Sharp claws: long, decorated nails are on the rise

False accessories of up to 3 centimeters and application of gemstones gain supporters and become a symbol of luxury – but also of feminine power

With the outbreak of the pandemic, and the compulsory social isolation associated with health care, not a few have decreed the end of a universal habit: doing the nails, going to the manicure. However, just as in the ironic phrase of the writer Mark Twain (1835-1910) when he learned that he wrote his obituary in advance – “the news about my death has been exaggerated” – it is worth saying that the announcement was premature. The female claws are still very sharp, and in home office time, with video calls in abundance, having beautiful, showy hands is an instrument of power. we are experiencing the revival of so-called nail arts.
The impetus came from international celebrities who strongly adhered to the aesthetic appeal to complement the clothes and accessories of the presentations and online appearances.

impressive dimensions


One of the pioneers in the use of exuberant nails was the singer Rihanna, acclaimed by fans of younger age groups. Since then, fashion has gained traction, with versions increasingly exaggerated. The accessory has grown to the point of becoming a protagonist. Some nails have impressive dimensions (up to 3 centimeters) and pose a question: is it possible, with them,
perform basic tasks like holding silverware, opening soda cans or typing on the smartphone keyboard? Yes, this seems to be the answer. A collection of videos on YouTube where people try – and manage – to spend days or weeks with huge nails, like rapper Cardi B and pop singer Rosalía, has been successful on YouTube.

The profusion of designed nails and attempts to tame them are compared to the use of another feminine adornment that also requires dexterity to avoid embarrassment: high heels. In the case of nails, the feeling of empowerment is similar. “A client said she feels as powerful as if she wears a stiletto,” says Cláudia Simões, known as Negra Bá, one of the most coveted manicurists in Brazil, who has already taken care of the hands of artists such as actress Cleo and singer Luísa Sonza, both fans of the style In their trendy studio in Jardins, in São Paulo, models come out that demand nine hours of work. The use of stones, colors and even pieces of wedding dresses – to copy the pattern – complement the glaze hues beyond the flashy.
The contemporary wave drinks from femme fatales that shone on American cinema screens in the 1930s. “At the time, the visual was linked to the emancipation that women experienced with the end of World War I”, says João Braga, professor of fashion history at the Armando Alvares Penteado Foundation (Faap), in São Paulo. The libertarian character that is present in most of the style trends also appears on the nails, especially for black-skinned women, who for decades have shown the extension at their fingertips, but without the noisy praise of now. Today, showing them off is a manifesto of power, like someone who says “I’m here and I want to appear”. It may be a passing movement, one that sprouts and disappears, especially in ephemeral times of social networks, but it is too interesting to be neglected. Women have spoken with their hands – and you need to pay attention.

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