Zen With Zing!

Crystal Nail Art at Paris Fashion Week 2018

“Orange is the new Zen,” announced the show notes. “Pink and Gold is my religion,” declared a sweatshirt. Clearly, Manish Arora was in a colorful mood for Fall/Winter 2018. We’re told that the inspiration for his Paris Ready-to-Wear show came from a classical Japanese rock garden—those miniature stylized landscapes, with carefully composed arrangements of rocks, water features, pruned trees, koi carp, and raked sand designed for peaceful contemplation. But this was nature with the color turned all the way up to sizzling psychedelic. Welcome to Wild Earth.

The color palette provided the dominant burst of energy for the nail art that accompanied Arora’s looks, and it played a key role in reinforcing the magic of the hyper-real world he created. We’re talking electric pink clashing with zingy orange, lime green and midnight blue, with shades of glorious purple—this was fingernails resembling miniature artworks. The designer worked with nail art guru Marian Newman (you’ll have spotted her work at Alexander McQueen, Vivienne Westwood, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Gareth Pugh, among others), together with Swarovski Crystalpixie and California’s leading hand, nail and foot beauty specialists CND (Creative Nail Design) to create the stunning effects.

Painstakingly painted with crystallized koi carp to echo the fabrics, each digit was a unique example of extraordinary artistry; but when all the fingers came together, the effect was a shimmering shoal of fish swimming across all ten nails. CND’s Vinylux “Mambo Beat” provided the flaming-hot, orange-red lacquer that was used to set the mood. A subtler nod to Arora’s collection came in the shape of the nails, which were cut in a ballet slipper silhouette in reference to his wooden block sandals. As a final flourish, fancy feathers extended from the index finger to bring movement and a sense of opulence. Three words: mesmerizing, memorable, magical.