“Welcome to the last show of Australian Fashion Week 2023. It’s the biggest show in terms of numbers, with almost 80 models walking tonight in this celebration of Australian fashion. The #WeWearAustralian x Afterpay Closing show is all about joy. It’s about reflection. It’s about immersion. And it’s about nature. For me, it’s a celebration of Australian fashion.”
Richard Kavanagh, Redken Hair Director
And just like that, the curtain closes on yet another Afterpay Australian Fashion week – filled once again with all the couture, creativity, chaos and catwalks that one would expect from the biggest week in Aussie fashion.
The definition of going out in serious style, AAFW23’s hotly anticipated #WeWearAustralian Closing Group Runway (presented by Afterpay) boasted 80 models sporting one of two key hair looks created by Redken Hair Director Richard Kavanagh and the Redken team.
We spoke with Richard backstage ahead of the #WeWearAustralian x Afterpay Closing Show, chatting through the key looks created, the process of collaborating creatively when it comes to large scale group shows and Redken’s role in supporting both Australian fashion and their clever team of stylists backstage.
80 models walking in a group show staged at the scale that the 2023 closing runway was poses a major creative challenge to the Hair Director. How do you create a look that not only works for each of the individual models and their hair types, and also works to compliment the 86 different designers collaborating on the show? Through intertwining two looks across the cast that work together to celebrate the individual and also allow the designs to shine.
“We’ve got 86 different designers and almost 80 models for this particular show, so naturally have two kind of themes for the hair in terms of direction,” elaborates Richard on this particular dilemma. “Firstly, we really wanted to celebrate the individual. So if people have got amazing curls, or cool haircuts, or they’ve got like, some interesting character trait about their hair, then we’re working with that to enhance it and make them the coolest version of themselves.”
And as for the second look? “The second look we’ve done on approximately half the models is a 50’s inspired wet look,” says Richard. “Think 50’s biker, but make it fashion. He’s caught his reflection in the shop window, does a double take, pulls his comb out and combs each side back. He pops his comb away, and walks off feeling cool and dangerous.
“The thing about wet looks right? Is that they look cool. They look fashion. But you can’t just have wet hair. So we’re working with our Redken Strong Hold hair spray and Root Lifter, which our stylists used to create volume. What they’ve done which is interesting, however, is spray the product all the way roots to ends. It really gives the hair guts. Our stylists have sprayed that on, combed through and then let the hair dry naturally so it looks wet but is actually dry.”
“I am so grateful to Redken for how they support Australian fashion, and truly supports the fashion industry at large. It’s not just a token gesture – they support me and my role in working directly with fashion as an editorial hairstylist.”
Richard Kavanagh, Redken Hair Director
With so many different designers, aesthetics and moods to encapsulate, how did the creative hair direction for the show come together, and what did the collaborative process look like? Explains Richard, “When it comes to collaborating with the creative direction of a show, the first thing we want to look at is what the essence of the story is. What’s the heart of the story?
“(For this show) the heart of the story is joy, reflection and immersion. This drives the visual narrative across all of the elements of the show. What I then need to ask myself is ‘how can we bring that into the hair’? Reflection is about shine. Joy is about celebrating the individual. And, you know, immersion is really just immersing ourselves in the incredible opportunity to celebrate Australian fashion.
Having helmed a great number of Redken’s 14 AAFW shows for 13 designers in 2023, there can be no denying that the relationship between Richard and Redken is an incredibly special – and not to mention nurturing – one. So how did Redken support Richard as Hair Direction for the 2023 season?
“I am so grateful to Redken for how they support Australian fashion, and truly supports the fashion industry at large,” Richard said of AAFW23’s Official Hair Partner. “It’s not just a token gesture – they support me and my role in working directly with fashion as an editorial hairstylist.
“Whilst yes, they support us with incredible products, but it’s so much more than just products. At it’s heart, one of the one of the pillars of Redken is fashion which is truly represented in Australia and I’m truly grateful for that.”
The final looks as seen at the final runway staged in 2023 were just the latest in a series of truly inspiring moments of creativity fueled by collaboration across AAFW 2023, in which Redken’s support and love of fashion at large was on clear display for all those lucky enough to bear witness. Be sure to relive the beauty and bedlam of the #WeWearAustralian x Afterpay AAFW23 show, here.