Mei Kawajiri is into fingernails the way Michelangelo was into marble muscles. Trained in Japan and currently making house calls to some of New York’s most illustrious bloggers, It girls and fashion photographers, Mei has taken full advantage of the nail art renaissance that fortuitously coincided with her arrival in the States.
Wielding a whisper-thin brush and some techie tools you might be surprised to find in your manicurist’s bag (hello, 3D printing pen), Mei offers clients a unique avant-garde art that includes not only an astounding range of freehand illustration but also encompasses the mind-boggling subgenre of nail sculpture—all done on a miniature, moving canvas.
Mei (Instagram @CiaoManhattan2012) has collaborated with Google on finger-themed art for the Android watch (she cheerily points out that when she’s not making art on nails, she’s making art about nails), runway nails for the Nicopanda Fall 2016 show and now she’s lending her talent to the in-store launches of AGOLDE denim at Nordstrom. Impeccable tailoring underpins the artful laid-back vibe of the LA-designed-and-made jeans, making them the perfect pair for the awesomely proficient and gracious Mei.
We chatted with the charming celebrity manicurist at the AGOLDE launch event at our Michigan Avenue store about her tips for keeping your nail art fresh for weeks, her Magic 8 Ball trend predictions and more.
What was the first piece of nail art you did?
I painted fingers on my own nails. 🙂
What is your least favorite nail trend?
I know people love it, but the classic French manicure is just not my cup of tea. I think it makes nails look shorter!