But at the end of the day, unless the top of your resumé reads "celebrity," couture is just fun eye candy for 99% of us. Still, there
is one way to get in on the A-list lifestyle: paint the designs onto your nails.
"Nail art should always just be an extension of your style and personality," says Madeline Poole, celebrity manicurist and Sally Hansen's Global Color Ambassador. "There are so many elements of a dress that make it worth recreating on nails: Color, materials, patterns, and abstract lines are a few things I look for when doing so. The gowns [from this year] are all so different from one another, but are still equally chic and on-trend."
So much so, that we asked Poole to turn the year's best fashion moments into badass manicures and teach us how to DIY 'em. Best of all, even if you buy every single polish mentioned, you're still saving about a trillion dollars compared to that Valentino dress.
Yara Shahid Shahid may have left her hair and makeup simple for this year's SAG Awards, but her striped Naeem Khan dress was anything but basic. "I love that this look is busy, but also simplistic and chic," Poole said. "It's young and fresh — and perfect for spring and summer," says Poole.
"Adapting this look from the dress to the nail was straightforward, and it worked because of how bold it is," Poole said. "The bright colors are broken up by the negative space and the black accent stripes make it wearable." To DIY, use a striping brush to apply stripes of polish in purple, white, peach, mint green, yellow, black, and navy blue. (Make sure to leave a negative space stripe on each nail.) "If you don't have a steady hand, you can also use nail tape or regular household tape by cutting it into a small piece and applying it on the line below where you will paint the stripe," she says.
Start from the base of the nail, working your way down to the tip with alternating colors. Complete the look with a swipe of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat, available at CVS.
Jessica Biel Biel's gold Kaufmanfranco dress was both old Hollywood and edgy. "To me, this was the most glam dress," Poole says.
"Using a silver-gold polish to create this look helped draw in the details from the dress and necklace, and really made it stand out," she says. "Metallics can be worn by any woman who loves a little bit of glam in their world. It is an easy way to dress up an outfit without having to put in too much effort." Recreate it by painting on stripes of a chrome gold polish with a nail art brush. "Have fun with it — the stripes do not have to be perfect, nor do they have to be the same on every nail."
Just make sure you leave a little negative space between the lines to replicate the effect of the gold sequins on the dress. "Using a nail art brush and silver nail polish, paint the base of the nail in a concave swoop using the shape of the cuticle as a guide to create the line," Poole instructs.
Ruth Negga Negga walked the Academy Awards red carpet in a bright Valentino dress and blue ribbon that symbolized support for the ACLU. "During awards season, the carpets are flooded with sophisticated, clean evening gowns, so to have something that encompasses all the above, as well as brightens the mood, is what really struck me with this look," Poole says.
"The dress was bright and bold, and the blue ribbon was subtle but still
very noticeable," she says. "That's what makes this look so easy to read on the nail. The concept was to have parts of the ribbon in blue as part of the design, and then to leave the base color bright to draw attention to it." First, swipe on two coats of red polish (Poole used Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Scarlet Starlet). Using a nail art brush and sky blue shade, like the brand's Miracle Gel in Rhythm & Blue, paint stripes onto the index and ring fingers, sticking to the edges and the tips of the nail. (This helps create an effect that reads as if the design is falling off the nail, she says.) On the thumb, pinky, and middle fingers, apply a triangular shape using the nail art brush and again, keep to the tip and base of nail. Apply a second coat of blue to make the color really pop, then finish with a clear top coat.
Thandie Newton Newton fired up the the Golden Globes red carpet with her off-the-shoulder Monse gown and sparkly copper accents. "The dramatic sequins at the bottom created the perfect balance — and on the nail, it had the exact same effect," Poole says.
"A look like this is well-suited to a short nail," she advises. "The metallic accent really stands out against the white base color, so having the nail short keeps it looking chic. You can also wear it both day and night because the white keeps its fresh and poppy, while the touch of metallic brings in an element of glam." Start with two coats of white polish. Then, using a nail art brush and a rose gold-like metallic, like the
Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Terra-Coppa, paint the tip of the nail in the design to give it a dripping effect. "You don't want it to look too perfect — that's the style of the design," she says. Place a few drops of the gilded color to create the effect of a drip just above the metallic in the white space. Apply a second coat of Sally Hansen Miracle Gel in Terra-Coppa to make sure it pops.
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