Picking and choosing how you’re going to receive your education and how far you’re willing to travel for it is a constant decision-making moment in a salon professional’s life. Do you do it online? Do you book a flight and stay in a hotel? Do you spend $500+ on a 2 or 3-day event? It’s not an easy decision to make, but when you have a complete breakdown on what you can expect, it makes the decision-making a bit easier. That’s the purpose of our Anatomy of an Event articles. It gives you the who, what, where, when, why and how all in one place so you can look at the big picture and decide if the event is right for you.
This year, we had the opportunity to attend Aveda Congress. During the three days we were there, we witnessed a weekend full of hairdressing, inspiration and enlightenment. It was also an event dedicated to a very special person, Aveda Founder, Horst Rechelbacher, who passed away in 2014. To honor him, this year’s Congress was titled “Spirit” and was explained so eloquently by Aveda Global President, Dominique Conseil, during the opening ceremony.
This Congress celebrates the spirit of Horst who brought us all together. We named it ‘Spirit’ to honor you, the spirit of Aveda. 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.
What Is It: Aveda Congress is a biennial (every two years) global celebration of the craft of hairdressing that honors their top talent from around the world, inspiring and educating with technical and creative presentations, while fostering a deep sense of connection to Aveda’s heritage of distinctive artistry and environmental responsibility.
The three-day event included on-stage performances, workshops with Aveda Global Artistic Directors and Educators, and an evening performance titled “Symphony of the Senses” created and presented by Aveda Global Creative Director, Antoinette Beenders.
Where Is It: Congress was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota at the Minneapolis Convention Center. Special events were held off-site at the Minneapolis Hilton Hotel and at Aveda’s Headquarters in Blaine, Minnesota.
Who Can Attend: Salon Professionals (owners, managers, stylists/colorists, students)
NOTE: Over 3500 Aveda professionals from 17 countries were in attendance this year.
How Much Does It Cost:
General Admission: $595
Premier: $695 (included front-and-center seating)
Backstage: $1500 (reserved seating with backstage access)
Technical Workshops: $195 (half-day, hands-on)
Ateliers: $195 (half-day, demonstration only)
Aveda Business College Forum ($100)
What Attendees Experienced: This year featured more than 20 teams of Aveda Artists from seven countries, including the U.S., Japan, the United Kingdom, France and Canada. Below is a brief description of each presentation and you can see some imagery from the event above in the gallery.
“SYMPHONY OF THE SENSES,” by Aveda Global Creative Director, Antoinette Beenders: With Ayurveda grounded in the idea that the spirit of natural elements is found in all living things, Beenders presented beauty, theatrics and inspirational hair techniques in five element-themed sections featuring more than 30 models and performers that fused the elements together with hair and fashion for a total immersive celebration.
- WATER: The sensory journey began with the creation of fluid finger waves for the element of Water. A light misting blanketed the crowd as models walked the runway and an aerialist performed in the background.
- INFINITY: For the Infinity segment, Beenders created a look inspired by both Joan of Arc and the punk rock movement. All clothing featured was fashioned from organic cotton and black straws made from recycled plastic. Hair was sleek and popped in striking vivid hues.
- EARTH: A rose aroma enveloped the room as models walked the catwalk and a performer floated high above the stage and sprinkled rose petals throughout the scene.
- AIR: For the segment of Air, Aveda Guest Artist, Robert Grimes joined Beenders on stage to create hair yarn by taking tiny piece of hair and twisting it gently with a spindle to then begin knitting the hair like yarn to develop mesh formations.
- FIRE: Concluding the performance, Fire took to the stage with fire spinners, an aerialist and three models that walked the runway with sparklers atop elaborate hairpieces.
?In the midst of the elements, Beenders showcased the ‘fringe’ as this season’s “it-look” in hair. Onstage she demonstrated a modern, natural fringe. “The ‘now’ hair style is all about a chunky, cool fringe,” Beenders said.
The Aveda Global Artistic Team: Kicking off Day 1, the Aveda Global Artistic Team honored the environments in which they thrive, from dark, urban extremes to hazy daydreams to kaleidoscopes of color. Ricardo Dinis, Aveda Global Artistic Director for Hair Cutting, Allen Ruiz, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Hair Styling, Tippi Shorter, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Textured Hair, Ian Michael Black, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Hair Color, and Janell Geason, Aveda Global Artistic Director, Makeup, each brought their individual flair and panache for storytelling and inspiration.
Aveda Men and Kurt Kueffner, Aveda Guest Artist, U.S.: A pop-up barbershop came to life on stage with three Aveda master barbers creating signature Aveda hair cuts for three male guests, ranging in style from military to chic rocker to tailored—all customized to the guest in the chair using one of three men’s hair cutting techniques. Aveda Guest Artist Kurt Kueffner shared insights into what the modern male clientele is looking for from his barber experience.
Steven Laudat, Aveda Guest Artist, France: The beauty of India, wellness and hair color collided to create beautiful, balayaged blondes in Aveda Guest Artist Steven Laudat’s show, which featured an innovative freehand application technique using mudra hand positions. The mudras, described as “yoga for the fingers,” bring a sense of calm and happiness as the colorist works. Simply hold your hand in the mudra positions, apply the color to your fingers with a hair color brush and create your wellness- infused balayage pattern on hand-selected sections.
Ray Civello, Aveda Canada President & Founder of Civello Salons, and Team, Canada: The presentation of “Sustainable Human”—a three-part show that moved the audience through Choice, Liberate and Emerge stages in honor of Aveda and Horst’s care for the environment. Hair was liberated on stage as Team Canada evolved five bold-colored looks into strong hair cut shapes that walked the runway as famous protest and riot imagery from history flashed on the screen. The show closed with Team Canada’s signature editorial flair—an emergence of architectural white headdresses featuring elements from nature to remind us that hope will always emerge after change.
Lupe Voss, Aveda Guest Artist, U.S.: After finding herself bombarded by the hyper-trending ombré and color melting techniques in salons, Aveda Guest Artist Lupe Voss re-envisioned the technique as creatively staggered block coloring at the new growth, ends and hairline to create a field of depth that relies on the hair cut to chisel and diffuse the color. On the runway, her looks juxtaposed everyday and runway variations of the technique, from smoky pastels to graphic black and white.
Gila R?t Salon Team, U.S.: The Gila R?t Salon Team led by co-owners Keri Davis, Carol Davis and Karla Lopez-Martinez, presented “Mystic Evolution”—a journey from an exhausted earth to robot inhabitants to a beautifully restored Mother Earth—all to highlight the importance of environmental responsibility. The featured look was a play on a cyborg mannequin with high-gloss, jewel-toned hair color, soft makeup contouring and a blunt, futuristic hair cut that was softened on stage into a salon- ready look.
Bastian Casaretto, Artistic Director, Germany, Austria & Switzerland: Bastian spoke to both rigidity and freedom in hair styling and looks by featuring ultra-high, sleek ponytails to bobs at varying lengths. Hair color looks featured rich, novel shades created by intermixing different components of Aveda Full Spectrum™ Hair Color.
Charlotte Mensah, Aveda Guest Artist, UK: The reigning 2014 British Afro Hairdresser of the Year, Aveda Guest Artist Charlotte Mensah, presented a new take on natural texture inspired by the regal, nomadic women of the Western Sahara. The most inspiring moment was a string-wrapping technique that creates a pliable texture and an “organic blow-dry” effect by lengthening the hair without using heat. The wrapped strands were twisted and sewn into beautiful designs, offset by textured baubles made from chicken wire and big, billowy, straw-set curls.
Michael Baker, Aveda Guest Artist, U.S.: In an energetic and theatrical performance dedicated to a new way to layer, Aveda Guest Artist Michael Baker transformed one model’s hair cut from a “bobster” to a “shagster” with the channel-cutting power of the De-Bulker—a professional cutting tool of his own design that makes it easy to remove weight in an efficient, consistent manner.
Jon Reyman, Aveda Guest Artist, U.S.: Known for his on-stage charisma and incredible ability to educate and inspire hairdressers, Aveda Guest Artist Jon Reyman exceeded expectation. After demonstrating his signature dry hair cutting technique to create a trendy, below-shoulder lob, he featured four unconventional hair styling techniques, including a flat-iron wave, a classic French twist detailed with gold leaf at the hairline, hyper-stacked braids and a textured updo molded into shape with a hanger covered in pantyhose and blasts of Control Force™ Firm Hold Hair Spray.
Ana Karzis, Aveda Guest Artist, Canada: Inspired by the beauty of the color spectrum, Aveda Guest Artist Ana Karzis painted on head sheets to demonstrate how color creates illusions when placed next to, under or over one another. Her beautiful juxtapositions of color came to life in a hand-painted shadowing technique that flips the tone placement to push different colors forward on highlights to lowlights to bold, color-blocked fashion colors.
Van Michael Salon Creative Team, U.S.: Van Michael Salons is in the business of transformation, so their show showcased guests they were inspired to transform in lieu of professional models. Their “Big Bang Collection” featured a convertible bob that could be worn two ways—blunt or asymmetrical—and shadowy hair color layers created with a tortoiseshell technique at the crown. The vocal stylings of Puddles the Clown from Puddles Pity Party closed the show with a moving tribute to the hero in all of us.
Bruno Elorrioroz, Advanced Artistic Director, Aveda Lifestyle Salon & Spa, London: Bruno opened his show by asking the audience to step inside his world of “Chromophobia” inspired by the freedom of tropical birds and diamond-shaped headdresses by Alexander McQueen. Every look was a play on colorful plumes and diamond shapes, including a hair weft taped in a diamond pattern and painted with supernatural tones to create a playful, jester-like hair color overlay.
Team Japan featuring Rie Hirabayashi, Aveda Guest Artist and Masa Honda, Aveda Japan Pure-fessional: In an homage to Japan heritage and history, the team took the audience on a spectacular journey from the cultural enlightenment of 1880 Meji Japan to the empowerment of 1920 Deco Japan to the modern spirit of Japan, known as Shinto. The hair and makeup looks featured the beauty of each iconic era, from tiny red lips and pink-dusted cheeks to blunt, deco-inspired bobs to air-sculpted texture created with a blow dryer and Air Control™ Light Hold Hair Spray.
Claude Marcel, Aveda Guest Artist, U.S.: Classic French romance and love in all its forms graced the stage as Claude Marcel featured the beauty, simplicity and elegance of French hair cutting techniques on three different couples, with an emphasis on creating the same hair cut on men and women but altering it to be more masculine or feminine. Long layers were cut live on stage and finished with a beautiful, round-brush blowout for the soft, billowing finish that is distinctly pretty and Parisian.
Heggy Gonzalez, Provo, Tucson and Phoenix Aveda Institutes, Creative Director, U.S.: To celebrate their four-out-of-five NAHA nominees for Student Hairstylist of the Year (one of whom claimed the title), the Provo, Tucson and Phoenix Aveda Institutes, led by Creative Director Heggy Gonzalez, combined their individual collections into one master collection called “Interfusion.” The key techniques of note were a watercolor hair color effect created by applying color to the ends with a spray bottle and a textured updo sewn into place using thread instead of pins. The master collection was truly a celebration of the incredible work, dedication and talent of Aveda Institute students.
Bea Watson, Aveda Global Educator, Hair Styling, UK & Jo McKay, Aveda European Technical Hair Specialist, UK: Two of the masterminds behind the hair colors and styles of the autumn 2015 collection, Sublime Spirit, recreated their favorite looks on stage and expanded them into two new techniques that give an ultra-creative nod to the collection. Bea Watson, Global Educator, Hair Styling, showcased a hair styling technique that created a hair net out of hair itself with micro ponytails and a ponytail threader. Jo McKay, Aveda European Technical Hair Specialist, used strips of tape on hair panels and applied dark formulas to create an abstract, black-stitch effect on blonde hair inspired by icon Queen Elizabeth I, who loved black stitching on white linen. All looks were slowly revealed with the help of a gorgeous animated floral backdrop. Classical music played as the models ‘posed’ in regal poses, recreating the look and feel of the photographic Sublime Spirit collection.
If you’re interested in attending Aveda Congress in 2017 (don’t forget, it happens every two years), and you want a video peek at what it’s all about, then check out this video. You can also see a recap of our adventures and moments on our Instagram, HERE.