The relationship forged between CND co-founder Jan Arnold and Libertine designer Johnson Hartig is one where the two are on the same wavelength almost 100-percent of the time. Hartig is a man who knows that nails are, first and foremost, a way to have fun; he believes in embellishment and artifice, and CND is the team of manicurists best equipped to deliver this for nails. They know instantly how to translate his whims. So when Hartig’s show stylist told Arnold, “I want nails that look soft and fluffy, like candy flossy,” the CND Design Lab Team delivered tips bursting with soft plumes that models couldn’t help but stroke as they wore them. “[The design] plays off of Libertine’s fabrics that shift texture—the fabric is velvet in one direction, in the other its disco,” says Arnold. And though they may not have known it then, these fluffy tips have made quite the impact culturally already; though “pompom” nails are already a trend in Japan, CND’s flossy set for Libertine has shown up on late night television (Kelly Ripa wore a poor man’s take on the style to “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”) as well as entertainment news.
A shame that the other set of nails, large sculpted eyes seemingly hovering on tips, aren’t getting the same mainstream attention. CND Design Lab Team member Heather Davis built upon an early sketch from Arnold, sculpting enormous lash-lined eyes from CND liquid and powder, and painting them using CND Shellac to give an enameled finish. These 3-D pieces sit atop long tips painted in vibrant, animated colors pulled from CND’s core collection. “The really exciting thing,” Arnold notes backstage, “is that not only are the girls wearing these eyes on their nails, but some of the boys are wearing them as rings. And, not only that, Johnson made 33 of them into pins—pins!—that are being affixed on the clothing!” This seems a natural fit once the collection glides down the runway; several pieces actually feature studded hands with red-bejeweled talons, some shooting bolts of positive energy. “We always say nails are the perfect accessory to the clothing, but now [what CND built] really is an accessory on the clothes! We’ve come full circle,” Arnold says. —Karie L. Frost
Images: Courtesy of CND; Karie L. Frost