Lupita Nyong’o’s Custom-Molded Breastplate Sends a Strong Message About Body Acceptance

Getty / Kevin Mazur

Lupita Nyong’o introduced a new take on the “naked” fashion trend at the 2023 Tony Awards. The actor wore a silver breastplate cast from a mold of her own body for the June 11 ceremony in New York City. Fashion designer Misha Japanwala created the custom piece, which covered Nyong’o’s entire torso and was completely backless, save for a chain around her neck. With input from celebrity stylist Micaela Erlanger, Nyong’o paired the eye-catching top with black wide-leg trousers and a velvet tuxedo jacket that she tossed over her shoulder while posing confidently on the red carpet. She finished the look with a henna tattoo on her newly shaved head, diamond stud earrings, and a metallic manicure that matched her breastplate.

Nyong’o shared the deeper meaning behind her artistic outfit on Instagram, describing it as a “shameless out-of-body experience” to wear it at the Tonys. “Honored, humbled, strengthened and energized to don this breastplate created by @mishajapanwala, which she cast and molded of my body,” the star wrote. “Misha Japanwala is a Pakistani artist and fashion designer, whose work is rooted in the rejection and deconstruction of external shame attached to one’s body. In her artistic process, she creates a realistic and true record of a person’s body as an act of resistance and celebration, and an insistence on being allowed to exist freely in our bodies.”

“For all the comments criticizing this look and policing a woman about her body – this is why I create the work that I do.”

The revealing look stirred up mixed reactions online, leading Japanwala to defend her work and reiterate the message she’s aiming to spread with her designs. “For all the comments criticizing this look and policing a woman about her body – this is why I create the work that I do and document people’s bodies without changing a thing about them,” she commented on a Vogue magazine Instagram post. “We are rarely allowed the right to simply exist in our bodies and to embrace ourselves as we are, because others have internalized their own shame about their bodies to the point where they choose to say things like this to other people. . . . It meant so much to mold Lupita for this piece and to see her honour/celebrate her body and self in this way. I hope it encourages others to do the same.”

Nyong’o isn’t the first celebrity to turn heads in a high-fashion breastplate look. A few standouts include Zendaya’s pink Tom Ford chest piece at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards, Sydney Sweeney’s LaQuan Smith gown with a plunging metal corset at the 2022 GQ Men of the Year Awards, and Rihanna’s red vinyl breastplate during her 2023 Super Bowl halftime show.

Read ahead to admire Nyong’o’s liberating Tony Awards outfit in all its glory.

Related: 5 Celebrity Looks With Butt Cutouts We Can’t Unsee, From Chlöe to Lizzo

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