NYFW Hair: Couture Ponytails by Didier Malige for René Furterer at Reem Acra

From shimmering sequins and iridescent feathers to plush platinum panné velvet to crystal, gold and platinum embroidery, every last exquisite detail of Reem Acra’s stunning Fall 2014 collection was an invitation to be transported to all the mysteries and romance of Midnight in Paris. As for the journey that led to the concept, “It takes time to get inspired,” said Reem Acra. “I went to Paris, like I always do, thinking about the collection. My theme was French. My theme was dark. When I got there it was already midnight. It’s midnight and it’s Paris, the same thing I’m working on. I decided, ‘So, it’s Midnight in Paris.”

As the iconic designer’s signature slinky, sensuous dresses took center stage at The Salon at Lincoln Center, the spotlight was also on the sleek, artfully constructed hair looks — an edgy take on the ponytail with a wet finish - designed by visionary hairstylist Didier Malige of Art Partner. “This is what I call the Couture Ponytail,” said Didier. “Because just like couture clothes, the hair has the underpinnings it needs to give it structure and shape.”

Get the Look:
1. "To give the ponytail the foundation it needs, some models may need up to four sets of extensions. To prep the hair for extensions, I start with clean, dry hair, combing through the hair with a wide-tooth comb. The extensions are attached in back, working from the bottom layer up to just above mid-ear. One layer at a time, we make a horizontal part, keeping the rest of the hair lifted, attach the seam at the parting with special glue for extensions, and then apply heat with a warm blow-dryer to seal the seam in place. Once all extensions are attached, I comb the rest of the hair over the extensions."

2. "Next, I spray the hair with René Furterer FIORAVANTI Shine Enhancing No Rinse Detangling Spray, especially at the crown and around the front where we want to exaggerate a wet sheen. After combing the hair to distribute the product from roots to ends, I work in a little René Furterer VEGETAL SCULPTING GEL through the hair at the crown and in front, and then spray the hair with a fine mist of water. I layer the gel with René Furterer AFTER SUN LEAVE IN MOISTURIZING SPRAY, which adds moisture. The mix of the detangling spray, gel and after-sun product build the shiny wet finish we want and help it last."
3. "In front, I make a clean part from left to right, keeping hair sleek and tight to the head on the left. Combing the hair on the right side of the hair back, I use my hand to gently push the hair forward to give it a little lift and mold and shape a wave right above the hairline. Then I spray more René Furterer FIORAVANTI Shine Enhancing No Rinse Detangling Spray, throughout the lengths of the hair and comb it through, being careful not to dislodge the extensions. At this point I check the extensions to see whether they need to be trimmed so that they won’t show through the finished ponytail.
4. "To help set the wave, I slip in hair pins, two at a time, criss-crossing each pair, and then I spray hair with René Furterer GLOSSING SPRAY for a really wet, high-shine finish. After I secure the hair on each side of the nape of the neck with a large clip, I move on to the ponytail. I gather hair at the nape of the neck, take a length of skinny, stretchy black cord and knot it to make a ponytail band. I loop the hair through the band four times to make the base of the ponytail very secure. Some models will have two outfits, so the hair needs to be very sturdy to stay put through wardrobe changes. Next, I go over the ponytail with the GLOSSING SPRAY."
5. "Flat-ironing the ponytail gives it an ultra-smooth finish. To protect the hair from the heat of the flat iron, I spray each section first with René Furterer LISSEA thermal protecting spray. Once the ponytail is flat-ironed, I finesse the wave in front with my fingers, and finish the look with René Furterer FINISHING SPRAY. The front is very intricate and needs the support the spray gives without being stiff. Just as Reem Acra’s Fall 2014 collection has precise tailoring in the clothes and luxury fabrics with elegant finishes, we take the same couture approach with the hair."

[Image credit: John M. Craig for René Furterer]

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