THE owner of a St Ives nail salon has just returned from Paris Fashion Week, where she had been invited to work on two prestigious catwalk shows.

Lyndsay McIntosh, co-owner of the Nail Retreat in Manor Mews, was invited by professional nail technician Marian Newman, renowned in the fashion world, to join her team who would be working with models in the Louis Vuitton and Alexander McQueen shows.

Lyndsay said: "Marian is the top session technician and flies all over the world doing shows and photo shoots. I've met her through the industry because I have won national nail competitions. She needed to up her team because these were such huge shows so I was invited to go along and work with her."

The McQueen show was on Tuesday last week and Lyndsay got to work at 3pm, ready for the 8pm start. The team were doing nails in 10-15 minutes, which Lyndsay would normally spend half-an-hour doing. Even though haute couture's reputation is for over-the-top flamboyance, the nails required for the Paris shows were understated - which proved harder than it sounds as some of the models "didn't have very good nails".

"We were doing the models' fingers and toes and you just had to find a space where you could on the floor, we didn't have benches. We were crawling around under desks painting toe nails. I'd be crouching down with a hairdresser straddling my shoulders!

"We finished at 9.30pm and were back at the hotel for 10.30 - we had to be up at 2am ready to start again at 3am for Louis Vuitton."

The Louis Vuitton show was hosted at the world-famous Paris museum the Louvre.

"It was just incredible," Lyndsay said. "We did the nails of 70 models - it was crazy, manic, pandemonium… But amazing."

Marian Has already invited Lyndsay back to work with her later this year.

"Marian does London, New York, Milan and Paris so who knows where I will go.

"This was my first bit of session work and for her to give me this opportunity is incredible. All the other technicians on her team are professional, with their own agents, and then there's me, the owner of a little salon in St Ives. I've jumped straight in at the top!"

The Nail Retreat has been running for five years and is a past winner of a Hunts Post business award.

Despite her taste of the high life, Lyndsay wants to stick to continue working in her St Ives salon.

"We have a great team of girls and I love doing my salon work," she said. "Session work is quite sporadic. If I can be out once a month doing a shoot and still manage to do my clients, that would be great."