GTG’s Editor can’t resist a beauty trend. This week: after years of wearing only Chanel Rouge Noir, can Sus work ladybird nails at the school gate?
Head to London’s hippest nail hangout Wah Nails at TopShop in Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon and the atmosphere is always a frenzy of excitement. Which colours: acid yellow or Pepto-pink? Which design? The bow? The graffiti? The leopard print, the clouds or the stars and stripes? Nail art has become huge business in the last five years with the latest looks becoming more desirable than the hottest shoe shapes.
Personally, I’m more of a Rouge Noir kind of girl. I’m the first to rock a great trend but prefer cutting-edge colours such as geranium, bright oranges, gun-metal greys over Swarovski crystals and glitter. That said, last week I set myself the challenge to pimp my nails. So off I tripped to hair salon Hari’s on the King’s Road, where nail artiste du jour Sophy Robson has a concession.
Robson is a nail artist to the stars – Lady Gaga and Rihanna – and many an international fashion advertising campaign. I’m presented with a menu of her latest seasonal nail looks such as fluoro leopard print, diamante-encrusted tips and Missoni-style stripes. I can’t bring myself to do diamante, but after much deliberation I settle on a navy base covered in Minnie Mouse-style white polka dots, but (here’s the twist) two nails are painted pastel pink (the manicurist’s choice not mine). "It’s good to mix it up,” she says.
And you know what? I LOVE them. These nails bring a big grin to my face every time I look at them. What’s more everyone I meet loves them too – the checkout girls in Waitrose ask me where I had them done, the
girls on my reception desk coo over them as I pick up my post, and when I’m holding the rail on the packed train in the mornings, random strangers break into a smile.
But that was in London. Back in Oxfordshire where I live and send my kids to school, it’s a different story. Here make-up-free faces, waxed jackets and scrubbed nails rule at the school gates and suddenly my dotty nails look positively trashy. Here I find myself defending them to everyone I meet. "Excuse these,” I blush to teachers, mothers, doctors, “I’m writing a beauty article." Paranoid, I feel they’re thinking the equivalent of Jordan has just arrived in her pink horsebox or that I’m the kind of girl who always wears rubber gloves to do the washing up. In a way I don’t blame them – many of them have been elbow deep in lambing all week. I keep the nails for about five days, loving them in London, cringeing with embarrassment in the sticks. I decide that nail bling definitely has a place, and also an age limit – like a mini skirt with bare legs, it’s not something many women can get away with over 35. While I would definitely think about a great nail look for a special occasion like a great piece of jewellery (I’m thinking Christian Dior bow nails worn with a little black cocktail dress at a forthcoming party), it’s not something I’m going to take up on a daily basis.
For now I’ll stick to my new Chanel Le Vernis in Holiday, a glorious vibrant orange for summer (£18, 020 7493 3836). It’s still pushing it for the countryside, but so far two mums have asked for the shade details.
Find them at Wah Nails TopShop, 0207 927 7844, wah-nails.com ; Sophy Robson Nails at Hari's, from £32, 020 7349 8722