Online Exclusives

Falling for Color

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | July 31, 2012

Nail polish marketers fight for the finish for Autumn 2012.

Illustrious nail colors are still going strong into 2012—as seen with the latest launches from leading brands like OPI, CND, China Glaze and a few new contenders, too. According to global consulting and research firm Kline & Company, makeup sales were boosted by an astonishing near 30% growth of the nail polishes subcategory in 2011 (see our print edition’s look at the color cosmetics marketplace this month). The magnitude of this growth was partly caused by the emergence of new trends, including bold colors and special effects that attracted women of all demographics.
According to SymphonyIRI Group, colorful nails are still sizzling hot, as nail polish sales leaped a whopping 23% to $1 billion in food, drug and mass-market outlets (excluding Walmart) for the 52 weeks ended June 10, 2012.
Several intertwined factors are driving the nail color marketplace, according to analysts at Packaged Facts of Rockville, MD.A nailcentric fashion culture has transformed women’s nails into stylish accessories, even as a flood of innovative, fashion-forward nail care products empower women to affordably imitate nail salon effects in their own homes.Therefore, growing populations of women make frequent use of DIY nail care products, reported the market research firm.
OPI thinks globally with a German-inspired color collection for Fall.
CND, a pioneer of manicures as runway accessories, worked with 22 global designers including Theory, Victoria Beckham, Moschino and Catherine Malandrino during Fall 2012 Fashion Week in New York and London.
"Manicures are seductive and bursting with color— ripened opaque oxbloods, high shine gold and silver metallics and sophisticated creamy nudes are the hottest hues for Fall 2012," said CND co-founder Jan Arnold.
Aristocratic manicures in saturated royal navy, plum, and dark cherry rouse attention with patent leather finishes for Fall 2012. For example, at Malandrino, nails were custom blended with CND Colours in Plumville and Dark Ruby to achieve a “tough girl” finish. Meanwhile, rich navy CND Colour in Midnight Sapphire submerged "Deep Sea Digits" at Karen Walker. Rachel Antonoff's "Flirty Flower" nails were patriotic and patrician—achieved at home with a detailing brush and CND Colours in Flashpoint, Brilliant White and Anchor Blue.
Dermelect touts anti-aging nail formulations.
Inspired by backstage beauties, talented designers, runways and VIP fashion events, the NYFW 2012 Color Collections by Zoya for Fall 2012 range from full-coverage creams and metallics or shiny sheer jellies.The collections are aptly named Designer, Diva and Gloss.
Maybelline New York is taking over the runway with a new line of nail color that’s the ultimate ready-to-wear accessory, according to the company. The new Color Show Nail Lacquer line offers shades “ripped straight from the catwalks.”
The collection is comprised of two distinct families: Hot Colors and Statement Pieces. Hot Colors offers a range of 30 captivating and daring high fashion shades—from bold tangerines to electric teals. Statement Pieces allow the wearer to make an impact, offering the ultimate runway designs for nails with 10 exclusive, textured finishes inspired by textile classics—including denim, metallic and shredded effects.
Maybelline New York is also leveraging market-leading augmented reality technology from Blippar to allow users to virtually try on shades. Users can download the free Blippar app (available at Apple or Android app stores) and scan the Color Show advertisement to try on all 40 colors. The experience allows users to take a picture of their virtual nails, which they can save to their phone, email to a friend, share on Facebook or tweet. Fans can also visit to explore the Color Wheel and learn how to take their favorite shades from the catwalk to the sidewalk. The experience extends to a Color Show board on Maybelline‟s Pinterest page, where fans can peruse shades of the nail lacquer along with coordinating fashion and accessory items.
Boho style is still in, as seen at China Glaze.
“We are thrilled to bring our consumers a completely new, fresh and different nail color line that takes its inspiration from the runways,” said Ali Goldstein, vice president of marketing for Maybelline New York. “As the Official Cosmetics Sponsor of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York, we see so many inspirational colors and textures come down the runways each season. As the color cosmetics authority, we look to bring the catwalk to the sidewalk for our consumers and nail color is one of the best places to do this.”
According to sources at fellow L’Oréal-owned brand Essie, Classic statement dressing is the look of the moment, and serious silhouettes require a fabulous match of full-force color for nails.
“I absolutely love hearing from women about how Essie color makes them feel,” company founder Essie Weingarten said. “And when they tell me it made them feel powerful and poised in a business meeting, to me, that’s just the best!”
Weingarten created Essie’s Fall 2012 collection, Stylenomics, with these can-do women in mind.
Profound green plays the role of black this season, creating a glorious counterpoint to striking red and lush burgundy tones, according to the company. A neutral “greige” (gray-beige) rounds out the mix.

OPI embraces runway trends with the Germany Collection for Fall/Winter 2012. Drawing inspiration from Berlin, an exciting new fashion hub that blends classic looks with the avant-garde, the collection’s 12 shades offer a mixture of vibrant color, urban-chic neutrals, and reds in variations from light to dark.
“Designers showcased rich colors and striking textures for fall,” explained Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, OPI executive VP and artistic director.“The Germany Collection beautifully complements these looks, with standout shades in various hues of red and burgundy—the season’s ‘new black.’ Sapphire, black olive and lime yellow are married with creamy neutrals in honey, taupe and nude rose.”
“The overall feel of the Germany Collection is elegance with an edge,” she added. “The varied palette of colors adds another accent to the list of special touches—think beadwork, paneling, fur and embroidery—that walked the runways during New York Fashion Week. Wearing these shades on fingers and toes is a great way to accessorize a range of looks for the season.”
Sister brand Nicole by OPI will add on to its nail color collection, sold exclusively at Target, with five new hues for Fall 2012. With richly pigmented formulas in shimmering shades of deep blue, gold, purple, mauve and green, these five hues can be worn as the ultimate accessory to the season’s hottest styles, from military-inspired jackets and heavier brocades to micro floral prints and leather, according to the company.
Also big in the fashion world is today’s Bohemian look. It is refined, feminine and carefree, epitomized by fashion icons like Nicole Richie. China Glaze gives the free-spirited look a fresh, trendy spin with its latest specialty collection, New Bohemian. The chrome-like finishes radiate with high shine and intense color, captivating your senses with every twist and turn, contends the company.
Orly is also looking flashy with its Back to School 2012 collection, Electronica. According to the company, the range “synthesizes the unexpected blend of pure pigments, dense pastels and industrial crème tones. Inspired by the unique blend of nature and the machine, the result is high tech style though a precisely calculated live stream of techno color to fingertips at full volume.”
The anti-aging skin care trend ( is really spanning head to toe—as seen with the latest launch from Dermelect Cosmeceuticals. It’s “ME” collection combines a fast drying formulation with a high shine finish and a healthy “green” dose of vitamins and peptides—offering a colorful solution to the contemporary woman’s beauty concern: aging hands and nails.The six lacquers are the brand’s foray into the colored nail polish category, providing a 2-in-1 range of bright, beautiful crème shades coupled with a manicure extending formula. Infused with ProSina, a pure protein peptide extracted from New Zealand’s sheep’s wool, nails are said to grow longer and more resistant to chipping, peeling and splitting, as healthy and strong nails are always in style, no matter what season.

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