It’s red carpet season, which means the stars are primed to shine in gorgeous gowns and elegant updos. But you need not be a celebrity to wear a loose chignon or a tousled French twist or a sleek braided bun. I love an updo for Valentine’s day, as well as in the summer months. With a day dress or a more casual pairing such as jeans and a crisp shirt, an updo can look really sexy…which leads me to an incredible book I’ve discovered by celebrity stylist Timothy C. Johnson.
It’s Red Carpet Hair: Beautiful Hairstyles for Special Occasions. Packed with seemingly endless photos of styles that are at once romantic yet sophisticated, there is a plethora of pictures of glam dos for every hair texture and length.
Timothy has worked for designer shows such as Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana and Valentino, and his work has appeared in magazines like Vogue, Vanity Fair, Cosmopolitan and Glamour. In addition, he’s worked with celebrity clients Paris Hilton, Iman, and Heidi Klum, to name a few.
“A friend was working on a book and he asked me when I was going to do one,” Timothy said. “Until that point I hadn’t even considered it, but it started me thinking: what kind of book should I do? It had to be something that was missing from the market.” And then it dawned on him. “I’ve always styled women’s hair for red carpet events.”
“I wrote Red Carpet Hair to inspire women and hairstylists everywhere when they need new ideas. Photographs are great communicators,” he added.
And although there is not much in the way of instructions, a skilled hairstylist could no doubt replicate the looks in this book. Here are some of my favorites.
The Huge Chignon
Angela, above, has short, straight hair, so Timothy used hairpieces to create this look. “Hairpieces can give you styles you never thought you could achieve,” he stated. The refined updo is a striking contrast with Angela’s dramatic tattoos.
Pictured above is Sabrina, who has thick, shoulder-length hair with a loose, natural wave. “This type of hair is a hairdresser’s dream, because it does whatever you want it to do.”
Sabrina’s hair was curled with a medium-sized curling iron and then formed into waves as the basis for this romantic style.
The Enormous Braided Chignon
Gate, above, is a model from Ethiopia who has walked the runways for top designers, like Armani and YSL, in Paris, Milan and New York.
“Gate has very thick, tightly curled hair,” Timothy said. “A defrizz product was used on her hair before it was blow-dried. It was then cut and flat ironed,” Timothy explained. Timothy then used a pomade for shine and a hairspray for hold.
Hair like Gate’s is best blown out a day or two before it’s put up, Timothy said, because it’s easier to work with and saves time on the special day.
A thick hairpiece was braided and added to the nape of the neck for a truly spectacular result.
Stefanie, above, has straight, shoulder-length hair. Hairpieces were attached to add fullness for this timeless retro look inspired by the sexy ’60s icon, Brigitte Bardot.
“Buy a human hair hairpiece to add fullness…and choose a shade as close to your natural color for the best results,” Timothy advised.
More tips from Timothy…
• Have your hair colored one week to one day before an event depending on the growth rate of your hair.
• Take a shower before you have your hair styled.
• Carry a few bobby pins in your purse just in case some hair strays from your upstyle.
• Wear your hair up in bad weather so it looks fresh and beautiful all day.
• Your hair should always compliment what you are wearing.
• Have your hair deep conditioned a week before the event.
• Schedule a trial with your hairstylist before the special occasion.
• Pick two or three hairstyles and work with your stylist to decide which one is right for you.
• An accessory can add more excitement to a hairstyle, but it should enhance and not take over. When in doubt, go without.