Conversation with: Celebrity & Fashion Manicurist Deborah Lippmann - Neiman Marcus

Conversation with: Celebrity & Fashion Manicurist Deborah Lippmann

Regina Campbell

February 25, 2014


All eyes are on Hollywood this week as the entertainment industry sets the stage for the 86th Academy Awards. Sunday means business. We’ve got our fashion hats on and are prepared to keep our eyes peeled for the latest stunning gowns, statement accessories and upcoming beauty trends. Who better to prepare us for The Oscars than go-to celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann? Lippmann talks red carpet moments, industry secrets and what’s new for Spring.

NM: When do you start planning award-season looks with your celebrity clients?
DL: Planning the look for an award show is a very collaborative effort. I work with the stylist, the hair and makeup teams, and of course the celebrity herself, to make sure everything works together and produces a moment on the red carpet. We don’t settle on a color until the day of the show when we see the dress and choose the jewelry and collaborate as a glam team on what is going to be the focus.

Actress Jennifer Lawrence wearing Deborah Lippmann "Bitches Brew" nail color at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony.
Actress Jennifer Lawrence wore Deborah Lippmann “Bitches Brew” at the Golden Globe Awards ceremony.

NM: Tell us about your favorite red carpet manicure memory.
DL: Lady Gaga for the 2011 Grammy’s. You know the year where she came down the red carpet in an egg! I polished her nails with Yellow Brick Road, a sheer mellow yellow shade, which perfectly complemented her canary yellow outfit.

NM: Describe a bizarre industry secret.
DL: There are occasions when a client doesn’t have time to fit all of their beauty treatments in. The strangest place I have given a mani is while someone was having a colonic.

A behind the scenes look at Lippmann choosing lacquer options for actress Lupita Nyong'o.
Lippmann snaps a photo behind the scenes while choosing lacquer options for actress Lupita Nyong’o.

NM: What nail shape is currently trending on the red carpet?
DL: I love a more feminine look with almond shaped nails that extend just above the end of the fingertips, the look is both wearable and refined. For me, square and squ-oval shaped nails are still out.

Almond-shaped nude nails at Kate Spade Fall 2014.
Almond-shaped nude nails at Kate Spade Fall 2014.

NM: What nail colors are you loving for spring?
DL: I think beautiful opaque pastels are going to be trending this spring. The soft, light colors are very refreshing! A light shimmer is going to be a huge hit as well – particularly something like La Vie En Rose. It can be used alone or added on top of other créme polishes to add a special effect.

I also foresee a rise of the nude nail lacquer. Nude is young and fresh, but still sophisticated. For those who want something a bit more playful, nails can be complemented with subtle art. For example, at Band of Outsiders I created a nude base using Naked, a clean bare beige, and designed a Band o’ French – my take on where the French manicure is going. The pure white lacquer, Amazing Grace, outline wraps the entire nail.

Lippmann applies the Band o' French manicure at Band of Outsiders.
Lippmann’s Band o’ French manicure at Band of Outsiders.

NM: What is your philosophy on matching your manicure and pedicure?
DL: Create the look that suits you! Matching your fingers and toes … is trending a bit more. For me, it is more about the look in relation to everything else you are wearing. If you have really strong makeup on the eye and lip, I would match fingers and toes. Just like the two out of three rule with jewelry!

Manicurist Deborah Lippmann at Edun.
Manicurist Deborah Lippmann at Edun.

NM: What is the go-to color everyone should try?
DL: Besides nude I think every woman should try a red nail. There are so many shades that accentuate every skin tone. Be it a mulberry red like Bitches Brew or a red with orange undertones, like Supermodel.

NM: When in doubt…
DL: Treat your hands! You would never walk out of the bathroom without moisturizing your face, yet we wash our hands and put them through the daily grind without so much as a spot of moisturizer. I developed a new ultra-nourishing cream, The Cure, which deeply conditions cuticles as well as hand cream, Rich Girl that contains SPF 25 for protection from the suns most powerful rays.

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