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Nail Art Is a Thing Again, Thanks to NYFW

Designs, dreamt up by nail artists such as Mei Kawajiri and Sarah Nguyen, were inventive and avant-garde.

Call it a lunar eclipse: nail art at fashion week is back.

Colorful, unconventional nail designs ruled the runways at New York’s spring 2020 shows. One of the most noteworthy cases was at Marc Jacobs, where viral nail artist Mei Kawajiri created a whopping 14 designs, some of which incorporated lace fabric from the designer’s new collection.

Using both press-ons and gel lacquer applied directly to models’ nails, Kawajiri made tweed nails, “super kawaii 3-D nails” and a hologram half-moon nail, among other designs. A few days before the show, she painted the nails of Marc Jacobs himself, going back and forth with him about what the look at his show should be. Jin Soon, who co-leads nails with Kawajiri at the Marc Jacobs show, also gave some models’ nails the chipped effect.

Backstage at Chromat RTW Spring 2020
Nails at Chromat, produced by sister duo Lady Fancy Nails, featured a newly redesigned logo in honor of the fashion brand’s 10th anniversary. Megan Cencula for WWD

Hardware nails made a debut at Rui Zhou, where artist Sarah Nguyen mixed metals and pearls to reflect the collection’s theme of long-distance relationships.

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I like pearls and crystals because they have that delicate aspect,” said Nguyen, who used CND products and press-ons by Kiss. “If you’re in a long-distance relationship you have to be able to have your head and your heart. The hardware is the foundation and head strength you would need to be able to deal with long-distance relationships.”

Jin Soon also incorporated hardware at Tibi, where models’ nails were lined with metal wiring. Other original designs came from Miss Pop Nails at Jeremy Scott, who described the look as “‘Saved By the Bell’ if there was a bad girl at school,” and Chromat, where Anna Levenson, one-half of the sister duo Lady Fancy Nails  debuted decals that featured a redesigned Chromat logo in honor of the fashion brand’s 10th anniversary.

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