While a few other international fashion shows have started giving nails as much attention as hair and makeup, nowhere has been cranking out trendsetting manicures and nail-art ideas for as long and prolifically as New York. Celebrated nail artists like Miss Pop, Jin Soon Choi, and Rita Remark team up with some of your favorite nail polish and press-on brands to create the manicures that give the runway looks a little something extra.
Check out some of the most impressive, creative, and downright fun manicures spotted on models during New York Fashion Week’s Spring 2020 runway shows and presentations. The clothing may not be hitting stores for a few months, but nothing’s stopping you from getting these nail looks from your favorite salon right now.
Jeremy Scott – If you grew up in the ’80s or ’90s, you can’t help but appreciate the multicolor masterpiece Miss Pop created for Jeremy Scott. Inspired by both Jem and the Holograms and Saved by the Bell, the nails picked up on the array of fun prints sent down the runway, incorporating random combinations of Essie’s silver No Place Like Chrome, cobalt blue Butler Please, turquoise In The Cab-ana, bright pink Mod Square, buttery yellow Hay There, and of course, Licorice. They come together as animal prints, squiggles, beans, splotches, and confetti, with a different mix on every model and every finger.
Pyer Moss – The painterly nails at Pyer Moss were just as innovative as the designer’s makeup and hair. These red, white, and blue stripes look like Jackson Pollack picked up a bottle of nail polish, and the remaining white nail evokes a fun done/undone mismatch.
Rag & Bone – Jin Soon Choi used her own brand’s nail polish to create not one, not two, but six different super-wearable manicure looks for Rag & Bone’s models to wear, four of which are pictured here. Top left is a modern French manicure with a neutral base and black tips, top right features the “confetti” shade Motif atop naked nails, bottom right adds a low-set white dot on a black base, and bottom left features the same white polish — Absolute White — curved along the cuticle atop a brown base.
Alice & Olivia – Fashion week isn’t even over yet, and multiple designers have chosen a return to the French manicure for their nail looks. This take on the classic design combines the reverse French manicure with an actual French manicure. It’s a 2019 version, but that pink-and-cream palette is still recognizable from a mile away.
Ulla Johnson – New York City-based nail salon Paintbox launched its own nail polish collection in June, and the brand didn’t waste any time getting backstage. Mabelyn Martin, Paintbox’s creative director, worked with Ulla Johnson to create a graphic negative space manicure (that seems particularly simple to try at home, we’ll add.) Creating a partial outline of the nail with this curvy design gives the nails a sexy edge by exposing the natural nail while slightly framing it with a rich pop of color.
Khaite – If all the celebrities recently getting French manicures wasn’t enough evidence that the look is back, its presence on the NYFW runways makes it official. Betina Goldstein interpreted the look in a very fresh way with a sheer pink base Essie shade Mademoiselle and white tips painted with Essie’s Blanc, super-thin.
Christian Siriano – There’s been no shortage of creative twists on the French manicure at NYFW. This one, seen on Christian Siriano’s models, looks as if a really chic alien wore a French manicure, with pale-green tips (Essie’s Turquoise & Caicos polish) and multisize flecks of silver glitter (care of Essie’s Set in Stones). Julie Kandalec chose the shades based on Siriano’s collection, but the look would complement everything in your closet.
Rebecca Minkoff – Rebecca Minkoff’s spring collection is inspired by “the modern working woman,” and manicurist Gina Edwards proved there’s plenty of room in that characterization for fun yet sophisticated nail art. She combined several sets of Kiss Gel Fantasy Nails and Masterpiece Nails, adding to the press-on perfection with the brand’s Nail Art Paint to add everything from animal prints to plaid on accent nails. She even proved that Kiss’s Halloween collection can be used well outside the holiday.
Kate Spade – The outfits in Kate Spade’s spring collection boast a wide variety of colors, and so did the models’ manicures. In addition to a few models wearing sheer, pink Mademoiselle (top right), the other Essie colors that made their way down the runway were Yes I Canyon (bottom), emerald green Off Tropic, cranberry-colored Berry Naughty, and Play Date (top left), all of which complemented the show’s shoes.
Tibi – Jin Soon Choi is responsible for this avant garde take on the basic, nude manicure. With JinSoon shades Sandbar, Nostalgia, and Milieu, she painted models’ short, square nails before finishing with Top Gloss and gluing a “hand sculpted wire loop” on the base of each index and middle finger.