Lenora Sunflower was walking on a street on the Upper West Side recently, when she was stopped by a woman who wanted to tell her “you just brought light and color into my day!” With her unique style and fashion sense, Sunflower is used to getting stopped on the street by strangers; she is featured in the street style shooter Scott Schuman’s hugely popular book “The Sartorialist”, which is a spin off of his internationally popular blog of the same title. And that was before her tresses were transformed by Juno Brown’s High Fashion Hair Wraps, colorful, one-of-a-kind extensions that hang the full length of Sunflower’s petite frame. Brown, herself the best model for her wearable art, attached each handmade extension to Sunflower’s hair, a process that evolved over two days, and ever since Sunflower has been a living embodiment of the artist’s mission statement.
A large part of that artistic vision involves what Brown refers to as “fearless creativity”, and her view of herself as a “Chromotherapist”, a sort of color therapist. With what she calls her “Wearable Art by Juno Brown: Intergalactic Sexiness High Fashion Hair Wraps”, Brown seeks to transcend a world she sees as stripped of color, what she calls a “Communist/Puritan sensibility of blacks, grays and browns.” Indeed, wherever she went during Fashion Week last month, Brown was photographed, interviewed and featured on the blogs and instagrams of many fashion insiders, who were taken by her unique look amidst all the glamorous uniformity.
Brown is a classically trained singer who hails from Washington D.C., but she has become a constant global traveler, moving around the world with the clients who fly her wherever they are, so she can perform her magical transformation with their hair. In Durham, North Carolina, where she recently travelled at a client’s behest, Brown was stopped by a woman who told her “if everyone had their hair like you, we would all be smiling a lot more.” That would sort of neutralize Brown’s philosophy of “true self expression”, but it is a fanciful idea nonetheless.
The most significant aspect of Brown’s art, as she sees it, is the fact that each head wrap is one-of-a-kind, as they are all made by her by hand. She sources her materials using what she calls “my spidey sense” to locate the best yarn stores, trim shops, gemstones, and even, at times, the chain craft store, Michaels. The detachable, clip-in extensions are each intricate and unique assemblages of feathers, hemp, crystals, satin, gold and silver wire, colorful yarns and tiny stones, all attached to an easy clip-on base. The basic construction is three-stranded, so it is possible to have as many or as few as desired.
At a recent photo shoot, Dinah, an NYU student, was transformed with three of the clip-in head wraps, and Samantha, an actress who just appeared in Mariska Hargitay’s directorial debut on “Law & Order: SVU”, added a few of the wraps to her own blonde tresses. Brown has been on a non-stop schedule traveling all over to wrap new clients as her work blows up on social media. Her most recent job was styling the hair of models for the Arjuna AG 2014 Lookbook, a fashion line that features silver-plated clothing and accessories.
Brown is the daughter of a successful motivational speaker who owns a management consulting firm in Maryland. Her father’s gift, says Brown, is “teaching people to collaborate”. In many ways, she is her father’s daughter, with her manifesto to “Just Say No to Normal” and her firm belief that “our individual happiness is directly tied to the person across from us on the train.” As Juno Brown’s Wearable Art continues to blossom on heads across the country, that vision of everyone smiling all the time comes closer to becoming a reality.