"I think we've pierced every nipple in Los Angeles by now — and then some," Brian Keith Thompson
, celeb piercer and owner of Body Electric
, told me on the phone yesterday. "It's definitely taken the septum’s place as the most popular piercing."
Thompson knows a thing or two about what's cool; after all, he's the piercer of choice for celebs like Beyoncé and Scarlett Johansson. But if you think that means the waitlist for his services must be miles long, think again. If you were to pop into his shop on Melrose Avenue tomorrow, there's a 50/50 chance you'd be sitting in his chair. That mix of A-list and local clientele makes him the
guy to consult on West Coast industry trends, on which he has a lot to say — starting with the body.
"I think the nipple
is very sought-after because it's the piercing you can share with only the people that you want, like your significant other; it’s totally concealable," he says. Right now, Thompson prefers just one nipple piercing for women, and two for men, but notes it's currently primarily a female-driven request. To make it feel fresh, pick the right jewelry: "I am doing a lot of my nipple piercings in gold and rose-gold barbells," he says. "It’s kind of elegant; it bumps up the sophistication." Oh, and before you commit, consider this: The healing time is between six to eight months.
The belly button piercing is once again gaining traction, too — but it got an update. "It's more petite, more delicate now. In the '90s, it was heavy, big, and bulky, but now I am piercing 99% with curved barbells, with gold and genuine stones," he says. "I'm excited to see it get more popular again; it got a bad rap for a while."
These two body trends, according to Thompson, are eclipsed only by the ear — and it's all about the conch
in single, double, even quadruple piercings. Nose trends are also shifting: Multiple piercings are popular, as is the classic, single-nostril piercing with a simple hoop. That's in sharp contrast to last year's septum craze. "It's dramatically slowed down; I still have a lot of clients that are coming in and buying jewelry for the piercings we’ve already done — it’s still relevant — but sometimes I think that everyone who wanted it already got it," he jokes. "A year-and-a-half ago, we would do 12 to 15 septums every day; now we’re doing maybe four or five a week."
Of course, at the end of the day, it's all about what you
like, he reminds us. "There are no rules when it comes to piercing. Whatever someone’s taste is, and whatever they're into, there's no good or bad way of doing it," he says.
To get the creative juices flowing, Thompson shared some of his recent work and more insight in what's happening in his L.A. shop. Rad new piercing combinations to try, ahead.