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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Tucson stylists show shear brilliance

    Tim Glass
    Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    What do you see in your head when you read the words “”fashion show””? High heels and sashaying hips? A conflagration of clingy, multicolored materials? A brigade of models wearing clothing that resembles something more akin to modern art than an outfit you might wear on University Boulevard?

    We glorify models and designers, but often don’t think about the stylists who put the whole look together. Fashion is much more than the cloth hung around the body. In the end, where would a fashion show be without the crazily intense hair and makeup?

    In order to honor the individuals who toil behind the curtain, Tucson Fashion Week hosted “”The Stylists of Fashion”” at the Surly Wench Pub on Thursday. According to Elizabeth Albert, the powerhouse behind Tucson Fashion Week, the event was organized to showcase Tucson’s best hairstylists and makeup artists.

    The event opened with just the right amount of drama as a dancer from Black Cherry Burlesque sang and tauntingly removed layers of clothing, easing the hundred-something-person crowd into the insanity in store.

    The lights were dim as electronic music pulsed through the air, sometimes overpowered by the audience’s wolf whistles and screams as six design teams presented their finest works of hair and makeup genius on a few models.

    Each model wore some variation of a sexy black outfit, drawing attention to the face and hair, rather than the clothing. From an Athenian vibe to modern vintage to color-coordinated makeup and hair extensions, each design team had a particular theme it carried through its presentation.  

    The results of the hairstylists’ efforts were truly incredible.

    There were loops and curls more appropriate for a roller coaster. Finger curls met ’80s teased hair and apparently had a brilliant love child. From spiked hair to messy buns, there wasn’t a single missed hairdo. The hairstyles often reached almost half a foot above the head, evidence that there was enough gel, pomade and hairspray to support a bridge. Hair accessories were particularly favored by the stylists, including what looked like a pink bonsai tree propped up against a bun.  

    The makeup worked seamlessly with the hair. Sensually smoky eye shadow was just the most basic foundation — you were more likely to encounter jewel-encrusted eyebrows or colored lashes.  

    After the models strutted onstage for one last smoldering glance, the stylists stepped out from backstage with a shy exuberance to acknowledge their work.

    “”It was an amazing night,”” said Ronni Lynn Johnston, the head of a design team, when describing how she felt after her segment concluded. “”I felt like a star all night.””  

    Johnston, a recent graduate from Empire Beauty School, explained that this was her first hair show. After approaching Albert to participate in the Stylists of Fashion event, she assembled a team of designers and models, and began sketching her ideas. On the day of the event, Johnston spent more than eight hours in a cloud of hairspray, rotating between makeup and hair with her team.

    The experience at the event reaffirmed her desire to participate in hair shows.

    “”I love runway,”” said Johnston. “”I’ll do everything I can to reach the top.””

    She described her theme as “”superhero meets masquerade,”” with dramatic mask-like makeup featured on all her models.

    Candice Porter, a chemistry and psychology major who attended the show, was surprised by the bizarre aesthetic.

    “”It was great to see something a little different in Tucson,”” Porter said. “”Especially in a state like Arizona, where everything seems so conservative.””

    When asked if she’d ever let one of these stylists grab hold of her locks, Porter laughed, saying, “”I have rocked several awesome hairstyles, like once where I dressed up as Lady Gaga. But I have to say that the hair show was great. It was a nice exaggeration to the current styles.””

    Whether wielding variations on the simple bun or a creative interpretation of a French braid, the men and women of Stylists of Tucson proved that fashion is expressed through more than just the clothes you wear.

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