How Jennifer Lopez Became the Queen of the MANI (And What To EXPECT at the Met Gala)

@jlo
Few beauty moments command as much attention as a new nail look from Jennifer Lopez. From luxe neutrals to glossy nudes to shimmering tips, Lopez’s polish jobs meld timelessness and trend, creating the sort of enduring aesthetics destined to go viral. For an evening spent on the red carpet (or the Met steps) that approach comes with a bit of exaggeration.
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“We want a little something something when we’re doing an event nail,” says nail artist Tom Bachik, who has been working with Lopez for 15 years. The manicures dreamed up by the duo are an extension of Lopez’s given mood, and designed for ultimate visual impact. “I always come to Jen like, ‘Ok, who are you today? What’s your vibe? Who do you want to be?’” he says. “She’s always evolving her look.” Bachik views a red carpet-ready manicure as an extension of the ensemble as a whole. “The nails are their own thing, but they’re definitely the key accessory,” says Bachik. “It’s almost like part of the jewelry, or if she doesn’t have her handbag or whatever, the nails are that little extra something.”

When conceptualizing an event nail, Bachik and Lopez take their signatures (namely gorgeous neutrals and classic colors, the foundation for viral moments like “rich girl” and “lip gloss” nails) and add a little something more. Bachik goes for dimension through layering (he anticipates a meteoric rise in the use of magnetic polish and mirrored powders, each of which offer depth to designs), while Lopez is always after an extra touch of sparkle. “She doesn’t want it just to be what everyone else has,” says Bachik. “She gives me the freedom to bring the ideas, to make it mine, to make it ours.”

Of Lopez’s many Met moments, Bachik’s favorite manicure came last year—a Chanel-inspired look matched to the evening’s theme, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” The interlocking C’s and black-tipped nude nail paid homage to the fashion house in more ways than one. “And as we were creating it we were like, no that’s too much let’s take it down a little bit, and it really became minimalistic,” says Bachik, calling to mind Coco Chanel’s iconic adage around de-accessorizing. “I remade that whole full set that morning while we were there and she was in glam, and we really created a whole, perfect, chic moment.”

As for this year’s Met? That will come as a surprise to even Bachik. “The Met is one of those things where it’s literally the week of, looks will get finalized, or we’ll narrow it down,” he says. “Usually she has something made for her, but even with that, it’s one of two or three options. As we get closer we start to brainstorm and send ideas back and forth, and then I’ll create some looks ahead of time and she’ll choose. But it is how is Jen feeling that day in that moment. We’ve created looks that we love and then when we get there, she just wants to do a short, clean, beautiful, healthy, glowy, natural nail, like out of nowhere.”

No matter what frame of mind Lopez finds herself on the first Monday in May, one thing is certain: her nails are guaranteed to make a statement.

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