You may already be familiar with Oribe—it wouldn’t be surprising. The luxury haircare brand has gained attention for its game-changing formulations and entrancing scents such as its signature Côte d’Azur eau de parfum. Similarly, Oribe’s products have transformed how we think about hair care. And while the brand is familiar to many, especially those who have an affinity for luxury, the brand’s heritage, rooted in inspiration, craftsmanship, and artistry, is less well known.
The story began when Daniel Kaner, president and co-founder, was introduced to hairstylist Oribe Canales by his wife, renowned makeup artist Sonia Kashuk. After their introduction, they hit the ground running. “When we finally launched the company, the initial goal was to create something really unique and different from what was available in hair care,” Kaner says. “I know everyone says that, but there was always this idea that there was good, better, and then what’s considered the best. We always strive to be the best in luxury haircare.”
From the outset, what really set Oribe apart was its principal ethos: everything matters. “To be great is a collection of a lot of small things. When starting out, we looked at everything, including the fragrance, design, packaging, customer service, how we recruited the team and more,” Kaner says. “We wanted all of these careful pieces to create an experience that would be amazing for a stylist or a product-obsessed customer—we wanted our products to meet their exceptional standards,” he continues. This attention to detail hasn’t gone unnoticed. With Oribe, everything from the effervescent lather to the subtle, lingering scents contribute to the holistic experience, making the consumer slow down and appreciate the experience.
“In the beginning, Oribe Canales always had a non-negotiable. He wanted to ensure our products performed to his expectations, which meant better than anything else on the market,” Kaner says. The haircare space is saturated. There are many options to choose from, all varying claims, price points, and accessibility. It’s often easier to pick up the bottle that says “smoothing” “extra shine” or “damage repair,” but these buzzwords are often just that. It might seem crazy to think the claims on product bottles have become nothing more than hopeful wishes, but often it feels too much to ask that the products we pay for do what they say they will do. “Technology is a critical part of the formulation process,” Kaner says. “We’re making formulas that are performance-base, but which also meet our global standards —and most importantly, they do what they say they’re going to do.”
Oribe is also no slouch when it comes to design. Design director Alex Wiederin, who is also the creative director of Buero New York, has worked with Oribe since the beginning. In the initial stages of design, Wiederin was inspired by perfume bottles—especially the delicate and intricate parts that made them distinctive. “We started at a place that was purely about design to make our aesthetic mark. We wanted to create covetable packaging that would signal what’s in the bottle and how it performs, not to mention that it was a fresh idea. It had to be custom—it couldn’t just come off a shelf,” Kaner explains. “In working with Alex Wiederin, we found a format that speaks to Old World decoration but cut with an of-the-moment reference.”
The packaging is also inspired by Oribe Canale’s personal style. A handsome and charming man, Canale was particular about design—from his house to the cars he drove, everything was an extension of him and his tastes. “Our new candle vessel launching later this year was very much pulled from his life,” Kaner says.
The Oribe packaging team has a modern approach to their design practice. “They’re unique in that they are inspired individuals who surround themselves with the latest in art, fashion, design trends, and culture, which enhances the creative direction given to Alex,” Kaner explains. But they’re also modern in their approach to packaging sustainability—something Kaner describes as a critical part of Oribe’s DNA. The brand recently launched refill pouches for its popular one-litre shampoos, conditioners, and hand washes, cutting down on single-use plastic by 71 per cent.
In an effort to diversify the scope of its designs, Oribe works with artists and craftspeople from around the world for special collaborations and collection releases. This past Christmas, Oribe partnered with Parisian design atelier A Paris chez Antoinette Poisson to design holiday box sets based on 18th-century French traditions. Kaner explains that the collaborations help them look at their processes differently. “It makes us better. It broadens our perspective and brings so much excitement to the team. It makes every day a little less standard, because you’re bringing a new perspective and new set of influences to the work that you do.”
Oribe is adored by consumers and hairdressers all over the world. The brand is consistent and people know what to expect: exceptionality. There is a reason Oribe is used at top salons—there is an ingrained trust in the brand and its promise to deliver high-quality products. And the thoughtfulness that goes into every step of the Oribe process—from design to fragrance—is second to none.