Behind the Chair November 29th 2011

Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Maxine in Chicago featured in Behindthechair.comBehind the Chair

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sleek, Retro and Texture: What We Loved at the American Music Awards


By: Cailley Hammel


Worlds collided at the American Music Awards Sunday night. The red carpet hosted celebs from all genres of the music industry, as well as stars from the big and small screens—yet that's only the beginning. Sure, we enjoyed the actual show (we do love our watercooler talk at BTC), but we were really paying attention to the looks we saw both on the red carpet and during the ceremony. We noticed a wide array of trends ranging in both style and eras of influence, and we loved a lot of what we saw! We broke down these red-carpet looks into three nifty categories—retro-modern, sleek and texturized—and got a few friends to offer their opinions on these styles, plus some tips to re-create them!

From cool coifs to glamorous waves, hairstyles of the past took on a modern twist (sometimes literally) at the AMAs. Katy Perry has rocked retro-modern looks ever since her “I Kissed a Girl” days, but her combination of cotton candy color and retro style worked in her favor for not one, but two different looks. On the red carpet, she wore her hair in a modern French twist accented by a Vivienne Westwood hairpiece. And during the performance of her new single, “The One That Got Away,” she paired a folksy ensemble with a retro coif that gave us hints of Lucille Ball.

Amy Abramite, creative director and stylist at Maxine in Chicago, says retro looks are making a big comeback because of the popularity of burlesque dancing and stars like Dita von Teese. “There's a classic Hollywood elegance and sexiness she embodies that every girl desires,” Amy says. “Who doesn't fantasize about looking as glamourous as a pin-up girl from the '40s? I know I do!" So how do you strike a balance between retro and modern? “The key to is to find a way to incorporate a modern element to the original style to alter the look into something different,” Amy says. The hair Katy Perry wore during her onstage performance is the perfect example. “The pompadour is rolled on her forehead straight across, whereas traditionally the pompadour has a convex shape. The new shape coupled with the pink hair color makes for a futurist look.”

Get Katy Perry’s Performance Look
Amy would re-create this with three victory rolls and a pompadour. The victory rolls are located in the back and on the sides, and the pompadour is in front above the forehead. Start with a volumizing mouse, and curl the hair on base in a brick lay pattern with a large-barrel curling iron. With a natural bristle brush, brush out the set to remove the separation between individual curls. With a tail comb, section four large pie slice sections with the point of origin starting at the top of the head. For the victory rolls, lightly backcomb each section and lift straight up or out from the head and roll upward onto itself and secure with bobby pins. The pompadour will be styled in the same manner, however it will be rolled under, rather than upward, and also secured with bobby pins. For extra firmness, Amy recommends a hair rat for stuffing the shape. Place the hair rat at the end of each hair section and roll the hair over the rat so it sits concealed inside to form the shape. Finish the style with a medium hold hairspray.

Get Katy Perry’s Red Carpet Look
Begin the style the same way as the above tutorial, starting with a volumizing mousse, and setting the hair on base in a brick lay pattern for pliability and volume. Set each curl with a clip for maximum volume and hold, and release all clips when the hair is cool. Next, brush out the hair with a natural bristle paddle brush to remove any separation between the curls—the hair should be in large waves before moving to the next step. Using a tail comb, backcomb the hair to create a firm cushion and volume at the roots. For the mid-shaft to ends, lightly backcomb with directional volume at 90 degrees on the entire head. With the natural bristle paddle brush, create a soft rounded volume above the forehead by partially removing the backcombing, while removing all the backcombing from the sides for a flat smooth look. To finish the style, continue brushing the hair in the back of the style to one side, and then fold and roll the hair into a twist near the crown of the head. For a smooth, uninterrupted look, the ends should be be tucked and pinned inside the roll. Finish the style with a medium hairspray for hold.