Thousands of years before fall’s embellished nail craze began, Chinese nobility were already sporting tricked-out, gem-dotted tips. While the poor were forbidden from wearing polish (a crime punishable by death), the wealthy flaunted their fortunes with the silver and gold shades of the Zhou Dynasty, marked with precious stones.
These days it’s skill and minutes in the day that separate the dull from the dazzling. On the runway, CND artists spent 130 hours decorating nails with black and gold crystals, glitter and crushed glass shards for The Blonds’ fall ’12 show. At Ashish in London, charms spray-painted Pepto pink and stoplight green dangled from nude extenda-nails.
But you don’t need Lady Gaga’s manicurist to don these talons, says Revlon nail artist and official spokesperson Leeanne Colley, who used tweezers, an all-in-one base and topcoat (the “glue”), Swarovski Elements crystals, and micro beads and jump rings (small metal jewellery hoops)—both available at Michaels—to create the ornamental tips on the previous page.
HOW TO: Apply basecoat, then immediately place a few jump rings on your nail. Fill each nail with more basecoat, and put a crystal inside.