The painted limestone bust of Queen Neferneferuaten Nefertiti is one of the most copied works of ancient Egyptian art. Made almost 2,500 years ago, the sculpture, with its neatly arched brows, high cheekbones, and red lips, is seen as an icon of beauty (the name Nefertiti means “the beautiful one has come forth”). It attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year to Berlin’s Neues Museum, where it is housed. The bust of the Egyptian queen has also inspired runway shows, makeup collections, and even tattoos over the years. Here we look at five of the most unforgettable beauty moments inspired by the legendary Nefertiti.
Dior Spring 2004 Couture
John Galliano’s Dior couture show was inspired by an aerial tour (via hot air balloon) of Cairo, Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and Aswan during one of his trips to Egypt. The British designer, who is known to draw inspiration from ethnic influences, transformed models including Erin O’Connor, Somalian-born Yasmin Warsame, and Karolína Kurková into Egyptian queens. The show kicked off with O’Connor wearing a Nefertiti cap crown and an elongated postiche goatee to bring the ancient queen to life.
Christian Louboutin Beauty Lipstick Campaign
Christian Louboutin debuted its first lipstick collection in 2015. Inspired by Nefertiti, the campaign featured Vogue Arabia cover star Farida Khelfa (and Christian Louboutin’s longtime friend and muse) posing as the queen’s famous bust, wearing a beige cap crown, a swipe of crimson lipstick, and the objet d’art lipsticks as a necklace.
Beyoncé’s Braids in her “Sorry” Video
In the short film released with Beyoncé’s album Lemonade, the performer took on several different personas. There was a femme fatale, a high priestess, and an Egyptian queen. For the “Sorry” video, Beyoncé’s hair was twisted into braids, which were then stacked on top of each other to resemble a Nefertiti-inspired crown. The look was created by the singer’s longtime hair guru and Pantene celebrity hairstylist, Kim Kimble, and took four hours to create.
Azzedine Alaïa Fall 2017 Couture
Azzedine Alaïa made his runway return following a six-year hiatus with his Fall 2017 couture collection. The Tunisian couturier sent out a lineup of models – including show opener and closer Naomi Campbell, as well as Karlie Kloss and Blanca Padilla – with their towering updos wrapped in black plastic turbans that evoked the cap crown worn by Nefertiti. The look was created by legendary hairstylist Julien d’Ys, and was similar to the shrink-wrapped headpiece he would later dream up for Céline Dion.
Michael Jackson’s “Remember the Time” Video
Iman’s uncanny resemblance to the Nefertiti bust made her the perfect person to portray the ancient queen in Jackson’s epic nine-minute video for “Remember the Time.” The Somali beauty is stunning throughout the now-classic Egypt-inspired clip.