A New Perspective on New York Fashion Week

Last year, we got this idea to send two industry newbies to experience New York Fashion Week – one lover of all things beauty and a makeup artist. We wanted to see through their fresh eyes a different side of NYFW and also make some dreams come true. So this year, when the New York Fashion Week invites rolled in, we thought, “Hey, why not send someone who’s always backstage styling hair and in the thick of the creative chaos and give her a new perspective to take back to her salon!” So we did just that. Industrie Contributing Editor Erin Hundley shares her highlights and takeaways. 

Being on any hair team during New York Fashion Week means hustle and bustle. We are usually head down, tools up. Time is what we are up against during this magical time of year. Our objective is to produce efficient, beautiful hair that has been briefed to us by the hair lead prior to the show. Sometimes we are lucky enough to get the look ahead of time (maybe the night before) with its inspiration. This is, of course, the most ideal situation, but during New York Fashion Week, nothing is ideal. Most times, the briefing for the look happens right before model prep, day of show. This is where having a solid session kit will benefit you. You must be ready for anything (NOTE: being well versed in all hair textures is a bonus!) The beauty of working New York Fashion Week is you meet so many other creatives who are just as passionate as you are about your craft. The energy is amazing; the creativity that emanates is out of this world.

Speaking of out of this world…

This year I got to experience NYFW from another perspective. A pretty f’ing amazing one if you ask me! Because I’m a contributing editor with Industrie, I was able to go backstage as press this year to multiple shows—TOME NYC, Jeremy Scott and DKNY. This by far has been one of my favorite NYFW experiences. Being able to take in the atmosphere from all perspectives brings this fashion thing full circle for me. From street fashion to backstage looks, these are the trends that will determine the next stop in fashion for the world. We know this industry is ever-changing and always revolving. It is beyond important for ME, as a salon professional and a creative person, to understand and be up-to-date on trend forecasting, especially when it comes to my clients. It helps me remain hip and completely on point.

In the words of the infamous band, A Tribe Called Quest

“You on point Phife?”

“All the time Tip.”

Antoinette Beenders for TOME NYC

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My first show was TOME NYC. I arrived at the Dock Backstage Door at Moynihan Station. This is where press, hair, makeup and most importantly, the models enter. Once you’ve passed through this fashion threshold, you proceed on to pick up your backstage pass from the individuals yielding three and four clipboards at a time.

Clipboards are a major necessity backstage, who knew?!

Despite the whirlwind of life happening backstage, it was pretty organized; everyone had a role and worked 1000% doing it.

Having a rocking PR team is what kept the boat afloat.

Each department typically had their own team, and teamwork was a must behind the scenes.

Once I made it in, I proceeded to hair and makeup. This is it; the place where the magic happens! In a sea of black, I saw my fellow creatives working diligently. I see two to three people working on a head at the same time as models received hand massages, makeup applied and skin care. In the midst of it all, there was a calm throughout the entire space. Antoinette Beenders, Aveda’s Senior Vice President for Creative and Global, energy was completely zen-like; she handled backstage with grace and poise. Her spirit was so gentle. I felt like her energy transcended the space and maybe this is why it felt so calm.

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What I learned from Antoinette and her team is amidst the chaos there must be a concise line of communication. It can get a bit hectic backstage; nerves are fluttering, time is of the essence. This is where finding your calm is key. Energy is transmittable. Good vibes make for a fluid-working environment.

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When speaking with Antoinette Beenders, I learned there wasn’t one set look for the show. In the past, we’ve grown accustomed to hairstyles on models being more akin. Not here. The key was to emphasize the model’s natural texture whether curly, wavy or straight.

We’re going to take what they’ve got and make it better, like the real world. – Antoinette Beenders

This was brilliant. Not only are the models able to bask in their natural beauty, they are able to do so rocking their mane/main attraction. This is something I’m going to share with my clients when I get back in the salon.

Antoinette also showed me how to re-create one of her “Natural Wonder” looks. I’ve been dying to share!

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If you (or your client) has straight to wavy hair, this look is perfect for the hair type:

Step 1: On dry hair, spritz Aveda Thickening Tonic all over.

Step 2: Wrap one-inch sections of hair around a large-barreled iron.

Step 3: To create ripples and not a corkscrew strand, hold the iron horizontal to the head, making sure to keep the ends out of the heat.

Step 4: After sections are curled, take a pea-sized drop of Aveda New Damage Remedy Split End Repair through ends for a piece-y effect.

Step 5: Mist finished look with Aveda Air Control.

This look is totally translatable. What woman out there isn’t looking for an effortless style they can recreate with little to no fuss at home?!

Eugene Soulieman for Jeremy Scott

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Next up for me was Jeremy Scott where Eugene Soulieman, Global Creative Director for Wella, was lead on hair.

Backstage was so colorful and fun. The atmosphere was real chill and laid back. I think I found where all the cool people hang out during New York Fashion Week. Clearly, it’s at the Jeremy Scott show!

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The first person I encountered was Miss Pop; she explained the inspiration behind the nail trend, which I can’t wait to share with you. Using OPI Polish she created an exaggerated over-the-top geometric dot that she placed at the base of the nails. She drew her inspiration from the 80’s strong geometric prints and the dots that are infused throughout Scott’s collection.

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The dot is super easy to achieve. First, you will want to pour a little of your polish onto a disposable surface then you will use the eraser end of the pencil to dip into your poured out polish. Once dipped, you will place your dot at the base of your nail and voila Jeremy Scott SS17-inspired nails.

And then was this moment…

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Chanel Iman noticed I had a particular case on my phone and then the selfies began. I mean, if Chanel Iman says, “Can I use your phone to take a selfie,” I think you just hand it over at that point. It was great.

And then there was another moment. This moment.

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I do know from my experience working Fashion Week that once it’s time for the walk through, the designer is usually available nearest the stage. So what did I do? I made my way to the stage area, and just like that, the man himself, Jeremy Scott, appeared before me. In this moment, all of my life was made. It was over. I could go home now. I wasn’t expecting this encounter but I took complete advantage and interviewed “The Peoples Designer” and got a quick sound bite about his collection.

Inspired by the folklore of the 80’s club scene when NYC was a bit more gritty, dirty and had X-rated theaters in Time Square area. –Jeremy Scott

Wigs were inspired by 80’s hair color and style. Orange color hair, it’s modern because it’s humorous. On the other end of the spectrum was luxurious, geometric hair; a twist on the classic bowl. It is a look for a specific kind of person; someone who would wear Jeremy’s clothing and understands his aesthetic.

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The look created for Scott’s show is not for the faint of heart. Eugene wanted to amplify Jeremy’s humor in his look. Drawing inspiration from an old Vidal Sassoon haircut that looked like a beret, Souleiman fused the classic 60’s haircut with the bold geometric shapes of the 80’s. Which, if you ask me, was absolutely brilliant. By using wigs he was able to cut and shape the hair to his heart’s desire.

This look is definitely no stranger to the mainstream minus the geometric exaggeration. We typically see it looking more like the bowl cut we are ever so traumatized by. Currently, Mary J Blige is rocking this look and we know she is always on when it comes to the fashion what’s hot and what’s not. The finish on the wigs is what I typically do to my clients when they want a smooth sleek look. I blow-dry then smooth it out and bevel the ends for movement.

Backstage, only two products were used to make these wigs look this fantastic. Here’s how:

Step 1: Eugene prepped the wigs with EIMI Perfect Setting, blow dry lotion hairspray.

“Perfect Setting gave us the right texture to work with,” added Eugene. “You get a very luxurious feeling, with lovely shine, lightness, and control. The hair was then blown out on a round brush, to give a luxurious, opulent feeling rather than it looking too geometric, hard and sharp.”

Step 2: EIMI Glam Mist was then applied.

“We sprayed a tiny bit of the mist and combed it through, giving some control and just a little bit of shine so that our straightening irons could glide through – which they did, beautifully – as we used them to bend the hair,” Eugene shared. “This look was all about the silhouette, the line, and the shine. It was cut on the bias, geometric, opulent and fabulous. The great thing about Glam Mist is it doesn’t feel oily and it doesn’t weigh the hair down.”

You can also watch this video from Wella Professionals:

The “Mane” Takeaways:

  • When a supermodel asks for your phone, you give it to her.
  • Sometimes less is more when it comes to products.
  • Having an understanding of how products can work together and save you time is crucial when you’re working backstage, but more importantly on the client who is sitting in your chair.

Eugene Souleiman for DKNY

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Backstage at DKNY was brief, yet impactful. There seemed to be a mixed casting that celebrated all textures. The key was to enhance what the girls have naturally. Souleiman mentioned it was more like a “pop-up hair salon” than backstage at fashion week. Each model was being catered to for their specific hair type. For the longer, straight-haired models, Eugene wanted to do something minimal that’s been done before, but not too much. The look was a part down the center to make the head flat and clean. The texture was created, as the hair got longer.

There was an aerodynamic quality to the hair. Here’s how it was created:

Step 1: Eugene first combed the hair flat to the head, section by section, using EIMI Stay Essential.

Step 2: He then used one of his favorite products, EIMI Pearl Styler, to smooth the top.

Step 3: Next, he created a deep, flat center parting, tucked the hair behind the ears in a perfectly drawn line, then encouraged texture and movement below with EIMI Sugar Lift.

To make sure there wasn’t a hard line at the root, product was dispersed from above and then distributed throughout the rest of the hair. The hair was then twisted to set itself. This gave it a more relaxed natural feeling to the hair.

Souleiman seemed pretty geeked about all the different textures of hair at the show. There is major flexibility within the look because there is such variation in the hair. There was definitely a flavor to the show Eugene said. From the content and clothing, it was like, “Tokyo goes to the Haute.” Sportswear and menswear mixed producing a very abstract collection.

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I also noticed the models wore a sparkly dark lip. When speaking to makeup legend Pat McGrath she explained the look to be “Urban Glamour Girl.” McGrath spoke of the overall makeup look as being a bit minimalist, referring to lipstick as the “new” jewelry. A matte, dark chocolate lip that goes into full sparkle blood wine, with a touch of gold ever so delicately lining the cupids’ bow. This look is a built up crescendo of sparkle McGrath added.

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The “Mane” Takeaways:

I would have to say for this show it would be all about keeping things natural and tapping into that natural beauty, texture, and overall style. This was one of those shows/hair moments that make translating the hair trends seen at fashion week most translatable because this is something that I already do for my clients in my salon.

Check out this video from Wella Professionals:

Overall, the other side of fashion week was a blast. I met so many people and made some amazing connections. It was nice being able to take it all in. As I mentioned earlier I’m normally working the shows and don’t get to experience the other side. Hopefully, for FW17, I will work a few shows with these amazing creatives and give you that perspective.

And you’ll be hearing a lot more from me over the next few months! I just returned from Intercoiffure, Idealogue, and ARROJO Expo and have a ton of new information and insight to share with you all!

Stay tuned…

Love & Light –

Erin H.

Photo Courtesy of Erin Hundley, Aveda & Wella Professionals.

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