Diary of a session nail tech: London Fashion Week AW24

By Marie-Louise Coster | 26 February 2024 | Events, Feature

Mlc London Fashion Week Aw24

Session nail stylist, salon owner & educator, Marie-Louise Coster, reveals what happened behind the scenes when she led nail looks for the Edward Crutchley autumn/winter 2024 London Fashion Week show…

Fashion season is a great time of year. Even if you aren’t working at Fashion Week, it provides a lot of inspiration which can be transferred to the nail desk, so it is a good idea to look at the nail styles that are set to be on-trend.

I was fortunate enough to lead the nail team for Edward Crutchley’s autumn/winter 2024 show at London Fashion Week. This was my 12th season working with Edward, and his shows are up there with my favourite jobs – if not the favourite. 

Edward and I start discussing nail looks for his autumn/winter showcases before Christmas. He usually shows me sketches of the collection and shares its fabrics, colours and patterns, before telling me its story or mood.

Autumn/winter 2024

The AW24 collection features favourite styling choices of mine, including animal prints, embroidery, crochet, heavy patterns and a nod to Tudor times. The colours are beautiful: greys, neutrals and deep reds, and Edward wanted to harmoniously combine lots of global materials and cultures. The glam brief was for the looks to intensify as the show went on, starting with natural styles and working up to fierce, sultry looks: as if from the angel to the devil.

Half of the models were having a natural, clean and glossy manicure. It sounds easy but can be very tricky to achieve, especially if a model’s nails aren’t in great health. There is nowhere to hide anything and everything has to be perfect.

For the other models, Edward liked the idea of squared off extreme length press-on nails. We decided that the little finger would be the extreme length nail that the next three fingers would be trimmed to be the same length as, creating a square. The thumb remained extreme length, too. We then spoke about colours and textures, and I created some press-on examples.

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I decided on three colours: red, gold and bronze, as they were woven throughout the collection. I created the press-ons in advance of the show, painting each nail its chosen colour and curing it. When I applied the second coat, I let it sit for a few minutes, then pushed foil leaf of the same colour into the nail, manipulating it to create texture. This made the foil leaf lose its shine, which is exactly what I wanted, as I wasn’t looking to create the traditional appearance of foil. I cured this, then applied top coat, working this into the grooves of the nail, before curing and removing the inhibition layer. I showed Edward the finished looks and he loved them. He asked ‘which colour do you think we should choose?’ and I said ‘let’s have them all’, so we did!

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On the day

There were 20 models for the show, with half wearing the pre-made press ons (four sets of red, three of gold and three of bronze) and half sporting natural nails. The nail prep and all looks were created using ORLY UK. 

The call time for the nail team was 8.30am, the rehearsal was scheduled for 11am and the show time was 12pm (although I am yet to do a show that is on-time). You’re not often able to work on models after the rehearsal, so they need to be show-ready for this, although there is time for finishing touches afterwards: some extra hand cream, cuticle oil or replacing a lost press-on. I carried out final checks while the models were lined up waiting to go out onto the runway, then it was time for the show.  

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I am always sad when a Fashion Week show is over, but I can’t deny there is a sense of relief. Then there is the mad rush to vacate the building and just like that, it is over in a flash. Fashion Week is a bit like Christmas – you have a big, exciting build-up, then it is over as quickly as it came. But luckily, unlike Christmas, Fashion Week comes round twice a year!

Watch Scratch‘s video roundup of the event here.


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