By Joan Lincoln
The practice of embellishing nails goes back as far as the Incas. They decorated their fingernails with pictures of eagles. Beyond that it is unclear how the practice of coloring nails progressed following these humble beginnings. Portraits from the 17th and 18th centuries include shiny nails. Nineteenth century cookbooks had directions for making nail paints. So it’s clear that women have been experimenting with making their nails a fashion statement for as far back as anyone can remember.
Colored nail polish was once considered self-mutilation by psychiatrists and unhealthy by the medical profession. That didn’t stop First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt from being one of the first to wear solid colors on her nails.
Nail polish started traditionally in clear, red, pink and brown. Cutex produced the first modern nail polishes in 1917 with the introduction of colored nail glosses. Since that time, many new colors and techniques have developed resulting in nail polish that is found in an extremely diverse variety of colors. Beyond solid colors, nail polish has also developed an array of other designs and styles, such as nail polish stamps, crackled, magnetic, nail polish strips and stickers. Also fake rhinestones are often applied to add an interesting twist. Some types of polish are advertised to enhance nail growth and make nails stronger, preventing breaking, cracking and splitting. There are also products available to help stop nail biting so that you have nails left to polish.
Suzi Weiss-Fischmann is the artistic director of OPI and the Company’s official nail polish namer. Two of her passions are fashion and traveling, and colors that she sees on the runway remind her of certain places she has traveled. This is how she decides on many of the themes for OPI’s collections, which often pay homage to these beautiful locations. Once the theme is decided upon, Suzi and her small team of OPI employees gather together to come up with the names.
Each season brings a new wave of fabulous nail polish colors. This fall is no exception. Collections from your favorite brands such as China Glaze, O.P.I., ORLY, Zoya, and Essie will have you wishing you had an extra closet just to store them all. Top nail looks from Fashion Week 2012 designers for the upcoming 2013 season are an array of whites, pastels, and multiple shades and designs. Many of our favorite ladies stars sport super cute designs on their digits for every red-carpet experience.
For some it has become a weekly if not daily ritual to change the polish color to coordinate with the day’s outfit. I know the inventory in my private household collection is well over 50 shades of “I don’t have this shade yet mom”. It’s been fun watching the evolution of nail polish become such an essential element of our individual fashion statement. So grab your favorite holiday shades and celebrate the season with fabulous nails.
Joan Lincoln owns Panache Vintage and Finer Consignment in Brighton Commons. www.