Good hair day: Copying catwalk tresses

We may not all buy the clothes on the catwalks but we can mimic its tresses. TIGI creative director Nick Irwin tells Harriet Walker how



Party Punk at Felder Felder


The look that TIGI's European creative director Nick Irwin created for Felder Felder's autumn/winter 2011 show was based around the personalities of the designers, the two Felder sisters.

It's essentially two ponytails partially pulled through bands to make casual buns – the top one is neat and knotted above a thin braid on each side; the bottom ponytail is roughly pulled into a low bun. The ends of these are fanned out and secured with another elastic band.

"When you take the top section, put a little styling wax on your hands to define it from the bottom," says Irwin, "so the line along the side almost looks like you have an undercut. Take two strands from this and braid them as you might do while you're watching telly or something."

These thin plaits then fold backwards, above the dividing line of the two sections to join the two buns. "Iron the splayed and jagged ends from each of the buns, to make it more punky," Irwin explains. Then run some TIGI Session Series Wax through the front again "so the style looks a little imperfect, a bit sweaty almost – like you've been raving or at a gig. My version today was probably more refined than what we did at the show because I've had the time to do that. But I'd love to see how someone would do it themselves at home. I like the fact it would probably be a bit wonky."

The Braid Beret at Erin Fetherston

Plaits have made something of a comeback for the hipster Heidi du jour and, although it looks complicated, this style also benefits from being slightly imperfect and wobbly-handed. "It's two sections, basically," says Irwin. "Take a section from the crown and take the back into a low ponytail and pin it out of the way. Then pull all the hair in the crown section to the front of the hairline and, starting at the temple, work pieces into your three-strand braid as you go across the head."

When you reach your other temple, you'll have a braid running around your hairline and the end of the plait in one hand; flip this under the braid and tuck it underneath.

"The back is really simple," Irwin continues. "Just backcomb the underneath to create some padding, and then flip it up and over, so you're going anti-headshape, a bit princess Anne. Secure the back section with pins and spray to fix, then pull out some small strands from the plait, to stop it looking too fairytale and 'done'."

Again, prepping the hair is really important. "If the hair is too soft or clean, it'll be difficult to braid, so I would suggest using Session Series Saltspray or a dry shampoo, which will give texture and body," Irwin says.

Veronica Lake Redux at Basso & Brooke

"The clothes for this show were very sharp," says Irwin, "so we wanted to counterbalance that with a slightly softer wave. There's a definite nod to the Forties with the lower side parting, but there are elements that are a bit more contemporary, too. I don't like to use the word grunge, but given the fact that the boys are working in London, it's nice to make things a bit urban, by using some wax on the parting and keeping it slightly unkempt."

Brilliantly, this old-school glamour look also requires slight texture, so works particularly well on day-old hair, which is easier to set. Spritz on some Session Series Saltspray and blow-dry it in to add volume, and then create a low side parting, before winding hair into heated rollers and layering them horizontally to the parting, to keep waves graphic and linear.

You can also do this with a curling wand, suggests Irwin.

"Work the hair around the stick and towards the face, which will give you a looser wave."

Either way: "Don't go all the way to the root. The modern take is to keep roots flat, so use a little wax through the top to almost grease out the parting and create a dual texture."

Brush hairspray through the waves to set them and then spray again a final time to fix the look in place.

The Primordial Ponytail at Christopher Kane

"Christopher wanted the girls to look almost aquatic for his show," explains Irwin. "As if they'd just risen up out of the water, to complement the gel patches on the dresses and fluidity of the clothes."

The clothes were also sombre and sharp, so the TIGI team created a clean-looking low ponytail, with a strict centre parting. "It's all about making a strong, severe look, so the hair needs to be ironed very close to the root and this would probably work better on freshly washed hair," Irwin says.

Gather parted hair to a point just at the centre of the nape, above the gutter that runs down the neck, and brush carefully to avoid snags, loops or any loosening behind the ears, then secure as tightly as possible with a bungee cord. "It's important to tie it very, very tight, because otherwise you end up a bit baggy, and it becomes an entirely different style," Irwin advises.

When secure, straighten the tail itself again. Backstage at Christopher Kane's show, hairstylists then wrapped some black vinyl tape around the elastics and daubed glitter paint onto it, to match the clothing. "We used wax on the parting, to tame the flyaways," Irwin says. "Or you could use gel. Gel has made a big comeback, but it depends how confident you are about wearing this look."

To soften this rather severe look, try straightening only the roots, thus ensuring the ponytail retains a bit of bounce.

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