Behind the May Cover: Cuba Librè

A fashionable city in the 1930s, Havana became known as the “Paris of the Caribbean.” The Malecón, a curving highway bordering the sea, resembled the boulevards along the French Riviera. Luxury hotels, casinos and nightclubs attracted tourists from all over the world, including Ernest Hemingway, who indulged in the legendary frozen daiquiris at El Floridita, a historic fish restaurant and cocktail bar in Old Havana. After the Revolution in 1959, life in Cuba became, shall we say, more austere, but by 1991 and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the situation became dire. Food was scarce, resources were limited and hundreds of colonial era buildings fell into disrepair. The Cubans called it the Special Period. While a team of craftsmen and restoration experts began working on a project to restore a section of Old Havana to its former splendor in 1984, in much of the city, crumbling buildings and vacant lots still line the narrow streets, which are filled with potholes. Now that the United States has taken the first steps to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, it isn’t difficult to imagine a new Havana, flush with foreign investment, emerging from the rubble. The idea for a trip to Cuba—before there’s a Starbucks on every corner—was hatched on a cocktail napkin by longtime Intercoiffure member Al Stephens and newly elected president, Frank Gambuzza, who let Cultural Explorations Cuba in Delray Beach, FL, organize the details of a photo shoot—the first ever on Cuban soil with a group of American hairdressers. Impeccably dressed, with flawless hair and makeup, our beautiful Cuban models strolled through the ruins of Old Havana, a metaphor for Cuba’s glorious past waiting to be rediscovered. That I was allowed to take part in this historic event was both an honor and a privilege.

Photography Nicolas Troncin, Makeup Sherri Jessee, Hair Intercoiffure

 
 
 
 
 
Steve Schardein, owner of Schardein’s in Oklahoma City, OK, gave her hair some shape in the perimeter and throughout the interior and used demi-permanent color in a golden red shade to reflect the light.
 
Steve Schardein, owner of Schardein’s in Oklahoma City, OK, gave her hair some shape in the perimeter and throughout the interior and used demi-permanent color in a golden red shade to reflect the light.
 
Sonya Dove and Belinda Gambuzza, co-directors of the Color Council for Intercoiffure, provided the color correction, seamlessly blending four inches of re-growth and brassy mid-lengths and ends in a process that took nearly an entire day. “We decided to deepen her new growth and keep the ends blonde,” says Dove. “She wanted to look like a California girl.” Stephen Szabo, owner of Stephen Szabo Salons in Pittsburgh, gave her a sexy new haircut with lots of layers. To style, he set the hair in pin curls and brushed it out on set.
 
Sonya Dove and Belinda Gambuzza, co-directors of the Color Council for Intercoiffure, provided the color correction, seamlessly blending four inches of re-growth and brassy mid-lengths and ends in a process that took nearly an entire day. “We decided to deepen her new growth and keep the ends blonde,” says Dove. “She wanted to look like a California girl.” Stephen Szabo, owner of Stephen Szabo Salons in Pittsburgh, gave her a sexy new haircut with lots of layers. To style, he set the hair in pin curls and brushed it out on set.
 
Lizzy Milor of Robert Andrew Salon & Spa in Gambrills, MD, was eager to get out of her comfort zone and work with her model’s natural texture and curl. The exaggerated Afro she created pays homage to her father, who wore his red, curly hair in a similar style in the 1970s.
 
Lizzy Milor of Robert Andrew Salon & Spa in Gambrills, MD, was eager to get out of her comfort zone and work with her model’s natural texture and curl. The exaggerated Afro she created pays homage to her father, who wore his red, curly hair in a similar style in the 1970s.
 
Belinda Gambuzza, co-owner of Salon Visage in Knoxville, TN, is a color specialist, who worked her magic to brighten up her model’s color, removing buildup from too many applications of box color. Brent Borreson, artistic director at Salon Visage, gave her a more current look by taking her hair a bit shorter, breaking up the ends a bit and giving her a strong fringe.
 
Belinda Gambuzza, co-owner of Salon Visage in Knoxville, TN, is a color specialist, who worked her magic to brighten up her model’s color, removing buildup from too many applications of box color. Brent Borreson, artistic director at Salon Visage, gave her a more current look by taking her hair a bit shorter, breaking up the ends a bit and giving her a strong fringe.
 
Intercoiffure President Frank Gambuzza, who owns Salon Visage in Knoxville, TN, with wife Belinda, created a geometric shape by “dry cutting the hair where it lives” before reshaping it while wet. We shot his model on a narrow street in Old Havana with a vintage 1950s Chevy in the background—the classic cars are used as taxis.
 
Intercoiffure President Frank Gambuzza, who owns Salon Visage in Knoxville, TN, with wife Belinda, created a geometric shape by “dry cutting the hair where it lives” before reshaping it while wet. We shot his model on a narrow street in Old Havana with a vintage 1950s Chevy in the background—the classic cars are used as taxis.
 
Christine Ku, co-owner of Zoku Salon in Summit, NJ, twisted sections of her model’s hair and carved into them. “I call it S-cutting,” she says. To add dimension to the haircut, she applied highlights around the face and lowlights on the bottom.
 
Christine Ku, co-owner of Zoku Salon in Summit, NJ, twisted sections of her model’s hair and carved into them. “I call it S-cutting,” she says. To add dimension to the haircut, she applied highlights around the face and lowlights on the bottom.
 
Shirley Gordon, owner of Strands Hair Studio in Wheaton, MD, used a balayage technique to give her model a sun-kissed, bronzy look. After using powder bleach to randomly paint in V-shapes, she glazed the hair with a shade of caramel to pop her roots up a bit.
 
Shirley Gordon, owner of Strands Hair Studio in Wheaton, MD, used a balayage technique to give her model a sun-kissed, bronzy look. After using powder bleach to randomly paint in V-shapes, she glazed the hair with a shade of caramel to pop her roots up a bit.
 
Sonya Dove, owner of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, CA, used tape-in extensions in blue, purple and dark pink to create a blunt bob shape and heavy fringe. “She didn’t want to cut her hair so I had to be creative,” says Dove, who laid the tape-in extensions on her model’s hair and created two fishtail braids, which she placed on top of the head.
 
Sonya Dove, owner of The Doves Studio in Santa Monica, CA, used tape-in extensions in blue, purple and dark pink to create a blunt bob shape and heavy fringe. “She didn’t want to cut her hair so I had to be creative,” says Dove, who laid the tape-in extensions on her model’s hair and created two fishtail braids, which she placed on top of the head.
 
Danielle Keasling of Salon Karma in Bluffton, SC, created a topknot and wrapped it in “mini dreads” fashioned from pre-colored extensions.
 
Danielle Keasling of Salon Karma in Bluffton, SC, created a topknot and wrapped it in “mini dreads” fashioned from pre-colored extensions.
 
Jeffrey LaMorte, owner of three eponymous salons outside of Chicago, gave his model a classic Victoria’s Secret haircut. After using an oval iron to create oblong curls through the mid-shaft and ends, he brushed the set out and let the hair fly free.
 
Jeffrey LaMorte, owner of three eponymous salons outside of Chicago, gave his model a classic Victoria’s Secret haircut. After using an oval iron to create oblong curls through the mid-shaft and ends, he brushed the set out and let the hair fly free.
 
Zoe Cortez, co-owner of Zoku Salon in Summit, NJ, used a razor to build texture into the hair. Then she foiled in shades of copper and crimson and added peek-a-boo highlights throughout the interior.
 
Zoe Cortez, co-owner of Zoku Salon in Summit, NJ, used a razor to build texture into the hair. Then she foiled in shades of copper and crimson and added peek-a-boo highlights throughout the interior.

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