The year 2049 is not too far off from now — that’s something I was acutely aware of the entire time I was watching Blade Runner 2049, the sequel to the 1982 original about Harrison Ford being a cop who hunts down rogue outdated androids. The original film was the stuff of neo-noir visual fantasies and the reboot isn’t too far off, still borrowing the same retrofitted aesthetic. Los Angeles, where it takes place, in 2049 is portrayed almost like modern day Hong Kong with stark skyscrapers, blinding electronic billboards and overcrowded, polluted streets. It’s gritty, it’s bleak — it’s the future where for some reason all the architecture becomes super brutalist even though women are still wearing victory rolls in their hair. I mean, you have to suspend your disbelief a bit here.
I’m always curious about where beauty will go in the future. So far, it seems like modifying your appearance in semi-permanent ways will become more and more accessible, which is pretty cool, but with the voracity of a ravenous global beauty market combined with the accelerated rate that all tech keeps getting innovated— frankly, I should be able to have a robot do my makeup every morning by 2021. Then again, according to Back to the Future, we’re supposed to have hover cars by now and I still have trouble connecting with my Uber app, so clearly the margins between innovation and execution leave much to be desired.
I love the original Blade Runner, which inspired countless people to plop on a spiky blonde wig and black eye paint to be Pris for Halloween (and for me, inspire an unfulfilled lust for clear raincoats). I can’t really watch movies now without an eye for the beauty moments, and Blade Runner 2049 had a couple treats. If that future is any indication of where beauty will be in 32 years, here are some lewks to consider:
In 30+ years, bangs will still be a thing.
Between the choppy “girlfriend bangs” on hologram Joi (a problematic concept in and of itself but Ana de Armas’ portrayal of said hologram-girlfriend was actually very soulful) and the sleek forehead curtains on the deadly task-oriented replicant Luv, the dichotomy of bangs in this film was fairly polarizing. Joi, the digital love interest always wore cute Zooey Deschanel-esque fringe, wispy and lash-grazing — romantic, if you will. Luv, whose character appears to be parallel to the original film’s character Rachel, also has strong bangs, kept sleek and blunt… kind of like her. Mariette, the cool-girl street urchin with a peach-colored shag wears messy bangs — a colorful frame over her smudged dark eye makeup.
Bangs! The future of hair is bangs!
Ponytails are apparently timeless.
The gospel according to Regina George may decree that you can only wear your hair up for a very limited number of days a week but ponytails just work, you know? There appear to be no innovations on the ponytail in the future. So simple, so effective. If it ain’t’ broke don’t fix it.
The answer to the gel manicure is soldering.
Honestly, I’m just thrilled that the chrome manicure has just become available as an at-home thing — but with the clever artistry of glass nails, holographic manicures and all things shiny and multi-dimensional… soldering bits of precious metals (or perhaps precious gemstones) on your digits seems like a cool way to upgrade your manicure in an auto body shop.
“Cool girl beauty” will never die.
And still, she persisted. The aesthetic may evolve, but you know it when you see it. Cool girl beauty — kind of like “French girl beauty” but less nationalistic — is the lewk for she who gives no fucks, embellishing herself (cosmetically-speaking) as she sees fit — a reflection of the world around her, but curated in such a way that separates her from the pack as one who defies convention (whatever that may be). It generally boils down to anything with lots of Attitude™.
That said, something about the fact that there will still be Manic Panic in 32 years is very comforting to me.
Women in power apparently still resort to stark androgyny to denote that they are a boss.
Robin Wright is cop boss Lieutenant Joshi who goes by the title “madame” yet sports the most androgynous lewk by far. Ball-busting characters like hers often get portrayed in a very masculine way, which isn’t to say unrealistic, but in 32 years I’d really hope that one of the highest-ranking civil servants would wear, like… a dark lipstick color or something. I mean, with the way gender fluidity and self-expression through makeup is going, something’s got to have evolved in the future. Am I overreaching here? I mean, if Lieutenant Joshi can clearly wear mascara, why not a little Clinique Black Honey (assuming it’s not been discontinued in 2049)?
The environment is fucked.
Not to give away any spoilers, but throughout the film, K (Ryan Gosling) zooms around the greater Los Angeles area in his airborne Prius, to various places that require respiratory-protective gear. It’s mentioned that a great “blackout” bungled up civilization at a certain point in the past and the aftermath left a whole lot of Earth unlivable — as illustrated by an eery firey red skyline. Which makes me really wonder about all those new-fangled skin-care products coming out that claim to protect you against “environmental stressors” and “free radicals.” I really hope somewhere down the line there’s some sort of SPF-equivalent for radioactive rays…
More Future Beauty:
Here’s that at-home chrome mani thing I was talking about: