When Fashion Meets Nails

NAILS editor is up close at this year's runway shows with CND's Jan Arnold.

<p>CND co-founder Jan Arnold (center) and educator Jackie Correa (right) discuss last-minute touchups on one of the model's nails backstage at GenArt.&nbsp;</p>

This spring’s fashion week, held in New York City last September, was a little different this year: I was there. Thanks to Creative Nail Design, I got to hang out backstage at the GenArt show and rub elbows with supermodels, makeup artists, photographers, consumer magazine editors, and some of the best nail techs in the world. For the second year in a row, Creative was the sole nail sponsor, creating exclusive designs for three of GenArt’s up-and- coming designers fashions. The scene was a madhouse backstage as I tripped over hairstylists, makeup artists, nail teams, and camera crews who were in a rush to get to the models.

<p>The techs' artistic abilities helped to express the designer's vision. Tawfik Mounayer's classically tailored American sportswear with a Middle Eastern flourish was complemented by CND's medium length tone-on-tone French manicure with some models wearing personalized geometric designs.&nbsp;</p>

GenArt showcased Spring 2003 collections of three of its most exciting alumni designers during 7th on Sixth fashion week in Bryant Park. This was GenArt’s fourth season participating in New York fashion week. GenArt is the leading arts and entertainment organization dedicated to showcasing the best emerging talent in film, fashion, and the visual arts. GenArt invites rising womenswear, menswear, and accessory designers to participate free of charge.

Of course I was there to soak up the new “nail culture” that’s been sweeping the shows both backstage and on the runway for the past few years. It seems each year designers are more privy to the wonders nail designs can do for their collections This year three GenArt designers — Maria Marta Facchinelli, Rami Kashou, and Tawfik Mounayer—along with top designers Carolina Herrera and Behnaz Sarafpour and long-time convert Betsey Johnson, decided to take their collections to the next level—with exclusively designed nails.

“Having Creative Nail Design as one of our sponsors has been amazing,” says GenArt fashion director Mary Gehlar. “They created artwork that adds to the ladylike feel of this season’s clothes.”

The nails were conceptualized months in advance in meetings with Creative members and each designer. Several nail concepts were shown to each designer until the perfect design was picked to complete the look of the collection.

“My clothes are silky, sort of the 1920s meets South American style with attitude,” says Facchinelli. “I have a lot of handmade crochet, sateen organza cotton, and handmade lace. I wanted a soft nail to go with the clothes and Creative gave me just that- I’m very pleased with the results; their team is exceptionally talented.”

Creative developed a special technique that both securely applies the nail tip and protects the models’ nails from being damaged upon removal after the show.

The daunting task of getting the tips and nails applied was done by the Creative team of Jackie Correa, Risé Carter, Phyllis Italiano, Bernadetta Petrone, Jennifer Bragg, and lead team members Monica Leiper and Roxanne Valinoti.

“Working backstage at the GenArt fashion show was amazing,” says Italiano of Melbourne, Australia. “Our team worked together in a way that the result was seamless.The pressure was on to ensure all nails were applied perfectly in a short time span. They had to get on stage and time was drawing near. The overall feeling was electric. To see the models go onto the catwalk, knowing that the picture was finally complete with hair, makeup, clothes, and nails was priceless. What a difference it made to the overall look of the show.”

The trend for this spring leans toward buffed, natural, and perfectly manicured nails with tone-on-tone accents. For clothes, bright bursts of color, chinoiserie accents, metallics, and the classic mini skirt stepped into spring limelight.

“Tawfik and Carolina both went with the same feel and both had feminine, ethereal clothes,” says Creative Nail Design co-founder Jan Arnold. “The nails were edgy and modem, but still soft and subtle.”

Makeup’s motto for spring is anything goes. Green and blue eye makeup, metallic shimmer, subtle cheeks, and sheer lips all showed up on the catwalk.

Most importantly, open-toe shoes made a comeback, just in time to show off spring’s polish colors.

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