NYC-based hairstylist, Oscar Blandi was a true exhibit of the magic that happens when high fashion and hair couture intersect. His show was hosted in the regal and adorned walls of the Waldorf Astoria in New York at this year’s Intercoiffeur Fall Atelier.
In it, he transported attendees to hair and couture fashion of the past three decades of being a hairdresser, brand entrepreneur, businessman, and artist. He owns a salon in NYC with over 40 stylists, colorists, manicurists and facialists.
Estetica USA had to get an exclusive with this Italian-born golden boy of the industry to ask him about his inspiration and the experience of working in the celebrity arena.
Tell me a bit about the idea for today’s looks in the show?
“Well my idea was to recapture my years in NY, the 80s, the 90s and the 00s. Since I came here, I have been very fortunate so I would like the theme of the show to encompass my work in that time. I was suggested to really capture what I have done in the the last 30 years that I have lived here. We thought it would be fun to bring back all of those looks and really mix it up. From the 80s all the way to the modern age.”
If you had to pick a favorite time period in NYC hair fashion, which one would it be?
“I think it would have to be from the end of the 90s to the 2000s was when my career really took of with all of the celebrities and different people, brands, and designers. I had the chance to get my work out there until then, so it felt great especially when you got to see the red carpet and the magazines. It soon became about the trade, about the industry. When it turns into T.V. and movies your work starts to be set in stone. So that was really my favorite time. It wasn’t about being recognized, but rather to be set on a map so that I could be known for my work.”
So I am sure that many times people come into your salon saying, “Oh I want to look like Kelly, or like Sofi,”
“No, the funniest moments are when people come in with a picture from a magazine saying, “Oh I really would like to look like this celebrity,” and then they get close and read the credits and then they say, “Wait, you did this!” And they hadn’t even noticed!“
Who has that happened recently with?
“Well actually, we do have these amazing vintage gowns from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s Tom Ford when he was in Gucci, Gianni Varsace, Haulston; those are in the show. We also have this massive dress that was featured in Elle with Carla Puccina and so someone tells me, “Oscar, we found this amazing finale dress,” and I see it and I say, “Yes, this is from my editorial!”
What do you do when the look that the client wants shouldn’t be brought back?
“There was a big discussion, as a matter of fact, because I always talk to my team. We discuss the plan and about how we want to do it. So there was this lovely lady who wanted me to do something totally different, and the dress is big so we couldn’t have bigger hair because it becomes to overwhelming. So I told her that I thought we should do something classic, sexy and timeless, more like Julia Roberts’ hair on the runway. Big up do’s but not too over the top, because the dress has a long train and its big and red. I wanted something that had a statement.”
So there has to be a sort of compromise?
“I always leaned working with the magazines especially that no matter what you do it has to be about the full picture of the look. You can’t just be like it’s about the hair – no. It’s about the hair and the dress. The look needs to be complete and you need to feel right.”
Other stylists are looking to break into this exclusive high hair fashion world, what would be a recommendation that you would give them to better reach that goal?
“You definitely have to separate the work you do at the salon from the work you do for the magazine. Even when the style looks natural and messy, there is preparation and decision-making behind it. The salon look has a different direction, it’s more clean, more for the consumers. A magazine is setting the trend for the next three months, six months, so it is undone, but it has a lot of work so that it is not frizzy. The salon work is more perfect and sleeker. So it is important to recognize the difference because you may think, “What is the problem, I do this in my salon,” but the reality is that when the model comes in or when you talk with clients you need to do more and make sure that the beauty director is on board, and the fashion director. Then they have to check on the dress. My suggestion is look at the runway looks and at the magazines and figure out what the clothes are doing to the look as a whole. Practice a lot with your friend, get a photographer, practice, and exchange tear sheets if you are both building your careers. Now it is more digital, and here I am still talking about the Polaroid, to see the light you know? Once you understand what the team is trying to make then it becomes fun. It is nerve-wracking at the beginning for everybody, but once you have your style and the photo editor. And then all you have to do is understand what is there and translate it to the photographer.”
Why use dresses to help inspire this show?
“Well the dresses were actually archived in store, Versace, Yves-Saint Laurent, Gucci, I mean, they were really from that era, so I really wanted to give a reality. Even if the show is for us, the hairdressers, I really like to combine hair and fashion. You know, someone from Harper’s Baazar said that, “Nothing can be complete unless hair and make-up are there.” So I wanted to bring the fashion and the past, in a way to remember myself, where I started and where I am today.”
By Alejandra Acuña