Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making of NAHA 2013 Editorial Winning Collection: The New Gatsby

So excited to be named 2013 NAHA Editorial Hairstylist of the Year! Doing hair and makeup for photo shoots is my absolute favorite thing to do, therefore, this award is especially sweet! Allow me to share the steps that went into creating this beautiful collection.
Sherri Jessee Winner 2013 NAHA Editorial Hairstylist of the Year
Sherri Jessee Winner 2013 NAHA Editorial Hairstylist of the Year
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With the debut of hit movie inspired by F. Scott Fitgerald’s book, The Great Gatsby, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, I am proud to present, The New Gatsby ... a 2013 NAHA Editorial WINNING Collection!
Helen Oppenheim has always been a great predictor of fashions. She has been a wonderful mentor to me as I have grown as an editorial stylist. She recommended I do a Great Gatsby themed shoot saying this would become a huge trend. Boy, was she ever right! At her suggestion, I read the book, watched the movie and many movies of the era, and began doing tons of research. For more info on Helen, visit her website:
F Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald.

I watched the 70's movie with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
I researched makeup styles of the era. David Maderich did a wonderful job on the makeup!
This Versace ad was key inspiration to the layout.
Oh, how we all miss fabulous David Widjaja. He was a true genius.He and Bobby Warden did a beautiful job on the wardrobe styling.
I colored Kaitlyn's hair.
I curled Kaitlyn's hair. 

Finished look for Kaitlyn with blunt bangs added.

I cut Nick's hair.
Fixing our Gatsby star's hair before going on set.
A screen shot to see how the photo will look. Photographer, Roberto Ligresti is so incredibly talented.

Ely on set in her 1920's wardrobe.
Finished look on Ely.
photo: Helen Oppenheim
I was inspired by JULIEN D'YS hair creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit entitled "American Woman."
I cut, colored and styled wigs... and tried them out on myself to see how they would photograph.

Un-retouched shot of Ely with green screen.
Love the glitter-bob.
One bob was colored, cut and then crimped with aSam Villa Textur Iron. Lots and lots of prep was done before the shoot.
The mirco crimped bob finished.
photo: Helen Oppenheim
I was inspired by JULIEN D'YS hair creations at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My own version with pin curls and hard gelled finger waves

The waved bob finished.
The team at the end of the shoot. I love them all.— with David WidjajaDavid Maderich and Bobby WardenSherri Jessee, and Roberto Ligresti.
How cool to have my achievement as NAHA Editorial Hairstylist of the Year recognized by a United States Senator!
My most recent project, Elegant Organized Beauty, is a unique system of beauty tools. As preferred stylist for MISS VIRGINIA USA and a member of the Intercoiffure Artistic Team, when I'm isn’t jet-setting to Sydney, Mumbai or Milan, I can be found working in my full service boutique salon in Bristol, Virginia. With a unique feminine approach to beauty, one of the most desired, yet easily approachable internationally renowned hair and makeup artists, I have been distinguished as a 2013 NAHA Finalist, awarded “Top 10 Stylist of 2013,” a “Woman of Style,” and “One to Watch” by industry experts.
For more information visit:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Making of a NAHA 2014 Collection: Celestial Cheveux

I was thrilled when fabulous photographer, Jean Sweet, offered to collaborate with me. My NAHA nominated "Celestial Cehveux" collection was a few years in the making…a true labor of love. You see, large collections can take a great deal of time to nurture from concept to creation. I had been sketching out designs for interesting hair shapes for nearly a year and gathering the materials needed.

My daughter has the most beautiful hair. When I told her one day that she had the hair of an angel that became the inspiration of my collection… What type of hair do angels have in heaven? What if they had wings made of hair? I had been working on creating a collection of interesting hair shapes and decided to make them angelic. All of the hair was colored in soft beige platinum and I crafted wings covered in various textures of matching hair.

It tools days of viewing model portfolios to make my final model selection of the 5 beauties that would star in my angel collection. I had to carefully pack for the flight from Virginia to Chicago, IL anticipating every item needed for both the hair and the makeup.
To prepare model Kelly's hair first retouched her re-growth with a high lift blonde and 40 volume developer which processed 45 minutes. For the style, I created a horseshoe shaped section from temple to temple and micro-crimped the top area using a SAM VILLA TEXTUR IRON. I applied a generous amount of  Molding Paste to the bottom section and carved in finger waves on each side with a cutting comb. 

I added extensions to the top to create a more dramatic fringe and brushed through the crimped hair to release the beautiful frothy texture. Each model had their own unique hair shape. I worked on this creating the shapes for the hair in this collection for over a year by sketching out shapes, coloring cutting and creating various textures.
I wanted the makeup to also echo the etherial theme and so I used a Temptu Airbrush system to create pale skin. I even sprayed hands and arms where needed. I although the face and eyes were mostly white, I used matte browns and pinks to create depth and dimension to accentuate each model's beautiful features. 
I used white mascara on the model's lashes. For more drama, I added false strip lashes that I had painted with white acrylic paint. I like to use a lip brush to apply lip color very carefully and I chose deep red tones to provide balance with the light eyes.

I wanted a unique, powdery texture on the skin and hair and used a dual tipped powder brush to dab on lots of baby powder. 

Here I am adding final touches to the makeup.
The wings were so heavy with all of that hair so rather than putting them on the models, wardrobe stylist, Jennifer Lynn decided to suspend from poles and the models stood in front of the wings to look as if they were wearing them.
Jennifer Lynn, brought in gorgeous designer dresses in golden beige and wrapped the models in yards and yards of chiffon tulle.

After the shoot, Jean and I went through the hundred of shots to choose our favorites. It is interesting how often one or two images of each look automatically stand out from the crowd making it easy to choose a a few favorites. You can see we did the shoot in front of a shirred white curtain. Jean later added the AMAZING backgrounds in post production. I can't even begin to imagine how long it took her to create 6 different celestial, clouded backgrounds. The full color versions were absolutely gorgeous.
 I knew I wanted to submit the collection to Dark Beauty magazine. This prestigious publication features some of the most amazing photography in the world.  I toned down the colors in the various images to create a collection with  a moodier appearance to be cohesive to the magazine's darker, edgier tone.
You can see here the transition of the images. Left is the raw, un-retouched image. Center photo is the full color version. Pictured right is an image with muted tones.
Wardrobe stylist Jennifer Lynn was kind enough to share some of her insight on her contributions.  She says, "It was a pleasure and privilege to collaborate with Sherri on the series, she brought a pure angelic innocence to the set with her well honed hair and makeup craftsmanship.  

The color pallet helped set the mood for the spread, it was about picking pieces that blended into the background so Sherri's hair masterpieces stood out.

Sherri made creating this spread easy, her direction and concept was divine, literally.  Everyone in the team was on the same page and although it didn't physically come together until she arrived in Chicago, it was something we worked on via email and text going back and forth until she stepped on set.  

From the waves of the hair to the flow in the outfits to the hills and valleys in the hair wings, it was about balance and beauty in every way. I am thankful to be part of Sherri's team on this, it was such a pleasure and we are excited she has been nominated as a NAHA '14 editorial finalist!"

Further commentary from photographer Jean Sweet, “ I wanted to work on a project with Sherri because of her immense talent and creative drive. When Sherri arrived at my studio with the angel wings and platinum wigs with her  fantastic hairstyles,  I was so inspired with her concept, art direction.  Sherri’s work as hairstylist and makeup artist during the shoot motivated the entire team towards creating something very special. I photographed the angels on a white background with backlighting that created a glow around the shoulders and head. 
The stylist, Jennifer Lynn had the great idea of wrapping white tulle around the models who were dressed in gold and off-white. When I began to retouch the images, I created a digital composite blending heavenly clouds and sky in the background which wrapped around the angel bodies. After finishing the original color version of the angels with the heavenly background, the photos became like a surreal painting. Sherri’s brilliant idea of converting the images to more monotone in color to fit the style of Dark Beauty Magazine assured her the editorial coverage that would win her the NAHA nomination. 
I am very pleased that the original color images were published in Hot by Hair’s How, December 2013 issue and elated that Sherri is nominated for 2014 NAHA Editorial Stylist with the “Celestial Cheveux” editorial story published in Dark Beauty Magazine. It was a great collaboration, thanks to Sherri Jessee and stylist Jennifer Lynn. Sherri deserves the recognition as a NAHA finalist.”