Manus x Machina: Lace (Part 2)


The Season 4 finale is based on the 2016 Met Ball theme and art exhibit Manus x Machina. We asked our Top 3 to utilize both handmade and machine-made processes to make high-fashion nail art. The second set is inspired by lace.


Nails were to be done on 10 nail tips (any size). In terms of nail supplies, contestants were allowed to use any items necessary as well as unconventional materials. Each artist also had to submit a Nail Art Gallery tutorial  and Pinterest board of their process. CND’s Jan Arnold then critiqued each set.

Here are the looks they created:

Jonny Pham

I took inspiration from a number of images provided by Jan Arnold, however one stood out in particular – a simple, classy, exquisite picture of a black and nude lace dress. Researching further, I found the designer was Alexander McQueen. Keeping in line with the theme and trying to emulate the image,  I wanted the manus component to be the creation of a set of nails with intricate lace in black and white acrylic. For the machine element, I decided to use tulle as the under layers of the lace and pigmented silvers and Swarovski crystals to reflect that.

Lace is very delicate and feminine, so for this challenge I felt the need to be masculine, yet effeminate and come up with something unusual that was fresh and innovative. The color scheme that I have chosen for this challenge is similar to Part One as I wanted to create a nail collection just like a fashion collection. When I was going through high school, I watched my sister create many wonderful outfits and I remembered attending her fashion show when she finished high school. My sister is always there for me – so this is a way of saying thank you – whilst channeling my creativity and my inner designer. I also wanted to create an innovative, luxurious, and high-end nail collection to reflect Jan Arnold, CND, and her team as they have been at the forefront of the industry for some time and have created many wonderful nail collections for big fashion houses.

Click here to see Jonny’s Pinterest board.

Click here to see a tutorial for Jonny’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: You have delivered a thoughtful balance of Manus x Machina in this set of nails.  I particularly appreciate the lovely sculpted lace and the man made technique behind it. The final set is beautiful, yet somehow too literal. I would like to challenge you to go deeper in your exploration of the challenge by showing us various ways to achieve the requested design element.


Liina Leino
I wanted to continue on the theme from the first part of the challenge (folds and pleats) and use black and white as main colors. The design of my work is very seductive, thus the name “50 shades of lace.”
I used machine-made components like the lace, the fringe, and the metal parts on the nails. Everything else is handmade with acrylics, hard gel, and gel paints.

Click here to see Liina’s Pinterest board. 

Click here to see a tutorial for Liina’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: Your set of lace nails this week continues to illuminate your tremendous creativity and interpretive style. What impresses me most is the elevation of precision in your artistry. You have also managed to do a full on fringe nail that still looks sleek, slim and sexy. I know this is difficult to do!  Your set of nails delivered perfectly on the assignment but somehow feels familiar. I’m wondering how Liina will break out of her own convention.


Tracey Lee

The first thing I think about when I think of lace is a design that is sweet, feminine, and sometimes even slightly seductive. After looking at the images of inspiration, I knew I could go a little bit more dramatic with it. I have incorporated dramatic colors in blacks and greens enhanced with gold. I have worked with holographics in the chrome elements as well as in the lace elements. I wanted to create a look that is seductive, but not sweet. This is a design that may be worn by a strong, confident woman, someone not afraid to show that she can be feminine in theboldest, funkiest kind of way! Certain elements of the flowers are created with lace too. I used a combination of techiques to achieve the lace:
1. Stamping lace designs with lacquer.
2. Dusting designs with chrome to give one a negative lace look over stickers.
3. Lace impressions created with the use of monomer and polymer.
4. Lace structure using 3D pen enhanced with Shrinking Plastic flowers.
5. Embossed lace using Foil Design Gel.

For unconventional items, I used the following:
1. Netting used in packaging of fruits and toys.
2. Metal wire
3. Beading caps

For machine-made items I used the following:
1. 3-D pen to create a lace structure.
2. Shrinking Plastic to create flowers.
3. Pieces of lace to create the petals and for creating the impression in the polymer design.

Andrew Bolton, curator in charge of The Costume Institute mentioned in one of his interviews with the designers from the Manus X Machina exhibit, that it was essential that there should be a seamless integration of the two processes. In order to do this, I used machine-made items (lace) in order to create an impression on the man-made design (acrylic polymer). I hope looking at this design that it evokes just that feeling within you. Where does the man-made process stop and where does the machine-made continue?

Click here to see Tracey’s Pinterest board. 

Click here to see a tutorial for Tracey’s nails. 

Jan’s Feedback: Five “Manus” ways to create lace using nail mediums?  Yes, of course you did!  Your exploration of the design element had depth, creativity and exhilarating precision. Your research and sources of inspiration for this part two challenge went well beyond the expected and produced a set of nails that went way beyond expectation!  Instead of Manus x Machina you delivered Manus x Maxima!  The nails are high end couture artistry!  My advice to you for next weeks challenge is to let a picture say a thousand words in your tutorial, therefore allowing you to reduce heavy copy.


Voting for the final sets of nails will take place here in March.