Designer Jason Wu’s name has become synonymous with elegance—not the stuffy kind, but rather the kind that plays up classical, ladylike details...but with a tiny wink. And it's those fun details that Wu so thoroughly enjoys that make the statement. From gold-tipped fingernails to 24K-flecked chignons to gilded eyelids—Wu is a man that pays attention to beauty and respects it.
After all, nothing is elegant about chipped, dulled nails. For his Fall 2011 show, he showed CND lead tech Roxanne Valinoti a photo he had snapped of a girl on the street. “It was of her manicure, which was this cool airbrushed fade. It looked really effortless, really organic,” Valinoti says. Wu also desired something opulent and baroque. Though effortless and opulent seemingly clash, Valinoti came up with the perfect nail: a gold-tipped nail with a chocolate-red nail bed. “But gold is a notoriously hard polish color to work with; it can streak easily and we wanted it very opaque,” Valinoti explains. “So we worked backward, coating the nail in Gold Chrome first, then layering Air Dry to seal the gold.” From there, she layered Dark Ruby on the nail, leaving the free edge gold, and added a layer of Bloodline next to richen up the red bed. “It’s completely Jason Wu!” she thrills.
Also completely Jason Wu: a painstakingly slicked and twisted chignon boasting a gold feather—not a real, gold feather, mind you, because that would be too easy. This gold feather comes courtesy of Aveda lead stylist Odile Gilbert, who is neatly splaying the ends of the models’ hair in a feather shape, and then painting that shape with gold leafing. “Jason’s Baroque-meets-American-sportswear collection this season includes muted black, whites, and nudes highlighted by shots of antique gold, so we wanted to create something simple and elegant—with a touch of luxury,” explains Gilbert.
The extreme sheen of the hairstyle comes courtesy of Aveda Smooth Infusion Glossing Straightener pre-blow-dry, and Aveda Brilliant Retexturing Gel after to impart a glossy, wet finish. The twisted chignon and feather shape are shot into place with Aveda Control Force Firm Hold Hair Spray, and a final mist of Aveda Brilliant Spray-On Shine ups the luxe factor. —Karie L. Frost
(Some images courtesy of CND and Aveda)