Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends

The fall/ winter 2015-2016 Fashion Week runway shows taking place in New York, Milan, London and Paris brought to us more than just the latest in wardrobes, shoes, handbags, prints and colors. The fashion month brought to us more than hairstyles and makeup artistry that rocked the catwalk from this side of the world to the other. It also brought to us the artistic creations on the nails. Below are some of the biggest fall/ winter 2015-2016 nail trends we spotted on the Fashion Week runways, appearing on some of the most noteworthy house collections as well as the lesser known brands that are up and coming and soon to take the fashion world by storm.

Update: discover the new trend report here: Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends & Fall/ Winter 2016-2017 Nail Trends

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends

Not too long ago, the existence of nail art would not have been considered an “in’ thing at all. Who worried about nails? It was either a single color or French. Then the stickers came out and began to change things. Fillings happened and then the Asian manicurists became known for their expertise with creating the funkiest of colorful creations that one could think of. To this day, at least in North America, the less expensive, more affordable Asian owned salons offer incredible nail art choices, while the posh, exclusive places have no aesthetician who can conjure anything even near as impressive as that. At the end of the day, when you are getting those nails done anyhow, it would be nice to treat yourself to an artistically designed manicure process. The fall/ winter 2015-2016 nail trends may inspire you to come up with the most statement-making designs ever!

#1: Rounded Nails

It was during the New York Fashion Week that we first realized that the rounded nails that were so big during the spring/summer season fashion shows are here to stay for a while. Square nails may be a favourite for many, but the rounded form looks more chic, sophisticated and down to earth. Add gorgeous colored lacquer to it, like Monique Lhuillier’s shimmering blues or the inky mahogany of Derek Lam and you have an intriguing combination of awesome hues and gorgeous nails.

The rounded nails are also mostly short cut, spotted on many designer shows, including Nicole Miller, Ohne Titel, Christian Siriano, Suno, and Carmen Marc Valvo. Sass & Bide also showed off rounded nails, alongside the black striped nude nails at House of Holland that were complemented with a brush of black across the lids. The addition of black to the nails in an artistic design happened on mostly all rounded nails, including the fresh and youthful Alexis Mabille ladies looking as amazing as ever.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Rounded Nails

#2: Short Nails

Also big in the trends report for the spring/summer 2015 time period, the shorter nails are in style. The looks are for the working women who face chipped nails wherever they turn so in order to keep those digits looking as gorgeous as the rest of the limbs and face, it comes in handy to cut the nails short and add awesome colors, particularly blues for the fall and winter seasons as seen at Costello Tagliapietra. Short nails appear all over, including at Nicole Miller, Monique Lhuillier, Ohne Titel, and Rebecca Minkoff. Nails were cut nice and short before being painted with a dark lacquer to add to the grunge look at Sass & Bide, made to match the hair and eyes. Adding to the shorter nail look was Julien Macdonald with those gorgeous red nails dripping blood on the London Fashion Week.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Short Nails

#3: Negative Space Nail Art

Some of the best nail art designs are actually negative space versions of the lovely lacquer paints added to the digits. They make up one of the biggest nail trends for the spring and summer seasons and now have transferred to the fall and winter, effectively taking over the whole of the year with their fabulous appeal. Chevron negative space nails from KISS created a unique look with the combination of tangerine lips at Kaelen. Matte, negative space eccentric nails using OPI’s Light my Sapphire also appeared somewhere in the mix of the Marissa Webb line-up for the New York Fashion Week runway shows.

Negative space and chevron nails come into contact once again at Rebecca Minkoff, with punk rock vibes and edgy reverse V shapes in a berry and midnight palette combination. At Suno, negative space manicure was combined with a windowpane effect for a minimal nail art look that had an angular and geometric feel in line with the collection itself. Black claw like paintings on the nails made for an interesting combination look that was perfectly matched with the fresh and youthful appearances of the Alexis Mabille models with the glossy pink pouts.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Negative Space Nail Art

#4: Artistic Splatter Nails Make It Big

If you ever considered splattered canvases to be awesome artistic looks, you should be pleasantly surprised to learn that now you will be carrying about those lovely splatters on your own nails. Can you imagine anything more intriguing that a grey background with yellow, blue, green, red and orange lines and dots and splashed looks all over those pretty digits of yours? We certainly loved seeing them take over the Desigual fashion line during the New York Fashion Week!

Artistic splatter nails are seen on the Jenny Packham nails, the art being sporadic and the glitter seaming to be drips from the sky, kind of like rainfall or snow that fell in the most artistic fashion, as well as at Daks, Kenzo and I’m Isola Marras. Although not splattered, Opening Ceremony nail art designs are beyond artistic and gorgeous, while splatter nails at Vivienne Westwood Red Label look really vampy and funky.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Artistic Splatter Nail Art

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Artistic Splatter Nail Art

#5: All About Blue Manicure

Blue eyeshadow was big on the runway, so it should be expected that the nails would match with an equally, if not darker blue to match the fall/ winter 2015-2016 makeup trends. This was certainly true for the creations by Benjamin Puckey at Karen Walker. The sexy looks like those seen on Monique Lhuillier’s runway show were also complemented with shimmering blue nails that really caught our eyes and captivated our senses. They also included a combination color using Morgan Taylor’s Bright Eyes polish with a pearlized bold teal for the ultimate in fun looks showing off a happy-go-lucky mood.

Vibrant metallic blues were huge on the Costello Tagliapetra catwalk, with the models having their nails painted by Julie Kandalec. It appears that most of the New York Fashion Week nails are in a blue hue, as they take on funkier styles such as on the Marissa Webb show, where we spot matte negative space electric nails using the OPI Light My Sapphire color. Blues turn to darker teal when we consider the Nicole Miller nails cut short and looking lovely.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Blue Manicure

#6: Matte Nail Polish

Not all nail polish applications are made shiny. Sometimes, they also go matte, a trend that was big on the spring/summer runway shows as well, seen back in September. Matte nails make for an interesting look and playing with art on them can come in handy. However, these shows, including the Marissa Webb catwalk, have made a simpler statement with the color painted on in a matte lacquer without any shine and any other embellishments. Simplicity does the trick all right, including with the negative space electric nails.

We see the matte nail polish appear on the Antonio Marras fashion show as well with incredibly gorgeous grey on grey, shiny swirl on matte background look. Wes Gordon also showed the matte nail polish trend through a simplistic graphic nail design.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Matte Nail Polish

#7: The Updated French Manicure

The French manicure look has been a classic that we cannot live without. It was created to show off more of a chic sophistication that surrounds us daily, as our nails help finish off the outfits we deem to create each morning. When it comes to the fashion house Tibi, Jin Soon Choi created a neutral look that was inspired by “the sculptural lines, varied textures and icy palette featured throughout the collection.”

Curved line horizontal striped made their way across the middle of the nail to the tips. While Jeremy Scott combined French manicure with a bright base color and some graphic details, Rebecca Minkoff matched that with the negative space mani trend playing with black and burgundy shades.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Modern French Manicure

#8: Sunset Tones on Nails

At Mara Hoffman, the nails really stood out against the backdrop of magnificent outfits. There was something reminiscent of the Star Wars movies and the really beautiful sunset scenes that had us all captivated for decades. The looks seem to reflect the earth’s different tones, like layer upon layer of sand and rock, using ’70s colors and the vibe of the collection to create the perfect nail art. You can use multiple shades to come to this conclusion that is enchanting unto itself. Degen and Jeremy Scott also have some lovely sunset manicure colors you’d like to experiment with!

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Sunset Nail Polish Colors

#9: Metallic and Jewel Nail Polish Tones Throughout

Metallic and jewel tones are gorgeous in general, but when you add them to your nails, it appears as if you yourself are worth a million bucks. There is just something utterly alluring about wearing an emerald or sapphire color on those fingers of yours and having them catch the light with a light shimmer as you go about your day and enjoy your activities. That is probably why we found the Nicole Miller rich jewel toned collection to be so inspiring, particularly when you see a black and green combination to create the perfect emerald.

The Marissa Webb sapphire colored nails were equally as mesmerizing, leading us to look for ruby and garnet reds among others. A rich gold nail polish was added to the Dennis Basso models’ fingers for an overall wealthy and elegant look. Long, golden nails with artistic line designs were seen at Mary Benson and well loved by us all.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Metallic and Jewel Nail Polish Colors

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Metallic and Jewel Nail Polish Colors

#10: Dark and Drastic Nail Art

If you liked the darker blue hues or even the gothic feel of some of the collections presented throughout the Fashion Weeks, then you would have loved the use of black, not just on lips but also on nails. Misha Nonoo took that look and combined it with a bare face to really emphasize the dark grace created with the black nail lacquer. Add hand-painted detailing for some spectacular nail art as the black lacquer turns into the perfect back from on which one can create artistic designs. At Tanya Taylor, this detailing was in a silver hue and included added glitter for better effect.

The dark manicure at A Detacher may be a simple look but it adds a whole boatload of drama to the designer fashion show. Midnight plum nail lacquer was a big thing at Yigal Azrouel, while the school girl style seen at Carmen Marc Valvo was complemented with a dark look that had a sharper black line running up and down the nail over the shimmering of the base. Grunge was major inspiration for Sass & Bide as they added dark nails to a dark look that included rocker hairdos and smudged eyeliner.

Dark and dramatic takes on new meaning at Alice + Olivia where we see black nail polish with golden flecks shimmering about and bringing in a little bit of bohemian and a touch of Art Deco to everything she does. Nail art is also played with, adding lighter grey to the thumbs and keeping the rest dark at Bibhu Mohapatra, wherein it appears there is a yearning for love between the artist and the muse.

The darkness is clear and the drama is real when we look at the Eudon Choi deep burgundy and black nail colors, in direct contrast with some of the other brighter colors presented on the shows aired the same day. Vivienne Westwood’s witchy hands found on her runway show were enough to scare the life out of us with their eerie neon green acid fog-like endings and the extremely long fake nails in black. We are imagining a cauldron is placed underneath those hands and the most sinister of spells woven in the air.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Dark Nails

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Dark Nails

#11: Neutral Palettes Once Again

You can never go wrong with a neutral palette. Have it painted onto short and rounded nails and you have something that is so versatile, it matches nearly anything you decide to wear. A classic clay color was the perfect neutral tone for Ohne Titel on the house’s runway show. An Arctic inspired manicure was created at the Thakoon fashion show, really complementing the barely there makeup on some of the models sent onto the catwalk.

At Erin Fetherston, the nails were simple and in the nude, with a touch of gold adding some fun to the otherwise neutral tones. Cristiano Burani has nails that look as amazing as they are soft and simple, in neutral earth tones that are in direct contrast with those very red lips. Chanel’s gone simple and neutral as well, with slightly thicker white beige combination monochromic colors.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Neutral Nude Nails

#12: Luscious Ombre Nails

We have seen the ombre hair and the ombre shadows and even the ombre lipsticks, other than the ombre dresses. Now, we see the ombre nails as a trend as well, appearing on Christian Siriano’s New York Fashion Week runway show with a big splash, mimicking the mystery of the show itself. The nails were simply divine! Proenza Schouler and Mara Hoffman demonstrated modern creative interpretations of the ombre nail trend for fall 2015.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Ombre Nails

#13: Usage of Grey

While a gorgeous light color unto itself, the dove grey nails seen at Sally Lapointe remind us of the makeup and color trends for fall/ winter 2015-2016 in general. Grey is totally in at this point for the fall and winter seasons and we can get a head start on wearing them from now. Not all the nails were short throughout the Fashion Weeks, even though most were overwhelmingly so; when it comes to John Richmond, we have awesome long and pointed metallic grey nails that match with the darker grey eyeliner and shadows perfectly. It is a great look, particularly for the winter.

And then we have the slightly rounded square nails of the Antonio Marras models with their incredible grey on grey shine on matte designs that are beyond gorgeous. Adding a touch of green teal to grey makes for an incredible hue, as found at Genny, worn with a white fur coat and equally furry clutch handbag.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Gray Nails

#14: Going Minimal

Many of the looks presented on the Fashion Week runway shows have been minimal, from the makeup to the clothing. The fall 2015 nails are expected to follow suit. While many are monochromatic and uninspiring, others have turned to more interesting lines and designs, using simple but contrasting colors, such as the nude and white with a black line found at David Koma. House of Holland takes the nude and black colors and turns them into an interesting striped nail art look that is entirely too compelling.

The golden crossed lines on the Erin Fetherston simple nude nail polish, appearing only on the fourth fingers made for the perfect finishing after seeing those ombre lips. Bare nails were amped up at Suno with two perpendicular strokes of white polish, while Cushnie et Ochs used small square motifs to apply colors that matched its collection items, such as the cool teal greens and the richer hued navy. Giamba went crazy with random symbols drawn out in black all over the nails and the fingers, to match with the dots and darts on the face around the eyes.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Minimal Nail Art

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Minimal Nail Art

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Minimal Nail Art

#15: Bringing Back the Reds

Red nail polish never really goes out of style. A color that is versatile and all too classic, those red hues in darker or lighter, paler and more dramatic palettes appear time and again in the latest of fall/ winter 2015-2016 nail trends, this time around coming back with a bang. It may not be as common as some of the other trends, but this is one color one should not underestimate, particularly when we see matching nails and lipsticks appearing on the runway shows. This was certainly the case with Julien Macdonald when we fell completely and utterly in love. The Emporio Armani ladies looked like they were ready to conquer the night with their street styles, particularly where the red nail polish was concerned to match those lips.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Red Nails

#16: The Black and White Combo

We saw it many a time, either as black and white or black and beige, but we cannot escape the fact that black polish is used to create extra drama on an already bright color. Black and white make for an awesome combination and no house can show that off better than Kenzo, with those perfect black striped up the center of the stark white nails. Black and white were combined with touches of burgundy and gray at Rachel Antonoff, looking amazing in a striped nail design. At Bibhu Mohaparta white was used at the lowest extent acting as a tiny dot like detail creating a subtle contrast on the background of black.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Black and White Nails

#17: Going Crazy with Those Nails

Think of it this way: while many of us revel in the simpler looks of the fall and winter seasons, there are designers out there who love it wacky, funky and simply out of this world. This means that we should very much have expected the colorful and multi-textured nails spotted on the Vivienne Westwood runway shows, each finger sporting a totally different look. It was as funky as they come and it was nice to have something totally out of whack from the rest.

Then there are those Christine Phung nails as well that seem to have half the fingers dipped into paint and not simply just polish. It is probably not a look we will be trying anytime soon though. Colorful nails in dual tones per digit mark the Au Jour Le Jour fashion house’s designs, matching with the bold slathers of colors on the eyes as well as the thick liner framing the orbs. Daks had us slightly worried at the imagination by showing off dripping black on nude with red swathes throughout reminding us of something sinister or perhaps even a horror movie.

Rachel Antonoff combined bright colors with striped nail designs, while Saunders and The Blonds opted for 3D textures to add excitement to the nail art looks. We also love the burst of colors spotted at Jeremy Scott.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Colorful and Fun Nail Art

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Colorful and Fun Nail Art

#18: Fun with Swirls

Swirling nail art that blends in but sticks out just enough to be noticeable appears in many places, including at Zero + Maria Cornejo with those minimalist half moon looks that match the nude and black colors rather well. There are also those gorgeous swirls in shiny on top of matte grey seen at Antonio Marras to really amp up the chic sophistication of a woman in charge. Swirling patters and waving lines were totally in at Novis, where the wave motif of the collection itself was transposed onto the models’ fingers in sea foam and periwinkle blues as well as many others. Squiggles and waves made it onto the Adam Selman runway with those darker colors on bare backs and looked positively fabulous.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: Swirling Nail Art

#19: Simply White Brings Summer to Winter Days

Simple white mani seen at Rachel Zoe is also quite endearing on its own, a color that makes one look younger and more innocent all in one fell swoop. Add the gorgeous white nails seen at Holly Fulton for the fall 2015 collection, complete with those funky octagonal sunglasses in nude, and we have a look that appears to be bringing the brightness of summer into the bleaker winter days. Tadashi Shoji’s fall collection featured effervescent, weightless silhouettes and nails to match in dual tones, the white cream color applied with a sponge and covering the tips fully. It was like having clouds on your own fingers in a way.

Fall/ Winter 2015-2016 Nail Trends: White Nails

Diversity is what we especially appreciate and love about the fall/ winter 2015-2016 nail trends, which manage to cater to the style needs of those in love with the timeless minimalist looks, as well as the intricate nail art addicts. Whatever trend you choose to wear this fall, make sure to pay lots of attention to your fingertips, which can change a lot in your looks in general.

Photos courtesy of Stylebistro

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Written by Tamar Najarian
Tamar is a psychologist, teaching and heading into the business world with a prospective MBA. A silly lover of books and words, she generally loves to seek out new adventures, getting her toes wet and her hands dirty. Having moved to Armenia nearly two years ago, she feels like the world is at her fingertips and anything is possible so long as you take a step in that direction.