Michael Haase is a man who needs no introduction. Studying under the legends in the worlds of Fashion, Art, and Hair, Michael quickly established himself as major player in the industry, working as an artist for Wella and styling for top celebrities and fashion houses. Michael owns a gorgeous salon in Brentwood, Salon Platinum Black, and provides his own brand of education. We were honored to have the opportunity to pick Michael's brain a bit about the start of his career and where he finds inspiration to create his stunning works of hair art.
Tell us about the moment you knew hairstyling was going to be your career choice?
I grew up in the circus where my family performed Trapeze and Skating and have always been around color, design and shapes. Leaving home at 16 started many new adventures, however I did end up at Woodstock and it was there that a man named Francesco Scavullo, a well known Photographer I ended up assisting, who arranged for me to stay with a friend while in New York. That friend was Andy Warhol. There was always some form of fashion shows and photo shoots going on there, it was wild. The styles that walked in an out of this loft, the colors the shapes and the designes, I thought, "I want to do that!” Vidal Sassoon seemed to be a part of the art as well as others and I felt working with my hands had always been good, so beauty school here I come.
What do you love most about the craft?
The Diversity. We have such an amazing opportunity to work in so many different platforms in this industry: hairstylist, educator, photography, mentor, the list goes on. It’s so exciting to see change and to have had the privilege to be part of that change through the decades.
Who/where do you look to for inspiration? Who was your biggest career influence/mentor? Inspiration is all around us if we use our eyes to see clearer and absorb. I love Architecture and Designers and the synergy they spawn. My direction at the moment are designers like Ann Demeulmeester, Yoji Yamamoto, and Architects such as Chronus Japan Doyle and Woha. Gaudi also has a soft spot in my heart for what this man does with organic shapes in Architecture has given us some of the most beautiful cathedrals in the world, I consider his works to be our avante garde.
On the mentor side I was very fortunate growing as a stylist in a time where quality was the primary belief and respect was not a choice but an expectation. Vidal Sassoon, taking me into his salon at 17 made me one of the youngest to join his core team, it was an honor, and it was not easy. Vidal also introduced Anne Humphreys for color with whom I had studied with and had my first introduction to the house of Wella. While in Europe, I met Louis Raimon, better known as Alexander of Paris, who guided me in the art of Styling hair. Yeah, I think I was pretty fortunate, I’ll owe everything to my mentors training. Difficult at times, and certainly draining, but the study of hair is a lifestyle, get involved to be on top.
You have continued to stay relevant with exciting fresh hair art throughout your career, any tips for younger stylist looking to sustain a high profile career long term?
For me, it’s important to always have a professional approach to the work, the fun is inevitable. To have respect for the industry as a whole is tremendously important, those around us look at us as artists and even though we are a little crazy, we have a skill in a spectacular craft. Continue capturing your work and sharing your knowledge with others. The seekers of art will follow and support you as your mastery is perfected throughout your career. Have the strength to continue staying positive, even when your negativity begins to possess you. Enjoy your work. Stand back and really look at it, it is then that the world becomes your art.
What are the career goals you are still striving for? What is next for Michael Haase?
Certainly my salon is so very important, I have a great team, I consider them “an elite society of professional hairdressers.” Kind of funny, I always wanted to be part of that. This service industry we call hairdressing is improved everyday by our commitment as elite stylists, the study of, if you will.
What is coming next is my educational exploration, both for me and for others. For me, it is a study in the craft I love and that is never ending. For others, it is three different levels of education encompassing all disciplines, “From the chair™”, “Red Carpet to Runway™”, and “Beyond Editorial™”. You can see some of the work in these categories on my professional Facebook page at Michael M. Haase and on my Instagram by the same name.
What is your "go-to" product? What do you always find yourself reaching for?
One of my favorite go to’s is always a good pomade such as Texture Touch, Rugged Fix or Smooth Brilliance by Wella Professionals. They allow me sculpt and mold and achieve a multitude of textures and finishes in the hair. One of our best tools is our hands and work quite frequently without other tools so I want full control of my fabric. Wet tools are a study all their own, we need to be able to count on performance and results and of course that photographic finish with all our work.
How did you know Wella was the best fit for you? Tell us a bit about how the brand inspires you vice versa.
Wella has been a part of my career for over 30 years and after experimenting through curiosity and trial I have always come back to what I consider the best. The color portfolio is spectacular and now with color I.D., Frelights and Istamatic, the artist has a huge amount of choices to create. I felt it would be a good fit one artist to another and of course the level of integrity and support to the new in the industry. One of the most important things in this profession is education and the continuing of such. Wella has by far the most advanced and diverse of any I have seen. It is not uncommon to see me in the classroom during the year soaking up knowledge, first class education. And remember, “Education is a want, not a need™.”
When not styling hair, what is your favorite pastime?
Well, you may laugh but anything hair, Lol. I am always thinking about my next shoot or what to do on a certain client to chnge things up seasonaly. That is not to say that that is it, I love movies and anything image, travel and cool people. I suppose I am a career hairstylist with a passion for the craft and the fabric of hair, I continually study shape and balance and design and sketch like crazy, I think our free time is cleansing no matter what you do but always it comes back to what I love, “hair”.
Be sure to Stalk Michael Haase to see more of his incredible imagery!