Inside MBFWA: Jenny Kim
We talk to the hair stylist who's working on Romance.
Jenny Kim is assisting superstar hair stylist Alan White on a handful of MBFWA shows this season — including the opening show at 9am tomorrow, Romance Was Born. Today, the team were prepping at Prema in Surry Hills. And by prepping we mean hand-crafting wigs made from human hair that they had dyed themselves. Lydia Carron was also there, and despite what it may look like from the photo she was wasn't actually getting cornrows — that's just the plaiting that they do for underneath the wig.
Ingrid Kesa: What are you doing for Fashion Week?
Jenny Kim: I am exclusively assisting Alan White for all of the show’s that he’s doing. We’re finishing up all the last touches for the wigs. Everyone’s getting hair pieces, so it’s going to be really fun.
What shows are you doing?
We’re opening the week with Romance, we’re doing Manning Cartell, Ginger & Smart and I’m going to be helping him with Karl Capp and Roopa.
How does the process work — does the hairdresser come up with the concept?
It’s a collaborative thing like a lot of things that happen in the fashion world. It’s the designer, the hairdresser and the makeup artist. It’s informed by whatever the inspiration was for the collection. Everyone brings their heads together and comes up with the right thing for the season. [She leans in and brushes some stray pieces of hair from my face]. I’m such a hairdresser, sorry! That brainstorming process tends to happen within two or three weeks approaching Fashion Week, and then after that it’s trailed and redone and trailed again — it can take a couple of times of some designers, and an hour for other people. It just depends on the look that they’re going for. When everyone’s agreed on something it’s just about preparing. Sometimes it requires almost no preparation. The last season that I worked with on Alan for Fashion Week, was about two or three years ago, and there was a lot of really simple looks then. It was mostly really clean and beautiful slicked back hair, and we didn’t really have to do anything. This year it’s a completely different ballgame because there’s a bit more budget to play around with because it’s really exciting.
Do you get to have a preview of the collections?
A little bit of a preview...
Romance is tomorrow and it’s going to be one of the biggest shows of the week.
Yep, we’ve got a 4am call time. Sometimes you need to start a little earlier to give someone a really good, crazy show.
Yeah, last year they had those headpieces.
Allan also did those. They had a pretty early call time for that one too.
Can you give any hints of what to expect for the hair direction at Romance or is it under wraps?
It’s definitely under wraps but you won’t be disappointed! It will be pretty colourful, that’s for sure. This whole season’s going to be a bit more colourful, I think.
What’s one show that you’ve done that you’re really proud of, where the vision just came to life?
I actually just did my first show this year for Phoenix Keating and that was really exciting because I never had the chance to do that yet, and this was my first opportunity to decide whether I want to be pursuing that in the future. It was really fun, and it was a really nice experience. It felt nice to be the one giving advice and making decisions and manning a team. I had a really good time, so that my be in store for me in the future.
How does it work when the shows are back-to-back and the hair direction is so different for each show, with models and timing?
Sometimes it’s just complete and utter chaos. I did an Australian Fashion Week one year where we had girls showing up an hour and a half late and we literally had half an hour to do their hair and they showed up with mud caked all through their hair. We had to drag them up the stairs and find a bathroom. I was literally in the shower with them, rinsing mud out of their hair and it’s just mayhem but there’s no system. You just need to be as organised as you possibly can and then you have to be good with taking whatever shit comes flying at you. You have to be good at making decisions and working fast and part of that is just having a really solid team.
Words: Ingrid Kesa
Photography: Ingrid Kesa