A chat with Leonardo Manetti – Backstage hair, Powerful Beauty and missing models

by Jami Summers on October 2, 2009 · 5 comments

I recently had the chance to interview Leonardo Manetti of ION Studio! Leonardo is an amazingly talented hair stylist who recently worked at New York’s Spring 2010 Fashion Week. Before we dig into the interview, I wanted to give you a run-down on Leonardo’s latest look from backstage.

Bionic Beauty blog interviews Leonardo Manetti for ION Studio and Davines Hair Care

Leonardo Manetti working backstage at NY F/W Spring 2010

For the Timo Weiland presentation, Leonardo created a look inspired by blending the Edwardian Era and New Romanticism. To get this half-up look, Leonardo used a variety of Davines products (don’t miss my Davines review on Bionic Beauty). First however, Leonardo took the front sections of the girl’s hair and pinned it half way back. Then for the back he sprayed the hair with Davines Defining Texturizer (Leonardo’s favorite product from Davines!), to enhance the texture. Next, he applied Davines Defining Volume Mousse to create volume and add shine.

Once the products were applied, Leonardo dried the hair creating voluminous locks. With a one-inch curling iron, Leonardo took different sized strands of hair and curled them. To finish, he used the Davines Glam Power spray, a unique a versatile finishing spray used to set any style and provide a strong, long-lasting hold without stiffness.

Not a look we could pull off everyday, but certainly something all us ladies can work with. Lots of texture, a half up-do, and you’re looking pulled together but relaxed (and not all “high maintenancey”).

And now on to the interview with Leonardo…

1. What’s the most exciting part of working backstage on a fashion show?

The entire process is hectic and exciting. The draw though, is being backstage and being able to be an integral part of the creative process. Seeing the entire look that you helped to create and put finishing touches on, walk down the runway, you cannot explain that feeling. Working with the most talented, creative minds is another plus, not to mention the beautiful women I am constantly surrounded by.

2. And what’s the most hectic part?

When the production company calls five minutes until “first look” and you are still missing five models.

3. What do you do if a certain model doesn’t have the “right” hair to create a look for a show? Are extensions used or..

It depends on the particular look and the circumstances. We do use extensions yes, if they will look natural and will flow with the rest of the runway presentation. If the girl has a “cool” look with short hair that can echo the theme of the rest of the collection, than we will use her hair as it is. Agyness Deyn is a perfect example. She always looks feminine and cool, and always looks like she is part of the world the designer is creating. Putting a wig on her would not only look abnormal, but most of the time, cheap. Unless the collection calls for uniformity and control (YSL F/W 2008) we would not use wigs on a one off basis.

4. What are the trends from Fashion Week Spring 2010 that you can see transferring into the lives of real-world women?

Well we’ve seen a lot of pulled back hair, although the emphasis this season is on a “wet” look. That means sleek gel, and a lot of shine. These looks are easily replicated at home, yet should be tamed down a bit for reality, as things could get messy! Try pulling hair back and using a spray shine on top to echo the trend, yet not take it to a literal reference. We also saw a resurgence of the “new-romantic”, aka big bouncy feminine curls, which is an easy trend to take from runway to reality without a lot of alteration.

5. What’s your single MUST-HAVE item in your styling case?

A tail comb. Its multiple uses: you can comb the hair, untangle unruly problems, back comb the hair for height and volume, use the tail for creating a perfect part, you can use it as a styling tool to hold the hair up and out of the way.
Leonardo Manetti's must-have hair style tool - a tail combLeonardo Manetti's must-have hair style tool - a tail comb

6. How did you decide to become a hair stylist?

Truth? Women. Women of all shapes, sizes, colors, backgrounds. I love women, and I love women’s hair.

7. And since the Bionic Beauty blog is all about women loving themselves, showing their best sides- whether through makeup, smiling, self-esteem, etc- how do you define “Powerful Beauty”?

Powerful Beauty from hair stylist Leonardo ManettiThere is beauty in everyone, you simply have to take what your strengths are and emphasize them. Use your best assets to your advantage. If your eyes are your strongest feature, get a new cut that accentuates them and brings them to the center of attention. Carve your own path in the world of beauty. Be an individual, be yourself! You never need to copy the girls on the runway or try to be something you are not. Take whatever you feel strongest about, and pump it up!

Thank you so much, Leonardo! It was a true pleasure, and honor, to do this interview. I had always wondered what they did when a model’s hair didn’t fit the “look” of the show; and what stylists see through their eyes backstage at a fashion show.

And ladies, wasn’t his Powerful Beauty message just plain incredible?!?! And before I forget… stay tuned, because YOU are going to have a chance to WIN all 5 of Leonardo’s favorite Davine’s hair care products!!