Note from the KeraGirls: For this blog, we turned the keyboard over to International Creative Team Member Abraham Sprinkle, who takes us behind the runway during a post-Fashion Week event in September 2014.
Fall is a season of transformation: With warm weather making an exit and trees shedding their leaves, it’s as if the city is readying for winter’s austerity. This also holds true for Mercedes Benz Fall Fashion Week—the kickoff where style trends begin! As salon professionals, this is our weather forecast for what we will be seeing in our chairs for the upcoming months. It all starts with a collaboration of creative minds that is embodied in the 15 minutes of a runway show. It will be the salon professionals’ interpretations of these ideas that perfect a trend and make it mainstream.
I was recently booked for an amazing nine-day, post-Fashion Week event at Bloomingdales, during which the venerable department store puts together the “best-of” looks from FW. Coming from working with designer collections to doing a montage of collections was a little different, as inspirations had to be a collective for all designers used. In the end it was like planning a perfect dinner—making sure that one dish doesn’t overpower the others. Fluidity being key, it was a true showcase of teamwork and balance.
As a session stylist, you must always be prepared for fast changes, unfiltered critics, and time crunches. Though this can be stressful, the payoff comes when you see the finished result.
This is an extremely early call time, and all I can say is, thank God I only live seven blocks away! I have pre-packed my session kit and will double check to make sure that all is accounted for. Unlike salon life where you have a dispensary, we have to make sure that we have not forgotten anything—but also that the kit isn’t a thousand pounds, either.
After passing through security, I am given a visitor sticker with photo included! (Not my best moment.) I arrive at the prep area, where I am working alongside a team of four session hair artists, four makeup artists, two assistants, two clothing stylists and 15 models.
While breakfast is served, all session artists are now setting up their workstations. To me, it’s like a kid going to a toy store: looking around to see what your fellow team members are using and what is a must-have to add more poundage to my kit.
We are introduced to the show (art) director and assistant. Mood boards are then being explained. A mood board is usually the model’s photo, what he or she is wearing, and the look the director has envisioned for them. We have three shows a day, including hair and makeup changes for each model. This is where quick thinking takes place. Unlike in the salon, where we usually have an appointment for consultation with new clients, you have only a few minutes to figure out how to execute the look or adapt it to make the presentation perfect.
My first model is Katarina Scola—a beautiful Brazilian college student from NEXT model management. I am given direction for her two looks and timing. My first look is extremely simple: pin straight with a side part. I begin to prep with a combo of Keratin Complex Glowtion Potion Styling Oil and Straight Day Styling Spray. A quick blow dry, and the Stealth IV Next-Generation Digital Smoothing + Straightening Iron is my next weapon of choice. Like I said, easy—except for the baby-fine hairs making an unexpected escape. (I hadn’t planned on this taking more than 20 minutes.)
After three cups of coffee and reading over Katarina’s shoulder (as medical books fascinate me), I have to take another line of defense with the baby hairs. One quick swipe around the hairline with the root lifter attachment on Titanium Five-in-One Curling System, and those flyaway hairs have raised their white flag.
Model No. 2 has enough hair for models 5 – 10. Yikes! Because her outfit calls for a sleek bun, I have the challenge of making a rope look like floss. I decide to lightly spray the hair with water and coat with Kerabalm 3-in-1 Multi-Benefit Hair Balm before styling, and am able to create a sleek bun and not a Chipotle burrito! Mission accomplished.
Model No. 3’s direction is voluminous hair. Again, I say simple—but the hair had been conditioned to the point of oil spill! (Not uncommon, as after Fashion Week the models’ hair has been put to the test in every possible way.) At this point, time is against me, so I have to think fast. I begin by spraying the root with Flex Flow Flexible Shaping Hairspray. Let it dry, brush through and repeat. When I start to lose slip and gain grip, I am ready to put tousled movement in the hair with a round brush.
A clothing stylist is beginning to dress the models, and it’s like watching someone trying to herd cats. With a time crunch now, our perfectly set hair is not being considered during the dressing process. I see baby hairs waving at me with sarcasm, my sleek bun is bulking up with every shirt change, and the voluminous look is starting to get sleepier each time it is manipulated. PANIC!!
It’s time to put the nice guy aside and pull out heavy artillery: Keratin Complex Bold Hold Maximum Finishing Hairspray! I apply it with a mascara wand to lay down the baby flyaways, re-spray the bun and tame it back to submission, and spray and tousle the long hair to wake up volume!
I can breathe …
As you might imagine, session work isn’t much different from a busy double-booked Saturday in the salon. The only difference is that the salon professional just has to please whomever is in the chair, whereas session artists have an entire audience that must approve. Either way—whether behind the chair or behind the stage—no one will fully understand how much work is put into our art. But we sure get gratification from seeing the smiles!