At the end of September 2013 just as I was really starting to get into nail art and blogging, I assigned myself a week-long mini challenge in which I did a manicure representing every dress worn by Alice in the beautiful, but exceptionally demented, video game Alice: Madness Returns. I had just platinumed the game (yes, I used “platinum” as a verb – it means I got all the trophies or completed everything in the game there was to complete or, alternately, explored every backwards-facing, viscera-covered nook and cranny and indiscriminately laid waste to an entire Wonderland of enslaved nightmare creatures with an assortment of weaponry last put into use at the Tower of London) and Alice’s at times vibrant, at more times blood-soaked world seemed like a natural fit. Girlfriend’s got a wardrobe, too, in addition to a Vorpal Blade, so it was a nice little fait accompli.
One of Alice’s outfits I tackled was a downloadable only costume called The Hattress. Modelled after the bondage gear-meets-straight jacket suit the Mad Hatter wears in Madness Returns, it features odd little Steampunk touches (actually, when Alice wears this costume, the irises of her eyes change into spinning, copper-coloured cogs), sickly green tights and an improbably large, black and white checked top hat bearing the symbol for Mercury, or the element that put the Mad in the Hatter.
I remember really liking these nails at the time and thinking that they represented a nice turning point in my work, particularly the checkerboard pattern of the Hattress’ hat, but being so new to the nail art game, I always knew I could do better. So it’s fortunate that I’ve had the chance to do just that with this updated mani that takes elements of that first design and tidies them up a bit. The change isn’t too dramatic, which is nice in and of itself – it means I couldn’t have gotten it too wrong the first time around – but everything just looks so much tidier and more deliberate. The difference a year and change of practice makes, right?