Forget the blow-dry, now it's all about the waterfall, herringbone and fishtail look as braid bars take salons by storm
21:18 GMT, 15 August 2012
A staple of the stylish grade-school set, braids have moved from the playground to the red carpet and now, local salons.
Salons from Los Angeles to New York and cities in between are weaving 'braid bars' into their services, offering special menus of different braid styles for a fixed price.
Danielle Maddox, 25, a Chicago personal trainer, made an appointment at the Braid Bar at Maxine salon for a look to transition from work to a date night with her boyfriend.
Getting the Katniss look: Hair salons have seen soaring demand for braided looks following the success of The Hunger Games, and are now opening braid bars to cater to demand
Stylist Cliff Freeman, who incorporates techniques from crochet and knitting classes into braids, twisted Maddox's hair into three French braids for a polished, finished look.
'It's nice to have a cute, low-maintenance style I can have for a couple days,' she said. 'I can sleep on it.'
Owner Maxine Kroll started offering the service in June after clients kept asking for braids.
She transformed the retail area inside the salon's front door with a sleek white table and silver sign for her 'bar'.
Getting the look: Cliff Freeman braids the hair of Danielle Maddox, 25, at Maxine salon's Braid Bar in Chicago
Intricate: It would be hard for Maddox to achieve the same look at home, and the style will last a couple of days
Small containers on the table are
filled with bobby pins, hair clips and rubber bands and sit next to hair
spray and combs. A menu offers cord braids, French braids, waterfall
braids and herringbone or fishtail braids.
Each service is $30, and clients are out of the chair in 30 minutes or less.
'We can't escape it. It's in fashion. It's in Hollywood. It's in every magazine. There's going to be a braid in everything we look at for a while'
The goal is to make a braid a fashion accessory, like a woman's shoes or purse, she explained.
'We can't escape it,' she said. 'It's
in fashion. It's in Hollywood. It's in every magazine. There's going to
be a braid in everything we look at for a while.'
Starlets like Rihanna, Blake Lively, Jessica Alba, Lea Michele and Scarlett Johansson have been spotted recently sporting braids.
Perhaps the most influential trendsetter, however, is The Hunger Games' fictional heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence, who wears her hair in an intricate side braid throughout the film that was a huge springtime hit.
About a half-dozen dedicated stylists do
between 40 and 50 braids a week at John Barrett Salon in New York. The
salon opened its braid bar in June 2011 and offers a menu with nine
Braided beauty: Much of the popularity of fishtail and herringbone plaits was sparked by the signature look of Katniss Everdeen, the lead character in this year's movie hit The Hunger Games
At first stylists at John Barrett thought the braid was just a fleeting trend or easy summer style, but then it blew up, salon spokeswoman Jenna Goldate said.
'Now we're really seeing it everywhere,' she said. 'Everybody started to wear braids in more modern and different ways. It's not your traditional braid. It's a modern take on it.'
Ivy Salon in Greenville, S.C., launched its braid bar the opening weekend of The Hunger Games in March.
'The kickoff really and truly was The Hunger Games, the Katniss braid, but I think that was just a rejuvenation of interest in braids,' salon director Jayma Carter said. 'It's taken off.'