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Every Week Is Fashion Week: The Top 2 & The Bottom 2

Posted November 14, 2013


Challenge 9, sponsored by CND, asked our Top 4 to use inspiration boards from Spring/Summer 2014 Fashion Week to create three unique looks. Drawing inspiration from designers The Blonds and Michael Van Der Ham, our contestants used a combination of professional nail products and non-traditional materials (X-ray film, clock parts, VHS tape, and a grilled memory card!) to create these fashion-forward looks.

This week’s guest judge was CND’s Jan Arnold. Permanent judges included Gelish’s Danny Haile and the staff at NAILS Magazine.



In no particular order, the top 2 are:




CND’s Jan: Great personality, charisma, and eye for fashionable design! I loved these nails. My only suggestion would be to work on a shorter demo and a cleaner workspace.

Gelish’s Danny: Great structure on the mohawk!

NAILS’ editor Hannah: I can totally see how inspired you were by The Blonds. I really love all three of your nails. They are interesting and very well-constructed. I love the VHS tape design with the movable pieces. So creative and very original! But I especially love your reptile nail. It’s really cool, totally plays off the dress and is also actually kind of wearable. (Well, as wearable as a Blonds-inspired nail can be!) My only advice is to work on your videos. I loved all the useful troubleshooting tips, but you could save time by starting right with the design and showing us your process while you explain your inspiration.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: Buddy’s designs and choice of unconventional materials blew my mind! His designs are extremely unique and beautifully executed, and his tutorials showed his creative (and patient) methods I would have never thought of making such designs. The VHS tape provided an incredible texture to the piece, and the use of a chain to show movement was a brilliant idea! His vision for 3-D art is amazing, and his designs definitely compliment The Blonds fashion collection.

NAILS’ production manager Carla: These designs are incredible examples of modern art on nails that tips its hat to the past. The Bionic design calls to mind body suits in the movie TRON. The Squared Design not only has a modern sculptured quality but achieves movement on the runway — a nice consideration! (Re-purposing strips of VHS is also an unexpected use of outdated media.) However, the Reptilian design is by far my favorite. I love how the sculptured scales suggest movement and the shimmery blue green reminds me of something deeply prehistoric. Wonderful job!

NAILS’ senior editor Beth: Buddy, I am so amazed by the unconventional materials you used and the talent you have. I loved all three looks and I think it’s clear that they were inspired by the edginess that is The Blonds. Genius decision to take inspiration from the designer’s actual clothing in addition to what the models wore and for using CND’s spring line. The scale/peacock nail also reminded me of a mermaid, a look that definitely trended in nail art this past summer. Using the VHS tape was so brilliant! All your designs have this wonderful movement to them and they all explore shapes and iridescent color. This is forward-thinking nail art in my opinion. All three looks are fashionable, on the cutting edge, and would look marvelous walking a runway.





CND’s Jan: Beautiful designs, perfectly executed, and clearly explained. LOVE the C-3PO design…very impressed with the innovative approach. Extra points for creative use of materials.

Gelish’s Danny: Wiring is genius!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: I absolutely love Lauren’s C-3PO nail. A million extra points from me for her use of nontraditional materials (a.k.a. GRILLING a memory card!). I appreciate the way Lauren creates depth on the actual nails themselves in designs one and three. She definitely pushes the envelope. In her video, I like that she incorporated images of the fashion pieces she was modeling her nails off of. It gave us a lot of context and insight into her final product.

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: Lauren’s circuit nail is so creative with depth and ingenuity. With so many wires it could have been messy, but capping the wire ends with an edge-shaped acrylic and a melted memory card? Amazing! Her spinning bead nail is my second favorite design, I could definitely picture it on the runway.

NAILS’ editor Hannah: Your videos are really well done, but I wish you would have shown more of the steps, even if you sped them up a little. I absolutely love how you played off the earpiece and the hairstyles for the first nail…very creative. Love your use of X-ray film! For your second nail, I really like the nail itself, but I don’t love the tinsel…it’s a bit much for my taste…but I can totally see where your inspiration came from. Your C-3PO is my favorite nail in your set. Such a cool idea with the wires and the way you attached them to create texture and dimension. Grilled memory card? That’s just crazy — and I love it! Great shape and I love this nail from all angles.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: Lauren’s resourcefulness is impressive. Sometimes to meet a deadline you have to go with what you have! The use of X-ray paper was an especially cool touch that I wouldn’t have thought to incorporate.



Unfortunately, there always has to be a bottom group. The bottom 2, in no particular order, are:




CND’s Jan: Very professional, extremely well executed demos. All three of the designs can be easily replicated based on clear instructions. LOVE the computer circuit board nail…I want to wear it!! The other two designs just aren’t fashion forward enough.

Gelish’s Danny: Love the microchip!

NAILS’ graphic designer Kim: I love Julie’s designs and the circuit board is so realistic! However, staying with the challenge and CND’s high-fashion runway looks, I can’t see these super cute designs on a high-fashion runway, with the exception of the fun Paradise nail.

NAILS’ production manager Carla: I’m not sure that these lean enough toward runway fashion I’m afraid. You did uses some fun techniques like creating the gold and silver dots with acrylic and foil. I also like that you used a braid for the Open Road design but it may have been more effective if it wrapped around the lower half of the nail versus just sitting on the tip.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: The detailing in Julie’s microchip design is incredible! It was interesting to watch the foil technique to give the nail the metallic and tech-y feel, and the wiring is a great touch. While each tip is fitting for its theme, the “Open Road” tip seems a bit unfinished; the burlap is a nice choice for material, but perhaps it could’ve fitted the nail more physically as opposed to putting it on the tip.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: Of her three designs, Julie’s microchip nail is my favorite. I also love Julie’s YouTube videos — they are short, sweet, and easy to follow. I don’t feel the “paradise” and “open road” nails are high-fashion enough for a Fashion Week challenge. The materials are innovative but the designs are prosaic.





CND’s Jan: These designs are creative and fanciful but not very fashion forward. They are a little too “cartoony”. I also thought the demo was hard to watch because the time lapse was too fast.

Gelish’s Danny: The shoe is a great touch!

NAILS’ assistant editor Brittni: Design number two is my favorite from Ryoko’s set! I can definitely see a model from the Blonds collection wearing that down the runway. It exemplifies the type of complex dimension you’d expect to see on nails during fashion week. However, I felt that design number one was a bit out of place and that Ryoko could have been more descriptive in her video.

NAILS’ graphic designer Yuiko: What amazing craftsmanship with the stiletto! And to watch her make the stars so evenly with such ease is very amusing. She makes creating 3-D designs look so effortless. The nail designs are all very beautiful, each with a blast of color and texture. Though they are all visually pleasing, I wish there was more of a difference between the second and third designs. Maybe utilizing other materials could provide a varying look.

NAILS’ managing editor Sree: Ryoko didn’t play to her strengths of illustration this week, and I think that was a mistake. The middle nail with the silver spikes may pass muster in a Fashion Week atmosphere but, while the other two may appeal to an international audience, I don’t think they embody U.S. couture.

NAILS’ production manager Carla: These designs are fun but don’t get as close to runway fashion as they should. Also, the materials used are fairly conventional. I was hoping to be a bit more surprised by unusual construction and out-of-the box thinking for this challenge.


Check back tomorrow to find out who won this week’s challenge and who’ll be packing up their paintbrushes.