Christina Conrad

Interview Backstage
Shows Valentin Yudashkin & Chapurin

from the listing SEDUCTIVE
EXHIBITION Iris van Herpen Sculpting the Senses
SEDUCTIVE Glamorous World  
FASHION WEEK Franck Sorbier Haute Couture Summer 2014
EXHIBITION Robert Wilson Video portraits of Lady Gaga
FASHION CLOSE UP Coco Rocha Interview

Christina Conrad is without a doubt the most in -demand manucure in the fashion industry . For the last 20 years she partakes to the greatest fashion magazines images and works on the most prestigious fashion shows. The woman who shapes the hands and nails of the stars on the pages of the magazines opens up on the functions of the manicure.

Sabine Morandini : How did you navigate from the manicure salon to the fashion shows?
Christina Conrad
:I was working in New York and then came to Paris where I opened my own nail salon: Artistic Nail. Molly Sims came in randomly and talked me into getting in fashion.

SM : What personality did you meet who inspired you?
CC : Jean Paul Gaultier, John Galliano, Jean Baptiste Mondino, Monica Bellucci, Beyonce, Marion Cotillard and Diane Kruger are very professional and nice. Wong Kar Wai for the movie Midnight Poison with Eva Green , I also had a great encounter with Sofia Coppola for "Miss Dior" movie.

SM :
Do you get specific requests for some projects?
CC : Alexander McQueen and Karl Lagerfeld gave me the most freedom on their shows. On a Chanel cruise show I suggested to cover the nails with leather, like the collection. It took two days to finalize, the leather was so thick that it looked fake. We worked two days with the Chanel workshop to make it as thin as a gold leaf, in order to apply it. On another Chanel show I reproduced a Chanel suit in pearls on the nail.

SM : What's a beautiful hand?
CC : A well groomed hand. A beautiful person with unkept hands is not great. Monica Bellucci has very nice hands. Each hand is different, but I still prefers personality to hands!

SM :
New technics?
CC : We use a technic based on gel that we harden with a lamp. It's like a very thick coat of nail polish, brittle nails are better protected and it protects the fake nails as well.
Minxnails created a printed roll system that we apply directly on the nail and that we also fix with a lamp. They have a great variety of patterns, can be changed or taken off very easily .
My favorite technic is still to paint directly on the nail, I use polishes or paint. What I really like is to prepare the nails for fashion shows.

SM : Manicure : closer to hygiene or beauty?
: Both. Hands are often a reflection of the  mind.
Stressed people often neglect their hands.
Feet beauty is also very important, it is what maintains the whole body.

SM : Were you ever asked to damage beautiful hands?
CC : I would love to but I was never asked. Well once with the photographer Mario Sorrenti for Vogue magazine, he wanted to damage the beautiful model's nail polish, make it look scaled. Anothe time with Peter Lindbergh, he wanted to create an italian actress image wearing long and broken nails.

SM : What do the hands represent for you?
: A person's image.

SM : What do you think of the cliche of the secretary who files her nails and applies her nail polish?
CC : To me it's a bit false as in France secretary don't groom their hands. In the states you can lose your job so the women are very careful, they wear fake nails to be impeccable at all time.

SM : You worked in France and in the United States, is there a big difference?
CC : American women take a lot more care of their hands and feet, unlike  the french women who favor their hair dresser. The fees in France is probably deterrent, it's a lot more than in the United States.

SM : Is working on a fashion show any different?
CC : It's a lot more fast pace, we start early morning, sometimes 6 AM. We wait a lot too. Some models arrive 30 minutes before the show and we end up working all at the same time, hair dresser, make up, hand care. In studio we have 3 hours of preps per model, on a show we have 10 minutes, it's a big difference. Fortunately, I have a team of 3 to 5 helpers. On certain shows, like Tom Ford or Karl Lagerfeld, we've have up to 80 models.

SM : Tell us about the briefs of the shows Chapurin and Valentin Yudashkin where we followed you...
CC : For the Chapurin show it had to be loud but not too much.
Patti Wilson, the stylist (she creates the show's image) gave me the color  reference for the garnment, the collection was dark green and chocolate, so I proposed a maroon.
For Valentin Yudashkin, The make up artist Tom Pecheux opted for a simple and chic manicure.

SM : Do you create prothesis?
CC : I was asked once to create claws for a magazine photo shoot. It was in reference to a painting where a hand holds a skull. So I removed the nails from a chicken foot that I sanitized and cleaned thoroughly, and then glued it on the nails. At first they were very worried but it ended up perfect.

SM : What fascinates you ?
CC : The film industry!!I'm fascinated by Francis Ford Coppola. I'm a fan of his movie on Dracula and his romantic aesthetism.

Interview Sabine Morandini translation Carole Denis

Christina, Patti Wilson, Anne Sophie, Giorgia & Gemma
Valentin Yudashkin and Chapurin


Christina Conrad for Dior, Guerlain, Citizen K, Vogue Italia , Numéro
Photos Tyen, Miles Aldridge, Sølve Sundsbø, Jean Baptiste Mondino,
Thomas Legrand, Eric Maillet, Philippe Salomon, Donna Trope, Tim Walker, Vincent Peters.


Report Sabine Morandini
Christina Conrad Manicurist on stage
Shows Autumn/Winter 2010-11
Valentin Yudashkin and Chapurin