The first week of July marked the Paris fall 2012 Haute Couture runway shows. Like any true couture season it was amazing and shocking trends appeared. From Maison Martin Margiela’s crystal-encrusted face masks to the much-anticipated and successful debut of Raf Simon’s Christian Dior collection, they didn't disappoint.

However, perhaps the most interesting development from the couture runways was that Chanel embraced the trend of nail art. Chanel’s Le Vernis Nail Lacquer colors are the most highly anticipated beauty product each season. Remember last year’s Peridot, which became an instant classic and sparked countless look-a-likes? Chanel's newly released trio of fall nail colors named Vertigo, Frenzy and Suspicious (after Alfred Hitchcock movies) were noticeably absent from the couture runway. Instead, last season’s May nail lacquer appeared as the base for the nail art. Then in a surprising twist, Chanel’s discontinued 2007 Chrome nail lacquer was traced along the cuticle and then up around the side of the nail. In true Chanel fashion the nail art was sleek and sophisticated.

Not all of us have the dexterity or patience to achieve the perfect nail art creation, which is why I love this week’s Fashionista’s take on the trend. Rather than spend hours in the nail salon, this Fashionista opted for Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips in Girl Flower, which requires no dry time at all. Simply prep nails, peel strips, press onto nails and voila: perfect nail art! Sephora by OPI has a similar product named Trend Tips, which even feature designs by none other than Betsey Johnson.

However, if you prefer good old-fashioned nail art try, taking a look at CND’s nail art gallery, which is filled with ideas for any and every style! One of my favorite nail art trends this summer are Aztec-inspired geometric patterns. Free People and Refinery 29 teamed up to release this great tutorial video for anyone brave enough to try this trend at home! What are your favorite patterns and colors for nail art this summer?

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Nail art has recently become a major trend, and it seems like a new color, formulation or effect polish is hitting the shelf of your local beauty store every day. In the past, runway looks have seemed somewhat feasible: a neon here, a neutral there, or if you really wanted to get crazy, a moon manicure. But just this past week, the spring 2012 collections at New York Fashion Week completely upped the ante. Jen Kao did an amazing (and intimidating) ombré nail; Joy Cioci attached Lucite tips to a beautifully patterned nail; and butter LONDON seemed to poke a rather gruesome-looking black safety pin right through the nail at Betsey Johnson.

The streets have also seen a nail art takeover, as trendy salons like WAH in London paint mini masterpieces on your nails, and girls with an artistic knack (and incredibly steady hand) take their creations to the blogosphere.

Apparently the classroom is the new place for inspiration, as this Fashionista caught my eye right in the middle of class, when she waved her hands in the midst of telling a story. The subtle mint and purple polka-dots caught my eye, and when I glanced again, I noticed a subtle tribal print on the rest of her nails. I staved off my jealousy of her artistic talent long enough to ask for a few quick photographs.

If you’d like to try this Fashionista’s look at home, here are my color suggestions:

  1. For a perfect vintage pink, try Bruton Street by nails inc.
  2. To get that stormy-water green, China Glaze's Audrey is perfect.
  3. For a not-too-bright orange, go for essie's meet me at sunset.
  4. A metallic purple can be achieved with SEPHORA by OPI's Who’s Spinning Tonight?

To keep your lines from looking sloppy, use a thin paintbrush from your local art supply store. For the perfect polka-dot, use a toothpick dipped in polish. When wrapped in a polish remover-soaked cotton ball, a toothpick can also serve as a quick fix for mistakes (hey, they happen).

And don’t worry if you don’t think you can achieve these nail creations at home. There are many ways to get show-stopping nails with just a simple bottle of polish. To stay ahead of the pack, go for my favorite trend on the spring runways: a very bright yellow nail, which can be achieved with Illamasqua's Rare. According to Teen Vogue beauty editor/my personal idol Eva Chen, this is the must-have color for spring. But don’t be afraid to rock it now! I’m sure Eva would approve, and it’s a lot less scary than shoving a safety pin through your nail (shudder).

Expert Tip from Cassie: Patterns and nail art have been the latest craze.  What happened to the simple rhinestone flower?  If you feel that you can not get such an artistic nail art creation on your own, just use a combination of brightly colored polish colors and alternate each nail with a different color. Or, for an easy tutorial to create fabulous nails go to The Beauty Department Blog and get a little inspiration.

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