Sunday, 14 February 2010
New body art - Temporary Tattoo
From The Sunday Times 14.2.2010
New body art: Why fashion is going wild for the temporary tattoo
Transfers, paint, even knitwear — the best thing about the new body art is that it’s temporary. And it won’t hurt a bit
(Jason Lloyd Evans)
Tattoos are back in fashion
Edwina Ings-Chambers Recommend? (1) Even the pop charts are obsessed with it. “You want a temporary tattoo, don’t you?” warble the Sugababes over and over. They may be talking kisses, but the rest of us are talking Chanel, particularly the Chanel temporary tats that were on display at the SS10 catwalk show.
Since then, beauty and fashion mavens have been desperate to get their hands on them, and the waiting list at Selfridges has been off the beauty Richter scale. But the wait is almost over — the transfers go on sale on March 1 at Chanel boutiques and Selfridges London, where a big fashion event is planned to herald their arrival.
Inside a black envelope are 55 tattoos (a bit like the old transfers you used to find in cereal packets, except much, much chicer) depicting pearl bracelets, necklaces, double-C logo earrings and sheafs of wheat, as well as spring blossoms and swallows, all for £49.
“I wanted to play with the Chanel symbols,” explains Peter Philips, the global creative director of make-up. “I placed the tattoos on different parts of the body, in an elegant manner, on the décolleté, the wrists and thighs like a garter.”
Personally, we’re not so keen on rocking the garter look off a catwalk or red carpet — it felt more Cheryl than Chanel — but we are fans of the interlocking Cs, worn as “earrings” on the neck, just behind the earlobe. They last for a couple of days, but if you treat them with care you may well get a week’s worth of loyal service.
Temporary tattoo fever doesn’t stop there. At Rodarte’s SS10 show, they took a slightly different tack, with models boasting Maori-inspired full-sleeve, half-sleeve and neck tattoos that took 40 artists four hours to paint. According to the designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy: “Body art is a huge form of expression. If someone doesn’t want to commit to permanent body art, there are ways of translating the idea through make-up.”
The trend isn’t limited to skin and body painting, and if even make-up seems like going too far, let fashion do it for you. Enter the new knitwear brand Horiyoshi the Third, with everything from jumpers and pullovers to T-shirts, scarves and leggings all covered with tattoo images. The patterns come courtesy of the Yokahama-based Horiyoshi, who is considered to be the last living practitioner of the Japanese art of irezumi (full-body tattoos). The label was started by Steve Suk, himself a dedicated Horiyoshi client, who aimed to bring the master’s “artwork and level of quality” to people other than tattoo fans.
“I wanted to bring a level of the sophistication of this Japanese art and Horiyoshi’s work to clothing, to show it in a different medium,” he says. Also championing the body-art-as-knitwear theme is Sam Pemberton and her label, Secret Circus, which produces cashmere hoodies, jumpers, dresses, scarves and leather jackets featuring tattoo images. Fans include Fergie, Megan Fox and Heidi Klum. “When I saw the spring Chanel show, I realised we also fell into this new category of body art,” Pemberton says. “It’s the feeling of regal meets rock’n’roll.”
• Horiyoshi the Third, at Matches and Browns; horiyoshi-thethird.com. Secret Circus, from £175, from The Library;secretcircusclothing.com
The end of the line
Nothing in fashion has ever been permanent, so the current craze for tattoos is baffling. Almost every starlet from Rihanna to Lily uses their body as a canvas. Peaches Geldof has covered her body in 20 such adorable slogans, but will her love for them last much longer than her marriage?
My own love affair with body art was short-lived. It was 1999. I was travelling in southeast Asia on my gap year, getting my first whiff of independence. I decided I needed a memento to evoke this profound period in my life, and what said grown-up better than an inky black scar on my left biceps?
Back home, as my tan faded, so did my fondness for the tattoo. Gradually, I began to feel ashamed of it — I felt it marked me out as common. I considered getting it erased, but a friend who had tried laser removal still had a raised green sword-shaped mark on her shoulder.
Then I heard about Rejuvi. Created 10 years ago by a scientist in LA, this miracle cream bonds to the ink in a tattoo, drawing it out. Oxford Skin Clinics brought it to the UK two years ago, and have since opened 10 surgeries nationwide, as the demand is so high. “We get everyone from squaddies with big military tattoos to women getting rid of their fashion markings,” says Stuart Harrison, the company’s founder.
I booked a patch test. It hurt like hell. With a tiny needle, the therapist punctured little holes all over my tattoo and swabbed the cream just under the skin. Black scabs started to form as the cream bonded with the ink and the skin started to heal. Pretty it ain’t. As the scab began to disappear, I was dismayed to see my tattoo was as present as ever. “There are no rules as to how long it will take,” the therapist told me. “It depends on how old and how deep it is, the quality of the ink, even the design.”
I have to wait eight weeks between treatments, to allow the skin to heal enough to take another puncturing, and am on my fourth go. It looks patchy, but the skin showing through is unscarred and fresh. “You’ll probably always be able to see where it was,” the therapist warned, “but nobody else will notice it.”
I’m glad it’s not an instant process. Tattoos are a commitment and it should never be too easy to break up.