Designing hair for fashion shows is truly a high-wire act. It takes a nimble touch, flexible thinking, creative solutions, and a sure sense of what’s appropriate for the given clothing collection.
“My job is to give the designers what they want—or think they want—but really, what they need,” muses Woody Michleb, Keratin Complex® International Artistic Director for Cut & Style. And this can mean gently guiding them in a better direction than what they initially have in mind.
Here are a few of the looks that Woody and the Keratin Complex Inspiration Team achieved for the 22 talented fashion designers they worked with during Style Fashion Week, which ran Sept. 10 – 12, 2015, at Gotham Hall in New York City:
Photo by Toney Wilson
This L.A.-based designer hails from the Philippines and is making quite a name for himself among the Hollywood crowd for his red carpet gowns (clients include Kris Jenner, Julia Roberts and Kate Hudson).
For his show, he gave the direction of “old Hollywood glamour—think Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly. The hairstyle is pulled back in a tight chignon or low bun, as there are headpieces. The look is simple, clean and elegant.”
Says Woody: “We gave him a bun, but we created a more interesting bun. We took a ponytail and wrapped a section of hair around the ponytail in spirals—giving it more definition—and then put that in a bun.”
This Filipino designer and style consultant put on a fashion presentation during a cocktail hour on the Gotham Hall balcony. She wanted her gowns to be accompanied by “a messy side chignon with some wispy tendrils.”
So, Woody and his team gave the models an updo that was sleek and side-parted in the front, and worked into an intricately braided bun in the back. This was accomplished by “butterflying” the braid (by pulling the loops loose in a butterfly effect), working in some Iconic Polish, wrapping the braid into a bun and securing the style with Flex Flow hairspray.
Moscow-based designer Christina Berezhneva is known for her figure-hugging gowns that use sheer materials, strategically placed cutout and floral embellishments to accentuate female curves, or what she calls “shape corrective dresses.”
“Her stuff was phenomenal,” says Woody, who created romantic, upswept hair with a young and fresh vibe (via a messy chignon) to complement the outfits.
“I want to keep the hair simple and uncomplicated; the appearance of wet and sleek, but not oil. I don’t want the clothes to get damaged with oil-based products,” said designer Emilio Sosa of his upcoming Style Fashion Week show. This edgy, New York-based designer first came to fame on Project Runway; his clothes have been worn by the likes of Taraji P. Henson and the Jenner sisters, Kylie and Kendall.
Woody took one looks at the clothes in the collection and went in another direction. “We made it not simple, and it was the coolest thing!”
Sosa had asked for sleek hair in a tight wave following the curve of the face. So, the Keratin Complex stylists used Bold Hold hairspray to form the hair tightly against the head in the front. They took two pieces from each temple, and tied these together behind the head. The hair falling underneath was then styled in a highly-textured, Afro-like manner.
“It was a huge hit,” reports Woody.
This East-Coast-based designer with an eclectic resume (including costume designer, actress, writer and producer) called her 2016 collection of swimwear and lingerie “Bohemian Goddess.” Not surprisingly, she requested Boho-style hair with loose, messy waves and hairpieces such as bands and flowers.
So, Woody and the styling team used methods from the Texture Bar by Keratin Complex to create Downtown Waves. They sprayed Lift Off on the root area of damp hair, then sprayed Sweet Definition sugar spray throughout the hair, before gently blow-dying while scrunching the hair upward to add texture and volume. In some instances, curls were added using the Transformer styling rod, and then loosened with the fingers. A finishing spritz of Bold Hold was applied before the headbands were added, and the models were ready to strut in their bikinis!
“A luxury couture brand for children and teens” is how the work of this Vietnam-born, U.S.-based designer is described. And the sumptuous, elegant gowns and getups that she sent down the runway were certainly that—and more!
Vuu’s pre-show instructions for the hair were very detailed, as well: “I would like more volume. I want braids and updos. I will also have big heavy crowns for a few models and headband-style crowns and fresh flowers for the others. I also have gold crystal flower clips to put in the hair that will also match the crowns for those that aren’t wearing crowns.”
And so the Keratin Complex styling team complied with “a lot of braiding and upstyling,” reports Woody. The results were elaborate, ethereal hairstyles that looked great both on the runway and in the photo shoot for Harper’s Bazaar that also took place that day!
Photo by Woody Michleb
This celebrity-turned designer’s new line is hip and young with a rock ‘n’ roll vibe. Her pieces have already been worn by the likes of Miley Cyrus, Britney Spears and Steven Tyler.
For her spring/summer 2016 collection, Keratin Complex gave the models a cool-looking, asymmetrical braid-wrapped ponytail that went perfectly with the clothes.
Putting it all together
While doing everything he can to satisfy his designer customers, Woody never loses sight of the ultimate customer—the consumer.
Although hair is supposed to take a backseat to the clothing during fashion shows—highlighting the outfits rather than overshadowing them—fashionistas and other consumers do rely on the runways for inspiration and guidance on the latest hair and makeup trends.
“Consumers are always looking for ideas of what they could wear with this gown or that outfit,” he says. “If we can complement the clothes, put the whole concept together and bring it to life with the designer, it will ultimately help the consumer.”