Bella, Bella, Wella

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Milan—home to cultural treasures like the intricately carved Gothic Duomo, Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper and the famous fashion boutiques that dot the Quadrilatero d'Oro (Golden Triangle)—proved to be an apropos setting for Wella's International Trend Vision Award 2006. Attended by more than 3,500 beauty and industry aficionados from around the world, the fourth annual event was staged at the beautiful Nuova Fiera Center situated just outside the city center.

Throughout the day, 53 teams from countries that ranged from Chile to China, South Africa to Sweden, Australia to Austria and the U.S. to the Ukraine competed for the title of "World's Best Young Hairdresser." Teams vied to impress five judges by creating their total-look interpretations based on one of four trends from Trend Vision 06: Techno Nature, Real Daydream, World Fusion and Gothic Luxury. The judging panel, composed of Egidio Borri, a multiple salon owner in Tuscany; top Brazilian stylist Mauricio Pina; South African hairdresser Terry Scott; Severine Fluhr-Morales of Switzerland and the 2005 International Trend Vision Award winner and Italian fashion designer Nicola Luccarini, awarded points based on hairstyling, makeup and clothing.

In addition to the lively competitions, beauty pros got the chance to take in workshops led by hair gurus from around the globe. Israel's Ziv Shitrecht, the USA's Nick Arrojo, Italy's Claudio De Cicco and Maurizio's Contato, Puerto Rico's Ivan Garcia, Singapore's Veronica Ng Sin Gek, Germany's Petra Brockmann and Thomas Knödler, Great Britain's Richard Thompson, Russia's Dmitry Vinokurov and artists from the Wella World Studios in New York, Moscow, Tokyo and Rome showcased their interpretations of the 2007 Trend Vision trends of Nordic Serenity, Sensual Intrigue, Rustic Deluxe and Pop Couture.

Evening festivities included a lavish dinner and award ceremony where Georgiy Dzhagaev from the Dmitry Vinokurov salon in Russia took home the silver award and Tinaso Pharsakorn from Hair I Am salon in Thailand took home the bronze award. Top honors went to Aurelio Ramos de Oliveira of the Facto Cabeleireiro salon in Lisbon, Portugal, who was crowned the winner of the International Trend Vision Award 2006. Said the thrilled stylist, who will take part in various Wella Professional projects, "I have been so close before and now my dream has come true. We're overjoyed that five months of intensive preparation for this major competition has paid off." –K.D.