When you're a devoted follower of Solange Knowles, it's kind of assumed that your edges aren't your own anymore. She constantly snatches them with whatever cool, creative thing she has planned in the depths of her brilliant, beautiful mind. You never know when she'll post a "casual" rehearsal video, or treat us to an envelope-pushing selfie. As one fan commented, Solange is "living art." And now that she's working with renowned hairstylist Vernon François, it's known that the art will come to life in her hair. The musician's Evening Standard Magazine cover did just that: Solange's gravity-defying halo braid sculpture, created by François and hairstylist Joanne Petit-Frere, is worthy of its own exhibition.
"Solange has a very clear vision of what she is looking for," François exclusively tells Refinery29. "We didn’t have specific inspiration besides wanting to focus on a braid updo, graphic and clean. And I'm obsessed with braiding. Creating a braid look with a pop of colour almost creates a different feeling while still staying true to African culture."
Unsurprisingly, it took many talented fingers — and a couple of hours — to accomplish this look. "It was all hands on deck. I specialised in doing her colour and the cornrows towards the back of her head," he says. "We had a full team dedicated to making the braids, as we had several looks to do. It was a great collaboration of two artists, myself and Petit-Frere, working together for one artist."
Of course, François had products from his synonymous haircare line in tow. He used the Pure~Fro Moisture Spray to prep her hair, Leave~In Conditioner to soften it up, and Pure~Fro Loc & Twist Holding Wax to sculpt. And what, you may ask, held that elaborate braided halo up? Mesh wire. "It was super lightweight, not heavy at all," François notes.
While fans of Solange are still singing the praises of this look, it's one that didn't come without controversy. It appears that the Evening Standard may have inexplicably Photoshopped Solange's braided crown off the cover. In response, Solange posted an unedited portrait from the shoot with an acronym: "dtmh"... or "don't touch my hair." While Francois won't comment on the controversy, he does say this: "Solange is committed to exploring new and different styles with her hair. We are continuing to push the boundaries with the aesthetic of what we know our beautiful Afro hair can do." In other words, hold on to your edges.