Fashion Week First Hand: Hairstylist Michael Dueñas Masters the Faux Bob Backstage

Michael Dueñas/Hair Room Service at Illesteva S/S '13

The whole presentation for Illesteva was very 1920s—a jazz band played with cigarette girls and dancing models.

"At first, we were going to do something very slick, but it didn't match modern times or the glasses. The designers really wanted a short style, but everyone had long hair. A faux, brushed-out bob was the perfect fit. The bit of frizz gave it a modern texture.

We first sectioned the hair from the occipital bone up, and cornrowed the hair at the nape into an "S" pattern. We used a Marcel iron to curl tight ringlets, then brushed out finger wave patterns. We create a loose three-section braid, then pinned and rolled everything underneath. We sprayed lots of hairspray underneath and flattened the bob. A lot of times when I need something flat I have cardboard with me, but in this case I used a hairspray can—the can doesn't stick to the product, so you can spray and flatten instantly.

The hardest thing about fashion week is the time you're given to complete your work. We had models that showed up an hour late. The whole looks takes about an hour and a half. It's stressful when designers are yelling at you, and you have to manage a nine-person team. It's not fun, but as soon as you finish, you're like—okay, I finished. I feel accomplished.

Before every show, I take my kit out and go through everything I need—I make sure I have at least two of the same product. Regardless of the look, my absolute essentials are mousse, hairspray, smoothing balm, a blow-dryer, my Mason Pearson, and a 3/4" flatiron—I can do anything with that size.

Prior to a show, I also email every single artist I'm working with, walking them through the look and inspiration. A lot of the time the artists work for me at the Hair Room Service, but I reach out to my agents for more help. I trust them deeply.

You need to have a very relaxed personality to survive this kind of environment—you can't get stressed out easily. If you're not easygoing, you are not going to make it in the fashion world, let alone fashion week. But if you are, email as many agents or artists as you can and see if they need assistants—that's the absolute best way."

As told to Beautylish