I arrived at Liverpool Street Station around an hour from my call time, the heavens opened and my fur coat fast became reminiscent of a wet dog, my case had a temperamental wheel and my furry neon clutch bag kept slipping from under my arm. I wrestled with a cheap umbrella as I marched towards The Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. I arrived at the Rory Parnell Mooney test show with butterflies racing around my stomach. I was wet, nervous but extremely excited. Gary Gill arrived a few minutes later.
Gary is a regular on prestigious teams such as Louis Vuitton at Paris and London fashion week and has headed several of his own shows for designers such as Loewe, Richard Nicoll and Christopher Raeburn. He also has a vast list of actors on his client list and is the first choice hairdresser and groomer for a number of iconic musicians including Mark Ronson, The Killers and Amy Winehouse.
Whilst Gary had pre show discussions with the designer and stylist, I got to work setting up his kit. Everything was precisely stored, right down the the last grip and I took a few images to reference when the time came to pack up. The test model arrived and we quickly got to work gluing wefts into his hair. Gary came up with a concept, we used the wefts to form a long frayed fringe and played with different wet and dry textures to create an edgy, unique look, the finish was to be reminiscent of taking your beanie hat off after being caught in the rain, dry and flat through the sides and back then messy, wet and stuck to your face through the front. We used Wella System Proffesionals Men’s and Wella Care and Style products to create the look. Gary made me feel comfortable and involved so my nerves subsided respectively. After a busy morning working closely with designer, stylist and make up artist we made our way to Ridley Road Market to stock up on supplies. With his gruelling schedule to uphold Gary had to dash off for another shoot and he left me in charge of preparing the hair for tomorrow’s show.
Concentrating on the task in hand I met Hayley and Darren and roped them into helping me out. After a small mishap which I have fondly named ‘scalpel-gate’, we all sat happily in a Shoreditch bar having a sprightly drink and splitting hair wefts. Joining us for our night of frivolities was Ryan Malloy, Ryan is undoubtedly one of the biggest west end stars and best known for playing Frankie Valli in both London’s West End and New York’s Broadway production of The Jersey Boys, his repertoire also includes Jerry Springer-The Musical, Taboo, Tonight’s the Night and he has written and performed songs with stars including Frankie goes to Hollywood, The Eurythmics and Christina Aguilera. Ryan’s hilarious charm and wit made him reassuringly easy to get along with and the four of us sat in fits of affectionate laughter. Once my job was complete we made our way to club night ‘Ex Lovers’ hosted by my friends Barry Linnen and John Booth at The George and the Dragon on Hackney Road. A fashionable affair with plenty of bold shirts, air kisses and men with daffodils not as much in their pockets but strewn across their hair. Good music and old friends made it memorable but my early show call time made me cut the night short. I sensibly headed back to the hotel looking for a good night sleep in preparation for the big day. My slumber rudely awakened by Hayley around 4.30am when she came clambering in the room singing Katy Perry ‘California Girls’ and eating what she affectionately named ‘a breakfast in bed buffet’, merely consisting of a packet of salt and vinegar crisps and a share size bag of malteasers.
I met with Gary and Tom at the Wella World Studio at 10am to discuss tactics and prepare for the day ahead. The atmosphere was calm and organised and not even my lack of sleep could bestow negative energy on my focused mind. The Old Sorting Office on New Oxford Street was our destination and we headed there to join the rest of the team. The talented bunch consisted of Gary Gill for SP men with Tom Wright (Soul Hair), Holly Scanlan (McIntyres), Josh Goldsworthy (Goldsworthys Hairdressing), Simon Tuckwell (Zullo & Holland), Amelia Evans (Russell Eaton), Liv Holst, Ray Bolton (Emotive Hair), and the Wella Professionals Generation NOW team – Paul Paterson (Ishi Salon), Rob Czlapka (RCNQ) and Callum Standen (The Egg). Whilst Gary briefed the others of the task in hand, I set to work organising the wefts and products, trying to prevent any unwanted complications on our busy schedule. A union to be reckoned with it felt as though we had worked together for years, pairing up to get things finished double quick, we all worked exceptionally laborious and both the designer and the stylist were elated with the looks we achieved.
Adrenaline high with blissful feelings of pride I made my way to Crouch End to enjoy and evening of Thai food and prosecco with Karlene and Rennie who kindly put me up at their cosy flat. I slept like a baby, eager for the next chapter of my fashion tale. I woke early and made my way to Oxford Circus, Hayley had been invited to her yankee friend Shaun Samson’s show at Fashion East and I was her plus one. It was incredible to be on the other side of the catwalk, rubbing shoulders with fashion elite and taking in my creative surroundings. California Dreaming by The Mamas and The Papas blaring as each model sulked down the catwalk moodily, faux fur scarves with muted tones and oversized plaid shirts opened to reveal buff chests, it’s fair to say the collection was desirable and the shy designer took a timid bow after the strong line up left the catwalk and the fashionable crowd cheered in delight.
Arriving at The Topman Showspace, the venue for tonight’s Christopher Raeburn Show, I was greeted by Michael Francos (D&J Ambrose) and the rest of the Wella SP Men’s Team. Spirits were high and concentration was bestowed, a huge event that needed everyone at the top of their game. The British fashion designer Christopher Raeburn has a unique and innovative approach to creating menswear, womenswear and accessories, a graduate of London’s prestigious royal College of art, he has won many accolades for his design work and is seen as influential within the fashion industry, his show was to bring in a fierce crowd including celebrities and industry experts. The look for the show was to be masculine and strong with inspiration taken from 1980’s magazine The Face. We used Wella SP Men’s and Wella Care and Style products to create sleek, tight sides and a voluptuous square quiff to give strength to the style. Once the models were complete I had the opportunity to watch the show and soak up the animated atmosphere, grinning from ear to ear and a feeling of overwhelming accomplishment after being involved in such a creative and challenging event.
Grabbing Darren en route we walked excitedly to The Sanderson hotel, trailing our kit bags and looking slightly worse for wear due to our prolific yet hard working day. The grandeur of the 1950’s building, which had seen regeneration by Philippe Starck into a surreal Cocteau-like dream world was the perfect venue for a fashionista party which was sponsored by Men’s Health Magazine. To my sheer delight, the complimentary drinks flowed and Espresso Martinis, G & T’s and bottled beer were carried amongst revellers by handsome bar staff, making the event the perfect place to relax after a hectic day. Eight free drinks in and the flow of espresso Martinis trickling away, I thought best to say my polite thank you’s and goodbyes. Darren, Paul and I caught an uber across town to meet The Scottish Mad Squad in a pub which can reassuringly be described as The Queen Anne away from home. We were welcomed by Rennie chanting on the karaoke whilst the girls jumped across the dance floor, making up routines and pulling up regulars to the dance with them. The party continued well into the early hours at Anna and Josh’s pad and I left regrettably with only one hour to catch my flight home.
Disastrously I missed the plane but my new found positive attitude has led me to believe that all things happen for a reason, that night resulted in me gate-crashing Liam Gallagher’s party in my pyjamas, but that’s another tale to tell…..
Long live the VEF and walk, walk FASHIIIIN Baby, I’m a QUEEEEEN BABY!!!