I’m typing out this post with Tracy Barlow’s nails … For the benefit of non-British readers – or those who aren’t up to speed with their soaps – Tracy is the longest-serving bad girl on Coronation Street. This week, the street’s resident villainess has been plotting revenge on her sister-in-law, and yesterday – in the second of this week’s nightly episodes – we saw her sneak into her intended victim’s flat with murder on her mind.
Anyway, back to the nails which I hope I won’t be biting tonight as fire rips through the apartment building that’s home to several characters. I noticed a few months ago that Tracy – who is brilliantly played by Kate Ford – is never seen these days without red nails, no matter whether she’s on the school run, in the pub or working in her shop. I’m not sure when it started though I think I remember being surprised by her red nails on her wedding day last autumn. In any case, she (and my obsession with her nails) has taken over from where Spiral’s bad girl left off.
While Spiral’s Josephine Karlsson probably wore an expensive brand of nail varnish, complementing her designer wardrobe, Tracy’s red is altogether more affordable. Coronation Street’s Head of Make-up Elizabeth Armistead tells me: “It’s a Rimmel one – Salon Pro in Mars Red. Kate’s worn red nails and lips for a while – she wanted to wear red and so we found the products for her.”
Kitting Tracy’s nails out in one of the most purse-friendly ranges is genius – since she is a character on a limited budget. But according to Elizabeth, that’s not how the Rimmel connection came about: she asks the actors which ranges suit them and tries to accommodate their preferences. She’s going to have to hit the shops again, however, as Rimmel tell me that Mars Red was a limited edition red and has now been replaced with the equally glossy Rock n Roll, another £4.49 shade designed by that other Kate, Ms Moss. I must say, I’m very impressed with my Salon Pro manicure: I’ve now typed two articles and innumerable emails (and had a bath and washed my hair) and the single coat (it’s a base coat, polish and top coat all rolled into one) I applied early yesterday is holding up beautifully.
I’d say Rock n Roll is just a little deeper, more scarlet than what Tracy has been wearing during her red rampage. So if she is not getting carted off to prison any time soon and is still allowed a nail file, here’s my pick of alternative reds for her manicure. If she wants to further economise, she could try Rimmel’s new 60 Seconds Super Shine range (£2.99 each) in Queen of Tarts, a shade that’s blood red and spot-on name-wise.
For a very similar red to her first choice, she could splash the pawn shop cash on Tom Ford Nail Lacquer in Coral Blame (£26) and if she fancies more of a tomato red that also has a designer tag but is not quite as dear as Tom Ford’s, I’d recommend Michael Kors Nail Lacquer in Sensation (£15.50; www.houseoffraser.co.uk).
In the meantime, here’s to another non-nail-nibbling viewing session tonight!
* Coronation Street continues at 9pm each night this week on ITV.