Image: ted humble-smith @ hmmm...
October 04 2009
Lucia van der Post
Unless you’re an avid reader of the tiny credits that accompany fashion shoots, you’ve probably never heard of Oribe. In the US Oribe is big. He is the crimper who has styled some of the most famous tresses in the business. He it was who was working on an American Vogue shoot with the photographer Steven Meisel and make-up artist François Nars when they all “discovered” Linda Evangelista and turned her into one of the most famous of the “supes”.
What Oribe does is big, fantastic hair. Think of Scarlett Johansson in the latest Dolce & Gabbana ads and you’ll get a feel for Oribe’s style. He likes to make women look polished, alluring, sexy. Red-carpet “updos” are his speciality.
Though he’s been teasing famous locks for 30 years, what’s really got the beauty world excited is that he has finally launched a collection of hair products that propels shampoos, conditioners, gels and their ilk into serious luxury territory.
He has combined state-of-the-art technology with artisanal blends and delicious fragrances so that each and every product does lots of things – it does the (very specific) job it says it does (washes, adds shine, adds volume, straightens, styles, curls), it conditions the hair and its (mostly) black packaging looks sumptuously elegant.
It has taken him two years to get the formulations right, working with five different laboratories and with the Grasse-based Givaudan (which did Tom Ford’s scents) to arrive at a light fragrance that is used through the range. All the products are free of parabens, and he uses lots of natural extracts and oils in his shampoos, conditioners and styling products.
He takes, for instance, extracts of edelweiss flower and kaempferia galanga root, which protect hair from damage and loss of colour while in the sun. Extracts of watermelon and lychee protect the keratin in the hair follicle, while argan and jojoba oils moisturise and add a silky effect to hair. Nicky Kinnaird, founder of Space NK, who is bringing them to the UK to be sold exclusively in her branches, is thrilled. “These,” she says, “are the products of the hair-obsessed.”
Now, I don’t normally get excited about shampoos and hair products, but this range smells fabulous and will look gorgeous on the bathroom shelf. There are too many products to name each individually, but the “hero” products are likely to be the Shampoo for Beautiful Colour (£34), Royal Blowout (£40), which is a light styling spray, Smooth Style Serum (£45), a finishing product that adds sleekness, and Volumista (£28), which swells up the hair shaft.
The fun product, the one that every young girl will want to get her hands on, is the 24K Gold Pomade (£46), which you simply streak through your hair with your fingers – Oribe calls it “make-up for the hair”. These, then, are the products he has developed to give the J Los and Scarlett Johanssons their allure and glamour, and that, he says, is what kept him going: “I wanted every woman to feel like a movie star.” It’s nice to know that even they need help.