Makeup has forever been considered as an art of self-expression amongst humans. The history of cosmetics, in fact, spans at least 7,000 years, and cosmetic body art is argued to have been the earliest form of ritual in human culture. From the 1st Dynasty of Egypt to the roman empire and beyond, makeup has been used as a symbol of beauty, wealth, power, courage, control, beliefs, and identity.
Then with the onset of monarchies and dynasties came fashion styling, the evolution of which goes back to 1772 when Rose Bertin styled Queen Marie Antoinette. Since then, stylists have become increasingly influential in shaping fashion imagery.
Together over time, makeup artists and fashion stylists have moved from the backstage players to the frontstage of fashion today, becoming celebrated for their creative work as image-makers for magazines, advertising, and fashion designers.
Featuring five such budding individuals, this month’s Student Talent is a mind-blowing mix of eccentric makeup artists to a visionary filmmaker and an unconventional fashion stylist.
Subiksha Shivakumar | @subhikshashivakumar
Subiksha Shivakumar is a multidisciplinary creative who works across several domains. An alumna of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Bengaluru, Subiksha’s interest in fashion and styling propelled her modeling career, which began with simple DIY shoots for college seniors. Ever since, she has expanded her portfolio and grown to work for prominent brands like Coca-Cola, Raw Mango, Manish Malhotra, etc.
“Editorial (magazine) shoots are where I really got interested in fashion styling and makeup. All the funky pairings and layering of clothes amused me, and I learned how to do my make-up on set. Today I have my own Instagram profile where I explore new make-up looks and style myself, hoping to inspire other people as well.”Her advice to others who want to get into the glamorous world of make-up and styling is one that breaks away from the myth of using expensive products to achieve the desired results.
“One can just run to the nearby department store and create a cute look under Rs. 2000 – this makes it a lot less scary for people to start using makeup. And when one really wants to take it up as a serious profession, that’s where time and research come in. One has to invest a lot of time and money to figure out what product works best for one’s skin and body,” she says.
NIRRHITI | @nirrhiti
Some talents simply leave you awestruck by the sheer level of exuberance that is being displayed – Nirrhiti is one such example of sheer brilliance. A source of inspiration for the youth of his generation, his tribal Asian concepts fused with goth and a hint of androgyny has certainly caused a rage amongst his peers, in the world of makeup artistry.
Due to having a birth defect called Ankyloglossia, which restricts the tongue’s motion, Nirrhiti learned to speak at a much later stage in his life and with this found solace in communicating via art. He also believes in not taking people’s reactions to one’s appearance personally and imagines them to be spectators.“Our faces are the core aspects of our identity, and by simply painting it, we could transform ourselves into so much more – it’s empowering. A mere brush stroke on your face feels like interaction with your self-perception and existence in the grand scheme of being. People have mixed reactions to my looks. Some like it, some find it odd. But whatever they feel, they all form an opinion without me saying a single word. And that’s the power of what I do with my makeup,” he says.
GLAMALLURE by Mallika Pandey | @glamallurebymolly
Who knew that the love for wearing her mother’s makeup secretly from her vanity would one day transform into an avant-garde and experimental journey of self-expression and the creation of Glamallure by Mallika Pandey, a budding makeup artist.As an artist always on the lookout for new ideas, Mallika draws her inspiration from everyday things and incidents around her. “Although make-up has been a passion of mine, the ‘boys locker room’ incident really moved me. I wanted to speak up and convey a message through my make-up to let women know that they are enough and don’t have to change themselves for others,” she says.
Having a design background makes her look at everything from a creative lens. Being part of the widely acclaimed ‘expression tribe’ on Instagram and having been featured in an article on Homegrown – Mallika has been on her rising and thriving despite the cons of the pandemic.
“I love a good challenge! When I used to finish shooting my looks and would sit down to select which picture needs to be uploaded, there was a sense of satisfaction like no other. Nothing in the world can replace that feeling of accomplishment. The end result of it all has kept me going,” concluded Mallika.
HIYA PAL | @hiya_pal
When the passion for grace and grandeur defined in historical India crosses path with the design aesthetics of a fashion student – you know it’s a match for success. Hiya Pal’s Instagram styling feed is all that and more.
It all started with an assignment. “I never explored the styling aspect of a fashion design major until the third year of college. During a styling submission in the 5th semester, our brief was pretty open, and I could freely explore challenging ideas. I wanted to do something very artsy and came up with some styling concepts based on history with my friends,” she remembers.
Hiya’s biggest inspiration is Maharani Gayatri Devi. She has always admired the elegance and grace she portrayed through her simple yet stunning saree drapes, which Hiya took forward in her first few shoots including a recreation of Maharani Gayatri Devi’s iconic look.Somewhere between the royal historical past and modern-day minimalism – Hiya’s Instagram feed is a feast for eyes searching for a penchant for the vintage. She makes it a point to make jewelry an essential element of most of her shoots and tries to make things look as royal as possible.
Producing some of her best work in 2020, the pandemic and its restrictions did not deter Hiya’s urge to create. Using the gorgeous landscapes in her hometown as backdrops, she says, “The place where I live used to be a Portuguese town once upon a time and has beautiful vintage buildings everywhere. So I would just plan something and style a friend or a family member and go out and shoot with proper precautions during the lockdown.”
Dwaipayan Dhawa | @dhawadwaipayan
Necessity has been the mother of all inventions, and curiosity has cradled art for as long as the mind has known. Dwaipayan Dhawa, a visual storyteller in the making, loves to take on challenges by creating visual stories based on simple emotions yet moving theatrical presentations.
“I grew up watching a lot of movies and being from a Bengali family, I got familiar with iconic names such as Satyajit Ray at a very early age. One of his first movies that I watched was Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayne, part fantasy and a part adventure film. It really did stir something in me and ever since has been a source of inspiration for me to create visuals,” tells Dhawa.Lyrical and seeped in emotion, watching his frames is like waltzing between art and magnificence. He believes color complements every element in a frame, and hence for his art direction, Dhawa chooses complementary colors and gives preference to color correcting in the post-production of his storylines, to set the mood and tone right.
Written by Madhumitha Jain | Cover photo & artworks by Sarthak Grover