The last decade in fashion has arguably been the decade of nail art. With high profile celebrities like Cardi B and Khloe Kardashian sporting increasingly longer talons, nail artists like Mei Kawajiri have got their work cut out for them. One of the most sought after manicurists in NYC, Kawajiri has tended to the hands of celebrities and models as big as Gigi and Bella Hadid, and Ariana Grande; with her work sported on various fashion week runways.
Originally from Kyoto, Japan, Kawajiri has been doing nails for more than 15 years. According to her, the biggest difference between Japanese and American nail art is that Japanese designs are “more abstract,” whereas her American clients “love to have a theme.” “Even 10 years ago, [Japan was] doing what we are doing in New York: big stones, crazy charms,” she told WWD. “Young girls save money for their nails instead of eating a lot of food. They wanna be skinny and they wanna have cool nail art.”
Not known for her minimalist approach, Kawajiri’s nail art is all about the drama. “I love drama,” she stressed. And while the nail community is overflowing with ideas at the moment, she admits she tries to keep to herself, when it comes to her inspiration. “As long as I don’t copy or I don’t watch other people’s Instagram, I’m good,” she said. “I don’t watch nail Instagrams at all. If you see [something] one time, you have the idea already on the inside of your head. I don’t wanna be like that. I wanna be always original and new.”