Look of the Month: Braids

Anthony Vaccarello top; David Yurman earrings. Beauty note: For skin that steals the spotlight, try Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream SPF 30.

Braids were the must-’do at dozens of spring 2016 shows, from the schoolgirl plaits at Proenza Schouler to the laissez-faire French styles at Suno to the bold cornrows at Valentino. “Braids have become cool again,” says the hairstylist Holli Smith, who created the coifs on these pages. “They’re informal and more inventive than ever.” Here, Smith took the Valentino look as a starting point and added her own twist, in the form of a ponytail full of mini fishtails and micro braids, punctuated by wide loops and partially liberated strands. “Together, the two elements make for a balanced statement.

It keeps things from looking too slick.” (To prevent hair from turning into a tangled mess, there’s Wella Professionals Eimi Perfect Me Lightweight Beauty Balm Lotion, and a little Eimi Sugar Lift Spray applied on the end imparts that gritty, disheveled effect you actually do want.) Micro braids were also seen at Louis Vuitton, though well hidden among the models’ otherwise free-flowing locks. Smith did exactly the opposite here, weaving most of the hair into two low plaits just behind the ears, then pulling out full strands seemingly at random. “The messy deconstruction is more interesting than two perfect braids,” Smith says. For the third look, she began with a low side part and twisted the strands before braiding them along the hairline, creating a sort of corkscrewed cornrow. “The placement has a ‘Heidi’ element, but the twists within the rows de-Heidi it.” And, she insists, it’s easier to execute than it looks. “Anyone who can French-braid their own hair can do this.”

Hair by Holli Smith for Wella Professionals at LGA Management; Makeup by Fara Homidi at Frank Reps; Manicure by Dawn Sterling for Dior at MAM-NYC; Model: Hyun Ji Shin at img Models; Digital Technician: Hugo Arturi; photography assistants: Basil Faucher, Cristias Rosas; Hair assistant: Yasu Nakamura; makeup assistant: Laila Hayani.