The rise of the fashion piercing: From septum rings to multiple brow hoops, how much is too much?

Photography by Peter Stigter

Think back to Spring 2012 Couture week, when Givenchy wowed us with those memorable, over-the-top septum piercings—oversized nose rings in mixed metals, dripping with decorative chains and diamonds. Everything was overstated: heavy beading, mixed metals and hardware, and a combination of animal skins and velvets. Big hair and bright makeup accompanied the look, naturally.

In the past couple of seasons, we’ve seen a drastic change in makeup, hair and nails. We saw nary a painted nail on the runway, other than an occasional barely-there nude. Makeup was clean and natural, and sometimes non-existent (like at Marc Jacobs Fall 2014 where the models were completely bare-faced). The most surprising detail? The interesting piercings remained. True to fashion, however, they had evolved.

Once considered tacky to have anything beyond one piercing per lobe, piercings have made a significant, and welcome, comeback. Today, piercings are gaining serious speed as a trend but are sticking to today’s aesthetic: minimalist and delicate. Think of it as a toned-down Lisbeth Salander, the same bad-assery with a little less of a gothic inspiration. Rodarte took the trend of ‘bold brows’ to a new level in Fall 2014 by creating an arched line of delicate eyebrow rings to mirror the models’ own eyebrows. At Dries Van Noten, the perfect faux-piercing was created by drawing a thin gold line down the middle of the bottom lip, mimicking a lip ring.

And the industry is taking note. J. Colby Smith, a piercer at New York Adorned in New York’s East Village, is quickly gaining notoriety. He has pierced Emma Stone, Zoe Saldana, Julianne Moore and Erin Wasson, to name a few. Vogue UK’s March 2014 issue cover saw Daria Warbowy rocking a delicate gold nose hoop, and W Magazine’s September 2014 cover sported Rihanna as a fierce femme-warrior with a septum piercing that some are touting as fake – but that looks no less wonderfully grunge. Shayne Fitzgerald, head piercer at Toronto’s New Tribe Tattoo & Piercing confirms, “We’re seeing a definite comeback of ’90’s grunge. Septums, eyebrows and a lot of inner ear and tragus piercings.” And while the piercing locations are inspired, this season’s hardware is decidedly less ornate than we’ve seen, with thin hoops and posts in yellow and rose gold being favoured by the fashion crowd.

Whether you’re just feeling punk, or really in the mood to put a hole through your nose, now is the time. “Piercings aren’t necessarily getting more popular, they’ve always been popular. It’s [just] becoming a lot more acceptable in public,” says Fitzgerald, “People are smartening up and just getting what they want.”

More Celebrity