Forrás: New York Times. Szerző: Marcelle S. Fischler.
THE body,” said Melody Weir, squeezing a tube of thick green paste onto a client’s wrist as if she were icing a cake, ”is a great palette to work on.”
Ms. Weir’s medium is mehndi, an ancient art of temporary lacework tattoos done with herbal henna. The process can take from 15 minutes to four hours depending on the intricacy and size of the design. The reddish-brown images fade away in two to three weeks.
Mehndi, which is Hindu for henna — a plant-based compound that is dried and pulverized into a powder more commonly associated with hair color — is a trend to dye for.
Ms. Weir, who rented a cabana at a beach club in Atlantic Beach this year after summering for 19 years in Amagansett, is bringing the painless alternative to tattooing to Long Island.
The 5,000-year-old ethnic patterns and elaborate arabesques have been the rage for the past two years among the fashion cognoscenti in Los Angeles, the East Village and South Beach in Miami, where Ms. Weir spends the winter. Madonna flaunts the oh-so-chic designs in music videos. The model Naomi Campbell sported an intricate design across her shoulders in a magazine spread.
The 45-year-old Ms. Weir has had her share of celebrity customers. She painted the musician David Lee Roth’s back with Japanese tiger stripes for a CD cover and festooned the hands of the actresses Candice Bergen and Isabella Rossellini with more traditional designs like dharma wheels, an Indian pattern of concentric circles.
At a benefit for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation in April, Ms. Weir applied the tattoos to the supermodel Yasmin Gori and the designer Kenneth Cole. Recently she contributed henna painting at an ovarian cancer benefit held at the East Hampton home of Liz Tilberis, editor of Bazaar magazine.
Ms. Weir was doing her body art recently at Capellini Salon and Day Spa in Woodmere, a 10-year-old, over-the-top 12,000-square-foot full-service beauty parlor.
”I’ve been wanting to do this for quite a while,” said Dawn Tufano, a 25-year-old makeup artist from Valley Stream who works at the salon, as Ms. Weir etched a bracelet around her wrist.
”I’m doing a geometric cuff because she’s modern and hip and stylish,” Ms. Weir said, sizing up her customer. Ms. Weir does not plan whether she is going to tattoo barbed wire, Ottoman Empire medallions or African or Aztec designs in advance. ”I usually feel it.” In this case, she could see it. Ms. Tufano wore a very tiny black mini-miniskirt and high platform sandals.
”This is such a wonderful thing to do because it’s not such a commitment. It is not forever,” Ms. Tufano said. ”You can really get an idea of what you want if you want a tattoo. I don’t. That I’m a little bit of a nervous Nellie about. That’s too permanent. But I’ve always wanted to see what it would look like on my body. This was the way to do it.”
Ms. Weir put the finishing touches on the three-inch cuff and dabbed Ms. Tufano’s wrist with a lemon and sugar concoction to make the henna set. The paste takes 24 hours to flake off and dry, leaving the hennaed design on the skin.
Standing over her shoulder, a woman dressed in a robe who identified herself only as Nora was taking a break from a full day of pampering at the salon. ”That’s beautiful,” she said. ”This I like. I’d put it on my foot.”
Mehndi designs are considered good luck in India, the Middle East and North Africa, where they are used to ward off evil spirits. Hands and feet, soles and palms included, are decorated for weddings. According to tradition, the longer the color lasts, the longer the love and luck holds out. In Moroccan lore the designs promote fertility and healthy children. In East Africa, Masai warriors mark their status within the tribe with henna designs.