Celebrity Hairstylists Andrew Fitzsimons and Marty Harper Talk Styling Met Gala Hair and Their Predictions

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

The first Monday in May is just around the corner and the Met Gala, aka the “Super Bowl of Fashion”, is officially making its long-awaited return back to its signature date. As we all know, last year’s soiree was forced to take place in September as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

Now, eight months later, the arrival of this year’s extravaganza will see the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute present In America: An Anthology of Fashion, the second installment of its two-part exhibition on American fashion. With the official dress code set to be “gilded glamour”, looks from this year’s star-studded hair will draw inspiration from America’s Gilded Age.

As much as we are looking forward to seeing all the show-stopping fashion ascend the iconic Met steps, we’re most excited to see how our favorite hair pros get creative with the night’s theme. Ahead of the gala, The Tease spoke to celebrity hairstylists Andrew Fitzsimons and Marty Harper to hear their predictions for how the Gilded Age may be referenced in regard to red carpet hair as well as get an inside look at what their prep looks like for the biggest fashion event of the year.

Here, Fitzsimons and Harper share their kit essentials, hair predictions, and most memorable Met Gala looks.

Andrew Fitzsimons, @andrewfitzsimons

Clients: Megan Fox, Jennifer Lopez, Kourtney Kardashian, Khloe Kardashian

What’s it like to work on the Met Gala?

Andrew Fitzsimons: The Met Gala is the biggest night of the year for fashion, so it’s a very intense process. Working with celebrity clients, I’m fairly used to my work being seen by millions of people each day, but there is definitely an added pressure for the Met Gala as it’s such an important and visible evening that celebrates creativity. 

“Gilded Glamour” is the official dress code for this year’s Met Gala. How do you think that will be interpreted when it comes to hair?

Fitzsimons: I think we’ll see a lot of literal interpretations of the dress code, so I’m picturing a lot of gold leaves featured in the hair. That’s not my favorite look, to be honest, as it’s a bit obvious. The fun of the Met Gala is the ability to be extra creative and push boundaries, so I’m most excited to see how other hairstylists interpret the dress code. For instance, I’d love to see a conceptual version of a wig that’s made from a gold-coloured material, or maybe even gold hair!

What kind of hairstyles can we expect to make an appearance this year?

Fitzsimons: I think we’ll see a lot of period-inspired hairstyles, with a lot of embellishments. The fashion of the gilded age was very embellished, with feathers, fringe, flowers, and bows, so I think we’ll see all of that in the hair.

How early do you typically start preparing for the Met Gala and what does your prep really look like?

Fitzsimons: Prep for the Met Gala depends on a lot of factors, but the planning process can be as long as a few months or as short as a few weeks. With the Met Gala, everything is based around the dress, so once we have a clear idea of what the ensemble is, I begin brainstorming potential hair looks. It’s a super collaborative process between the client, the stylists, the makeup artist and myself. Once we have an idea of the look, I’ll get my kit ready with any necessary styling products, extensions, and/or accessories.

How do you typically decide on the final hair look?

Fitzsimons: It’s always a team effort and very collaborative. We typically have the look ready to go at least a few days in advance, but very occasionally we’ll get new inspiration on the fly.

What are some of your product essentials for the Met Gala? What products do you stock up on?

Fitzsimons: I always keep a full kit ready for the Met Gala red carpet, because truly you can never be too prepared. I definitely make sure to have plenty of hard hold hairspray on hand, as locking the style in place so it remains flawless all night is super important. Shine spray is another important essential — a beautiful shine on the red carpet always makes a big impact. One thing I use before any style is the Andrew Fitzsimons AF1 Restructuring 10-in-1 Leave-In Conditioner —this is a great base before applying any kind of hot tools to your hair. It protects the hair from heat damage while actively repairing your hair.

Looking back, what has been the most memorable Met Gala look for you?

Fitzsimons: The 2015 Met Gala was probably the most memorable for me; the theme was “China: Through the Looking Glass” and I worked with Kendall Jenner that year. It was my first Met Gala, so it’s a really special memory.

Marty Harper, @themartyharper

Clients: Halsey, Naomi Osaka, Demi Singleton

What’s it like to work on the Met Gala?

Marty Harper: Working with a client for the Met Gala is truly a beautifully layered collaboration (mood board, research, creating an archetype). There is often lots of prep in order to execute these well-curated looks. Designers, hair, and makeup will spend time working on sketches, having fittings, and trial for hair and makeup. It’s a dynamic day and some teams really push the needle, delving into the art behind the curator’s theme and sometimes it’s just a casual nod to the theme, which this year is Gilded Glamour.

“Gilded Glamour” is the official dress code for this year’s Met Gala. How do you think that will be interpreted when it comes to hair?

Harper: I envision this entire carpet with opulence and elevation as this is really the return to its main stage and time. The Met Gala will be a full star-studded event! What I expect from this year and our “Gilded Glamour” theme is lots of hair length, lots of sets, waves, updos—whimsically coiffed updos adorned with the perfect Jennifer Behr Swarovski pins or strong statement adornment by Lelet. That’s where my head goes. But, I’m very curious to see where my fellow glam artists take their clients. It’s that moment when you see the dress and hear where the designer and client have led their journey for the evening when you begin to cement the story.

What are some of your product essentials for the Met Gala? What products do you stock up on?

Harper: If there is one thing that has always been a complete necessity for my prep is making sure any wigs and extensions are pre-ordered. For products, my kit is filled with NatureLab Tokyo Shine Spray—it’s the most opulent of shines. For hold, honestly, it’s got2b Glued Blasting Freeze Spray.

Looking back, what has been the most memorable Met Gala look for you?

Harper: This gala always brings back the fondest memories. From my days of assisting in some of the most iconic looks to that of my last year with Naomi Osaka where we really melded both her Hatian and Japanese culture into a custom Louis Vuitton carpet look designed in part by her sister, Mari Osaka and Nicholas Ghesquiere. It truly was and is art. I love that she trusted in me and the glam team. It’s these moments when you look back and realize you’ve etched a greater thread between fashion and art.

Be sure to follow both Andrew Fitzsimons and Marty Harper at @andrewfitzsimons and @themartyharper to see what incredible Met Gala looks they come up with for their celebrity clients. 

Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor, based in Georgia, covering all things hair at The Tease. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches.