The 6 National semi-finalists in the Shu Uemura Gallery of Style competition have been selected and we were in NYC to get backstage with them. Jennifer Gillis from H2O Salon Northshore in Louisiana’s Mandeville shares some of her experience and journey though this amazing competition.
Jennifer is competing to win a professional photo shoot and immersion in Tokyo, the brand’s city of origin and continued source of inspiration. She was challenged to interpret the contest theme, “Tokyo Vibe,” by bringing to life Tokyo’s harmonious contradiction of sense of ritual and extreme attention to detail.
How did you first hear about this competition?
“Well, I guess they announced it in the fall. I work in a salon that carries Shu, and I’m actually one of the artists for the brand, so I knew all about it. I was excited to hear about the theme this year and be part of a brand that, to me, is the Rolls Royce of hair! I love how the products work; I love how it smells; my guests love it; it meets all the needs I have behind the chair!“
Tell us about the hairstyle you curated and where you got your inspiration.
“Right after they announced the theme, I had gone to an exhibition of lights in my city, and it was Asian in nature, and they had this huge dragon in one of the gardens. So that really became the main focus of the inspiration: the shape of it, the size of it, the way that it looked. Then I studied also some architecture and some of the bridges. Like a grid of the city, what the streets all looked like, and then it really just kind of inspired me to create something old meeting something new. That’s what I think of when I think of Tokyo.”
What are your favorite items from Shu Uemura, which ones you can’t live without?
“I can’t live without Texture Wave. I just love how it creates a fabric, where there isn’t a fabric, when you need it. I love Fiber Lift because it gives a ton of volume, and obviously used it for this look. And I also love Volume Maker – it’s just that piece, especially for a woman, that she can have in her bag that really just supports her style.“
What do you think this competition could mean for a stylist?
“Well, me. I’ve never done editorial work before, and it allowed me to tap into an area of creativity I didn’t know I had, or enjoyed, or possessed! So it’s been a learning and growing experience for me. It’s been great, really has – I’m so honored to be part of it! If I win? Then, Tokyo here I come!“
THE INSPIRATION: “A juxtaposition of traditional Japanese influences and an explosion of all things modern. Fluidity and movement were inspired by my study of the dragon & it plays against the modern vibe of all things Tokyo. These two ideas intersect in my creative interpretation of Tokyo Vibe.“
THE PRODUCTS: “I used Color Lustre Therma Milk, Satin Design, Ample Angora, Fiber Lift, Touch of Gloss, Volume Maker, Texture Wave, Kengo Feather, Sheer Lacquer, Detail Master.“
Three U.S. Finalists will be announced in the next days and the three Global Winners will be announced in September 2016… check back with us for more updates on the talented Semi-Finalists!