Braids—whether wrapped all over or woven into an updo—are timeless. That’s why we keep seeing them twisted and roped into beautiful incarnations each season on the runways, including the delicate and feminine wraparound hairband at Viktor & Rolf’s show this fall. “We can find new and more modern ways to attempt them all the time—you can move them all the way around your head and create a different look,” says Missy Clarkson, hair stylist at Burke & Hair salon in Vancouver’s Gastown. “There’s a lot of flexibility within the style, so I think that’s why it’s something that keeps coming back.”

We asked Clarkson to share her expert tips on how to get Viktor & Rolf’s runway hairstyle’s modern twist on the classic French braid.


“My hair is about collarbone length and I actually wore this look to a wedding yesterday,” says Clarkson about the runway hairstyle. “I found that to be pretty ideal.” This way, you don’t have the braid wrapping around your head multiple times—although you can fold it back and forth if necessary. “If you have a
shorter cut and lots of layers, it creates quite a
messy look,” she explains, and that’s exactly what you want for this braided updo. “You just need to be able to have something to tuck up.”

1. Start with clean, dry hair

With a base of clean, dry hair, you can add in the gritty texture yourself. “I would blow dry with a texturizing spray into it, just to get a bit of grip and to have a bit more control—to have the messy look, but on purpose,” she says. She recommends Kevin Murphy Hair Resort spray, and spritzing it from roots to ends, working it in as you roughly blow dry hair. “I’ve got very slippery hair so if I just put in a couple French braids, my hair will try to slide right back out,” Clarkson says. “If you put a little grip in there first, it’ll be a lot easier to do.”


2. Master your French braid

Create a diagonal, imperfect part along the centre of the hair. “I don’t like a too-clean-looking part when you’ve got such a messy look,” says Clarkson. “So if it looks more devil-may-care and casual, then that’s more appropriate.”

But first things first: “If you don’t know how to do a French braid, you can get your friend to help you or look up videos on YouTube—there’s a cornucopia of resources to help you get practicing,” says Clarkson. “Because it is a matter of practice with a French braid.”


More expert styling tips on mastering the braided updo runway hairstyle on the next page …
Viktor-e-Rolf-page-two.jpgStart your French braid on either side from the temple and work your way down the scalp, wrapping around to the other side. Then pull that end up above the opposite ear and pin that in with bobby pins. “I like to start doing quite a tight braid and once I’ve secured my braid with a clear elastic, I would rough it up from there, rather than trying to do a loose braid right off the bat.” Be sure to tuck the ends into the braid on either side so it’s completely hidden. 

3. It’s sew easy!
If you want to get creative with your braided updo, you can get an embroidery needle and using your hair as a thread, sew spare pieces right into the braid. “Or you can push them in with the back of a tail comb as another option,” Clarkson suggests. “If you get it done in a salon, they will most likely sew it in and you can wear it for a few days. I like to sleep on updos if I can get them sewn in, and then it looks even messier and more perfectly unkempt the next day and last a little bit longer that way.”

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For the DIY runway hairstyle, be sure to insert bobby pins at the base of your braid along the scalp (not on top) so they’re kept hidden. “That’s going to feel more secure,” she adds. “Pull some soft pieces around the face to look almost garden party,” she says. And spray all over with hairspray. “If you get all the little pieces that you want out, spray to keep the rest in so it doesn’t get too loose on you,” she says.

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The best part of the braided updo? “It’s actually quite easy—it sounds harder than it is!” Clarkson reassures. “If you already know how to French braid, you can get it in 1.5 tries.” The braid is what takes up most of the time when creating this runway hairstyle. “It’s a messy look, you can’t screw it up too much!”

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