Local Nail juggernauts Brandi Blocker of LaPierre Lacquers and Cosmetics and Morgan Dixon of M.A.D. Nails took their artistry to New York Fashion Week runways last month. When designer Michael Kuluva of Tumbler and Tipsy tapped the duo to create custom nail designs for his show, Blocker developed a signature gold nail lacquer and Dixon designed a unique look that incorporated three major trends: gold chains, pompoms and pastels.
"I did the color, and [Dixon] did the design," Blocker says. "We had to embody the designer's style, along with some of the ideas he had for his new line, and incorporate them into the nails."
A new mother, Dixon started working on the project in July. She carved out time each day to perfect almost 200 individual acrylic nails. "It was exciting having such a big project in front of me while balancing other parts of my life," she says. "I had all the sets laid out and painted them layer by layer: a bottom coat, letting that dry overnight, and then another coat if that wasn't opaque enough."
- Photo by Rebekah Scott
- Nails are applied to models before the Tumbler and Tipsy show.
Dixon says once the nails were created, prepping the models was easy. "[Morgan] would catch the models and apply the nails," she says. "It was very much like what you see in a movie: clothes, models everywhere, hair and makeup."
For Blocker and Dixon, who launched their businesses in 2013 and 2012, respectively, the chance to participate in New York Fashion Week was a dream come true.
"Last year, I saw other brands posting pictures about their preparation for Fashion Week on social media," Blocker says. "I was like, 'I want to do that.' So when the designer contacted me, I felt like it was divine intervention."
"As I was applying the nails, everyone said they loved them," Dixon says. "At one point, people were swarming around me to take pictures of them. It was nice to get good feedback."
- Photo by Rebekah Scott
- A bottle of LaPierre Cosmetics’ “Dripping In Gold” polish sits backstage at New York Fashion Week.
Dixon and Blocker say their nails reflected some major trends, and they observed a few others in New York. "We saw a lot of huge pompoms, but we used smaller ones," Blocker says. "Pompoms are really trending."
Metallic and chrome nail polishes are big, too. Dixon says nail looks that incorporate natural effects, like marbling or seashell looks, are popular. "The marble nail is a timeless, classic look," she says. "I see a lot of natural things, even painting on leaves, becoming popular over the next year."
Dixon says nail art is still going strong, but designs and accessories are becoming more reserved. "There's a lot of nudes, grays and chromes," she says. "Nail art is more about being abstract with colors — there's painted-on art, not dangling or raised art."
Negative space — a trend that leaves part of the natural nail unpainted and exposed — can extend the life of a manicure, especially if the area near the cuticle is unpainted. That way, it's not so obvious when the manicure grows out. "The negative space art is very cool," Blocker says.