The annual trade show event, America’s Beauty Show, brought Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center to life with hundreds of salon professionals showcasing their products and services March 22-24.
Some 86 exhibitors came to America’s Beauty show for the first time alongside the mega brands we know and love, such as Redken, American Crew, Aquage, Farouk, TIGI, Wella, Sebastian and Matrix.
I was fortunate enough to model once again for Wella Professionals with its brilliant Australian team showcasing their work. Joey Scandizzo, winner of countless national and international stylist awards, led the team in the Wella presentation in the mainstage theatre.
At model casting, I came in with a shaggy short cut of brown hair. I was open to any changes, especially since nothing at this point could be considered too drastic a change. Since my very first hair show with Wella in 2012 as the Trend Vision “Echo” model, my hair has been black and white; rose gold for Goldwell; magenta for Matrix; black with blue and green for Wella at last year’s ABS show; red, orange, pink and purple for MODA 2013; red for a salon’s photoshoot; all black; all blonde and all deep purple. I was thrilled when Joey, excited about my possibilities, cast me for the show’s main runway stage.
During the preparation day, the models received their specific coloring and cuts, were practiced on for intricate and mind-boggling updos and were fitted for wardrobe. The day of the show, with a call time of 7 a.m., final cut and color tasks were performed and models were cycled through the makeup and styling sessions.
The first segment of the show was a highlight of interesting cuts followed by the segment of men’s looks. Afterward, hair color was the feature, and the last segment before the finale was a look at avant-garde hair presentations. I opened the show in the cut segment.
My wardrobe consisted of high-waisted skinny pants with a quilting technique on the front panel with a sleek white sheen on the back panel. On top, I wore a quilted zip-up jacket with a cage-like front exposing a bralet underneath. With the exception of the back panel on the pants, all the fabric was mermaid-like light pink iridescent. The stylist was thrilled and happily requested I wear my own Jeffrey Campbell nude colored “Night Walk” mary-jane wedges, which matched the style of shoe from the avant-garde segment but the color scheme of our haircut segment.
The makeup look was an ancient Egyptian inspired one with geometric black graphic lines above and around my eyes with white, shimmerey Chanel shadow and a nude lip. The jewelry was rough and edgy. The other two models in my segment of the runway show and I wore fake bull-nose rings connecting into earrings with a variety of chainy necklaces, bracelets and rings.
Just before show time, as per the norm, chaos ensued. My makeup artist was called off to assist the Sebastian models backstage for their show, so I changed into wardrobe with my face only half complete. Then the earring clasp broke, shoes were swapped accidentally and Joey decided to change the overall presentation of my hair at the last minute! I had a very angular cut with the front in an asymmetrical fringe and the sides shaved up to sharp lines around my head with a boxed shape jutting downward in the back. The color was black (or “petrol,” to the Aussies) with jade, blue and magenta inflections alternating through the front sections. Joey decided to give me the ultimate wet and shiny look before struggling to put on the cage-like headgear that was to be removed dramatically on stage during the show.
The most memorable experience of the whole day was not the actual show. It was, rather, the comedic scamper through the trade show floor to get the main-stage theatre. Joey, another stylist named Hermes, my model chum Dana and I wove in between the crowd of baffled and awestruck faces of the visitors and exhibitors. Dana and I towered above the rest in our massive heels. She also had a towering updo formed with long black and white pieces of hair attached to Styrofoam blocks. We recovered another avant-garde model lost along the way because her vision was impaired by the metal wire tube of woven fake hair attached to the front of her face – intentionally, of course.
The show went smoothly and the Wella team even claimed the ABS Stylist Choice Award later that evening for another consecutive year. Joey asked me to model the work for an interview afterward with behindthechair.com, and then he offered to blend the sides of the haircut for me to make it more wearable. I accepted that offer and after exploring the booths, I left the event with nothing but fond memories, sample products and a fun hairdo…not to mention an exciting face of makeup. This year’s ABS once again brought Chicago a fantasy world of innovation, creativity and genuine passion for hair.