SARA, SMILE

“If I was a thing, I would definitely be a crystal or rainbow” – Sara Shakeel

Sara Shakeel

Who doesn’t love a bit or sparkle and a colour spectrum? Digital artist and Instagram-sensation Sara Shakeel has become a global phenomenon creating collages festooned with glittering crystals and a kaleidoscope of rainbows.

We know we love sparkle at Bally where our holiday gift offerings are chock full of gifts that glimmer. Looking at Shakeel’s work sparked an idea to add even more glimmer and glitter. Bally’s vast photo archive, amassed over 167 years, had its share of photos that could use the shiny touch a la Shakeel and thus a special collaboration was born.

Sara Shakeel

No stranger to sparkle nor Bally, Shakeel was game too. “I remember my father had special shoes he warned us not to touch, a pair brogue-style dress (Bruck) shoes” said the artist “I have this memory of how special Bally is.” She narrowed the photos down to six and got to work. “The first thing I did was look at the photo and then imagine myself at that time.” And then in keeping with the holiday theme, gave them a crystal once-over.

The art became cathartic and with each new image, Shakeel’s mood and notoriety improved. Many pieces reflect her personal triumphs and struggles such as a personal favourite, a carton of McDonald’s fries which have been covered in crystals. Her work has earned her a nomination at this year’s Glamour Awards in Milan on 6th December.

Sara Shakeel

The images ranges from groovy early 1970’s models wearing Bally clothes and shoes to Bally store windows circa mid-1950’s in Switzerland. The black and white images have been given a cheerful dusting of crystal motifs covering the model’s clothes, store window offerings and even a gaggle of shoppers experiencing the windows in Zurich. Bally social media channels will launch the images as part of a campaign beginning on 6th December.

Becoming an artist collected and admired by the likes of Coco Rocha and Sarah Jessica Parker was unorthodox to say the least. After Shakeel spent an ill-fated attempt to become a dentist as per her parent’s wishes, she found herself at 27, with an extra 40 pounds and no career when she began to tinker with her notebook and stylus to pass the time while her laptop was broken. “I was in a dark place when I made my first piece of art” says Shakeel who created a crystal screen vintage tv set against bubble wrap and floating crystalised capsule pills somewhat accidentally. She posted the result on Instagram and got 23 likes which boosted her confidence.

The art became cathartic and with each new image, Shakeel’s mood and notoriety improved. An image of crystal lipsticks put her on the map so to speak (as well as led to many a beauty campaign commission) and her career began to take off. Many pieces reflect her personal triumphs and struggles such as a personal favourite, a carton of McDonald’s fries which have been covered in crystals. Her work has earned her a nomination at this year’s Glamour Awards in Milan on December 6th, quite serendipitous for the Bally campaign.

Shakeel’s emotion goes into each piece of brilliant artwork.
And at Bally, the power to bling is a mutual feeling.