Lead Hairstylist Matthew Curtis Dreams Up Super-Luxe Box Braids for Alejandra Alonso Rojas’ FW23 Runway Show


When it came to dreaming up her Fall 2023 runway show, designer Alejandra Alonso Rojas looked to one of the world’s most spellbinding natural wonders for inspiration—the Northern Lights. With the stars as her guide, she showcased a beautiful selection of body-hugging knitwear, chic cashmere pieces, and satin separates that embodied subtle luxury. The collection’s dreamy color palette ranged from night-sky black to glacial white as well as vibrant shades of pink, red, and blue—which were seemingly taken from the lights of the Aurora Borealis. 

Pulling from the more luxe elements of the collection, lead hairstylist Matthew Curtis dreamed up the perfect hair look for all the models,using an array of Olivia Garden tools and Hair by Sam McKnight products. Working with his team, which included Olivia Garden Educator Michelle Swiney, Curtis created a slicked-back 4-strand box braid to give off the ultimate cool-girl vibes.

Pre-show, The Tease was able to chat with Curtis about his inspiration for the hair looks, how the hair looks completed the collection, and his favorite thing about styling for fashion week. Keep reading for more!

The Tease: What can you tell us about the hair looks for the Alejandra Alonso Rojas’ runway show? What served as inspiration?

Matthew Curtis: Alejandra Alonso Rojas’ looks are always really beautiful—amazing fabrics. It’s like a luxe, chic feel. We wanted to emulate that in the hair, so we kept it very slick. We used Hair by Sam McKnight products for it and Olivia Garden tools to create the look. We wanted it with a high sheen. We didn’t want a wet look because it takes it to a new, dramatic place if it’s too wet. So, we did a nice box braid throughout, which we’ll smooth out with the Hair by Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray Multi Tasking Styling Mist ($32.00), which is kind of our key product that we’ve used on the braid to create a high shine, chic finish. 

Can you give us a quick breakdown of how you created the 4-strand box braid?

Curtis: Yeah, so we sprayed the Hair by Sam McKnight Modern Hairspray through, in sections, and then we straightened it out with the Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion Flat Iron ($109.95). We bunched it together at the nape of the neck and then we used Hair by Sam McKnight Dressed to Kill Defrizz Creme ($34.00), which is a new product in the range. And, we pulled all that through, collecting it at the back, which helps to get rid of any flyaways. Then, we took four strands at the back and we crossed over and crossed over to create a box feel to this braid rather than a flat finish. We folded the ends under so it doesn’t tail off. And then again, we finished with some hairspray. We went over it with the tongs to just hide any flyaways. It’s a great chic look and I think it is really wearable as well, which hopefully translates to something that can be worn by yourself or by anyone. 

How does the box braid that you created complement the fashion featured in the runway show?

Curtis: So, I think everything is about individualism at the moment, whether it comes to models’ hair texture and the types of models or everything really. This hairstyle really works well because even though the ponytail is in the nape of the neck, we’ve got a slight lift here. So, there’s some nice, soft necklines on some of the garments and we wanted to still be able to wear the hair up, but low, so it didn’t interfere with that.

And, lastly, what’s your favorite thing about styling for New York Fashion Week?

Curtis: Traveling the world with a team which you can learn from and take inspiration from! It’s a great vibe and good people. Being on the pulse and creating things that we’ll see maybe in six months time walking down the high street, it’s kind of cool to be at the forefront of that.

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Camille Nzengung

Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor at The Tease, where she covers all things hair. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches. Send her a pitch: cnzengung@thetease.com.


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