Photo by Victoria Will
by Ana Dragovic, Vogue
Rooney Mania-a yen for skin the color of cream, and shiny, ink-black hair, preferably worn with short cropped bangs and a healthy dose of attitude-swept over the fall collections, with lookalikes popping up everywhere from Calvin Klein Collection and Antonio Berardi to Versace and Marni. The Oscars hit in the midst of the Milan collections, with Mara fanning the flames on the red carpet in white Givenchy Couture. Like the rest of the world, I had been enamored with the actress who played Stieg Larsson's menacingly alluring heroine-specifically, her hair. In the mood for change-I've worn the same shoulder-scraping cut for years-I decided to take a chance and really go for it. And when I say go for it, I mean with Danilo, the legendary hairstylist, and creator of Rooney's cut-on, and off-screen.
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We met on a Tuesday afternoon at the Marie Robinson Salon in the Flatiron District. Danilo, just back from L.A., assessed my look, carefully considering my facial features and hairline-my widow's peak was a foreseeable obstacle. Instead of giving me Mara's red-carpet cut to a T, "it's about adapting the aesthetic of Rooney," Danilo explained. "Her look is so clean-no tricks. She's inspiring head to toe." To ease my apprehension-I was about to embark on extreme change-Danilo applied a set of faux bangs to give me some sense of what I was getting into. He decided my face was more of a heart shape, though he admitted, "I hate the shape story. It sends a bad message. It's really about finding the right points and adapting a hairstyle to the individual."
Next, Danilo concocted a custom blend of near-black color that would take my hair-and brows-a shade or two darker than my natural dark-dark brown. After rinsing out the color, he combed my hair forward about one inch deep from the hairline-what's called a "Hollywood front"-and several quick snips with the scissors straight across the forehead left a set of blunt bangs grazing the tops of my eyebrows. I suddenly felt very Rooney.
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Finally, styling: Danilo informed me that I have what's called "skinny hair," meaning fine strands, which was to his delight, because, even with a natural wave like mine, it's easier to manipulate. He also liked "the glamour that comes to [my] hair naturally," so he gave my bangs a "50s lift, tapered toward the front, so it's not so square." To hide my widow's peak and train my bangs to fall forward in their intended position, he held them in place with a wide elastic headband for several minutes. Danilo then used a hot comb (RSession Root Control Barrel & Pressing Comb Duo-which his assistant, Charley, ran out and picked up at Ricky's) to flatten the bangs further, and then set my hair with Pantene Pro-V's Aqua Light Weightless Conditioning Shake, which kept my hair from accumulating buildup as we were playing with different styles. And-who knew?-the options are plentiful! I learned that the styles Mara wore on so many red carpets (all U.S. events styled by Danilo) were actually the same haircut. With the right product and a little sleight of hand, over the course of the afternoon, he gave me Rooney's greatest hits: sleek and flat with a tight ponytail in the back; bangs curled under; a three-quarter part; the Audrey Hepburn (bangs swept slightly to the side); or slicked way to the side. "The little details give you options," said Danilo. Indeed.
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Photo by Victoria Will