Arguably nobody has more fun than designer Rachel Antonoff when it comes to staging a fashion presentation. Last season, dancing secretaries flitted about in a “Mad Men”-esque office setting; this season, the lead ladies of Archie Comics, Betty and Veronica, come to life in a real-life 3-D comic strip—and they’re more stylish than ever, thanks to Antonoff’s quirky wares and Miss Pop’s peppy nail art.
“Rachel is known for her fun and feminine graphic prints. So, it’s no wonder that one of her favorite places to get playful is with nail art,” says China Glaze Nail Lead Miss Pop. That playfulness comes across in three designs that Miss Pop’s calling Full Heart Reverse French, Fluttering Hearts and Comic Chit Chat.
The process to come to these three started a month out from the show; Antonoff sent Miss Pop some Pantone swatches and well as fabrics from the collection. “I sketched out my wildest ideas. Then, from there, I painted her nail art samples,” explains Miss Pop. For this season, she brought a dozen different nail art designs to the beauty test to run by Antonoff; the ones that connect best with the collection were selected. “I always leave her studio with a smile,” Miss Pop reveals. “Rachel has respect for everyone. She never loses her sunshine. I always look forward to seeing and hearing what she’s thinking about. She always has a message, but she somehow packages these big, important feminist principles into fun pop art.”
The first design, Full Heart Reverse French, features China Glaze White on White as the base. After two coats, Miss Pop drops a bead of one of the following pastel shades—Sweet Hook, Pink or Swim, Re-Fresh Mint or Don’t Be Shallow—¼ of the way up the nail from the cuticle to the left. She then repeats this on the right side. When dealing with the bead, she says, “You know that big ball of polish you usually wipe off the brush before you paint the nail? Don’t! That rounded droplet will form the perfect heart halves. Lightly stroke once to the left, once to the right, and you’ll have a sweet heart with no tricks, no extra tools—just the bottlebrush.”
For the second design, Fluttering Hearts, Miss Pop says lose all your desire to make it perfect; “The messier, the better.” After painting two coats of China Glaze White on White, she uses a striping brush dipped in China Glaze Hot Flash to scribble a few random zigzag shapes. She repeats this with China Glaze Something Sweet. From here, she applies Seche Vite Top Coat for a smooth surface to draw on. Draw? Yes: Miss Pop admits that the key to the black outline is using an ultra-fine-point Sharpie. “Before you reach for your pen, make sure your polish is 100-precent dry, which is easy to wait out since Seche Vite dries in a flash. Then, sharpie over the topcoat,” she says.
For the final design, Comic Chit Chat, graphic exclamation points and speech bubbles create the perfect nail art for a nerdist. Using a mixture of China Glaze White on White and Pink or Swim as the base for the exclamation points, Miss Pop paints the top part of the exclamation at the cuticle using Liquid Leather. Then, for the point, she recommends dipping the opposite end of a paintbrush in Liquid Leather and stamping it on the nail for a perfect circle. On the speech bubble nails, she paints the nail in Leather Liquid, and then creates a half moon with China Glaze Stripe Rite in Best in Snow. After allowing it to dry, she paints a tiny triangle coming off of the white half moon. This particular nail design resonates with Miss Pop; “[The speech bubble] is fill-in-the-blank, open to the self-expression of the woman wearing this look,” she says. “And I encourage those nail artists who want to make this look their own to fill in those speech bubbles. After all, what is fashion or nail art, or art in any form, if it isn’t a palette for self-expression?” —Karie L. Frost
[Images: Courtesy of China Glaze]