Michael Haase – On His Own TermsMichael Haase has often been referred to as the ‘Simon Cowell’ of stylists. In a town full of "cookie-cutter hair-stylists", as Michael puts it, he is not afraid to tell it like it is.
Currently working at the renowned Christophe Salon in Beverly Hills, Michael is legendary for his custom and unique designs. Integrating an ongoing education of hair techniques with experience from working with the best hair houses in the world, including Vidal Sassoon, Haase has many of his elite clientele singing his praises for his vision and creativity.
Fashion forward and individualistic
Straying away from trends and run-of-the mill styles, Haase creates each cut and color specifically for every individual client. In his consultation with each client he takes notice of face structure, body shape, skin tone, and other personal attributes, then creates a style that is both fashion forward and individualistic.
The Early Days
Growing up the son of troubadour acrobats in the colorful world of the European Circus, Michael was always engulfed in a creative atmosphere. It’s no wonder that such a childhood would prompt a future in beauty. At the height of Vidal Sassoon popularity, Michael was hired upon graduating from beauty school and became the youngest artist to join Vidal’s team. Living in both London and Paris, Michael educated himself with the help of other leading cutters and colorists. Michael found work with the fashion houses of Redken, Wella, Schwarzkopf, Framesi, and Loreal. He later worked at The House of Christian Dior for the study of Make-up by Design before heading back to Beverly Hills.
Looking back to his years with Vidal Sassoon he explains, "We were the elite because we knew hair. About cutting, about design, bone structure, body shape, we would look at someone and we knew what they needed to have done with a cut to make them look fabulous. That’s gone down the wayside in the last decade. Unfortunately, hairdressers will say, “Oh, keep your long hair, we’ll get you chemically dependent, bleach you out as much as we can and the back of your hair looks like a field of straw. Then just trim it so I don’t have to use my brain to create something really amazing, and you pay me for that.”
What makes Michael Haase so desired as a stylist is not his celebrity clientele or his appearance in major fashion shows and television, but the experience that his everyday clients receive. Every cut he gives is designed to enhance not only the client’s hair but the client as a person. “A good haircut”, Michael notes, " has amazing shape; it floats, it moves, the hair is alive and has an attitude all its own; a woman feels different when she has an amazing haircut, she presents herself with more confidence knowing she looks amazing”.He also stresses the importance of client relations: "When you need help with your hair you call your hairdresser because you know they’re there for you. That’s the way it’s always been. Your hairdresser knows everything about you – they know how to make you feel better by the way you look”.
Haase has watched the hair industry evolve over the years and has seen the demise of individual style. He commented, "A really good haircut to compliment the individual is something that has been lost for the last ten years. If you think about it, haircutting is not about length, it’s about shape. It all begins with an amazing shape. As I look around at women today I feel they have lost that sense of shape for their hair. We are so influenced by what Hollywood looks like and what it wears. Lest we forget, Hollywood has so many people telling it how to look, I think some of those people need to go back to school and Hollywood needs to look in the mirror.”
Haase recognizes the need that’s out there for good stylists. He laments the shape the industry has taken in recent years, "It’s a shame the “beauty” part of the beauty industry has all but disappeared, it has grown to become a multi-billion dollar industry led by hype. To find the artists that know their stuff and love what they’re doing, without going into some ridiculously cheap import line that sells at a discount chain store…those are the true hairdressers. There are so few hairdressers that have the passion and the need to create; that wake up in the morning and go to work and say, “Hey guys, you know what we get to do today? We get to do hair.” That’s really cool and that turns me on”. I want to work with that; the rest of them…take some classes!"
What’s really on Haase’s mind is not only the state of the hair world but the limited knowledge that clients have about the process of styling, "Its intense what kind of money people spend on their bodies, implants, botox, etc. but when it comes to their hair they want a discount or bargain. Let me say it quite simple, you are paying for experience.” You’re paying for the knowledge of hair; I don’t have to use bleach to highlight your hair to make it look like it was highlighted. We do it with color. You don’t have to sit under a dryer, you don’t have to have fried hair, it’s experience and that can be shared and taught."
Michael’s Styling Products of Choice
What might not be obvious is that Michael not only differs from other stylist’s creatively but also in an ethically sense. Michael works with a selective boutique brand called Unite Eurotherapy that is fashion and education driven for hairdressers around the world in salons and at Unites “Pure Academy” in San Diego. Michael explains Unite’s appeal, "So basically they have a team of professional hairdressers that know how to do really good hair, cutting, color, etc. and are supported by this amazing product.”
Haase states, “the philosophy is so unique and inspiring, and to have a brand back you in what you do best is about as cool as it gets, and it’s about time.”
For Michael, continually choosing to evolve in his industry is something that keeps him staying on top: "If you don’t change with the times you are going to fall apart. It’s very simple: If I do business today the way I did business yesterday, I’ll be out of business tomorrow." It’s this type of passion and insight into beauty and his industry as a whole that sets Haase apart.
His advice to those aspiring for something different or looking for a new edge: "You know what, it’s hair, it grows. Cut your hair. Be the one they’re looking at and let Hollywood say ‘I want what she’s having’. Wouldn’t that be the coolest.”
What’s next for Michael? He will be heading the hair team of 8 stylist and 12 assistants for the upcoming GenArt "Fresh Faces" fashion week launch photo shoots with Vogue photographers in October.
To see more of Michael’s hair, go to:
The Last Place
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