All the presentations at New York Fashion Week are works of art, but every season, I look forward to the beauty masterpieces from one show in particular: The Blonds. Partners and design team Phillipe and David Blond have outfitted the likes of Ariana Grande and Beyoncé with sparkle-encrusted, divalicious fashion creations. They've been inspired by Clockwork Orange, Egyptology, and "gangsta genies" for past collections.
If that doesn't have you hooked already, then you need to know that they also see nail art as an important part of translating their vision to the public. "The nails are an integral part of our overall story," Phillipe has said. It makes sense, then, that they always partner with CND when presenting each collection.
In addition to its groundbreaking longwear Shellac nail color formula, CND is known for its highly talented team of technicians. Many are award-winning artists (some of which have been on the reality show Nail'd It!) who literally create something out of nothing — they use acrylic powder to sculpt working sarcophagi and scarab beetles from scratch. The way the finished nail art plays off each piece on the runway is truly a thing of majesty. "It's quite amazing when you get artists together collaborating," said Jan Arnold, CND cofounder and style director.
For the Fall 2016 collection, femininity was placed in the spotlight with a variety of pink, red, and lace nails — but these are obviously not your average manicures. The 22 sets of nails took a team of 12 artists 900 hours to create. The Blonds' inspiration came from a hybrid of 1950s Hollywood glamour and the Alice in Wonderland animated movie.
"The show starts off with a young ingenue with stars in her eyes, dreaming about the fantasy of her future," explained Arnold. Flamingo-leg fingertips, sparkly star-printed talons, and designs dripping with crystals. There are even edible, "Eat Me"-printed cookies on some claws.
Then our ingenue falls into the rabbit hole, where things get a little trippy with marijuana designs and eerie-yet-elegant flowers. The show closes with the realization that "everything is possible," which translated into bloody, rose-thorn-inspired talons (made with lacquer and sparkling foil) and sets of lip nails that magically puffed smoke on the runway!
While it may sound difficult to pick a favorite design from all of these creations, my favorite was the White Rabbit nail, which the CND team affectionately nicknamed Harriet. Harriet was created from CND Liquid and Powder (a product for sculpting acrylic nails) and sported a little crown on her head. She even had real whiskers and eyelashes, and the notes coming from her trumpet were pulled from the actual sheet music from Alice in Wonderland! Read on to see a quick behind-the-scenes video, and then see all the designs. Prepare to be totally blown away.