Nail polish isn't as hot as it used to be, thanks to a glut of brands in the market and serious nail art fatigue. But if there's one label that can yank us all out of our nail torpor, it's Chanel. The brand that gave us Vamp (and Jade and Black Satin and a zillion other sold-out-instantly shades) launched a new and improved line of 16 lacquers on Monday called Le Vernis Longwear Nail Colour. Five of the shades are old favorites (Rouge Noir, Particulière, Ballerina, Pirate, Vamp) and 11 of them are brand new, though they're fairly classic colors. The line also includes a high-shine longwear top coat called Le Gel. The polishes cost $28 each, an increase of $1 compared to the old formula. It's still very much a luxury product, obviously, but perhaps easier to justify since it has better longevity.
On Chanel.com, it appears that only the new polishes are currently available; the old formulas are gone, though a quick search of some department store websites shows that they are, in fact, still available. One can assume that after they sell through, these stores will start stocking the new formula, and the old polishes could theoretically become collectors' items. (We've reached out to Chanel to confirm whether the old formulas and shades will be available, and will update when we hear back.)
This new formula — like the one before it — is 5-free, meaning it doesn't contain formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, camphor or formaldehyde resin. It also contains ceramides, which are lipids that help form a barrier, and bioceramics, which are strengtheners. Chanel claims that using these polishes with the Le Gel top coat offers wear for up to seven days. I had a manicure done in the nouveau Rouge Noir a few weeks ago with the new top coat, and it lasted six days before it chipped, which is amazing for me; my nails are thin and short and polish always chips off easily, especially dark colors. I'm currently walking around with four-day-old Rouge Essentiel (with a regular top coat) without a chip yet. Think of this collection as a Chanel combat boot rather than a pump: tougher than the classic, but still undeniably Chanel.
With the rise in popularity of gel nails, it's not surprising that Chanel would launch this collection. Brands like Sally Hansen and Nails Inc. hopped on the no-light, gel-effect nail trend early, offering super-shiny, long-wear formulas that don't last as long as a salon gel manicure but definitely beat out traditional polishes. Gel-like top coats — Essie and Dior both make great ones — are also everywhere. So while Chanel is a bit behind the trend on this one, rest assured that the execution and colors are excellent.
Click through to see all 16 colors, as well as a mini Chanel nail polish walk down memory lane/history lesson.