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Nailing It on the Runways

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | February 20, 2013

An array of enamel shades appear during New York Fashion Week.

The holiday season delivered an array of colors and textures in both nail and lip color to department store counters, according to The NPD Group, Inc., a global information company. A small, but growing category, the nail segment, consisting of color enamel, base/top coats and nail care, was even more impressive. Segment sales totaled $33 million through November 2012 and posted a 49% gain in dollar sales over 2011. Color enamel alone increased an astounding 51% in dollars year-to-date 2012.

The consumer has found new ways to express herself in beauty through an assortment of nail colors with unique finishes and textures—from gel and caviar to velvet and sequin nails, according to NPD. Here’s a look at the most popular brands in department stores last year:

The Top-Selling Lip Colors
January through November 2012
1. Mac Lipstick
2. Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge
3. Lauder Pure Color Lipstick
Source: The NPD Group / BeautyTrends

The Top-Selling Nail Enamels
January through November 2012
1. Chanel Le Vernis Nail Enamel
2. Butter London 3 Free Nail Lacquer
3. Dior Rouge Vernis Nail Lacquer
Source: The NPD Group / BeautyTrends

OPI teamed up with Chloe Sevigny and Opening Ceremony for some stylish nail looks.
“The beauty industry generally benefits when consumers have higher levels of disposable income; however, the nail care industry has experienced strong growth in recent years, despite the weak economy,” noted Shannon Romanowski, beauty and personal care analyst at Mintel. “Nail polish offers women an affordable way to experiment with new colors and stay current with fashion trends, often for less than $10 a bottle. The affordability of nail polish, combined with new products and colors, makes nail care a reasonable splurge for lower- to middle-income women.”

At New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Fall 2013 fashion designs were highlighted by polished nails. From neutral crème to bold brights to textured, stick-on styles, there is something for everyone from the industry’s leading nail marketers. Here’s just a few news items making the buzz:

Artful nail prints by Orly at Emerson.
For the seventh consecutive season, Estée Lauder sponsored the beauty look (makeup and nails) at the Derek Lam Fall 2013 runway show on Feb. 10 at the Sean Kelly Gallery. Estée Lauder creative makeup director Tom Pecheux led a team of 13 makeup artists to create the stunninglook on 27 models while famed manicurist Jin Soon Choi and her teampolished their nailswith new Estée Lauder Pure Color Nail Lacquer in So Vain and Nudité (launching March 2013).

At the Heart Truth Red Dress show (held the day before the week kicks off), 20 celebrities walked the runway wearing red ensembles by top designers. Fashions by Badgley Mischka, Oscar de la Renta and Zac Posen, to name a few, were worn by Toni Braxton, Jillian Michaels, Gabby Douglas, Savannah Guthrie and others.

Deborah Lippmann, for the second year in a row, primped the nails for the event. Whether it was a manicure, pedicure, or both, she had various red hues for the models.

“We come prepared with all of our red lacquers, and use the one that works best for each woman,” explained Lippmann. “It’s really fun because the women can choose what they like. I’m very excited to not only work with these women, but to be part of such a wonderful cause again.”

Deborah Lippmann participated in The Heart Truth Red Dress show the day before Fashion Week opened.
Butter London’s global color ambassador Katie Hughes created “an intricate, embellished gem party” nail look for Libertine’s F/W 2013 collection. Inspired by art, the collection was a collage of color and embellishment. Hughes created a nail lacquer for the Libertine show, a golden hue, Marbs, which will be available in Summer 2013. She then placed crystals, which appeared on designs that walked the runway, cascading down the nail.

As seen at the Emerson Fall 2013 show, fabric-inspired nail art proved to be hot on the runway. New York City-based nail artist Miss Pop worked with Orly to create a lace nail look inspired by fabric from Emerson’s collection. To execute the intricate layered design, Miss Pop used Orly nail lacquers, treatment products and tools.

“For the models’ nails, we wanted to design a look that was romantic, but a little dark and edgy too. And nothing is more sexy and chic than the beautiful lace from the Emerson Fall 2013 collection,” said Miss Pop.

Described by lead manicurist Joy A. Johnson as an “airy shade with light dustings of sparkle, like fresh snow falling from the sky,” China Glaze Dandy Lyin’ Around was hand-selected by designer Tadashi Shoji and his team for the runway. The shade, from China Glaze’s Spring 2013 Avant Garden Collection, accented the models’ silvery-white eyeliner. This is the 9th season that China Glaze and Tadashi have worked together for NYFW.
Icy white brights at Tadashi by China Glaze.
OPI joined Jenni Kayne for the Fall/Winter 2013 presentation. Models wore OPI nail lacquer in MonSooner or Later. This bright coral red hue added a bold pop of color to the collection's mix of dark camel, black, nude, emerald and gold, according to the company. The nails complemented a similarly bright shade on lips.

OPI also joined Chloë Sevigny for the opening ceremony at its official New York Fashion Week debut. Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the line had a 1960s flair, featuring a color palette of black, pink, baby blue and cream. OPI nail lacquer in My Very First Knockwurst, which was also worn by Sevigny for the collection’s Fall/Winter 2013 look book, added a warm neutral complement to the eclectic clothing.

The presentation was held at St. Mark’s in the Bowery and featured five bands (including Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth) playing songs round-robin style while the models, including designer Sevigny, held signs with rotating slogans.