An “insider” told the British Sun that Beyoncé expressly forbade the altering of her images for the ads:
“When Beyonce found out they had edited the way her body really looked, she hit the roof.
“She’s a true diva and was furious that she had been given such a snubbing. Her people refused to give the pictures the green light so H&M were forced to use the originals.”
H&M responded to the claims:
An H&M spokesman admitted that there had been “discussions” about the photos — and confirmed the final published pictures were not doctored.
He added: “As with all campaigns there are discussions on which images should be used. Both H&M and Beyonce are very happy with the final result.”
This story — which is sketchy due to its foundation in unnamed sources and publication in, well, The Sun — is a great press opportunity for both Beyoncé, who can claim to appear as a perfect specimen of unretouched humanity in the photos, and H&M, which can claim to have not retouched the campaign. So, feel-good vibes for the everywoman’s body confidence all around, basically. But is the claim that the photos were “not doctored” — whatever that means — true? “Bullshit,” one expert retoucher told BuzzFeed Fashion.
Looking at the above image, this retoucher explained: “No one has a perfect, wrinkle-free armpit like that. There isn’t a wrinkle in her lips or the gloss picking up random highlights.” Also, you’ll notice her neck is perfectly devoid of creases or wrinkles, and a slight blurriness where natural under-eye bags would be.
4. In this screen shot from a promotional video of Beyoncé’s campaign, you can see that — lo! — even she has a crease where her shoulder meets her arm.
As perfect and inhuman as she is, even Beyoncé has glimmers of the arm wrinkles that affect the rest of us.
5. Though her shape seems largely free of digital manipulation, it looks like her waist could have been nipped in a tiny bit, while any natural flesh puckering appears to have been smoothed out.
6. See how she has negative muffin top in this photo and the one above?
Everyone’s flesh is going to pucker slightly in a bathing suit. Even the skinniest people’s flesh sort of sticks out when wearing something super tight — and it has nothing to do with being fat! It’s just part of being HUMAN.
8. Here you can see the armhole of this dress causes Beyoncé’s back flesh to pucker a little bit.
9. You can see the same pucker effect here in the tiniest muffin top you’ve ever seen.
Just above Beyoncé’s right hip. Again, this has nothing to do with being fat or Beyoncé being flawed — it’s just a natural part of having human flesh that people have become used to not seeing in still images, thanks to rampant Photoshopping.
12. This campaign was obviously color-corrected.
“Think of it this way,” the retoucher explains, “Blood rushes to hands and feet, making them discolored from the rest of the body. Light often hits a face and then drops off to make the rest of the body appear a different color. Her tones are all really even, with no veins, wrinkles, blemishes, freckles, moles, hair… Unless she is made of STONE, it is impossible it wasn’t retouched in some way.”
Of course, it’s a beautiful campaign — expertly shot and replete with the flattering poses Beyoncé has evidently mastered over her 15 years as a famous person. And of course, the woman is beautiful and essentially perfect, physically, and probably couldn’t look slightly bad if she tried. But this campaign, as it’s been released, has definitely been retouched. It’s great that she insisted on her shape remaining intact, but H&M’s claims about it not being doctored merely perpetuate the unrealistic beauty standards that a lot of people think are ruining young women’s confidence everywhere.