Clip artists win by designing cuts above the rest

October 06, 1994|By Vida Roberts | Vida Roberts,Sun Fashion Editor

In an article Thursday about the B&B Hairdressing Awards, Imagine Salon was incorrectly identified.

The Sun regrets the errors.

It was a good hair day, as might be expected when some 30hair stylists get together. The place was the Hippo Niteclub and the event was the first annual Hairdressing Awards, based on designs and hair photography submitted by stylists from Maryland and surrounding states.

There may have been a strand out of place here and there for this first-ever project of B&B Distributors, a regional salon supply house, but the whole do was a hit all around.


In their intimate working world, area stylists have little opportunity to show their stuff and stack their skills against their peers. Their reputation for creativity and expertise is usually built on word-of-mouth, grateful clients and their own schmooze skills. It's a profession that flourishes under conditions of trust and intimacy with clients. Successful stylists have an easy chairside manner and when they pack an audience, the house practically hums with good vibrations.

Even judges were welcomed with touchy-feely warmth as makeup and hair experts fluffed and blushed them up before the show got on the road. Picking the winners were Baltimore designer Winstead Leitner; John Diekmann, who dresses stars and interiors; and Susan Green, Baltimore-based attorney and former model.

Ms. Green, who is a pioneer in civil liberty suits involving sexually transmitted diseases, was an enthusiastic participant at the event that benefits the Chase-Brexton Clinic, which serves people with HIV. She also admitted to being maniacal about hair, especially her own blond locks. "Of course, it's my own, I paid for it," she said, "but I am working toward a lower-maintenence style. You can't very well request a trial postponement because you're getting your hair done."

The folks who do her hair, Joe Eckenrode and Michelle Sartori of Image salon, were there. Ms. Sartori, a finalist in the avant-garde category, did not carry home a trophy, but didn't seem to mind. With about 30 entries in each of the five categories, just making the cut was an accomplishment. "It's great being here and I'm seeing people I haven't seen in years," she said.

Closely watched was a trend presentation of Changing Shapes and Modern Metallics, which translates to the demise of the "boring bob" and greater glitzy glamour. The new, exciting bob is lighter and may even have curl.

Jane Caplan, director of sales and education for B&B and producer of the competition, sees networking and recognition of salon talent as essential to professional growth. "It behooves the industry to find exemplary talent," she says.

Sebastian International, one of the giants in hair and makeup lines, kicked in for prizes and talent. The star turn was by Cecil Diaz, a member of its traveling international artistic team, who opened the show with a hair and fashion review. Very silvery and very nice.

What separates Mr. Diaz from your friendly neighborhood hairdresser is his ability to take razor to wet hair in front of a critical audience and produce a 'do on demand.

He's at the top of the Sebastian styling pyramid and had to work through many layers of expertise to get there -- a regional recommendation, seminars, training, video reviews and a knack for teaching others what he does so well.

"Outside of the product lines, there are very few generic educational programs in our industry," says Ms. Caplan, "and we depend on the product leaders."

With chemistry and technology in fast and furious competition for the dollar share of the salon market, a familiarity with new processes, potions and lotions is essential to keep a stylist in the game, and the competition.

"This was the first competition of many to come," said Ms. Caplan, "and we hope this regional event will become a stepping stone to national competitions such as the North American Hairdressing Awards."

Those awards lean heavily on photo presentation and this Baltimore event was a first opportunity for regional stylists to develop in that area. Photographer/artist Jeff McCracken helped many first-time entrants with their presentations.

"Their first instinct is to do a style and shoot it. They need a concept and a look. The models have to be experienced and understand the mood. It can't just be your best girlfriend, the pictures will not look professional."

Keeping up with smarter clients is an added incentive to trade ideas, see the shows and take professional seminars, says Danny Telenko of Hot Heads in Silver Spring.

"They read, they know all the salon buzz words," he says. "Years ago a stylist could say, 'You need this,' and they went along. Now they ask, 'Why?' and we'd better have an answer."

Even clients who ask for a basic bob benefit from styling competitions. Ira Ludwick of Progressions salon won the trophy in the classic category. "The baby boomers are now demanding lots of style with convenience," he says. Mr. Ludwick gave them a better bob.


The winners of the Hairdressing Awards were:

* Classic: Ira Ludwick, Progressions, Rockville

* Multi-cultural: Shirley Gordon, Strands Hair Studio, Wheaton

* Avant-garde: Jason Stanton, Roche, Washington

* Women's makeover: John Przybylski Jr., Michael Christopher Designs, Wilmington, Del.

* Men's makeover: Martina Truono, Michael Christopher Designs, Wilmington, Del.


How do stylists perfect new dos? They train. The Rusk Design Team, a group of selected professionals who demonstrate and educate others in new methods and techniques will be here Oct. 16 through Oct. 19.

Regional stylists, who are interested in advancing to a master professional level are looking for 60 or more volunteer models for free haircuts. The training event is for cuts only, no processed hair or color. Interested heads can call (410) 790-0607. Be sure to ask for Rusk.

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