October 13, 2017

NZFW 2017 Backstage with Michael Beel

New Zealand's premier fashion event made even better with Buoy.

NZFW held in Auckland at the end of August 2017 is New Zealand’s premier fashion event celebrating all things fashion. Held predominately in the Viaduct Event Centre with a few offsite shows, it's always an event that Buoy loves to support. Enjoy our behind the scenes blog from Buoy Director and co-owner Michael Beel.

This week is going to be a busy one for me, Im hair-directing 4 shows and part of a team for 7 shows.  For those who dont know, a Hair Director comes up with the look with the designer beforehand, and then on the day directs a team of around 15 hairdressers to get thru about 20-30 models in about 2 1/2 hours (including makeup and a rehearsal) and if you're just on the hair team, you dont know what you're doing until you turn up to do the hair and get directed by the Hair Director.

Monday: day 1


It’s madness backstage but I love it … unfortunately, it’s never champagne and goodie bags for us - just long massive days working, but in an amazing creative space and energy.

Landed in Auckland and checked into my home for the week the Quadrant hotel. I literally just dumped my bags, and then my hair-kit and myself head straight to the venue for the opening night show of Zambesi


The opening night is always star-studded and has a lot of media presence and Zambesi does not disappoint.  I’m on the team for this one with Richard Kavanagh as Hair Director, originally a kiwi but now lives in Sydney and has done work for Vogue, Harpers and worked on shows for McQueen, Prada and Marc Jacobs


NZ Fashion Week 2018 - style, fashion, energy aplenty!


So it was exciting to work with a man of this calibre.  The hair was very individual depending on the model, celebrating their own personality, so no hairdo was the same, if it was curly it was curly, some up, some down.  I even shaved a models head… a beautiful collection that was uniquely Zambesi!  I saw a metallic silver boiler suit that I want for next season!!! 

The show finished around nine so left straight away as tomorrow was going to be a massive day of four shows. 

Tuesday: day 2

All day today Im part of a great friend of mine's team, Sara Allsop, she was doing four shows today and needed me to be her 2 IC as some of her shows overlapped backstage ,so while one show was on, we were prepping for the next one, so it was either her backstage making sure final checks were on point while I started the next show for her, or vice versastarted at 8am and finished at 7pm, no break back to back but what a buzz!

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First show up was a fellow Wellingtonian doing her first solo show Katherine Victoria - a collection that had some standout pieces including a bright red sequin dress that looked so good going down the catwalk.  A simple double ponytail was the order for this show… sleek groomed with not a hair out of place.

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Second show up was a group show new generation showcase showing a group of new up and coming designers. Dirty looking wet hair pulled back off the face was the look for this show, it had to work for all the designers showing, as they needed to have the same makeup and hair throughout this show.  Great to celebrate the next breed of NZ designers.

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Third show was a streetwear designer in his first solo show, Mitchell Vincent Some cool denim and streetwear and the hair for this was effortless cool.  A little bit of a 'beachy wave' and not too done.

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The last show of this massive day was Andrea Moore.  Four different hair looks for 40 models!!!  A massive show with everything from ballet buns to braids, and some cool hair jewellery specifically designed for the show from a jewellery designer based in Sydney. She also had dancers from the NZ Ballet who, once it all started, look absolutely beautiful on the catwalk.

The last show of this massive day was Andrea Moore.  Four different hair looks for 40 models!!!  A massive show with everything from ballet buns to braids, and some cool hair jewellery specifically designed for the show from a jewellery designer based in Sydney. She also had dancers from the NZ Ballet who, once it all started, look absolutely beautiful on the catwalk.

Back to the hotel . shattered and starving!!!!  Room service got a thrashing as we had had no lunch break haha!

Wednesday: day 3

Today was another big day. This time I had the support of my fabulous team of Buoys.

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First up was a show that Master Colourist Mathias and talented apprentice Eilish were working on so I jumped in and assisted.  It was once again hair that wasn’t too contrived and had a casual cool vibe.

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Buoy Senior Colourist & Makeup Artist Courtney Taylor working her magic.

The next show was Wynn Hamlyn and I was in charge with the support of L’Oréal and the rest of the Buoy crew (Mathias, Courtney and Eilish).  Wynn had his first solo show last year to critical acclaim and there was a lot of media attention on this show.  His collection was about trans-seasonal clothing how there is no longer a specific winter or summer and global warming role in that.  With a strong knitwear focus it may have been teamed with a summer skirt. Hair needed to look expensive and rich but not too done so I created an almost Paris ‘it’ girl blow wave.  


Beautiful and shiny but with an organic wave put thru it to keep it looking cool. Also some of the girls had this cool sun visor with the knitwear.

Thursday: day 4

Today was another show that I was in charge of!  Miromoda is a collective of Maori designers selected to take part in NZ Fashion Week.  This show had nine designers showing about eight looks each.  It was amazing to be backstage and see some of the designer's reactions when they saw their looks go down NZFW catwalk for the first time … there were some tears of pride, a pure 'Project runway' moment! 

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Once again being it was a group show using 38 models, the hair needed to work with all the collections so I created a soft organic-looking knotted bun with the help of L’Oréal once again and my Buoy peeps! It stayed looking great thru all the outfit changes and hats and feathers being pulled on and off backstage.

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A couple of hours break for lunch and a well-deserved drink before I headed off to the 20-year “party” for Huffer.  This also had a fashion show of 50 models held in the massive venue of Vector Arena.  A huge party was planned after the show and there would have been nearly 3500/4000 people there.  

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The hair was led by Richard Kavanagh (Hair Director from Zambesi show) and once again had to celebrate the individuality of the model's hair type, but mixed with this cool grungy head wrap that almost gave the models a short textured fringe.  

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Conditions backstage were so dark that assistants were running around for hours using lights on their phones to see what we were doing with the hair.

Once the show finished, the party started … after a couple with the team, I left, as I had my biggest show of the week to do tomorrow and didn’t want a hangover … I am a good boy really!

Friday: day 5

World a designer who loves dramatic hair and makeup and actually likes to put on a spectacle of a catwalk show.  I had been working on creating 20 glitter bowl wigs at home over the previous six weeks in a variety of colours Im still vacuuming up glitter at home, it gets everywhere!!! 

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Mathias was my 2-I.C for this and he was in charge of the boys and short hair girls.  We had created these gorgeous gold glitter short side part wigs while I directed the glitter bowls for the long hair girls.


Powerful fashion and statements from team World.

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The shapes were strong and sat out from the head to almost look like little helmets but they are actual hair wigs, dried stiff and then glittered … weeks of work but I think they look so cool!

Each model had one outfit change, and the designers at World didnt want the hair to fall off so we literally cut the garments off the model so it wouldn't disturb the hair or makeupas I said earlier, they love hair and makeup hahaha.

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World is always so colourful and so much fun to be a part of.


Watch out for 2018 NZ Fashion Week behind the scenes Instagram stories from me over at Buoy and Michael Beel Hair.

Look out for my 2018 NZ Fashion Week blog - coming to.

Michael Beel - Director & Owner of Buoy Salon & Spa