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Dressed Up English Braids

Introduction

Model at Mara Hoffman 2011

Hair: Martin Christopher Harper for Cutler Make-up artist Lottie for Make Up For Ever BeautyPress All Rights Reserved

New York Fashion Week always provides a great look at the hottest new hair trends.

Although fashion designers are focused on showcasing their latest collections, they work with amazingly talented hairdressers who work to incorporate perfectly coiffed styles which work in total harmony with the designs.

Martin Christopher Harper designed a glorious array of braided hairstyles which showcased the brilliant 2011 designs of the talented Mara Hoffman.

Harper utilized simple but elegant English, Dutch and French braids to highlight Hoffman's stunning turbans and head wraps. Harper also demonstrated how easily a plain English braid can be transformed into a stunning high fashion hairstyle.

How To Create Basic English Braid

The English Braid is one of the easiest braids to create. When hair is pulled to one side it's a snap to create on your own strands because you'll be able to see your plaiting.

Although it's best to create a braid on completely dry tresses which have been prepped with styling cream, gel or spray, braids can be created on damp strands.

Model at Mara Hoffman 2011

Hair: Martin Christopher Harper for Cutler Make-up artist Lottie for Make Up For Ever BeautyPress All Rights Reserved

Follow the steps below to create a simple three strand English Braid:

1. Decide where you wish to position your braid. An English braid can be started at the nape of the neck or higher up on the head.

Where you position should the base of your braid should be determined by any accessories you wish to add such as a wide headband or a turban.

Depending upon the look you're going for you can start your braid from a ponytail or free form. Experiment to determine the best look for you.

2. Create any desired parts or fringe. Use a 100% boar's bristle brush or your fingers to smooth hair before dividing it into three even sections. Brush, comb or finger smooth each of the individual sections.

3. Lift the right section of hair up and pull over the middle section. The right section becomes the middle.

Model at Mara Hoffman 2011

Hair: Martin Christopher Harper for Cutler Make-up artist Lottie for Make Up For Ever BeautyPress All Rights Reserved

4. Tighten the sections before crossing the left section over the middle section. The left section becomes the middle section of the plait.

5. Continue this process of alternating the right and left sections of the braid over the middle section making sure to tighten the plait as you progress down the strand.

6. When you reach the bottom of the newly formed braid secure the end with a hair-friendly Blax or similar elastic. You may need to double or triple the band to make sure it's secure.

If you are unsure how to successfully plait your hair into an English braid you can practice on an old fashioned string mop, a clip-in ponytail, three long sections of string, rope or even three pipe cleaners.

Once you understand the basic braiding concept you can spread your wings and try more complicated plaits.

Dress Up Your Basic English Braid

Model at Mara Hoffman 2011

Hair: Martin Christopher Harper for Cutler Make-up artist Lottie for Make Up For Ever BeautyPress All Rights Reserved

Fashion designer Mara Hoffman recently amped up a basic English braid by coupling it with an array of gorgeous turbans and edgy sunglasses.

Mara positioned an array of seductive braids to one side spilling out from under a sensual wrap. She also showcased braids cascading from the back.

Simple three strand English braids don't have to be boring. They can be dressed up not only with turbans and edgy sunglasses, but with narrow, wide or ultra wide hairline headbands.

The strands can be dressed up by twisting each of the three strands before braiding. Another option is to use the long tail of a tail comb and gently deconstruct some of the strands to create a softer look.

More About Mara Hoffman

Mara Hoffman is a New York fashion designer whose line, Mara Hoffman, launched in 2000.

Hoffman studied fashion design and graduated from Parsons School of Design in New York City and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London.

Model at Mara Hoffman 2011

Hair: Martin Christopher Harper for Cutler Make-up artist Lottie for Make Up For Ever BeautyPress All Rights Reserved

Mara Hoffman has evolved from collections featuring hand-dyed couture pieces to her current collections which concentrate heavily on original silk prints.

Her line encompasses everything from swimwear to cashmere coats. Hoffman pulls her inspiration from nature, world travel and fantasy. Her work is shown on the runway during NY Fashion Week.

Hoffman's clothing has garnered recognition among celebrities such as Kate Hudson, Nelly Furtado, Nicole Richie, Mischa Barton, and Drew Barrymore.

Mara Hoffman is currently available through top retailers worldwide, including L'Eclaireur in Paris, Henri Bendel in New York City, and Holt Renfrew in Canada

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- Revised Publication Date: 02/18/11

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