The Essie-ence of Nails

The Essie-ence of Nails

Enthusiasts of Essie, rejoice: The line of cunningly named nail polishes has opened its first salon to lovingly and luxuriously administer to fingers and toes. It’s a gleaming white space, decorated with blow-up photos of polish bottles on one wall and a rainbow-hued array of the real thing on the other. Guests sit on puffy, warm-hued couches—colored to match Essie shades—to receive a leisurely manicure. Services are priced a bit higher than at the usual neighborhood nail place, admittedly, but they do come with lots of nice extra touches: Digits soak in moisturizing cream (instead of the usual hot water), and the manicurist will, unbidden, daub strengthening serum on peeling nails. And there are just about all of the brand’s 250 polishes to try, from Adore-A-Ball to Yogaga.

Essie’s is actually set within the Samuel Shriqui hair salon on the Upper East Side, where the real-life Essie Weingarten (yes, Virginia, there really is an Essie, and she's founder of the brand) had been getting her nails done for years. As it happens, I’d spoken with the polish princess herself during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week a while back, about autumnal trends for the digits. She sees them as short, well-manicured and sporting full-bodied colors—achieved by applying two or even three different but coordinated shades to each nail. For example: Carry On, a brown/wine hue, followed by Bordeaux (one of Essie’s earliest polishes), a deep red, and topped with Little Brown Dress, a brown/black. The resulting look is “rich, warm, elegant—dark, but not dead,” Weingarten confides. “This fall, we’re dressing like ladies again.” I’m all for being ladylike, but isn’t all that application, and waiting for each coat to dry, a bit of a bore? Doesn’t have to be, Weingarten assured me. “Read a book in-between. Or, have a glass of Bordeaux.”

Essie Flagship Salon at Samuel Shriqui, 35 E. 65th St., 212.472.6805