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 jewellery: "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 jewellery 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.
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Fret not if you're nervous about going into cartilage territory. Multiple piercings in the lobe are still having a huge moment (and heal much faster), but it's all about being creative with the spacing. "For girls that have come in with multiple lobe piercings, I've started to go above them, vertically," he says. "I find it looks great, and they tell me they get a lot of compliments because it’s so unusual."
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The helix is holding strong, trend-wise. "It's always going to be popular," predicts Thompson. Make it feel fresh and modern by doubling up the holes.
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If you want to go big or go home, consider a few new piercings. "Multiple conch piercings are really cool," Thompson says. "You can add a higher conch with a stud and a lower conch with a hoop, even multiples of three or four, because the conch can actually accommodate many piercings. You have to commit, but you can really have fun with how you decorate it."
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Double nose piercings also work well with two hoops, but Thompson notes that the single hoop is the most en vogue at the moment.