Let me just say it right out:Â HairÂ Fair 2009 kicked my ass.Â I didn’t manage to get there for an early “preview,” when I suppose there might have been fewer shoppers and perhaps less lag.Â Â I ended up making my way through the substantial array of shops along with, as near as I could tell, absolutely everyone else in SL.Â This had both its good and bad points, as I’m sure you can imagine.Â In the end, I finally made the full circuit in seven or eight sessions over three or four days.Â This might be a personal best (or worst?) for me.Â I know for a fact that I’ve finished Relay For Life tracks in less time.
I haven’t made a final count yet, but I came home with a boatload of men’s styles this year, and I certainly didn’t buy all the men’s styles that were available.Â I’d say the selection overall was very good, although certainly and as always there were far more styles for women.Â I liked the IKEA-style roadway that carefully and (once everything rezzed) clearly led shoppers past all the shops, so you could be sure not to miss anything.Â The freebie low-lag shopping avatars were a good idea…that nobody used, near as I could tell.Â Everyone I encountered and chatted with was terrifically friendly, people were helpful with info on where to find certain designers’ shops or types of styles, and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun.
Some of the shops, clever as the builds were, managed to hide the vendors so theyÂ couldn’t be seen or touchedÂ from outside the shop.Â This makes it difficult if not impossible to buy a demo or even see a picture of the hair without walking or camming into the shop.Â This seems a bit less shopper-friendly than it could be–I canÂ imagine some shoppers simply giving up due to lag and moving onÂ to the next shop.Â Also, at a few shops I noticed semi-transparent textures blocking shop doorways or other access.Â These were phantom, so you could walk through them, but it wasn’t possible to see through them until the texture had more or less fully rezzed.Â Both of these are essentially pet peeves of mine, but they seem not to take into account certain technical limitations that apply even more than usual at big events like Hair Fair: lag and texture load times.Â Lag was pretty bad, usually falling somewhere in the range from Horrible to Impossible.Â Texture load times also seemed pretty s-l-o-w, making it a dicey proposition at best to try on demos without going home first.Â More on that in a moment.
I would usually do most of my bitching about lag and other “world” issues that are largely beyond our control, but this time I’m reserving most of my ire for a practice I have officially decided that I despise.Â I’m talking about hair demos that put a big, only semi-transparent box around your head.Â I’veÂ considered the possibility that thisÂ is an attempt by some designers to protect their intellectual property, but ultimately I’ve decided that all it really does is make it even more obvious that you’re wearing a demo.Â This is annoying at the best of times, but in the lagtastic environment of Hair Fair, it adds even more (albeit only a few) prims to the demo, and even more textures to load before you can see the demo properly.Â I have to give this concept a big Thumbs Down.
At the end of my massive shopping excursion, I had a whopping L$59 left in my wallet.Â I won’t say how much I started with, but it’s fair to say that this too may turn out to be a personal best.Â Let’s take a look at some of what IÂ brought home.Â I’ll let the pictures be worth (hopefully) a thousand words, and share just a few brief thoughts on each style.
Maddox DuPont’s “Jude” is a short, casual, oh-so-slightly shaggy style that looks not at all grown out from your last trip to the salon.Â You paid good money for this cut and style, and it shows.Â Available at MADesigns (Kmadd Enterprise 150, 161, 26).
“Robert” by Truth Hawks is one of those styles that makes me jealous of my SL avatar, because my RL hair is fine and too straight to allow for loft like this.Â Not in a million years.Â To me the height looks natural rather than enhanced by styling products.Â Available at TRUTH (Truth Island 149, 133, 25).
I wasn’t familiar with WAKA Flow‘s hairstyle designs before this, but I really like this style, “M01″ (Type A).Â It’s comfortably shaggy yet not overgrown.Â Although the color selection was somewhat limited, the hair texture is rich and finely detailed.Â Available at W & Y (TSUKIJI 197, 202, 24).
I’m always on the lookout for a good hairstyle for my as-yet-unnamed jazz trombonist avie, but the styles I’ve liked have been few and far between.Â Â So I was doubly pleased to findÂ “Chad” by Kallisti Burns at Hair Fair.Â This short, tightly braided style is a handsome change from the long and short dreads styles I’ve been wearing so far with this avie.Â Available at Discord Designs (Synchronicity 190, 171, 29).
Kavar Cleanslate is one of my favorite hair designers, and his new “Heath” style is no disappointment.Â This is a long mane-like style that manages by virtue of its sleek sculpting to dodge the bullet of looking like the cover of a bodice-ripping romance novel.Â Instead, it’s classy and smoothly sophisticated.Â Available at Exile (Covet 174, 41, 28).
Posy Trudeau’s “Vasean” features a dramatic fall of hair over one eye, no doubt the better to suggest its supermodel-and-all-around-great-guy namesake.Â This style effortlessly runs the range from laid-back surferÂ to irresistibleÂ Ivy Leaguer to bad-boy heir to billions.Â Scroll back up to check out Posy’s fantastically upsweptÂ “Donovan.”Â Both available at Miau Haus (Harajukubox Town 130, 110, 26).
I do love a snappy hat.Â This style, Fedor Hat “Natural mid”Â by rika Oyen, incoporates a stylish, beautifully sculpted straw fedora that’s scripted for color change by touch.Â “Mid” refers to the hair length; a similar style with longer hair is also available.Â The only bummer for me is that red hair I’m wearing here isn’t really all that bed, and it can’t be tinted.Â Available at ARGRACE (shin zushi 150, 161, 26).
Hair Fair styles are now (as of July 5) available for purchase at the designers’ own shops.Â All styles come in a range of colors.Â Most are available in “color packs” that include hair in a handful of shades in the same color family.Â Some styles are providedÂ by the designer in multiple “starting” sizes, for your fitting convenience.Â Some are moddable, so you can resize and otherwise tweak them to fit your avatar; others are scripted for automatic resize.Â Most styles are priced at around L$200, but some may cost less or more.Â All have free or L$1 demos available, so be sure to try on the demo before buying.
Stay tuned for Part Two (and possibly Three–I’ve lost track of how many more hairstyles I have left to feature) of my Hair Fair Roundup!