Gary Graham Backstage (1)

Seeing as how I don’t have the necessary skill sets to be a hair stylist, make-up artists, designer, or in any way contributing to the success of Fashion Week, I jumped at the chance when asked to join backstage at the Gary Graham show at Milk Studios!

Call for the models was at 3:30pm in the Milk Studio Penthouse, and at first I thought that was a bit early for a 7:00pm show.  However, after talking to Pete Lennon, the key hair stylist from Prive Salon, I learned how time consuming all the preparation is to get ready for such a big production like Fashion Week.  The models, however, were “fashionably late,” (hah!) and were nowhere in sight at 4:00pm.

Lennon described how he has a long-standing relationship with the designer, and after looking at the line they collaborate and discuss what kind of hair would amplify the collection even further.  With such extreme styles, is it difficult to come to a consensus on such outrageous ideas?  Apparently great and outrageous minds can and do think alike.

To kill time while waiting for the late models, Lennon practiced his runway hair styles on one of the long-haired miscellaneous girls nearby.  He grabbed a block of a sponge and some metals clips, with four other stylists watching, it felt like some sort of surgery was about to go down with five to six people huddled around one helpless person.  Lennon talked about how he was going to transform the hair into cone shapes jutting from the back of the head, comparing it to the aliens from the movie Aliens. That’s right, Aliens, the 1986 hit starring Sigourney Weaver where aliens come bursting out of your stomach.


I was even further confused (slash horrified) when he pointed to a large suitcase filled with hair extensions, combs, and more sponges, resembling a junkyard of abused and discarded rodents.

Gary Graham Backstage (3)

The cheat sheet I received said that Lennon‘s updo is “an extreme take on the classic French twist,” quite the understatement, “stretching the look so it appears blown back in an almost cone-like fashion for a futuristic, punk feel.”

The end result, however, was quite beautifully astonishing!  I never would have thought that Aliens would make it into a fashion show, but the fashion industry is certainly not shy about taking inspiration from unlikely places.

Gary Graham Backstage (11)

The models finally arrived at around 4:15pm and get themselves situated in the salon chair.  One was wolfing down a brimming plate of food, and I secretly pined for her ability to eat that much with her waifish frame.  It took a minimum of two stylists 20 minutes to do each models’ hair, a startling short amount of time, before they proceeded to get their make-up done, courtesy of MAC, and into their outfits.

And now, the show is just beginning!