For VIPs Only
Nail varnish originated in China; some dynasties reserved black and red for royalty.
Moody London boutique Biba makes black nail varnish for its groovy clientele.
Flouting several conventions in one go, glam kingpin Freddie Mercury wears black varnish, but only on one hand; Marc Bolan, David Bowie, and other rock-star gender benders also polish.
Bauhaus releases “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” a throbbing goth anthem; their fans incorporate lots of black everything for both genders.
White contacts and black nails: the basis of Marilyn Manson’s safe-for-the-mainstream wardrobe.
The Drugstore Version
Urban Decay releases Perversion, a vinyl black polish with purple highlights named after a Gravity Kills album.
High Fashion, Part I
The models in Gucci ads sport immaculately manicured black nails.
Still Rock and Roll
Despite cropping up on fashion models, black nail polish still says “rebellious rock,” as evidenced by indie band the Deathray Davies’ album, titled Midnight at the Black Nail Polish Factory.
A Manly Manicure
Football superstar/dandy David Beckham is photographed for L’Uomo Vogue with black nails.
Red Carpet Accessory
Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie keep their bad-girl images by mixing black nails with couture outfits.
High Fashion, Part II
Chanel introduces Black Satin ($18), whose limited-edition status virtually ensures the kind of waiting-list frenzy that greeted its legendary 1994 Vamp.