The definition of hair goals himself (seriously peep his Instagram - his locks are to die for), Chris Wood is a Senior & Celebrity Hairstylist at Medulla & Co Yorkville; tending to the tresses of Meghan Markle, Kathy Griffith and many more; while specializing in bridal & temporary extensions.
A man of multi-talents, Chris showcased his fashion and design expertise with the creation of a gown made completely of TO112 paper bags. Chris walked us through his creative process for this garment, check out the interview below.
What was your inspiration for this project?
My inspiration for this project was sparked by a theme that Luis gave the salon. We have been doing a content day in the salon every couple months in which all of the staff are invited to create beautiful content for their online presence and portfolio. The theme of the day was “reduce, reuse, recycle”.
At first, I was experimenting with making hair pieces and tiaras out of recycled material but the pieces weren’t working in the hair; I was looking for a very high fashion look. I wanted to find a way to marry (no pun intended!) the theme of this shoot while at the same time showcasing my talent as a bridal specialist and the idea just popped into my head ; Paperbag Princess. It was perfect; a way to explore my old love of dress design while capturing the theme of reusing. I had wanted to buy all new paper bags and I realized that would defeat the purpose if I actively sought out new material. I noticed Luis’ TO112 product bags and I’ve always thought the logo was so beautiful; I realized that I could borrow and “reuse” the bags to create the dress and then break the bags back down for future salon use.
How did you actually make the dress?
I’ve always had an interest in fashion so this project was definitely exciting to me. I dabbled a little in dress designing when I was younger, some clients would donate old wedding gowns and couture pieces that they had no use for so I would break them down and recreate a new shape. This was more or less the technique for this dress; as I’m bad at math and sewing this project was perfect because it solely focused on shape and proportion; which as a bridal specialist is how I see beauty.
Luckily, I had a vintage Judy dress form (a type of mannequin) at home that I’ve been using for decoration in my living room which happened to be the exact size of my model. Once I had the basic pattern mapped out on craft paper I started pinning it to the Judy to get the basic form down.
For the rest of the bodice; which was the structurally integral part of the entire gown, it was a matter of paper mache combined with a lot of hot glue burns! I cut contouring pieces by eye of craft paper and would glue each section piece by piece onto the last until I had a perfectly fitted bodice of paper; a few scissor cuts to the neckline and I had my base to start attaching bags and adding detail.
The design spoke to me as the dress developed. I knew that I wanted a full ball gown shape but wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to execute it; so I let the shape speak to me as I went. Add more volume here to flatter the figure; less here etc.
As the dress is made of paper and bags I knew it wouldn’t travel well so I only created the bodice and glued the first 4 bags to start off the line of the skirt at home. I then took fabric shears and literally cut the the bodice off the dress form so I could transport it.
The rest of the gown was built at the salon on another dress form. I wanted different textures to create visual interest and make it look more expensive and detailed. I took large reinforced panels of craft paper and layered on TO112 bags with the tissue paper to achieve a look of draping and the tissue paper was perfect to give that tulle effect and to fill in spaces later. A little bit of twine detail around the neckline and it was complete!
Big shout out to the model as working with a medium like this was very challenging to move in and make look natural as if she was wearing fabric. I also had to hot glue the back of the bodice together while the dress was on her for a seamless fit. She was a true professional (@alexandra_mole)
Can you describe your inspiration for the hairstyle and why you chose an updo?
This was an easy choice of style for me. The key element I wanted to convey with this whole look was all about juxtaposition. The contrast between rags and riches, the comparison of the model wearing nothing but brown paper bags which some would consider “ugly” to the streamlined glam look of classic hair and bridal makeup.
I wanted a touch of old Hollywood in the hair but I didn’t want it to look to “themey” so I decided to sweep the hair right off the face to avoid any bang detail that would make it look too “Hollywood” in the end resulting in the hair not necessarily taking away from the gorgeous classic makeup and rest of her look but balancing everything. I believe the devil is in the detail and even with great technique; some of the best updos just don’t work with a certain look. So I kept it clean and polished with minimal texture and wisps around the face which I was very pleased with.
Huge thanks to Chris for taking the time to discuss this incredibly unique look. Check out some BTS footage below!