening but we can’t and that is unnerving and frightening. So when the dust settles (and it will) I truly hope we emerge more accepting, kinder and inclusive”.
Dhav Naidu is Editor-at-Large, with expertise across beauty, fashion and style.