An increasing number of people are sporting the Y2K aesthetic’s grills and tooth gems.
The so-called “grills” trend, which was popularized by African American rappers and performers in the late 1990s and was characteristic of the hip hop aesthetic, has made a reappearance in recent years, spurred in part by the Y2K aesthetic (that of the years at the turn of the 2000s). . In May A$AP The rapper’s grills read, “Will you marry me?” Rocky and Rihanna utilized them in a music video to declare their engagement. She has also had “I do.”the image of her showcasing her two gold-framed incisors. Grills were also used on the cover of Drake and 21 Savage’s most recent album. In general, many models and celebrities in American show industry and elsewhere have started putting decorations on their teeth, and TikTok tutorials on how to do so have swiftly become widely popular. Damiano David, the singer of the Mneskin, has just been caught sporting grills while performing in Madrid. These tiny, detachable prosthesis are fitted to the wearer’s teeth and are made of precious metals, occasionally with the addition of set stones.
Grills are a common item in the African American society, and Grace Jones wearing one of them on the cover of Vogue Hommes was one of their first appearances outside of this setting. The Jamaican singer and actress was captured on camera in 1975 with gold-plated teeth. However, the popularity of grills can be traced back to a few years later: in the early 1980s, African-American businesspeople and artists in New York City, particularly in Queens, who at the time were beginning to assert themselves socially and economically, chose to adopt such a defining aesthetic as grilling. The story of Eddie Plein, an artist, and jewelry store owner is told in the book Mouth Full of Golds. Then, as the 1990s went on, they gained popularity to the point that, in about a decade, they were nearly a must for many rappers, on par with gold chains, watches, and showy jewelry.
Hip-hop culture uses these prostheses to flaunt money and high social position as well as to convey that one “made it” despite being “from the streets.” Longtime users include 50 Cent, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne.
But grills have recently started to appear in American culture outside the primarily masculine and African-American music industry, and they have particularly made an appearance in women’s fashion in recent years. A custom-made $1 million piece of “denture jewelry” worn by Katy Perry in the “Dark Horse” music video clip in 2018 was later recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most precious grill” ever created. Like her, Kim Kardashian or Miley Cyrus are rumored to enjoy and utilize them. Madonna wore them recently during an appearance on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show.
Despite being so common in some circles, the shameless and purposefully “boorish” aesthetic that grills evoke is in some ways exaggerated for consumers, who have instead chosen to interpret the current trend by using so-called tooth gems, which are simply glitter that has been adhered to the teeth with glue.They have a more “playful” and “innocent” vibe than grills and are less obvious, “tacky,” and pricey. They are also more inventive than the traditional glitter in the tooth, but Bella Hadid’s at the most recent Cannes Film Festival had the press went crazy. The best part is that since tooth jewels do not need to be specially created, grills are less accessible to a wide range of consumers. These tiny, removable prosthesis, which are composed of gold, silver, or other precious metals, are actually handcrafted jewels that need a lot of upkeep. Rapper Paul Wall, who also gained notoriety for his especially ornate grills, runs one of the most well-known workshops in the country that produces them. He built a shop in Houston, Texas, that handles their creation and more in 2016 after deciding to launch a company fully devoted to this kind of product. They include anything from cleaning clips to tooth molding.Helen with the gold teeth is another brand that has gained popularity more recently as a result of the resurgence of this 1990s addition; owners Dolly Cohen and Helen Harris were characterized by Elle as being “half dentist, part conceptual sculpture, part jewelry designer.” Then there is Perlas Gems, a workshop with headquarters in Barcelona that specializes in such apps and can boast clients like Rosala in its portfolio.
With the assistance of true professionals, gold mouthguards or their less ostentatious counterpart, tooth gems, are applied. For the former, a cast of the teeth is used, while for the latter, a special glue (which solidifies thanks to the same technology used for semi-permanent enamel) is used. The latter can then be one or many to form one or more compositions; in Rosala’s upper incisors, for example, a series of tooth gems are joined. But are these accoutrements just the most recent trend among Generation Z, or are they actually here to stay? Given the financial investment consumers must make and the celebrities’ increasing usage, it is clear that brands will be utilizing them extensively in next collections.