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NY Fashion Week F/W 08

The Nail Files – Behind the Scenes at NYFW with CND – Part 3

In the third and final installment of our Nail Files journey with CND, we’ll be looking at custom blending. Or to you MUA nail board girls, the art of the Frankenpolish. If you missed the previous two segments, be sure to check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Custom blending is what intrigued me the most during my visit with CND Education Ambassadors Kristina Baume and Shelena Robinson at their production suite. Figuring out the perfect combination of colors to precisely match a swatch of fabric or Pantone shade is such an art form. Having a keen eye for color and a vivid imagination is key. Plus it just sounds like a lot of fun.

The process reminds me of mixing finger paints as a kid, learning about the color wheel and how yellow and blue make green. Of course for Kristina and Shelena, creating an ideal hue is serious work and they have time constraints to adhere to. So the pressure is intense even with all the tools they have on hand; a Pantone guide, various lighting options (fluorescent, incandescent and daylight) and a flow chart containing all the CND shades (including international exclusives).

What amazed me most is all the colors that go into the blends. Colors you wouldn’t even imagine. Like neon or orange in a soft gray. Glow-in-the-dark purple in a deep blue. Shimmer in a creme.

According to Kristina, a lot of times when a shimmer or micro-glitter polish is used in a blend, it doesn’t result in a sparkly shade. A shimmer based polish adds reflectiveness, depth and shine to the final hue. That even if a shade appears shimmery in the bottle, it can dry with a creme finish. This is the reason they present color options to designers on the nail and not in the bottle. The sparkle can be deceptive.

Get The Look – Nordic Grey Creme from Costello Tagliapietra F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle Retro White with 22 drops Black Platinum, 10 drops Voodoo and 8 drops Hot Pop Blue.

Note: I only used 4 drops of Hot Pop Blue and substituted Color Club Black for Voodoo. CND does not recommend mixing brands so blend at your own risk.

Get The Look – Heather Grey at Catherine Malandrino F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle of Nordic Grey Creme (above) with 1/2 bottle of G’listen

Adding G’listen to the blend creates a warmer, slightly shimmery gray.

Get The Look – Custom Blue at Karen Walker F/W ’08

Mix 1/2 bottle Blue Blood with 1/2 bottle Studio 54

Note: Blue Blood is discontinued but can still be found on eBay until CND decides to bring it back. PLEASE Bring It Back!!

While I don’t have an exact recipe for the shimmery violet gray shown at the Twinkle F/W ’08 show, it certainly has the most diverse color combination I’ve seen yet.

A mix of Voodoo, Hot Pop Yellow, Kumquat Dahlia, G’listen, Rock Royalty, Blue Nirvana

Finally, one of CND’s Spring collection shades is a custom blend used during NYFW for Spring/Summer 09

Get The Look – Fill a CND bottle with Retro White up to the bottom of the C. Add Voodoo to the top of the C plus 6 drops NFS, 6 drops Hotski to Tchotchke and 6 drops Hot Pop Blue.

Note: NFS is another discontinued color but you can find it on Goddess Within and eBay.

The result – a gorgeous cool toned, medium grey creme.

Bringing you this series about CND at NYFW has been so much fun. I hope you have enjoyed it. I want to thank CND, Kristina Baume and Shelena Robinson for granting me such amazing access and taking the time to share their passion with all of us. In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from Kristina that really sums up why I am so fanatical about nails. “Nails are not just nails, they’re accessories.”

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.

The Nail Files – Behind the Scenes at NYFW with CND

In this installment of the Nail Files, I’ll be taking you on a three part journey behind the scenes of the craziness that is New York Fashion Week. Each season CND dominates the backstage nail scene, collaborating with some of the biggest fashion designers in the business to bring their nail vision to the fashion world. Spearheaded by Co-Founder and Style Director Jan Arnold, CND has been a presence at Fashion Week for almost ten years now.

Every season the CND team creates nail concepts for Fashion Weeks across the globe. And with each passing year, their client roster continues to grow. In New York alone, they work on over sixty shows. Can you imagine what goes into planning that kind of operation? Well, last February I was at NWFW and had the chance to find out first hand.


In addition to going backstage and seeing the artists at work, I had the opportunity to meet with CND Education Ambassadors Kristina Baune and Shelena Robinson. Kristina and Shelena work in the CND production suite at a hotel near Bryant Park where they create all the custom tips and colors used at the shows.

Three days before Fashion Week begins, Shelena and Kristina arrive in New York to begin production, working non-stop throughout the week. Often sleep deprived from all-nighters or eighteen hour workdays, I met them mid-FW insanity and they were so charming and friendly. Though it’s not all work and no play, they do have some downtime to watch a movie and relax.

I learned that in the beginning CND did all their production in advance, out of state. But due to a shipping error a few years back, the tips for Baby Phat, Heatherette and L.A.M.B.’s first FW show didn’t arrive. So after scrambling to NYC nail supply stores and pulling an all-nighter to replace the tips, they wisely moved production onsite.

To cover all the shows, CND puts together three or four backstage teams armed with 6 bottles each of their current collection, the “popular” core collection colors, including nude favorites Serenity and Negliee, and their upcoming line in addition to any custom colors the designer may have requested. They have to be prepared for any last minute color changes. And even though there are designers that don’t want any polish on the nails, CND artists are still on the scene providing manicures/pedicures and nail treatments.

For Fall 2008, Jan Arnold and the CND team dubbed their color concept “Neutrals of the Night” with two sides of the story, Techno Chic and Savage Chic.

Techno Chic is futuristic and cool toned. Consisting of gray, black, gunmetal, silver, leather-like texture and stone looking adornments. Savage Chic is warmer and earthier with more natural tones. Gold, copper, feathers and pearls. Texture is a big trend they’re seeing for fall with a lot of designers wanting a matte finish. At the moment, CND doesn’t make a matte top coat but I hear it’s in the works. Tip: use the gray side of their girlfriend buffer on a dry top coat to give a matte look.

I had such a great time chatting with Kristina and Shelena. They are artists in the truest sense of the word. And meeting all the backstage team members was fantastic. The entire CND team was so accommodating, making my first FW experience a memorable one.

Now you all have heard me raving about the amazing dove gray in CND’s fall collection. Let’s get real, I’ve been raving about light gray in general. But what spawned that love was seeing the CND version on a member of their PR team. Unfortunately that collection is one we’ll never see but don’t despair because I will show you how to recreate it yourself so stay tuned.

In the next part of The Nail Files series we’ll be looking at the custom tip process and all the amazing concepts Kristina & Shelena come up with.

Be sure to check out Part 2 & Part 3 in this series.

Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Fall 2008 Preview

Backstage at the Tracy Reese Fall/Winter 2008 show I had the pleasure of previewing the Fall Sally Hansen Salon line. Tracy Reese collaborated with the wizards at Sally Hansen bring us yet another fabulous fashion inspired collection. According to the reps I met, the team from Sally Hansen sits down with Tracy to review her swatches and takes them back to the R&D department. In turn, they create 60+ shades from which Tracy hand picks the finished collection and names them with her creative team.

Fall 2008 is all about surprising pairings on the Tracy Reese runway: high-tech and natural, metallic and sheer, and rustic and refined are just a few of the bold juxtapositions. It’s a collection charged with the forces of nature, the beauty of art, and the power of abstraction. Together Tracy Reese and Sally Hansen translated these concepts into ten rich and dramatic nail lacquers that are as wearable as they are fashionable – on and off the runway.

As I reported earlier, Torrid Bloom was the shade chosen for the “Veiled Nail” runway look. The other colors include; Raven’s Wing, Moonstone, Quartz Chameleon, Divinity, The Good Earth, Cruel Heart, Alchemy, Torrid Bloom, Night Lily and Stormy Blue.
I was lucky to bring home a sample bottle of Stormy Blue to test out. It was the shade that called to me the most. You know how I love my blues and Stormy Blue is this amazing metallic steely blue. I heard it being called, “the new navy.” With all the grays I’ve seen coming down the pipe, this shade is the perfect mix of last fall’s navy trend and new mid-tone grays. Given it’s metallic quality, brush strokes were minimal and the bit of glittery sparkle you see in bright light makes this one a must have for blue lovers.Moonstone and Raven’s Wing were my other immediate favorites. Moonstone, a silvery gray shimmer, and Raven’s Wing, a black sparkler, are both high on glitz and very chic. The visible silver glitter in Raven’s Wing sets it apart from the black shimmers we’ve seen in the past.

The Tracy Reese for Sally Hansen Fall collection won’t be out for a while but it’s always fun having something to look forward to.

NY Fashion Week Nail Watch – Venexiana

By on February 12, 2008
in Kiss, NY Fashion Week F/W 08 with 12 Comments
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Kiss Nails invited me to go backstage at the Venexiana show to see the customized tips they created specifically for the designer. And even though I was supposed to be concentrating on the tips, I couldn’t help but find the models’ cupie doll hairstyles simply adorable. I would love to have a doll that resembles either of these beauties.On to the nails… Kiss custom designed a french manicure nail with a crystal accent at the tip. The nails came pre-glued for easy application. A quick soak in acetone helps them peel right off. No damage, no mess.I then snuck into the standing area to take in the show and see the nails hit the runway accenting a luxe collection of fux, satin, lame and metallic fabrics. I was sent home with a set of the tips to try for myself. They were easy to press on and the size range was varied enough that I could find a good fit. My main issue is with the length and brightness of the white tip. You girls know how I feel about bright white french manis (not a fan!). Also, since I keep my nails pretty short I felt somewhat paralyzed from functioning properly. However, they were easy to remove and I like that the design included the lunula to make the nail look more natural. And I’ve been told that the regular Kiss nail tips can be filed down to a more comfortable length.
What do you all think? Anyone a fan of DIY nail kits?

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