Montreal, Canada-based nail tech Catherine Dawe created this stylishly contrasting freeform fall design. “Make sure you have fun and put your own twist on it,” she says.

1. Start with a fresh set of sculpted nails or file and shape the natural nails.

2. Apply two coats of your base colors. Keep the ring fingers the same color, but switch all the other colors from hand to hand — where there is black on one, there should be white on the other. Pictured here: Nightfall, Pure, and Blush in Luxio by Akzentz.

3. Apply Shine On by Akzentz (a tack-free top coat). Do not cure. Drip some white gel over the black gel and black gel over the white gel and let it spread. “Don’t overthink it, just let it go where it goes and cure it when you like the results,” says Dawe.

4. On the ring fingers, add some dots of varied sizes along the inner side of the nail using a thin nail art brush and Nightfall.

5. Add some gold foil to the pinkies. Make sure to break it down into little pieces and create a frame around the nails.

6. Add some crushed foil to the middle fingers in the dots made in the prior steps. Add a layer of top coat so the foil can adhere to the nail.

7. Add a premade Swarovski cluster or make it on the client. “The choice of the colors here is very important; we want to have the same colors on the black and white,” says Dawe. Use seasonal colors, in this case dark red and green, and break it up with a classic clear Swarovski crystal. Fill in the top of the cluster with a smaller crystal to make it shiny from all angles and hide the gel as much as possible.

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