December Cover Links to Madonna's Infamous Shoots 25 Years Ago

Photography: Luis Alvarez

Twenty-five years ago, Madonna and photographer Steven Meisel shocked mainstream America with the release of their provocative book, Sex. The pair shot at various locations throughout New York City and Miami, including at Paris Studio in South Beach—the same location Luis Alvarez, VP Marketing, Creative & Education BaBylissPRO Division, used to shoot this month’s cover image. (In fact, the chair that the model is posing on was also used by Madonna in the book.) “I don’t claim to push the boundary of what is acceptable to the degree that Madonna does, but I do aim to provoke and inspire hair artists to look beyond the work they do day in and day out and push their creative boundaries,” says Alvarez.

Aquage Master Artist Ann Bray crafted the cover model’s unique textured hair. First, after combing through two-inch wide and one-inch thick sections, Bray sprayed each section on either side with Aquage Working Spray. Sections were then delicately wrapped into strips of foil and folded into an accordion-like Z pattern, and heated with a BaBylissPRO Prima flat iron. After cooling, the zigzagged hair was arranged into a magnificent updo. 

And, even though the look is more inspirational than aspirational, it doesn’t mean it can’t be translated for use in the salon. “Avant-garde looks are often the catalysts that ultimately manifest into consumer-friendly looks,” says Alvarez. “This look, for example, is an updo, but it could easily be used on long hair and left to flow and cascade over the shoulders. This could also be translated to replace the traditional marcel wave look with an edgier zigzag pattern.”


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In the end, says Alvarez, searching in unexpected places for motivation and pushing past your comfort zone is important if you want to grow as an artist, no matter what type of hairstyling work you excel in. “I love to look beyond the hair and find inspiration in the great work that surrounds us by other artists working in other mediums,” he says-—and we couldn’t agree more.