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How Jennifer Lopez Became the Queen of the Mani (And What To Expect at the Met Gala)



Few beauty moments attract as much attention as a new nail look from Jennifer Lopez. From luxurious neutrals to shimmering nudes to shimmering tips, Lopez’s polishes combine timelessness and trend, creating the kind of enduring aesthetic that’s destined to go viral. For an evening on the red carpet (or the Met steps), that approach comes with a bit of exaggeration.

“We want a little something something when we make an event nail,” says nail artist Tom Bachik, who has worked with Lopez for 15 years. The manicures created by the duo are an extension of Lopez’s particular mood and designed for ultimate visual impact. “I always come to Jen and ask, ‘Okay, who are you today? What is your atmosphere? Who do you want to be?’” he says. “She’s always evolving her look.” Bachik views a red carpet-ready manicure as an extension of the ensemble as a whole. “The nails are their own thing, but they are definitely the most important accessory,” says Bachik. “It’s almost part of the jewelry, and if she doesn’t have her purse or whatever, the nails are that little bit extra.”

When conceptualizing an event nail, Bachik and Lopez take their signatures (namely beautiful neutrals and classic colors, the basis for viral moments like “rich girl” and “lip gloss” nails) and add something more. Bachik goes for dimension through layering (he anticipates a rapid rise in the use of magnetic polish and mirror powders, each of which adds depth to designs), while Lopez is always looking for an extra touch of sparkle. “She doesn’t want it to be just what everyone else has,” Bachik says. “She gives me the freedom to put forward the ideas, to make it mine, to make it ours.”

Of Lopez’s many Met moments, Bachik’s favorite manicure came last year: a Chanel-inspired look that matched the evening’s theme, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” The interlocking C’s and black-tipped nude nail paid tribute to the fashion house in more ways than one. “And while we were making it, we were like, no, that’s too much, let’s take it down a little bit, and it became really minimalist,” says Bachik, reminiscent of Coco’s iconic adage Chanel on removing accessories. “I recreated that whole set that morning when we were there and she was in glam, and we really created a really, perfect, chic moment.”