Ouai, pronounced “way” is the line of hair care products by celebrity stylist, Jen Atkin. Now, she’s no ordinary celeb stylist. She’s been around for over a decade cutting and styling some of the most famous heads of hair in Hollywood. She was the go-to stylist for the Kardashian clan (but don’t hold that against her). She’s also styled the coifs of celebrities like Sofia Vergara, Jessica Alba, and Chrissy Teigen. She also founded Mane Addicts, a website and community showcasing stylist talent and education.
It isn’t surprising that when Atkin created Ouai, she had social media in mind. “I wanted it to look really pretty in the bathroom . . . have it be selfie-worthy.” She took inspiration from minimalist, elegant brands like Diptyque and Byredo for her aesthetic — she also drew from fragrance lines and her Hawaiian upbringing for the scent of her products.
“I love soft, expensive-smelling things,” she shared. Many of the products feature notes of gardenia, jasmine, and plumeria. Trust us me when I say that it smells incredible — like a freshly dry-cleaned cashmere throw and a pricey bouquet had a baby.
Why am I talking about Ouai? Because I stepped into my go-to salon this past week and my stylist said my hair was probably the healthiest it has been in YEARS! I felt like I had won an award. Hand me a trophy and let me do a victory lap! My stylist asked me what I had been doing and after rattling off the various vitamins, I mentioned Ouai. Specifically the ‘repair’ shampoo and conditioner and hair oil. The products are safe for chemically treated and keratin treated hair like mine.
When I was wearing my hair curly I used the soft mousse. No crunchy curls folks. Don’t get me started on finding a good mousse. I went through MANY bottles of mousse and all of them ended up in the trash except for Ouai’s! Hell apparently froze over.
Now, I am not going to tell you to run out and go buy it if scents bother you. Personally, I love the lingering heady scent but it’s not for everyone. One of the best parts about this line is that it isn’t tested on animals.
You can visit her site and purchase travel sized bottles of the products to give them a test drive but I am sure you won’t be disappointed!
The frenzied thrashing of strings from John Williams’s theme to Jaws washed over the audience as the last models left the catwalk. The song was a clue about David Koma’s inspiration for this Mugler collection. “I have this little obsession with sharks—their danger and their beauty,” he said backstage. You could certainly spot a streamlined shadow of the sharks flitting through the runway waters here. Dégradé paillettes glittered in sharkskin shades of gunmetal while patent flats with inset commando soles had the bullet-like shape of a great white’s nose.
Less elusive than Koma’s starting-point sharkiness was the influence of scuba and swimwear. There were black pants that fitted like wetsuits, with tidelines of white piping running down the leg. A cropped, shoulder-padded, sweatshirt-shaped sweater and mini skirt were reminiscent of that shark chainmail worn as insurance by undersea adrenaline hunters. Leather bonded to neoprene were used in white jackets with faux-utilitarian fastenings and gently rounded shoulders and arms. There were a lot of aesthetically-placed zippers designed to draw the eye to the thigh, neckline, or hip. Ultimately this was a broadly enjoyable collection of sleekly sexy, sports-inflected womenswear. Koma said that his main goal for this season was to have fun. He was certainly working within his comfort zone: treading water but in no need of rescue.
In June, news broke that Mayhoola, the investment group linked to the Qatari royal family, bought Balmain—just days before the fashion house’s menswear show in Paris. Mayhoola also acquired Valentino in 2012. And if that brand’s trajectory is anything to go by, Balmain and its creative director, Olivier Rousteing, have a big expansion in their future—with new stores opening around the world. Rousteing was backstage, talking up this turning point before the show and taking aim at his critics.“The Balmain Army has shed its armor,” he said. “Whatever I do, even if I cover up my girls, people can say it’s vulgar. But this is what it is. I think it’s really chic, really French. It’s Paris how I see it.”
The first step towards growth was bumping up the number of runway looks this season: from 60 to 80. That’s not an insignificant change and as a result, the show dragged on for too long. Another key difference between his previous outings and this one was the absence of embroideries. For years elaborate beading, crystals, and threadwork was the Balmain way—before and after Rousteing’s arrival. It was as synonymous with the brand as sexy, body-con dresses. Not anymore. But that doesn’t mean this was a minimal collection. The excesses were just of a different sort. There were cut-outs on bodices that revealed a good bit of underboob, fashion’s new erogenous zone. Slits extended way up the front of both thighs. And provocatively placed sheer bits drew the eyes to the hips and derrière.
This was still plenty body-conscious. But in place of glitzy embroideries, Rousteing let color do the talking. After the tawny desert tones and cargo greens of the opening numbers, he showed a jungle’s worth of brights: in solids, mismatched snakeskin prints, and graphic stripes. There were also a lot of knits. And that seemed strategic: They’re not only easier to wear than the label’s famous bandage dresses, but also kinder on the wallet—two factors that could count for a lot as the label pushes into new territories. Lightening up worked in his favor on a Missoni-esque crocheted caftan and skirt.
For evening, he proposed long split-seam dresses pavéd with multicolor crystals in Art Deco motifs and slinky chain mail dresses à la Versace. The former proved too difficult to walk in; they didn’t pass the lightness test, but the chain mail numbers did. That’s the kind of growth that the critics he was talking about backstage could believe in.
Following a few seasons of making optimistic excuses for Vionnet, it was a pleasure to see a collection in which many of the looks proved positive affirmations of the passion behind this unfashionable fashion house. Goga Ashkenazi put the staff of her atelier on the runway for the finale and highlighted the depth of their work—and the shallowness of others—by stitching slogans into the back of certain looks. So on a fishtailed cloak with a quintuple-tiered hem worn above raw-edged denim bermudas was written This piece took 194 hours to make. In a world where Zara makes fabulous jackets and only real experts can tell the difference between bespoke and off-the-rack, maybe you just have to spell it out.
The schtick of this collection was loose—“urban odyssey”—but the pieces it inspired were often sharply defined. Fantastically light chiffon blurs, paneled pleat dresses gathered with rope, separates in beach photo prints, and assertive denim interjections were the order of the day here. Neutral chiffon dresses and suits with nets of burnt-in rubber circlets were particularly interesting, and a dress of angularly set fringe-meets-coralesque tufting was just pretty. While not without flaw, this was a vastly improved Vionnet.