When I was asked if I would like to style a hair show, I absolutely jumped at the chance and especially for the opportunity to collaborate with the very talented, Anthony Kinsey O’Kelly of Vidal Sassoon.
From creating on-the-spot dresses, to sewing models straight into their outfits, it was a challenge I didn’t know I was even capable of, and we did it! 🙂 It was one of my most favourite experiences and the quickest five hours of my life. Here’s a journal of how Anthony and I came up with the idea, from design (including getting very handy with some spray paint) to show time >> and a lovely little video for you to watch too. Good times.
Let me introduce you to the man himself, Anthony Kinsey O’Kelly.
Anthony has embarked on a complete career change. Just short of two years ago Anthony was fixing planes as an aircraft technician, he’s now swapped spanner for scissors, to become a hairstylist. And we’re so glad he did.
When I first met Anthony, I was instantly taken by his passion and energy for hairdressing – and his cheeky charisma to go with it too.
He told me the show was part of his final presentation to become a fully-fledged Creative Stylist for Vidal Sassoon (no pressure) and together, we would come up with the perfect collection for his show – aligning it to his vision of calling it, ‘Impressionism’.
Where our story began
I asked Anthony to tell me more about his vision, I was so intrigued. He explained how much he was inspired by and loved artists’ impressionism (hence the name for his show) and felt that ‘using scissors was like how an artist would use their paintbrush’.
One of Anthony’s all-time favourite art movements was by late fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, where one of his models was spray painted live on stage (spring/summer show 1999). Anthony wanted me to recreate this look with softer pastel hues…
I’m in. Pass me the spray paint.
Getting to work… what I did next
I bought reams and reams of white cotton (a special shout out to the staff in Wimbledon Sewing Shop who were absolutely wonderful) and gave it lashings of Montana GOLD spray paint.
Montana GOLD colours, L-R: Baby Blue 5020, White Lilac 4110, Shock 9000, Brimstone 1110, Linden Green 6010
♥ Tip: I just love the detail you get when you spray over lace – this is how I got the floral-print effect.
I prepared two metres of fabric per model – each starting off as a rectangular piece – so I could sew the models into their outfits on the day. I had some styles in mind, but ultimately, I wanted to flatter each model – complimenting their hairstyles, personalities and silhouettes, which I wouldn’t find out about until the day, so improvisation was key. OK, so for the boys, I just had to spray paint their shirts… they got off lightly 😉
Anthony did a sterling job finding his models.
The mission: endless days and nights talent scouting around London. Anthony explored the hot spots (Oxford Street and Shoreditch to name a couple) in a bid to find his perfect seven ladies and two gentlemen for the show.
Credit to Anthony, he recruited the perfect team, as they were all gorgeous and a dream to work with.
♥ Tip: Guess where Anthony found most of his models? In coffee shops! What more do you want, beautiful surroundings while supping a lovely cuppa? Happy days… To the coffee shops ☞
Needle & thread, let’s do this…
I arrived at the Chelsea Kings Road salon at 1pm, equipped with my needle and thread, bull dog clips, fabric scissors and buckets of excitement.
Wrapped with (colourful) love
One by one, I wrapped each model into their piece of fabric. Plenty of rouche, dipped hems and asymmetric styles – one shoulder, two shoulder – and everyone went nuts for the cowl necks. I initially ‘bull dog clipped’ the girls into their outfits, which was a blast (so many shapes, so many decisions!) before sewing them into their bespoke dresses for the day.
For the feet, I kept it simple and effective (small budget, big dreams – we managed to accomplish the whole collection for less than £200) by wrapping pieces of black satin around the models’ ankles; ballerina meets grecian goddess.
Two coffees in, seven models done, next thing I knew was Anthony saying to me, ‘Sarah, we have 45mins till show time’ – how did it get to 5:45pm already?! Clearly I was having too much fun.
The results. Magical.
Tressed to success, Anthony is a genius. From luscious lilacs to candy floss pink (my personal fave) to bold copper, grape purple and jet black – there was a serious colour palette on the menu. And the hairstyles, we had pixie-cute, big volume, curls to polka straight – the contrast in the collection was just phenomenal. And I was so pleased that my outfits complimented that too. *air punch*
The show >> the final line up + a little video