Fashion Week Focus: A Nail Pro’s Perspective

Posted on March 13 2019

We interviewed nail technician Amy Oldale about career highlights, getting into the industry and the importance of great nails.

Amy Oldale

The fashion industry is brimming with iconic moments, people and places and although it might not always be the first thing we look at, in every fashion show or editorial you’ll find a great manicure. Perfect polish appears to be gaining traction and moving further towards the centre of the fashion industry with every season. Behind the scenes, a talented team of nail technicians work hard to ensure that every tiny detail is covered.

Amy’s career stemmed from an early interest in beauty therapy which eventually led to the opening of her own nail salon, Halo Nails, in Sheffield. Halo nails has grown from strength to strength and has now been open a total of seven years, earning the award for local salon of the year 2014, and continually providing customers with stunning manicures and quality service. Amy herself is highly qualified having undertaken a coveted mastered accelerator course, learning skills that could be used in fast-paced nail session work. A valued member of top nail technician Marian Newman’s team, Amy modestly tells us that working within the fashion industry was a case of “right place, right time” and that one day she was asked to help out at a show during Paris Fashion Week, and just kept getting asked back.

That first show was the spring/summer17 Sonia Rykiel collection, and Amy views it as a real pinch-me moment in her career timeline. Having always loved fashion, the opportunity allowed Amy to challenge her honed manicurist skills in a diverse and exciting environment. Whilst salon work is often neat everyday polishes, session work can be entirely different creative ground. Amy has not only worked amidst runway fashion; last year she did a photoshoot for Glass magazine and a campaign for Chanel Watches, as well as doing a stint in the Selfridges windows for designer Gareth Pugh. Though it can be scary at first, Amy said that once the adrenaline kicks in, fashion weeks and photoshoots are a great opportunity for personal growth and that she feels incredibly lucky to work with an amazing team, though the environment is a little intense. Amy jokes about viewing fashion weeks as a working holiday, she’s getting to do the job she loves with the people she loves, which makes the chaos worth it!

Amy’s career has afforded her the opportunity to work amongst some of the fashion industry’s biggest names. Recently during the London and Paris fashion weeks, Amy was a key player backstage at Vivienne Westwood and Victoria Beckham’s London showcases, whilst the season concluded with Alexander McQueen in Paris, which Amy notes is always beautiful and one of her favourite shows to work on. Across her career, Amy has also impressed at the likes of Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane, Maison Margiela Haute Couture and British favourite Burberry.

And what of the stereotypically hectic backstage fashion environment? It’s every bit as fast-paced as it’s made out to be, says Amy. With so much going on Amy tells how it can be extremely chaotic: “when you’ve got wet polish and so many models to work with the adrenaline kicks in. Hair and beauty artists are stationary, but nail techs have to move in any gaps they see fit and get stuck in. If we need to do toes I often find myself working under tables. There was actually a lot of toes to do these past couple of weeks which is unusual for Autumn/Winter collections”.

When I asked her what nail trends we should expect to be seeing, Amy notes that reds for spring/summer are huge this year, vibrant and flirty. In Paris last week when showcasing Autumn/Winter19 collections there was a focus on clean, minimalist nails which Amy emphasises are hard to get beautifully clean, but totally worth it.

Finally, I asked Amy for some of her top tips for maintaining that perfect manicure, be it from the salon or the runway. “Wearing gloves in the cold and when washing up is vital to making sure your hands aren’t exposed to the elements” said Amy. But for that extra helping hand in ensuring your manicure goes the distance? Apply a combined hand cream and cuticle oil like SLIXIR.




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