'Everyone was there for the same reason, and we all worked together to get that hair done!'
-- Paul Orlandi

Ever wondered what it’s really like backstage amidst the fast-and-furious action of prepping for a fashion show? Keratin Complex® recently had about two dozen pros on the scene, creating hairstyles for 22 designers during the three-day Style Fashion Week 2015 at Gotham Hall in New York City. So, we have some first-hand intel to share!

Read on for their reports:

The overall experience at Style Fashion Week

“This was an amazing experience. I had no idea what to expect, but was ready for anything,” says Keratin Complex stylist Paul Orlandi, who came in from Mayfield Heights, OH, for the event.

“I had the time of my life working with Keratin Complex at Style Fashion Week,” says Traci Allen, an Inspiration Team member from Orlando.

“NYFW was the most amazing thing I've done in my 25-plus years in the industry,” agrees Keratin Complex educator Toney Wilson, who flew in from Albuquerque. “It was inspiring, exhausting and humbling.”

Keratin Complex stylist at Style Fashion WeekA Keratin Complex stylist works on a model's hair.

A typical day during Style Fashion Week

Each morning, the Keratin Complex stylists would get to Gotham Hall and check out the schedule of shows for the day, including the designer, how many models to expect and when they would be arriving. There also were mood boards with direction for hair and makeup looks from each designer.

Meanwhile, team leader Woody Michleb, Keratin Complex’s International Artistic Director for Cut & Style, would use the designers’ directives to come up with a hair concept for each collection (the hairstyles that would be accompanying the fashions).

Reports Paul: “We would get a brief tutorial on how to achieve the look, then we were let loose! It was nonstop from the word go. Sometimes there were shows that overlapped, so there would be models from two or three different shows. Attention to detail was key, because you didn't want to put the wrong hair on the wrong model—not a good idea!”

“It was all very surreal,” says Toney. “You’d see these blank canvases (models off duty) come in. You would be working the hair, the makeup would be applied, and then they were rushed backstage for clothes.”

Paul also reports that “the energy was high and, truthfully, there could not have been a better team of people there for Keratin Complex. Everyone was there for the same reason, and we all worked together to get that hair done!”

“We all worked as a team, making sure the models’ hair still looked good after they changed and went back onstage,” notes Traci. “Even the designers and assistants that helped fit and change the models were impressed with how good the hair looked!”

Seeing looks come to life on the runway

Sometimes, there was enough “downtime” to take a break and check out the action during a runway show—either from backstage, or even from the audience.

“I got a chance to hang out backstage,” Paul says, “and that was really interesting to see how the models keep practicing and clothes are adjusted even the last second before the model goes out. I was trying to stay out of the way and observe, but was recognized as ‘one of the hair guys’ and ended up doing some last-minute touch-ups on a few models. The feeling was high-energy and anticipation! Each minute that went by something else was checked, and by watching the show out front, you'd never know the chaos that was happening just behind that wall.”

“It literally took my breath away when I saw my models on runway,” says Toney. “‘I did that?’ I was blown away by the collaborative work of models, hair, makeup, designers and photographers.”

Keratin Complex stylist Toney WilsonToney gives a model's hair some texture for a runway show.

Making friends with each other—and the models

The Keratin Complex stylists report that they enjoyed working with the models and were especially surprised by the professionalism of the young models who were being styled for designer Nancy Vuu’s line of couture children’s wear.

“I'd have to say the Marco Marco show was the most fun,” says Paul. “The models were a laugh a minute and were just crazy fun. Maybe it was because it was our last show, maybe it was because it had drag queens and muscle men in women’s makeup modeling underwear, but it was definitely the most fun!”

The team even got the chance to spread some Keralove during the three-day event.

Toney reports that one model was so crazy about our Flex Flow and Bold Hold hairsprays that she came backstage after the show to ask him where she could purchase some. “So I gave it to her!” he says. … Nothing like the free publicity when she takes a selfie with the products and then posts it for all her friends and fans to see!

Speaking of social media …

When they didn’t have their hands in someone’s hair, the KC stylists were busy documenting their experiences in photos and videos, which they posted on Twitter, Instagram, and a Facebook page created especially for the event, CatwalkbyKC (which was also a hashtag they used for their posts).

Keratin Comples stylist Paul OrlandiPaul takes a break to snap a selfie with a Keratin Complex pink Bling Brush.


“Forget business cards. Instagram is the new business card,” advises Toney. “Always add everyone you meet. And when someone hands you their phone to take a pic, add yourself to their Instagram!”

Would they do a Style Fashion Week stint again?

The answer seems to be a resounding yes! “I hope I get asked back to Fashion Week” was a common comment from the stylists we polled about their experiences.

Paul sums it up: “This was an amazing, amazing experience. I met so many great people, and learned so much. I am very grateful to Keratin Complex for selecting me for this honor. It truly was incredible.”