behind the wild
CIARA AT THE MET GALA
The Costume Institute exhibition behind this year’s Met Gala, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” meant stylists and celebrities had free rein to go super big.
Luckily, super big is in our wheelhouse. It’s also a natural state of being for Ciara, a longtime Wildform collaborator and dedicated client of our co-founder César Ramirêz. (This is a past Met look they created together.)
Ciara took the Met’s storied pink carpet in not one but two bigger-is-definitely-better custom hair creations. The first look came in handy during a surely history-making twerking entrance, and the second has been widely hailed as the best hair of the night. We’re not gonna argue.
Below, César breaks down how he made the second look, Ciara’s mega afro, happen.
“The look was inspired by Ciara’s love of big, curly textured hair. We wanted to do a dramatic version of a Diana Ross afro. Ciara’s dress was by Peter Dundas and his mock-up sketch included a really big afro, so we played off of each other to create the inspiration for the hair look. My mood board had a lot of photos of Diana Ross, Cher, Josephine Baker…. I usually take a lot of inspiration from past divas, especially from the seventies.”
I started with six 4b/4c textured afro wigs that I sewed together by hand to make one over-the-top custom unit.
STEP 1: Curl Creation
I deconstructed the curls on three of the wigs and kept them tight on the rest; the volume of the deconstructed wigs helped push out the loosened curls of the others. Once attached, the curls interacted with each other to create textural dimension, maximum volume, and, of course, drama.
To loosen the curls and add volume we used a detangling brush with natural wooden bristles that’s part of our upcoming line of wig care accessories.
STEP 2: Wig Pinning
Proper pinning is key. The seams on a canvas mannequin head let you know how a wig will actually fall on a human face. The center line represents the nose; the side seams are the center of the eyes, and the ears are out on the sides.
STEP 3: Deconstruction
We cut out all the wig combs and hanger linings. Usually I would cut the lace of the wig in a zig zag pattern for front of hairline but since these wigs were being sewn together I cut straight across.
Tip: Recycle combs for the next wig or pony your create.
Step 4: Frame The Face
I styled the afro at the crown of the head up and away off of the mannequin’s face to maintain a pretty shape and not lose Ciara’s face in all of that hair. I used my Wildform wooden brush and my Unite Go 365 hairspray to brush the hair up and away towards the crown, which created additional height without covering the face.
Step 5: Afro Assembly
To create the giant afro we sewed together the lace from different wigs for the area around her face and sewed together the tracks at each wig base. Basically we connected one end to the other to transform six wigs into one.
Tip: When sewing wigs together, use nylon thread. It’s durable and will not break. Don’t use a cheap thread!
Step 6: Volumize!
I used Unite 3 In 1 Spray for customizable hold (soft, medium, or strong). We moved the adjustable nozzle up to strong here to securely hold the sewn-together pieces in place. We continuously sprayed the hair while standing a few feet away from the unit to avoid build-up while using a pick to create and customize the shape of afro.
Step 7: Final Touches
I used Unite Conundrum Paste to define and lay her edges. This product is amazing and so versatile–it’s a wax, a paste, and styling cream all in one. To finish I sprayed half a can of Unite 7Seconds Glossing Spray, an anti-humectant (frizz destroyer) to prevent reversion but keep superb shine.