1ON1: After the Awards: Michael Beel

He may not have set out to be a hairdresser. He was attending college for marketing and psychology when he decided to take a part-time job at a salon for drinking money. He fell in love with the atmosphere, and much to his parent’s dismay, he dropped out of college to start his $5 an hour apprenticeship. Well, that was over 16 years ago. Now, his parents are obviously proud of Michael’s choice and delighted with the numerous accolades he has won, including this year’s coveted “New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year” award.

The initial inspiration for this year’s collection came from a fashion show in Australia that Michael Beel was working on. In the finale, the models walked down the catwalk with orchids in their mouths, beautiful shiny hair and gorgeous skin. Taking that inspiration a step further, Michael then thought about the hair and started forming different versions of waves and tight rolls.

“I was very inspired by Shanghai and the glamour of the 1920’s. I wanted glamourous waves and tight shapes with an almost plastic-like sheen,” added Beel.

Lot’s of gel, shine spray and patiently moulding the hair into the shapes that he wanted and he got his wish, a beautiful collection of glamorous looks, beautifully moulded shapes with a nod to the opulence of the orient in the 1920’s, a collection was born.

Translating this look into a wearable trend is easy added in Beel.

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”Shine is one of the key elements and shiny hair equals healthy hair so that is an easy thing to bring to clients.”

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When asked what he was most proud of about this shoot he responded with, “I am most proud of the teamwork behind it and seeing my concept come to life.” As one of New Zealand’s most sought after platform artists, editorial stylists and Creative Director at Buoy Hairdressing Wellington, he is a busy guy that loves what he does and loves to make people feel good about themselves.

After the awards, Michael and I had a nice little chat and also discussed the following:

How long did it take to take this collection from inspiration to reality?

Well, the fashion show happened in April in Sydney and we shot this collection in October in Auckland so I had it in the back of my mind for a few months. Ideas and concepts come and go within that time frame.

Why did you choose this specific team to work with and these specific models?

I’ve worked with the core team on many shoots and we all understand each other and what we like and don’t like. I just give them my initial brief and allow their creativity to take my concept and ideas on their own respective journeys. As for the models, I like girls with a strong eye connection and can pull off attitude so that helps in their selection. I’ve worked with a couple of them on a few occasions.

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome on this shoot?

I’m a planner and over-organizer so I plan for every contingency, but the biggest obstacle was choosing the final shots. And that’s a good thing! [Laughs]

What one thing about this collection are you most proud of?

What I am most proud of is the teamwork behind it and seeing my concept come to life.

If you had to describe this collection in only 3 words, what would those be?

Tight, shine and orchids.

Which image is your favorite one from the collection and why?

The red flat wave. I love the model Jane’s face and the overall look epitomises my whole collection—tight, shiney, 1920’s glamour, Asian opulence.

Can you tell us a little about the trends that you incorporated in these categories, to contribute to the overall look/feel:

Hair Shape: Well all the shapes are tight and clean and defined movement. No flyaways.

Hair Color: I like to have a variety of hair colours, but I do prefer keeping the hair colours a solid colour and not a lot of different tones.

Makeup: Shine and beautiful skin with strong contouring.

Fashion: Lots of colour to help bring out the colour in the orchids.

Do you think there is a specific style to NZ hairdressers?

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I think New Zealand hairdressers have a slightly darker, more edgy feel to their work. We tend to love the dramatic. It’s something to do with our weather and landscape.

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Do you think the the hairdressers in NZ vary from anywhere else in the world?

New Zealand hairdressers are trained in both aspects of cutting and colouring so that appeals to a lot of employers overseas. And it takes at least 3 ½ years to be qualified so lots of intensive training and ongoing education.

What does it mean to win New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year?

I have wanted this title for many years and to be judged and awarded it by people you admire is a dream come true.