Nails are easily dressed up these days with jewelry-like shields and no-fuss appliqués

Over the last few years, nail art fans have put their digits through velvet, ombre, plaid, studs, jewels, fishnets, caviar, chalk, charms, magnetic polish and more. The latest nail art kits by British company Ciaté involve sealing real feathers onto fingertips and painting on denim-toned polish, complete with grommets and adhesive seams.

Although there have been rumblings about nail art fatigue, the emergence of jewelry-like nail shields and increasingly unusual and easy-to-apply nail embellishments seems to signal that decadent talons are here to stay. Given the never-ending obsession with hand-held digital devices, fingernails remain in the spotlight. So no surprise that nail art has been elevated to the next level of luxury.

“There’s been buzz about a backlash in nail art,” says Fawn Dixon, owner of Chi Nail Bar & Organic Spa in Beverly Hills, frequented by celebrities such as Hilary Duff, Willow Smith and Kiernan Shipka. “But in our shop, we’ve seen more of a resurgence. Clients are asking for even more intricate designs and coming in with specific requests.”

Dixon predicts that lace and hand-drawn and 3-D designs will be popular this fall.

“After seeing a lot of metallic jewels and designs from the Met Gala earlier this year, more and more customers are inquiring about jewel décor for their nails,” says Hiroko Fujikawa, owner of Mars Salon in West Hollywood, where custom nail art clients include Busy Philipps and Rumer Willis. “Some of the newer designs ... will incorporate one nail covered completely in gems with the other four nails either in a super-high-gloss bright color or in a black matte tone,” she continues.


Having nails elaborately painted and embellished in a salon is an indulgence, and creating the looks at home requires time and artistic talent, even with a kit. Patterned nail adhesives have made at-home nail art much simpler, but there seems to be a demand for more elaborate offerings.

“I came up with the idea for Scratch after finding [adhesive] nail wraps at a convenience store and loving the technology, but not digging any of the designs,” says Chelsea Kent, founder of the new Los Angeles-based online nail art company. “I have met so many talented creatives in my life, who I knew could make amazing artwork that would be fun to wear on your nails.”

Scratch partners with a featured artist each month to create an original three-design collection of nail adhesives and offers an array of limited-edition styles ($12 for a package of 16 wraps, plus tools) in its e-shop. Last month, Scratch launched a monthly subscription box ($25 first month, then $30 a month) that contains three nail wrap sets with embellishments, tools and a surprise gift from the featured designer, Los Angeles nail artist Natalie Minerva of Nail Swag. This month’s artist is British nail art blogger Alice Sanderson of One Nail to Rule Them All.

At the mass level, Revlon has teamed up with Marchesa, the high-end fashion label designed by Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig, to launch Revlon by Marchesa Nail Art 3D Jewel Appliqués. The eight limited-edition designs feature intricate patterns inspired by Marchesa gowns with a focus on metallics, rich colors and jewels. They’ll be sold in packages of 18 strips ($9.99) and are scheduled to launch on Oct. 1 at mass retailers nationwide.

But the next big thing in nail art might be nail shields that call to mind nail guards worn by ancient Chinese aristocrats. Engraved gold-tone brass nail shields recently introduced by Brooklyn-based jeweler K/LLER Collection are applied with nail adhesive. A set of 10 will set you back $450 (available at Pearl Drop in Venice or Barneys New York).

“We saw how popular nail art has become and wanted to do our own

K/LLER nails, thinking about it more as an accessory,” says co-designer Katie DeGuzman. “We like how people can adorn all parts of their bodies, so why not hardware for your nails?”

The response has been so great that the jewelers are working on additional designs, as well as custom metal nails.

London-based H&H Nails, created by makeup artist Holly Silius and jewelry designer Hannah Warner last year, offers a collection of single metal nails in various styles and colors. Rihanna is among the brand’s star clients, and the designs are available at Tags boutique in West Hollywood (H&H gold nail jewelry shield, $72 at Tags in West Hollywood or