‘Take a walk on the wild side’ is the name we aptly gave to our shoot this month – clothes are clashing, patterned and inspired by wildlife and the jungle. But, with hindsight, we missed a trick: we could have gone more fierce. There is a distinct lack of the hot trend of the moment: body art. Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier and Rodarte all plastered their models with paint on the spring catwalks. Rodarte chose to paint their models with dark bold tribal patterns, Gaultier had his models covered with temporary tattoos, most of whom had their name in gothic typeface across their necks, arms and for Iris Strubegger’s case, across her face. But it was the Chanel body art that we remember and embrace as we shed the clothes of the past and replace them with fresh and exciting trends.
Karl Lagerfeld’s creative director of beauty, Peter Philips, gave the illusion of tattoos inspired by blossoms, delicate chain bracelets and pearls by painstakingly hand painting the models. The designs took the place of statement jewellery in the ‘Marie Antoinette-goes-to-the-barn spectacle.’ So, short of actually taking a paintbrush to May, our model, our options were limited.
Chanel now rules the ‘Decalomania’ trend, and seem to have a monopoly on the chic transfer market (Rodarte and Gaultier have not followed suit as far as I’m aware). These really are the coolest transfers around, and are most definitely not your average ‘I Love Mum’ or ‘British Bulldog’ tattoos. And, as this is the first season in ages where jewellery doesn’t seem to be about making a huge statement, and make-up and hair are also fairly laid back: why not stop wasting hours of time applying eyeliner or cocktail rings and embrace something a bit more exciting? Love it or hate it, body art is back (I’m not actually sure if it was even ‘in’, but never mind).
The trend has already caught on with our celebrities. Cast your mind back to the photograph of Daisy Lowe wearing the Christopher Kane black and white chequered skirt, with the thigh split arranged to a great effect to show off her new Cheryl Cole style band around her thigh.
“Why not stop wasting hours of time applying eyeliner or cocktail rings?”
But, take a closer look and you notice the chain design is a lot more elegant than the usual thigh tattoo, and the little interlocking Cs recalled the emblematic codes of Chanel. All well and good, but over the past two days at London Fashion week, full of people sporting the hottest new trends (I’ve seen clogs, I’ve seen summer leather, I’ve seen bum bags), I haven’t seen a single Chanel tattoo, or any other transfer for that matter.
You might point out to me that the Chanels are not released on general sale until March 1st, but these are all industry insiders, most of whom will have all been send a packet or two to test out at the beginning of February. Maybe they know something that we don’t? Hannah Betts from The Telegraph describes the “colossal wastage rate” when trying to apply them, with bits falling off like “dead flies” and a final effect which is “tight, itchy, shiny as a scab, with a rather dubious love bite-type rash developing around it”.
So, I’m in two minds – is this the ultimate fix for label lover? A once in a lifetime chance to actually wear Chanel, by literally branding themselves with interlocking Cs. An extreme form of ‘conspicuous consumption’? Or, is it cool? Has Karl managed to make the tattoo a must-have this season, quirky, tongue-in-cheek, and a refreshing change from jewellery? You decide.