Brent Lawler for Karen Elson/Vogue China

October 18, 2011

I am pretty stoked about this editorial coming out because I have probably never worked this hard in my life. I assisted Brent Lawler for this shoot and we did it out in San Bernardino, California at this crazy place where they kept all of these exotic, and not so exotic animals to use on films and television. It was my first time to work with Brent and what ended up happening is that we were really short on hair pieces. So, towards the end of the first day I had to be taken back to Hollywood to buy hair pieces and clips. What ensued after that was a hitchcock-esque descent into madness.


I had sewed clips onto hair pieces before but this was a lot of hair pieces and it was already pushing 6pm. I bought what I thought would be the correct needle for the job at the hair place, I was wrong. I get home, start to cut the pieces into the correct sizes (easy enough). Then, the sewing begins and not only do I have to sew all of the hair, I have to curl it too. So there I was trying to stick this needle that was way too thick through the binding of this hair piece. It was a painful and slow process. I probably got 4 pieces done in the first hour. Something had to give.


The amount of pressure I was having to use to get this needle through the binding of this hair piece was ridiculous. So I scour my room, my kitchen, and my roommates room (sorry Kerry) to find a smaller needle, No dice. I run over to my neighbors house, she has one and happily lets me borrow it. I go back, start again. Its dark now and probably around 7:30. This needle, oh this little bastard needle. The hole was so tiny. The original thread I was using was too big for this tiny hole so I have to use the flimsy thread that came with the new tiny needle. The threading begins. Ok, so if you dont get a clean cut you are left with little microscopic frayed ends and even if you get a tiny piece of the frayed end in the hole, that still does not guaranty that the rest of the thread will follow.


I am going to try not to over-write this story but this gets insane. You would think that after a while, a system would develop, a rhythm, ANYTHING. No, every clip, every hair piece, and every frayed thread was its own painstaking saga and there were points where the room would spin, my fingers bled, and I would want to scream.  It was now 11:30. Half the hair pieces are done and I still have to curl this stuff. So I figure that before I just quit hairdressing all together I should get at least half of these completely finished. We used a distinct pattern on the hair pieces to create this tight frizzy curl. It was a new technique for me and I picked it up pretty quick. Brent might tell you otherwise. I found solace in curling and my nerves calmed down as the early hours of the morning set in. I was a little paranoid that I didnt finish enough hair for the next day but it was literally all I could do. I was at the end of my rope.


That morning, at 6am I met Brent and the crew at the hotel on Sunset Boulevard and out to San Bernardino we went for the second day of shooting. I reluctantly told Brent how much hair i actually finished as I handed him the steel box that contained my shameful failure. He opened it up, took a quick peek and said “OH, thats plenty of hair!”. I was relieved and relayed my horror story of the night before. He did not care nearly as much as I obviously expect YOU to. On the way home from the shoot that day he showed me a much easier way to sew. Brent is one of the funniest guys you will ever meet and if you ever get a chance to work with him, I suggest that you do so.


Now here is a little side story. As you scroll through the pictures below, you will notice 2 giant wolves. Now I dont know if any of you have seen a wolf in real life but these things are huge. These wolves in particular were somewhat domesticated but they are wild animals and they had to have at least 2 guys there at all times to make sure nothing happened. As they were shooting the first picture you will come to, I decided to take a little break and sit on the cooler against the chain link fence. Karen and the wolves were about 10 feet in front of me. A man is holding one wolf and they were toying with the idea of letting a wolf run across the shot in the background. As they tested this idea, the wolf gets loose and runs straight at me. As I release my bowels and run for my life, the wolf continues its course to the plastic bag filled with its treats that was tied to the fence, right above my head. I had no idea. If you ever have a wolf run straight at you I hope that you too have a bag of food over your head rather than your head being the bag of food.



Hair – Brent Lawler

Hair Assistant – Clint Mattoni (thats right, me)

Stylist Tabitha Simmons

Photographer – Mark Segal


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1 Comment

  • Priscilla G
    October 19, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    hahaha! ok, my comment has nothing to do with hair, but i have to leave a reply. THAT post was HILARIOUS! there was definitely a presence of… hmm… intensity. maybe if it hadn’t been 6 in the morning Brent would have cared about the story behind the horror of the night.
    how awesome to have worked on that Vogue project btw. big gorgeous hair and big gorgeous wolves to boot!

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