The manicure we all thought was passé has returned with several colorful—and chicer than ever—new spins
“Everything old is new again,” says celebrity manicurist and founder of her own eponymous luxury line, Deborah Lippmann—a statement equally true in fashion as it is in beauty. In this instance she’s referencing the French manicure, once ubiquitous on the hands of power-suited ladies and now making a surprisingly chic comeback in two colorful and minimalistic forms: the duet, a French in two shades (not pink and white) with a thinner tip, and the half-moon, a ‘30s Parisian style with the accent color at the base of the nail.
“It’s one of those trends that came back,” says Lippmann, who painted the former iteration for the Fall shows of Badgley Mischka, Donna Karan and Bill Blass. “It’s a sophisticated way to wear nail art by taking a modern approach to a classic French manicure. I think we’re seeing a new trend come to life with the duet.” The freshness is thanks to the accent polish’s subtlety. “With a classic French, there’s a tendency to put too much white on the tip and that makes it look old-fashioned,” says the nail guru—the pencil-thin tip brings it into 2012.
Either iteration, says Lippmann, “can be super fun, funky and hip but also beautiful and chic depending on the colors. You can go full steam ahead with color combos—blue on the nail and bright orange on the tip, or like Badgley Mischka, a deep aubergine called Dark Side of the Moon with Nefertiti, a gold shimmer. A touch of gold or silver across the tip almost looks like jewelry.”
And while the half-moon is “impossible to do at home”—since “less is more” on the accent, ensure your manicurist keeps the moon small and uniform—it’s totally possible to paint a DIY duet. Plant both elbows on a table, with one hand facing the opposite arm; rest the brush on the nail tip, and holding it stable, slowly rotate the finger. Lippmann predicts a pink-and-white comeback within the next 10 years, but in the meantime get creative with the endlessly chic possibilities. The new French “is for someone who’s fashion-forward, yet sophisticated. She’s not afraid to really embrace and immerse herself in color in a [refined] way.”