When Antoinette Beenders met X-presion 10 years ago at the Salon International trade show in the UK, she was instantly intrigued by the beauty of their hair work, and their technical excellence. It was the beginning of a great friendship (Antoinette now describes X-presion founders Jorge, Jose and Marco as like her brothers) and the melding of two powerhouses of creativity. The latest edition is the reveal of a new collection: Graphic Organic (see below)
Creativity meets creativity
As Senior Vice President of Creative and Global Creative Director of the Aveda hair and beauty brand, Dutch-born Antoinette is now based in North America, but initially trained and worked in the UK. She has what Tribu-te calls a ‘global eye’ and through her photographic collections, shows and session work, demonstrates taste and judgement in balance with empathy for the consumer. Because of her place in the Estée Lauder company, she remains utterly on-point for how to translate high-end fashion and design into accessible looks for the salon. Oh, and she’s ‘green’ on the inside – devoted to the practice of caring for the planet.
Formed by three young entrepreneurs from Madrid, Marco Antonio Restrepo, Jorge Cáncer and Jose Luis Almendral, X-presion is well known to Tribu-te. We adore their edgy take and progressive attitude. Each collection, project and initiative is like fresh air and appearances on stage with the Tribu-te Show over the years confirms our enthusiasm.
Today Tribu-te joins Antoinette and two of the X-Presion team to discover how the release of the ‘Graphic Organic’ collection – the first-ever collab between Aveda and a guest artist – both celebrates the signature graphic style of the Spanish trio and heralds something special for the most natural of brands:
“As creative thinkers, non-conformist and even rebels in hairdressing, to work with Aveda Full Spectrumto achieve a palette of so many colors and infinite customization was incredible.” X-presion, 2022
Tribu-te: So! What prompted this happy union?
Antoinette: “At Aveda, we know that Xpresion is playing very heavily with social media and digital creativity. We wanted to give them the ultimate artistic colour palette of our Full Spectrum colour range and see what could happen!
“With Xpresion it’s a very natural relationship which is lovely; they’re technically excellent with brilliant ideas which are amazing. It’s really nice for me to stand away sometimes from the creative process, and see other people. It’s artists appreciating artists.”
Jorge: “We were big fans of Antoinette before we met, it was beautiful from the beginning. We feel comfortable creating things and it’s different from working with a marketing team. It was great to have 100% freedom.”
Tribu-te: Where did the process of creating the collection start?
Jorge: “I asked Antoinette, what do you expect from us? The briefing was super cool, totally open. That’s good, but hard, too. We could go really crazy, but we talked…”
Antoinette: “It was a very fluid process. We asked them to do their Xpresion thing, but also make it commercial.”
Tribu-te: And on this occasion, what was the X-Presion ‘thing’?
Jorge: “We created tests with all the shades in the Full Spectrum range – we needed first to understand the product… in fact that’s the key to the collection Graphic Organic, to understand the colour. We spent so much time on creating wefts showing more than 200 colours, put them on a wall and it was already beautiful. We thought, let’s make something on top of this. Jose brought images with patterns to the studio, we got obsessed with the graphics that needed to be translated to something organic.”
Tribu-te: How do you communicate? Is it words, pictures, actions…?
Jorge: “With the three of us in X-Presion, sometimes we don’t need to talk, it’s incredible. Marco will tell me something I’m already thinking – we have a collective brain. Like a ‘cloud’ which we connect to!”
Antoinette: “For me it was really natural and it was lovely when they presented their first mood-boards [for this collection]. When they said the words ‘graphic organic’ I was like Oh my God! I remember how excited I was about that because what I love is the concept of the layering. It’s genius and you can translate to more than just colour.”
Tribu-te: And it’s different for you Antoinette, not being the one doing the creating?
Antoinette: “What I’ve learned in my career is that creativity talks to creativity – almost like a network. Did you know that in a forest all the trees talk to each other? I think it’s the same creativity without you realising it.
“Currently, I’m building an artistry strategy which offers a career path for my network to help create artistic masters and real artisans. At the bottom of the triangle, we incubate talent, then help them rise up through learning, so that we enable the best to become true craftspeople. I’m at that stage of being interested in nurturing more… “
Tribu-te: How are you going to make the looks from Graphic Organic commercial?
Jorge: “Sometimes the question of what’s commercial is a funny thing – for me it could be the question of the colour you choose. If you choose something more natural it changes something perhaps from when you use a stronger colour – but the technique remains the same. The ‘graphic’ technique in this collection is similar to how to make foil highlights – this is the first step in creating graphic organic looks. You need education to learn, but that’s usual, just like learning balayage. Then the ‘organic’ technique [wrapping string] is easy too. You can do maybe just two sections on the sides, to create an impact. Maybe a hidden panel. Or a flipped panel.”
Tribu-te: What keeps each of you motivated?
Jorge: “Our industry is not like it was 10 years ago. We love to be surrounded by people like Antoinette – our job is to be innovative, not just in the hair looks but how we teach. When we started out 17 years we started with the dream to create something that doesn’t exist in the industry… we’re independent with no support from brands or a salon business. We set up X-Presion because we were bored of these things, nothing changed. It’s part of our philosophy to be….”
Antoinette: “… anti-traditional!
“And Aveda now is ready to do something different – you’ll see lots more changes coming, more working together for sure! I’m very interested in the element of ‘artisan’ and we have big announcements coming up.”
Tribu-te: We can’t wait! Thanks for your time and openness. We love Graphic Organic.
TO DISCOVER HOW TO CREATE THE LOOKS, CLICK HERE
GRAPHIC ORGANIC CREDITS
Creative Direction + Hair Cut/Style: X-presion • Hair Color: X-presion • Models: Andrea Gutiérrez Arcas , Muriel Seiquer Pérez, Arashi Méndez Bella • Fashion Stylist: Andrea Sanchez • Makeup: David Lopez • Photographer: Javier Marquez • Fashion Film: Gus&Lo • Aveda Technical Educator: Natalia Prager • Color Director, Aveda Lifestyle Salon Madrid: Adoracion Ruiz
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