Disney villains had a moment at this season’s New York Fashion Week thanks to the Blonds and the CND beauty supply company. The collaborators of 13 years took nail art to the next level for the fashion label’s spring/summer 2019 show, which featured Paris Hilton, LGBTQ advocate and a drag performer Desmond Napoles, and YouTube makeup influencer Patrick Starr among the models sashaying down the runway.
Jan Arnold, the co-founder and style director of CND, explains that the longtime collaboration between her team at CND and design duo David and Phillipe Blond has been a natural creative fit from the get-go. “They fell in love with the nails and the artistry behind it, and ever since then we’ve developed a ‘nail language,’” Arnold says of their first season working together.
For the Disney villain-themed show, Arnold and her team dedicated a whopping 500 hours to crafting 30 one-of-a-kind couture sets for each model. “The Blonds interpreted each villain into a fashion character, and that vision conjures up the kind of nail we’re going to create because we speak the same language,” says Arnold of the creative vision behind each nail set.
There were four key villains that inspired the show and the nails: The Evil Queen from Snow White, Ursula from The Little Mermaid, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil.
Arnold says the craftsmanship that went into every single nail was above and beyond anything the team has done before. “For Maleficent, who is known for being powerful, we did lots of sharp, daggerlike nails that serve as her weapons.”
Paris Hilton walked the runway as Cruella de Vil, whose look was inspired by punk rock. “We had red crystals piled under the nails and Dalmatian patterns made out of Swarovski crystal pixies,” Arnold says of Hilton’s nails for the show.
“There were a few sets of Dr. Facilier-inspired nails, who was a side character for the show,” said Arnold, referring to the character from The Princess and the Frog. The bright green-and-black claws were high-impact and meant to look toxic, according to the nail pro.
When it came to the “soul-stealing” Ursula nails, there was a lot of purple, black, and feathers, along with a plethora of Swarovski crystals. “The nails are superchunky, and there’s lots of embedding because she is the collector,” says Arnold. Other details included piercings, hand-sculpting, and even 3D printing for a set of curved purple talons.
“Every time we think we’ve seen it all, we come up with a new story, a new idea,” says Arnold of CND’s design collaboration with the Blonds. “It’s the process, as much as seeing it all come together, [that’s] the joy of it all.”
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