A daring manicure has become just as statement-making as the of-the-moment accessory or the season's most-wanted shoe—it's a dip into the outrageous without being over the top—so we couldn't help zeroing in on New York Fashion Week's hottest spring 2011 nail trends. While nude shades held court at many of the shows, including Marc by Marc, Catherine Malandrino, and Thakoon, we spotted five eye-catching trends that really nailed it.
1. Moon Manicures—These moon manis made for a beguilingly fun, retro feel: Butter London kept the vibe refined with a nude base color while model's at Ruffian sported nails with a rounded, black French tip and monogram, matching the 1940s French Foreign Legion-themed collection.
The Tip: Sometimes you need more than a steady hand to get these moon shapes looking crisp. A nail art pen offers you more control if you can't manage a brush!
The Tools: Sally Hansen Nail Art Pen, $7.48, available at Ulta; Butter London Nail Lacquer in Yummy Mummy, $14, available at Beauty.com; Butter London Nail Lacquer in Union Jack Black, $14, available at Beauty.com; CND Nail Polish in Washed Down White, $9, available at Time To Spa; CND Nail Polish in Putty, $9, available at Time To Spa; CND Nail Polish in Blackjack, $9, available at Beauty Brands. Ruffian photo via CND. Vena Cava photo by Mr. Newton.
2. Metallics & Gold Foil—The flash of metal got an updated, gritty twist for spring 2011: CND manicurists layered an iridescent top coat over a dark gray at 3.1 Phillip Lim, the nails at Gottex also got the CND treatment, with a mix of a Silver Chrome, Putty and Ice Blue Shimmer, while the distressed, gold nails at Cushnie et Ochs topped off the collection's earthy, fairy vibe. Dashing Diva's Patty Yankee used gold foil to achieve the look, but a deliberately chipped gold polish does the trick too.
The Tip: Paint a layer of clear basecoat and messily apply gold foil onto your nail tips with a tweezer. Wait until dry, crumble the excess gold foil off, then secure with a layer of clear topcoat. To rock the look with gold polish, use a small piece of plastic to block the parts of your nail you don't want to paint, and randomly reposition it on your nail as you apply gold polish to the tips with short strokes.
The Tools: Dashing Diva Nail Lacquer in Golden Opportunity, $8, available at Dashing Diva; CND Nail Polish in Copper Shimmer, $11, available at Beauty Brands; Revlon Nail Anamel in Gold Get 'Em, $3.89, available at Target; Charlotte Russe Two-Way Nail Art Brush and Pen, $3.99, available at Charlotte Russe. 3.1 Phillip Lim photo courtesy of CND; Cushnie et Ochs photo courtesy of Dashing Diva/Eric Yu.
3. Pop Art Graphics—Free-spirited designers, naturally, got away with nail polish pattern-play this spring: Butter London's Nonie Creme used bright pastels (the pink shade launches this spring) and a bold blue that matched the eclectic, girlie vibe at Betsey Johnson. The bold makeup at ZSpoke required just as adventurous nails—and OPI heeded the call of the wild with a colorful cheetah pattern—while Minx kept the party going at Alice + Olivia with a bright polka-dot nail.
The Tip: For really precise graphic nails, we recommend a good Minx salon (find a location here). If you're confidant in your nail art abilities, invest in some opaque nail precision pens and go wild!
The Tools: Butter London Nail Lacquer in Cheeky Chops, $14, available at Beauty.com; Butter London Nail Lacquer in Royal Navy, $14, available at Beauty.com; Charlotte Russe Two-Way Nail Art Brush and Pen, $3.99, available at Charlotte Russe; OPI Nail Lacquer in Who the Shrek Are You? and Yodel Me Cell, $8.50 each, visit OPI.com for stores. Alice + Olivia photos by Betsey McClain and Lianna Tarantin; Betsey Johnson photo courtesy of Butter London; ZSpoke photo by Betsey McLain.
4. A Study In Neutrals—Neutral nails maintained the au naturel spring-like feel, but these styles took it to the next level: Tracy Reese gave us a sneak peak at Sally Hansen's Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Wicked Bamboo, due out in 2011. Dashing Diva's Patti Yankee whipped up a gorgeous, pointed black and white French Chevron nail for Jose Duran, and at Prabal Gurung, nails were a gorgeous pale beige intersected by a thin, coral line.
The Tip: Don't match the nude shade too closely to your skin tone, lest you want to look like you have mannequin hands. Go a few shades lighter or darker, and choose a color with a high gloss.
The Tools: Priti NYC Nail Polish in Dawn Rose, $12.50, available at Priti NYC; Zoya Nail Polish in Purity, $7, available at Zoya; Sally Hansen Nail Polish in Peachy Keen, $7.99, available at CVS; Dashing Diva Nail Lacquer in The Met, $8, available at Dashing Diva; Ginger + Liz Nail Polish in Reality Check, $12, available at Ginger + Liz. Jose Duran photos courtesy of Dashing Diva/Ann Lawlor. Tracy Reese photo courtesy of Sally Hansen. Prabal Gurang photo courtesy of Sally Hansen.
5. Decals—From intense sparkle to a single diamond decal, the array of nail art at the Blondes show were both eye-catching and covetable, and, CND nail artist Kristina Estabrooks really used a combination of crushed glass and Swarovski crystals to get that glint.
The Tip: Some heavy-duty nail glue will ensure your decals stay put. Layer a fast-drying topcoat over to set everything in place. If you want the look but aren't ready to commit, look for polishes with large pieces of glitter for some subtler razzle dazzle.
The Tools: Nail Art Rhinestone Wheel, $8.95, available at Amazon; Deborah Lippmann Nail Color in Marquee Moon, $16, available at Barneys New York; Lippmann Collection Nail Lacquer in Happy Birthday, $18, available at Lippmann Collection; Kiss Rhinestones, $2.79, available at Beauty Online Supply. The Blondes photos courtesy of CND.