British Nail Ways — Take The Ciaté London Big Beauty Bus Nail Lacquer Kit For A Spin!
Aside from iconic landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, and Piccadilly Circus, when most people think of London, they imagine certain items and figures that are ubiquitous in The Big Smoke: red cabinet-like phone booths, the uniformed sentries guarding Windsor Castle and the Tower of London, and, of course, the double-decker buses escorting tourists through the city. The rear-entrance, two-storied, candy apple red Routemaster bus that became synonymous with London in the late ’50s and ’60s, inspired the design of the new Ciaté London Big Beauty Bus ($35 at Bloomingdales.com), a cheeky nail enamel kit that includes six mini paint pots (5 ml each) in shades inspired by the bustling metropolis.
The packaging alone makes this set positively irresistible. The illustrated box features square cut-outs that allow consumers to glimpse through the plastic layer beneath this cardboard exterior and get a glimpse at the six nail lacquer “passengers” inside the bus. You can then slide off the top sleeve to reveal the mini pots inside, as shown below:
As previously mentioned, all six shades in this kit were inspired by the city of London and are meant to provide a virtual tour of the region via the clever use of color. To that end, then, the kit incorporates a creamy red shade called Pom-Pom that’s reminiscent of the fluffy yarn embellishments adorning the Gallinet pom pom hats in Diane Von Furstenberg’s Fall 2009 Nomad collection — or for that matter, of the red circles demarcating underground tube stations. There’s also Hopscotch, a creamy blood orange hue reminiscent of the orange umbrellas used to decorate the exterior of Pullens Yards Open Studios, or of the exterior walls of the Masala Zone eatery in Westminster.
These vibrant shades aside, the kit includes two creamy blue nail lacquers — Pool Party, a gorgeous cobalt shade, and Ferris Wheel, a nursery-ready sky blue — as well as a marshmallow white cream color dubbed Snow Virgin and a glittery silver lacquer named Locket.
Below, you’ll find swatches of all six nail lacquer shades, along with more details on each!
I’m typically a bit weary of creamy white polishes since, if they lack the desired opacity, they can wind up looking streaky and patchy. Snow Virgin, however, looks stunning because it only requires two to three coats to achieve complete opacity. The lacquer has a chalk-like coloration, as opposed to an opalescent or milky one. The stark white, which is reminiscent of liquid Wite-Out, which actually gives it more of a Mod, graphic feel. This, in turn, makes the polish feel incredibly apropos for a London-inspired collection since this was the city that birthed the Mod fashion movement, with its black-and-white stripes, houndstooth and herringbone patterns. As for the name Snow Virgin, one might assume it’s a reference to Elizabeth I, known as the Virgin Queen, who, not coincidentally, often wore a huge high ruffled collar with her exquisite gowns.
Maybe it’s because I just came back from a trip to Disney World, but every time I see this shade, I think of Cinderella’s ball gown dress. The Ferris Wheel nail lacquer pays homage to the pale blue color of the glass used to construct each oval-shaped cabin within the London Eye. It’s a delicate, whitened sky blue shade that, though pale, doesn’t feel like a spring-y pastel but has a moodiness to it that makes it perfect for fall and winter.
Arguably the signature shade of this kit, the Pom Pom nail lacquer shade is a scarlet red hue with a creamy finish that will remind all Anglophiles of the cabinet phone boots, double-decker buses, and the giant red ball that dangled from the Golden Jubilee Bridge in June as part of the Red Ball Project, a UK-based traveling art installation initiative.
This is, without a doubt, my favorite shade in the collection. Pool Party is an electric cobalt blue shade with a creamy finish, and it’s reminiscent of the Hahn/Cock sculpture of a giant blue cockerel positioned on a plinth in Trafalgar Square. It’s also vaguely similar to the color of the rectangular strip labeling the station name of each London Underground sign.
This deep blood orange adds a nice zest to any beauty look but, beyond that, it captures the electricity of the London nightlife. In fact, if you search for skyline views of the city at night, you’ll be struck by the abundance of orange lights in these images, how even the Big Ben tower takes on a citric tone under these lights. More accurately, the color will remind you of the globe-shaped lanterns decorating alleys in Chinatown.
A cheeky reference to the crown jewels, this silver glitter polish is meant to give base nail colors a bit of razzle and dazzle glamour. It features both fine glitter particles and heftier silver sequins in an iridescent silver color — all suspended in a clear formula. Theoretically, you could apply this polish to bare nails and add as many coats as needed to achieve the desired effect, but I personally like how Locket looks as a top coat when juxtaposed over Ferris Wheel and Snow Virgin (shown above).
So there it is! Will you be boarding this beauty bus?