Fashion and Beauty Go Hand in Hand

Jan Arnold founder of CND talks to us about being the first nail brand to enter into the fashion industry as an essential part of the total look on the runway.

CND has been collaborating with NY, Paris and London Fashion Weeks for twenty-two years. Jan started this concept with New York designer, Cynthia Rowley in her first year of designing and presenting on the runway.  “There were no nails in the fashion line up back then.  Every designer meeting I had they responded with why do we want nails to be integrated in our show?”  Jan explained that the nails will help showcase the accessories that they are selling.  That made sense to Cynthia so reluctantly she gave it a go.  Every season after that they knocked on new doors.  The big breakthrough was Oscar De La Renta then Carolina Herrera and more after that.  Once CND was collaborating with all these heavy duty designers the flood gates opened and they got 75 designers in a single week!  She has visions in her mind still of open boxes of wet nails leaping through the city!

Once established in NY they started travelling to Europe.  CND secured Louis Vuitton.  Her team would sit with Marc Jacobs all night in Paris with the bags and color swatches to match them.  LV is in the business to sell handbags.  Marc demanded that this has got to be right.  The euphoria for Jan was when it was done she saw the hand bag, the nail swatch and the model look with their designs all laid out.  It was super exciting.  CND also designed the nails in their ad campaigns.  This was a first for a top designer brand to showcase couture nails with their campaign looks.

This accomplishment allowed the status of nails to become a fashion accessory and by doing so elevating the status of the nail pro backstage.  The hair and makeup people didn’t like them at first and her team had to work hard to get their voice backstage.  Eventually, they forged relationships with the rest of the creative teams and everything worked out fine.

After doing so many shows she decided instead of quantity lets do quality.  Let’s align with true partners where we can do a deep dive of high end artistry and avant garde fashion.  In London they partnered with Ryan Lo and Gareth Pugh, in Paris was Manish Arora and Vivienne Westwood and in NY with The Blonds and Libertine.

How does it all come together?  Jan knows the best artists in the business.  For NYFW they created a webinar vision board with eight artists from both US and Canada.  She would ask the artists for their creative ideas to complement the runway looks of the designers they would be working with.  Here they would make their creative library.  The artists then interpreted nail looks as an accent that would go with the clothes but not try to copy the clothes.  Jan says “The creative process of how they came up with the designs is the most rewarding part.”

This process would start one and a half months in advance.  By the time they show up to fashion week they have already put in hundreds of hours and they nails are all pre done.  They use a special adhesive and have a specific way of sizing, fitting and removing.  They have never damaged a models nails.  Their models get cuticle oil and a neck massage from the team.  They had to earn their place backstage by kindness and taking care of the girls.

There were talented Canadians on the NYFW show team:  Tamara Di Lullo @tamaradilullo who created the detailed, hand painted Keith Haring nail look that Jan was wearing and Valerie Ducharme @vdnailart – winner of NTNA who Jan claims is one of the most innovative artists she has ever worked with.  Valerie created the finger glove that appeared at Libertine SS2019.

Years ago most designers didn’t know how to see nails.  Thanks to Jan they now they have the confidence in CND to collaborate and create the amazing concepts that literally go hand in hand on the runway!

Shot of Jan’s nails:  Shows off her Canadian manicure by Tamara Di Lullo in Keith Haring motifs all done by hand.

Images below: Tamara Di Lullo for CND Canada