The Top Coat: DIY Nail Art Inspired by the Prada and Schiaparelli Exhibit

Welcome to our new nail art column--the Top Coat! Every week we'll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We've already told you the essentials y
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Welcome to our new nail art column--the Top Coat! Every week we'll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We've already told you the essentials y
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Welcome to our new nail art column--the Top Coat! Every week we'll be doing a step-by-step nail art tutorial. We've already told you the essentials you need for a good nail art kit, so gather your tools and try our first project.

We’re counting down the days until this year’s Costume Institute Metropolitan Museum of Art Ball, which will imagine an "Impossible Conversation" between the late Elsa Schiaparelli and celebrated designer Miuccia Prada. This week’s project is inspired by just that—one hand serves as the voice of Schiaparelli visualized through her iconic lip print; the other salutes Prada in the form of flamboyant flames (as seen in her Spring 2012 collection). If the two groundbreaking designers were to ever communicate through nail art, we’d imagine this is exactly what they’d say. Like what you see? Here's how to do it:

Schiaparelli Step One: First Base

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Cover your nails with a base coat, followed by two coats of a shocking pink shade on your thumb, pinky, middle, and forefinger. Paint your ring finger classic red. Allow two minutes between each coat for drying time.

Tools of the Trade: Essie ‘First Base’ Base Coat, $8 at Nordstrom.com; Orly Nail Lacquer in Fancy Fuschia, $8 at Ulta.com; Sephora By OPI in High Maintenance, $9.50 at Sephora.com.

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Schiaparelli Step Two: Tap Into Your Inner Artist For your pink tips, dip a nail art brush into the red polish and paint two to three small sets of lips on each nail. On the accent nail, reverse it: Use the pink polish to paint a few shocking pink smiles. (Be sure to draw a thin black line through the center of the lips to better illustrate a pretty pout.)

Tools of the Trade: NYX Ink Nail Art Polish in Black, $6 at Amazon.com

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Schiaparelli Step Three: Set the Look Set your stylish smooching tips with a super shiny topcoat.

Tools of the Trade: China Glaze Fast Forward Top Coat, $5.99 at SallyBeauty.com

Prada Step One: First Base

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After applying your base coat, paint your thumb and pinky nails with two coats of black. On your ring and forefinger, apply two coats of a pretty flesh-tone shade. Paint your middle finger with two coats of a sky blue hue. Allow two minutes between each coat for drying time.

Tools of the Trade: Nars Base Coat, $18 at NarsCosmetics.com; Revlon Nail Enamel in Black Lingerie, $4.79 at Drugstore.com; Butter London Nail Lacquer in Artful Dodger, $14 at ButterLondon.com; Love & Beauty Natural Hue Nail Polish, $2.80 at Forever21.com.

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Prada Step Two: Flame On On your black and nude nails, emulate colorful flickering flames with nail art pens—green and yellow on black, black, red, and white on nude. To mimic the shape of a flame, draw thick cylindrical lines that thin and taper off at the ends. Highlight each ember by lining the edges with a contrasting color.

On your blue accent nail, freestyle! (We went with psychedelic curves and a triangle, much like Prada’s adorable baby blue shoe.)

Tools of the Trade: Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens, $7.49 each at Ulta.com

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Prada Step Three: Step Three Lock your fiery art in place with two shiny topcoats.

Tools of the Trade: L’Oreal Nail Polish in Top Coat, $4.99 at Drugstore.com