Backstage at Houghton Spring/Summer 2016, we spoke with MAC Senior Artist, Keri Blair about the nail design for the show and how to re-create this look at-home!

Inspiration: “It’s a little bit like late ’60s, early ’70s. The girls are very fresh, full of personality, very individualistic. For the nails, we kind of took a nod from a couple different places. We took a little bit of the waves of the curl in the hair, the freshness and kind of wetness of the makeup, and then there was this sort of interesting element of looking at the color ways in the collection, which are mostly like a nude, faded palette. So what we did is we inserted sort of an avocado green, a pale baby blue, a denim blue, and then this sort of peachy pink called Impassioned which is a MAC nail lacquer. Each one of the nails has a certain vein of color running through it, and depending on what the girls were wearing was how we dictated which nails they were going to get.”

The Look: “We created water marbled nails that have sort of a nod and a wink to the ’70s as far as color and also shape of that sort of weird, interesting patterns that were happening in fabrics. Also there’s crystals that are called agate, which are, if you cut them in half, they look like a rock, and you cut them in half, and they have crystals inside of it, and then rings of color. That’s sort of where all the inspiration came from, and wound itself up into a nice package into those nets.”

How-To: “As I said the technique is a water marbling technique, so it’s not necessarily a new technique for nail aficionados, or people who do nails, but I think the way we handled it is kind of interesting, because Katherine was really inspired by the very thin veins you can create by using a toothpick to swirl the color. Basically what you do is you take a cup of water, usually bottled water works best, in a shallow cup, either glass or plastic, and you drop nail polish into the water to create almost like bulls-eye rings, and then you use the toothpick to swirl the paint around before it dries into whatever pattern you want. You dip your hand into it, pull out all the excess polish around it, pull it out, and you’re done.”

“Essentially, the biggest trick is getting it off of your cuticles. My favorite tip for that is to use a little bit of DUO adhesive, which is a lash adhesive, or you can use Scotch tape around the cuticle, and then you just pull that off, and you put topcoat on, and you’re ready to go.”

Nail shape: “Because of the sort of inspiration being a little bit late ’60s, early ’70s, we did an extended nail tip, so it’s very round, not even an almond shape. Just a round nail, it’s very long, almost like Barbara Streisand in the late ’60s. Katherine is a huge nail nerd, so she and I geeked out together for a long time trying to figure out what was going to make this as special as possible. What I think was really beautiful is that each nail has its own personality. All of them are different because you can never, it’s truly art because you can never replicate it again twice.”

Fun Fact: Including Keri, there were five people working on creating the nails for the 33 models. 20 nails per model multiplied by 33… well you do the math!