Interview with Nelson Vercher for AG Hair

AG Hair had the opportunity to work with acclaimed hairstylist, Nelson Vercher on our most recent video shoot in New York City. Best known for the modern, sexy, approachable styles he creates for his clients, his repertoire is diverse and includes runway styling for a host of big-name fashion houses from Valentino to Calvin Klein to Oscar de la Renta. His work has graced the pages of magazines such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Nylon and more.

His understated and carefree energy is contagious. From the moment you meet him you get a sense for his big heart and passion for his craft. It’s no wonder his roster includes the likes of super-stars from Donatella Versace, to Naomi Campbell and Jennifer Lopez.

At first Nelson comes across quiet, but once you get to know him he is anything but. We sat down with him to talk trends, tips and style icons.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from within. It’s a feeling that lets me know which direction to take my work. With that said, I come from a family of five and we are all five years apart so I have great memories of those times growing up from the late 60’s to the late 80’s. I love seeing stylish elderly people and teenage girls, it’s something I always go back to because if they are into the way they look it can be super exciting! I’m a huge history fan of almost every period, but I’m almost never inspired by classic glamour.

Upcoming hair trends:
Something new that’s super hot is a texture called straight but not straight. To get this look start by shampooing and conditioning, towel dry, then use a leave-in conditioner and an anti-frizz product for control and sleekness. Use fingers to comb through the hair and let it air dry or ruff dry on low heat, so hair doesn’t get frizzy. When the hair is completely dry use a tiny amount more of your anti-frizz product and apply to hair from ends working up to the root. Then take very large sections, using a large flat iron on medium heat, begin at the root and open and close really fast, working your way down the section. The key is to keep the iron moving, opening and closing it until you run out of hair. Ensure not to slide the flat iron down the hair, otherwise, you’ll have a traditional smooth, straight look and won’t have the right texture. You should be able to create this look in 4 or 5 sections. Once finished run fingers through the hair and you’ll get a sexy straight, but not straight look that’s polished and yet messy.

Nelson Vercher

Tricks of the trade:
Always have two of everything so if something comes up on the weekend you have equipment to work with.

Can’t live without product on-set:
Hair spray and leave-in conditioner.

How did you get started?
I started in Chicago training at Vidal Sassoon. Once I became a stylist they moved me out to California to start my career working for them.

What do you love most about being a stylist?
What I love most is that you learn so much about other things that you never thought you would learn from the people you come into contact with. You’re making them look beautiful so they are very open when sharing information with you. You can’t buy that kind of experience.

Most memorable shoot?
My most memorable shoot was on the island of Mustique in the Grenadine Islands.  It had nothing to do with the shoot and all to do with Macaroni beach!

How would you describe your style?
My style is forward, but classic. It’s high fashion meets street and sexy.

Who is your style icon?
This one is hard for me…I’m inspired by so many stylish women and I love so many different things and unless you really know me it wouldn’t make sense. However, if I had to give it to one person today it would be legendary record executive Sylvia Rhone. She is one of the best-dressed women ever, and she’s been my client for twenty years and going strong!

As a busy hair stylist in the New York fashion world, what does a day/week/month look like for you?
Well, my week/month is different almost all the time. I do two days a week in the salon and the rest of the week I work with my agent on everything from editorial shoots, music videos, advertising jobs and fashion shows to celebrities. It’s different all the time, somewhat like a models schedule. Some weeks you take off when you can and sometimes it’s three weeks straight without a day off. This pace of working is not for everyone.

What was the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Cutting my dread locks off after 15 years.

For upcoming stylists looking to break into film and fashion, what’s the one piece of advice you’d give them?
Be the first one in and the last one to leave. Great basic training goes a long way and remember, whoever you’re assisting you’re not friends, you are working for them. With a little luck things should workout.

AG Hair interviews Nelson Vercher

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