Expert Advice

Conceiving a Collection the OPI Way

Alicia Liotta | July 10, 2011 | 6:22 PM

What is the process you go through to create new seasonal collections for OPI?

“It all starts with the location, which is usually chosen about a year and a half prior to the collection’s launch date,” says Fischmann. “When we’re in the geographic location, we look at architecture, fabric, home decor, nature, accessories and other inspirations.”

Locations are chosen for various reasons like countries that are hot, fashion-forward and emerging markets. This year, the choice for the Fall Collection was Paris.

“When we get back home, the real work begins. I take all that we’ve learned from spending time in the location and invoke my muse, who is the average woman who wears nail color. I think about myself, my friends, moms, businesswomen—every woman. In fact, the carpool line is a very important place for information gathering.

“Then, I work with a colorist in the lab. With some collections, we mix six to 10 shades to find the perfect collection, other times we just keep mixing until we find the perfect shades. Colors can be worked on anywhere from one day to a week or more. Some color ideas work and some just don’t.

“Our color names have always been a large part of who we are. There are about six of us at OPI who come up with the lacquer names. The naming team consists of myself, George [Schaeffer], someone from customer service, purchasing, advertising, and marketing. It is a democratic process, names are voted on and majority wins. We lock ourselves in the large conference room, bring in food and sit around and brainstorm. This is the last step before quality control and after I visit the destination and pick the 12 colors that will make up the collection.”


Suzi shows us her color swatch book in her office at OPI. On her nails, Keys to My Karma from the India Collection.


Conceiving a Collection the OPI Way

Tests are done in the lab to make sure the shade is consistent in all of the bottles that ship out.


Conceiving a Collection the OPI Way

Suzi spends time in the lab with color chemists to find the perfect shades.


Conceiving a Collection the OPI Way

2009 will be OPI’s 20th Anniversary of color. Since 1989 a color has never been repeated. Every year 24 shades are discontinued and 24 new shades come in.


Conceiving a Collection the OPI Way

For Fall 2008 it all about Paris. Le Collection de Paris is inspired by Suzi’s experience in the world’s fashion capital.



Photography: Steven Barston,


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