If there’s one thing nobility int he Middle Ages could agree upon, it was brocade. Royals in Korea, Greece, India, China, Japan and Byzantium all donned the intricately woven silk fabric that often features ornate gold and silver detailing. Jump forward a couple millennia and the embossed cloth still finds favor—but at a more reasonable price. Though modern brocade can be found in fashion (typically evening wear), it’s most commonly spotted as upholstery or drapes. Even the symmetrical patterns typically associated with brocade and its fellow textile, damask, can be found on wallpaper, home goods and those 10 tiny canvases we all adore!
Design by: Celine Cumming, @nailedbyceline
The Inspiration: “To me, brocade and damask fabrics perfectly balance intricate patterns that are both whimsical and sophisticated. I wanted to embody the characteristic diagonal repetition and intricate diamond pattern, but put a colorful spin on it!”
Get this look:
- Use a sponge and dark and light pink polishes to create an ombré effect on the nail, making the borders of the nail darkest pink and the middle of the nail lightest pink. Once dry, apply a coat of gel polish.
- Mark the boundaries of your design with white dots or lines so they loosely form a rhombus/diamond shape in the middle of the nail.
- Use the guides to paint teardrop, semicircle and comma designs, making sure that both sides of the design are asymmetrical.
- Continue adding white shapes, lines and swirls around the perimeter of the nail to create the characteristic diagonal repetition. Allow the design to dry, and finish with top coat.
Design by: Jessica Washick, @jessicawashick
The Inspiration: “I was inspired by a picture of blue silk fabric with a gold damask print. Focusing on one area of the damask makes an impactful, royal-looking nail without being too hard to recreate.
Get this look:
- Paint the nail with two coats of turquoise polish. Then, use a detail brush to paint a pointed arc with metallic gold polish at the base of the nail.
- Paint another line above the arc mimicking the shape.
- Paint a tiny “v” shape on either side of the second line. Use a dotting tool to add a gold dot above each “v.”
- Create a French tip that mimics the inverse of the pointed arc at the base of the nail.
- Paint a final arch that begins at the two “v” shapes. Add height to the apex of the arc with gold polish. Finish with matte top coat.
Design by: Emily Neff Berlin, @ladycrappo
The Inspiration: “My design was inspired by the ornate 17th and 18th century fabrics. I’ve always loved antique fabrics and patterns, and when I think about damask and brocade, I think of baroque ball gowns and silk wallpaper on palace walls.”
Get this look:
- Polish the nail with two coats of red. Then, use a sponge to randomly dab darker red on top to create dimension. Allow it to dry.
- Use yellow polish to paint an “S” shape on the right side of the nail and a backward “S” shape on the left. Add circles where the lines meet.
- Use a detail brush to paint small flower shapes in the center of each section.
- Add details to the flowers and the circles with red polish.
- Finish the design by adding gold glitter polish to the yellow design details, and seal with top coat.
[Images: Armando Sanchez]