NYFW Beauty: Nail Art Loses Some Luster

Courtesy of HL Group
GRAY LADY: Butter London's "Lady Muck" on a model during Lela Rose's spring 2014 fashion show.

While the practice of drawing elaborate designs on digits is still around, solid one-color manicures are creeping back into fashion at the spring 2014 shows, too.

Nail art — the stuff that Instagram feeds, red carpet detail shots and, in certain circles, dinner party conversations are made of — is losing a bit of its luster this New York Fashion Week, with classic, one-color manicures replacing the tween and blogger-favored beauty practice at a bevy of shows.

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To complement the black and white, 1980s vibe of his first solo collection Thursday, Rihanna costume designer Adam Selman tapped manicure maven Madeline Poole to create solid red nails using Ciate's "Boudoir," while over at Monique Lhuillier on Saturday Butter London global color ambassador Katie Jane Hughes used a solid swipe of Butter London's Pink Ribbon Nail Lacquer over the brand's nail foundation for a soft, well-groomed look. Nail artist Michelle Saunders used Essie's milky  "Sand Tropez" with a matifying top coat at Alexander Wang on Saturday, and painted with the brand's classic, barely-there "Mademoiselle" at DKNY's 25th anniversary show as well as Diane von Furstenberg on Sunday. 

CLEAN SLATE: Simple, white nails at Band of Outsiders (left). Nail artist Jin Soon Choi's one-color, solid look at Derek Lam (right).


Hughes, who's worked on beauty backstage for the likes of Chanel and Acne and helped get models Lindsey Wixson and Daisy Lowe all dolled up, also went for solid manicures at Lela Rose (Butter's cement-hued "Lady Muck") and Band of Outsiders (the British beauty brand's white "Cotton Buds" polish). And Monday, she used a solid swipe of custom, opaque matte Butter London nude at the Karen Walker show.

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So does this mean that nail art is on the way out?

"It was so exciting when nail art first started showing up on the runways," Poole tells THR. "A fingernail is such a small piece of your body and look, I try not to jam too much on to it unless that's what you're going for. Solid is classic, visible and unfussy."

Poole, who's worked with Rose Byrne and Vanessa Paradis, even went so far as to use no color and a mere buff at the Hood by Air show at Milk Studios' MADE Fashion Week on Saturday.

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Perhaps nail art isn't dead just yet (Opening Ceremony, Charlotte Ronson and Rebecca Minkoff each did artsy manicures at their spring '14 shows). But at least upcoming beauty trends dictate that simple options aren't out of the question, either. 

"The nail is about the woman's personality and history," Poole says. "But there's a time and place when anything other than a clean nail works."