A TOUCH OF GLOSS

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Indy Lifestyle Online
It is a strange fact that the world's leading fashion designers, be they Gianni Versace or Missoni, employ the world's most fabulous and expensive hairstylists to wreak havoc on the hair of the world's most beautiful models. Last March, at the autumn/winter '96 collections in Milan, designer after designer opted for the bird's nest look. One theory goes that messy hair balances out super-smart clothes, making them look effortless to wear. But perhaps the real reason is that matted, backcombed tresses look raunchy and sexy - if you are a 6ft supermodel with perfect features, that is. For the rest of us, a bird's nest hairdo has the effect of making us look as though we forgot to brush our hair. And most birds wouldn't be seen dead making a home in such a mess.

Thank Vidal Sassoon then, for starting the backlash with some sleek new styles. The look is based on precision cuts, miles away from the rough- cut looks that certain designers are still promoting this season and next. There is no room for split ends here. Of course, it is in Vidal Sassoon's interest to bring back shiny, glossy hair, because well-groomed styles need plenty of upkeep and consequently a fair amount of styling products. But Tim Hartley, international creative director at Vidal Sassoon, insists that these styles, with names like "Cleopatra" and "Gamine", are for women with hectic schedules, who want "a wash-and-wear style that makes an impression and can be maintained quickly and easily". For a high sheen gloss, he recommends nothing more than a small amount of conditioner combed into damp hair and smoothed down so that it will dry both shiny and in shape.

Just as fashion designers do, Vidal Sassoon come up with two collections a year, and the looks you see here are for next winter. They are streamlined close to the head, in reference to 1930s art deco, just the thing to finish off a deco print dress by Hussein Chalayan, or indeed a shiny bias-cut satin dress by British evening-wear designer Maria Grachvogel. If you can't wait for autumn to comb the rats' tails out of your rough-and-tumble hair, tear out the picture that most appeals and tell your hairdresser you want sleek, sleek, sleek. d

CLEOPATRA (top row): to achieve the look featured here (in three variations), your shoulder-length hair should be conditioned to the hilt, and then styled pencil-straight using a hair glosser. First, the ends are gently curved inwards, and a sharp side parting enables the fringe to lie sleekly against the forehead (left). Alternatively, the fringe can be combed dramatically straight on to the face, with the remaining hair tucked behind the ear (centre). For a no-fuss evening look the fringe can be combed completely behind the ears with the rest of the hair (far right)

HEAD-HUGGING CAP-BOB (bottom row): as the name suggests, this style is a neat alternative to the classic bob, which sits very close to the head. Its versatility makes it extremely practical; with a change of hair direction - worn straight from the crown (left), or combed into a side parting (centre) - it can instantly transform your image from day to evening

GAMINE (bottom row, far right): it is only possible to attain this look with a good short haircut. The main components of the style are a side parting (dramatic or soft) and the sleeking of the hair behind the ears. Hair cut this short often needs a rich, warm colour to give it some depth. Clothes, all pictures, by Maria Grachvogel; enquiries, tel: 0171 581 8180

STYLING BY JO ADAMS

MAKE-UP BY LIZ DAXAUER

HAIR BY TIM HARTLEY, MARK HAYES, AND SANDY HULLETT OF VIDAL SASSOON CREATIVE TEAM

MODELS: RUZA AT SELECT AND FELIX

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