(Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
French manicures are so old school...
Elaborate 3D and patterned nail art has been rearing it's face lately on the American fashion front, breaking into all facets of American pop culture. The biggest influencer of this movement has been the vastly expanding Japanese nail art culture. Intricate 3D nail art is not new to Japanese pop sensibilities - the Nail Expo in Tokyo attracted nearly 50,000 visitors last month, and the industry in Japan grosses 200 million yen annually (Getty), with hundreds of Japanese publications, websites and online videos dedicated solely to the craft of nail art. Leaving simple polish and paint behind, Japanese nail art styles come complete with a library of 3D patterns, airbrushing, textures, jewels and other fun and cute glue-able add-ons (mini cupcakes, bows and hearts, flowers, characters like Hello Kitty...you name it!).
(Photo by Junko Kimura/Getty Images)
The trend is finally seeing a trickle over into the mainstream American pop culture and fashion landscape. Pop sensations and hip hop/R&B female celebs like Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Fergie, Alicia Keys, Keri Hilson have helped bridge the gap by sporting 3D, eccentric nail art.
(Still from music video, Lady Gaga, Poker Face)
While pop & hip hop/urban manicure styles have started to embrace the Japanese nail sensibilities over their traditional American counterparts, Japanese nail magazines like Nail Venus are showing up in more American nail salons. This year, more than ever, American fashion mags and blogs have showcased the trend, even incorporating intricate nail art into styling for fashion editorials and cover shoots (keep your eyes out for some serious nail styling on the covers of fashion mags next time your passing by the newsstand). Meanwhile, Google Insights data suggests steep growth of interest in Japanese 3D nail art over the last two years (we're predicting those figures will continue to increase).
One of the biggest companies to embrace (and further) the extreme nail art trend is Minx, who make nail designs on a thin film that adhere to nails with heat...Minx nails are available in a seemingly limitless variety of patterned and metallic designs. Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Rihanna, Blake Lively (to name a few) have all proudly sported Minx designs, and the popularity of the brand has grown exponentially since it's release almost two years ago. The brand even offers custom design creations. The nail designs are wild enough to turn heads, but they can also lend themselves as a perfect base for some 3D nail magic.
(Photo from MinxNails.com)
A few months back, we went with artist Amanda Dolan to Hello Beautiful in Williamsburg to see Japanese nail artist Naomi Yasuda work her magic. Yasuda's clientele includes the likes of Lady Gaga, Jordan Sparks, Kim Cattrall, Amanda Lepore, Keri Hilson, Amber Rose, Kid Sister (and many many more); she was also commissioned to work on the upcoming film, Sex And The City 2. Dolan (whose explosively sweet pop collage art and non-traditional pet portraits have caught the eyes of pop art lovers, fashionistas and NYC pop culture icons such as Richie Rich) sports Yasuda's work regularly...making sure to get fresh updates for all openings, special events, etc. "Naomi's nails are perfect because she can create any look...making even the simplest occasion [you're going to] over-the-top and glam. You feel personalized and pretty!" (Dolan)
(Artist Amanda Dolan's Nail Art by Naomi Yasuda)
(Photo from Creative Management: Naomi Yasuda Portfolio)
And for those who can't quite swing celebrity-style manicures, a slew of DIY tools are available for the crafty at-home nail artist including Nail Airbrush Kits (Urban Outfitters, $180), 3D nail decals, nail art how-to videos and deluxe Japanese-style artificial nails and kits. And for at-home inspiration, you can pretty much let Google do the searching for you (along with DIY nail inspiration sites like Litter...Nails, The Daily Nail and the Japanese My Nail House.