NYFW Hair: Modern Day Gypsies at Reem Acra

Where does a celebrated fashion designer renowned for a love of luxury, opulent embroidery and exquisite beading go for inspiration? For Reem Acra, to design her spectacular Fall 2015 collection she went to her secret place: the world of her boundless imagination, where she found the Modern Gypsy. Discussing the collection, which included such show-stopping pieces as a brocade embroidered gown encrusted with glittering jewels, dreamy lace dresses and an embroidered black velvet coat over a tissue lamé brocade dress, in a palette that ranged from pale sparkling champagne and luminous platinum to deep amethyst, midnight blue and flame red, Reem Acra remarked, "I would say that this is the best work I've ever done. It is very much my personality, and all about me from the inside out."

To create the perfect hair look that would reflect the gorgeous textures and sensuality of her Modern Gypsy, Reem Acra turned to her longtime partner in artistic collaboration, legendary hair artist Didier Malige of Art Partner. "Didier is the best!" Reem exclaimed. "He gets me very quickly. I love Didier because he gets it, he knows fashion and he's very exciting to work with." The result: an artfully unfinished hair look that referenced the quintessential modern bohemian gypsy, music legend Stevie Nicks. In describing the look, Didier remarked, "It's about wearing your hair long without fuss."
Echoing the contrasts of fabric in the fall collection that went from sumptuous panné velvet to leather to airy chiffon, the hair was a contrast in control and gypsy abandon: precise middle part with hair smooth and close to the head at the crown, giving way to gently undone, lightly tousled tresses. To achieve his modern take on bohemian allure, Didier worked exclusively with a selection of his favorite styling products from René Furterer, explaining, "I like the products because they are really good for the hair and give the couture results we want." Ethereal yet edgy Gypsy Girl makeup by Mark Carrasquillo of Art Partner for Kevyn Aucoin completed the look.

Get the Look:
1. Said Malige, "For the best results, hair should be freshly washed. If a model arrives with too much product in her hair from another show, we shampoo it backstage and gently blot it to remove excess moisture.

2. "While hair is still damp I make a clean middle part and rough-dry hair with my fingers using a blow-dryer with a sock diffuser. We want a diffused airflow because we want to make sure the hair is not too fluffy.

3. "Next, I comb through the hair with a wide-tooth comb to smooth out any tangles. Starting from mid-shaft to ends, and then from roots to ends, I spray hair with René Furterer VOLUMEA volumizing conditioning spray - no rinse, and comb it through the hair. Keeping hair at the crown flat, I continue to rough-dry. To bring out the texture I sometimes take random sections from the lengths and gently twist them, but we don't want to move the hair too much.
4. "After blow-drying I work in a little René Furterer ACANTHE curl enhancing leave-in fluid, just a little because we want to enhance the texture, but it's important that the hair doesn't wave too much.

5. "At the crown and around the hairline, I smooth down the hair on either side of the part, pressing it down with the palms of my hands and pushing it behind the ears. The smoothed hair is directed in a clean line framing either side of the forehead on an angle that's in line with the edge of the part. Then I slip in crease-less hair clips from Japan to prevent any dents while hair is setting during makeup.

6. "We don't want the smoothed-down hair to separate. So if the hair needs a little more control, perhaps in the case of a girl who has heavier hair, I will put a dab of René Furterer VEGETAL SCULPTING GEL on my fingertips and use my fingers to smooth hair down.

7. "For girls with stick-straight hair we have to use a curling iron to get a little bit of wave and texture, but it shouldn't look like we used a curling iron. We curl from underneath the hair. The technique is to take a section of hair, and starting toward the top of the section, separate a piece and wind it around the barrel, twist it upward and hold for one second, and then quickly release it. We move down another inch or so, take another piece from the same section and repeat. We do this three or four times down the length of the section, then loosen it up with the fingers.

8. "After makeup, we remove the clips, lightly ruffle the ends and finesse the crown so that it is really smooth. To make sure there are no fly-aways, we lightly spray the crown and perimeter around the forehead with René Furterer VEGETAL FINISHING SPRAY. Lastly, because we want a couture look that's also individual to each model, we either leave the loose lengths free or tuck hair behind the ears, bringing a section forward to frame the face, emphasizing the contrast between the sleek, shining hair at the top and the gently undone ends."

[Photo credits: John M. Craig for René Furterer]

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