World Cultures

Much to the delight of the more than 4,000 beauty professionals representing 10 countries in attendance, this year's Aveda Congress proved once again that it truly is a small world after all. Held at the Minneapolis Convention Center last fall, the bi-annual event, themed "Beauty, Fashion, Wellness and Art," featured dazzling live stage presentations and a day of educational workshops.

Aveda president Dominique Conseil opened the program, underscoring the importance of the Aveda mission and introducing the company's indigenous partners from around the world, including representatives from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria and Vanuatu. To keep the momentum going, co-emcees Van Council and Jeanine O'Neill Blackwell introduced the company's new fall/winter collection, which was was inspired by parabolic arcs (mathematical forms that mimic the natural curves of the human body). Also presenting were Purefessional Dennis Clendennen, who showcased his cutting skills; Aveda colorists David Adams, Yuji Okawa, Anna Karzis and Nancy Rao, who worked their magic on makeover subjects; and texture artists Derrick Scurry and Lisa Vann, whose hair designs proved that texture and big hair are back with a vengeance. Rounding out the day was a show-stopping performance by Aveda founder Horst Rechelbacher, who celebrated 50 years in hairdressing in 2005, and a ceremony to celebrate the winners of the first-ever Aveda Awards.

Day two showcased the talents of representatives from the Aveda Advanced Academies in London, Berlin, Toronto, Vancouver and New York and a Q&A with William Lauder, CEO of Aveda's parent company, EstE9e Lauder. For her part, Aveda's newly appointed global creative director Antoinette Beenders wowed the crowd with her presentation featuring fashion-forward coiffures and couture.

"Congress is unique in the world's hair industry," said Conseil. "Not only is it a world-class hair show, but it's also an immersion into the deep culture of Aveda and an opportunity to make enlightening connections. [It's] the gathering of the Aveda tribe; a place for artistic inspiration, creative expression, discovery of self and care for others."