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Essie founder: Duchess Kate inspired fall nail colors

Wondering what’s in store for your manicured hands this season? Essie Weingarten, founder of Essie Cosmetics, knows what’s on nail salon shelves: she has the enviable job of shepherding new color every 90 days and coming up with those amusing names for the latest shades. TODAY.com caught up with Essie at the Lucky magazine FABB conference to discuss the latest trends and colors for fall:

The Kate Middleton effect:

“The fall line started with Kate Middleton because I thought she was the most elegant bride in the whole wide world. Every bride is beautiful, but she just brought something else. She was stunning during her first trip to the U.S., when she met with Mrs. Obama in that beige, chic shift, with black shoes and a black clutch bag. It was all about the bag! Every woman holds very close to her bag and it speaks volumes about what she’s wearing. So the whole inspiration for the fall line was different types of handbags — from the power clutch to the carry-on to a glamour purse.”

Essie’s fall shades:

“Fall is so beautiful because there’s a lot of glam to it this year, so we have everything from ‘Lady Like,’ a soft whispery pink, to ‘Carry On,’ which is almost like a burgundy brown, all the way to a new gray-green shade called ‘Power Clutch.’ We have ‘Very Structured,’ which is this amazing rust color. The inspiration came from a road rail in upstate New York and I saw this old rusty can that was so fabulous.  I wanted to take it home because it was so rusted out! And that color goes with everything, especially with grays and greens, blacks. Rust is my new neutral.”

On keeping up with fads:

“I don’t follow trends. I do what I think women want. I’ve been really lucky to hit every trend for the last 30 years. We just go with gut — and it works!”

Why Essie thinks it’s worthwhile for little girls to get their nails done:

“I always feel that as young as they are, if the mom is getting a manicure, you just put your little girl on your lap and let the nail technician give her a little color — with a base coat and top coat, of course. Little girls enjoy the experience and enjoy become young ladies.  Manicures teach little girl poise and confidence, to sit still, and they become a matter of hygiene later in life as they grow into young women with well-shaped nails and pushed back cuticles, always taking care of their hands.”

Who comes up with all of Essie’s adorable names?

“I do. I really need to be descriptive, yet I want people to remember the names, so that if they don’t remember it exactly, there’s something to the color to help them recall it.  Numbers were so impersonal.

“Names and colors — that’s really the difference with the Essie brand.  Nothing has changed [with Essie now under L’Oreal’s ownership]. The heritage and DNA are the same. I’m still the creative director — except now I like to say that now I’m an octopus; I have a lot of hands in a lot of places.”

Is there one nail shade we won’t ever catch Essie in?

“No, I love them all, and they all have such a different personality. And that’s what it’s all about — expressing yourself. I have tried them all, and while I might not necessarily wear them on my hands, you might catch them on my toes. I have not put anything in my line that I have not worn at least once.”More:

Three tips to improve nail care:

“Use apricot cuticle oil every day so cuticles don’t get stuck to the nail bed. That way, you’ll never have hangnails. It makes you look like you just walked out of the salon.”

“Always put on a base coat. It’s so important to prevent staining!”

“Never cut — instead always push back — cuticles. Once you start cutting, there is no end!”

Essie’s beauty bag essentials:

“Essie Mademoiselle (a perfectly sheer pink, which is universally flattering), Smoothies hand cream, and of course, a base coat.“

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