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Diary of a Fashion Week hair stylist

We caught up with Miles Twist, Creative Director at Architect Hair to find out what it’s like to work at Fashion Week.

What’s in your backstage kit?

“The real question should be what’s not in my backstage kit. I need to be prepared for every situation, my backstage kit currently weighs 35kg! I recently bought a ponytail brush from Session Tools which is fantastic for creating slicked back ponies – a must-have! I also have a wooden Afro comb that I picked up in Senegal – it’s beautiful, I love using it.”

What’s it like to work at Fashion Week?

“It’s amazing to work at fashion week, it’s such a fast-paced environment and it really tests your skills. It’s challenging, but for me personally, I find that I develop my skills better when under pressure. It’s a great way to catalyse my learning. Of course, there’s the glamour which is thoroughly enjoyable when you have time to appreciate it.”

How was your SS22 Fashion Week journey?

New York

“It started off in New York and was an intense one Flying in on the Friday night and out Sunday night. I had two shows headed by Matthew Curtis – Hardware on Saturday and Flying Solo, Sunday.

The looks were a refresh from being locked up for the past two years – slick and simple at the front, with a series of rope braids at the back to add some dynamic and interest. Business in the front; party in the back. For some models with natural hair, we tonged and accentuated their natural curl leading to some really cool results. Here’s one model I bumped into after the show!

New York was definitely the coolest of the cities and luckily with it being just the two shows, we had a chance to go around the city at night and visit some great spots.”

London

“The next week was London. This time, working with Adam Garland who I’ve worked with for five years and have become Adam’s first assistant – meaning we’re doing test shoots together where you work with the designer to create what the hair will look like alongside the clothing. This happens the day before and you can see the evolution of the ideas that will be on the runway. One highlight was Preen by Thornton Bregazzi, which we created punkish spikes alongside messy updos. Dancers were used instead of models which gave a really cool twist to the usual runway and we sprayed the hair with some super strong hairspray to give it rigidity whilst they danced.”

Milan

“Onto Milan, where I was working with legendary stylists Eugene Souleiman and Cyndia Harvey. Highlights included Bella and Gigi being on the shows. The hair was undone, minimal and chic, however interestingly it’s the “undone” hair that requires a lot of prep. Mousse is put through the hair along with water to allow the natural shape to merge, however we then insert flat clips in order to restrict certain aspects of the shape – e.g. minimising volume, getting the hair to “naturally” dry in a specific way.”

Paris

“The busiest city for me. This time, continuing work with Eugene and Cyndia but also assisting Guido Palau. Ten shows over the space of one week (yikes!) Highlights include Dior, Valentino, Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto. We started off with Vaquera where red hair was the brief. This included braiding in bright red hair and dying models hair red. My favourite thing about fashion week is “the glamour”. Everyone says to me, “Oh it must be so glamorous”, however this really hits home when you’re washing colour out of a model’s hair over a tiny toilet sink. The water is cold and you’re using a styrofoam cup in order to soak this poor girl who has a towel over her face. The result, however, was super cool. Take a look:

Another example of this is a wet look that we created for Giambattista Valli. We used gel and silicone to create hair that look like the models had just emerged from the water. During rehearsals, we had to cling-film wrap their hair to make sure that their hair didn’t dry out. The final look, however…”

What was your favourite show to work on?

“Clothing wise, I loved the monochrome shows – pink with Valentino, where all the clothes were all pink in a pink room and Yohji Yamahoto’s all black, loose but very chic clothing. We created structures out of wire during the prep to create incredibly structural hair. The black, simple clothing allowed more of a statement hair piece. We created texture in the hair with mousse and hairspray and then interlinked it around the wire sculptures.

Hair wise, my favourite show was Burberry, such an iconic British brand. We created various panels in the hair to create a slicked but disconnected look. A very challenging and difficult look to achieve  but very rewarding.”

What advice would you give any stylists who want to work at Fashion Week?

“Work on your foundation of hair, get really good at the basic skills and the rest will fall into place. Make sure you can braid and keep practicing. Get into the mentality of staying cool and calm – you can be amazing at hair but if you’re stressed, it affects your work and those around you. Find hair stylists who you want to work with and get in touch. Be persistent. Remember you need to work hard from the bottom up and enjoy the process of progression, there’s no need to rush climbing up the ladder. It will happen when it happens! Lastly, take any opportunity you can get and give it your all, it’s so important to have as much experience under your belt as possible.”

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