Celebrity stylists Ted Gibson and Jason Backe knew long before the pandemic hit that some of the basic pain points surrounding the hair salon is the scheduling, booking and everything in between that happens before you sit in the chair. Their clairvoyance in removing the need for extra steps and replacing it with a totally “smart,” Alexa-powered experience at their Los Angeles STARRING salon was well-timed to say the least.
It’s hard not to be awed by the individual styling pod from which Gibson is doing a virtual demonstration of his fall hair picks for a group of editors, especially when their showing off the mood lighting. “Alexa, turn on energy,” says Backe, and the pod instantly glows a vibrant red hue. Each pod is designed with wavy patterned “cloud” arches reminiscent of that famous Ultrafragola mirror, and they can change hues on demand to show the hair in all possible lighting.
At the world’s first “smart” salon, there are no cash or credit card transactions, no front desk receptionist, all appointments are booked on an app and any product you might need can be ordered by scanning QR codes embedded in the walls. “All of our stations are eight and a half feet apart, so we have been by design, a COVID-safe space,” says Backe. “We also wanted to change the way that we think about retail.”
Gibson, who counts Angelina Jolie, Jessica Chastain and Lupita Nyongo as clients, says many of the looks we will see in the coming months will be more about ease than effort. “There have been no red carpets, there hasn’t been anything for people to get really inspiration from, so I really believe that right now it’s about the individual and really creating your own trend.”
Trend #1: The Crimped Wave
One of the three things Gibson says we all should be doing for fall is adding more texture and ditching the beach waves. “Use a crimping iron to create even more textures—and this not an 80s thing. Just creating grooves in the hair makes it look like there’s more texture without looking dated or feeling out of place,” Gibson says as he runs his STARRING Shooting Star Texture Meringue ($52) through strands to add volume and a give tousled, wavy look.
“In California girls want this kind of texture all the time because they go to the beach and then they’re on Zoom calls. This look is really modern, chic and still effortless,” he adds.
Trend #2: The Half Up
Using his Mason Pearson brush and a bungee hair elastic, Gibson says he often pulls back just the top half the hair for a timeless, elegant look. “The half up look is something very easy that every girl can do. Just take a bungee elastic and wrap it around the hair,” explains the stylist. “If you’ve never worked with a bungee elastic, they’re really fun because it gets very, very, tight. It’s super cool, super modern, it elongates the face and creates an emphasis on top of the head that I think is really important.”
Trend #3: The Larger Than Life Accessory
Transitioning from one day to another with ease is something Gibson says is in all of our futures. Instead of second-day hair, think third-day hair. “You can have a crimp one day, the next wear it day half up half down, and the next pull it up into something else. What you’re going to do is you’re going to take all the hair from the back of the head and twist it up all the way to the top of the head with a little bit of a French twist, then…a big claw,” says Gibson while topping off the look with an 80s throwback accessory—yes, that same big hair clip you wouldn’t be caught dead in since ’89 is now super chic.
“What I think is really great about a big claw is I think it looks really cool, very modern and super effortless. Everything should be big, and a big claw is something that I think every girl should have during the fall.” To top off the look, the celebrity stylist pinned in rhinestone-covered hair clips displaying the very timely message to “VOTE.” “It’s all about creating your own trend and making sure that you’re comfortable with who you are,” notes Gibson from his futuristic salon. “We’re at a time right now that we have to be who we are and not be cookie cutter to anybody else.”
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