What’s the difference between an atelier and a salon? If you ask stylist and L’Oreal creative consultant Nabila, there is none and that’s precisely what she sought to demonstrate with L’Oreal Professional’s new summer range of colour in her show ‘Somptueux’ on March 18.
For her, both are centres of couture or custom-made designs. At the crux of it, a haircut is always, by default, couture as it is crafted to suit a particular individual. “A lot of things that happen to hair, also happen to fabric,” explained Nabila. In fact it was while working on the premises of the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture that she realised that, “The same techniques and implements are used for both. Like fabric, hair is also, stitched, ironed, sculptured, draped and dyed.”
Hence when one entered the premises of the event, they were lead through a meandering back alley to showcase the messiness and the method to the madness that makes couture: the meticulous craftsmanship and the painstaking process of design that is true for any original creation — everything from clothing to hair to a piece of fine art. “Couture is also about detail and craftsmanship,” stated Musharraf Hai, the Managing Director of L’Oreal. “It’s about the atelier and projecting that very treatment onto the ramp.” Models were therefore used as installations juxtaposed with the weaving tables and vats of dyes to truly drive the point home. Bringing the concept of two heads being better than one (in this case, to show a larger range of hair colour), the show had models walk in as Siamese twins in dresses constructed from hair.
“It was such a challenge,” said designer Zaheer Abbas, who let out a sigh of relief that the models didn’t trip on the stairs leading to the ramp as he had feared they would. The design team took cue from L’Oreal Professional’s international images for the season of hair inspired from roses, feathers and weaving and used the same techniques for the dresses. “I didn’t know myself where the hair stopped and the clothes began,” remarked Nabila.
So while this woman worked her magic behind the ramp creating drama with dresses spun from hair, veteran model Iraj performed her theatrics for maximum effect on the ramp and the fusion maestro Emu orchestrated his magic on a platform atop the ramp. It was as if the band was suspended in air to add romance to Karachi’s already perfectly balmy evening. “Nabila was very sure that she wanted jazz to create a very classy evening,” said Emu who roped in the delightful 19-year-old Alicia Dias to render soulful renditions of Nabila’s favourites like “La Vie en Rose” (Life in Pink) that entranced audiences.
And that’s really the magic in Nabila’s shows; the heady melange of music with fashion and hair. Not only does she reinvent herself every time, but by demonstrating that whether it’s hair or clothes, the possibilities are endless. Nabila teaches us to follow the motto that the world truly is a stage and when you step out, you can chose to don whatever character you want to be and transform as fluidly as hair can change colour.
This season’s perfect hair shade
The colours to watch out for this season for hair as suggested by Nabila and the L’Oreal Professional team are rich chocolate brown, red, magenta and blonde
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.