A lineup of models, which included Alanna Arrington, Grace Bol, and Dilone, took to the Antonio Berardi Spring 2018 runway with their hands embellished with artful henna, or mehndi, designs in glittering silver, white, and black. However, unlike traditional henna, which can leave skin dyed for up to four weeks, the ink used for Monday’s show was of the temporary variety as many of the models had other shows to walk afterwards. The striking hand adornments were crafted by backstage artists equipped with markers, led by Pavan, founder of Pavan Henna Bar, who’s been doing henna for 17-years now.
“There were 27 models, and each look took about 15-minutes to do,” says Pavan, who currently holds the Guinness world record of Fastest Henna Artist. “We used our Signature White Henna that lasts on the skin for 24-hours, and our ready-to-use Henna Pens, which have just launched. They are used like a pen to create any design you like, and wash off very easily.”
The henna designs made for a striking visual on the runway and were meant to imitate lace gloves – a nod to Berardi’s mother, who insisted on wearing them on occasion (the Spring 2018 collection was inspired by his parents). “I created what looked like lace with our signature henna paint in white, that really stood out on the catwalk,” reveals the henna artist. “The designs in black were inspired by Rihanna’s hand tattoos.”
Between Beyoncé, who decorated her protruding baby bump with semi-permanent henna designs during her baby shower, Rihanna’s ubiquitous henna-inspired tattoos, and Antonio Berardi’s spring 2018 show, is this Middle Eastern tradition poised to stage a major fashion comeback?