More than any other category in beauty, nails are constantly innovating. From season to season, the most popular trends and shades completely change—and because nail polish is so experimental and creative, even the most trend-shy makeup traditionalists can feel comfortable playing around and taking crazy risks.
On the heels of New York Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017, we interviewed celebrity manicurist Mei Kawajiri, who painted pretty polish looks for the likes of KYE for VFILES and The Blonds, and works with everybody from Heidi Klum and Lana Del Rey to Willow Smith and Janelle Monáe. (Her Instagram is a dizzying, dazzling wonderland full of the coolest nail art you’ve ever seen.)
Here, the coolest shades, shapes, and nail designs trending for fall 2016.
The Lady Loves Couture: What shapes do you anticipate this fall?
Mei Kawajiri: For fall 2016, squoval (square + oval), stiletto pointed tips, and very short nails are all trending.
Squoval is an elegant but cool style that’s been making a massive comeback from the ‘90s. I think it pairs really well with matte polish, for a chic and sexy look.
Stiletto pointed tips are a big “street chic” style right now, great with some bling-bling or stones for a hot night out! I caught up with Khelani at the KYE for VFILES show, and she was rocking a major stiletto nail with electric green glitter gel.
TRY: (3.) Zoya glitter metallic polish in Ivanka, ($10) or (4.) Deborah Lippmann Jewel Heist in Shake your Money Maker ($20).
Short, clean nails are also big in the NY fashion world. They look hot with nail art, detailed designs, and especially chrome.
TLLC: What design trends do you think we’ll see a lot of this fall?
MK: In editorial and runway work, I think we’ll see a lot of designs that extend above the nail onto the finger, still well below the knuckle. I did a very simple but beautiful design for Willow Smith in CR Fashion Book #9 (shot by Bruce Weber and styled by Carine Roitfeld).
For everyday nails, I think we’ll continue to see everyone experimenting with chrome, crystals, and “mood polishes” that change color with temperature.
Personally, I love hanging little charms from nails, it’s another fun way to express myself. I was so happy that Kathleen (the designer of KYE) was down to let me get funky for her show!
As always, I’ll continue to be on the lookout for men rocking nail polish… just one nail is so hot!
TLLC: What are the hottest shades for fall 2016?
MK: I think the hottest trend for fall is chrome: either metallic or holographic. I’ve been experimenting with chrome powder a lot for this NYFW, and found that changing the base color has such a cool, subtle effect on the outcome.
For The Blonds show, I layered silver chrome powder on top of three different skin tone nudes to go with their “3 muses.” I created a beautiful ombré chrome nail look that I’m so in love with!
I’m also loving very deep, dark, plummy shades like (14.) Respected by Maxus Nails ($18), the deep berry plum (15.) Deborah Lippmann Boys N Berry (in the Very Berry set) ($36), and (16.) Sally Hansen Plum’s the Word ($6).