The Tattoo-as-Jewelry Phenomenon: How To Master the New Metallic Body Art
Last week, I complimented a coworker on her stack of gleaming, solid gold statement rings—only to learn that they were actually a set of gilded temporary tattoos. The metallic wrap-around strips looked remarkably real, offering all the visual impact of a set of slim Saint Laurent 24K-plated bands or a bold Repossi Cage piece.
Decorative gold and silver body jewelry—in the form of stenciled-on delicate chain bracelets, laurel necklaces, and festival-ready feathers that seem to float across the skin—has become a beauty-and-fashion phenomenon in recent months, turning up on everyone from Alessandra Ambrosio and Carolina Herrera de Báez to Aerin Lauder. Around the Vogue offices, press-on pieces from Flash Tattoos and Lulu DK, which transfer onto the skin with a bit of water and take about ten minutes to set, have become something of a full-blown obsession, too.
Vogue Beauty Director Sarah Brown has experimented with everything from a pair of Hermès-like bangles on her wrist to a few tiny arrows on one knuckle, while Vogue.com Fashion News Editor Alessandra Codinha recently wore a few simple, individual rings to dinner at North Fork Table & Inn and, later, for a dip in the nearby lake. Channeling the breezy spirit of the summer months, Associate Accessories Editor Grace Fuller and Market Editor Cynthia Smith went with a single peacock feather in silver and gold, respectively, along the back of one hand—which both women swear made the perfect complement to their bronze skin. If you’re planning to attempt the look, Vogue.com Senior Fashion Editor Jorden Bickhamsuggests picking the tattoo that works best with your personal style of jewelry, then layering it with a few of your favorite real life pieces. Think one delicate faux cuff peeking out from between a stack of Balenciaga Le Dix bracelets or sitting quietly alongside an oversize Cartier Tank watch. The idea, she says, “is that it becomes an illusion—the kind of thing where people have to ask, ‘is that your jewelry or is that a tattoo?’”
Even the most substantial of the designs will fade within four to six days—which somehow only adds to their easygoing ephemeral appeal. Because what’s more precious than jewelry that flashes and fades with the moment?