Sorry for the minor Life With gap - we've been busy! We're getting back in the swing of things, so meet Rolando Beauchamp. He's a Bumble & bumble super stylist who does both editorial and runway work. And oh yeah, he styles Mary-Kate Olsen's hair for most major events in New York. I fell for him backstage at Vivienne Westwood's AW09 Gold Label show in Paris this past March while we both kind of passed out from the joy of being in a basement with Dame Viv, Pam Anderson and a bunch of models for a few hours. He's vivacious, friendly and so fun to talk to. So when I wanted a Life With a stylist, he was my first choice. We sat down to talk hair (obviously), growing up on the Lower East Side in the 60's, Olsens, divas and his dream gig (are you there Carine?). You know the drill. Part II tomorrow!
Please excuse my plethora of Olsen-themed questions. If you stick with me, you'll get to the hair parts. I just had to ask and part of me was sure you'd want to know, too. So how'd you end up doing MK's hair? Well it all started - back when, I did a shoot with Matthias Vriens, you know him? Yes! Well, of him. Well we did a shoot for British Elle I think. Oh I loved that shoot, it's on my wall at work. So I found out our birthday's are only a day apart - Mary-Kate and I - and only a year apart, too, obviously. Mine's June 12th and hers is June 13th and she took a liking to me, I guess, and I started doing her hair from there. I only do her when she's in New York, but I don't think I do it all the time. I mean, I notice when she goes to stuff and either someone else has done it or she's done her own.
MK on the cover of Elle UK. Yeah, sometimes it looks like she does her own. Well, I did do her for the Met. That Louis Vuitton thing, oh no it was the opera when she had that red lip. I loved. Is it collaborative, do the two of you talk it out together? When I come in she tells me what she's in the mood for and I do my thing. I see what she's wearing, that dress she wore for the Met, I mean, that color. It's like it wasn't grey, it wasn't blue but it was all of it. And there were silver paillettes underneath with lacey ruffles and it was just wonderful. She always looks incredible. Can I tell you something else? Ashley's dress was a-MAZE-ing. It was The Row and it was, I just looked at it and thought, "beautiful." Just that simple white sheath cut on a bias with this seam over here and it kind of blousoned and then that alligator on the back was insane. I never understood The Row until I saw in person. I love simple clothes, but it just seemed crazy until I saw all the tiny details that basically only the person wearing it knows about.
MK at the Opera. Yeah, well let me tell you something else: those girls have an eye for detail. And I've listened to them speak about their clothes and they just sound so mature. When they talk fashion or style or art, they know what they're talking about. They're not just these 24 year-old girls talking. They're savvy. They know lines. They know their shit for young women. I'm actually - and I'm not saying this because I work with MK or anything - but I'm really impressed by them. So what's the most fun you've ever had with Mary Kate? Last one I swear, I know this is turning into my own personal Olsen-fest. I mean there's always an air of professionalism between us. I had a great time on Monday (the Met). At one point this dress came in and I didn't see who the designer was but it was blue and amazing and just so fun to be amongst all of it. Ok, so let's get down to basics. Where are you from? Born and raised in New York City on the Lower East Side. I was born in the 60s so there were hippies and NYC was bankrupt. It was dirty. It was somewhat dangerous, but not like 80s dangerous. Did you want to be a hairdresser? In the 70s my mother got her hair done at a place called Paul McGregor's. I think that was the name of it. It was on 8th Street. Remember Boy Bar? Um, nope. Well that space was the hair salon space. My mom would get a shag and I remember all these people. It was like the show Hair, really. There was music playing and blow outs and people hanging out. It wasn't fancy but more like a loft. And my mom would wear this long leather coat and bell bottoms and I'd hang out - which got me playing with hair. And I grew up in a Latino neighborhood, where hair is very important. And it was the year of blow drys! So I'd dry my mother's and my sister's and then came the feathered bangs.
Rolando working backstage at Vivienne Westwood. Like Farrah Fawcett? No, this is before that. You had the shag, then came the pageboy, then these two curl things in the front which turned into blow drying the front. Somehow I figured out how to do that haircut. So I cut my sister's hair into that feathered thing. How old were you? Sixteen, maybe seventeen. I graduated in '79. Shhhhh.
He still carries his Hunter College ID in his wallet. That's amazing. I wish I had that shirt. There was a story that was done for I don't know, French Vogue maybe in the 70's by that guy who shot Grace Jones. I can't remember but he did this story called "Spic Chic" and it was amazing. Because back then in New York there weren't all these ethnically different Latinos, it was Puerto Rican, Jewish, German, Polish, Irish, English and black - that was it. Puerto Ricans had knives and there was a look. They'd pull their hair back so tight onto the top of their head and wrap it in a scarf, shave off their eyebrows and wear chocolate brown glossy lipstick. Huge elephant bell bottoms over platforms and super tight cinched waist coats and everybody was skinny. So I guess that's where a lot of my inspiration comes from. I feel like singing, "I feel pretty..." And then I discovered Bloomingdale's. And in there, everybody was done - the hair, the make-up. I mean done. Because back then people did themselves before they walked out the door. The silhouette, the hair, it was so inspiring to me. I went to college for a little bit, to Hunter but I couldn't take it.
Did you know what you wanted to do? Nope. No idea. There was a transit strike for like a week and I had to walk from the Lower East Side to Hunter College and somewhere along the line I just dropped out. So I got a job in Soho at a clothing store and that was really the beginning of Soho. There was Stephen Sprouse, there was Parachute, Norma Kamali was uptown. So all of that was just happening around me and I was just doing hair all of a sudden. I was a hairdresser, which my father didn't love. More with Rolando tomorrow!!