Carrie Hammer Is Redefining Role Models At New York Fashion Week

Forbes-Carrie-Hammer-ProductLast February, designer Carrie Hammer was praised for her New York Fashion Week premiere when she chose to send real women (of all shapes and sizes — one even in a wheelchair) down her runway instead of traditional models. She called her dream team the “role models” (get it?). The concept returned thanks to the Fashion Law Institute for her recent Spring 2015 show at Fashion Week when she featured 24 successful women, including CEOs, lawyers, and entrepreneurs, to be this year’s crop of “role models.” But perhaps the most inspiring part was her connection to Karen Crespo, a 30-year-old from Los Angeles who contracted bacterial meningitis and had to have all four limbs amputated. Not only did Carrie help raise $100,000 to get Karen new prosthetic limbs after her old ones were stolen off her porch, but she also dressed her for the catwalk. How’s that for girl power?

Carrie described the overall style as “CEO badass chic.” She said, “This is a woman who gets up in the morning and signs multimillion-dollar deals. So I wanted everything a really incredible woman would wear, but enhanced. Big lashes, clean face, big buns, high hair.” This theme matched perfectly with the DNA of her label, which can be summed up as tailored workwear with a twist.

The cherry on top of the beauty style was — of course — a bold red lip. “Putting on a red lip is sort of like putting on high heels,” said lead makeup artist Linda Giardinello for New York Institute of Beauty. “You still feel feminine, but it makes you feel empowered and strong.” And that’s what Hammer’s designs are all about.

Read on to see all the gorgeous “role models” who participated in the show and learn how to steal their looks.


The model: Heather Marie, founder of Shoppable
Her story: Her software technology company has a cloud-based platform that enables consumers and merchants to shop millions of products at once all over the Internet.
Her look: “Every model has a different career, is a different woman, is a role model, and has her own individual personality,” said Hammer. Since Marie works in fashion, she needed something bolder, so Giardinello went with an orange-red lip.
The model: Christina Wallace, founding director of Bridge Up: STEM
Her story: Just this year, she founded a program that introduces girls and underrepresented minorities to computer science and the many career opportunities available once you have the proper skills.
Her look: “We wanted the hair to come off as if they could do it themselves,” said lead hairstylist Ashley Hanna-Pisciotta from Mizu Hair Salon. Wallace’s waves were kept soft with natural-looking texture. For the two-step version at home, use hot rollers. Place a tissue along the roller’s surface (to avoid heat damage), and then wrap a one-inch section of hair on top. Release and boost with texturizing spray.
The model: Rachel Sklar, cofounder of Change the Ratio
Her story: The writer and social entrepreneur works to increase visibility and opportunity for women in tech and new media.
Her look: For Sklar’s bouncy curls, Hanna-Pisciotta used a one-inch curling iron and set with Oribe Superfine Hair Spray ($22). The secret to a tight ringlet: as you release a strand from the iron, hold the shape in your hand and let it go after the hair has cooled.
Source: Bhushan Ahire
The model: Kara Helander, managing director of BlackRock
Her story: Helander helps successful clients build financial portfolios and generate more income from investments.
Her look: Helander’s bob was styled in a soft flipped-out blowout. To re-create, use a round brush to pull ends out as you blow-dry.
The model: Karen G. Crespo, nurse practitioner and bacterial meningitis survivor
Her story: After losing all four limbs during a battle with bacterial meningitis, Crespo also had $100,000 worth of advanced prosthetic arms stolen from her doorstep. Inspired by Hammer’s first runway show, she contacted the designer, who then worked with a manufacturer to get Crespo on the runway with new prosthetics.
Her look: To get a vibrant lip, Giardinello used a Make-Up Designory Sheer Lipstick, which is a highly pigmented red. Although the formula is rich, it doesn’t dry or flake.
The model: Geena Rocero, model and founder of Gender Proud
Her story: Rocero — who is transgender — started Gender Proud to provide awareness for the needs of transgender individuals.
Her look: The bold lip took center stage on most of the models. “We did lashes to enhance the eyes, and that was pretty much it,” said Giardinello. To prevent mascara overload, a thin (almost invisible) sweep of liner sat on the lash line to make them appear thicker.
The model: Uduak Oduok, lawyer, journalist, and former model
Her story: Oduok now works as a fashion and entertainment lawyer, providing counsel to musicians, actors, models, and designers.
Her look: “When you have a bold lip like that, you can’t really do a lot with, say, the eyes to really balance it out,” said Giardinello. “So your skin tone has to look really clean.” For a sheer formula that you can layer depending on your needs, try Make-Up Designory Cream Foundation. Giardinello used it on the models, and it never looked caked on.
The model: Minoo Ayat, technology talent acquisition leader
Her story: With over 12 years of corporate staffing and recruitment experience (with an emphasis on Fortune 500 corporations), Ayat has led recruiting at places like Amazon and Yahoo.
Her look: Many of the models sported a half-up style like Ayat’s. “You get the fullness of a down style, but the hair is out of your face,” said Hanna-Pisciotta. To re-create, blow-dry hair so that it’s smooth. Then, pull small sections back, just above the ear. Secure them with bobby pins at the back of the head.
The model: Leah Hunter, writer at Fast Company and Business Punk
Her story: At Fast Company, Hunter writes a weekly column about human interaction with technology and the Internet. She is also a professor for the Master in Business Innovation graduate program at CEDIM.
Her look: For Hunter’s laid-back updo, Hanna-Pisciotta started with a low ponytail. “Keep it nice and loose,” the pro explained. “Then, wrap hair around the elastic, and twist all around. Twist into bun form and keep in place with four or five bobby pins.”
The model: Nithya Das, general counsel of AppNexus
Her story: Das is the General Counsel at AppNexus, a technology company which provides trading solutions and powers marketplaces for Internet advertising. Das started at AppNexus in 2011 and has helped the company scale to over 600 employees and 10 offices worldwide.
Her look: For an olive complexion like Das’s, a raspberry lip instantly brightens the skin.
The model: Collete Davis, cofounder of TechDrive
Her story: Don’t let her tiny frame fool you. Davis is a professional race car driver pursuing IndyCar, the most competitive open-wheel championship in the country. She also cofounded TechDrive, a site that focuses on the intersection of technology and transport.
Her look: While most models were made up with a thin kohl line along the top lash line, Davis had a subtle change. Giardinello added a soft flick of the eyeliner to create a day-appropriate cat eye. For novices, use a piece of tape as a stencil. Angle the tape underneath your bottom lashes angled toward your temple. Use the strip as a guide when you draw the line slightly up.
The model: Jesse Draper, creator and host of The Valley Girl Show and CEO of Valley Girl Inc.
Her story: In her LA-based show, Draper interviews celebrities and business moguls, such as Google CEO Eric Schmidt and MC Hammer.
Her look: With bedhead hair, you want some semblance of structure to keep strands tamed. Hanna-Pisciotta used light-hold hair spray to hold a deep side part but allow some movement.
The model: Kathleen Griffith, founder of Grayce & Co.
Her story: Working with major brands, she produces award-winning and highly effective client advertising. Throughout her career, she has focused on social media initiatives, sustainability, and powerful women.
Her look: Giardinello used Make-Up Designory Sheer Lipstick in Just Peachy on Griffith to focus the eye on her naturally lush eyelashes.
The model: Amanda Slavin, CEO and founder of CatalystCreativ
Her story: Slavin created the design firm as a means to help companies form stronger relationships via events and educational programs.
Her look: The secret to pulling off bed head is to add subtle structure. Hanna-Pisciotta used light-hold hair spray to set a deep side part and allow natural movement.
The model: Kara Goldin, CEO and founder of Hint Inc.
Her story: Goldin founded Hint, an unsweetened flavored-water product made from real fruit.
Her look: “We did a classic blowout with a dryer and round brush that’s easy to re-create,” said Hanna-Pisciotta. To keep her full hair off her face, she pulled two-inch sections back with bobby pins.
The model: Kara DeFrias, senior manager of brand and innovation experiences for Intuit
Her story: DeFrias uses her experience in design and public relations to create experimental and compelling projects for small businesses and innovators.
Her look: “We came up with a couple different looks and transitioned them into each woman’s individual style,” said Hanna-Pisciotta. For DeFrias’s gorgeous long hair, the team decided to showcase her length with piecey waves, enhanced with texturizing spray.
The model: Kimberly Holden, principal of SHoP Architects
Her story: She is a founding principal of both SHoP Architects and SHoP Construction, a firm that focuses on architecture and interior design.
Her look: Giardinello chose a tangerine lip to complement Holden’s cobalt dress but not overpower it. “Our goal was for the makeup to be prominent, but what they’re wearing is what we really wanted to show through.”
The model: Jo Ryan, global manager of client engagement in the Risk and Security Department for Bloomberg LIP
Her story: Since starting at Bloomberg in 2000, she has moved up the ladder to now manage all global client communications related to the Risk and Security Department.
Her look: Hanna-Pisciotta went light with product to keep the hair looking more everyday than runway. Each blowout, like Ryan’s, was lightly sprayed with hair spray to avoid any crunching.
The model: Emily Campbell, founder of The Campbell Firm PLLC
Her story: For over 30 years, Campbell has worked with major international law firms. She also founded her own practice in 2002.
Her look: To get Campbell’s classic french twist, Pisciotta recommends starting with a midponytail — just above the nape of the neck. “But don’t use a rubber band,” says Pisciotta. (It constricts the hair from fully twisting.) “Then twist the hair up and push in, either to the left or right.” Place a bobby pin at every inch, moving up the hairstyle.
The model: Dina Kaplan, cofounder of Blip
Her story: A former TV reporter, Kaplan cofounded BlipTV as a place where consumers can discover original web series.
Her look: Hanna-Pisciotta kept Kaplan’s blowout soft with subtle waves at the ends using a round brush. Twist the ends (no more than an inch) with the brush, releasing in perfect ringlets. Brush out with your fingertips.
The model: Jennifer Gilbert, founder and chief visionary officer of Save the Date
Her story: Gilbert has revolutionized the event-planning industry by offering her services for free (it’s true!). Because her company does marketing and sales for over 1,200 NYC venues — and brings them so much business — they absorb the fees.
Her look: The perfect complement to a bold lip is a defined brow. Giardinello enhanced Gilbert’s natural shape with a sweep of Make-Up Designory Brow Fix to keep color consistent.
The model: Phoebe Gavin, writer for Upworthy
Her story: As a military veteran, Gavin was also a spokesperson and outreach coordinator for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Her look: Gavin’s natural waves were pulled up tightly into a voluminious bun. The sleek sides, formed with Oribe Sculpting Cream ($29), juxtaposed her natural texture.
The model: Lindsay Todd Merkle, global account manager for Beats by Dre
Her story: Merkle is the brand’s wonder woman, managing the retail and e-tail relationships for the Beats by Dre’s sales channel.
Her look: To copy Merkle’s romantic waves, use a two-inch curling iron, hold it for 15 seconds, and then brush out with your fingertips.
The model: Lindsey Taylor Wood, founder and CEO of LTW Communications
Her story: Not only is Wood a strategic communications consultant, but she also serves on the Women’s Advisory Council for The Paley Center For Media and is an adviser to
Her look: The team pulled back Wood’s fine hair into a braided bun. To fake fullness, add body by curling the hair before braiding and twisting into a bun.

WILAB LOVES is a series of articles and blog posts from across the web that Women’s iLab supports. This article was written by Shannon Farrell and published on Bella Sugar on September 8, 2014.