On the heels of working backstage at London and Milan fashion weeks, we caught up with Canadian hairstylist Kirsten Klontz to chat about her journey into the exciting, yet unexpected world of editorial styling.
As a hairstylist originally from Edmonton, Alberta, how did you get your start?
When I was working at Mousy Browns, [a salon in Edmonton], we were a small team and really focused on education. We worked with Bumble and Bumble, which would sponsor so many shows at New York Fashion Week. They didn’t have enough hairstylists to work backstage, so I travelled to get onto their team. I was 24 at the time, and when I did my first season it was a big moment for me. It really inspired me to want to focus my career on fashion and session hairstyling.
From there, I worked on advertising campaigns. I travelled to Dubai and started working for Chanel and Louis Vuitton. I loved it; I really fell in love with the business. It’s nice to see how hairstyling translates in the editorial and commercial world. Then, I moved to London and worked in the U.K. for two years.
What do you enjoy most about working at Fashion Week?
I enjoy the creative collaboration; I enjoy working with others. There are models, celebrities, and you’re working with other incredibly talented hairstylists. You have to work together, and I really enjoy the team aspect of it.
I also enjoy how the looks are translated into real life. A lot of the looks are exaggerated, so you need to be able to see that and find a way to deliver it to the client.
You also do a lot of editorial work for magazines. How does that compare to working at Fashion Week?
It’s always a collaboration, but hair is just one piece of the puzzle. There are makeup artists, wardrobe stylists, art directors—they’re all involved, so all those things have to be taken into consideration. I really like it and it’s challenging. Sometimes I walk in with an idea ahead of time, but some people might give a different take or direction, so I have to think outside the box. I view hair as a texture or a fabric that you work with, and something that you can change and alter. So it’s just looking at it in a different way; as a different art form.
What advice do you have for people interested in doing more editorial work?
Education! I’ve apprenticed and assisted under some of the best hairstylists in the world, including Malcolm Edwards, and have taken courses for styling from distributors. There are all these different online courses you can take from different brands, so that is essential. You need to step out of your comfort zone and learn techniques to really get ahead or set yourself apart. I spent years investing in myself that way.
You recently started working as an ambassador for Hot Tools. Why was this partnership a good fit for you?
I’ve used Hot Tools throughout my entire career. When I moved overseas, I didn’t have the money to buy a whole new tool kit with different adapters. I brought my [North American] voltage set to Dubai and used them there. I could plug them in every time and the heat was consistent, so I would get great results. I had them on me for my very first Vogue shoot six or seven years ago. It’s something I will never forget because I was so nervous that day. Without a doubt, it was the most important shoot I’d done in my entire career. I knew I wouldn’t have any problems that day, and when you’re able to deliver and are confident with what you’re using, it makes a huge difference.