Leading Ladies

With the Academy Awards set to air at the end of the month, we asked Matrix celebrity stylist Mark Townsend to weigh in on the most memorable Oscar hairstyles of all time.

Mark Townsend has gotten Oscar-winners Cate Blanchett, Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Weiss and Jennifer Connolly ready for the red carpet, so it made sense to ask him to come up with a list of his favorite Oscar hairstyles. As this issue went to press, Blanchett had been nominated for two Golden Globes, one for her work in Elizabeth: The Golden Age and the other for her gender-bending role as Bob Dylan in I'm Not Here, and we expect that her work in both those films will be nominated for Oscars, as well. Whatever happens, Townsend will be her mane man when she gets ready to walk the red carpet, which brings us to the first name on his list of memorable Oscar 'dos: Grace Kelly.

 Clockwise, from top: Audrey Hepburn's gamine cut was all the rage in 1954; Grace Kelly sported the perfect French twist in 1955; Faye Dunaway's dramatic hairstyle showed off her gorgeous face in 1968.
Clockwise, from top: Audrey Hepburn's gamine cut was all the rage in 1954; Grace Kelly sported the perfect French twist in 1955; Faye Dunaway's dramatic hairstyle showed off her gorgeous face in 1968.

"She wore the perfect French twist at the 1955 Academy Awards when she won for Best Actress for The Country Girl," he says. "It complemented her dress and accentuated every feature on her face." Townsend, who considers Kelly's French twist an essential Oscar hairdo that works on any face shape and with any outfit, has actually recreated the look on Blanchett a number of times. "You can tweak it ever so slightly to personalize it for anyone," he says of the hairstyle, which has inspired similar looks worn by other Oscar attendees, including Uma Thurman, Gwyneth Paltrow and Nicole Kidman.

Townsend also gives a big thumbs-up to the gamine cut Audrey Hepburn sported in 1954, the year she won her Oscar for Roman Holiday. "Audrey Hepburn showed us just how versatile short hair can be," says Townsend, who notes that her wispy bangs and slicked-back sides inspired many of the hairstyles he created for Natalie Portman when she was growing her hair out after shaving her head for the film V for Vendetta.

"I didn't want Natalie to look the same in every photo just because she had short hair, so I experimented with a lot of different products," he says. "My favorite is Biolage Shaping Cream Wax because it's light, almost a forming paste. I use it for everything. If I do a rough blow-dry with my hands or use a round brush to smooth the hair out, I'll take a little of the wax, warm it up in my palms and scrunch it into the hair to provide a bit of texture, oomph and great shine." The point, says Townsend, is to find ways to dress short hair so that it looks different all of the time.

The third iconic hairstyle on Townsend's list is the dramatic low bun Faye Dunaway wore when she picked up her Best Actress Oscar for Bonnie and Clyde in 1968. "Her slicked-back hair showed off that gorgeous face," he says. "And the low bun she wore has become a staple at awards shows." Townsend still finds inspiration in the choices Dunaway's made over the years. "I just find her so inspirational," he says. "When she won for Network, she wore her hair down, proving that you don't have to follow the rules, which say you must wear an updo to the Academy Awards."

Clockwise, from top: Cher pushed the envelope in 1998; Julie Christie's long locks are as fresh today as they were in 1966; Barbra Streisand's graduated bob was picture-perfect in 1969.
Clockwise, from top: Cher pushed the envelope in 1998; Julie Christie's long locks are as fresh today as they were in 1966; Barbra Streisand's graduated bob was picture-perfect in 1969.

Julie Christie's flowing waves and bangs at the 1966 Academy Awards—she won for Darling—is another of Townsend's favorites. "I think every hairstylist on the planet has found inspiration in any number of hairstyles Julie Christie's worn over the years, but this one is my favorite," he says. "It's still as relevant and fresh today as it was when she first wore it."

"Come on, how could I not include this one?" says Townsend of the tight curls and headdress Cher wore to pick up her Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck in 1998. "Cher was, is and always will be a risk-taker, and I admire her for that. She found a way to be edgy and elegant with this hairstyle, which was a very modern take on the hairstyles of the 1920s and '30s." Townsend laments the fact that so many actresses seem to be playing it safe these days and that fashion stylists seem to be taking over when it comes to the choices stars make before they walk the red carpet. "Stylists not only dress their clients but also tell them how to wear their hair and makeup," he says. "It gets boring."

Townsend considers himself fortunate to be able to work with Blanchett, who is willing to take risks with her image. Last year he literally grabbed hunks of her hair and pinned them back. "She wore this metal dress that weighed at least 50 pounds," he says. "We knew we wanted the hair tight to her head, but we didn't want a bun or a French twist. I thought we should put texture in her hair because of the dress, and she just let me go for it."

While initially we'd asked Townsend to limit his list to five iconic hairstyles, he felt compelled to include a runner-up: the "perfect bob" Barbra Streisand wore in 1969 when she picked up the Oscar for Funny Girl. "It worked perfectly with that sheer outfit she wore," says Townsend. Indeed it did, and it's also a look that's worked for her in one variation or another ever since. —MARIANNE DOUGHERTY

On the Road

Aveda's Antoinette Beenders visited Nepal last year to meet the people of Malika, who make the paper the company used in its holiday gift promotions. To get there, she had to fly to Kathmandu, then take two charter flights to reach Chainpur. It took six more hours of hiking to the top of the mountain to reach Malika. Here, she comments on the highlights from her trip. —M.D.


PureOlogy Artistic Director Phillip Wilson recently worked with Angel Del Solar and Wendy Belanger to produce a new collection of four haircuts that range from short to long. Each of the cuts features lots of texture and can be styled two ways, so they're extremely versatile. Wilson looked to the spring runways in order to find inspiration. When he noticed that John Galliano was layering all of his fabrics and that short hair was everywhere, he incorporated those observations into the trend. An educational brochure will feature step-by-steps for achieving each look. —M.D.

Star Sightings

Forget the box of chocolates. An even better treat for that special someone on Valentine's Day is RED CARPET: 20 YEARS OF FAME AND FASHION (Welcome Books, 2007), by celebrity photographer Frank Trapper. Covered in velvet and stamped with gold foil, this collection of more than 1,000 photographs captures the most memorable fashions from all the best red-carpet events since 1987.—C.W.

Spread the Love

The playful and flirty Valentine's Day cards by Masha D'yans Designs are perfect for spreading a little love in style. D'yans' cards focus on artwork as the message, and her whimsical painting style draws on a variety of inspiration, including fashion, calligraphy, Japanese art, nature and children's fairy tales from her native Russia. To see more of her work, visit —C.W.

A Better Bag

Form meets function in Stephanie Johnson's Lizzie bag, seen here in the pretty Belize print for spring. The perfect airplane carry-on, the Lizzie bag holds all your travel essentials: four to five magazines, brush, makeup, neck pillow, cell phone and wallet. With an adjustable shoulder strap and outside pocket, it can also double as a laptop bag. —C.W.

The Black Wash shampoo bowl and chair from MG Bross adds a modern touch to your salon.


Redken Creates Cut and Color Techniques: Volume 2 offers 12 visionary techniques from six members of the Redken Artists Network, made up of stylists and colorists from 22 countries. The book features detailed instructions for creating six new looks. —M.D.

Hi-Ho Silver

Mary Wilson—her husband is PureOlogy's Artistic Director Phillip Wilson—has launched a Web site that provides products and personal retreat programs promoting wellness, relaxation, reflection and rejuvenation. We absolutely love her Infinity Message Circle necklaces. Choose the chain you want and add one or more sterling silver infinity circles engraved with words like achieve, believe, destiny and joy. —M.D.

Making Scents

Add an elegant touch to your retail area with the handsome new diffuser sets from Seda France, a popular manufacturer of home fragrances based in Austin, TX. Each set contains alcohol-free fragrance oil, natural wooden reeds and a lovely, hand-blown glass container. Fragrances include French Tulip, Asian Lychee, Hyacinth and the best-selling Japanese Quince, which is also Oprah's favorite. —C.W.

Band of Brothers

Redken For Men rocked the Z100 Jingle Ball Official Talent Gift Lounge at Madison Square Garden in December. The Jonas Brothers—Joe, Nick and Kevin—stopped by to have their hair styled by Redken session stylist Jenny Balding of Cutler NYC before they went onstage. Balding used a little Maneuver Working Wax and some Workforce 09 Flexible Volumizing Spray, which the boys took with them, after posing for photographers, of course. —M.D.

Teen singing sensations The Jonas Brothers are opening for Hannah Montana.
Teen singing sensations The Jonas Brothers are opening for Hannah Montana.


We asked Mizani educator and stylist Evie Johnson what she's been listening to.

"Come Get to This" by Marvin Gaye. "It's my favorite song. It reminds me of growing up with my 12 brothers and sisters. My mom would play it whenever she was teaching us how to do something around the house."

"I Refuse to be Lonely" by Phyllis Hyman. "This song reminds me to appreciate what I have and to not take life for granted."

"4 My People" by Missy Elliott. "Every time I hear this song I think about hair. It gets me pumped up before I do a hair show, and puts me in the right frame of mind before I go in front of a crowd." —C.W.

Naughty but Nice

Wrapped in sweet and sexy, classic calendar girl pin-up images of the Postwar era, the Pin-up Girl Chocolate Bars from New York City's famed MARIE BELLE chocolatier will make you smile and satisfy your sweet tooth, too. The bars are available in milk and dark chocolate at —C.W.

Read All About It

Mike Karg has been a proponent of dry cutting for the past 15 years. Now he's written a book on the subject called Dry Hair Cut that features nine haircuts with step-by-step instructions. Our Editor in Chief Marianne Dougherty—she and Karg are longtime friends—wrote the foreword. To order a copy, visit —M.D.

Something to Smile About

Your clients can now turn their tedious teeth-brushing routine into a sensory experience with GoSmile 5 Senses Toothpaste Kit. Along with fluoride, the toothpaste contains elements like cranberry extract to help fight gum disease and silica to remove stains naturally. Yummy flavors like Peppermint Candy, Ginger Cookie, Mango Paradise, Aloha Tropical Smile and Lemonade are included in the kit. —C.W.

Do the Right Thing

Put good manners in the palm of your hand with Pocket Protocol, credit card-sized cheat sheets created by image and business etiquette specialist Susan Sommers. Topics include Conversation Starters, Introducing Others, Telephone Etiquette, Email Etiquette and Dining Etiquette. The laminated Pocket Protocol cards are packaged in a clear vinyl card case that slips easily into a pocket or purse so you can refer to them whenever you find yourself in a difficult situation. —M.D.

Yon-Ka for Men

Yon-Ka Paris, a luxury skincare line loved for its aromatherapeutic treatments and products, launched its highly anticipated men's collection. The eight products, which include a Detoxifying Mask, Barber Shave cream and the must-have Age-Defense gel-cream, contain plant extracts, fruits and essential oils of cypress, geranium, lavender, rosemary and thyme. To keep things simple, the products are divided into three steps: Purify, Restore and Regenerate. —C.W.


Tom Julian, senior vice president and director of trends for ad agency McCann Erickson, checks out a neighborhood destination on the West Coast.

Tom Julian
Tom Julian

Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States, with a trend-setting population and a cool shopping mix of mega-malls and destination centers. The city also has quaint neighborhoods with distinct and notable history. Hard to believe, but it boasts two Farmer's Markets—one at West Third Street and Fairfax Avenue in the mid-Wilshire area and one in Brentwood. The former has been transformed into a modern lifestyle center called The Grove at Farmer's Market. The latter is still considered authentic and affluent, as Brentwood borders Santa Monica and Bel-Air.

Dating back to 1948, the Brentwood Country Mart possesses a farm-and-barn style that was indicative of the times, so it feels rural and historic. The small shops, services and common area attracted community groups and neighborhood celebrities like Joan Crawford and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, the Brentwood Country Mart boasts more than two-dozen shops and food purveyors in an open-air setting.

If you plan to visit the Brentwood Country Mart, don't miss these distinctive shopping and dining attractions:

A dynamic mix of specialty fashion shops. The United Kingdom's Jigsaw operates both a women's and a junior's shop. Christiane Celle's Calypso boasts breezy, feminine fashions and accessories that complement the collection in the neighboring home store. California's James Perse presents his array of cotton lifestyle offerings. Greg and Katherine Turpan (of East Hampton fame) mix practicality with great design in apparel, gifts and novelties for the kitchen and bath in their signature shop, Turpan. Apartment Number 9 is the men's choice for designer sportswear and accessories, while Flora and Henri dresses the newborn set in classic and vintage-inspired pieces.

Destination beauty operators. Marie Mason Apothecary offers a stylish setting to peruse bath, body and home luxuries. Ms. Mason has selected elixirs, custom-blended scents and Euro-exclusive lines. The beauty shop features an open setting with white walls, a turquoise ceiling and an artistic elk chandelier. Salon Faberge is a full-service salon specializing in Japanese hair straightening and hair extensions.

Novel and niche eateries. Manhattan-based City Bakery operates an epicurean shop with eat-in or take-out food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Reddi Chick is said to offer the best rotisserie chicken and French fries in L.A. Barney's Burgers creates gourmet and vegetarian sandwiches. Mrs. Beasley's is all about sweet treats and gifts to go.

For details, visit