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July 31 2014

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Backstage Body Painting: A Burgeoning Trend?

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For those of you wondering how the zebra-print shirt in the last look at Louis Vuitton could be so skin-tight on Kristen McMenamy that nary a fabric ripple could be seen as she traipsed down the runway, there was good reason for that: It wasn’t a shirt at all—it was painted on. Body art has definitely had a moment on the runway over the past few seasons since the Mulleavy sisters had a team of MAC specialists cover models’ arms in tribal tattoos at the Spring 2010 Rodarte show (a wealth of temporary tattoos at Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier followed that season, with a fine-art incarnation turning up at Wayne for Spring 2011). But craftsmanship of this level—in which you truly had to triple-take those black and white stripes with gold glitter accents to fully convince yourself that there was no cotton, Lycra, or spandex to speak of—is somewhat new. New to the last 48 hours, that is. Makeup master Pat McGrath may have etched out a long-sleeved shirt, but face (and leg and arm) painter Val Garland made opaque tights and gloves at Moncler Gamme Rouge only a day earlier, substituting water-based pigments for actual hosiery. What does it all mean? Unclear. But perhaps we can look at it as the next step in the evolution of the sheer trend, in which gauzy, suggestive blouses are replaced by no blouses at all. Or maybe it should just be chocked up to the wonder and fantasy that is runway beauty; whether it’s actually wearable should never enter into the conversation. Care to weigh in below?

Photo: Monica Feudi / GoRunway.com; Yannis Vlamos / GoRunway.com

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