“Redken are the perfect partner for fashion, forever with their finger on the pulse. They get luxury, they get fashion, they’re the heart of New York. Particularly here in Australia, their support of the art of fashion is really powerful.”
Michael Lo Sordo
From concept through to the collaboration between creatives that results in the final curtain call for the catwalk, there’s nothing quite like the magic of Fashion Week and the beautiful chaos that comes with every step of the journey.
With a massive 14 shows across five fashion-filled days, all hands were on deck for AAFW ‘23 Official Hair Partner Redken – from Michael Lo Sordo’s breath-taking opening night extravaganza through to the closing Afterpay Group Show tonight, there was no shortage of jaw-dropping hair moments peppered across the week.
Ever wondered exactly what goes in to the hair ideation, direction and execution of a major-scale fashion week show? Redken Hair Director Richard Kavanagh took us along for the entire journey to the Michael Lo Sordo runway, from hair trials and backstage bedlam through to the magic of the runway. Join us as we peek behind the curtain of one of AAFW 2023’s most anticipated showings.
“I’ve been working with Michael Lo Sordo for nearly 10 years and the process essentially begins as any hairdresser/client relationship does – with a consultation. Sometimes you just get each other’s visions right away, and that’s what it’s like for me with Michael. We just get each other.”
For me, when you’re a creative, you need to have trust that when you speak a certain shorthand you will understand each other intuitively,” says Richard of the creative collaboration process.
For Richard, working with Michael again is the perfect example of creatives collaborating to form something beautiful. “It’s a really exciting collaboration. For me, I’ve been working with Michael for nearly 10 years and we just get each other.”
Michael echoes this sentiment. “Richard comes to me with this incredible wealth of talent and knowledge that I believe in, in the same way that he believes in me and knows my brand.”
And as for having Redken on board as hair sponsor? “Redken are the perfect partner for fashion, forever with their finger on the pulse,” Michael elaborates. “They get luxury, they get fashion, they’re the heart of New York. Particularly here in Australia, their support of the art of fashion is really powerful.”
When we caught up with Richard at the Michael Lo Sordo atelier the Saturday morning ahead of Monday evening’s show, the hair trial was in full swing with model in the chair and all elements of the final looks coming together – from hair and make up, right through to final looks.
“In terms of the creative direction for this season, traditionally we’ve done wet looks for Michael. His clothes are really luxurious, they’re really elegant, they’re sexy and they’re very feminine,” Richard says of his vision for the hair. “What we wanted to achieve with the hair was something a little bit more lo fi and casual this year. We’re channeling ‘90s Kurt Cobain slash Kate Moss circa ‘00s.
As for hero Redken products and key techniques stylists that will go into achieving the look? “The hair is blow dried with Quick Blowout from Redken to really put some quality into the hair , and just to get the hair moving and alive. From there, we use a large curling iron to put a little bit of bend in the hair before we put some dry texture spray and dry shampoo.
“Then we’re stretching it out again with the blow dryer, because what we’re trying to do is get it to feel like hair that’s being lived in for the night. She’s gone out dancing, and so on and so forth.”
“For others who are feeling like, ‘that’s not my strong point, and I tend to fall back on my regular salon techniques’, it might be an opportunity for them to support those people who are stronger in that space.”
And as for last minute changes to what is signed off in the hair trial? “In between the hair trial and the actual show, there may be some subtle evolution if something pops up pops up between.Maybe something happens all of a sudden and they go actually no, we’ll change this little thing and we might have to adapt on the fly.”
“It also depend on each of the models hair as it is all different, so we’ll obviously need to adapt ever so slightly the amount of product and also what products we’re using for the hair.”
“Richard comes to me with this incredible wealth of talent and knowledge that I believe in, in the same way that he believes in me and knows my brand.”