The Best Nail Ideas From the S/S 18 Runways

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 overlookedВ aspect that invariably (yet subtly) ties the entire look together isВ the models' nails.

Designers work with top polish experts in the industryВ 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 manicuristsВ 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 stunningВ nail art. Take a look at our favorites below.


Athleisure nails popped up at a few different shows this season, nodding to stripped track pants and gym wear.В Monse designers Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia sought inspiration from the classicВ varsity letter jacket and worked with Rita Remark for EssieВ 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. SetterВ topcoat ($10), toВ "mimic the glow of the gym floor."

Christian Louboutin

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

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.


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 onВ the dissonance. Get the look yourself with JINsoon polish ($18), in Dew.


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


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

Chill House

ChillhouseВ (NYC's new spa-cafГ© 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 PlayВ in Black & Forth and I Blanked Out along with VinyluxВ in Unmasked.