Lavoy's journey from the rink to the runway
Acclaimed makeup artist/hair stylist has created some of skating's most memorable looks
|Johnny Lavoy with Oksana Baiul at The MakeUp Show in New York City. Lavoy was a keynote presenter at this prestigious industry event. (Lois Elfman)|
Over the last 18 years, Lavoy has styled hair for numerous skaters, including Nancy Kerrigan, Alexei Yagudin, Sarah Hughes, Irina Slutskaya, Maya Usova, Rudy Galindo, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Sasha Cohen, Shae-Lynn Bourne, Victor Kraatz, Elena Grushina, Ruslan Goncharov, Miki Ando, Kaitlyn Weaver, Adam Rippon and Oksana Baiul.
Baiul first met Lavoy at a MAC Cosmetics store in Connecticut shortly after she settled there in the mid-90s and became a close friend.
"He gave me this short bob and he colored my hair blond," Baiul recalled. "Johnny gave me a lot of freedom to be myself. He would never push anything ... well, he did a little bit. He would come to a lot of events with me. When I did an Arabian number, he put lots of glitter on my hair and my skin, so when the spotlight hit me I looked like a rainbow ball."
Lavoy remembers that look well.
"I did a high-braided bun and surrounded it with a ribbon I jeweled with crystals that looked like a crown," he said. "We covered her body in glitter and it looked so cool on the ice, like her skin was covered with diamonds."
With each look he's created for a skater, Lavoy has been mindful that the style not only has to look great, but it also has to be functional and not distract the skater or those watching.
"The trick with hair is it has to be part of the story the skater is telling," Lavoy said. "So I have to first take that into consideration. I take inspiration from costumes, music and the program itself. When creating the look, I know it has to be durable, move and enhance the overall look -- not become a distraction.
"I have created many looks for ice dancers," he added. "I always want to watch the program first so I can see the lifts and different positions.
"Personally, I love when the hair moves and blows; however, what's more important is that it's going to keep its shape when it's blowing. I never want one of my clients to look like they were in a windstorm at the end of a program, so when I'm designing a look that needs to flow, it's always strategically positioned and pinned.
"I created a 40s-inspired, pinup girl look for Kaitlyn Weaver one year. It really fit the program and lasted."
When ice dancer Weaver first moved from Texas to Connecticut to train, she heard about Lavoy and the amazing looks he would create for each skater.
"I had to do everything just like the elite skaters,"Weaver said. "He agreed to cut my hair (at his Connecticut salon Moda-Rey).
"As I got older, I had to travel by myself," she continued. "Johnny was able to teach me from scratch how to do certain looks, how to create different hairstyles quickly and efficiently. He taught me how to put on my makeup, which was a really important thing to learn when you're an ice dancer.
"He gave me confidence to be able to transform myself into a different character each time."
While Weaver, who now trains in Detroit, hasn't seen Lavoy in years, she continues to get insight and information from him by viewing some of his many videos online. He continues to be Baiul's main hair and makeup person. She travels to New York to get her hair cut and colored, and sometimes he goes with her to big events. She's proud that she opened the door for him to style many other skaters.
"I feel very good about myself if I can inspire people to do something exciting and something excellent with themselves," Baiul said. "Johnny is very versatile."
Lavoy has also designed makeup looks for skaters. A big tip? The people in the last row can't see the makeup, so stick to subtlety.
Over the past few years, Lavoy has become as famous as some of his clients -- appearing on E! and other networks. He attributes his own success to hard work, setting goals and being passionate about what he's doing.
"I'm very proud of Johnny because he works his butt off; nobody gave it to him," Baiul said. "He's really good at what he does."