Breasts -and their sexualisation- continue to be quite a hot topic, whether people are trying to #freethenipple on Instagram or #normalizebreastfeeding on Twitter. For her Spring Summer 2016 collection titled ‘Breasts of Desire’ and its accompanying lookbook, Celeste Arendse, the designer behind fashion label SELFI, references artists Henry Matisse and Pablo Picasso. She dissects how those artists portrayed women’s bodies in their art.
“Women’s bodies were perceived as a subject of beauty as opposed to pornography, as is common in western society today. Traditionally in African tribes women’s breasts are exposed and not sexualised, therefore the environment where the naked body is placed and what makes it socially acceptable was also explored. We are constantly being fed pornographic imagery of women’s bodies by mainstream media and the internet, where we have the power to change this. Our bodies are works of art, this collection is to remind us of that,” says Celeste.
What can we say? We’re into this direction. Whilst we have nothing against perving over a hot bod, and are certainly in no position to be telling women how to present their bodies – enough of that from people with penises – this lookbook is a refreshing reminder that the beauty of the body can be appreciated without being sexualised. And there are just not enough yasssssses in the world for that message.
Photography and Art Direction by Celeste Arendse
Text by Malibongwe Tyilo