Day 2 of my NYFW experience started relatively late (noon). Knowing my usual travel patterns, I purposely left Saturday morning free so I could sleep in and catch up on the rest I missed while packing for NYC.
Since I had time for a full manicure (no matte polish needed today), I opted for NARS Purple Rain from the Spring collection that is inspired by Catherine Deneuve’s role as Lucille in La Chamade. You know how I love a purple and I have to say this is one of the best colors NARS has put out in a while.
When I first saw the promo pic I thought there was no way this polish could live up to it. We all know the story, vibrant under flash, almost black everywhere else. I’m happy to say that Purple Rain surpassed my expectations. Is it the blue-based purple we were teased with on their site? No, it’s more of a red-grape but the metallic shimmer really gives it something special. Literally everyone who looked at my nails that day asked about the polish and when I say everyone I mean other brands too.
FYI, being in NYC is so outside my normal swatching element that it’s throwing me off my game in terms of photography so know that this pic was taken in my hotel bathroom meaning it’s not 100% accurate.
NARS Purple Rain retails for $16/ea and is currently out of stock on the NARS website but I found it online at Bloomingdales.com and Sephora.com. You can also check with your local NARS counters and Sephora stores.
What’s on your nails today? Have you checked out Purple Rain yet? Is purple still in fashion or totally out?
Disclosure: A product sample was furnished to me by NARS. For more information view my Disclosure Policy.
Last fall during a trip to NYC with a few of my beauty blogging buddies, I had the pleasure of meeting Jin Soon Choi at her eponymous Upper East Side salon for a mani/pedi and a little nail chat. We connected through our mutual friend, the MAC goddess and SeoulDiva herself, Heather Park. Little did I know, Jin was already at work collaborating on the Fall Nail Trend collection for MAC. She hinted at a future collection but couldn’t reveal details.
It wasn’t until last February when I saw Jin and Heather backstage at the Doo.Ri show that I got my first glimpse of Beyond Jealous and info on the rest of the collection. Needless to say, I was DYING over the blackened teal creme and thrilled for Jin’s success.
Learn more about Jin, which of her favorite NARS polishes I tried and hear how she earned the nickname “Bicycle Jin” after the jump!
In The Beginning
Jin came to the US from Seoul, Korea after working in fashion design. To hear Jin tell it, becoming a manicurist is just what you do when you come to the city but the passion in her voice as she talks about nails makes me believe it was her destiny. She started out in a small salon to gain experience but when she learned it was closing she took to her bicycle, riding to clients’ homes to tend to their nails. It was during this “Bicycle Jin” phase of her career that she met Andrea from Glamour who admired Jin’s work enough to help her get an agent and enter the editorial world.
The First Jin Soon Hand and Foot Spa
After gaining success working on photo shoots and with celebrities, Jin decided to open her first salon in the East Village. It was when she hired architect John Coughlan to design the space that she met her future husband. They found and refurbished old school desks and incorporated Jin’s style based on the scrapbook full of magazine clippings she collected. While the following West Village and Upper East Side locations each have their own distinct look, they both represent Jin’s simplistic, refined aesthetic.
Fast Forward To Today
With a chain of successful salons, Jin continues her editorial work alongside some of the greats in the fashion and beauty world. Famed photographer Steven Meisel books her for weeks at a time to work on all his shoots while he’s in NYC. She describes him as sweet and soft spoken and together they’ve made many a memorable Vogue cover. Highly skilled in nail art Jin creates some incredibly intricate designs including a fun spread for Teen Vogue last March.
Jin’s passion for education and proper manicuring techniques has led to a desire to impart her vast knowledge on the nail community. The number of poorly trained techs out there giving improper manicures is staggering and she hopes to find a way to teach them the basics you can’t learn in school. She personally trains her staff so that every guest at her salon receives the same high standard of service.
Jin Fun Facts and Favorites
Loves the PedEgg – That’s no joke. Even though regulations prevent her from using the popular infomercial tool in her salon, she’s a fan of it for home use. In the salon they use a scrub and pumice stone.
Is a film and architecture fan – When she’s not at work in her salons or on set, Jin likes to enjoy simple Korean food, see a movie and walk hand-in-hand with her hubby exploring the unique and diverse architecture of the city.
Has GORGEOUS nails – I experienced some serious nail bed envy with Jin. Despite the amount of work her hands go through, she has flawless, strong nails. She attributes them to genetics and Omega 3s. If only we could all be so lucky.
Reads to improve her English – Jin loves the challenge of deciphering new words to expand her grasp of the language.
The most flattering nail shape is The Jin Soon Shape – Jin warns against following the cuticle line or free edge when shaping nails. Her employees dubbed her signature filing style “The Jin Soon Shape” which is straight and a little rounded at the edge. Somewhere between squoval and flat. I’m modeling it wearing NARS Jungle Red. This was after 5 days. Just LOOK at that amazing wear.
Jin’s first TV appearance was on Tyra – She was brought on to talk about the “fish pedicure” but wasn’t familiar with the technique. After an early morning working with Reese Witherspoon she was rushed to the studio at the last minute and extremely nervous. Jin’s take on the treatment, it’s odd especially since “fish poop a lot!”
The 3 cornerstones of her business - Great music, great tea, great technique. It’s all about customer service and the experience with Jin. Her warm demeanor lends to an atmosphere that feels like you’re sitting amongst friends. During my time at the salon, her clients would just join in the convo, adding their two cents on nail color, the fish pedicure and the need for an Upper West Side locale.
Dark polishes belong on short nails, period – While long, dark talons may be OK in the editorial world, for the everyday wearer, dark polishes look best on short tips.
Loves the edgy, more editorial shades – I just call those “me” colors. Jin digs the greens, grays and funky taupes, like You Don’t Know Jacques, for their edge and sophistication. In fact she recently picked Barielle U-Concrete-Me as one of the “It” colors of the season in US Weekly alongside her creation, MAC Beyond Jealous.
Names Essie & NARS among her fave polish brands - While there are many brands on Jin’s shelves (Chanel, OPI, Zoya, etc) Essie Allure, for a natural look, and NARS Chinatown and Jungle Red are her go-to polishes.
Jin is one of Seche Vite’s legion of fans – The Fanatic Favorite is also Jin’s though when it comes to base coats it depends on condition of the client’s nails. She lists Duri Rejuvacoat and Essie base coats as staples.
The staff are her guinea pigs – Before any product is used on a client, Jin and her employees rigorously test it themselves.
I want to thank Jin for her time and congratulate her on the stunning MAC Nail Trend F/W09 collection. I wish her much happiness and success.
Peace, Love & Polish, Michelle
The ALU Archives focuses on older, beloved shades from the All Lacquered Up stash.
When I posted info about the new “vintage” shades (those two words so don’t belong together) from NARS, a reader commented that she is planning to order some polishes from the Vintage section. Not to be confused with the new “vintage” polish, of course. Anywhoodle, she mentioned Mash and Platoon which got me digging through my NARS collection for this week’s Archives post. After locating both Mash and Platoon, I couldn’t decide which one to wear so I’m making this week a twofer.
For those not in the know, NARS has a Vintage page where they sell limited quantities of discontinued shades. Circa 2006/early 2007 the nail polish section carried treasures like Zulu and Midnight Express at half price! Then when the Sephora Holiday 2007 launch of Zulu happened, those shades disappeared and the price went back up to full retail (boo!!). Even though Zulu is gone there are still a couple of fun and funky greens to be had.
Platoon is currently out of stock but I’m hoping, for crotchfairy’s sake, it makes a quick return. This groovy, metallic yellow-green isn’t really my kind of shade but being the type that likes a well rounded collection, it fills a void.
Now I’m not sure if Mash was named for the 70s era war comedy (which makes the most sense) or the song “Monster Mash” (cuz monsters are green) but each time I see it, I can’t stop humming that tune. Either way it’s a keeper. What could have been just a drab army green has been warmed up by the golden metallic shimmer.
Looking at it vs. China Glaze Wagon Trail, you can see how utterly unique Mash is. While Wagon Trail has a cousin in Revlon Dark Pleasures Talk Dirty, I see nothing that quite compares to Mash.
Mash and Platoon retail for $16 and can be found on NARSCosmetics.com. Make sure you go to the Vintage section under Makeup, not Nails. That’s where the current offerings are sold.
I had heard rumors a few months back that NARS planned to re-release some of their discontinued but not forgotten shades. Could this be the grand triumphant return of Zulu? Could all those that missed out on the great Zulu Sephora collaboration of 2007 have a reason to rejoice? Unfortunately not.
I just learned via Twitter that the NARS Vintage 2009 Nail Polish collection is now available online and while I’m totally digging a couple of the shades, I’m sad to report that there’s no Zulu to be found.
The collection includes:
Blue Lagoon – Iridescent powder blue
Hunger – Hot orange red
Zizi – Clear with peach and gold glitter
ChaChaCha – Semi-sheer tangerine with gold reflections
Tallulah – Rich grape
Adelita – Shimmering pearlescent pink (not pictured)
NARS polishes retail for $16/ea and can be purchase online at NARSCosmetics.com
Did any of you own these colors back in the day? Thoughts?
I’m not a girly pink loving kind of girl. I give that title to my girl Nikki who is pink personified. However, this summer in addition to my major orange fetish, I’m all about a glossy pink nail. But I’m not talking about baby pinks or sheers here. No it’s all about bright, bold, hot pink cremes. Creme finishes give these vibrant hues a chic spin that keeps them from being too garish.
And I’m not the only one feeling this trend. Celebs like Lindsay Lohan, Vanessa Mannillo and Miley Cyrus have all been caught rocking the pink. And even though the hamsters on Big Brother 10 have only been streaming live for a couple days now, one of the contestants, Keesha, has already delved into the nail polish stash to pinkify her nails.
If you want to join the Pretty In Pink-ness here are the shades I recommend. For a slightly softer pink that still makes a splash try: Wet N Wild Dreamy Poppy, Essie Movers & Shakers, OPI Elephantastic Pink, Essie Guilty Pleasures, Orly Butterflies, Nubar Camelot Blossom
And if you want to go for full-on bright, in-your-face fuchsia look for CND Hot Pop Pink, Zoya Jewell, OPI That’s Hot Pink, NARS Schiap, Lippmann Angel Eyes and Nubar Geisha Blaze. (Note: Geisha Blaze & Angel Eyes have extremely subtle shimmer but it doesn’t show on the nail)
Now the trick in pulling this look off is perfect application. Any bubbles, dents or ridges will only be magnified with a creme so prep is the most important step. If you aren’t going to a salon (I don’t) make sure you buff out any flaws and use a great ridge filling base coat, like Seche, to give the lacquer a smooth application surface.