Trends » Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends

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Most of us are now a few weeks into self-isolation, so it seems like the perfect time for the fall 2020 nail trends.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends

If you’ve been climbing on the walls trying to find ways to occupy yourself, then perhaps you’ll find some entertainment in trying to recreate the unique manicures designed for the runways this season. The most artistic side of the fall/ winter 2020 nail trends included some unique nail shapes and a few very creative manicures, many of which used some gorgeous appliqués.

On the other hand, if you’ve gone in the opposite direction and decided to be as low-maintenance as possible, the fall nail trends also left room for that with simple, natural nails painted a solid color or just left totally bare. The winning colors were simple nudes, but also some darker shades like burgundy and black, not to mention timeless red.  

Fall 2020 Nail Trends – Shapes & Length

Where we really saw innovation for the fall/ winter 2020 nail trends was in the shapes of nails – especially nail extensions. From rounded to squared-off to somewhere in between, artists had some fun. 

#1. Short & Natural

Short, natural nails were extremely common, proving that you don’t need long nails to enjoy the fall 2020 nail ideas. For example, considering how extreme the Christopher John Rogers runway was, the short, solid-colored nails were a surprisingly utilitarian element. We also saw short, natural nails at Lela Rose, Serena Williams, Oscar de la Renta, and more.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Short & Natural Nails

#2. Squoval

From the absurdly ostentatious Moschino runway to the more subdued Vera Wang show, squoval nails had a respectable showing for fall 2020. These nails are easy to achieve, with a soft shape that’s somewhere between an oval and a square that is extremely flattering but also not overly fussy.   

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Squoval Nails

#3. Long Almond

A long almond nail is a little more dramatic than a short or squoval nail, but it’s not quite as intense as a stiletto. We saw them mostly in the form of press-ons on runways like Prabal Gurung, Susan Alexandra, and Ashish, but if you set your mind to it during quarantine, maybe you can reach this length naturally.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Long Almond Nails

#4. Stiletto Square

Stiletto nails bring the drama to any look. This time around, many stilettos were also given an edge – literally, with a squared-off tip. We saw an elegant, matte take on squared-off stiletto press-ons at Halpern. The shade of choice for these nails at LaQuan Smith was white, but also with a matte finish. Finally, things were extra bold at GCDS with glossy and extra-long straight-edge nails.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Stiletto Square Nails

#5. Pointed

Another dramatic option for fans of nail extensions is pointed stiletto nails, which are the perfect “don’t mess with me” manicure. They’re not easy to DIY, but once the salons are open again, you may find yourself itching for statement-making nails. 

The nails at Rodarte were sharpened to such a fine point that they truly looked like they could cut, helping to further cement the “Dracula’s bride” vibe of the collection. There was a similarly intimidating effect to black and burgundy pointed nails at Balenciaga, although there were also white and metallic-painted ones that were still intense. We saw more talon-esque nail extensions at Rag & Bone, and The Blonds.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Pointed Nails

Fall 2020 Nail Polish Trends – Colors

Keeping it solid is a perfectly acceptable choice! Find the colors that ruled the fall 2020 nail trends!

#6. Bare Nails

The runways totally accepted a low-maintenance way of life, making bare nails an easy go-to trend.

The nails were still well-groomed and lightly glossed with a top-coat but without any polish, especially on major runways like Christian Dior and Givenchy. At Proenza Schouler, bare, glossy nails were very subtle, adorned with a small white stripe along the side of the nail.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Bare Nails

#7. Nude Manicure

A bare nail is fine, but you can also take the nude look to the next level with an actual peachy-nude polish.

Nails were covered in a sheer coat of nude polish at Longchamp, which allowed naturally white tips to peek through a bit but still helped to elegantly diffuse the color of the nail. At Altuzarra, enough coats of a nude polish were used to cover the entire nail, for a modern and seamless look. We saw more nude nails at Serena Williams, and Vera Wang.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Nude Nails

#8. Gothy Colors

Black was more common than ever in the fashion world this season, so no surprise, it was also one of the most favored shades for the fall 2020 nail polish trends. We also saw other really deep and dark shades, especially extra-dark burgundy.

Nails were painted a solid black and kept natural and short at both Christian Siriano and Anna Sui for a quick and easy look. Naturally long nails at Emilio Pucci were painted a glossy black, with one accent nail painted gray and printed with a ‘P’ in black.

At Rodarte, Monse, and Balenciaga, we spotted other gothy shades, beyond just black.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Gothy Colors
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Gothy Colors
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Gothy Colors

#9. Red & Burgundy

When it came to red nail polish trends, everyone kept it old-school classy, making sure to match red nails to red lipstick.

The red used at MSGM was extra bright and vivid, while Dolce & Gabbana kept things more restrained than usual with deep red nails matched to a deeper lipstick color. At Oscar de la Renta, while the lips were a touch warmer, the nails were painted a dangerous burgundy red.

We spotted more red nails at Matty Bovan, as well as along with some nail art at Prabal Gurung, and Veronica Beard. On the cooler, more burgundy side of things, we saw nails at Molly Goddard, and Roland Mouret.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Red & Burgundy
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Red & Burgundy

#10. Multi-Color Nails

If you prefer bright colors and a lot of them, you’ll probably love the multi-color fall 2020 nail polish trends.

Manicures at Olivia Rubin were particularly adorable, with two little swipes of colorful polish along the top of each nail, creating a rainbow effect on the entire hand. It was all about the color gradient at Rebecca Minkoff, with each nail painted a different shade in the same color family. We also saw some exciting multi-color manis at M Missoni, and Chromat. 

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Multi-Color Nails

Fall 2020 Nail Polish Trends – Art

If you’re ready to go all-out, check out the more creative fall/ winter 2020 nail trends, which featured both intricate and simpler designs.

#11. French Variation

A French manicure is a classy and timeless choice that was not absent from the runways but did not constitute one of the fall 2020 nail trends in the same way as the various modifications on it did.

At Moschino, Miss Pop created a fun and colorful variation on a French mani, with the nails painted a pretty pastel and the tips painted white. The French-inspired nails at Rodarte had a vampiric vibe, with a smoky pattern overlayed with magenta tendrils reminiscent of blood applied to the tips of nude nails.  

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: French Nails

#12. Half-Moon Nails

Half-moon manicures (sometimes also referred to as a reverse French) are modern and fun, but they’re not too ridiculous so they can fit into most situations.

The half-moon at Veronica Beard consisted of a little swipe of brownish-nude near the nail bed and a deep, warm red along the rest of the nail. The burgundy half-moon at Brock Collection was even simpler, with a half-moon shape of negative space along the nail bed.

Finally, the most dramatic half-moon nails were at Halpern, where dark black stiletto nails were painted with a stripe of glitter along the bottom.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Half-Moon Nails

#13. Asymmetrical Half Moon

We also loved the updated and asymmetrical take on half-moon manicures for the fall/ winter 2020 nail trends. The design at 16Arlington, which included a glossy red polish applied to the tips and along the sides, was aptly named “the swoop.” We spotted a similar swoop design at Prabal Gurung, but this time with a deep red polish applied to impressive stiletto nails.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Asymmetrical Half-Moon Nails

#14. Appliqués and Nail Piercings

When it came to 3-dimensional embellishments, really anything goes, so you can go wild with your fall 2020 nail ideas. For instance, we saw nail piercings at Monse that looked cool and edgy without actually taking a toll on the nail – they’re the kind of thing you only do with extensions. At Ashish, oversized beads dangled from the tips of long almond nails, adding some sway and glam.

Accent nails at Lela Rose were embellished with a little stripe of crystals along the bottom. Little black or clear stick-on crystals were attached in a semi-circle along the top and side of nails at Simone Rocha, adding some shine and drama to otherwise bare nails.

We saw more appliqués at Alice + Olivia, The Blonds, and Giambattista Valli.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Nail Appliques & Piercings
Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Nail Appliques & Piercings

#15. Messy Metallics

Painting the nails a metallic shade is nothing unusual, but artists took license to get a little messy by going way outside the nail for the fall/ winter 2020-2021 nail trends.

The nails at Preen were kept looking bare, with a few dabs of gold paint surrounding the nail bed. At Marni, it looked as though the fingers were dipped into silver or gold glitter for a total coverage metallic look.

Fall/ Winter 2020-2021 Nail Trends: Messy Metallic Nails

Photos via Vogue, Livingly