Lorde Was Ahead Of New York Fashion Week’s Finger Art Trend

Lorde at the Grammys and models from Creatures of Comfort and Adam Selman’s NYFW runway shows.
Photos: Getty Images

When Lorde hit the stage at this year’s Grammy Awards, instead of grabbing our attention with a glittery thong or an elaborate set, the 17-year-old New Zealand export appealed to our digital tastes with her dark, dripping, dip-dyed finger art. We’d spotted similar styles on Michele Lamy, the eclectic wife, muse, and creative mind behind Rick Owens, and at Mara Hoffman’s F/W 2011 presentation, but now it seems like this alternative form of nail art is turning into a full-blown trend.

It’s only the second day of New York Fashion Week, but we’ve already caught painted fingers on the runways of designers like Creatures of Comfort and Adam Selman. CofC mirrored Lorde’s Grammy nails by bronzing their models’ fingers from tip to joint. Selman went with a cleaner, more graphic style, adding tattooed black bands on all five fingers, like a string of permanent midi-rings. But, lest you be deceived (and as is usually the case with almost any trend), in fashion, everything old is new again—and finger art is no exception.

A close-up of finger art at Adam Selman.
Photo: @teenvogue’s Instagram

OK, boys and girls. Take out your skin-art history books and turn to page 37. JK! You won’t be tested on this. But it is worth noting that digit decorating has had several earlier incarnations. Stemming from, like, a billion years ago, henna (which is the name of the flowering plant and the dye prepared from the plant) has long been used cosmetically in several foreign regions to temporarily tattoo skin, hair, and fingernails. The intricate designs, primarily seen in the U.S. at traditional Indian, Middle Eastern, or North African wedding celebrations, dry to a rich, red tint and last several days.

Henna hand tattoos and Dior’s Grand Bal Golden Tattoos.
Photos: Getty Images/Dior

Before the ink-stained style made an appearance on Mara Hoffman’s F/W 2011 runway, Chanel gave skin art a go in 2010 with the limited-edition production of 55 temporary tattoos. Worn on models’ collarbones, upper thighs, and wrists, they were briefly heralded as the most-exclusive quintessential accessory. Two years later, in March 2013, Christian Dior tried to breathe new life into luxury temporary tattoos by releasing faux earrings, bracelets, and rings made of VERY real, very NOT-faux 24-carat gold microparticles. The Dior Grand Bal Golden Tattoos retailed at $120, and a collective “stop trying to make ’fetch’ happen” was heard around the world.

Rad Nails cuticle tattoos.
Photos: @radnails’ Instagram

Recently, we’ve also seen the emergence of a more *ACHEM* reasonable form of digital expression with the concept of cuticle tattoos, thanks to innovative nail art companies like Rad Nails (c/o MTV Style’s own Chrissy Mahlmeister). So, now that that’s all settled. Can someone please tell us where we have to go to get an ink-stained cuticure?

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