>> State the bleedin’ obvious why don’t you, Susie. Disco Nail? Why, it’s a veritable mecca for nail art enthusiasts. Except I’m slow and wasn’t in the know until this trip to Tokyo that Nagisa Kaneko aka “Nagi” and her Disco Nail salon in Shibuya take nail art to a whole new outer-stratospheric level, that I didn’t even know could exist. Especially considering that this is gel nail art we’re dealing with – ya know, the stuff that doesn’t chip for weeks (lolz, get me… trying to explain the ins and outs of nail know-how). It’s a know fact that Japan is the epicentre for nail art trends that will diffuse around the world eventually. One look at the number of nail art magazines that are published here and you’ll get an idea about the level of elaborate 3-D encrustations that can be applied to your nails. That’s if you don’t intend on lifting anything in your daily life.
As jaw droppingly intrictae as a lot of those typically kawaii nails are, they are a touch too sacharrine and a tad over-festooned with bows, roses and Hello Kitties. Not to mention that more often than not, they extend to over 3cm in length on each nail and are obviously out to obstruct daily life. Enter Nagi’s own distinct sensibility that is world’s apart from all that girly frou frou. Inspired by her own mash-up of fashion, music, art and culture, Disco Nail’s bulging albums of nail art (of course you can design your own together with Nagi) are filled with twisted spins on pop culture icons, nods to recognisable fashion collections and better yet, a bit of dirt n’ grime that the nail art world in Tokyo, nay the world, needs. Gore, weirdness and trippiness – all skillfully painted out with consumate dedication.
I’m probably not au fait enough with gel nail art but I didn’t even know you could do such intricate designs with UV-activated gel paints. Watching Nagi work was mesmerising (although Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette on the retro telly was also distracting) as she’d work quickly, in stages, switching from hand to hand, finger to finger to ensure the layers of colours were applied accordingly. Always on the ball, Nagi had already created a set of Prada S/S 14 inspired nails in her album so I just asked to have more colours and gem stones to reference the razzle dazzle of this what for me was one of the shows of the season. Word of warning, Nagi’s work doesn’t come cheap nor does it a 10-15 minute quickie. I stayed the course and watched Kirsten Dunst go from rosy-cheeked debutante Dauphine to gaunt-faced Queen. Still, nail art on this level deserves patience. Especially since it’s going to last a month if I’m vaguely careful. I’m only a wee bit sorry that I wear Prada S/S 14 simultaneously with these nails in a too much/matchy-matchy moment.