Hardware beauty is the gritty trend studding stars’ faces

Ameila Gray Hamlin is the new IT-girl in town and she’s fast fronting the latest hardware beauty trend, which sees stars studding their faces with stacks of faux piercings.

At yesterday’s Balenciaga’s The Mud Show, the supermodel newcomer (who is the daughter of actress and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna) showcased an assortment of faux facial piercings across her lips, nasal bridge and eyebrows alongside a slinky, silver dress. After strutting through the apocalyptic, muddy runway, the 21-year-old posted a photo dump of the abrasive look to her 1.3 million followers, with fans obsessing over the look in the comments.

The grudge-adjacent aesthetic has also been proliferated by the arrival of Isamaya Ffrench’s inaugural beauty line, ISAMAYA BEAUTY. The makeup mogul’s drop of products, titled “Industrial”,  focused on intense but versatile products and edgy-looking, reusable hardware (including wearable rings). Think: shiny latex, chrome piercings and rubber. Inspired by hardcore underground scenes, especially BDSM, Ffrench has been embellishing herself and other models with faux hardware across catwalks and social media over the past year. And now it seems set to go stratospheric.

There has historically been a stigma towards piercing. In 1975 America’s first piercing shop, the Gauntlet, opened on Santa Monica Boulevard on the US’s west coast. Manned by early members of the BDSM and S&M community, piercings were originally linked to these groups, as well as the punk community. However, by the 90s the practice went mainstream thanks to musicians such as Blink 182’s Travis Barker, The Prodidgy’s Keith Flint and The Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan. And by the 2000s, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and all their teenage followers were flaunting Y2K diamantés in their bellies and noses.

As we enter an indie sleaze revival, it’s no surprise that exaggerated piercing looks are entering the beauty consciousness. They might be NSFW, but creatives across Instagram are experimenting with special effects makeup like Gray and Ffrench for a low-stakes, non-committal approach to the aesthetic. But for those feeling bold, a trip to your local piercing salon is overdue.

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