Every year, the nails on the runways astound us, and the spring/ summer 2017 nails are no different. It is incredible how such a small canvas can lend itself to so much creativity, and how big of an impact it can have on the whole outfit. The spring/ summer 2017 nail trends are all about playing with expectations, whether by playing with bare nails or going all out with designs.
Some of the nail stylists this season kept things subdued, while others chose to be loud, with appliques. The spring/ summer 2017 nail polish and nail art trends certainly have something for everybody. Before I get into the designs, let’s talk a bit about the predominant shapes of spring 2017 nails.
Short & Rounded – We saw a lot of shorter nails on the runways this season. Maybe it’s a representation of the fashion world’s shift towards androgyny, or perhaps it’s simply a question of ease of maintenance. Either way, short nails can be cute, and there are a ton of nail polish options for them.
Oval – Oval nails will always be in style, because their shape is elegant yet practical. They are long enough to allow manicurists to get a little wilder with their designs, but because they are not too long the nail never looks over the top.
Almond – Most nail artists opted for natural nail lengths, but a few broke the theme, and went all out with long press on nails. However, even with the off the rail nail designs at Libertine, the shape of the long nails was kept almond, rather than the more extreme stiletto nail shape.
#1. Semi Bare Nails with Splashes of Color
A big trend this season was all about making a splash! At a lot of different shows, manicurists created low effort yet high impact spring/ summer 2017 nail trends, by adorning the nails with just a splash of polish.
At the Alice + Olivia and Proenza Schouler shows, the effect of the manicure was on the seemingly haphazard side. At Alice + Olivia, a closer look showed that the shades of dark green actually created flowy patterns, while at Proenza Schouler, the designs were just truly abstract shapes and lines in black.
The models at Emilio de La Morena had a sweep of baby pink polish applied to only half the nail, really keeping this trend simple. We saw a similar design at Vera Wang, but with black or white nail polish instead of pink, placed in the center of the nail with a matte top coat.
At Novis, the touch of color came from one or two small squares of teal or royal blue applied either near the top or bottom of the nail.
Lastly, at Creatures of Comfort, nail pro Alicia Torello gave colorful French tips to bare nails, and applied a gold decal at the base for a touch of geometric glam.
#2. 3 Dimensional Appliques
Nails are growing; not just in length, but in thickness, thanks to some incredible 3 dimensional appliques. CND was in charge of the 2017 nails at Libertine, and man, did they rock it. Each model sported a different design – in most cases, each hand sported a different design. We saw jewels, beads, pink fuzz, and my personal favorite: puppy faces! This isn’t one of those 2017 nail trends anyone could get away with, but if your job is more permissive, go for it!
#3. Bedazzled Nails
Most designers this year did not want the nails to steal the show, but a few were exceptional and unafraid, so their runways sported glammed up and bedazzled 2017 nails. The secret to sporting such an exuberant style is precise jewel application, and a very strong nail glue.
At Philipp Plein, the bedazzled nails were subtle – little golden jewels were camouflaged by an all-over gold polish. At The Blonds, nails were painted monochromatic shades, and then topped with three jewels along the center.
#4. Stripey and Sketchy Designs
There is something about special about getting a little free flowing with the nail brush, and doing whatever your mind desires. Nails are a canvas that allows for a lot of creativity, despite their small size, and playing with lines is one way to get interesting. We saw some lovely sketchy and line-based spring 2017 nail art trends this season.
At Christian Siriano, we saw this expressed with tiny, lovely black and white designs drawn along the edge and sides of the nails, over a teal base color. At Betty and Veronica by Rachel Antonoff, it was a lot cuter (dare I say, cutesy?) with sketchy red and pink hearts dotted over a white base color.
The stripey nail design choice for the Nicole Miller show was all about crosses in contrasting shades of green and red, painted over a bare nail, another of the season’s trends. We also saw crosses on the Michelle Helene runways – but the red stripes were tiny, and layered over a bright silver base.
#5. White Nails
Out of the easier to achieve spring 2017 nail art trends, this is one that is a little harder to pull off. Solid white nails can be really cool when applied perfectly, and paired with tastefully color-blocked outfits. However, the wrong patterned shirt, or an awkward nail shape might end up looking as though you used whiteout to paint your nails!
#6. Predominant Top Color
This is an application style we saw with a few of the spring/ summer 2017 nails. The effect is quite striking, and mercifully easy to achieve. Nail artists painted first a base coat of color, and then almost completely covered it with a top color, only leaving a bit of the bottom polish showing.
At Fyodor Golan, solid white was applied over a blue base, for a cool half moon manicure effect. At Phillip Lim, silver polish was applied in the center, on top of white that only showed on the periphery of the nail.
At Taoray Wang, the creative manicure was achieved by nail expert Rose Velez-Miggins, who painted the nails with a coat of warm beige, and then with a small brush applied baby blue like an extreme half moon, showing how easy no mess French oval tips can be achieved with this technique.
#7. Nude Nails
I’m so happy to see that nude nail polish is still in for the spring/ summer 2017 manicure trends, because it is so fresh, healthy, and natural, but still a little unique. Traditionally, after all, we were used to seeing nude nails paired with white French tips.
The choice for nude nails dominated at Alexander Wang, but there were also a few examples of this nail color at Mulberry.
At Tanya Taylor, nails were nude with a twist, as diagonal sweeps of orange, mint, fuchsia, or yellow were applied both at the bottom and near the tips. We also saw this done creatively at Rodarte.
#8. Creative Twists on the French Manicure
Few nail artists wanted to bring back the plain old French manicure to the spring 2017 nail trends. Instead, they opted for clever and unique takes on the traditional style, whether by utilizing nontraditional colors or by playing with the shapes.
Celebrity manicurist Miss Pop, for example, painted diagonal white stripes on the models at Marissa Webb, creating a graphic take on the classic French manicure.
Cushnie et Ochs shows asymmetrical white stripes with nude base.
The French manicures at the Rebecca Minkoff show were especially graphic, with shades of red and white polish alternating as main and tip colors.
At Opening Ceremony, nail artist Naomi Yasuda gave models graphic black tips, with red, white, and yellow strips separating the bare bottom part of the nail.
Lastly, my favorite French manicure (possibly my favorite 2017 nails altogether) was on the Carmen Marc Valvo runway, where the tips were in shades of either white in black, but another stripe was added right below the tips, creating a cool graphic effect.
#9. Soft & Feminine Pinks
The most romantic of the spring 2017 manicure trends is certainly the pink nails. They are soft and bright, and exude perfect springtime health.
At Jill Stuart, the manicures were glossy in a cool shade of pink, while at Temperley London, the models’ nails were adorned in a glossy peach shade, to bring in more of a summer cheer. At Blumarine, the choice was a bright, warm pink shade for a vibe that is girlish and yet outgoing.
#10. Matte Metallics
Remember the sand nail polish trend from 2011? A small, subtle, and lovely iteration of it is back for the spring 2017 nails. This season a lot of designers opted for metallic gold and silver nails, but instead of allowing them to shine too much, they were painted over with a matte top coat. This was an especially interesting choice, when contrasted with all the solid, glossy colors we saw at some of the other shows.
At Cividini, we saw a solid gold nail, with a few flakes of silver, which was layered with a matte top coat.
On the Michael Costello runway, nails were painted a matte shade of gold, but also fell into another of summer 2017 nail art trends: weird French manicures. The tips of the models’ nails were painted a deep purplish burgundy. There were also some matte silver nails at Desigual, in addition to a few other designs.
#11. Ombre Nails
The ombre nail looks tough to achieve, but it is actually anything but boring! That is why we are so happy it is one of the summer 2017 nail trends. To create an awesome ombre nail, simply paint a nail polish sponge with the colors you want, and then stipple it on the nail! The effect is quick and seamless. Just one tiny tip – cover your cuticles with clear tape beforehand, for easy clean up.
At Desigual, one of their nail designs was a tricolor ombre in bright shades of pink blue and yellow, while another was an ombre in shades of white and yellow. At Naeem Khan, it was a softer ombre of nude transitioning into pink at the tips, almost like an ombre French manicure, but not quite. At Monse, the lower shade was also nude, but it transformed into a taupe at the tips.
#12. Polish on the Cuticles
You have to be careful with some of the spring/ summer 2017 nail trends, because if you do them wrong they could look sloppy. However, if you get them right the effect is unique and stylish.
This is true for nail artist Tracylee’s choice at Rodarte to paint the nails in a nude color (another of this season’s trends), and painting a thin stripe of golden glitter along the cuticle. With soft, shimmery colors and a clean touch this effect is lovely, but chances are most other color combinations would not work as well.
#13. Red Nails
These are the sexiest of the spring 2017 nail trends. I am talking about red nails, of course. A sweep of red will always emanate glamour, seduction, and just a touch of playfulness.
At Emporio Armani, the manicurists went full force with a dark and deep shade of red that brought the models’ rounded nails out of plainness. The main color Julie Kandalec chose for the models at the Rag & Bone runway was a classy, cool red.
At Leitmotiv, the choice was for a more cheerful orange red, that had all the seduction but with an added feel of summer joy. For all runways, the finish of choice was glossy and fresh.
Lastly, at Charlotte Olympia, we saw bright red nails, but with a bare half-moon at the bottom, creating a red reverse French.
#14. Burgundy Nails
We also saw as one of the spring/ summer 2017 nail trends the darker, angrier sister of the red nail – burgundy. Burgundy nail polish doubles the seductive danger of red, while adding a touch of mysterious gothiness.
It was quite a daring choice, both for the nail artists at Monique Lhuillier and at Kate Spade to choose such a color that seems so antithetical to the season – but who said summer had to be all pastels? One more thing of note – we are still seeing glossy finishes with this shade, as well.
#15. Midnight Nails
Burgundy wasn’t the only gothy of the spring/ summer 2017 nail art trends. Manicurists at a few shows opted for midnight shades, representative perhaps of a warm summer night’s sky.
At Marchesa, it was a starry sky effect, thanks to a gunmetal dark gray, flecked with black and silver glitter. At Rag & Bone, we saw some eternally edgy black nails, interspersed with the predominant red manicures.
Lastly, at DKNY, a navy blue shade of polish reminded us of the sky, immediately after the sun goes down.
#16. Glossy Nails
And to seal the deal about matte nails being out, and glossy ones coming back in, we have Tibi presenting some of the various summer 2017 nails possible. We saw the models’ round and oval shaped nails painted with solid and glossy shades of gray, orange, and mint.
At the Jeremy Scott show, models sported brightly colored nails, save for a drop of a contrasting color at the bottom of the nail.
Photos courtesy of Livingly
Don’t miss: Spring/ Summer 2017 Hairstyle Trends