Original Mineral is muscling its way into the dialogue of those who count in New York City. In the process of signing a lease on a trend-driven space in the city’s acclaimed Meatpacking district (neighbouring the likes of Christian Louboutin), New York Mercedes Fashion Week played the most recent platform to boost the brand’s effortless integration into this global style capital.

Janelle Chaplin

INSTYLE was welcomed to form part of the’ O&M-do-NYFW’ crew, and flew to the blizzard-bearing city last week to follow the team in hot pursuit as they bounced behind the scenes between a handful of world-class shows. O&M co-founder and owner of Original A salon (Sydney); Alan Buki paired with Stevie English and a collective of US O&M-dedicated salon owners and session stars adhered to the positively-potent vision of O&M Creative Director Janelle Chaplin – New York’s new hair darling.

Whilst O&M co-founder Jose Bryce-Smith and Alan are working diligently with distributor and salon relations in the US, it is Janelle who has grabbed the brand by the throat – fearlessly launching O&M into the little black book of the city’s esteemed designers, PR houses and socialites. They are an unstoppable synergy – O&M and Janelle speak the same language, ignore the same boundaries and define the same future – a bond palpable across a series of New York Fall 2013 shows international media went berserk over.

Veronica Beard

First was the Veronica Beard presentation held at former nineties hot spot: Bills. The collection honoured American heart with Western notes for the modern woman – think plaid blazers, fur, nods of leather and a racoon tail hat for good measure.

“We’re going for modern day chic cowgirl, the designers wanted the hair to appear as though she’d just come off a farm, rolled out of bed and headed off to feed the pigs,” explained Janelle.

“So we created a loose asymmetric, going-to-one-side fish plait. Starting with a firm structure, we’ve boosted up the hair with O&M Rootalicious and inserted some fake hair. Then, taking small sections, the fish braid has been created and then texturized all the way up with a men’s product called K Gravel by O&M.”

“My hero product for this look has definitely been K Gravel – it has taken the shine out of the fake hair and given us the perfect amount of grit – because you can definitely get too much grit.”

CZAR by Cesar Galindo

Day Two sent the O&M team into a dark, twisted collaboration between CZAR by Cesar Galindo and an exhibition reflecting one of the world’s oldest art forms, taxidermy: IMMORTALIZED. Again adopting a presentation format opposed to traditional runway style, the show proved perfect for the CZAR aesthetic – brooding textures in black and bewitched cobalt teamed with animalistic headwear in a Labyrinth-style twist. 

“This is a collaboration with a freak show, so we want them to look like hot circus girls – a bit clowny, nothing is more scary than clown,” says Janelle.

“First we’re applying O&M Rootalicious all over dry hair to create the foundation and give us something to work with. Using small tongs throughout small sections, we’re creating a pretty curl – a floaty, candy texture opposed to the more aggressive texture we created last year with O&M ribbon. Next, we’re brushing out the curl and creating a matt-wet finish – some of the girls are then having their hair threaded at the back to create an overzealous bob-type style.”

It was a super early start for the O&M team on Day Three at the CZAR by Cesar Galindo onsite runway show. Despite a daring take on the season – illustrated with brocade bubble skirts and violet cityscape prints, it was hair design creating the biggest stir backstage.

“Cesar always works with beautiful, interesting fabrics so we first thought about how we could translate that into the hair. A pop of colour definitely isn’t going anywhere, so rather than approaching this trend with the typical ombre style (which I think is kind of done), we’ve opted for stencilling,” says Janelle.

“We found some stencils that looked very similar to some of Cesar’s fabrics (plus part of the collection vaunted stencilled fur), and have used them with three dominant colours; white, purple and blue. Finally we’ve set the colour with O&M Original Queenie Hairspray.”

CZAR by Cesar Galindo

The stencil assumed a tiger print and looked truly electric courtesy of Janelle’s choice in palette and product precision. It was a historical moment for runway hair – proof that post-Sassoon hairdressing can indeed induce fame. Each girl cast with stencil and spray invoked media hysteria that was a proud moment for O&M. It was transportation back in time to the 1980s when hairdressers were rock stars, and evoked the feeling that perhaps this company could be the ones to bring this stigma back, full-time.

But like any successful being, Janelle found room for improvement.

“I don’t really love it, but I never love anything I do. Pretty sure I’ve set a trend though and that’s what you want.”

Check out INSTYLE March/April for the full report on O&M in New York for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week – the people, the shenanigans and the future.