For hairstylists, it doesn’t get much bigger than the show at New York Fashion Week.
And the residents of St. Clair Atas Tamara Artnak easily accepted such an offer when it came in early February. The owner of Luxe Hair Salon in Collier Township asked employee Jane Ondra to join him, and they were headed to Manhattan in no time.
It turns out they also got short notice when they started working on the hairdos of the eight runway-bound models.
“They didn’t give us a timeline until we were a model, so I didn’t know we only had an hour and a half,” recalls Artnak. I do not know.
But within 90 minutes, each of the young women is ready to step into the spotlight to showcase the latest creations of Australian fashion designer Natalie De’Banco and her Bronx and Banco label.
“At first I was a little nervous. I won’t lie to you. “It took me a few minutes to start my game, because they never told us,” said Artnak. “But we are trained to work fast. We can do it.”
The whirlwind style session serves as the climax of a fast-paced weekend where he and Ondra make travel plans on Friday, fly to New York Saturday and be ready with their scissors and other trading tools at precisely 7am Sunday.
Artnak was actually slated to be the head designer for New York Bridal Fashion Week 2020, but the event was canceled just as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. She did have the chance to meet Arnold Milfort, a highly sought-after celebrity fashion stylist, consultant and fashion show producer.
And apparently, he’s making a strong impression going into 2021.
“He contacted me because we made that connection last year,” he said.
Like most cases during the pandemic, this year’s New York Fashion Week winter issue features a different approach. These events are recorded for remote viewing, rather than bringing live audiences together, and everyone directly participating is subject to strict safety precautions, including on-site testing for the Coronavirus.
“They were very strict about us wearing their special masks,” he said of the mandatory N95-filtering facepiece respirator. “We have to wear glasses and shields, and we have our own booth set up when we get there.”
Such protective measures, of course, have their drawbacks.
“It’s hard to connect with people, because they don’t really see your face,” said Artnak. “It’s a little more difficult for me in that sense, because I don’t know any of these people. I am completely new. I’m trying to build a network. I’m trying to get my name out there. “
One opportunity she had was to meet representatives from the international communications agency Purple PR, an industry leader in the fields of fashion, beauty, music, art, design, food and travel.
“He thought it was really cool that we flew from Pittsburgh to be in style,” said Artnak, and after seeing them complete their assigned assignment in such a short time, “He would hire me for future projects.”
Artnak and Ondra also had the opportunity to visit De’Banco’s Bronx and Banco offices.
“It’s really cool, really behind the scenes. We have to see the entire collection, even some of his past collections, ”said Artnak. “There are models trying on clothes for last-minute touches, and lots of assistants running around. Really New York. “
At least, that’s the atmosphere in the office. In general, the pandemic has had an impact on the Big Apple.
“I usually travel there a few times a year for work. It must be different, ”said Artnak. “We live in Soho. You can literally go out on the street and hear nothing. That’s not normal. Usually, a hoppin ‘and boppin’ town. “
The particular city is also some distance from the relatively quiet neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
“You can definitely see the difference between New Yorkers and Jane and me. We stand out, “said Arntak. “Once they start looking at our work and we get it done on time, they start to, I think, appreciate us. Maybe not at first. We have to pay our dues. “
Whatever the case, the New York experience is one they value.
“I feel very professional. I’ve done Pittsburgh Fashion Week a lot. It’s not like Pittsburgh Fashion Week, “said Artnak. This is the highlight.
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