By Rose Aidin
FT.com site; Mar 28, 2003
"Divine decadence darling," explained Liza Minelli's character Sally Bowles in Cabaret. Her time was pre-war Berlin and her subject, her lurid green nail polish, but the moment for up-front self-expression through body adornment is here again – only now it includes tattoos, piercings and performance art.
This month Tate Modern is mounting a four-day programme of non-stop performance art. And throughout May, Selfridges will be exploring the body in almost fetishistic detail with its Body Craze promotion, intended to examine every possible aspect of body adornment, improvement and stimulation. "We want to entertain people, but also to challenge them, explains Suzanne Tide-Frater, head of creative direction at Selfridges. "All the elements of Body Craze come back to the idea that the body is the vehicle that expresses what we are inside."
So Body Craze will include performance art, fashion, face and body make-up, tattooing, body adornment, piercing and even an aphrodisiac food bar. The basement over-18s area will push boundaries further with Betony Vernon’s erotic jewellery, feathers and leather belts that hang from the neck, and Sh!, the Hoxton-based women’s erotic emporium.
A craze that started five years ago with Madonna’s Mehndi henna-painted hands, body art has evolved from spiritual (a testament to the star’s newfound love of yoga) to shocking.
"There’s a decadence to body adornment," admits J Maskrey, whose long-lasting skin jewellery has embellished the flesh of the bling-bling set, including P Diddy, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Kylie Minogue. Maskrey started her career as a make-up artist and was at the forefront of skin jewellery when she launched her range five years ago. Now she’s moved on from small tattoo-like designs to more outrageous creations such as nipple covers. “You can place body jewellery anywhere and be secretive,” she says.
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