Fashion trend forecast: Nail art

MOVE over accessories, nail art is Melbourne’s hottest fashion trend. Juliana Mare finds out more from Richmond nail artist, Chelsea Bagan.

Photo: Courtesy of Trophy Wife Nail Art.

Photo: Courtesy of Trophy Wife Nail Art.

Trophy Wife Nail Art is where quirky nail art designs come to life. With everything from bold-coloured geometric designs to gorgeous tropical fruits or even a bright pink flamingo, the only limit is your imagination.

What began as a humble passion, a hobby performed for friends alongside a full-time job, became a potential business when Chelsea Bagan started getting requests from strangers.

“It was when people that I didn’t know started asking me that I thought: ‘Oh okay, I can do this’.”

What emerged were an Instagram account, a Facebook page, a salon in Fitzroy and just recently, a move to an upstairs salon on Bridge Road, Richmond.

Thin striping brush is one of the most common nail art tools.

Thin striping brush is one of the most common nail art tools.

The nail art trend has come a long way since boring old plain polishes. With foils, custom decals, matte finishes, half-moon cuticles and glitter polish just some of the new creations, there seems to be an almost endless list of possibilities for patterns, pictures and textures.

Chelsea, who could’ve been a surgeon in another life with her incredibly steady hands, paints most customers’ designs freehand after running a quick Google image search for references.

For $45, you can get a different design on each finger, repeated on both hands, all in around 45 minutes. There are hundreds of designs in the Trophy Wife online gallery to choose from, while custom designs are usually $5 extra.

You can get the Doctor Who TARDIS or a dalek, a chubby faced Santa Claus and festive pudding for Christmas time, multi-coloured leopard print or even a hand-painted McDonald’s cheeseburger and fries. Literally, whatever tickles your fancy.

Of all the quirky designs she’s painted over the years, Chelsea says the hardest thing is accuracy.

“Super Mario was pretty tricky. But I think things that are supposed to look really realistic are hard. I did a lamb on the spit once. That was tough.”


My nails from my visit to Trophy Wife.

With so many options, choosing a design can be a challenge. Chelsea says that while geometric patterns are the most popular at the moment, the weather has had a big influence too. Fruit designs are a hit during the summer months, while different holidays call for themed patterns.

The miniature skeletons or dripping blood designs would be a hit for the upcoming Halloween festivities or if you’re heading out during the Spring Racing Carnival, a daisy chain or petite little bows would be the perfect accompaniment to any great outfit.

Nowadays, it seems no outfit is complete without a splash of nail polish, but Chelsea says it’s only recently that the craft has made its way into the fashion industry. And with that popularity, comes accessibility.

“Before I would find it really hard to find any nail art-related tools. I’d have to buy them on the internet, whereas now, you can find them in the chemist.”

Those who want to try some DIY nail art can pick up pens, metallic nail foils and striping brushes at stores like Priceline.

For the best quality polish, Chelsea recommends Kester Black. Their Australian-made nail polish comes in an impressive array of colours, are toxin-free and cost $17.

As for other tips? Use the internet. There are plenty of bloggers and YouTuber’s sharing nail art tutorials. Also, remember to rub cuticle oil over freshly dry nails to stop any fabrics imprinting on them overnight.

For all Chelsea’s tips and tricks, pick up The Hand Book – A Guide to Nail Art, which includes stunning photography and step-by-step instructions for just $25.

If it turns out your hands just aren’t steady enough for the job, Trophy Wife also make house calls. Just grab a bunch of friends and let your imagination run wild because Chelsea and her team are talented enough to paint little works of art on the end of every finger.

Trophy Wife Nails is at Level 1, 54 Bridge Rd, Richmond. Ph: 0422 052 874

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