From Paris’s most exclusive shows to New York’s downtown designers, fashion month is experiencing a return of inky manicures. After seasons of blank nails, it’s refreshing to see the versatility of a more moody shade, playing out on cybergoth extensions and timeless French tips alike.
“I love black long nails,” Mei Kawajiri tells Vogue of the claws she dreamed up for Balenciaga’s Paris runway. One glance at the New York-based artist’s hands, adorned with long black-tipped acrylics dripping in what she refers to as “dominatrix belly piercings,” proves her promise. To get a high-gloss effect worthy of Balenciaga’s “modern punk style,” Kawajiri looked to a Japanese gel polish from Ricca with a highly pigmented finish. “It’s very black,” she emphasizes.
On the opposite end of the French spectrum, models at Valentino were seen tightly clutching accessories with ultra-chic, short onyx nails that served up a relevant reminder: It doesn’t take more than a coat of black patent-finish paint on one’s natural set to level-up the elegance. The storied house’s oversized coats and vaporous gowns strolled down the catwalk on muses of every gender, each sporting the same timeless manicures.
Multifaceted versions have surfaced in multiple fashion hubs this season. For Halpern in London, Marianne Newman’s opal-flecked coffin claws nodded at the sparkling crystal eye makeup. In New York, Julia Kandalec’s glittering crescent details on licorice Essie nails traced the shape of a French manicure for Christian Siriano’s clever nod to the early noughties essential. NYFW favorite Jin Soon Choi kept it casual at Khaite with intentionally chipped tips. “The collection was based on the NYC edgy working girl who is always on the go,” she explains. Using her namesake Absolute Black polish, Choi wanted the collection’s “unbothered aesthetic to come to life.” Finally, reminding us that she’s the queen of darkwave designs, Kawajiri brought sheets of press-on acrylic tips painted with wavy marbled swirls and abstract eyes to Rag & Bone’s runway, thanks to O.P.I.’s Lincoln Park After Dark polish.
Here, the best formulas to bring the fall runways into an early spring reality: