Day in the Life: Rodney Cutler Backstage at Fashion Week

We shadowed Rodney Cutler of the world-renowned Cutler Salons through hair tests and backstage preparations to get a sense of what Fashion Week is really like for a to stylist.

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Catherine Blair Pfander
We're used to seeing models sprint between castings and shows during Fashion Week, but some of the season's busiest folks are the ones working backstage. We followed Rodney Cutler, founder of the world-renowned Cutler/Redken Salons, through a day of hair tests, backstage prep and client appointments to see what it's really like for hair stylists during fashion's busiest season.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
On Saturday, September 10, Rodney rose bright and early for a 7 a.m. call time at Pink Tartan, Kimberley Newport-Mimran's collection of cheeky, feminine ready-to-wear. Hair tests, we learned, typically happen one or two days before a given show, depending on the designer and the amount of work involved. For Pink Tartan, Rodney and Miriam settled on a style the day before.
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Usually around 12 additional hair stylists are working backstage with Rodney, each responsible for completing hair on two models. Here, a look at the glamorous, voluminous blow-outs for Pink Tartan.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
From Tartan, Rodney rushed from the tents to his 57th Street salon for mid-afternoon appointments and client consultations.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
For a 3:15 p.m. hair test for evening designer, Carlos Miele, brought Rodney all the way back to 14th Street. "Carlos wants to go for a 'wet hair' look," Rodney told me.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
A tremendous number of suitcases packed with product, dryers, flattening irons, curlers, and a myriad of combs and brushes accompany Rodney on every hair test. "You don't have to bring everything, but I prefer to," he says. "You never know what they're going to ask for. Best to be prepared for anything."
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Catherine Blair Pfander
A box of clips, hair bands, and threads.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Here, Rodney begins applying texturizing product for a "wet" up-do.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
After being twisted and teased, the final knot is sewn into place with a needle and thread.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
Here, the finished up-do Rodney initially proposes for Carlos Miele's show.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
The hair testing process can be extremely work intensive because, often, a number of styles are previewed before the designer settles on a final look. While Carlos approved of Rodney's tousled wet up-do, he eventually deems the look "too pretty." Here, Rodney and an assistant begin un-combing and flat-ironing the first style.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
The team settles on a simple, slicked-back 'do with wet gel through the crown.
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Catherine Blair Pfander
The second look approved, and iPhoto snaps are taken to show the team of stylists that will be working backstage at Carlos' runway show.
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On Monday morning, Rodney is back at Lincoln Center with Carlos, ready to demonstrate his wet hair look to a team of hairstylists.
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Rodney duplicating the wet hair style on a model at Carlos Miele.
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A view of Rodney's finished look for Carlos Miele.
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