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  • Thea Perez for POLYCHROME

microtrend alert! All Hands

This may sound a bit crazy, but the hand is an odd motif that has been trending. We have been noticing this in various forms on several runways and on accessories, and it has been gaining traction. It leads us to ask what are the roots of this fascination?

sketched floral collage

images clockwise from top left: Alexander McQueen | Dior accessories | Celeste Tesoriero | Rodarte | Tadashi Shoji | Christian Dior R2018 | Christian Dior Sp2017


The hand has been tied up in superstition and mysticism, used as a talisman, and seen as a symbol of power. Loyalty, strength, romance and fidelity are just some of the many meanings associated with this motif. There are many instances of hand motifs in jewelry such as Jewish Hamsa pendants; Italian hand charms, which are often given as a gift for a newborn with a horn to ward off the Evil Eye; symbols of love and fidelity such as Irish Claddagh rings, and betrothal rings from Roman times to the Victorian era. Hand of Fatima doorknockers, which have moorish roots, can be found all over Europe and made their way to America in Victorian times; these were reputed to bring protection to the home. There is the more sinister talisman - the Hand of Glory, which was made from an actual dead man’s hand (preferably hanged). This macabre charm was purported to render the carrier invisible and was used in Europe (esp. Great Britain around the16th century) by robbers to enable them to break into homes undetected. The most recent example of this bizarre charm was discovered in a Yorkshire home in 1935.

click through the gallery below for more details on hands used as charms:


The hand as a motif, and even the hand that made the art as its own motif has been evident in art since prehistoric times. In fact, finger painting and handprints are some of the first marks most of us make as toddlers, and new parents immortalize their young babies' handprints in clay and on paper as a memento of those precious and fleeting first years.

In Medieval and Renaissance painting and sculpture, the hand is often the focal point of masterworks: conveying brutality, modesty, connection, power, judgement, even creation itself as seen in the iconic touch of the hand of God to animate Adam in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.

click through the gallery below for examples of hands in art through the ages:

Considering the longevity of the hand as a source of protection, love, and power and the pedigree of some of the artists that have utilized its power as a symbol, maybe it is not so strange that it is resurfacing as a motif in fashion. How would you explore this trend? Do you see this as a viable motif in any of your product?

For some more examples of this motif in fashion, take a look at our research here.

Sources: Vogue | Daily Mail - UK | Jewelry Editor | We're All Mad | Grant Stoner Rawlings | Treklens | Flickr

* We intend no copyright infringement by displaying images from other sources on our site. Unless otherwise noted, all images are the property of their respective owners.

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