Written by Lucy Partington

Freelance beauty editor Lucy Partington is obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

The colours and designs spotted backstage throughout fashion month are serving as serious inspiration. 

Truth be told, there hasn’t always been as much of a spotlight on nails as there is right now. Where manicures were once more of an afterthought at fashion week, the times are very much a-changing, and now the colours, shapes and designs are just as important as the hair, make-up and the clothes themselves – and rightly so.

Of course, nobody can deny that a lot of manicure trends are set by celebrities (and by ‘celebrities’ we mostly mean Hailey Bieber and Hailey Bieber alone), but it’s always worth seeing what different fashion designers and their nail teams have created. Because let us tell you this for nothing: some of the looks we saw backstage at the autumn/winter 2023 shows across New York, London, Paris and Milan are definitely worth having on your radar.

From the smoky half-moon design seen at Nensi Dojaka to the V-shaped tips at Elisabetta Franchi and the minimal, clean nails at Emilia Wickstead, there’s something to suit all tastes and get your creative juices flowing. Here, we’ve rounded up the standout looks, so prepare to screengrab your favourites and show them to your nail tech at your next appointment…

  • Smoky moons at Nensi Dojaka

    When we tell you that we’re fully obsessed with these smoky half-moons, we really mean it. Created by Ama Quashie, the darker shade at the base of the nail is blended upwards to create a gradient effect. A modern take on an existing trend, we know this would work in pretty much any colourway, too. 

  • Dark tips at Edward Crutchley

    Proof that the classics are classic for a reason. A twist on a traditional French manicure, nail artist Marie-Louise Coster opted for a neutral base paired with an inky black, rounded tip that’s thicker than the minimalist, skinny French tips that we’ve been seeing over the last few years. 

  • ‘V’ manicure at Elisabetta Franchi

    Another fresh take on a French manicure, this time it’s the work of Antonio Sacripante and he matched the tips to the sharp, winged liner. Opting for two colourways – burgundy and black – he elongated the tips into a chic V-shape that was painted all the way down the side of each nail. 

  • Minimalist neutrals at Emilia Wickstead

    You can always count on the Emilia Wickstead show to bring the chic vibes, and we’re very much into the healthy-looking, ‘your-nails-but-better’ look that’s going on here. Using a translucent pale pink shade, session manicurist Cherrie Snow created a perfectly polished look that’ll go with anything. 

  • Naked moons at David Koma

    Opting for a shade of polish that lead manicurist Marian Newman called ‘Marlboro red’, her team of artists created ‘naked moon’ nails for the David Koma show by painting the majority of them red and leaving half moon-shaped negative space at the base. 

  • Off-kilter chrome at Off-White

    OK, so, these ‘off kilter chrome bar nails’ might not be suitable for everyday life, but they can definitely be adapted. The 3D look saw models have metallic bars stuck onto and over the nails, but you could ask your manicurist to paint off-centre chrome stripes instead and we reckon that would be just as effective.

  • Clean and glossy at Annie’s Ibiza

    Another show proving that the minimalist trend is going nowhere. This clean, classic look that was seen at Annie’s Ibiza was created using Essie’s Mademoiselle and finished with Feel The Fizzle to add a subtle shimmer.

Main image: Getty

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