Backstage with Jamie Stevens

Jamie Stevens is an award-winning hairdresser and has worked with a host of celebrities from Elle McPherson to Eve Herzigova, Hugh Grant to Leonardo di Caprio, and was resident hairdresser on The X Factor for 5 years. We caught up with him ahead of London Fashion Week to find out what it’s like to work backstage.

“Fashion Week shows are amazing to work on, but I can tell you that they’re far from glamorous backstage… It’s like that analogy of a swan – gliding along above the surface while underneath is furious paddling! The very nature of them means that everything is quite last minute. We do a hair and make-up test a few days beforehand, when myself, the lead make-up artist and the producer or creative director for the show will work out the looks to do on the day. This means that there’s no last minute panics and we have our mood boards ready to communicate to our teams. 

Quite often, the teams are made up of freelancers so you’re working with people you might not usually, which means it’s really important to have a clear idea of what you’re aiming for. Models often aren’t cast until a few days before because you don’t know who’s in town, and models work on lots of different shows so you have to be prepared for some of them to dash in half an hour before the start still in their hair and make-up from their last show. Quick turnarounds are essential, and you have to work with make-up artists and stylists to get them fully ready all at the same time. That said, it’s so good to see a model sashay down the runway looking fabulous, and steering the trends that will then filter down to the high street, so it’s always worth the stress!”

Jamie’s top tips for Fashion Week survival:Be organised – keep your kit bag minimal and put things away properly.Arrive PROMPTLY – lateness lets the whole team down.Keep your area tidy and clean so it looks good in the backstage photography.Don’t use anything that competes with any sponsor brands.Be co-operative – the team needs to work as a whole which means being flexible to allow make-up and stylists to do their job too.Don’t post any images unless you’ve been told that you can – tag anyone associated with the show.Smile! Keep calm and don’t panic – just get the job done!

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