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Nail Art: From David Bowie to Lil Nas X, the men who have made it their beauty signature

During the last years, A$AP Rocky turned out to be an avid follower of nail art. “I feel like men should be able to do nail art without feeling feminine,” the rapper told voguehis fingers painted with patterns Prada in the fall of 2019. Emphasizing that a manicure is an expression of your personality, regardless of your gender identity, the rapper’s new signing marks a telling shift in beauty culture; she’s also a reminder that pioneering men in the spotlight have helped pave the way for this trend for decades.

In the golden age of rock and roll, “man-icures” were everywhere. Back in the days of Ziggy Stardust in the early 70s, the silver nails of david bowie contrasted with his flamboyant haircut, while steven tylerthe leader ofAerosmith, started sporting her now iconic nails, streaked with graphic black stripes. Paving the way for the rebels of later decades, chipped nail polish was a grunge mainstay for kurt cobain of Nirvana in the 90s. In the 80s, Johnny Depp began to follow the example of his idol Keith Richards with randomly painted cobalt nails; the singer of “Kissed by a Rose“, Sealoffered an immaculate alternative with a bright green manicure.

Recently, nail art moments are everywhere. Marc Jacobswho partnered with Mei Kawajiri, the nail magician from New York, to achieve a set of hypnotic designs. The rapper Lil Yachty did the same by sporting a manicure with finely chosen designs, almost caricatural thanks to Rosa Yeea Georgia-based nail artist. Paul Klein, the leader of LANY, has never hesitated to make his nails a primary element of his look. He attended the show for the fall-winter 2020-2021 collection of Saint Laurent with a custom jet black manicure featuring white lettering featuring the name of the band’s upcoming album, Mama’s Boy. “I’ve always taken an unorthodox approach to the way I dress, and I feel like nail art just elevates my look more and kind of separates me from the crowd,” says Paul Klein. And then, of course, there’s the Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who, throughout his rise to the heights of music and pop culture, has used a dizzying array of brightly colored labels. “I don’t tell people, ‘Hey, paint your nails or color your hair, do this or that,’ explains the musician. “I just tell them to do what makes them happy and never limit themselves.

Be yourself

Today, polished nails are becoming something of a red carpet beauty mainstay for men. At the 2019 Met Gala, Co-Chair Harry Styles already sported a raven-colored manicure punctuated with touches of turquoise. At the Met Gala 2022, the trend caught on: matte navy blue from Shawn Mendes designed to match her look Tommy Hilfiger black and white manicure on the theme of a tuxedoAnderson .Paak. As the spotlight on gender-neutral nail art continues to expand and inspire, here’s a look back at the famous men who’ve adorned themselves with nails that are extravagant, grunge, or just to their liking.

Translation by Sophie Brindel

Article originally published on Vogue.com

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