If you’ve attended your fair share of parties and weddings in the Middle East, you’re all too familiar with the pain of removing anywhere north of 30 bobby pins at the end of a night. Another day, another cocktail party, another collection launch, another restaurant opening – the events in Dubai blend into one another as quickly as the hairdresser appointments that precede them. So when the party of the year came around, IWC’s Dubai International Film Festival After Party, attended by the crème de la crème of Dubai’s creative industries, regional VIPs, and international celebrities the likes of Emily Blunt and Aloe Blacc, it was time to do things a little bit differently. Enter hair sewing, a technique perfected by Australian hair stylist Kevyn Murphy and offered in the UAE’s Marquee Salon.
On the morning of the party, I made my way to the salon’s Arabian Ranches outpost to meet with Artistic Director Cat Hawkes. Working on unwashed hair, she twisted and folded my hair into a messy updo before stating, “This is what we’re going to do.” I was officially intrigued; a style like that with my thick and slightly-too-long hair would normally require a frightening number of pins, and she was promising to achieve it with just linen thread and needle.
Using a curling iron, she roughly curled my hair to give it some texture, then, to keep the look youthful and slightly bohemian, she began by braiding a section of hair and sewing it for added shape, which she would then work into the updo. Thirty minutes, a yarn of brown Kevin Murphy thread, a touch of ‘Powder Puff’ volumizing powder, and a spray of ‘Shimmer Shine’ finishing mist later, Cat was done. And I was converted. The use of thread had allowed her to achieve the elusive “effortless” look, which anyone in the beauty industry can tell you actually requires a lot of effort, in half an hour and with so much texture and character. It was almost like having an intricate – for lack of a better word – artwork on my head.
Later that night, after hours of fun, dancing, and laughing, I kicked off my heels, changed out of my embroidered Razan Alazzouni gown, and began to easily unravel my hairdo – no dreaded bobby pins in sight.