RITUALS

The Mystique of the Gaze

Skincare Rituals for the Delicate Eye Area

From the evocative eyes depicted in paintings of the classical canon, to the incomparable impact of a beautiful gaze in situ, the limitless appeal and power these mirrors to the soul have over each and every one of us is clear. However, alongside such power, there exists a fragility, as well as a need for great care and attention, factors which only add to the eye’s ability to fascinate and beguile.

The vulnerability of the human eye, and the delicate skin which surrounds it, is an endlessly remarkable testament to the wonder of our bodies, and a constant reminder of how important an indulgent approach to eye care can be. Just as the great painters of antiquity spent countless hours perfecting the beauty of the female gaze in minute detail, a commitment to a meticulous routine will ensure our eyes retain their timeless brilliance.

AN ARTISTIC IDEAL OF THE FEMALE GAZE
Portrait by Namsa Leuba as part of the Art Basel in Basel 2019 “Eyes in Focus” exhibition.

To truly comprehend the beguiling power of the female gaze, and to understand the level of care given to the treatment and depiction of the eye area across the centuries, one need only look at the level of detail afforded to this aspect of the face throughout art history.

In the eyes of Mona Lisa, we find the unknowable mystique of feminine expression, suggesting mirth, knowingness, and countless layers of complex emotion. Da Vinci painted this iconic and timeless gaze with a delicacy and mastery of light and shade, demonstrating that when it comes to beautifying the eyes, the lightest of touches is essential. Later centuries brought bolder images of the feminine gaze, in which the impact of the eyes is laid bare in bold lines, juxtaposed against smooth and ethereal skin.

The female gaze continues to play a central role in contemporary art, too, with 21st century artists returning to this theme and exploring its impact across new cultural backdrops.

In 2019, La Prairie commissioned three emerging Swiss artists to create a series of photographs for the exhibition at Art Basel in Basel, inspired by the theme of Eyes in Focus.

Today, as in centuries past, artists have displayed a peerless fascination for the allure of eyes, treating this sensitive aspect of facial beauty with the meticulous care it deserves.

THE FRAGILE WONDER OF EYES

With almost constant miniscule contractions, the eye contour is unendingly mobile, even remaining in motion during the deepest stages of sleep. We rely on these muscular actions for far more than we perhaps realise. Not only do they protect our vision, they relay our moods and the full cavalcade of human emotions. In the slightest movement one way or another, countless unspoken words are spoken via these fast-moving muscles.

This continuous movement in such a fragile contour of the body results in a need for meticulous care and attention. This becomes ever clearer when one considers that, as the part of the body most exposed to the elements, the eyes are disproportionately aggressed by the outside world. UV rays, pollutants in the air, and the harm caused by screens are just a small handful of examples of factors with potentially damaging effects for the eye contour, each exacerbated by the very nature of contemporary living. Indeed, the environmental stressors of modern life have heightened the importance of protecting the eye contour, putting rejuvenating eye care evermore at the center of our beauty regimes.

Before the advent of modern science uncovered so many truths about our eyes, our skin, and how best to care for them, it was well known how this most delicate aspect of the face required the most specific attention and treatment. Research about ancient civilizations and cultures offers no shortage of beauty rituals concerning the eyes, including hydrating ointments, designed to combat dryness in the skin surrounding the eyes and to heighten their potential for expressiveness and youthfulness. We may know far more today of the science of eyecare, and how and why the fine skin around the eyes requires heightened support. However, the need and desire to nourish the eye contour, both day and night with precious and enriching ingredients, remains as timeless and essential as ever.

UNDER A NEW LIGHT, THE EYE IS MADE EXTRAORDINARY
White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire

La Prairie opens a new chapter in the Science of Light to address the place of shape in a world of light. Shape and its influence on how light interacts with the planes of the face – and in particular the graceful curve of the brow, the contour of the lid, the mystery of the lashline – is the defining element of the eye’s architecture.

The scientists at La Prairie sought to explore how light reveals shape and how shape reveals light – particularly in the three-dimensional landscape of the eye area. The result of their findings is White Caviar Eye Extraordinaire.

Enriched with Lumidose and golden caviar extract, this luxurious cream, inspired by the principles of architecture, addresses all chromatic disturbances while firming the skin, bringing an extraordinary luminosity to the eye.