At a time when nail art has taken centrestage, the French manicure, a tried and true bridal staple, has fallen by the wayside. We recently sat down with one of the world’s foremost manicure mavens, Jan Arnold, the co-founder and style director of CND, to ask her why this is and how we should go about deciding on a wedding day nail look that’s more current.
Why is the French manicure over and what should we do instead?
“In the olden days it was enough just to have clean French manicure,” says Arnold. “Now for me a French manicure looks too sporty for a bride. All of a sudden French, buffed or clear is about sport and romance and elegance for me demands a little length on the nail. If you think of the scale of the dress, most brides go floor-length and so it creates this very elongated illusion. To have a short tailored nail seems the opposite – it’s too high of a contrast. Overall, I like a little bit of length and a little bit of soft oval or almond shaping is really flattering to the hand. If you have a hard time growing your nails out Shellac is a great option — it not only adds beautiful colour, it also protects your nails and helps allow them to grow without cracking and breaking. ”
What’s a good way to choose a wedding day nail look?
“Think about the silhouette of the dress you’re wearing and the fabric (is it opaque or does it have layers of dimension and sheerness?) That should give you a cue as to which direction to take. I like to look at shoes in terms of shape too,” says Arnold. “With nails it’s all about accenting, detailing and finishing the outfit. Ask yourself what your nails can do to finish your statement from head to toe…and don’t forget the toes.”
How should we go about choosing a colour?
“You have to decide what your style statement is,” says Arnold. “If you want to go with colours that are comfortable with your colouration, then match it. If you want to really mix things up and go avant garde, then go with a contrasting tone. I like clashing my skin tone for contrast and to make a statement.”
What are the hot new colours for fall?
“One of the things we saw very prominently was the rich, regal, very dressed up nail with baroque gold detailing and lots of rich tones in velvet colours,” says Arnold. “I think even if you’re wearing a classic white bridal gown, you can wear a rich romantic dark red nail and it could be absolutely stunning. You could add metallic to your manicure like the Jason Wu nail we did for fall (see above). We just gilded the very edge of the nail and maybe you pick up that gold detailing somewhere else — with earrings or a gold ring maybe. My advice is to go for lavish, gilded, rich, dark gem tones. Just steer clear of black!”