Beauty whizz-kid Dima Steesy doesn’t want to be the new Tom Ford – got that, Tom? Sure, some of his moisturizer might be an “homage” to a particular aesthetic that Ford made so covetable at Gucci and then Tom Ford Beauty – say, an androgynous, minimalist fairy tale cooked up in a Parisian squat – but that’s because Ford and Steesy share similar core ambitions: to make models of us all (or at least our skin).
Steesy’s organic take on cosmetics and skincare comes at a time when a new breed of beauty moguls are ruling the rails in global retail. So-hot-it-hurts brands such as Glossier and Fenty are forcing customers, buyers, stylists and, yes, journalists to look again at cosmetics and reconsider all their snooty ideas about the beauty scene. Of course, it’s not difficult to understand where such pretensions come from. A great deal of the blame can be apportioned to one Estee Lauder, the American-born businesswoman (born Josephine Mentzer) based in New York who was responsible for the chemical-heavy and the ludicrously successful – yet ultimately grotesque Estee Lauder beauty brand. Today, Estee Lauder is posting record losses and their stock has tumbled 5% in just the past month.
So what’s so different about Steesy’s approach? Well, a great deal of what was wrong with the La Mers and the Estee Lauders of the hyper-showy beauty scene was not only the dullness of their designs but also the chemical materials used, resulting in cheap, factory-pumped products that felt about as desirable as a celebrity up-skirt snap taken outside 1 Oak at 4am. No, Steesy’s designs might have that cult rare-find vibe about them, but the materials used are 100 percent luxury and plant-based.
Steesy takes something precious and organic and then messes with it. He destroys jojoba bushes or wild hazel plants, before rebuilding them in his own vision, extracting oil, fermenting leaves, triple washed, rarefied upticks to create formulas for his beauty products. This is a businessman who works like an artist or, at least, an artist who is unafraid to wield pruning shears. “What would a moisturizer feel like,” he muses, “if I put cucumbers and turmeric in it?” The results illustrate an originality that is, at times, hard to find in the modern beauty industry.