A Conversation with

Greg Bitterman

Greg Bitterman didn抰 envision himself as a hairstylist. He was busy pursuing a career in clothing design in the early 90s when he started working for Oribe and made the move from clothes to hair. Since then, he抯 prepped runway models at New York Fashion Week (sometimes 50 at a time), shot spreads for top glossies like Vogue and Elle, and styled celebrities ranging from Björk to Chloë Sevigny.

We talked with Greg about behind-the-scenes expectations at Fashion Week, how to nail two-textured hair and his favorite looks for the upcoming season.

You抳e been in the business 17 years. How did you get started?
I didn抰 plan to do hair. I started in clothing design. But I started working with Oribe, as his assistant. Just being around him was inspiring. He was the first stylist to really make me think, 揥ow, it抯 more than doing hair: It抯 the girl, the theme, the clothes, the style. So I switched over and went to school for hair, then started doing freelance work.

You抳e worked with a ton of celebrities. Any surprising stories?
I styled Björk for one of her videos. I thought she抎 be quirky, but she was one of the most normal people I抳e met a very caring, nice person.

Your most memorable styling experience?
Doing my first show at New York Fashion Week. I抎 assisted on shows before, but the first I did on my own was for Nicole Miller about 12 years ago. I had 30 assistants helping me, 50 models匢t was fast-paced and exhilarating!

When you style big shows like that, do the designers give you much direction?
Sometimes designers have a look in mind for the models hair, but not always. When they do, it抯 easy. But a lot of times they don抰, and you have to sort of read their mind and go through several steps leading up to the show. For a week or so before, you抮e just going through different styles and making adjustments based on what the designer likes.

What are some of your favorite trends for fall?
[There抯 no] one style you have to do. It抯 the overall look, an overall feel of confidence. But I抦 loving heavy collars with tight ponytails. And full, textured hair. I like dual textures too with, say, sleek hair brushed back, and then natural, fuller texture through the ends. I think it looks really sexy.

Any tricks for how to achieve those styles?
For dual textures, use pomade on top and comb back about 3 inches from the root then leave the ends fuller.

What are some of your favorite products from the Oribe line?
Volumista. It adds volume and texture without looking heavy. I like the versatility. And Dry because it gives good texture but the hair can still move there抯 real life to it.

What抯 your mantra for being a great stylist?
It抯 the whole thing: the hair, the makeup, the clothes, the lighting. Everything has to come together. It抯 teamwork.

- LAUREL LEICHT

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