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Jen Atkin on How She Preps A-List Talent at Met Gala

Just like that we’re heading into autumn of 2021–how is it already October? I hope everyone is making time for themselves, their families, and friends. It’s really beautiful to see people reuniting with loved ones they haven’t been able to see in awhile due to COVID-19 travel and gathering restrictions.

My fall will be busy with making our new house a home, having pumpkin spice lattes, helping our Mane Addicts Creator Collective team grow, giving our son solid foods now that he’s six months (!!!), and continuing to build our team at OUAI. 

Fashion Month picked back up this September and across the board it seems like everyone embraced a more relaxed approach to fashion week shows, glam, and schedules. Pre-COVID, NYFW almost felt like a blur with back-to-back shows, events, galas and glam–and while our Creator Collective loved being back on the ground, it was nice to adopt a (slightly) slower pace amidst the fashion week madness.

But let’s not forget that in the middle of NYFW, two other major events took place–the VMAs and the Met Gala. Personally, this was the first year in a long time when I was so calm about Met Gala. The slower pace was a welcome change from years past where we would be back to back with events; it was a good step back into red carpet life. I thought I’d give you a look at what it’s like to prep for events like the VMAS and the MET gala. You can also read my breakdowns of both Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber’s Met Gala 2021 hairstyles.

The Pre-Prep

Once a client starts to get an idea of what their outfit might look like, the glam team will start ideating styles that would compliment. Sometimes we do Met Gala look trials to test out what direction is the best fit or to try a style we haven’t done before. It’s really important for the hair, makeup, and styling team to collaborate and decide who is going to have their moment so clients don’t look like they should have toned down one element of their look. 

Hailey Bieber at Met Gala 2021

For Hailey Bieber’s Saint Laurent Met Gala look we wanted classic elegance with a hint of rocker-chic. She’s never worn her hair down for the Met, so we loved the idea of something soft and natural, inspired by her very own perfectly air-dried hair. Then for the after-party we threw her hair up in a casually sexy, tousled bun, secured up with a claw clip because her dress had a hint of vintage to it. 

Kendall Jenner at Met Gala 2021

For Kendall Jenner’s Givenchy Met Gala moment, the dress needed to be the focus. Her Audrey-Hepburn inspired look had us playing with the possibility of bangs or maybe accessories but ultimately decided a relaxed bun would be the best accessory. For the after-party we pulled her back into a playful, shoulder-length ponytail, very reminiscent of Audrey.

It brought me so much joy to watch our Mane Addicts Creator Collective artists working at NYFW, VMAS, and for some their first Met Gala. I’m so proud of how hard they work. My former assistant Irinel De León juggled VMAs with Mane Addicts’ fave Bretman Rock, the Met Ball with Sunisa Lee, and a press day with OUIDAD thrown in the mix, and she crushed it. I get so excited for my team’s big wins, it’s so fun to watch. It’s great to see hairstylists and makeup artists get to show off their talents again and I hope as we safely move forward, we get to celebrate the entertainment industry that kept us sane during the pandemic.

Fashion Month isn’t over so keep an eye on Mane Addicts and our Creators as we report on our favorite hair looks we’re seeing around the globe and help set trends we will all be wearing in 2022. Stay safe out there! 



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