Shakuntala Kulkarni’s cane-sculpted installation echoes a bold message at the Dior show at Paris Fashion Week 2024

When fashion meets art.

Harper's Bazaar India

We are in the midst of that exciting time of the year when the spotlight shines on global fashion capitals—starting with New York and making its way through London and Milan before it's final touchdown, Paris. Day one of Paris Fashion Week was a spectacular extravaganza, kicked off by Dior. The collection paid homage to Marc Bohan, Dior's designer for 28 years. The star-studded front row included A-listers like Jennifer Lawrence, Maisie Williams, Elizabeth Debicki, and Natalie Portman, adding glamour to the already dazzling event.

The current creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, envisioned Bohan's journey and decided to narrate the ready-to-wear collection through a fresh, modern lens. The show unfolded against the backdrop of cane frame sculptures created by Mumbai-based artist, Shakuntala Kulkarni, as a part her series 'Of bodies, armour, and cages'. The installation celebrates the freedom and empowerment. 


In 2010, Kulkarni collaborated with artisans to explore the possibilities of cane processing and developed cane frames meticulously tailored to her body measurements, which ultimately took center stage in her photo performances.

At its core, Kulkarni's cane artwork aims to rediscover the inherent power that a woman embodies, and delves into personal, political, and cultural aspects of feminist liberation. Her pieces encourage one to explore the complexities of feminine subjectivity and examine the body's vulnerability in social and political contexts.

In a Dior video, Kulkarni highlighted concerns like body politics and societal perceptions of the female body. She explained that the cane armour, inspied by armour-clad Indian warriors, serves as a metaphor as it protects and restricts the body. This vision and theme likely resonate with Maria Grazia Chiuri's intentions.

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