18 October, 2013

Party perfect manis with Ciaté – and some top tips from founder, Charlotte Knight!

18 October, 2013

Forget the latest designer handbag or must-have pair of shoes – the hottest accessory to totally top off your look is your nail polish! Leading the charge are the amazing statement manicures and WOW Kits of Ciaté, the London it-brand famous for their uber-cool Caviar Manicure sets… and the Canton Road Lane Crawford has set up an exclusive Ciaté nail bar to help you nail the look fuss-free!

Similar to the express nail bars seen in the likes of TOPSHOP in the UK, the Ciaté nail bar is the perfect place to get a party-ready look in double quick time – and it couldn’t be more convenient to pop by during a Harbour City shopping sesh. As my intern Karen was stuck with a gel manicure that day, I went for a different signature Ciaté look on each hand to showcase a couple of their different styles (don’t say I never do anything for you!).

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Ciaté’s Caviar Mani works by sprinkling a rainbow of micro beads over wet polish to produce a multi-dimensional confetti effect, whilst the Corrupted Neon look (which glows under UV light – ideal for all you ravers!) features a fine iridescent glitter sprinkled over a matching fluorescent nail polish. Alas, I only have two hands or else I’d also have tried to model the crazy-creative Chalkboard Nails too – black matte polish that you can doodle over to your heart’s content with special Ciaté nail art pens… definitely one for unleashing your inner Banksy!

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My mani was certainly very express: party-perfect nails in under half an hour! OK, these nails probably aren’t best suited to any corporate office jobs… but if you’re on the hunt for some fun, attention-grabbing nails that make a total style statement (and you can be guaranteed they are all anyone will want to talk about on your night out!), the Ciaté nail bar is the place to get ‘em!

These manis are not made to last for the long-haul – you can’t use top coat on the special effect nails – so make sure to ask your therapist for a base coat to help longevity (mine didn’t), and be prepared for your statement nails to only stay totally pristine for about 24-48 hours.

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I was also lucky enough to grab a quick chat with nail supremo Charlotte Knight, the founder of Ciaté. She gave me the lowdown on where she gets inspiration from, what new nail trends to look out for this season (FYI Charlotte reckons magnetic, crackle and French tips are over for now, whereas cartoon nail art and statement/accent nails are most definitely in!) and a few of her other top mani tips!

What sets Ciaté apart from other nail polish brands?
I think what we’ve done as a brand is make nail art funky, fashionable and on-trend; we’ve taken runway looks to retail and made them accessible to the customer with DIY sets. Never before have DIY manicures been so popular – more and more, people are happy to do their nails at home, to play and experiment, so that’s been perfect for us as we’ve been able to give people the tools and instruments to do that. Our customers are always saying, “What’s next? What’s on-trend now?” so we have a demand to keep up! Every 12 weeks, we launch a new WOW Kit, which keeps our customer wearing the hottest, most funky looks we could possibly give them.

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Where do you get inspiration for your kits?
Inspiration is everywhere! We’ve been really lucky in that we launched our Chalkboard Manicure Kits at the same time that Fendi launched their white baguette bag, which had nothing on it but was sold with some Fendi paints – so you could literally decorate your own bag! We work with a lot of trend-reporting agencies  to understand what the trends are going to be a year ahead, so we can bring products that will work hand-in-hand with what the top fashion houses are doing. A lot of what we do is all about whimsical beauty (think Chanel and their Lego clutch, or Prada with their giant flowers) – it’s all about releasing your inner child!

I’m always snapping pictures, touching things, feeling things – inspiration is everywhere and you’ve just got to walk around with your eyes open, and not be blinkered. I make sure that when I’m in taxis travelling around cities, I’m not just looking at my phone – I’m looking around all the time. We try to bring all that inspiration into the sets.

What’s the next big thing for nails?
Our next manicure set is the Feather Manicure. That again was very inspired by the Chanel runway – Chanel was full of feathers on headpieces and around the eyes, and it looked stunning. We’ve had a bit of a crazy summer with the Chalkboard and Corrupted Neon Kits, so it was time for me to bring a bit of sophistication and warmth for fall with the Feather Manicure.

I try to take our customer on a journey as much as possible – through the seasons, through the fashion trends. Fall is all about starting to snuggle into your cardigan a bit more, getting into a bit of cashmere, some kind of texture… a warming kind of feel… and to me, feather is exactly that. If you think about the intricacy on a feather, it creates a beautiful design on your nail without even having to lift a paintbrush.

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What are your go-to Ciaté nail polish shades? [Apart from the WOW Kits, they do make regular nail polish too!]
My go-to red is the one I’m wearing now, Mistress. I absolutely adore it, it’s a lovely rich orangey-red that works well when I’ve got a tan, when I’m feeling a bit pale… it’s just a beautiful classic red. If I just want to wear a nude nail with a bit of tint, I’ll wear something like LA Confidential or my absolute favourite nude, which is named after my daughter, Amazing Gracie. She actually mixed the colour herself – she was playing with polish in the kitchen and she mixed up this pink and was like, “Mummy, look at this colour!” and I thought, “Oh my gosh, that’s beautiful!” so we made it into a polish!

We also have a colour called Ditch The Heels, an emerald green that is just stunning. People think that they can’t wear green, but this green is just unreal. That particular colour was Pantone’s Colour Of The Year this year, so that’s my go-to weekend shade; if I feel I need a bit of colour in my life, I would put that on.

Finally, what are your top tips for doing a perfect mani at home?

  • Put intensive cuticle oil on your nails and cuticle area to keep them from drying out. This will give your whole nail a better manicure finish and stop you getting hang nails.
  • Always carry a glass nail file in your handbag to smooth out any snags – the biggest reason people break their nails is because they get a tiny tiny little snag. If you don’t have a nail file, it will continue to catch throughout the day and before you know it, you’ve lost the whole thing!
  • Don’t overuse nail polish remover – it is actually the most drying nail product.
  • To keep polish on for longer, always use a top coat and run the top coat along the edge of the nail, which is going to lock in the colour and stop you getting premature chips.

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You can also buy a selection of Ciaté’s regular Paint Pot nails polishes and the WOW kits themselves from Lane Crawford; I’m already eyeing up the Ciaté Advent Calendar for Christmas where you get a new mini nail polish everyday! Thanks to Charlotte’s nail tips and Ciaté’s totes on-trend approach, there’s no excuse to not get fashion-forward nails every day of the week!

The Ciaté Nail Bar by Nails n Nails is at the Canton Road Lane Crawford until 31 December 2013; manicures start from $190. WOW Kits start from $240 to purchase and are available at all Lane Crawford stores in Hong Kong or online.

Ciate Nail Bar  Lane Crawford, 3 Canton Road, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong
2118 3428 

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