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Reader's Column: The Nail Art Revolution


Stylist reader Kasia Nossier, 26, a nail artist from North London, writes on how the nail art revolution is a beauty movement created for, and by women.

The recent explosion of nail art into western consciousness has been unmissable, from patriotic painted paws on the Olympic podiums to the decked out talons of celebrities like Rihanna and Lady Gaga. Japan has long been the Mecca for nail art and yet it has taken us until now to catch up. The question is, why?

Arguably nail art has been the natural evolution from what for some people, has become the obligatory manicure. The ritual of maintenance has evolved into the cult of nail art, but unlike i's other beauty counterparts: hair and make-up, wonderfully diverse and experimental, nails have always been the conservative cousin.

Perhaps the crux of the matter lies in the simple truth, that in what has, until recent history, been a man’s world of big business and enterprise, nails just haven't had a look in. Quite literally. Show me a man who will be impressed by the shade or general filigree of our pinkies. He is far too busy taking in our faces, our cleavages, our derrieres and here's hoping our minds. Our nails on the other hand (no pun intended) are something we as women share and barter amongst ourselves, beneath the male radar.

Nails somehow transcend the sexually loaded industries of hair and make-up, which have been spawned, if we are honest with ourselves, from the most carnal pursuit of propagating the species (think peacocks).

Our nails are something we as women share and barter amongst ourselves, beneath the male radar

Nail art, however, is a celebration of female creativity, and expression, becoming louder and prouder now, in the western world, where women are slowly starting to occupy a bigger stake in business and entrepreneurialism. And it is because of this I love nail art. It skirts outside the politicized realm of beautification, and dances unabashed in frenzy of self-expression. And what’s more, nails will never beg the question; does my thumb look big in this? Or does this top coat make me look old? Thank you nail art, ten pieces of expression I can wear with me as I go about my day, colourful and outrageous, and not curtailed by the size of my waistline, or the counting of crows feet.

Image: nailarmy.tumblr.com

This sense of creative emancipation is reflected also in the online community of nail artists. There is a plethora of inspiration by way of blogs, You Tube tutorials Pinterest and Instagram profiles. Women share their designs and techniques freely creating a pastoral community of nail art – all tribes welcome. The immediacy of the Internet is the perfect playground for the nail art imagination, instant likes on Intsagram and Pinterest, faithful followers on blogs world over.

My husband has always said to me women dress for women (by this he refers to fashion trends in general). My rebuke to this would be Karl Legerfield, Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford. These men past and present are curators of the fashion world, leading an industry heavily prescribed to by women. For now, I can safely say nail art is fast becoming an industry in its own right, led by women, prescribed to by women, solely for women.

For this reason I applaud the innocuous cousin, because now she is finding a voice, and she speaks to the females of the world. Unashamedly from her colourful, caviared, velveteen, crackled, studded tower she bellows ‘Sisters are doin’ it for themselves’.


Do you agree with Kasia? Share your thoughts in the comments below



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