Nail Art Goes Nomadic

If you thought that nails had reached the max, then you hadn’t counted on the decorative genius of California’s pioneering CND (Creative Nail Design). At New York Fashion Week FW17, they dialed it up to eleven for their sixth season of working with Johnson Hartig’s label, Libertine. The influence was gypsy, the attitude punk, as seventeen unique nail styles appeared, making as big an impact on the runway as the clothes. As Hartig put it: “CND’s nails are unlike anything else out there.”

Co-founder and Style Director Jan Arnold and creative lead, Heather Davis, guided the CND Design Lab Team through the fashion story that inspired the look: the liberated, flamboyant style of Romanian gypsies and the colorful hand embroidery by Uzbekistani women. 

The nail artists embraced the gypsy as an icon of freedom by upcycling, recycling, and handcrafting a wild, nomadic patchwork for the nails. Intricate, hand-painted roses in primary and secondary colors grounded the theme. Roses were then spot-varnished or left powdery-matte, while backgrounds were either liquid-laquered or treated to replicate silk velvet. Nails were then adorned with crystals in Clear, Indian Pink, and Aurora Borealis. Thread, chains, beads, fringe, feathers and yarn created a range of eye-catching looks from sparkling needlepoint embroidery. It took the team over 400 hours, in total. “Every season, I think we can’t take it any further, and then we do! CND continue to blow my mind with their artistry again and again,” says Johnson Hartig. “It’s breathtaking.”

Photography Getty Images for CND
Video Courtesy of CND