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Innovation, inspiration, celebration – Aveda stuns at Master Jam 2016

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The streets of Milan may be lined with Gucci and Prada, but there was only one brand on everyone’s lips when Master Jam 2016 came to town.

Aveda stylists and salon owners from across the globe descended on the fashion metropolis for an evening of inspiration and celebration, which also saw the first ever Global Fashionista champion crowned live on stage.

Held at the city’s expansive Palazzo del Ghiaccio – the backdrop to numerous catwalk shows during Milan fashion week – the night celebrated all things Aveda, in particular, the brand’s unique ‘ying and yang’ approach to creative style and ethical substance.

As tradition dictated, the show opened with a collective affirmation of the Aveda guiding principles, as well as a look back at the impressive environmental fundraising efforts of salon teams worldwide (which at the start of the year, smashed through the £30m mark).

It was then over to the Italian team, who presented an elegant collection of ‘Catwalk for Water’ looks, comprised of upcycled ballgowns paired with chic, swept-back updos. Next, the Canadian show team advocated for equality and expression of love in all its forms – for people, hair and the planet – with live cutting, powerful video and typographical backdrops, and a stunning finale featuring precise honeycombed wig-work.

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Jo McKay and Bruno Ellorioroz then took to the stage to walk the audience through Aveda’s new colouring (and cutting) technique, ‘eclipting’, demonstrating how its twist-based blending can be incorporated into balayage services to produce seamless pastel, vibrant and natural looks. After a brief male dance interlude, it was onto men’s hair, with the Aveda Master Barbers cutting and presenting three slick looks that incorporated braiding, defined curl patterns and sweeping lines.

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Before the Global Fashionista winner was announced, 2015 champion, Nadina Thelen, presented two grunge-tinged collections live on stage. Amanda La Roux (global vice-president of Aveda) and Kevin Molin (head of global education) then introduced all 25 of the 2016 finalists (including the UK’s Adrian Stankiewicz of London’s Shai Hair), and announced the names of three group winners – Akira Inazumi of Japan, Heggy Gonzalez of Southwestern USA and Svetlana Kononova of Russia.

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The anticipation was heightened as the night’s star attraction, senior vice-president of Creative at Aveda, Antoinette Beenders, presented her 90s-inspired collection ‘Club Chique’. Full of updated bowl cuts, bobs and textured curls, it was a much more wearable set of looks than we’ve come to expect from the hallowed session and avant garde stylist – one part Linda Evangelista circa 1990, with two parts of Antoinette’s signature inventive creativity. Antoinette also revealed that a new Aveda styling product is on the horizon, demonstrating its tousling effects on a layered crop, before stunning the audience with a surprise second collection entitled ‘Cheeky Pop’. Full of sleek roots and insanely rik-rak crimped ends, it gave the models’ hair the appearance of full tulle skirts, swishing and twisting as they walked the runway.

The grand finale of the night saw Svetlana Kononova’s vibrant copper crop earn her the Global Fashionista 2016 title, with Antoinette describing her work (and that of her fellow finalists) as exemplifying the creative values of the brand for the next generation. As for what’s next? “Watch this space,” said Antoinette, “as the future for Aveda is looking very exciting indeed…”

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