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Jasper, Mica, Obsidian, Oh My: Behind the Tibi x JINsoon Collab

When it comes to nail trends for fall, “black is back.” The tastemakers talk mineral inspiration and nail color as accessory

“Runway collections should tell a story, and the beauty elements are an essential part of that narrative,” says womenswear designer Amy Smilovic. It’s a Fashion Week fundamental, and it’s no doubt on the minds of designers debuting their spring 2014 collections in a month.

Take Smilovic’s modern fall 2013 collection for Tibi, which called for an effortless look with the help of “straight, gently tousled hair, barely-there makeup and matte-covered nails.” To attain it, she enlisted the expertise of nail artist Jin Soon Choi, and the result is one collab that could spur on fall if only on our fingertips. “I’ve been a long-time fan of Jin’s editorial work,” says Smilovic, who found the perfect partner in Choi for runway. “Jin recognizes that nail color has become an accessory. She has a sophistication and edge in her approach to nail art that I’m always looking to incorporate into my collections.”

For fall 2013, it was “elevated sportswear with utilitarian polish, blending urban dressing with ’90s refinement.” The duo created colors for the runway lineup—deep blue, forest green, burgundy. “They’re unique from any other Jin Soon shade in that none of our colors are monochromatic,” Smilovic tells DuJour. The designer was looking for an element of texture and layering, an important theme behind her fall collection.

“You have this sort of refined take on utilitarian clothing and effortless hair that appeals to the girl who wants to look great, but never fussy. A shiny, gloss coated nail polish wouldn’t look right. By adding a smooth, matte coat on top, we’ve added dimension and edge to the overall aesthetic; I think a nail color can speak volumes for the image we’re trying to portray.”

Below, we speak with Jin Soon Choi about the Tibi collection, available at select Space NK retailers, sephora locations and the Tibi Boutique in SoHo.


How do you know how many—or how few—colors to create for a new collection?
I create my nail polish in themed clusters, and I try to provide a range of tones in each collection that is representative of the season it is intended for. Coincidentally, that has turned out to be five or six shades per collection, but that might very well change in the future.

Working off of Tibi’s fall collection, what else inspired these colors?
The colors are derived from mineral formations. Each of the five shades contain subtle shimmer effects, iridescence, and molten qualities; hence the names Jasper, Mica, Obsidian, Azurite and Epidote—all named after their mineral-like appearance.

To achieve the glittery look, you used mica. How did you come to work with the mineral?
I grew up in a rural area of South Korea and was often outdoors playing in the woods by a river. I discovered mica in rocks back then and have been fascinated with it ever since. When I established the theme for my Fall/Winter 2013 shades—minerals—it was only natural that I incorporate my favorite mineral into the collection.

Have you found that certain personalities are drawn to certain colors?
Yes, but it is often not as one would expect. I’ve noticed that shy people often gravitate toward flamboyant colors and outgoing people often select reserved colors.

What gives a new manicure statement-making power?
When the polish is appropriate yet unexpected for the skin tone and the occasion. And good application of the polish is of critical importance.

Favorite nail trends for fall?
Black is back but this time with more sophistication and an edgy streak with the addition of a subtle shimmer.

If there’s one color to wear for fall, it’s:
Obsidian (shimmery black) with or without Matte Maker.