Over the past few years, A$AP Rocky has become an avid nail art enthusiast. “I feel like men should be able to do nail art without feeling feminine,” the rapper said. vogue, its figures painted with Prada fall 2019 motifs, including the broken heart and Frankenstein. Emphasizing that a manicure is a statement of self-expression, regardless of your gender identity, the rapper’s new signing marks a telling shift in beauty culture; it’s also a reminder that trailblazing men in the spotlight helped make way for this moment for decades.
In the heyday of rock and roll, “male-icures” were everywhere. During his early ’70s Ziggy Stardust era, David Bowie’s teal nails contrasted with his flame-haired mullet, while Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler began sporting his now-iconic nail art, accented with graphic black stripes. Setting the stage for the style rebels of the decades that followed, chipped nail polish was a grunge mainstay for Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain in the ’90s. his idol Keith Richard with randomly applied cobalt numerals; “Kissed by a Rose” singer Seal offered an immaculate alternative with a bright green manicure.
There’s been no shortage of scene-stealing moments lately. Marc Jacobs, who teamed up with New York manicurist Mei Kawajiri for a show of mesmerizing designs, as well as Lil Yachty, who received a range of cartoonish designs from Georgian artist Rosa Ouais. And LANY frontman Paul Klein, who attended Saint Laurent’s fall 2020 runway with a jet-black manicure personalized with bold white lettering that teased the band’s next album at the time, is never afraid of a nail statement. Mom’s son. “I’ve always taken a less orthodox approach to the way I dress, and I feel like nail art elevates my look even more and kind of separates me from the pack,” Klein says. Then, of course, there’s Puerto Rican rapper Bad Bunny, who throughout his rapid rise has served up a dizzying array of vivacious greenhouses. “I don’t tell people, ‘Hey, paint your nails or color your hair, do this or do that,'” the musician says. “I’m just saying, do what makes you happy and never limit yourself.”
Now polished nails are becoming something of a red carpet mainstay for men. At the 2019 Met Gala, co-chair Harry Styles sported a raven-colored manicure punctuated with touches of teal, and at the 2022 Met Gala there was plenty to see, from Shawn Mendes’ matte navy blue designed to match his Tommy Hilfiger Look at Anderson .Paak’s tuxedo-themed black-and-white manicure. As the gender-neutral nail art space continues to expand and inspire, here’s a look back at the famous men who’ve adorned themselves with colorful nails.