French manicures became the gold standard during the '90s and early aughts, and they're back — along with cargo pants — on the runway at New York Fashion Week's Spring 2020 season. In 2019, the classic tips are far from boring or mom-ish: Top manicurists have updated the look with creative twists — think pearl embellishments and sparkles.
At Christian Siriano, manicurist Julie Kandalec (for Essie) created a "painterly" French tip by applying a seafoam color to the top part of the nail and then finishing it off with a coat of glitter polish. A more colorful iteration of the basic mani was also seen at Nicole Miller, where the majority of the fingernail was kept bare, with a bright orange or yellow striping just the tip. Jin Soon Choi utilized a similar technique at Rag & Bone: First she coated the nails in a layer of nude polish, and then she added a thin black line on the tips.
For Alice + Olivia, manicurist Gina Edwards (for Kiss) took a whimsical approach by adding tiny pearls to the tips. And for Khaite, Betina Goldstein (for Essie) refreshed the decades-old manicure by painting a super-thin white line along the tip of the nail as opposed to the thick Wite-Out tips of yesteryear.
Elsewhere, nails were more artful, architectural and in some cases even 3-D. Jin Soon Choi complemented Tibi's Spring 2020 collection with a hand-sculpted wire loop that was glued on the index and middle nails of each hand. Fingers were also front and center at Jeremy Scott, where Miss Pop (for Essie) created multiple '80s-inspired graphic looks to match Scott's bold-printed garments. At Ulla Johnson, Mabelyn Martin, the creative director of Paintbox, went for unexpected graphic details by making a curvy design that exposed the natural nail while slightly framing it with a rich mossy green or cinnamon shade.
So, there you have it: plenty of backstage proof that French manicures are back and nail art is still going strong. Click through the gallery below for a closer look at the most standout nails from the Spring 2020 runways.