Where The Nail Magic Happens: A Look Inside CND Studios

Julia DiNardo

For you nail junkies out there: don’t you wonder what it’s like behind-the-scenes to actually create those amazing runway nail looks? We were lucky enough to tour around and ask about 1000 questions at CND‘s temporary production center for fashion week with the aid of Shelena Robinson, CND’s education ambassador. “Kid in a candy store” can’t even sum up the excitement with shiny, glittery nails and objects every which way one looked there! Check our our visuals from the visit, as well as some great nail production facts and tips.

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The design process usually starts about a month out, with the nail artists at CND creating some templates and then sending picture of them to the designer. “From the ones that the designer says that he/she likes, we will then send them samples, because they always tend to look better in person,” Robinson explains. Once the decision has been made, the team will then work on the final order of the nails (especially for tips) usually for a few days leading up to the show.

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“Whatever the final order is, on the model count of a show, we always make about three to four extra sets for sizing,” Robinson shares. This season, Joy Cioci had actual fabric fishnet placed onto the nails with fabric glue brushed on, which took five people about 60 hours to complete the 500 tips!

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We saw some templates for The Blonds show in progress, which consists of a lot of custom designs; “maybe three looks at most will repeat,” Robinson shares. The Blonds ended up taking 10 artists 130 hours to complete the nails this season. Hypo Cement Glue was used to adhere some of the metal pieces and chains to the nails.

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Sometimes nails are basted with top layer of Shellac, with the UV Light Nail Dryer, which requires each layer to set in the dryer for about two minutes each.

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For those of you who want to DIY with gems and crystals, word to the wise: we learned that nails can also get to be very expensive per set, if elements such as Swarovski crystals are involved and cover the entire nail.

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A lot of the glitters, gems, and accoutrement that can be used on nails can be purchased at craft or bead stores. Robinson also suggests looking online for nail art foils as a good material to have to create avaunt garde nail looks.

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We couldn’t help oohing and ahhing over the nail designs on the boards, which included templates from past and current shows; don’t you just love the hand drawn PAC-MAN art?!?

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Ready to get serious about nail art? Start acquiring some tools! CND had a bevy of beautiful brushes that ranged from art store brushes to ultra fine, thin ones that are specifically for nail art.

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The long and skinny brush, that has thin hairs that look like whiskers was used to create the lines in the nail design pictured (at top) with the horizontal and vertical stripes. A stylus was used on the black nail designs below to create design on the tips.

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Robinson adds that “having a stylus tool is great for carving, marbleizing, and making polka dots!” (pictured above).

Take care and clean your tools, so that they can be used again and again. If Shellac was used on the tools, they can be cleaned with Isoropyl Rubbing Alcohol, if the CND Colour & Effects polishes were used, polish remover can be used, or if you used regular paints, just clean them with water.

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