Westport hairstylist styles models’ hair during World Fashion Weeks

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WESTPORT — Models strut, cameras flash, music blasts, onlookers cheer — fashion week is known the world over, where established and emerging designers show off their latest dresses, handbags, casual wear, high sewing and beyond.

Creative Director and Owner of Artistex Fair and Spa Odete Da Silva went backstage to style hair for this year’s New York, Milan and Paris fashion weeks. She’s no stranger to New York Fashion Week, but this year she took charge of her own team and flew halfway around the world to shows in Milan and Paris.

DaSilva has been a stylist for 28 years. In 2018, she won gold at the Goldwell Color Zoom contest, earning her ties to a team for New York Fashion Week.

This season, DaSilva has been one of the main stylists for Global Fashion Collectivewhich is a platform for designers to showcase their works.

“As a lead, I can decide and produce exactly what’s going to hit that runway, but I also take into account that it’s a fashion show,” DaSilva said. “We definitely don’t want the hair to be the only thing scrolling down the runway.”

DaSilva said she was working with the designers to determine the look. Some hairstyles are creative, while others are muted, depending on outfits.

In New York, his team consisted of 24 members. She took seven core team members to Milan and Paris.

Stylists only have about an hour to an hour and a half to complete looks for 35 to 52 models. The timing depends on the punctuality of the makeup, manicure, wardrobe and rehearsal teams, as well as the models.

“One thing I’m very, very adamant about is not being late,” DaSilva said. “You don’t want to be the only team everyone is waiting for.”

Depending on the designer, hairstyles are either chosen weeks in advance or just before the show, she said.

She said hair should complement outfits.

“It’s amazing to know that you can play a role in this and see it all scroll down the track,” DaSilva said.

DaSilva compared it to hairdressing in a salon — or “behind the chair,” as she put it.

“That person must wake up and want to live in that hair every day,” she said. “While on the runway, it’s much more of a production. This model knows they’re walking everyone’s creation on the runway.”

DaSilva also said that the style of the runway is artistic, as the hairstylists collaborate with the designers and other artists, as well as what the host scene wants to see.

Fashion weeks in Milan and Paris are different from those in New York, DaSilva said. In Milan, the community gathers to celebrate it.

“It really blew my mind that this was a community event,” DaSilva said. “Whether they were actually physically involved or not, it didn’t matter. They all supported each other, as a community, with how Fashion Week worked.”

DaSilva said in New York it’s all over the city and there’s a schedule. In Milan and Paris, she says, it’s more of a secret of what designers are going to show and where they will be.

“For us, the first time we saw it was amazing because we just didn’t know what to expect,” she said.

This year, the stages of the Global Fashion Collective welcomed designers including Dryden Sereda, Gabrielle Champault, Carlton Jones and LUNALEE.

DaSilva said the texture came back to the hair during this season, which was the spring collection. The hair was natural and flowing with bends, which she says will become popular, rather than neat hairstyles. In recent years, slicked back hair and pulled back ponytails have been popular on the runway.

She also predicted that pigtails, side ponytails and bangs could become popular with younger generations.

“I was just happy to see that the texture was finally available,” DaSilva said.

DaSilva plans to continue participating in fashion weeks, especially next season’s in February and March, showcasing looks for fall 2023. This will include New York, London, Milan and Paris, and her team will be bigger.

“Everyone is so supportive of what everyone else needs to do,” DaSilva said of working behind the scenes with other stylists. “There is no such thing.”

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