Hairstylist and educator Lauren McCowan recently directed the hair for Cloud Nine using Kela at C/MEO Collective’s 2018 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia (MBFWA) show. We had a chat to Lauren about how she works backstage, what informed her vision for the show, and what her advice is for those wanting to break into the hair fashion world.
How did the C/MEO collection inform your vision for the hair looks?
LM: I always try and embody the essence of the C/MEO girl, as opposed to focusing just on the collection. C/MEO is always a really beautifully curated collection, effortless and able to be layered and individualised to the girl wearing it. We really wanted to link in C/MEO and celebrate the global hair trends that are most inspiring me at the moment – ‘The Art of the Individual’ and ‘Self Acceptance’. We focused on creating really beautiful quality hair and then building out the individual hair textures to celebrate each model’s individual style, as opposed to forcing the hair to do something it doesn’t want to do.
For those not familiar with working in hair fashion, can you explain a little bit about the kind of prep that goes into a fashion week show?
LM: We always look to partner with brands that match our core values and target market. The modern girl curates her lifestyle from the clothes she wears to the products she uses in her hair, so we try and look at our brand collaborations as a curation for our audience, opening their eyes up to new experiences and offerings.
Why did you decide to use Kela on this particular project?
LM: I’ve been seeing Kela hit the market and they looked amazing, I wanted to use them in a different, more effortless way than what I’ve been seeing. The hair for C/MEO was very effortless and chic, using natural textures, with a couple of key upstyles – in an airy, messy bun. We used Kela as a ‘dusting’, to take an otherwise effortless look and instantly make it chic, elegant and interesting.
How did you work Kela into the looks for each model?
LM: We wanted the girls to have a ‘dusting’ of Kela, so we picked a few models in the line up to hero Kela. We have beautiful matte gold and pearl beads, which we clipped into the upstyles and into some loose hair with a very effortless, not overthought feel. The way a girl would clip them in rushing from the office on a Friday to an evening event. I wanted the hair to feel attainable but with beautiful quality and have Kela be the unexpected finish, almost hiding in the hair, the final piece to the C/MEO girls’ look.
What would you say is one of the most challenging aspects of working on a fashion week show?
LM: Working with a new hair team is always the most challenging aspect of a show, we try to incorporate new stylists each season to spread opportunity around and create a global network of like-minded hairdressers. It takes a minute to figure out what everyone’s strength is, but I work with a culture of open-mindedness, team culture and learning. So we all have a good time, get to know each other and do good work. It makes for a fun, exciting backstage environment, and as a hair director, I am of the very strong belief that if people feel valued for their skill sets in a fun environment, then I will get the best results from them.
Do you have any advice for aspiring session stylists as to how they can get involved in the industry?
LM: Find someone who inspires you and assist them. Everyone stands on the shoulders of giants, it’s how the industry grows and builds, taking the learning of one generation into the next. But also, your vibe attracts your tribe. Find like-minded people at your level and start creating work together – that’s how teams are built and everyone rises together. Constant practice, developing and recreating styles. Find your signature, what will set your brand of hair apart from everyone else’s?