They're often the hardest part of a runway getup to see (at least from an audience vantage point), but that doesn't mean the nail looks at fashion week should be overlooked. Consider our favourite manicures from New York Fashion Week as proof: From minimal swipes of colour to eye-popping graphic designs, these looks remind us that statement-making accessories never have to be farther away than our fingertips.
Keep scrolling for the ultimate in nail inspiration!
Everything about the Rodarte collection was ethereal and understatedly romantic, and the delicate metallic manicure was no exception. After applying a sheer mixture of clear topcoat and nude lacquer, nail artist Miss Pop used two overlapping French manicure stickers to create a stencil and painted OPI's silvery DS Radiance ($8) on the tips and a crescent of Glitzerland ($6) near the cuticles.
The iridescent chrome seen here—a mixture of Deborah Lippman's I Knew You Were Trouble ($18) and Dream Weaver ($18)—was just one of the nail guru's color picks for the Creatures of Comfort show; other models donned nude or magenta. The common thread? The half-moon at the bottom of all the nails was left blank, illustrating the impact of some artfully placed negative space.
Bet you never considered matching your nail tips to your eyeliner before, huh? (It's okay—the thought never crossed our minds either.) Lead nail artist Gina Edwards used Morgan Taylor's Simply Irresistible ($5) as a base coat, before creating a springy spin on the French mani with the brand's Later Alligator ($6).
Freehanding this amazing checkerboard design created by Jin Soon Choi is probably best left to the experts (or a friend with a very steady hand), but these Sally Hansen Nail Wraps ($4) will get you a similar look with none of the effort.
Trend alert: Dip-dyed nails seem to be everywhere this season. Lead artist Alicia Torello created a deep V on the nails at Cushnie et Ochs with the help of Christian Louboutin's vampy Sevillana ($50).
While this roundup alone should serve as proof that nail art is indeed alive and well, there's definitely something to be said for a killer one-note color—and not just that it's way easier to copy at home. This mesmerizing cobalt hue, Essie's Butler Please ($9), has us singing the blues.
The coolest way to elevate a neutral color: add texture, which is exactly what nail genius Jin Soon Choi did here. The secret is JinSoon Sahara ($18), a textured nail topcoat that mimics particles of sand (cool, right?). She applied this over a coating of Tulle ($18) and sealed it all with a clear topcoat.
We love the '90s feel of these graffitied nails at Nicole Miller, and they actually sound kind of fun to re-create: Butter London's Katie Jane Hughes started with a base coat of the brand's Cotton Buds ($15) and then splattered a soon-to-be released magenta polish as well as Union Jack Black ($15) over the white… by blowing into a straw. (Genius, no?)
Essie's Michelle Saunders got this cool ombré effect with the help of a sponge: She started by applying stripes of Essie's Tart Deco, Marshmallow, Beach Bum Blu, and Midnight Cami ($9 each) before gently pressing the small sponge on top of the entire nail to overlap the colors. After cleaning up any messy color with nail polish remover, she applied a layer of Spaghetti Strap ($9) to blend and soften the colors.
There were mounds of earth situated around the 3.1 Phillip Lim runway, and this setting went hand in hand (so to speak) with the nail look: Sally Hansen's Madeleine Pool opted for a dirt-colored nail color (All Bark, $6) to reflect this organic feel. What made it really special was the juxtaposition of a modern metallic stripe, created with striping tape (try Cina's Striping Masking Tape, $4).
Here it is—yet another fun take on the French manicure (as well as another winning look from Jin Soon Choi). This one was split down the middle, using colors from JinSoon's spring collection.
At Wes Gordon, Essie's Rita Remark created dimension with texture and tone, juxtaposing matte texture with gloss as well as multiple shades of oxblood. Use Essie's Into the Lobby ($9) followed by a coat of Matte About You ($9). Complete the effect by adding just a tiny bit of Devil's Advocate ($9) around the cuticle and smearing the brush upward to blend the color.
The white smudges that adorned the nails at Public School were so subtle we had to look twice to make sure we were seeing correctly. But the effect was artistic and cool: Deborah Lippmann created the feathered effect by simply dragging a half-dry brush of Amazing Grace ($18) diagonally over a clear topcoat and leaving it at that.
Which look is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!