One Stylist’s Journey Working Backstage Fashion Week
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Best known for his work on Ruby Rose, Bella Thorne, Karrueche, and Halle Berry, Mane Master Castillo took a quick break from editorial and celebrity styling to work backstage for the first time at this year’s New York fashion week. Working on teams keyed by legends like Laurent Philippon, Jimmy Paul and Amy Farid, Castillo talks about life backstage with Bumble and bumble below.
What was it like transitioning from editorial to backstage?
To be honest, it wasn’t that much of a transition. The cool thing about being able to work backstage at NYFW was the fact that it’s such a team effort between the artists. We’re a team of 30 hair artists all trying to duplicate a look from the key stylist. Instead of it being like a competition or you working alone with one makeup artist and one photographer, you’re working as a team so there’s this sense of teamwork that I’m not really used to in Los Angeles. Being a part of the team and seeing the end result and celebrating as a team, rather than doing it all on your own. It was a great experience and the transition was really welcoming and felt nice to be part of.
Do you have plans to go backstage next year?
Yeah, absolutely. I was given the chance to do it this year with Bumble and bumble, I do a lot of work with them when they’re in Los Angeles. They were kind of surprised at the idea that I wanted to do that but I get inspired by fashion and fashion shows so if I get an opportunity to do it again, I’ll definitely take it. It was such an experience that I wouldn’t pass it up.
What’s your advice for people who want to follow in your footsteps?
The best advice I can give is to be super open-minded and know that this industry is really small. When it comes down to it, it’s going to be us hair artists. Being able to work in teams and create as many friends in the industry who do the same art as you is really going to help you. When it comes down to that last twenty minutes working backstage, ego aside, you’re helping each other and it’s about helping each other all the way down to the end, whether it’s referring clients or bringing people on board. Leave your ego at the door—it’s all about creating friends, being open-minded, and being open to the idea of following directions. That will get you so far in not just one fashion week but to numerous ones.
What was the most overwhelming part about being backstage?
In any situation, it’s always those last few minutes when you have to knock out a certain look. My background is not only in celebrity and editorial. In some of my earlier days, I used to work backstage at a show in downtown called Lucha VaVOOM, this huge wrestling/burlesque show and I’m used to knocking out looks really quickly so that kind of experience transferred over. When a client hosts a music show and you have five minutes between changes, it’s that same kind of energy. And then there were four to five people working on one person, which is crazy. It was so inspiring to see that we all share this desire.
Do you have a favorite look that you helped create?
There was a look that I helped do for the Hood By Air show. The reason why I love it so much is because it’s a look that I would never be able to do on any celebrity client or red carpet, there’s no way it would be accepted because it’s so out there. Amy Farid led the Hood By Air show and we created a really greasy look and side part. Amy explained how to do it but she also understands that we’re all artists so she gives a little bit of room for your artistic imagination. When I executed my look and I brought my model to her, her excitement and acceptance made me feel really good about myself, and I was like, “Oh sh*t, I can hang with the best of them.” So I think that was my favorite look to create at fashion week.
Who (key stylist) did you like working with most?
If you were to ask me at the end of each day, the thing I liked most is that each show was different, whether it was Lacoste or Thom Browne, there were all different types of looks. I can’t really pick one to be honest. It was really interesting to be around hairstylists at their level and them being so open to helping.
If you could do fashion week again, is there anything you’d do differently?
There was this one moment when Ashley set up her iPad to record a hyper-lapse backstage, and that’s something I would do at every show. It gives you a glimpse into something so raw which is something people don’t get to see because these days everything else is so curated. It’s a very good step-by-step but it also shows the motion of it.
Make sure to follow @castillo_13 for more #manespiration.