most of Milwaukeeís fashion-forward crowd, the dream of attending
New York Fashion Week is but a reverie lived vicariously through
Instagram photos, designer documentaries and magazine spreads. But for
a few of the cityís select hair designers and makeup artists, the
dream ó the designers, the clothes, the music, the models, the chaos
ó is delectably real.
Hauck worked for Neroli Salon & Spa, she would visit friends in
New York, only to find herself a bystander outside Bryant Park or
Lincoln Center, watching the flagship event unfold before her.
Fast-forward to last fall, when Hauck not only got the opportunity to
attend fashion week but was also one of its makeup artists.
for such high-profile designers such as Marlon Gobel and the eclectic
Anna Francesca was a dream come true, says Hauck.
"When I was
there, I just thought, ĎHow many times did I stand outside and say I
wanted to go in there?í" she adds. "It was a long time
As an Aveda
salon, Neroli hair designers and makeup artists like Hauck have the
opportunity to work New York Fashion Week through its corporate
program. Following an application process, the hair designers and
makeup artists fly to New York City to participate in a workshop that
covers everything from runway makeup and hair styling, to working with
designers and models, to handling the backstage bedlam. Once the
course is completed, theyíre thrown into the fashion trenches just a
week or two later.
most of these people regularly work local runways and photo shoots,
they say they were in awe of the production that went into creating
fashion weekís designs and shows.
went to the bigger houses and you saw the designs, they are bar-none
amazing, truly pieces of art," says Lindsey "Dez"
DesPlaines, a Neroli hair designer. "I think just how enamoring
that was, the grandeur of the models and the clothes and all of
Yet, working the
shows isnít always a walk in the park. The team say that while
attending fashion week sounds glamorous, itís actually a lot of
work. Besides lugging a 25-pound stylist kit around town and
navigating the cityís sometimes unreliable and confusing
transportation system, they are often running from show to show to
show, sometimes to locations that donít even have a valid address.
thing that surprised me was that nobody knew where the shows
were," Hauck laughs. "Theyíre in abandoned warehouses,
because itís Ďpost-modern,í or itís a couple floors up. There
are shows everywhere from Lincoln Center, to Brooklyn up to the Upper
And that can get
stressful, especially when a show gets moved at the last minute or the
designer isnít "ready." Then itís back to hailing a cab
or running to the subway to hightail it to the next runway.
week is really awesome, but itís also really intense," says
Josef Stempinski, a Neroli hair stylist whoís worked shows for Betsy
Johnson, Diane Von FŁrstenberg and Prada. "You rush to get (to
the show), you get there, then you wait, then the models show up five
minutes before the show."
never know exactly what youíre walking into, he says. At one show,
Stempinksi found himself wrapping hair into í70s chignons, and at
the next, he was wrapping hair weave around "cages" to
create horns atop the modelsí heads.
have to be really disciplined in your skill set," he says.
"Itís almost like an assembly line."
Contrary to what
many believe, the cosmetologists receive their looks shortly before
show time ó sometimes in the form of a look guide, but more often
than not, from a lead stylist or designer who creates the look on-site
as a sample for the group to mimic once the models arrive.
For Alli Heine,
a Neroli hair designer and makeup artist who will be completing her
fifth season this September, itís all part of the fun.
backstage can get crazy. A model shows up, and she just walks in,
wearing the totally wrong makeup from the show she just came from, and
then she has to get ready," Heine says. "So youíre
crawling on knees just trying to get lotion on the legs, and theyíre
trying to walk in the line-up. Or (if their hair is getting done) the
girls are in folding chairs and youíre bringing the makeup to them.
So youíre kneeling in front of the models. But we get it done."
The time crunch,
not to mention working in an esteemed setting with designers, models
and other artists, can feel intimidating at times, says DesPlaines.
definitely meeting some strong personality-type people," she
says. "But Iíve had a hard time with models here in Milwaukee,
too, so the polish of being Ďa modelí has worn off on me.
Basically, everybody is there to get themselves on the map."
you are really nice to the models ó and sanitary ó they are
usually nice," Heine adds with all seriousness. "Luckily, Iíve
never had any models be mean to me!"
As with most
creative environments, Heine says designers are known to change their
minds about looks at the last minute, and models are known to have
meltdowns. The key is to roll with the punches and put on a successful
work is in the creativity," DesPlaines says. "Sometimes you
only have five minutes to put together the look. Itís kind of crazy.
But Iím here to serve. You have to remember why you are there."
Being at the
cross-center of the fashion industry is an experience that canít be
replicated anywhere else. Not only does it inspire people working in
hair and makeup, it also gives them a head start on trends that will
soon make their way to the Midwest. The group says attending fashion
week is a direct benefit to their Milwaukee clientele.
personally, itís really just my opportunity to get inspired,"
DesPlaines says. "Being a stylist in Milwaukee, itís important
to know whatís happening from a trend perspective ó to be truly
connected. And itís fun to get the dish."
Itís also fun
to see years of hard work blossom into something beautiful. For Heine,
it was the moment she flipped through an issue of Marie Claire to see
a model sheís worked with before, or when her mom saw her runway
work in an online TV news clip. She was busy doing touch-ups just
beyond the runway door, she says.
be moments when you look around, and you see the long white runway,
the white chairs, and youíre like, ĎWhoa, Iím actually here,í"
she says. "Itís so wild."