Celeb Manicurist, Deborah Lippmann Talks Nail Trends & Working with Top Designers

Nails have been the icing on the cake backstage during the past few seasons of NY Fashion Week.  Anxious to see what I was going to see backstage this season, I chatted with Deborah Lippmann, who is in charge of creating the nail look for countless shows this season including Kate Spade, Cynthia Rowley and Honor to name a few.  We discuss upcoming nail trends, the creative process of working with designers and her most memorable NYFW moment.

What do you predict will be some of the biggest nail trends for nails the Spring/Summer 2013 season?

White. We will definitely  see dark white, and opaque, full-coverage glossy white.I also think that we will see a stiletto nail shape, or a softer version of the shape which is almond-shaped.  There will be versions varying from almond to stiletto, but I think that is going to be the shape of the season.

How will nail art play a part?

I think nail art is still big, and it’s such a fun way to express yourself.  We haven’t seen the end of it.

You're working with some fantastic designers including Kate Spade and Cynthia Rowley.  What's the creative process like when preparing for a show?

It starts with a flurry of emails that begin weeks in advance. Then, I often receive inspiration boards from the designer, but it differs with every designer.  Sometimes I see inspiration boards, or sometimes I see clothing weeks in advance.  There are also times when I don’t see anything until the hair and makeup test 24 hours before the show.

It’s a creative process starting with the designer's vision, which is then interpreted by the styling team, and the beauty team which includes hair, makeup and nails.

Did you create any special colors specifically for this season?

We did actually.  We created a mint green shade for Kate Spade.  It's going to be part of the nail look, but the shade probably won't become part of the collection.  Also, in order to achieve the look that Cynthia Rowley envisioned, we layered two colors from my existing line to create the right look for the show.

What's your most memorable NYFW moment?

Narciso Rodriguez Spring/Summer 2012.  It's a really memorable moment for me.  I have worked with Narciso for many, many seasons, and we did several variations of a nude nail. Its a very minimalist look, and we always went for a very naked-feeling nail look.  Twenty four hours before the show I got a call about how they wanted a certain shade of grey for the nails, and I thought it was somehow an April Fool's joke.  I was excited, but surprised.

I created the shade, and once we got it approved with Narciso we had to create ten bottles for my team to use backstage.  When we got to the show, all of the models were asking what the color was because they loved it. We realized then that we had to put the shade in the line, and Narciso named it Stormy Weather.

To collaborate with Narciso on a strong color was so unexpected, and it was a great moment.  That's one of the great things about how that creative process happens, and how so much can happen at the last minute that ends up being incredible.

What do you think you owe your success during NYFW to?

People ask how you get to be really successful as a manicurist and get to the next level, and you have to always be willing to work and embrace whatever comes your way. Take the job that starts at 4AM, and then the one that starts 8PM that night.  You have to be willing to be there and be a part of it because things happen in the moment.