Wednesday, August 5, 2009

It starts:

I have had an odd history with polish. Pretty much all of my life, I’ve been drawn to that section of the drug store, and I’d spend time and money there. But it was usually like the tides – I'd really be into it, then I’d leave it be for long stretches of time.

Usually, though, when I did purchase lacquers, it was more unusual colors. When I look through my collection of “old” acquisitions, I see a lot of silver/grey, blue, and purple. Huh – I guess I was always off the red/pink-brick road.

So I guess all that is to say I was a varnish junkie waiting to happen.

Now, what really got me started on this road in earnest was an article in the New York Times last November. No, not the one that led to the great chipped-polish controversy of ’08 (which I think still rages on), but rather a little unassuming blurb in the Sunday Style section about a new lacquer company called StrangeBeautiful.

I don’t think I’d ever spent so much money on nail polish before (and there have been few exceptions since), and I lived no where near a Bergdorf Goodman, but I was going to have to find a way to get this “Library of Color,” as they called it.

It wasn’t out quite yet, so I spent some time drooling over their website. [NB: Their website is still up, and there are a lot of interesting things to see there -- just run your mouse over the bottle pics on the home page! -- but they don't seem to be updating it much anymore. Use the two purchasing links below for more current information.] I emailed their contact (who turned out to be the founder herself!) to find out how to order the first LOC. I was given a phone number and a sales rep’s name, and that was how I placed my order.

Oh, how glad I am that I did.

It turned out to be a gateway drug, but what a gateway drug! They are gorgeous colors; absolutely gorgeous. And here they are:


The Lucite box they come in


With flash






Stunning, aren’t they?

As far as I can tell, this company is well below a lot of people's radar. I'm hard-pressed to find too much mention of them on other blogs, or even to find pictures of them. I hope their name gets out a little bit more, because I am absolutely ga-ga over them!

Their application is about what the definition of "buttah" would be for me. If you put on a second coat too soon, you will cause a little balding, but truly, these are near-opaque in one.

As this entry is already running a bit long, I’ll just give you the teaser of the first two colors. And, as I’m sure you’ll start wondering as I post the pictures, these colors have no names. I know; supremely frustrating! Also, as I warned you, this is what led me into nail care in earnest, so some of these shots aren’t of the most attractive nails you’ve ever seen. In fact, the dark olive color you see is the first of the collection that I ever wore!

First up, the red that started it all. The inspiration came from this typewriter, designed by Ettore Sottsass:



I love seeing the colors interact, so I took shots with their neighboring colors as well.


Next up. the olive green that I suspect is similar to Rescue Beauty Lounge’s No More War, but as I don’t own that color, I can’t attest to it.


Sorry for the blur – indoors


Outdoors – I was hiding a chipped nail :)



The collections are strictly LE (limited edition), so once they're sold out, they are gone. There are two libraries out now, and as far as I can tell, they are both still available. You can order them from Bergdorf Goodman or from lucky scent (whom I learned of specifically from Jane Schub herself). I've never ordered off of either website directly, so I can give you no feedback about their customer service. However, having ordered from a BD representative, I can tell you her customer service was exquisite.

I should also warn you that there is no picking and choosing as far as SB is concerned - you must buy them all. Of course, speaking strictly for myself, that's not a problem. I sometimes love to just sit and stare at the colors and watch how they interact so beautifully. These polishes - more than any others that I own - strike me as true accessories. Every time I wear these, I walk a little taller and feel absolutely beyond the pale chic!

And as "chic," in my oddball little mind, is permanently linked to "art deco," George Gershwin comes to mind. My absolute favorite movement from him is Rhapsody in Blue, so here it Disney's interpretation of that number from Fantasia 2000:

Hope you enjoyed!


  1. Wow those are some cool colors, when I first glimpsed the picture I thought they were RBLs! I can't wait to see the rest of your haul swatched :)

  2. Thank you so much, Kae! I hope to have the other six colors up by the weekend - now that I've found a better way to add photos :)

    And I agree - the bottles remind me forcibly of RBL!

  3. I went to the Neiman Marcus web site and these are the nail polishes I bought. They had Volume 1 & 2. I bought the second one after I received the first. I hadn't even tried the polish. I just loved the colors of the polish. Darn I wish I could get the my other bottles of polish.

  4. I can't wait until you're able to get them out and try them - I'd love to hear your opinion of them :)