Moulding The Unapologetic Feminine – Sculpted By Schiaparelli, Misha Japanwala & Shilo Shiv Suleman

  • 22 Aug '22
  • 2:12 pm by Urvi Kothari

Every few seasons, we notice a point where fashion and art meet at an inescapable juncture. Art history shows that quite often the female body is carved through “the male gaze”. Defying this stereotypical objectification of the feminine has been an active pursuit of contemporary arts. Strong voices on an international as well as South Asian level have leveraged their crafts to reposition the “physical female body” with a contemporary twist. This is an attempt to liberate the notion of a feminine body sans pre-defined frills and fancies. In times like today when the gender binaries are still being re-examined, three aestheticians come together to introduce new cultural meanings of the feminine anatomy.

Schiaparelli, Spring – Summer Collection (2021), Gold metallic resin; Image courtesy of Schiaparelli

Exploring the Human Form – Figural bijoux by Maison Schiaparelli:

In this endeavour of celebrating the feminine, the collection that demands an accreditation is Maison Schiaparelli’s Spring-Summer 21 prêt-à-porter titled ‘Elements of Desire’. Curated under the artistic direction of Daniel Roseberry, Elements of Desire is an exquisite collection of jewellery with a surreal and fantastical twist. An homage to the surreal legend Salvador Dalí and his relationship with Elsa Schiaparelli, the figural bijoux exaggerates the true feminine – bold and beautiful. Gilded in gold, the collection is eclectic and flamboyant over spectacular pieces – nipple buttons, lower face masks, breast corsets, nose earrings, pouted lips and many more. The artistry has a hidden fantasy; not that of princess dresses and polite garments but channelize the fantasy “within”. They are tailored to encourage a childlike, un-neurotic exploration of the human form.

Misha Japanwala, دھند dhund (translation: fog; 2022), Resin Image courtesy of Hannah Traore Gallery & the artist

Moulding the Unapologetic – Sculptural Garments by Misha Japanwala:

Pakistani origin and New York based designer-artist, Misha Japanwala fuses fashion and fine art in her indulgent and rebellious celebration of the female form. Her artistic oeuvre specialises in female body castings as palimpsests to study, critique and comment on the violence and judgement inflicted upon women and their bodies. As a woman of colour and an immigrant, Japanwala’s debut collection, “Azaadi”, was a heartfelt homage to Pakistani women in the face of domestic violence, social taboo and cultural injustice. Her artistry moulds the feminine – scarred but empowered, silenced but courageous, vulnerable but gallant, fragile but outspoken. Her body casts, worn as sculptural garments blur the lines between art and fashion, clothing and nudity, freedom and censorship. As unfiltered as it can get, her intimate castings beautifully capture the essence of the female body – the beautiful textured skin, the graceful curves, and diverse shapes. It celebrates the unapologetic woman!

Shilo Shiv Suleman, Picking up the pieces of myself (2020), Brass wearable sculptures; Image courtesy of Art Musings & the artist

Reincarnating the Soul – Brass Sculptures by Shilo Shiv Suleman:

Indian artist, Shilo Shiv Suleman reincarnates the feminine spirit as she weaves together the sensual and the sacred, the past and the future, the magical and the real. Her brass wearable sculptures re-narrate the embodiment of female sensuality of pre-colonial India, whilst deeply rooted to ceremony, ritual and earth magic. In this sculpture series, “Picking up the pieces of myself”, Suleman embodies myth. Casting pieces of herself in brass inspired by temple sculptures, she places them back onto herself as a metaphor for how we break and bring ourselves back together. Subverting the male gaze, her art encourages the beholder to gaze inwards and be seen by ones self. Her armours reincarnate the feminine soul – a reestablishment of dharma, righteousness, destruction of evil and protection of the good.

Misha Japanwala, Installation of Body Castings; Image courtesy of Misha Japanwala

These three artistic practices question the role of the female body and narratives that consume it. The art explores the intimate power of the female body, beyond the so-called colonist beauty standards. This crossing of art and fashion has redefined the female anatomy – bold, beautiful, unapologetic and empowered. Join us in this radical celebration of the female body!