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Published: 4/18/2002

Women are pumping up the volume on their styles

BY LAMONG JONES
BLOCK NEWS ALLIANCE
POST-GAZETTE FASHION EDITOR

So you think Jennifer Lopez's hair seemed rather large at the Oscars a couple of weeks ago?

It was -- by design. J. Lo -- and, if you've noticed, some other celebs -- are at the forefront of an emerging style trend: "Big hair" for women will be large and in charge this spring and summer.

Suppress that guffaw. It's not the Peg Bundy, music-video big hair of the '80s. The new incarnations are big because they are meticulously clipped and styled to be fuller and sexier. They echo the current trend of sexier, more feminine women's apparel.

Think Farrah Fawcett circa "Charlie's Angels," or Angela Davis' mega-fro. Big by design. Whether wavy, curly or kinky, size is the key.

"The soft look is back," declares Dana Ramsey, owner of Dana's Styling Salon in East Liberty. "The blow-dried, feathered look, the Farrah Fawcett flips. I'm so glad they're back, too, because all that hard hair was very damaging."

"Voluptuous, soft, sexy hair is back," adds hairstylist Gino, co-owner of Izzazu International Salon, Downtown. "Soft and sexy, loose and bouncy with long layers."

Charles Worthington, a popular London hairstylist who recently opened a penthouse atelier in Manhattan to cater to celebrity and other high-profile clients on this side of the Atlantic, describes the bigness as "volumizing hair and adding more substance."

"We've had pin-straight for a long time. That's fine for folk who have curly hair and want an alternative," he said. "But it's not always terribly feminine. Soft, bouncy waves and more texture are softer looks."

To help maintain big-hair styles, Worthington recently launched "Big Hair," a fruit-scented line of six volumizing shampoos, conditioners and styling and finishing products sold at Walgreens stores. Priced at $5.99, the products are more affordable to the masses than Worthington's stylings, which reportedly range upward of $1,000.

If big hair isn't for you, there are other trends this season. All of them have two things in common: ease of care and femininity.

"Hair is more back to basics, things that are easier to manage as opposed to high-maintenance," says Serge Normant, a New York-based French free-lance hairstylist who coifs A-list celebrities, including Julia Roberts for the past 11 years.

"It's longer layers and more on the natural side. It's definitely on the sexier side, something sensual-looking."

And it must have lasting power.

"Women have to have a hairstyle compatible with their exercise schedules," says Ramsey. "A lot of my clients jog or work out. Sometimes you can get your hair done, and one workout and it's gone."

Super-straight hair is a growing trend, as seen now on celebs ranging from talk show host Kelly Ripa to young singers Britney Spears and Tweet.

This month, Izzazu is introducing "Japanese thermo reconditioning," a permanent hair straightening treatment that has caught on like wildfire in Los Angeles, New York and Hawaii. The salon's stylists will be trained on the patented process by its U.S. creator, whom Izzazu owners Emilio and Gino declined to identify until they close a deal on local exclusivity.

The technique "repairs and fixes hair," explains Izzazu artistic director Marshall Leebov, who brought it to the salon's attention. "It helps restore damaged hair back to healthy hair. It makes healthy hair glossier and shinier."

And it isn't cheap. Depending upon the length of a person's hair, the treatment will cost between $300 and $800.

For those who don't want straight hair or big hair, there are happy mediums.

"Straight doesn't look good on everybody," says Normant. "People are trying wavy hair, kind of curly, more in between than just straight. Not straight or curly, but smooth waves."

It's fine to get hair ideas from celebrities, but the key to looking your best is adapting, not duplicating, a style you like, stylists say.

"People are searching for a new look, and they're missing the point," says hairstylist Arnold Zegarelli of Premier Salons, who has styled hair for more than 40 years.

"The point is, there's no one look now. What's coming back now is the identity of the individual. That's the look. I'm doing more 'image cutting' than ever before. There's not one dominant look. Women want lifestyle haircuts, image haircuts. Never before have I seen so many women saying, 'Do what works for me. I don't care what's in or out.' "

Normant says women should apply the same principle to hair that they apply to runway fashion trends.

"Interpret it to your own style," he advises. "It's always a question of trying to adapt it to yourself, not exactly copy someone else."

"Get a good haircut and maintain it, no matter how long or short your hair is. Put a little fantasy in your life. With what we've gone through in the last year, it's nice to feel free. It's nice to be able to create your own look without being scared of it."



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