A lot went on behind-the-scenes of this design which ended up pushing back its creation, but even with everything going on I still wanted to make this design inspired by EXO's third winter special album For Life!
This album, song, and music video were all released this past December just a few days before my last final exam. While I did manage enough study breaks away from my personal finance notes to check out the music video and listen to the album once, I didn't really have time to start brainstorming a design as soon as the video dropped like I normally do. Once my exam was finished and I did sit down to scour the mv for design inspiration, I found that while the music video is indeed filled with a lot of really aesthetic shots, it didn't give me much in the way of usable design elements.
I did, however, quickly latch onto two objects in the music video that I knew I wanted to include in the design, the first being the sign outside of the bar which reads "YOU WERE HERE," and the second being the amber bracelet that Kai/Suho/Chanyeol and the female lead basically played hot potato with. Since the bracelet played such an integral role in the video I knew that it needed to be in my design, but it also presented a challenge for me because I had never attempted recreating amber on my nail before. After checking out a bunch of different tutorials (including these awesome ones which helped me a lot [x, x]), I realized that I would need sheer polishes - which I didn't own - to complete the design. This meant that I had to order some polishes online specifically for this design and then wait for them to be delivered which pushed this design back even further. 😓 I'm definitely glad I decided to order the polishes though, because I think the amber turned out great!
Two of the other nails were inspired by the modifications of exo's winter logo that the group used for this comeback: an un-melted and a melted ice cube. I was a little concerned with how I was going to recreate these logos when I first saw them, but I realized that watered down acrylic paint would be perfect for the job!
The last nail, the pinky finger, was actually the bane of my existence for about two days. My original plan had been to make it look like the band of the bracelet so that it would connect with the ring finger, but when I tried that out the silver didn't stand out enough from the beige polish so you couldn't tell what the design was supposed to be. Now with no other idea of what to do for that nail, I turned once again to my friend Joanne for brainstorming help. We ended up spending two nights debating what the design should be: whether it should be light or dark, if ideas were too busy or too bare, if colour balance mattered more than taking scenes directly from the music video. I tried out a bunch of different ideas and we managed to narrow it down to two options: a white background with "For Life" written in the font from the album cover, and a black background with a light bulb from one of Chanyeol's scenes.
Obviously from the previous photos you can tell which one we chose, but I did photograph both versions so you can see what the design would have looked like if we had chosen differently. Our friend Ashley helped us make the final call that the light bulb had more to do with the music video - do you guys agree?
Below you can see a collage of the final design along with the inspirations for each nail.
When the For Life music video first came out, I saw a lot of people joking that the bracelet was ugly and that's why everyone in the video were passing it around. While I agree that the bracelet may not really be something that I would wear, I did kind of connect with it because amber, or gintaras - is pretty prevalent in traditional Lithuanian jewelry (my background is Lithuanian if I haven't mentioned that before). I have some pieces of amber jewelry from my močiutė so I had to take a picture of the amber nail with an amber necklace as well!
As with the majority of my kpop-inspired designs, I filmed a tutorial for this in case any of you want to recreate it for yourself or if you just want to watch the process behind the design. The tutorial includes instructions on how to recreate all 5 of the individual designs. Please remember to credit me and tag your photos with #looknyanails on Instagram and Tumblr if you choose to recreate this design!
Essie - Grow Stronger Base Coat
Essie - Licorice
Essie - Mink Muffs
Essie - No Place Like Chrome
HK Girl - Clear Top Coat
OPI - Chromatic Orange
OPI - Primarily Yellow
Sally Hansen - White On