Controlled Chaos

Dop Dop Salon slicks hair into a dominant design befitting a Dragon Lady. —KARIE L. FROST

At Bibhu Mohapatra, the beauty backstory thrills: The muse, Empress Cixi (aka the “Dragon Lady”), was a ruthless concubine to the emperor of China during the Qing dynasty. In her pursuit of power, she killed all of the competing concubines and cemented herself as the emperor’s main squeeze—and, eventually, she ruled Chinese government for 47 years. “She was adamant about control, but she thrived on chaos,” relates Dop Dop Salon hair lead Amit Abraham. “And all of that chaos and control is being brought into the hair.”

There’s control in the design: an exact center part, tight, meticulously slicked sides and one perfectly coiled side bun. After pulling the hair into two low ponytails at the occipital bone, Abraham concentrates on the “controlled” side, twisting one tail into itself, spritzing it with L’Oréal Professionnel Tecni.Art Infinium 3 strong hold finishing spray (us.lorealprofessionnel.com) and securing it with a u-pin. “For the other side of the hair, we’re creating a chaotic wave,” Abraham notes. “When the models turn on the runway, the mystery of the design is revealed.” Here, he twists the other ponytail halfway, and leaves the end out. He then sculpts the end into a wave that slithers tight against the head, all the while keeping it contained in a fine hairnet. “Usually the styles I create for Bibhu are submissive; this one is not,” laughs Abraham.

[Images: LUZENA ADAMS; ASTRID STAWIARZ/GETTY IMAGES]

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