The Marc Jacobs show has become the most anticipated finale of New York Fashion Week, in large part due to the controversial hairstyles models wear down the designer’s runway. Remember the mini buns mohawk from 2015 that bothered many black women and men who believed they should be recognized as Bantu knots? Or the glittery finger waves at his Fall 2016 spectacular? Well, Mr. Jacobs dared to go there again for his Spring 2017 show with wool faux dreadlocks.
Lead hairstylist and Redken global creative director Guido Palau was tasked with the nerve-racking responsibility of finding the pastel-colored hair to create the towering ‘dos inspired by Lana Wachowski, the trans director behind films such as The Matrix who appeared in Fall 2016 ad campaign. So he went straight to the Internet and discovered Dreadlocks by Jena.
Jena Counts has been dying wool hair extensions in the small town of Palatka, Fla., for about one year. The self-taught pro learned her technique online and has made 200 to 300 different shades since starting. “It comes in a roping and you cut it and roll it,” Counts tells Yahoo Beauty. “You can wash them with sulfate-free shampoo to keep the colors.” She sells her custom rainbow-colored creations on Etsy for up to $155 a set.
Palau admits that Counts is pretty clueless to exactly how her core customers wear the wool dreadlocks. But for the Marc Jacobs show, she would get a first-hand look at how the fashion world reinterprets her designs. “So this is her big coming out,” says Palau.
Timid in nature, but supremely talented in skill, Counts told a group of beauty editors backstage hours before the show that she and her daughter dyed a whooping 12,500 yards of wool dreadlocks by hand over a six-day period. They traveled all the way from Florida with extra dyes packed in suitcases, as Palau says Jacobs is very particular about the details. And the brand even set them up in an apartment in New York so that they could make any last-minute adjustments to the hair colors.
With every girl wearing about 55 pieces of wool faux dreadlocks and the installation process taking roughly 90 minutes, the call-time was at 5 a.m. Though Palau says that “no one” was there that early in the morning. Once installed, the faux dreadlocks were spritzed with Wind Blown 05 texturizing spray and styled in an off-centered top knot with pieces falling asymmetrically.
One glance at the complete look — hair, makeup, and clothes — and you’ll see why Palau likens the look to cultural references including ’80s rave and club culture, Boy George and Marilyn, and travelers. We can’t help but see a bit of funk legend George Clinton before he chopped off his iconic rainbow locs.
All in all, it’s definitely something worth Snapchatting. We wouldn’t be surprised if Dreadlocks by Jena gets a boost in sales after making its runway debut at Marc Jacobs.
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