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The Nail Files – Behind the Scenes at NYFW with CND – Part 2

Previously on the Nail Files, we looked at CND’s involvement in New York Fashion Week. The planning, prep and history. In this installment we’ll go in depth, talking about custom tips including the labor intensive design/production process and how to take these looks from the runway to the real world.

With no formal training in art, let alone nail art, it is the pure genius and creativity of CND Education Ambassadors Kristina Baume and Shelena Robinson that bring these amazing creations to life. Each season, the CND team meets with the designers to discuss their concept, inspiration and desired nail look. When custom tips are requested, it is up to Kristina and Shelena to take take those ideas back to the production suite and create multiple nail looks to present.

With a 1920s theme to inspire them, some of the concepts presented to Kimora Lee Simmons for her Baby Phat and KLS collections included black on black, textural designs (see right) and meticulously detailed stained glass tips (below right).

Get the look: Shiny Black on Matte Black. Apply two coats of CND Voodoo and one coat of matte top coat, CND Ridge Out or use gray side of nail buffer on dry CND Speedy. Use a thin nail art brush to apply CND Shiney in desired pattern.

The intricate designs on the stained glass nails took up to six hours to create. For just ONE nail. Though once chosen, the process is fine tuned to make production easier. After all, they have to create eighteen tips for each model to make sure the on site artists can find the right fit. No wonder they pull all-nighters.

The look Kimora chose – black, Swarovski encrusted, almond shaped tips that took ten hours to create. Though the image really doesn’t do them justice. In person, the reflectiveness and shine are captivating.

At The Blondes, the theme was the movie Legend. You know, the magical fantasy film from the 80s starring Tom Cruise (when he was still drool-worthy) and Mia Sara (Ferris Bueller’s girlfriend).

Examples of some of the extremely inventive designs CND presented include a unicorn horn, animal skins, fur, jewels, even a mini Lord of Darkness (pictured right).

Get the look: Distressed Leather. Apply two coats of gold lacquer as a base color. Dilute an Amber polish with a bit of acetone and use a sea sponge to apply it on top.

Get the Look: Leather-like Texture. Apply two coats of Voodoo. While tacky, press balled cellophane wrap gently onto the surface. Apply a thin layer of top coat after the polish has completely dried.

In the end, the designers chose glittery, blingtastic, jeweled tips to accompany their designs (see right). Pairing a different nail tip with each model.

Get the look – Jeweled & Glittery. Jeweled – apply small nail art stones along the smile line (between the pink & white part of the nail) or apply 1-2 stones at the tip. Glittery – ice tips in glitter polish or apply a thin layer as a wash. Try CND VIP Status, Pulse, Last Call or Disco Ball.

In Part 3 of this journey, I’ll show you some of the gorgeous custom blend polishes made just for the runway. You won’t believe the colors they use to get just the right look. You’ll find out how they’re made and how to re-create them at home.

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There Are 9 Brilliant Comments

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  1. dwj says:

    I’ve never seen a matte top coat. Where can I find it?

  2. Susie says:

    Yeah so this is totally unrelated, but I wanted to ask on a newer post: has anyone been able to find the Fall 2008 Sally Hansen/Tracey Reese nail polishes? I know they’re notoriously difficult to find, but I’m dying for them and just want to know if they’re even out yet…

  3. AutumnTwilight says:

    I love this feature SO.MUCH.

    I need to go get a matte top coat now to recreate the black matte look!

  4. Jamie says:

    So many great ideas – thanks for outlining how to get some of those looks…I’ll have to try them!

  5. CincyFan says:

    DWJ – Orly makes a matte top coat. I've heard rumors that CND has one in development as well. And OPI makes a matte Nail Envy treatment that you can use as a base and top coat.

    Susie – I wish I had news for you. I haven't seen the SH Tracy Reese shades anywhere. In fact my local Bed Bath & Beyond still had some of the Spring colors on display. I'll keep hoping they roll out sometime soon.

    Autumntwilight – Thank you. I'm so glad you enjoy it. Please let me know how the look works out for you.

    Jamie – Thanks. What look is your favorite?

  6. ebayfashionaddict says:

    These are AMAZING and so much fun. Love this post!

  7. Tiff says:

    Looks like a fun look. Have you ever seen japanese nail art? they’re just simply amazing:

  8. yummy411 says:

    hey michelle, do you know why most nails used for fashion shows are oval? is it just the way precut press ons are shaped? why not square? i heard ovals are (for acrylic wearers, which i know they don’t use in a fashion show) more complicated to shape. any thoughts?

  9. Daedre says:

    This has to be up there as one of your TOP posts! So inspiring! Makes me want to paint my nails twice a day to try out all the new looks!

    Thanks for doing the “dirty work” for us!! Fantastic post!