10 NYFW Nail Looks That Blew Our Minds

The sheer breadth of creativity at Fashion Week never ceases to amaze us, and this season was no exception. And nowhere was that more evident than with nail art.
Just when we thought we'd seen it all, the nail maestros backstage whipped up a new set of crave-worthy nail looks that set our jaded hearts aflutter. In addition to the season's dominant hues of burgundy, beige, and navy, there were tons of cool new designs just begging to be copied. Here, you'll find 10 of our favorite looks, plus the scoop, straight from the pros who created them, on how to snag them for your own digits.
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Rebecca Minkoff
At Rebecca Minkoff, the Haven Spa nail team, working with Essie polishes, created what they called a "Double Reverse French." It consisted of painting nails with two coats of Jazz, a taupe shade, followed by a stripe of Wrapped In Rubies and one of Midnight Cami, to create a shimmery, bejeweled finish at the tips.

Photo: Courtesy of Haven Spa for Essie
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3.1 Phillip Lim
To help bring his neo-noir girl to life, Phillip Lim dreamt up a manicure reminiscent of the panel shading seen in comic books, then had Essie founder Essie Weingarten interpret his sketch into a graphic, moody nail design. The result is a shadowy nail that looks like it came straight out of a graphic novel. To get the look, Essie painted nails with one coat of Licorice, then took Chinchilly and drew a thin strip around the outer edge of the nail, and then highlighted that with Blanc.

Photographed by Nina Westervelt/MCV Photo
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Rachel Antonoff
To complement the punchy fern pattern that ran throughout Rachel Antonoff's collection, CND's Candice Manacchio replicated the design on nails. First, she painted nails with two coats of Flashpoint, then used a nail-art brush to copy the fern with Brilliant White and Anchor Blue. Matching your nails, not just to the color of your outfit, but to the pattern, texture, or exact finish of your clothes, is going to be a big trend for fall.

Photographed by Erin Yamagata
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Pamela Love
Pamela Love wanted her factory girls to sport a gritty yet glamorous mani that was an artistic interpretation of a dirt-encrusted nail. Working with Essie, manicurist Elle used Little Brown Dress to create an ombré effect, layering nails in "steps" of coats to make a freehand gradient. She then applied a coat of sparkly As Gold As It Gets to help add that gritty texture and to enhance the metallic, tribal-inspired accessories in the collection.

Photo: Courtesy of Essie
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Nicole Miller
To create the trippy "time machine" manicures at Nicole Miller, CND's Wanda Ruiz painted nails with Plumville, Electric Orange, Bicycle Yellow, and Anchor Blue, using a detail brush to paint on each swirl.

Photo: Courtesy of CND
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Alice + Olivia
This season, we saw nail polish strips become more popular at Fashion Week, as many backstage teams chose to use them for their simplicity and time-saving application. One of our favorites was the textured, black-and-gold glitter nail that the Sephora by OPI team used on models at Alice + Olivia — they were similar to some of the fabrics from the collection and really played up the "coquette cool" effect of the show.

Photographed by Tracy Wang
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Rachel Antonoff
This starry night design at Rachel Antonoff is the grown-up way to do tie-dye. To create the effect of "the nighttime sky on a lake," Manacchio painted nails with two coats of Midnight Sapphire, then used a sponge to overlay Eclectic Purple and Studio White, and finished with a coat of Effects in Sapphire Sparkle.

Photo: Courtesy of CND
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Christian Cota
We saw lots of Southwestern influences on nail art this season, including this "terracotta" effect at Christian Cota. To get the look, Manacchio used a makeup sponge to apply Chocolate Milk from the cuticle halfway down the nail, then added Putty from the middle of the nail to the tip, blending with the sponge. While the polishes were still wet, she painted on Super Matte top coat to combine the two colors and finish the look.

Photo: Courtesy of CND
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Betsey Johnson
You can always count on Betsey Johnson to have some fun with her beauty look. This year, Renee Meyers for Sephora by OPI created a striped nail using a shimmery silver shade from the brand's forthcoming collaboration with the designer (more on that later). The stripes matched the design of the tights that some of the models sported on the runway — yet another example of the nails-that-match-your-clothes trend we've been seeing so much of this season.

Photo: Courtesy of Sean Christopher
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Behnaz Sarafpour
These reflective, mercury manis at Behnaz Sarafpour were futuristic, funky, and hella sexy. Get the look with some reflective nail wraps, or try a more toned-down version by layering on multiple coats of a metallic silver polish with micro-shimmer.

Photo: Courtesy of CND
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