The Best Nail Ideas From the S/S 18 Runways

Updated 04/24/19
Product Disclosure

The backstage scene at New York Fashion Week is a mix of hazy hair spray air, mass chaos, and models being ushered from station to station. It's insane, but it's an exciting, fascinating kind of insane. As beauty editors, even amidst all the pandemonium, it's our duty to carefully study the hair and makeup looks, but an often overlooked aspect that invariably (yet subtly) ties the entire look together is the models' nails.

Designers work with top polish experts in the industry like Jin Soon Choi and Deborah Lippmann to flesh out a nail look that fits in with the vibe of the collection, and a team of manicurists gets to work on the models, often in tandem with the hairstylists and makeup artists at once on the same girl. (If you thought painting your own nails was hard, imagine trying to paint someone else's while 100 people swarm around you, pushing and shoving.) But again—it's a good kind of insane.

This season, we saw a lot of neon nails, "glossy" digits, and stunning nail art. Take a look at our favorites below.

sheer and red nails
Essie

Athleisure nails popped up at a few different shows this season, nodding to stripped track pants and gym wear. Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia sought inspiration from the classic varsity letter jacket and worked with Rita Remark for Essie to create an "M" on the models' thumbs and parallel white stripes on every other nail. Each nail was then topped with a high-gloss Speed. Setter topcoat ($10), to "mimic the glow of the gym floor."

yellow shirt with blue tipped nails
Christian Louboutin

Manicurist Alicia Torello created an abstract nail design, inspired by the floral and dotted patterns within Novis's S/S 18 collection. Manicurists painted a nude base of Sweet Charity ($50), then the architectural wave was created with Baraboum ($50), a bright royal blue, or Pluminette ($50), a vibrant pink. 

80s graphic nail art
Kiss Nails

Inspired by a "fantasy greenhouse," designer Christian Siriano incorporated plenty of bold neons throughout his collection and carried the electric hues into the nail looks. One of the three designs was this neon tweed, which was painted on top of imPRESS Press-On Manicure nails with Kiss Gel Strong Polish in Touch of Lilac, Lemonade, Hot Mama, Pretty Woman, and Lime Green With Envy vertically and horizontally overlapped on top of one another.

basic nails
JINSoon

Jin Soon Choi keyed the nail look at Derek Lam and created a look that represented the idea of wanderlust and the dichotomy between wanting to be somewhere "peaceful and calm but also somewhere wild and bright at the same time." This look is "modest, yet high shine" to play on the dissonance. Get the look yourself with JINsoon polish ($18), in Dew.

blue french tips
Essie

Rita Remark for Essie designed a neon French mani by painting the base of the nail with First Base ($9), then lining the tip with Garden Variety ($9), for a look that feels "classic and fresh."

blinged out nails
CND

The Blonds is known for its intricate, jaw-dropping nails each season, so as expected, the brand's S/S 18 show was no exception. Jan Arnold, co-founder and creative director of CND, worked with creative lead Shelena Robinson to place opulent oversize stones on models' nails to create a "jewel-drenched jungle."

black and white nails
Chill House

Chillhouse (NYC's new spa-café hot spot) and CND collaborated on the nails for the Baja East S/S 18 show to create an alternated nude, white, and black look. To get it at home, oscillate between CND Creative Play in Black & Forth and I Blanked Out along with Vinylux in Unmasked.

Related Stories