So how did we get to this point where nails became so important? We wanted to know more so delved deep into the nail archives to find out….
Manicures actually go waaaay back (like 3000 years back!!) with Queen Nefertiti and Cleopatra being some of the OG’s when it comes to nail art. They added colour to their talons using henna and other plant extract plus a combo of natural oils to moisturise - we love the innovation! Having colourful tips was a sign of wealth and status so even back then it’s clear to see the power of nails.
The 1920’s and 1930’s saw well known brands Cutex and Revlon hitting the shelves. Their launch of dusky rose and super high lacquer red shades were perfect for rocking the half moon manicures that were taking off at the time thanks to silver screen actresses such as Jean Harlow. Before that they’d been using high-gloss car paint….*insert horrified emoji face here*
With the birth of grunge in the '90s, nails took on a less polished look as seen on the likes of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love. Suddenly it became ok to have week old, chipped nails - you just had to own it. Darker shades were HUGE, especially after the release of Pulp Fiction which saw Uma Thurman rocking Chanel’s iconic Rouge Noir shade. Such a kick ass look that we still love!
Anyone remember this dollar bill set created by celebrity nail technician Bernadette Thompson for Lil' Kim in 1995 - they’re oh so money…!!
The industry as we know it today owes itself largely to the African American innovators of the ‘80s and ‘90s who used nail art as a form of self-expression and had been for decades. Whilst pierced and heavily rhinestoned nails remain current and fresh, the fact is that their origins lie within African American culture and whose aesthetic continues to evolve and inspire us. A couple of our faves are Bianca Williams, aka Beedy, and Teyana Taylor who launched her Harlem-based '90s themed nail salon, Junie Bee Nails in 2018. They are killing it!
So that brings us to the 2000’s up until today….where do we start?! This is the era where tech has really come into play, with social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube bringing nail art to a whole new level not to mention a new audience.
Through the power of these multimedia tools, nail artists are able to showcase their skills as well as inspire and teach others. With these apps at our disposal, it has made nail artistry so much more accessible; they've now become the go-to for discovering new designs, techniques and talented artists from all over the world.
The '80s may have showed us that ‘more is more’ but things have gone waaaay beyond that now - there really are no limits and we are continuously pushing to find the next big thing. Take a look below to see what we mean....next level crazy and we love it!
As always, ISLA is on top of the trends and of course creating our own! Need more inspiring looks? Go check out our Instagram to stay on top of it!
Written by Hazel Hedges.