NYFW HOW-TO: Rugged and Refined Men's Looks at Perry Ellis F/W 2015

Lauren Salapatek | February 18, 2015 | 9:53 AM
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With New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz in the front row at Metropolitan West on Thursday, February 12, along with New York Fashion Week devotees Joe Jonas and Nick Wooster, it was certainly a man's world at the highly anticipated Perry Ellis Fall 2015 runway show.

Creative Director Michael Maccari delivered a strong collection built around the utilitarian references of workwear, exploring the place where traditional workwear and modern sportswear intersect. The result: a collection mining classic Perry Ellis silhouettes such as the stadium coat and dapper topcoat, and then pushing them forward with the latest advances in fabrics and creativity in shaping.

"For this collection I was inspired by the origins of sportswear with workwear detailing, details that are taken from functional elements to create the sportswear look of today," said Maccari. "Part of that comes from playing with fabric, for example, wool bonded to Neoprene for a rounded shape, which felt right now. Overall, I'm downplaying trends to emphasize simplicity."

To complete the aesthetic of the collection-parts rugged and refined, and ultimately of the moment-the Creative Director collaborated with celebrity hairstylist Akki Shirakawa of Art Partner. "Akki understands our direction and how to work with the character of the hair, not trying to change it," Maccari told us. "He really understands the natural movement of hair, and working with what he calls the 'natural mistakes' of the hair."

To emphasize the unique individuality that "natural mistakes" can confer on the hair, Akki chose to use René Furterer products formulated to enhance the natural texture of the hair.
To create a hair look that he calls American Boy, a rugged attitude channeling Keanu Reeves in one of his favorite films, My Own Private Idaho, and sophisticated beach boy circa 1990s, Akki says, "The hair has to look great, but it has to look like you did it yourself. The Perry Ellis collection is very wearable and the hair has to echo that vibe."

Here, we go backstage with Akki as he leads his team in delivering the perfect imperfect hair look.

STEP 1: "The look starts with the right cut. The overall shape we're going for is square-ish, but broken up to look more modern. I trim the hair so that it's compact and closer to the head on the sides and squared off in back, with fullness at the top. After hair is cut, I work volumizing foam into damp hair, massaging it in and molding the shape with my hands, then combing it through so it's evenly distributed. I love the René Furterer range because it lets you go from wet to dry or soft to hard, and lets you play with the products so that you can get exactly the texture you want."
STEP 2: "Next, I work in a little René Furterer's Styling Wax for just the right amount of texture and shine, and then to shape the hair and give it strength, I take a dab of René Furterer's Modeling Paste and rub it between the palms of my hands. I run my hands over the outer surface of the hair, and then blow out the hair, using a Mason Pearson brush. On the runway, it's important that the hair in back looks as great as the front view. So in back, we brush the right side toward the center, and then the left toward the center."

STEP 3: "For the blowout I use a blow dryer with a nozzle attachment to concentrate the airflow on each area I'm drying. Using the nozzle attachment helps to create volume at the roots when I go up and out with my brush to lift hair around the face and at the crown."

STEP 4: "To create height and broken up waves at the crown, we want to be careful not to get too messy and keep the clean finish in the back. For example, for textured hair, I blow out hair using a narrow round brush, which helps to keep the curl in while eliminating frizz, and use it in sections at the crown, working from back to front. Working the brush like a hot roller helps to give hair a natural lift while also adding support for the style. In front I direct hair away from the face."

STEP 5: "When hair is completely blown out, I finesse the finished look with my hands, smoothing the sides and the back and breaking up the hair at the crown for a looser, more natural effect. Just before show time I give any look that needs it one last tweaking in front to maintain both the lift at the roots and loosened up shape. Depending on the model's texture, I might use a flat iron or a curling iron here and there just at the hairline."

STEP 6: Last, to keep the shape throughout the show I give hair a final blast of finishing spray. It gives hold without being sticky-and I love the smell!

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