Fash­ion’s sleeper trend of care­fully cu­rated pierc­ings may have sur­pris­ing well­ness ben­e­fits, says DI­VYA BALA

Harper’s Bazaar (Australia) - - Contents -

The ben­e­fits of pierc­ings.

Ilit sage, we took our time, cleansed the room. We talked about some re­ally pow­er­ful, spir­i­tual things and then … ” J. Colby Smith could be for­given for think­ing that the cel­e­brated piercer from cult par­lour New York Adorned was re­call­ing some kind of sa­cred cer­e­mony. In fact, he is sim­ply de­scrib­ing one of his more poignant pierc­ing ses­sions with a client, an ap­point­ment that has be­come some­thing of a rit­ual ini­ti­a­tion of the city’s style elite.

With a client list that in­cludes the likes of Scar­lett Jo­hans­son, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Hunt­ing­tonwhite­ley and ev­ery no­table fash­ion ed­i­tor you can think of (his busi­ness in­creases about 40 per cent in the weeks lead­ing up to New York fash­ion week), Smith has be­come the pierc­ing or­a­cle for those seek­ing style nir­vana.

Though not all ses­sions are as spir­i­tu­ally in­clined as the afore­men­tioned, Smith sug­gests the ap­peal of the process lies in its in­her­ent holis­tic na­ture as much as its aes­thet­ics.“in our cul­ture, we’re in the past and the fu­ture all the time, but we’re never in the mo­ment,” he ex­plains. “[Pierc­ing] forces you to be 100 per cent present. It can be very ground­ing — you can learn a lot about your­self through be­ing un­der that kind of pres­sure.” Pos­si­ble re­me­dial pow­ers aside, there is no deny­ing that an in­creas­ing num­ber of de­sign­ers and the style elite are adorn­ing them­selves amid this new wave of state­ment pierc­ings.

Once re­served for so­ci­etal fringed­wellers, reach­ing peak punk dur­ing the ’70s and ’80s as a sig­ni­fier of sub­ver­sion, pierc­ing is now en­joy­ing a re­nais­sance of a sub­tler, less ex­plicit kind. Th­ese are pre­cious me­tals; opals; a cascade of half­carat di­a­monds down the ear; dots of ru­bies and sap­phires in in­tri­cate pro­por­tion, in­ter­min­gling with su­per-fine, lay­ered chains — some with price tags to match that of a small car.

Cham­pi­oned by the likes of Ric­cardo Tisci at Givenchy (see: the al­most ag­gres­sive nose rings and door­knocker ear­rings that ac­com­pa­nied his S/S 2012 cou­ture, A/W 2015 and A/W 2012 menswear shows) as well as style lead­ers Kate Moss, FKA Twigs, Cather­ine Mcneil, Daria Wer­bowy and Ri­hanna, pre­vi­ously outré styles such as sep­tum rings or mul­ti­ple ear-pierc­ings are now very much at the fore­front of the fash­ion con­ver­sa­tion.

Fur­ther talk­ing points may be gleaned from the A/W 2016 sea­son — labret hoops at Dion Lee, sep­tum rings at Ri­hanna’s Fenty x Puma show, belly­but­ton

Bpierc­ings on proud dis­play at DKNY and sculp­tural cuffs dec­o­rat­ing ears at Alexander Mcqueen. Bri­tish de­signer Ash­ley Wil­liams’s fix­a­tion was re­alised through ball-clo­sure but­ton trims and car­toon­ish pierced-ear prints, and Julien Macdon­ald put mod­els’ pierc­ings on dis­play. Off the run­way, Aus­tralian model Ol­lie Hen­der­son ex­plains the ra­tio­nale be­hind her pierc­ings:“orig­i­nally, it was an act of re­bel­ a model, you don’t have the op­por­tu­nity to change your ap­pear­ance, so pierc­ing was a chance to re­claim my body with­out af­fect­ing my ca­reer.” For Smith, ex­press­ing per­sonal style through pierc­ings that blend seam­lessly with one’s life­style is of ut­most im­por­tance. “It’s ex­pen­sive and semi-per­ma­nent, so I want it to make sense whether you’re at the gym or a fancy event,” he says.“it needs to be el­e­gant enough to look good with any­thing.” But to those with Pin­ter­est-found im­agery of art­fully cu­rated lobes, hop­ing to recre­ate the look ex­actly — a word of warn­ing: “Start small with one or two. You’ll have some ups and downs over the months of heal­ing,” Smith says.“it de­vel­ops or­gan­i­cally.the idea starts out one way but the end re­sult is com­pletely dif­fer­ent, be­cause as hu­mans we are al­ways chang­ing and evolv­ing.” Also im­por­tant to note are the po­ten­tial acupunc­tural ef­fects of a pierc­ing. Syd­ney-based acupunc­tur­ist Rodd Sanchez ex­plains: “When you place metal into the body, you are con­duct­ing a charge of elec­tri­cal im­pulses. Ini­tially, when you do get [pierc­ings] done, you will get a rush of those en­dor­phins and neo-trans­mit­ters in the brain.” Sug­gest­ing a con­sul­ta­tion with an auric­u­lar spe­cial­ist for those with health con­cerns, he notes the pos­si­ble ef­fects of cer­tain place­ments. “We use fil­ters, light and colour to seek out the points that will be most stim­u­lated. Us­ing dif­fer­ent me­tals will get you dif­fer­ent re­sults — you might find that us­ing gold will be more nour­ish­ing and clar­i­fy­ing while us­ing stain­less steel will be more calm­ing and re­duc­ing, for ex­am­ple.” Does Smith be­lieve the prac­tice of pierc­ing has cu­ra­tive ben­e­fits? “I don’t know if it does or if it doesn’t — but I be­lieve in the power of the brain,” he says. “I just want the whole thing, from start to fin­ish, to be this beau­ti­ful process. Pierc­ings re­ally do stay with peo­ple, so I’d just like to take that ex­pe­ri­ence and take it to a whole new level. It can be heal­ing in such a weird way.”

From top: Del­fina Delet­trez ear­ring, $822, and ear cuff, $2434, from Above left: Mo­ciun ear­rings, $990, mo­

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