The skinny on big hair with Stephen Marr's Lauren Gunn, Wella and Sebastian

I just spent a lunch hour or two at a presentation by hair giants Sebastian and Wella to unleash upon the waiting public their latest take on hair trends – in cut and colour – for 2010 and beyond. My favourite part was a segment with statuesque beauty Lauren Gunn (pictured), who leads the creative teams at well-known and much loved Auckland salon Stephen Marr. The salon is known for its close, long term relationships with some of New Zealand’s brightest design names, and they are a firm favourite with the media darlings as well. Lauren’s “modern nomad” look was a winner on the day with all who were present (as was Dan Ahwa's styling), and she was full of unique insights into what is happening with hair NOW.
When I stopped her and asked her a while later if there are any hair looks filtering down from the international catwalks that she thinks will be popping up on the streets and in fashion editorial she told me “silhouettes are bigger, full stop”. There will be a lot of texture – some a little sleepy and lo-fi – but there will be a proliferation of “sophisticated shapes as opposed to the looser shapes we’ve seen in the past few years”. She says that she loves the juxtaposition of “luxury and simplicity” that is appearing in hair trends, which can still work in well with the more natural, lived in feel that New Zealanders want with their hair.
She says that last year saw many stylists turning back to gel as a product option, as well as mousse to help volume come through. “Previously we’d been using a lot of beachy type sprays for a look that naturally fell to the head,” she explains, “whereas now we’re going a little bigger and more defined”. She loves the idea of working with contradictory elements like volume and sleekness and hard and soft textures, “but always keeping things really feminine”. This can take the form of beehives, bouffants and chignons, as well as braids but not as a key element of the look as per the done-to-death side sweeps that we’ve seen everywhere over the past few months. The top knot that has been seen everywhere for the last few months is also thankfully being shown the door, it’s a look that favours few but is just too easy to use as a default do when time is tight.
Lauren says that she loves the fact that consumers nowadays have such great access to previously salon-only tools now to recreate the looks they see in magazines at home, “and access to the products that previously only we could get our hands on, which they love. More people are spending a decent amount of time styling their hair than ever before, and I love the effort that they’re putting in to look great”. She says that on a professional level, she thinks that New Zealand has some of the best salon stylists in the world, and we’re really good at passing on our skills to our clients”. In terms of colour, the hottest trends right now are “de-saturated blondes that I call ‘Kool Aid blondes’, as well as watercolours like lilac and violet washed over brunettes. At the opposite end of the spectrum, really block whites, fiery reds and blacks are huge, no compromise.”
Some of the products in her kit that have been doing serious overtime lately are pomades “for that sticky, wet look”, mousses for a volume-packed yet still pliable blow dry and dry shampoos like the legendary one by Batiste that has seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few months. And the one product she’ll have permanently stuck in her back pocket this year? “It would be a tie between Wella Super Mousse and Sebastian Gel Forte,” she says, “and I’ve moved away from serums and towards shine sprays which don’t weigh the volume down.”


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