When I first moved to London in 2012, there were two things I wanted to achieve. The first was to work in a high end West London Salon; and the big dream was to work in fashion and be a Session Stylist. After living in London for 6 months I found a salon where I could achieve both.
I got myself a job at Neville’s Hair and Beauty in the heart of Belgravia Knightbridge. Here I was lucky as I could achieve both of my goals. The Salon’s Creative Director was respected Session Stylist Stephen Low and the salon was managed by Neville himself.
I spent 3 months training with Neville learning blow drying stying and setting techniques; which was a great honour to learn from the man himself.
Stephen was always around to pass on his session styling skills. We would often go to the salon on a Sunday and stay behind after work where he would teach us his skills.
I got my first chance to work on a fashion show in London with Malcolm Edward’s in September 2014. I. remember that I didn’t have much kit as I was just starting out and I turned up with just a bag of brushes and combs! I got to work on my first Paris fashion show with Stephen and the Neville’s team in January 2015 and we sat in a hotel room for 3 days prepping hair peices for the model’s. Who said fashion was glamourous!
In 2015 I took the plunge and went freelance in London. I went on to have a very really successful London fashion week in that September assisting Syd Hayes and Niel Moodie; but the best was yet to come!
I will never forget the day I got an email from the lovely Helen Lisle Taylor at Premire Hair and Makeup Agency asking me to assist the man himself on Chanel Couture in January 2016! NO BIGGY!!
For those who don’t know who Sam Mcknight, is he a legend in the fashion and hair industries. Sam is one of the original Session Stylists. Before people like Sam, it was known as just hair and makeup.
Sam rose in the 1980’s and was in the right place at the right time; the Supermodels, as they are known now, were about to explode! Sam was right in the middle of the late 80’s/ early 90’s time when fashion and Models became a huge part of pop culture. Sam has done a ton of Vogue covers and was Princess Diana’s Hair Stylist in her last year’s, and was the guy who changed her look which is now forms the memories of some of her most iconic fashion looks.
I went on to work on Sam’s team for the next 4 years working on show’s in New York, London, Milan and Paris.
I travelled to New York 2 times for fashion weeks; both were totally different experiences. I had been to New York before but when I went to work there i wanted to experience the city as if I lived there rather than just do the tourist thing. I flew over September 2016 and was there for 2 weeks. I worked on the Tom Ford show with Sam as soon as i got there. The rest of the time I worked on photo shoot’s shooting on Manhattan rooftops and in the super cool East Village. I had been working with a company in London called Priv, which was an app where you could book all things beauty to come to your home; think of Uber for beauty! Well I was busy popping around Manhattan, in and out of apartment’s doing blow dry’s for the working New York women.
I tried to use the subway as much as I could but boy it was confusing!! But I soon got my head around it by the end of my time, although it took a while !
I got to hang out with some friends who live in New york that I had met in London and was lucky to have the best guides in town meaning we went to some fab Restaurants, Bars and Clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Of course i did some tourist stuff too.
The second time was was a whole different experience! Arriving in the month of February 2017, the day after i arrived there was a snow storm, it was so cold! But New York doesn’t mess about, the snow was all cleared off the side walks and roads. I was busy working on shows this time, one a day. And I got to hang out with my American friends Alex and Micheal fitting in some more tourist stuff.
As I lived in London at the time, London was the easy one. Not always the biggest names show in London these days but there are some interesting arty shows. It was always fun to see one of the quirky fashionistas dashing around town to the show.
I’m going to admit Milan was my least favourite! I loved the shows in Milan but i just didn’t like the city. The show’s were a lot more Glam in Milan and the paparazzi were crazy before and after the shows in Milan. It was always nice to go have some pasta at Duomo and I once ended up in a rave on the outskirts of Milan with some Italian guys I met on a show ….. but we won’t go into that! So not all bad memory’s of Milan!
Where do I start with Paris, I love this city! I had been visiting Paris for many years before I started to go there to work as a friend Zara was a show girl in the world famous LIDO, so I was always very spoilt when it comes to Paris. I have honestly lost count how many times I have been now but it always feels like my home from home.
I loved the shows in Paris, I was so lucky to assist on many Chanel show’s with Sam and you can’t get more Paris than Chanel! I found myself one time assisting on a shoot at Dior house for American Vogue and the photographer was Patrick Demarchelier. It was a real pinch me moment as years before, the first time I visited Paris; I had dragged Zara around all the designer store’s on the Champs Elysees, and Dior house of course was one of them.
As I said before i was very spoilt in paris and got to see the LIDO show many times and also the Crazy horse and the Moulin rouge. My favourite hang out place was La Marais for the restaurants and bars.
I got the chance to assist another legend Guido on shows for a full week in Paris one season and it’s a week i will never forget! That man is on another level with his talent and he works like a machine. I don’t think there is anyone else like him in the industry.
I’m going to be honest my fashion season days were the hardest days of my whole career, and actually made me ill a few times. With the exhaustion of the travel and work, I would often step off planes with very little sleep, some times none, and go straight to shows; and then be doing back to back shows for days then to the next city. All this on top of the pressure of living in London and trying to make every thing work to build your career. But looking back at all the picture, and thinking about all the people; I have met some life long friends. I’ve worked for some of the best in the business and what a journey it was. Would I do it all again?.. probably not, but I am so glad and grateful that I got to have the experience.