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November 11, 2015

Passion for the Art of Hair

How did you spend Halloween weekend? If you’re in the beauty industry and a part of the Aveda network, odds are you traded the candy and costumes in favor of jetting to Minneapolis for Aveda’s 17 Congress, which marked the first Aveda Congress since the passing of Aveda Founder Horst Rechelbacher in 2014. To honor him and those that followed in his footsteps, this year’s Congress was aptly named “Spirit.”

Passion for the Art of Hair

By Heather Haemker

It was the first Aveda Congress since the death of Aveda Founder Horst Rechelbacher. So to mark this year’s gathering of the 3,000 dedicated members of the Aveda network, from 17 countries, the event was called Spirit, and was designed as a celebration of the creative spirit that drives the company and the profession.

“This Congress celebrates the spirit of Horst who brought us all together. We named it Spirit to honor you, the spirit of Aveda,” said Aveda Global President Dominique Conseil during the opening ceremony. “Recall the loving passion which led you to beauty school and with which you completed your first successful haircut. Connecting with our inner fire is Spirit.”

Allen Ruiz and Tippi Shorter showcased a “soft-serve” curl technique inspired by billowy clouds.

The three-day event featured members of the Aveda Global Artistic Team, plus presentations from seven global teams, including Canada, Japan, the UK and France. There were workshops with Aveda Global Artistic Directors and Educators and the stunning Symphony of the Senses finale performance by Aveda Global Creative Director Antoinette Beenders. Throughout the event, attendees celebrated the art of hairdressing, along with Aveda’s ongoing commitment to wellness and environmental responsibility.   

Ricardo detailed his undercut bob by point-cutting a “scar” into the hair.

Education from the Best
Among the many standout presentations was the cutting program by Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Cutting Ricardo Dinis. Ricardo opened the show with a celebration of the spirit of the individualist, which manifested as graphic haircuts with strong angles and silhouettes. His demo culminated with an angular, undercut bob that featured a “scar” that he point-cut into the hair. The audience loved the program featuring Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Styling and BTC Big Shot Haircut of the Year Winner Allen Ruiz, who was joined by Aveda Global Artistic Director for Textured Hair Tippi Shorter. The pair dished up versions of their “soft-serve” curls, a shape inspired by billowy clouds and embellished with heavy dustings of Shampure™ Dry Shampoo for a dreamy, antique look.  Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Color and BTC Big Shot Haircolor of the Year Winner Ian Michael Black and Aveda Global Artistic Director for Makeup Janell Geason dazzled the audience with an explosion of color. Their creations featured vivid, multi-hued dreadlocks and geometric makeup that exaggerated the models’ features.

Ian Michael Black and Janell Geason featured multi-colored dreads and geometric makeup that exaggerated features and shapes.

Symphony of the Senses
Congress-goers always head into the theatre for Antoinette’s finale with high anticipation, and this year all of their expectations were met and surpassed. In a unique approach, Antoinette actually engaged all of the senses—including the audience’s sense of smell—with a program that focused on the elements of water, infinity, earth, air and fire. With Ayurveda “life-knowledge,” grounded in the idea that the spirit of natural elements is found in all living things, Antoinette meshed beauty, theatrics and inspirational hair techniques in her five, element-themed sections. The spectacle featured more than 30 models and performers that fused the elements with hair and fashion for a total immersive celebration.


Antoinette demonstrated a commercial cut featuring natural fringe which she claims is sure to be the IT look this season.

The sensory journey began with the creation of fluid finger waves for the element of water. A light mist blanketed the crowd as models walked the runway and an aerialist performed.

For the infinity segment, Antoinette’s looks could be described at punk-rock Joan of Arc. The costumes were fashioned from organic cotton and black, recycled plastic straws. The hair was sleek with a few well-placed pops of vivid color. During this segment, Antoinette demonstrated her favorite haircut of the moment, featuring a chunky fringe, which she dubbed the season’s IT look. 

Antoinette utilized organic cotton and black straws made from recycled plastic during her Infinity segment.

For her earth segment, Antoinette reimagined “The Wizard of Oz.” An adorable Dorothy tossed rose petals from a basket as the aroma of rose filled the room. At the same time, an aerialist tossed rose petals from high above the auditorium. 

To evoke the senses, a rose aroma enveloped the room, while an adorable little Dorothy tossed petals to the audience.

Antoinette took a different spin on “The Wizard of Oz” during the Earth segment as an adorable little Dorothy skipped onto the stage tossing out rose petals from her basket instead of the traditional poppies. To further evoke the senses, a rose aroma enveloped the room as models walked the catwalk while an aerial performer floated high above the stage, sprinkling rose petals throughout the theater.

In honor of Halloween, Antoinette along with Robert Grimes created bunny ears out of hair yarn.

To evoke the element of air, Antoinette was joined by Aveda Guest Artist Robert Grimes. Together, they spun hair into yarn, gently twisting it on a spindle to develop fiber-like formations. Since the show was over Halloween weekend, Antoinette fastened together bunny ears with her hair yarn.   

These girls were on fire…literally!

The show ended with a “Girl on Fire.” The Voice Season Four Finalist Sasha Allen performed the Alicia Keys song, while models paraded beneath elaborate, flaming headpieces and fire spinners juggled live flames. And with that, the audience knew that the Aveda spirit would always continue to burn brightly.

Check out all the photos!

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