London-based makeup artist Daniel Sallstrom describes this story as “fan fiction” inspired by the work of his three creative heroes: the French photographer-artists Pierre Molinier, Serge Lutens, and Irina Ionesco. “The way they made images in the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s was absolutely groundbreaking,” Sallstrom says. “Molinier created incredible collages with hands, legs, and other body parts. Serge has always had a sense of absolute beauty; I remember the first time I saw one of his images, I was like, Who are these amazing women lurking around in black rooms like glamorous ghost creatures? As for Irina, you look at a photo of hers, and it’s a whole story—literally a whole film in one picture.”
For this shoot, Sallstrom and photographer Jordan Hemingway incorporated plenty of stylistic nods to Molinier, Ionesco, and Lutens—faces obscured with lace or covered in white pigment; bodies that resemble fragmented statues; dramatic headdresses, dark sets, and sky-high hair sculptures—but managed to alchemize them into something innovative.
Sallstrom spent his formative years in the late ’90s in Gothenburg, a city on Sweden’s west coast. “The thing about Sweden is that it’s quite a bleak place,” he says. “You barely get any sun in the winter, and then way too much in the summer, when it never goes down. The bleakness caused me to have a love affair with the slightly darker things in life.”
Sallstrom started experimenting with makeup and women’s clothing when he was 13, and the endless performative and transformative options of cosmetics continue to fascinate him. “I used my face as a canvas and became interested in the way you can create characters, tell stories, and manipulate situations with makeup,” he says. “You can make a masculine face into a feminine one, or vice versa. You can turn yourself into a cat, morph into a sexy mistress, or even become an abstract painting.”
You can also move to London at age 19, be discovered by MAC, become one of the most in-demand makeup artists in fashion, and get to work with the likes of Rihanna, Grace Jones, Kanye West, Rick Owens, Alessandro Michele, Naomi Campbell, Dominique Jackson, and Bella Hadid, all before age 36. Sallstrom’s signature style? “I don’t think I really have one,” he says. Trends aren’t his driving force either. “Self-expression is what inspires me most. In these times especially, it’s important to focus on individuality and capture beauty and the positive wherever you can—even in the shadows.”
Celeste wears a Dior dress; stylist’s own headpiece.
Longhurst wears a Chloé dress; Emily-London veil headband; Paula Rowan gloves; Pebble London cuffs; stylist’s own earrings.
Celeste wears stylist’s own gloves.
Celeste wears a Fabiana Filippi dress; Miscreants bodysuit; Sophie Buhai earrings and necklace; stylist’s own hat.
Higuchi wears a Louis Vuitton coat, jacket, shirt, pants, and tie; Chanel earrings.
Manicure by Sylvie Macmillan at MA+Talent. Models: Celeste at Models 1; Harriet Longhurst at Next; Kayako Higuchi at the Society Management. Casting by Michelle Lee at Michelle Lee Casting. Set design by Afra Zamara at Second Name.
Produced by Danson Productions; executive producer: Kerry Danson; photo assistants: Max Glatzhogfer, Sean Morrow, Arthur Vickery, Ana Trindade; retouching: Purple Martin Studio; fashion assistant: Izzi Lewin; production assistant: Brandon Young; hair assistants: Hiro Furukawa, Myuji Sato; makeup assistants: Martina DeRosa, Eddy LIU; manicure assistant: Hayley Evans-Smith; set assistant: Tatyana Rutherston