“Lanvin’s nesting eggs make excellent nail art designs—whimsical and illustrative, exactly what I love.”
Step By Step
1. Cover your nail with turquoise polish, then paint an opaque oval (spanning from the tip to the centre) with two coats of white.
2. Use a dotter to create white pearls for the necklace. Outline them and the oval with a black nail pen. Draw lines near the top for a neck.
3. Seal the design with a topcoat before gluing on a red bow (Di Lullo used acryllic powder to sculpt hers, but craft-store buys work, too).
The Kawaii Queen
Tamara Di Lullo, Owner of Candy Nail Bar in Montreal
“It’s an aesthetic of mixed elements and basically overkill, combining stones, glitter, painting and 3-D,” says Di Lullo, explaining the growing Japanese influence in nail art. In a career turn she never would have predicted, the Kawaii style has become her signature (and money-maker). Following in her designer mom’s fashionable footsteps, Di Lullo grew up sewing and sketching, and later enrolled in fashion design at LaSalle College. Next, she studied fine arts at Concordia University, with a specialty in graphic design. She then climbed from assistant designer to director of design and production at Parasuco and Buffalo Jeans, roles that took her to Asia to oversee factories. It was there that she became fascinated by Japanese nail art. “I’ve always loved Japanese fashion, and nails had long been a hobby.” Despite the language barrier, the aspiring artist took lessons in sculpting 3-D embellishments and gel nails, and by 2009, turned manicuring into her own business, Candy Nail Bar, located in her hometown.
Inside the fuchsia and zebra-print salon, trend-seekers swap $99 for a custom Harajuku-style nail-art set. In three hours, Di Lullo handcrafts tiny figurines using acrylic powder and monomer, with results varying from the bows on her FLARE design to Hello Kitty, ice cream cones and rosebuds. After Di Lullo combines 3-D elements with freehand illustrations, mani-acs leave with a candy-box assortment of unique designs that work together. “It’s been more cutesy, but in the past few years Japanese nail art [has become] more fashion trend–influenced than ever, which has always been my style since I’m a fashion geek.”