Tattoos In High Fashion. Left: MaisonMargiela Spring 2014 Couture. Image: Edouard Caupeil © Right: MAC's arm tattoos at Rodarte 2010 Spring fashion show. Image: Popsugar

Spotlight: History Of Tattoos In High Fashion

Tattoos are not new to the haute couture scene as many prominent designers have used tattoo art in their collections over the years.

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In fact, trompe l’oeil tattoos have been featured numerous times on the biggest fashion catwalks around the world

. Some of the most influential fashion houses such as Margiela, Louis Vuitton, and Jean Paul Gaultier have already combined haute couture with the tattoo subculture. Now we will look back at 10 tattoo-inspired catwalk spotlights from the famous Jean Paul Gaultier’s Spring 1994 Les Tatouages collection to Dsquared2 Spring/Summer 2016 menswear collection.

Martin Margiela Spring 1989 - The first tribute to the tattoo subculture was made at Martin Margiela’s Spring 1989 fashion show when model Graça Fisher wore a delicate shirt with tribal motifs.

Model GraçaFisher wearing hautecouture inspired by tattooart. Image: Vogue
Model #GraçaFisher wearing #hautecouture inspired by #tattooart. Image: Vogue

Paul Gaultier Spring 1994 Les Tatouages Collection - British model Stella Tennant made an appearance with a skeleton stalk on the runway of Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show. The collection was full of denim cut in 18th century shapes, Joan of Arc-style armor, punk-rockish graffiti print, and most importantly, tattoo currency motif reflecting tribal, Indian, and African vibes.

StellaTennant walking for ink-inpsired PaulGaultier fashion show. Image: Vogue
#StellaTennant walking for ink-inpsired #PaulGaultier fashion show. Image: Vogue

Jean Paul Gaultier Spring 2008 Couture Mermaid Line - Designer Gaultier returned with the tattoo theme again at his Spring 2008 catwalk showing off mermaid-themed couture inspired by traditional Japanese tattooing styles.

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JeanPaulGaultier's Mermaid Line inspired by Japanese tattoo style. Image: Vogue
#JeanPaulGaultier's Mermaid Line inspired by Japanese tattoo style. Image: Vogue

Chanel Spring 2010 Ready-To-Wear Collection - Chanel surprised everyone with combining haute couture with embellishments of temporary tattoos. Chanel introduced the line of temporary tattoos "Les Trompe L'Oeil de Chanel” featuring delicate bracelet and garter style ink that was beautifying the skins of the models.

History of tattoos in high fashion - Chanel. Image: Tumblr
History of tattoos in high fashion - Chanel. Image: Tumblr

Rodarte 2010 Spring Collection - MAC's Arm Tattoos - The dark graphic tattoo look inspired by the Māori style was designed by MAC's Senior Artist, Chantel Miller. "The idea for the tattoos stemmed from [designers] Kate and Laura’s desire to celebrate makeup as art not only for the face, but also for the body in a similar way that Indian culture uses henna. They want women to look at makeup as an accessory for an outfit the way you would a bracelet or a necklace," said Miller.

MAC's arm tattoos at Rodarte 2010 Spring fashion show. Image: Popsugar
MAC's arm tattoos at Rodarte 2010 Spring fashion show. Image: Popsugar
History of tattoos in high fashion - Rodarte. Image: Popsugar
History of tattoos in high fashion - #Rodarte. Image: Popsugar

Louis Vuitton Spring 2011 Menswear - Tattoo designs of talented tattoo artist Scott Campbell were combined with Marc Jacob's fashion designs for Louis Vuitton fashion show. The designs were used both on the leather goods and the handsome models.

LouisVuitton Spring 2011 Menswear featuring tattoo designs by ScottCampbell
#LouisVuitton Spring 2011 Menswear featuring tattoo designs by #ScottCampbell

Maison Margiela Spring 2014 "Artisanal" Haute Couture - The colorful haute couture designs were inspired by prominent tattoo artist Norman Keith Collins' "Sailor Jerry" and his tattoo style depicting different sailor-themed symbols such as swallows, nautical stars, anchors, classically styled scroll banners and pin-up girls.

MaisonMargiela Spring 2014 Couture. Image: Edouard Caupeil ©
#MaisonMargiela Spring 2014 Couture. Image: Edouard Caupeil ©
MaisonMargiela inspired by SailorJerry. Image: Edouard Caupeil ©
#MaisonMargiela inspired by #SailorJerry. Image: Edouard Caupeil ©

Comme des Garçons’s Fall ’15 Menswear Show - The collaboration between fashion designer Rei Kawakubo and ink maestro JK5 was worth to see at Comme des Garçons’s Fall ’15 Menswear Show. The pieces were a combination of colorful florid ink-inspired body suits and tattoo-like panels of calligraphy.

Tattoo-inspired fashion by Comme des Garçons featuring tattoo artist JK5. Image: Now Fashion
Tattoo-inspired fashion by Comme des Garçons featuring tattoo artist #JK5. Image: Now Fashion

Alexander McQueen Spring 2015 Menswear - Also, the well-known fashion house Alexander McQueen used tattoo motifs in its ready-to-wear collection. Sarah Burton, creative director for Alexander McQueen, decided for anchor, love-heart and compass motifs to create two-piece suits and pyjama shirts.

Alexander McQueen tattoo-themed menswear. Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Alexander McQueen tattoo-themed menswear. Image: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Dsquared² Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear - The tattooed bodysuits were definitely on the spotlight among the sea and surf inspired collection. Dsquared² is the first brand to come up with a tattooed version of a wetsuit.

Dsquared² tattooed wetsuit. Image: Imaxtree
Dsquared² tattooed wetsuit. Image: Imaxtree
Ink-inspired Dsquared² Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: Joshua Woods
Ink-inspired Dsquared² Spring/Summer 2016 Menswear. Image: Joshua Woods

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@Kerti Suur

Dream it. Wish it. Do it. Beauty and fashion lover, tattoo enthusiast, foodie and explorer. Occasional creative writer for the Tattoodo blog. Charmed by minimalist and dotwork tattoos. Marketing assistant @ Tattoodo.

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