The Interview: Sophy Robson, the Nail Queen

Kate Moss in Vogue - nails by Sophy RobsonSophy is arguably the hottest manicurist in the world at the moment, having just finished the runway shows for Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood and Stella Macartney (not to mention creating the totally bad-ass ghetto nails at Henry Holland’s London show that were all over style.com), shot campaigns for Tom Ford, Longchamp and McQueen, and tended to the celebrity nails of Alexa Chung and every supermodel in the world – put it this way, Kate Moss is a regular. Not bad when only ten short years ago she was working in a nail bar in Soho!

She is loved in the industry for her sparkly personality and her endless technical skills – this is a lady who has custom blended fifty nail polishes for a runway show, has her own blog (which is ace by the way – check it out at www.sophyrobson.com for a real behind the scenes look at fashion), created the graded nail and basically invented this season’s trend, the Mannequin Nail. So without further ado, I bring you ten questions with the Nail Queen herself:

1) What are you working on at the moment?
I have just finished fashion week (thirteen shows!) come back and done a four looks nail story for Grazia and a Topshop make up and Armani campaign straight after so once I caught my breath, I am now working on a display for a press day next week at PR Mandi Lennard’s basement in Hoxton. I have never had a PR before so this is very exciting. I have also chosen a red polish for a new charity brand launching in April called All For Eve.

2) Favourite nails job ever?
I have enjoyed and felt fulfillment from many, many jobs. However, show-wise, I think my favourite was the first time I did the Louis Vuitton show last year, as working with someone like Marc Jacobs and an organisation as efficiently run as Louis Vuitton was both a demanding and rewarding experience. When I was re- booked again this season it was quite an honour for me, and the sense of accomplishment after we worked to produce another trendsetting nail for the runway is very high!Sophy Robson's nails in Elle

3) Worst nails job ever?
There was one nightmare job once but I have almost erased it from memory now. I don’t think the person in question is even in business any more so who cares!

4) Top 5 products?
Seche Vite – Dry Fast Top Coat
Solar Oil for cuticles
Diamancel nail files
Chanel Nail polish

5) If you could tell women to do one thing differently with their nails, what would it be?
STOP leaving your polish on for too long! This is the main cause of dehydration and yellowing of the nail plate.

6) How did you get started in the business?
Initially I was working for a trendy West end nail bar chain and I began to meet commercial models who would come in to get fake nails done for jobs. I was good at producing very natural looking fake nails, and began to collect their tearsheets from magazines as evidence of my work. Then I began to approach hair and make up agencies and it sort of went from there.

7) How is it different to when you started?
Nails have become big in fashion now. When I started there was barely any photographers or stylists that recognised the need for a manicurist. So the interest has increased, and generally manicurists are treated with much more respect than when I started. Also there are so many more opportunities now, as the demand for nails has grown so much.

8) Which work are you most proud of?
When the Mert & Marcus pictures of Erykah Badu in Tom Ford’s White Patchouli perfume appeared, I could not believe how good that image was. I felt like I was not likely to get a better representation of my work than that! The French Vogue cover of Laetitia Casta’s nails especially when someone told me it had been used as a reference for another shoot they were on. I am also proud of the “gradient” or Ombre” nails look as it started as a small post on my blog called “colour change nails” and went round the world. I love it when people write “I have never been that into nails until I saw this….”

Sophy Robson9) What do you love doing in your spare time?
Well when I have some I love to spend time with my daughter… she is becoming like a teenager now so we do girly things together like shopping, going out for dinner, cinema or bowling. I also love staying at hotels and going running in the park.

10) What are your trend predictions for the coming season for nails?
Pastel blue nails and other candy colours. Nails are a fashion accessory now so you can be as adventurous and stylish as you like.

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