Jane Schub, creator of Strangebeautiful nail color, does not rely on seasonal color trends to drive her nail polish shades. Rather, she turns to her background as an illustrator and trained artist, drawing on the Bauhaus master Josef Albers' color theory, which views color as an ever-changing relationship -- our perception of a single hue is dependent on the other shades that surround it.
The result is a boldly different line of colors, drawing influences as different as caribou heads, to the gradation of fur, to the veins of green mold running through Roquefort cheese.
Schub let Stylelist pry into her creative process and get her take on the colors of the moment. Strangebeautiful is available at Bergdorf Goodman, 212-753-7300.
Q: How did you get into the nail business?
A: I'm not really in the nail business per se. I'm a fashion and beauty illustrator and an artist and I've done two beauty lines (Jules and Jane and Savage Beauty) in the past. A year ago, I got a gift of a 1970s Red Olivetti Valentine typewriter and the color inspired me. I said, "I have to do a nail polish line." So that's how it started.
Q: Why aren't you selling the colors separately?
A: The whole theory behind the line is that the colors are meant to be seen together, interacting and contrasting. Each color can look completely different depending on which other polish it's next to. I've drawn inspiration from Josef Albers' color theory.
Q: Do you see the Volumes bring sold or used in nail salons?
A: Not really, the polish is more of a luxury accessory for your hands and feet, whether it's the entire volume or the pairs of color pairings we're coming out with soon.
Q: How are the polishes different from the ones you'd find in a salon?
A: They're super saturated and highly pigmented. In a typical polish, you'd find about 15 to 18 percent pigment. Mine are made with 50 to 75 percent pigment, so you only need one coat. This much pigment means we had to add six (generally there are one or two in a bottle) steel ball bearings so the formula would remain evenly dispersed. Also, Strangebeautiful is free of formaldehyde, toulene and DBP (a.k.a. phthalates).
Q: Why no names or labels? And tell us about the colors in your soon-to-launch 4th collection.
A: The colors don't have names and the bottles are deliberately label-free because I prefer to refer to their points of inspiration -- like the greyish-taupe-y shade I see in the gradation of fur on the taxidermy caribou head on my dresser. It could literally be the range of colors of that quashed bug on your window. It doesn't have to be beautiful to be beautiful it just needs to be a bit strange.
Q: Are the Volumes fashion driven?
A: No, the process has nothing to do with fashion or the seasons. The colors come from anything and everything, I don't work from swatches or paint chips. I personally develop all the colors myself -- I mix each one as you would for an oil painting.
Q: Would you consider doing a collaboration with a fashion designer?
A: Yes! I would love to design a color for Rodarte. What a great partnership idea!
(Rodarte, are you listening?)