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The runway's hottest nail trends
Custom and 'deconstructed' nails
"Custom nails are a huge trend now, because customization lets people bring out their creativity and personality," Arnold says.
She describes a technique to get a marbleized effect on the nail that involves dripping several colors of nail polish into a bowl of water, dipping the finger under the water and up through the lacquer floating on the water's surface. The polish sticks to the top of the nail in a swirly, marble pattern. No two nails have the same result, which can be a relief if trying this at home: the pressure of having to achieve the perfect nail disappears.
Another way to customize nails this season is by giving them a "deconstructed" look, which involves playing around with color and effect until you've achieved a result so bold the nails become a conversation piece. The deconstructed nails that showed up on Behnaz Sarafpour's runway blended right into the black and gray heavy collection, and the look is easily achieved at home.
"Start with one coat of black on each nail; let that dry, then swipe on one coat of silver," Arnold says. "Before the silver dries, take a makeup sponge and tap the surface of the silver so flecks of black are revealed from beneath. ... Keep tapping the sponge, depending on the effect you want. For another layer and more texture, put a silver-chrome color over that and tap the sponge again. Seal it with a topcoat if you want it a shiny result. Or let it dry as is and the result will be more rough and textural."
Nails not only make a statement, they're an accessory that is more affordable and forgiving than most others. "You don't have to be a size 2 to have great nails or be able to spend a lot of money like you would on a bag. It's an element of fashion that is for everyone."
As Arnold puts it, "Nails are the ultimate cheap thrill."
Photo: Backstage at Thakoon's fall 2009 show in New York.