Forget about the bag, the shoes, and the lip gloss. At the moment, the most fashion-forward accessory is your nails.
The action going on inside the tents at Lincoln Center during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week’s spring/summer 2012 shows proved that nail polish is making its mark on the fashion scene.
Major highlights from the shows included the reemergence of nail color as more nail artists and designers opted for bright colors and metallic colors, rather than the nude nail looks that have dominated the runways in recent seasons.
At Wes Gordon and Tracy Reese, there were bright corals. Gold tones were shimmering at Norman Ambrose, while at Jen Kao, there were ombre, or graduated tones, on the models’ nails.
Even for designers who stuck with a more neutral look, it was a “new nude” with peachy undertones or with layered iridescence, as was seen at the Rachel Zoe, Jill Stuart, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and BCBG shows.
There’s also been a movement to longer and more slender almond-shaped nails, as seen at the Betsy Johnson and Joy Cioci fashion shows.
Never before has color, pattern, and texture played such an important role in nail fashion. Click ahead to see the nail designs at the latest New York Fashion Week.
By Ashley Kalinske, Special to CNBC.com
Posted 19 September 2011
Candice Manacchio of Creative Nail Design (CND) gave models "lucite lace" nails at the Joy Cioci spring 2012 show during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. A lace effect is hand-painted on top of clear tips to achieve this look.
CND’s Manacchio also worked on Norman Ambrose's spring 2012 show during New York Fashion Week. Six different nail looks were used to portray a theme of a glamorous woman “who swims in her diamonds.”
Pictured here are nails painted in gold, edged in black, and treated with gold leafing. Models wore other hues and textures ranging from gold to red to nudes. All nail looks incorporated the slender, almond-shaped nail trend.
A nail designer from CND puts the finishing touches of Swarovski crystals over silver-painted tips in preparation for the makeup and nail test pre-show for The Blonds fashion show. It took more than 100 hours of manual labor to complete 20 sets of tips.
To play up the bright colors in Nicole Miller’s spring 2012 collection, CND’s Wanda Ruiz used a custom blend of blue comprised of the CND Colours line in “Dark Ruby,” “Eclectic Purple,” “Anchor Blue,” along with blue pigment with CND Colour in “Raspberry” to create '80s glam blue-and-pink-checkered nails. Nails were topped with “Ice Blue Shimmer Effect.”
Leaving the BCBG show, Fanny Bourdette-Donon, creative director for Maybelline China, wears “Peridot” by Chanel, a gold metallic polish with flakes of green.
Backstage at Jill Stuart, Reina Fushimi, a public relations representative for Jill Stuart Japan, wears a red and beige calgel manicure, the so-called gel manicures.
"I like the mix of contrast colors, and add a little bit of spice with gold and silver studs," Fushimi said.
Gel manicures are becoming more popular than traditional manicures, lasting up to three weeks without chipping.
Backstage at Lacoste, nail technician Yuko Tsuchihashi wears Minx Professional for Lisa Logan in “Golden Fish Scale,” a silver, black, and gold sticker design.
Lasting four to eight days, similar to traditional nail polish, Minx invented nail coverings with intricate patterns and metallic finishes that streamline the application process. Consumers no longer have to wait for a base coat, two color coats, and a top coat to dry. Plus, more color and complex patterns can be added. Minx has gained recognition by attracting a celebrity following, including Rhianna and Beyonce.
Designer Tracy Reese poses with a bottle of “Temptation,” a coral hue that was featured in her spring 2012 fashion show during New York Fashion Week. The color also is part of limited-edition collection manufactured by Sally Hansen.
Celebrity stylist and Sally Hansen style advisor Mary Alice Stephenson wears “Petrol,” a color from designer Prabal Gurung’s Sally Hansen collection. Sally Hansen partnered with several designers—Tracy Reese, Prabal Gurung, and Alexander Wang—in creating limited-edition nail polish lines for spring 2012.
"I'm so happy women finally realize that the look isn't complete until you have your nail polish on," Stephenson says.
Celebrity stylist and designer Rachel Zoe chose Zoya's “Amanda” color to compliment models nails at her debut presentation.
"I didn't want anything to compete—there are so many groups of colors going on with the collection, I wanted an opaque nail,” says Zoe. “ ‘Amanda’ is the perfect fleshy color."
Nails at Jen Kao’s spring 2012 fashion show had an ombre, or a gradation, that attracts the eye with bold shades in CND-manufactured colors “Midnight Sapphire,” “Anchor Blue,” “Rouge Red,” and “Green Scene.”
Creative Director Nonie Creme of butter LONDON, a nail polish brand, created a reverse half-moon manicure by painting the models’ nails in “Union Jack Black.” Fake nails painted in “Diamond Glitter” were then applied near the nail base, creating a convex shape. Rhinestones were centered on the curved base of each tip. To give the nails the Betsy “wow” factor, some featured nail piercings of black safety pins through the pointed almond-shaped tips.
Nail boards from CND showcased tip designs its manicurists crafted for the 18 designers the company represented. This season marks CND’s 15th anniversary at Fashion Week.
At the Chris Benz show, manicurist Anna Maria Gheorghiu used Lancôme’s “Le Mini Vernis” polish in “Green Almond” (shown) and “Rose Macaron,” a mint green and muted pink polish, that will be available in February 2012.