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July 23 2014

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Michelle Fiona’s Got Buzz At Bumble

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With A-list clients that include beauty editors, downtown scenesters, and a host of musicians and celebrities, Bumble and Bumble stylist Michelle Fiona’s
reputation usually precedes her. If you haven’t heard of her, though, you’ve definitely seen her work: a fan of Zooey’s bangs? They’re maintained by Michelle. Love Karen Elson and the Citizen Band’s bohemian, burlesque sensibility? Also courtesy of Michelle. Envious of Eleanor from the Fiery Furnaces’ shag? Yup, that’d be MF’s doing, too. Known mostly for her innovative salon cuts and editorial styling prowess, the San Francisco transplant has surprisingly never headed up a runway show—until now, that is. Partnering with relative newcomer Catherine Holstein, who has garnered an equally hip reputation thanks in part to famous friends like Mary-Kate Olsen and Jessica Stam and a knack for feminine silhouettes that combine pretty, preppy, and punk, Michelle Fiona earned her runway stripes this weekend, armed with nothing more than a bottle of Bb Surf Spray—and a vision of girls who ride bikes in beautiful clothes. We caught up with the stylist backstage at the House of Bumble’s 6,500-square-foot show space, where she let us in on her uniquely informed taste in music, being on set at a Peaches video, and what all the cool kids will be doing with their hair for fall.

How did the collaboration with Holstein come about?

I’ve always loved her clothes, and she had seen some of the [Citizens' Band] girls and really liked their hair. So it was just a good fit.

And what exactly inspired the long, wavy/messy look you created for her Spring collection?

I was going for a girl who just rode her bike to the show. I used a lot of Surf Spray for texture because I didn’t want it to look too pretty-girl. And the girls who showed up with short hair looked cool so we just left it.

With all of your musically inclined clients, I’m curious if you have some kind of music background—or has it always been just hair?

I actually don’t even listen to music or really go to concerts because I usually wear high heels, and it hurts to stand for a long time. My mom is a hairstylist so I’ve been doing hair my whole life. My first “client” was probably my sister. I convinced her to let me cut her some fancy bangs when I was 12 for her school pictures—poor thing! She was my guinea pig.

So what is it about doing hair that has kept you interested for so long?

That it doesn’t ever feel like a job. And then there’s the people you get to meet.

Ah, yes. So how did you garner such an impressive list of clients?

Sarah Flicker and Jorjee Douglass (of the Citizens Band) are friends of mine from San Francisco, and they have a lot of connections in music. I work a lot with Zooey Deschanel, Jack White, Kathleen Hanna from Le Tigre and her husband, Adrock. And Peaches. I actually worked on a video with her.

Whoa. What was that experience like?

She’s just awesome. It was a lot of hours because she had to look like a girl and a boy in the shoot, but it was fun to take her from butch to femme.

Speaking of which, do you think hair trends are going to stay short and slightly androgynous for fall?

I think people are starting to grow out all their short cuts from last season, so it’s gonna be more about styling tricks this season, figuring out how to work with all of those undercuts.

Photo: Courtesy of Bumble and Bumble

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