Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Where Individuality is Lost

In a time where many feel individuality is losing out to the predominance of the high street, tattoos are losing the social stigma once connected to them and are seemingly helping to fuel the return to self-expression. Recent years have seen a considerable resurgence in the popularity of tattooing, a development that some have dismissed as a fashionable trend as well as a permanent sign of conformity.  At the beginning of the recent tattooing revolution getting a tattoo was a clear sign of deviation, today however the relative permanence of such forms of body modification resists against their full absorption into the fashion system. While some regard their tattoos as decorative accessories, for others tattoos are employed by some as a form of anti-fashion and as a way of fixing or anchoring the involuntarily constructed self.

This year Chanel will be unveiling a set of non-permanent tattoos, as seen on its spring/summer 2010 catwalk, this March.   The highly decorative body art pieces - created by Chanel's global creative director of make-up, Peter Philips - features strings of twisted pearls, elegant chains, wild flowers, beads and bangles with the iconic Chanel logo.

The current appetite for temporary tattoos as an adornment to an outfit- from the cute childhood ink transfers to more elaborate unique designs applied by make-up artists is being viewed as an adjunct to traditional makeup.  The offering of branding and a way for people to define themselves is a method for couture brands to offer the consumer the ability to own the brand as opposed to a bag or a pair of shoes, which can be so passe the following season. This way Chanel, Lanvin, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton will always be in vogue.  It is perhaps ironic that even the most permanent forms of display can eventually become disposable when it becomes truly appropriated by fashion.

Of course the story of make up rewriting the rules for tattoos in fashion is nothing new, faceCulture has already featured it,  but thought it would be worth revisiting the fashion story that illustrated the pages of Vogue Italy back in 2008 Shot by Steven Meisel, it featured model Meghan Collinson totally covered in tattoos, in an Amy Winehouse meets Gustav Klimt scenario.  The images became so iconic that they also made their way into a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Fantastic.


Almost as memorable is the video campaign of Gisele Bundchen sporting an all over the body tattoo for her very own brand Ipanema sandals.

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