The Fashion Week Glitter Nail That Paid Tribute to the Late Kate Spade

I love New York Fashion Week. I always get to lead fun shows with Essie - I meet the designers days before the event starts and create the nail look that will be photographed and re-created for the next 6 months or more. Around my 12th season now (or 6 years for my non-fashion peeps!), I’ve led the nail teams for countless incredible New York Fashion Week shows including Delpozo, Proenza Schuler, Altuzarra, Naeem Khan, and Thom Browne (click through to see my work from those shows!).

So when I was asked by essie to be the lead manicurist for the Kate Spade runway show this season, I was beyond honored. It would be the first show after the iconic designer’s untimely passing this summer, and I had a feeling it would be a beautiful nod to the late designer, rather than a sad occasion. And I am glad I was right :)


When I was meeting with the creative director, Nicola Glass, and the creative team to discuss the nail that all the models would wear, the inspiration was “adult glitter”. There was going to be a card on every editor, celebrity and fashionista attendee’s seat that read, “She left a little sparkle everywhere she went”. We wanted a nail that would be a nod to that, but not in an in-your-face way.

The final look was:

  • one coat of skinny dip (a sheer, milky-peach shade)

  • one very thin, very thoughtfully placed layer of summit of style (copper glitter in a clear base)


The How-To

Nicola and the Kate Spade team loved the “nude” glitter tone of summit of style, but wanted to have only the tiniest paillettes on the nail (there are 3 different sizes in the bottle!).

So to get predominantly tiny ones on the nails, we used the brush to instead lightly “stamp” the glitter on delicately, leaving most of the largest paillettes in the brush. The final look? Chic, adult glitter.


What do you think? Are you into this sophisticated, adult glitter look, or are you craving more glitter on your digits? Tell me in the comments below - I’ll love you forever!

Photos by Sam Kim for essie