18 May 2024

Omar Antonio: Profile in Courage?

Omar Antonio, self-billed Artist/ Designer/ Bad Ass and Sebastian International Artist, is known for his extravagant style and other-worldly creativity. Here he tells us about his inspiration and how he went above and beyond to create an entire collection of Haute Hair Couture.

Omar Antonio, does beautiful color, precision haircuts, extensions and everything in between at his ME salon in Benicia, California. But his true talent and passion shines on stage, where he “lives for the applause”- and maybe in fashion museums. Omar’s artistic background consists of fashion design, drawing, sketching, painting and of course hair and make-up. ” He draws his inspiration from music, fashion, by visionary artists like Tim Burton, and by the ultimate form of human creativity, his four beautiful children.

Each element of this most courageous Haute Hair Couture Collection took months to create. Omar found inspiration for each dress in a variety of sources, from avant-garde headdresses to tattoos and beyond.

And now, most importantly, in October 2023, all five dresses will be on display at an art gallery in Los Angeles, California. “My goal is to take these five dresses on a tour. I would love to see my dresses on display in New York, Boston, Miami, Austin, Texas. It’s a dream of mine,” says Omar.

Haute Hair Couture

Tell us about your Hair Couture masterpieces.

In 2010, the prestigious North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA) in Las Vegas invited me to participate as a guest stage artist at. I wanted to create something avant-garde. Something to really inspire the audience! Whenever I start the process of one of my avant-garde head pieces, I always start by sketching out my ideas. I like to find different ways to turn hair into fabric and then use that fabric to create my shape.

What technique did you come up with the first time?

For my first dress, I took long strands of black hair and I used a large crochet hook, and I began to crochet hair into a dark, erratic, texture. I wanted the dress to look, distressed, unraveling, eerie, perfectly imperfect. For the head piece, I used galvanized steel wires to construct a Maleficent set of horns with a cascading curtain of long crocheted fringe. This dress took me about three months to make.

Did you change your technique for the second dress?

I created Dress 2 for a similar showcase in Los Angeles. As I wanted to create a dense, brocade jacket and exaggerated skirt, I braided thousands and thousands of mini braids and sewed them together. I drew inspiration for the headpiece from a fencing helmet and added a long, sleek black ponytail.

And for the third dress?

Dress 3 was showcased in Japan. It has a mask that slides along wooden dowels, and opens with a pull of a string to expose the model’s face. This dress took the longest to make – about five months. The entire dress was woven and sewn under a sewing machine with long braiding. I had to hand-sew the surface, to create an embroidered look. Many saw this dress on RuPaul‘s Drag Race, Season 13 contestant, Elliott with 2 Ts.

What was your inspiration for the fourth dress?

Dress 4 was showcased in India, Canary Islands, and Puerto Rico! The technique behind this dress is brick-laying small “chips” of hair inspired by the microscopic view of the cuticle layer of a hair strand. The mask is on hinges and can open like a gate to expose the models face. The inside of the mask has tiny LED lights on them to illuminate the model’s face when she enters the stage.

And your latest dress?

I created Dress 5 during my shelter in place in the beginning of the Covid pandemic. For this dress I drew my inspiration from tattoos. To really appreciate this dress, look closely at the details! It’s amazing! I created these heavy embroidered shapes and sewed them together, leaving spaces of exposed skin for high contrast. If you look real close, you can see my name embroidered with hair down the left arm.

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