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Nailing It

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What’s the most fashion-forward accessory for the fall and upcoming spring seasons? If you paid any attention to recent Fashion Week clips, the answer is obvious: nails! One runway show after the next featured polished nails as the accessory du jour, often draped in bold, bright color to accent fashion apparel.

According to NPD Group, nail polish sales to the mass market hit $327 million in 2010 and were up 21 percent in the first half of this year. In the prestige channel, NPD reports that sales rose 54 percent to about $8.6 million in the first half of 2011. Karen Grant, vice president and global beauty analyst at NPD, claims it’s rare to see a trend grow so rapidly in both the mass and prestige arenas.

“Consumer spending is still difficult, but beauty is having one of its most robust years,” she says, describing nail polish as “a small indulgence” -- even if it carries a price tag of $20 in the prestige space.

Nail polish manufacturers attribute the bump in sales to a combination of innovation and the recession. Bill Boraczek, senior vice president of global marketing at Sally Hansen, says the two factors have “re-energized the category and clearly played a part in the resurgence.” Jan Arnold, co-founder and creative director at Creative Nail Design, puts it more succinctly: “Nails are a cheap thrill.”

What can shoppers look forward to next spring? More shades, shimmers and effects.

Fashionista recently reported on three new collections primed to cash in on the trend. The Deborah Lippmann Footloose Collection pays homage to the remake of the movie with colors including “Almost Paradise,” described as a playful pistachio; “Footloose,” a rebellious red inspired by Arielle’s iconic red cowboy boots; and “Let’s Hear It For the Boy,” a baby blue shade inspired by acid-wash jeans.

Then there are NFL-themed nail polish duos for gals who want to keep it feminine, but are tomboys at heart. Although the color combos from some teams can be challenging to pull off, the Cowboys silver and blue get a nod from Fashionista. Finally, there’s a solar-powered Glitter collection from a company called Blaze that is expected to make the grade with the PYT-set this spring. As you might have guessed, the collection of nail polishes change color in the sun -- and they’re glittery to boot.

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