Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

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



The coolest nail art ever?


How to do art-inspired nails


Fierce fingernails



UK hair salon offer ‘quiet chair’ for those who dread small talk

Silence, at last... by Sejal Kapadia

30 Nov 2015

Five of the most delicious scented candles for Christmas

Our favourite seasonal scents by Sarah Biddlecombe

30 Nov 2015

How to get a good night's sleep in winter

Eight tips for staying warm and cosy by Sarah Biddlecombe

26 Nov 2015

Why wearing hairbands on your wrist could be a danger to health

Warning: features graphic images by Anna Pollitt

26 Nov 2015

Will you be glittering your pits over Christmas?

The beauty trend that protests society’s sexist beauty conventions by Sejal Kapadia

26 Nov 2015

The golden rules of washing your face

Clean and glowing skin, right this way by Sarah Biddlecombe

25 Nov 2015

Watch what happens when mums recreate their daughters' selfies

“WTF mum! You look like you've seen a ghost” by Anna Pollitt

25 Nov 2015

See how this woman got 11 tattoos in one week

Accelerated ink by Anna Pollitt

24 Nov 2015

New ‘hidden’ hair dye trend is perfect for the wary and cautious

Now you see it, now you don't... by Sejal Kapadia

23 Nov 2015

“There's a huge social stigma to being overweight”

One woman's account of fat shaming in China

20 Nov 2015