Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends

Does playing with colors on your nails excite you? Is it enjoyable to turn your fingers into mini works of art that you can spend hours on perfecting? Does the salon appeal to you greatly, bringing you over for a manicure and pedicure at least once a month, if not more? Or do you simply just love following all the latest nail art trends? Honestly, if your answers have been positive for any of these questions, you are going to fall head over heels in love with the spring/ summer 2016 nail trends that appeared during the September and October Fashion Week shows in New York, Paris, London and Milan. From rainbow colors to matching with lips and eyes, plays on the classic French to the glitter or nudes, there is an awesome nail art trend for everyone out there and it has taken on a rather sophisticated mood.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends

Update: discover the new trend report Fall/ Winter 2016-2017 Nail Trends

Here are some of the top nail trends for spring/ summer 2016 seasons, full of splendor and simplicity while still screaming out individuality, the major theme for the year. For many of the looks, a steady hand and/or a striping tape will be a must. But first, it is important to note that the main shapes of the nails include:

Rounded: This shorter version with the sliver of a moon effect can be seen throughout, particularly apparent among the new French styles.

Oval: Added length to the nails offers a half moon effect, seen as such among the French nails noticed at Veronica Beard.

Squared Oval or Squoval: Tibi, Jonathan Simkhai and many others offer the squoval nail effect, which is gorgeous, not likely to snag on anything and perfectly clean looking for the professional girl heading to work.

Long Almond: In the longer nails, it appears almond is the best shape we see, something we notice at Gareth Pugh among others.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Nail Shapes

While we notice that the rounded shapes are the most common ones, there are a few square looks as well, including at Chromat, Marc Jacobs, et al. They come in long and short, but it is the clean cuts that are nice and short, both rounded and square that are a favorite. Besides there are so many tips to make short nails look longer and flattering!

If we had to sum up the top nail art trends for 2016, we would say that minimalism is huge, individuality is key, nude is in, and French nails are revamped, while it is all about the stripes in every which way they appear. We may see a lot of sparkles on the way as well, while reds, blues and yellows are the top colors alongside the neutrals.

#1: The New French Nails

France certainly has some awesome styles, so the use of French nails, revamped to suit the 21st century and the bold individuality of spring 2016, was certainly to be expected. We see interesting displays of colored edges, the classic trend reimagined to create a youthful twist. There are bursts of color such as at the Monique Lhuillier show (wherein the nails match the eyes), while Tibi opts for the negative space trend with pastel edges along with a separated center (giving it a flower petal effect) and Jonathan Simkhai decides to ring the nails, black at the bottom and to the sides with silver on top.

Gorgeous orange-red half-moons appear against a nude base at Veronica Beard as well, with Cushnie et Ochs going all vampire on us with a bordeaux finish versus the classic white. Lovely green on the French nails in a darker hue than the aquas or the bright versions also appear at Francesca Liberatore, the forest hue really adding to the mystery of the thin lines. We are also asking ourselves about why one would stick to the classic when you can have a gold encrusted French manicure as seen at Nicholas K, courtesy of gold-leaf foil and some glue?

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: French Manicure

#2: Matching Nails to Makeup

One of the most intriguing spring 2016 nail trends for the new year, particularly the spring season that we can see here but we certainly expect it for the fall as well, is the whole matching eyes and lips to nails feature that has taken over. It is kind of like the matching handbags and clothing, automatically sparking a desire to match everything all of the sudden. We see matching nails and eye makeup with bold green lines at Monique Lhuillier, the graphic highlights reinventing the French manicure and how we expect to apply shadowy liner.

Bold but thin eyeliner appears on the eyes at Jonathan Simkhai, something that seems to be recreated on the nails as well with a nude base and black plus silver lining all around. At Cushnie at Ochs, bordeaux lips are complemented with bordeaux French nails, the vampy color swipes sideways against a creamy base underneath, looking positively captivating. Glittering nails and eyes in silver appear at Delpozo, shimmering red lips and talons match at Gareth Pugh, and it is all about the bare face matching the bare nails at Stella McCartney and Mila Schon.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Matching Nails to Makeup

#3: Glittering Manicure Magic

We’ve been seeing glitter everywhere, so why not add some to the nails as well, particularly if you are matching to the eye makeup. Bejewelled and sparkly is how we love it, shining bright as a diamond as was the case at Delpozo with muted nails versus the eyeshadow. Glitter is added at Ashish to rainbow nails that have a rather keen resemblance to Easter egg colors.

Sparkles added to the lower edges of the creamy or nude nails as seen at Naeem Khan bring about a jewel-like gradient, while a few layers of shimmering red lacquer creates a sexual appeal at Gareth Pugh. Ivory tones on the nails also come into play with glittering textures at Carmen Marc, a 3D eggshell effect created with opalescent HD glitter.

The simple ruby shade in shimmers at Marc Jacobs is probably what we’ll be wearing quite a bit, shorter nails and all, something we notice with the silver disco ball sparkle there as well.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Glittering Manicure

#4: Continuing with the Negative Space Nail Art

The negative space nail trend has been going strong for a while now, presenting a deep contrast, but this time switching it up from the more neutral colors or the black and white to pastels and brights. At Tibi, this means a revamped French manicure with aqua blue tones and the rest of the digits left clear of color. Experimenting with geometric shapes and stripes on bare nails are Cushnie et Ochs with the maroon tips, Ji Oh with the tally marks and Noon by Noor with the minimal stripes.

Blue and white and striped all over is the negative space polish that we see at Tanya Taylor, a chunky and a thin line drawn on horizontally through the center of the nails. Even at Chromat, the blue that matches the blue painted brows offers us a negative space appeal on square cut short nails.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Negative Space Nail Art

#5: Rainbows Captured on the Nails & Sunset Effects

If you love bright colors and multi-colored nails, the combination can be seen easily in the spring 2016 nail trends, with designers such as Ashish also adding a touch of glitter to fully ramp up the Easter egg effect those blue, pink and yellow nails have. We have rainbows appearing on each nail at Bibhu Mohapatra as well, the Bauhaus art movement being the inspiration behind the graphic nail art it seems. On the other hand, it is only on the thumbs because apparently that is all you look at on the runway anyway according to an Instagram post.

We love this new trend of nail art, especially when rainbow colors are also used for eye makeup, as we learnt from the spring/ summer 2016 makeup trends report. Furthermore, you can match your rainbow nails with your colorful eye makeup looks.

Forget rainbows and simple ombre! Sunset nails are a thing it seems and they look positively lovely as we see them appear with four distinct colors combined together at Rebecca Minkoff, including blues, corals and marshmallow effects.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Rainbow & Sunset Nails

#6: Striped Nail Designs All Over

Horizontal or vertical, in metallic or matte, the stripes appear all over the place on the runways, being graphic and minimalist at the same time, thus appealing to the general theme of the spring 2016 fashion trends. Models at 3.1 Phillip Lim appeared with silver stripes on their nails, some with one, some with thin, some with two or thicker strips, while some digits had nothing on them at all.

At Tanya Taylor, the nails all matched and came in multiple colors, including aqua, navy, red and maroon. Single metallic strips added a sporty touch to the Noon by Noor designs, while Daniel Silverstein used silver foil to create the bright mirrored effects. There are achromatic stripes appearing at Marissa Webb, vertical stripes at Paul Andrew, and an interesting striped plaid nail art that comes up at Zac Posen.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Striped Nail Art

#7: Silver on the Nails

We have seen a whole lot of silver for 2016 appearing among the spring/ summer 2016 color trends, the color being the futuristic hue that has all designers excited and fully inspired. Even on the nails, the silver appears in stripes at Daniel Silverstein, Noon by Noor and 3.1 Phillip Lim, while it is full out chrome that we find staring back at us on the likes of the amazing Chanel show. The mesmerizing metallic seen at the Blonds were actually inspired by Egyptian jewelry it seems, with press-on talons a big thing in the silver look.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Metallic Silver Nails

#8: Preferring the Nude & Neutral Manicure

Clean nails that your teachers would have been proud of in school are a huge trend on the runway this year, the nude taking on the rest of the trends with ease. It is like the barefaced makeup look: there, but really isn’t there. At Mila Schon, a clear face is matched with clear nails, buffed to perfection, a look we notice at Emanuel Ungaro and Stella McCartney as well, while Alexander Wang prefers to remove the shine all together and leave the digits matte against the skin.

At Jonathan Saunders, the nude nails are made to contrast with the dark mauve toes, while Michael Kors sticks to straight nude. We see it fully clear at the Calvin Klein Collection as well. Light pink appears on the nails at Monse as well, while clear polish is the beauty at Carolina Herrera. Nude colors on the other hand appear at DKNY.

Nudes are one thing, but neutral hues are another altogether. They can take on gorgeous earthy appeals, such as that seen appearing at Les Copains. Neutral polishes were seen at Sally Lapointe as well, though with chrome finishes at the New York Fashion Week for added effect. It is the same neutrality we have noticed on shows by such designers as Diane von Furstenberg, Carolina Herrera, and many others, including Anya Hindmarch with her peachy pale nails lost in the showcasing of those statement handbags.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Neutral, Nude Nails

#9: Opting for Gold

Silver and gold do deserve their own separate categories, which is why the gorgeous subtle sheens and brighter versions of the statement nails make it onto this list of the spring/ summer 2016 nail trends. At Reem Acra, it was a dreamy iridescence that was reflected with a golden shine to match with the Arabian Nights theme the designer had going. The crackling gold talons at Kenzo were simply to die for though, looking particularly sensuous.

Gold accents were in the jewelry, the clothing and most certainly the nails at Karen Walker, making the rounded square cuts all the lovelier to behold. Gold looks even more spectacular encrusted on the nails as a revamped French, courtesy of gold-leaf foil and some glue, as seen at Nicholas K.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Gold Manicure

#10: Jewel-Tone Nails

Colorful and rainbow effects are one thing, colorful with mosaics is a whole other trend. We see the mosaic foil appear before us at Giamba, looking to have purposefully chipped patina. Jewel tones in general are seen with striped appeal at Vivienne Westwood as well, behind reflective mirror-like surfaces that amplify the intensity of the colors. Shimmering sapphire nails looked positively gorgeous at Issa as well.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Jewel-Tone Manicure

#11: Go for Yellow Nails

It is a mellow yellow or a yellow mellow that we see at the Fashion Weeks for the spring, matching with the buttercup color trend seen on the runways. At Opening Ceremony, there is a lot of art added to the nails that brings out the beauty of it, while Prabal Gurung opted to keep to multiple designs of the same yellow and white combination on all fingers.

Yellow doesn’t stop there and also comes up in the Creatures of the Wind Fashion Week runway show, looking really cool as it matches with the shades of yellow seen on the outfit worn by the models. And then of course there is the whole silver and yellow effects at Daniel Silverstein, one that we cannot soon put out of our minds, that is how sexy it appears.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Yellow Manicure

#12: The Effects of Blues

From the shimmering sapphire tones seen at Issa to the royal blue treatment received from Jenny Packham, there is something to be said about blue for 2016. It appears all over, from the clothing to the spring 2016 shoe trends to the handbags, makeup and now the nails. The makeup and nails most certainly have a lot of the hue too, matching with the clothes. It is a whole new take on the French nail as well with the haute hippie look at Rebecca Minkoff.

Gorgeous cool blues enter the equation at Alexander Lewis’ collection shown off on the London Fashion Week, appearing to show a fiesta of fireworks on squared off longer nails. Cobalt blue negative space nails also appear at Chromat and look rather lovely with their square finishing.

Desigual’s long talons bring us to the deep blue sea, what with the waves and the random appearance of a starfish on a finger, popping up in 3D. We would be worried about losing that thing within a few hours of getting this look done!

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Blue Manicure

#13: Matte Coloring

Do you enjoy the color black on your fingers? Do you rather dislike the shine on everything these days? The matte black trend is in and it need not appear on every finger either! At Proenza Schouler, only 2-3 digits per hand sport the matte lacquer. The red matte look though can be seen on all those lovely nails at CG, complementing the gentle pink makeup on the face.

Black and red we expect it from and it looks fierce almost. But the matte look on a pale pink nail such as that seen at Ulla Johnson was unexpected but equally intriguing as the rest, only this time we prefer to imagine it on a Southern Belle heading to the ball. After all, it is very much the innocence of spring this one captures.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Matte Manicure

#14: Line at the Bottom

An interesting trend that we see, something that we notice also appears in makeup with underliners, is the line effects on top of the cuticles on your fingernails. This is a lovely effect that has been given by Naeem Khan with silver lines, while we notice that Jonathan Simkhai does not shy away from the lines on any side.

If you like the reworked French and you love lines around the cuticles, the Jonathan Simkhai nail effects should really get you going. This means silver French and red or black around the cuticles, with a creamy or nude background, making for a rather lovely nail effect and wherein you can have exact jewelry to match those digits.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Half-Moon, Bottom-Lined Manicure

#15: Red Nails

Red is a powerful color to be used on the lips or the nails, coming in everything from coral to deep cherry to red apple or maroon. At Chris Gelinas, it is the red coral that alerts us to the trend, while gorgeous red combined with sky blue stripes do come up with a lovely plaid design at Zac Posen, giving us a very preppy tartan feel. CG turns to matte, even though the main looks are shimmery and shiny lacquer, the red really looking awesome against the minimalist effects in makeup, hair and clothing.

At Gareth Pugh, it is the gorgeous shimmer of the red talons that captures our hearts, looking so very perfect for any holiday that may come up, the color with a pink and blue base to it. Even Marc Jacobs features a new sparkly ruby shade for the spring, which was premiered at the Ziegfeld Theatre during his show. Misha Nonoo loves the red nails with the large diamond engagement rings and who can blame the designer? The cherry red is just perfect!

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Red Manicure

#16: Artsy Brushstrokes

So many runways showed off this trend where it was all about that stroke of the brush on those nails, playing with the polish and its placements, going horizontal or diagonal, on nudes or French. At Zero + Maria Cornejo, the white swipes on feathered French tips mirrored the brushes of white on the eyes, creamy textures all around.

Smoke and mirror brush strokes looked quite entrancing at Nanette Lepore actually, the black background and white and grey swipes really adding character to the look. At Public School, the students were good girls with clear coating and barely there brush strokes adding a small twist to the good girl persona. Feathery nails are also seen at Tadashi Shoji, where pale lilac, white and pinky purple were swept onto sheer layers for maximum effect.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Brushstroke Manicure

#17: Minimalist Nail Art

This is most certainly one of the biggest spring/ summer 2016 nail trends as we see the minimalist effect take hold. It is something we notice all over the place from the Marissa Webb stripes to the simple two tones, the nude nails and the revamped French. We see single hues appear all over, from blues to yellows to reds to silver, while Dsquared2 brings in the Christian Louboutin effect to the undersides of long pale nails. Nearly every designer on the SS 2016 Fashion Weeks in Milan, New York, London and Paris has opted to keep most of their models’ nails as minimalist as they come.

Dots are fun. They are more than just fun, they really give everything you wear character. This means wearing dots on your fingers most certainly will be adding to that in a fun way, the navy blue dots at Adam Selman attesting to that in the best way possible, particularly in terms of googly eyes appearing.

Do you love the really girly looks that appear to be center stage on the Fashion Weeks these days? Do those incredible lace flowers appeal to you or those appliques in dainty romantic styles? Erin Fetherston understands your desires completely, which is why these nails we see with the applique flower dotting the ends of those fingers, beautifully rounded oval and accented with teeny tiny pearls are probably the loveliest nail looks for a wedding in the coming season! Carmen Marco Valvo also seems to have a similar effect, sans the pearls and the flowers for a more abstract effect, but wedding friendly nonetheless. It is girly girl all grown up!

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Minimalistic Nail Art

#18: Checkered Nails

Geometric shapes aside, we love the checkered nails that keep appearing on the runways of late, knowing it is one of the best looks for the spring and summer. We see it in pink and royal blue at Opening Ceremony, looking quite fun in of itself, while Libertine brings in the eclectic prints including plaid, checkers and stripes.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Checkered Nail Art

#19: Fun Artistic Nail Designs

We saw pineapples appeal on clothing and ties, so why not on the nails as well? There have been quite a few fun looks appearing on the Fashion Weeks and while it is not the most prominent of styles, tiny pineapples at Zang Toi were certainly one to bring a smile to the face.

It appears that some want to come in to spray paint the town as seems to be the case with Nicole Miller and those nails with the interesting designs on them against a white background. Houghton’s multiple nail designs are even more attractive with the tattoos on the fingers that only add to the craziness and pull it as far away from the main show of minimalism all other designers have been opting for.

Did you know that bobby pins can be used for more than just holding up your hair? There are multiple uses for it as it seems, including blowing splatters of nail lacquer onto those digits of yours and creating some of the coolest spring 2016 nail art designs seen yet. At Nicole Miller, these styles are definitely put to the test and we have seen it come out on top with popular vote. No sequins required.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Artistic Nail Art

#20: Textured Nails

One of the common spring/ summer 2016 nail trends we notice is also the textured ends to the nails, whether only as French such as Nicholas K’s gold foil or the full digits such as the textured metallic seen at Badgley Mischka. We notice feathery swipes at Tadashi Shoji, stained glass tips as per Rag & Bone, dotted digits that have been seen at Lie Sangbong, paint splatters such as at Nicole Miller and the like. There are even denim-adorned nails that can be seen at Desigual, something that is totally out of the ordinary. You want a textured silver French nail? Tome has you covered there.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Textured Manicure

#21: Dark Colored Manis

It may not be as common as some would wish it, but darker colored manicures do appear all over the Fashion Weeks and give us girls with a darker spirit a chance to express ourselves while still maintaining a fashionable stance. Some of our favorite examples include the dark diver hued ones from Zang Toi, as well as the dark teal Creatures of the Wind negative space version, the dual tone Derek Lam essentials, as well as the purely dark Wes Gordon nails. The earthy colors along with the dark blue-greens certainly leave us with a taste for the not so nude versions spotted on the runways.

Spring/ Summer 2016 Nail Trends: Dark Manicure

Photos courtesy of Livingly, Vogue

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.