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Mercedes-Benz Spring/Summer 2009 Fashion Week: Spotlight On Creative Nail Design (CND)

The CND studio's walls are lined with concepts and inspirations for different shows

The CND Studio's walls are lined with concepts and inspirations for different shows

For the past week, we've been taking you backstage at some of the fashion world's biggest shows, giving you inside access to the looks being created for Spring/Summer 2009. Yesterday, I had the chance to go even deeper into the creation process with a visit to the CND Studio, where the nail concepts are developed and implemented. CND is providing the manicures and pedicures for 75 shows during NYC Fashion Week, deploying five teams of technicians from around the world armed with huge suitcases containing multiple bottles of each CND color to the runways. Back at the studio, work days can last up to 14 hours, as the colors are blended and complicated tips are designed and painted. For The Blonds show, the team spent two days creating amazing tips with sequins, rhinestones and intricate patterns.

Some of the tips for The Blonds show

Some of the tips for The Blonds show

A gold sandal provides the inspiration for Monique Lhullier

A gold sandal provides the inspiration for Monique Lhullier

But the work actually starts months before the shows, as the designers collaborate with the CND team to come up with colors and designs to best complement their collections. Some designers send a Pantone colors or fabric swatches, others may just tell them the theme of the show or send polaroids. It is because CND has earned the trust of the designers that they get a rare early glimpse of the designers' collections. The CND team, led by Kristina Baume in the studio, often blends custom colors to get just the right shade, logging the "recipes" and filing them away for future reference. The shaping process for the hundreds of tips used goes on all year.

CND also comes up with trend forecasts of its own so that the team can provide some guidance to designers. For Spring 2009, CND predicts faded pastels and colors that look whitewashed and dusty. For Summer 2009, the look will be spicier, with brighter colors and a louder mood, inspired by an exotic traveler.

CND's Summern 2009 inspiration wall

CND's Summer 2009 inspiration wall

As the CND team puts the finishing touches on designers' looks for NYC Fashion Week, behind-the-scenes, they're already hard at work on creating concepts for the London and Paris shows. When it comes to beautiful nails and toes, the work never stops ... —Lori Morris, Senior Editor

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Lori Morris

Lori Morris