Allure

Fresh Ink. The art on our bodies

BUTTERFLIE­S AND BARBED-WIRE ARMBANDS WERE THE HEIGHT OF FASHION IN THE EARLY ‘90S. NOW, TATTOOS ARE A FORM OF FINE ART.

- Photograph­ed by Hannah K hy my ch

1993

Sleeves of temporary tattoos on Jean Paul Gaultier’s runway helped inspire one of the ’90s’ most controvers­ial tattoo trends: so-called tribal tattoos that are permanent records of cultural appropriat­ion.

1997

“It’s illegal to get a tattoo? I mean, come on,” one local tells

The New York Times. Then, finally, the city’s nearly 40-year tattoo ban (blame a 1961 hepatitis B outbreak) is lifted.

1999

Cher gets a laser procedure to remove all of her 16 tattoos. “I had my first tattoo at 27, and at that time it was a statement,” she says. “Now, just about everyone has one, and it’s boring.”

Early 2000s

Fairies and butterflie­s grace the lower backs of Gen X, framed by lowrise jeans and midriffbar­ing tops.

2005

The drama! Five tattoo artists open shop (and fight and draw impressive tatts) on TLC’s Miami Ink, a reality show that brings tattoos further into the mainstream.

Early 2010s

Tattoos peek out past shirt lines and tees, on necks, fingers, and wrists. “I started tattooing physicians and lawyers,” says Faith Phillips, a tattoo artist in Los Angeles. (Within a few years, nearly 40 percent of millennial­s have at least one tattoo, according to a

Pew Research poll.)

2012

Dolphins disappear from ankles across the country when the PicoSure laser is FDA-approved. It’s more efficient

2013

The celebrity tattoo artist is born when Brian Woo, better known as

Dr. Woo, captivates Hollywood with his delicate black-and-gray designs. With Zoë Kravitz and Justin Bieber as devotees, word is that Woo has a two-year wait list.

2014

Temporary tattoos are all grown up: Flash Tattoos— geometric bands, wings, and arrows in gold, silver, and bronze—sweep the Hamptons and Coachella.

2015

Tattoo artist Scott Campbell inks highly trusting fans gratis (his usual rate: reportedly a grand an hour). All you have to do is stick your arm through a hole in a wall and—surprise!— get a tattoo of Campbell’s choosing.

2020

Insta-famous tattoo artists (Tea Leigh, Jess Chen) create designs for temporary tattoo companies like

Tattly. The pandemic temporaril­y closes many shops. When they do reopen in the summer, Allure reports the demand for body art isn’t slowing down.

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