By Gina Rivera, Phenix Salon Suites & Products President, Founder and Hair Expert
Everyone looks to the VMA's for the latest trends in hair and this year the looks point to softer, more subtle cuts and color.
Many of the hair styles took cues from the '40s, '50s and '60s, giving the MTV Music Video Awards at the Forum in Inglewood, CA, a distinct retro flare.
Ariana Grande changed dresses but donned a high ponytail with long creamy mocha brown hair throughout most of the evening, reminiscent of the late 60s and 70s. She triggered a hurricane of applause when she stepped onto the red carpet in her black leather mini and matching thigh-high go-go style boots, also an echo from the 60s with all kinds of contemporary updates. Others doing the high ponytail (think I Dream of Jeannie), were actresses Arden Cho and Victoria Justice.
Rapper Iggy Azalea and signer Rita Ora both donned slick-back wet looks in blonde. Recording artist Jessie J did hers in black. Iggy paired hers with a silvery metallic strapless Versace gown with ribby accents across the bodice. The creation was flown from Milan for the event. "I just wanted to pick something very sleak and timeless," she explained on the red carpet. Her hair was a terrific match. Rita Ora paired her slick wet look with a bold red dress with spaghetti shoulder straps and split up the leg that climbed to her waist. This was big look at the VMAs and a signal that this style is staying strong.
Katy Perry arrived on the red carpet with beautiful black hair and lots of shine. The waves started about half way down the shaft of the hair, something we saw repeated in the evening. The length, waves and dark, dark color echoed looks for the '60s.
Singer Nicky Menaj also made the walk in a beautiful wavy black bob and mini dress. Her hair was shiny but with a soft, soft appearance. This was standard for the evening, hair that was beautiful but understated and soft.
Taylor Swift's new album may be titled 1989 (the year she was born) but this night she went with a vintage look, a piecey, neutral blonde bob, medium-full bangs to match a silvery high-waisted skirt for her performance of her new song, "Shake It Off," for the first time live.
Miley Cyrus, famous for her over-the-top gyrations and on-stage grinding, appeared on the red carpet in a rubber-black tube top, but her hair set the tone with a soft, grown-out pixie look in some pretty quiet blonde shades, nothing like the outrageous styles and behavior in the last year. Maybe she was leaving room for the light to shine on her efforts to raise awareness of homeless youth in Los Angeles. A young man accepted her top award at the event, for video of the year, reading a speech about the numbers and plight of this population just outside the doors. Cyrus cried openly in the background.
Singer Gwen Stefani, one of my favorites for the evening, went with long blonde hair, parted neatly on the right with a small bun pinned opposite, reminiscent of the '40s pin-up style. It was beautiful and a standout but, still, understated and soft.
What we didn't see were a lot of multi-toned styles, the ombres. 5 Harmony had a couple ombres but that was about it. Even Beyonce's beautiful wavy tresses were fairly uniform in color, a rich light brown with light caramel highlights. She became the high point of the show when Jay-Z and daughter Blue Ivy Carter presented her with the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award.
Again, it seemed, the hair was there, stunningly beautiful, but soft and subtle in the bigger picture.