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Jin Soon, The Lacquer Line


The nail industry is all about innovation as business continues to boom for the next big thing in polish. But Jin Soon Choi is still a purist. “I’m not really a fan of gel systems,” she admits about the latest craze in at-home mani maintenance. And nail art? She can do without that, too. “You can be trashy [these days], you can have that,” says the nail pro with over 25 years of experience primping and polishing on-set of Italian Vogue shoots and backstage at shows like Doo.Ri and Prabal Gurung, pointing out that while she doesn’t begrudge anyone a good time with crazy designs and custom-created stickers, she’s looking to deliver something else to the varnish-crazed masses: high fashion. “High fashion doesn’t do glitter. But [it] is all about color—beautiful color—and high gloss without shimmer. I want to challenge [people] with a classic but more modern way of thinking about high fashion.” Cue Choi’s first foray into the world of merchandising. “It’s all about timing,” she says, explaining why she’s finally decided to branch out from her successful salon and editorial business with her own lacquer line—”and kinda my age,” she continues (the shockingly youthful Choi turned “5-0″ this year).

There was a niche that needed filling, too, of course, as creating “just regular nail polishes” with expert formulas and classic colors seems to have fallen out of favor in these days of shock value nail accoutrements. So Choi decided to put “high fashion” back into the equation with two new color ranges: The Quintessential collection features shades like Coquette (a rich red), Audacity (a deep wine), Risqué (a blackened cherry), Nostalgia (a pink beige), Muse (a sheer pink), and Tulle (a transparent nude)—colors that “will never die” and will “always will be in,” according to the nail artist. She’s also left room for some seasonal excitement with the A La Mode collection, which includes six hues named by some of Choi’s favorite runways stars. “Each color kinda shows their personalities,” she explains of shades like Caroline Trentini’s Austere (a dark olive green); Guinevere Van Seenus’ Metaphor (a deep hunter green); Hyoni Kang’s Charade (a true teal); Jamie Bochert’s Auspicious (a dusty lavender); Karlie Kloss’ Debonair (a dark purple); and Coco Rocha’s Rhapsody (a deep dark gray). Additionally, there is a high-gloss topcoat and a stellar base coat that is bolstered by biotin, diamond particles, phycocoral, and keratin amino acids to keep nails strong and relatively sans chips. Choi’s double-patented formula is also “five-free.” “A lot of [brands] are three-free—no toluene, formaldehyde, or [dibutyl phthalate]. But [my line] has no camphor and no formaldehyde resin, too.” Choi’s offering will make its fashion week debut at Theyskens’ Theory next month, and until then, she’s keeping mum on her favorites. “I cannot say anything because this is my first baby, my creation—so I love everything!” (Us too.)

Jin Soon nail lacquer, $18 each, available August/September 2012 at

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