The Fashion Statement: Body Art
No longer content with rockin' the usual cocktail dress and stilettos on the red carpet, celebrities have turned to body art. Body painting is having a moment at press events, concerts, in magazines and on TV.
A few weeks ago, Ke$ha started tongues wagging about her glow-in-the-dark neon body paint and Native American headdress she wore on Saturday Night Live. Not many were getting the tribal-warrior-in-space thing. Critics complained of sensory overload, noting that the visual mayhem distracted from her mediocre performance (maybe that was the point).
Back in March, British singer Leona Lewis (pictured above) sported an eye patch at Perez Hilton's birthday bash. No doubt just following the dress code for the carnival-themed party, nymag.com poked fun at her for wearing a clown collar and a lace eye patch.
In February Soccer players WAGS (wives and girlfriends in British slang) Sarah Brander, Abbey Clancy, Bethany Dempsey and Melissa Satta were photographed in body paint by Joanne Gair for the Sports Illustrated 2010 swimsuit issue. Gair is the body paint guru having painted models for the swimsuit issue 12 years. Most of you probably know her work from the Demi Moore's Birthday Suit cover for Vanity Fair back in the '90s.
And, of course, what would a Hugh Hefner Playboy party be without nude bunnies running around in painted-on bikinis and corsets? And, last year, a Carnival queen in Sao Paulo grabbed headlines for painting President Barack Obama's face on her left thigh.
Gallery: The Fashion Statement:Body Paint
Same thing with the Maori tribe in New Zealand whose tattoos are among the most distinctive and beautiful in the world. The Maori markings are visually stunning and have caught on in the West. Fashion label Rodarte featured models in black markings not unlike the Maori look.
If ancient body art symbolizes virtues like strength, courage and status, what is our modern-day body art saying? No doubt most of the body art at Hef's house and in swimsuit issues is meant to be provocative, while musicians like Ke$ha probably meant to push buttons and still come across as cool. Lewis looked ridiculous.
All body art is meant to illicit a response. Otherwise, why go to all that effort? So what is the response? What do you think?