Expert Advice

Behind the Cover: Bag of Tricks

Elizabeth Jakaitis | October 24, 2014 | 12:25 PM
Hoang uses a mesh piece to aid in blowdrying—one of the many tools in his bag of tricks.

Creating new structures and shapes is easier than ever today with all kinds of products and tools designed to alter texture, width, length and color. Take extensions, for example. They are now refined and customized by professionally trained artists to personalize a look for clients.


Kien Hoang, owner of the Umbrella Salon in San Jose, California, Oribe educator and editorial stylist, comes to photoshoots armed with assorted pieces and wefts—in addition to an arsenal of styling products and appliances—that he uses with the goal of totally transforming a silhouette.


Transform he did at this session at the Water Street Studio for MODERN’s October cover. Using a temporary fringe technique, fabrics and a variety of styling methods, Hoang rearranged model Aspen’s hair to suit the fashion, the mood and, most importantly, Aspen. 


“That is always the goal,” Hoang says. “At shoots and fashion shows, we have to transform models to fit a theme, but we always try, when possible, to keep a bit of his or her personality in the finish.”


Watching Hoang was like watching a magician with a bag of tricks. Although it was fascinating watching him expertly shape the hair in more traditional ways, it was intriguing to watch him reach into that bag to grab a blade to refine a weft, mesh to press the hair and diffuse heat, or a faux fringe to customize and create a totally new look on Aspen.


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