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FROM THE PARLOR TO THE PARLOR
Popularity Of Body Art Influences Reality Shows And Now Home Decor
Looking for the next hot decorating trend?
Body art has gone from biceps and shoulders to catwalks and showrooms. The transfer, according to tableware designer Jessica Rust, gives a whole new meaning to the term “tattoo parlor.”
“Tattoos used to be associated with bikers and rockers,” says Rust, who introduced her Tattoo Collection of personalized plates, mugs, bowls and platters this month. “Now they’re exploding in home decor, furniture and fashion.”
Inspired by the popularity of television shows “Miami Ink,” “LA Ink,” “Inked” and “Tattoo Highway,” and the mainstream acceptance of “tats” (estimates are that as many as one in four people between the ages of 18 and 50 are tattooed), designers have introduced clothing, bedding, rugs, tables and accessories emblazoned with the iconic patterns.
The new “Tattoo Heart Collection” fromGucci features handbags with stylized heart tattoos decorated with the company’s logo. Luxury leather maker Coach included a $438 bag featuring the company’s name surrounded by a tattoo-inspired border of flowers and leaves in its spring collection.
Hip Dana Hotel and Spa in Chicago hired tattoo artist Ami James, star of “Miami Ink,” to create tattoo art “Do Not Disturb” door hangers. Kiki Smith’s Tattoo line of engraved crystal vases and accessories made for Steuben sold out at stores across the country. Los Angeles ink man Paul Timman recently teamed up with Ink Dish Design to create a line of delicate blue-and-white porcelain plates inspired by classical Japanese tattoos. Even jewelry-maker-to-the-stars Harry Winston has several tattoo-inspired brooch designs. (Put those in the if-you-have-to-ask-how-much- they-cost-you-probably-can’t-afford-them category.)
Connecticut writer Karen Olson says the trend inspired her new Tattoo Shop Mysteries. “Missing Ink,” the first book in the series, will be released in July.
“No questions, tattoos are in,” says Olson. “You see them everywhere.”
But ink on skin is permanent. Body-art-inspired accessories for the home allows consumers to have tats without the long-term commitment. Ed Hardy, considered by many to be the godfather of the skin-art-to-fashion movement, was one of the first to put tattoo patterns on bedding and bath decor. His Home Collection, featuring comforters, duvets and sheets with retro skull, heart, animal and rose designs, is carried at Macy’s and Bed, Bath & Beyond.
“The look is popular with hipsters,” says Allan Gordon, president of Wholley Sheet, a Los Angeles company that markets the Ed Hardy Home Collection. “People who are ‘fly’ love the look.” (Urbandictionary.com defines “fly” as “cool” and “in style.”)
Rust, who worked with her shipping assistant Michael Mellstrom, a tattoo artist, to create her tableware, agrees.
“It’s not really about age, it’s about attitude,” says Rust. “People who express themselves in a very individual way are drawn to tattoos.” Copyright © 2009, The Hartford Courant