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Basket Weave Braids With Ombré Extensions At Improvd Spring 2012 Presentation

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When speaking to fashion designer Valentino Vettori, one half of the power duo behind clothing brand Improvd, about the inspiration for his Spring 2012 collection, hairstylist Marcos Diaz of ION Studio discovered that there was a prominent rain forest theme. More specifically, Vettori had been inspired by the various types of birds in the rain forest and the vibrant colors of their plumage.

Looking to translate this notion through hair, then, Diaz decided on a basket weave braid, which he said gave models a bird-like silhouette while also appearing very organic and earthy. Creating the basket weave braid involved two stylists working in tandem, interweaving odd sections of hair all the way from the top of the head to right below the nape of the neck, applying a bit of for Davines Defining Wonder Wax while braiding to help sustain the integrity of the basket weave formation.

The basket weave braid was then pinned at the nape of the neck, creating a low ponytail and allowing any remaining strands to hang loosely. At this point, long, synthetic, dip dyed, ombre hair extensions in shades of either teal, green, and blue or black, gray, and white were added to models’ ponytails to emphasize the rain forest avian life reference. Once the extensions had been incorporated, a section of hair was swept to the side haphazardly and wrapped around the base of the basket weave braid. Last, Diaz spritzed Davines Wizard Sea Salt Primer along the ponytail section of the hair so as to create a rough, almost scraggly effect.

Lena Ott of ION Studio said it took her two full days to color the eight packs of hair extensions used to create the looks for the show. She was the mastermind behind the color schemes, personally envisioning the blue and teal combination and the gray and black pattern in hopes of creating gradient strands that were reminiscent of bird feathers without being “too Brazil or loud,” but, rather, “kind of grunge-y.” Ottstarted with ash blond extensions and, using various large bowls and an array of fabric dyes and Manic Panic colors, dipped the hair in small sections until she created the final ombré look.

Unlike the reserved ballerina buns and Farrah Fawcett- or Jerry Hall-inspired loose waves we saw at a plethora of shows this season, this hair look stood out as one of the most fascinating, creative, experimental, and beautiful. Simply put: this was one look with wings, soaring way above the rest.

As for the makeup, the Vincent Longo team created a slightly spooky, almost alien-like look consisting of pale skin, muted lips and yellow-ish eye shadow. We did, however, love the spiderweb-like “tattoos” that covered two of the models’ arms, extending all the way to their fingertips, with their nails blacked out with the thick Sharpie markers used to create the über cool designs.

Check out more backstage photos after the jump and don’t miss our interview with Marcos Diaz above, at top!


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