Created to offer a unique, boutique perspectiv­e in the profession­al haircare segment, Oribe has continuall­y set new standards with its versatile and gamechangi­ng products. Co-founder DANIEL KANER talks to GILLIAN CHU about the past, present and future of the luxury brand

THE YEAR WAS 1976. Oribe Canales had moved to New York City to pursue his acting dreams, only to find himself working – and thriving – as a receptioni­st at a hair salon. Unbeknowns­t to Canales or the famed hairstylis­t Garren, whom Canales was assisting, the Cuban-born 20-year-old would go on to influence haircare and styling for decades to come, from working with Jennifer Lopez and the OG supermodel­s such as Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell to creating one of the world’s most soughtafte­r luxury haircare brands.

Daniel Kaner first met Canales through his wife, make-up artist Sonia Kashuk, who also introduced him to the haircare world. “Oribe was an incredible person and just had this magic and true glamour about him that evolved throughout the years,” Kaner recalls. Describing Canales as a “rare gift”, Kaner saw the celebrity hairstylis­t as a visionary for his bold attitude towards opportunit­ies and his vigorous artistic process.

Kaner, who had experience working with Aveda and Bumble & Bumble, and Canales would go on to co-found Oribe Hair Care in 2008. “Oribe’s fearless eye, artistic sensibilit­y and his love of hairdressi­ng made him the ideal partner to go on this journey with,” says Kaner, who also serves as president of the brand.

Oribe was founded on the belief that haircare should push the boundaries of performanc­e. “We wanted to make serious tools [for] hair-obsessed customers,” Kaner says. “We take a craftsman-style approach and have never used stock formulas.”

Such an uncompromi­sing philosophy has driven the brand’s intentiona­l developmen­t process and holistic approach to product design. Not only are products tested by

Oribe’s global team and used extensivel­y backstage, on set and in the salon to attest to their first-class performanc­e, but they are also tested by dermatolog­ists to ensure “clean and modern” formulas that are sulfate-free, colour- and keratin-safe, and UV-protective, all for the promise of a superior at-home product experience for consumers.

“We’ve been able to look to global trends, a wide array of salon clients’ requests, and the newest ingredient technology in helping us originate products that are unique and extreme in every category – gels that condition, sprays that don’t flake, skincare-grade shampoos that prep hair for styling and gently balance the scalp, masques that have the richness and body of a lavish moisturisi­ng cream,” Kaner explains.

Among the brand’s revolution­ary products, Kaner highlights the cult favourite Dry Texturizin­g Spray, created out of Canales’

“To do something well comes not only from repetition and from pushing the artistry and the excitement. It’s also about continuing to renew and reinvent what you do” DANIEL KANER

desire to enhance his own hairdressi­ng methods. From a casual everyday tousled look or classic voluminous blowout to an elegant updo, the spray works for every occasion imaginable, defining an unpreceden­ted category in hairstylin­g. It remains a staple in profession­al stylists’ kits and in customers’ styling routines.

Supershine Moisturizi­ng Cream, on the other hand, caters to those with medium-tothick and long hair. The cream acts as a light but effective leave-in conditione­r that adds shine and softness while calming frizz.

Besides its game-changing haircare products, Oribe’s packaging designs have been integral to the brand. Such attention to appearance may be a result of Canales’ attraction to glamour and Kaner’s fascinatio­n with beauty as he admits, “A lot of what’s guided me is that I like to make beautiful things.”

Consistent with the statement “with a nod to the future and a hint of the past”, Oribe’s bottle designs combine the exquisite craftsmans­hip of hand-blown grappa bottles with the modern creative visions of Alex Wiederin, creative director of the boutique design agency Buero New York. The prime example of this seamless marriage of old and new are the Gold Lust products with aristocrat­ic details adorning their surfaces, complement­ed by vibrant, contempora­ry colours to evoke “an emotional reaction”.

Despite Canales’ passing in 2018, he remains an indispensa­ble figure at the heart of the brand. “He’s a continual reference point in terms of his belief, his artistry and his personal style,” Kaner says. The brand also continues Canales’ legacy as an eminent stylist in the world of fashion through involvemen­t with New York Fashion Week and sponsorshi­p of establishe­d and emerging designers.

As well as preserving Canales’ footprint in editorial shoots and fashion shows through the haircare line, the brand launched its Journey to Mastery program in 2008, which aims to advance session hairstylis­ts’ skills. Inspired by Oribe’s passion for learning and devotion to incessantl­y refining his craft, Journey to Mastery spans over 40 countries and features a diverse line-up of experience­d educators.

“We select our educators not only based on their talent but also the diversity of their technical abilities, leadership skills and their experience with a wide range of hair types,” Kaner explains. “Our educators are global ambassador­s for the brand and the community in which they serve, and they really represent the personalit­y and the spirit of our brand and its teachings.”

Divided into the three chapters of Styling, Cutting and Runway Report, courses range from core foundation­s essential to both classic and modern hairdressi­ng such as setting, braiding and extensions to in-depth reviews of Fashion Week trends and the creative process behind conceptual­ising a photo shoot.

Besides upholding Canales’ legacy, Kaner credits the Oribe team’s peopleorie­nted culture and customers’ unwavering belief in the brand for its success. “Great achievemen­t comes through collaborat­ion and a shared belief in what you’re doing,” he says, quoting his wife. “People work happily together and, as a result, [they] are able to make these extraordin­ary products and tools.”

So, how does the brand distinguis­h itself from other luxury haircare brands? Kaner stresses the importance of refining one’s role. “To do something well comes not only from repetition and from pushing the artistry and the excitement,” he explains. “It’s also about continuing to renew and reinvent what you do.”

Citing the Japanese term genba – meaning to be close to the shop floor – Kaner says, “For Oribe, the future will be about continuing to stay close to understand­ing what the customers’ needs are.” He suggests one way to stay relevant is to continue to innovate and create products for all types of people with different hair textures.

“When you hit your destinatio­n, you’re done; very little growth happens after,” he says. “We’re going to keep journeying ahead.”

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Oribe’s cult favourite Dry Texturizin­g Spray
This page: Oribe’s cult favourite Dry Texturizin­g Spray
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 ?? ?? This page, from top: Products from the popular Gold Lust and Supershine collection­s
This page, from top: Products from the popular Gold Lust and Supershine collection­s
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