lit sage, we took our time, cleansed the room. We talked about some really powerful, spiritual things ... ” J Colby Smith starts. You 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 Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie HuntingtonWhiteley, and every notable fashion editor you can think of (his business increases about 40 percent in the weeks leading up to New York fashion week), Smith has become the piercing oracle for those seeking style nirvana.
Although not all sessions are as spiritually inclined, Smith suggests the appeal of the process lies in its inherent holistic nature as much as its aesthetics. “In our culture, we’re never in the moment,” he explains. “[Piercing] forces you to be 100 percent 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 designers and the style elite are now adorning themselves amid this new wave of statement piercings.
Once reserved for societal fringe dwellers, reaching peak punk during the ’70s and ’80s as a signifier of subversion, piercing is now enjoying a renaissance of a less explicit kind.
Championed by the likes of Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, as well as style leaders Kate Moss, FKA Twigs, Catherine McNeil, Daria Werbowy, and Rihanna, previously outré styles such as septum rings are now at the forefront of the fashion conversation.
Further talking points may be gleaned from Autumn/Winter ’16—
Alexander McQueen Autumn/ Winter ’16