published Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Chattanooga stylist selected to work Fashion Week in New York

Genia Church, owner of Epiphany Salon & Day Spa, adds
highlights to customer Starr Bert’s hair.
Genia Church, owner of Epiphany Salon & Day Spa, adds highlights to customer Starr Bert’s hair.
Photo by Erin O. Smith.

Genia Church is beside herself.

The energetic stylist from Chattanooga’s North Shore is heading to New York City to style the hair of the world’s top models participating in New York Fashion Week Fall 2014, which started Friday and runs through Feb. 13. She’ll be part of a team of 18 stylists from the United States and Canada.

Church received the phone call a couple weeks ago, telling her she was selected to participate.

“It really is beyond exciting,” she says. “I’ve never done anything like this before.”

New York Fashion Week Fall 2014, which started Thursday and runs through Friday, showcases trends for fall. Bruce Baird, owner of Bruce Baird & Co., an upscale men’s boutique on Broad Street, says it’s important for people in the fashion industry to attend the week because “you see the latest fashions from around the world — things that you don’t see at local or regional markets.”

Though men’s lines are shown during this week’s events, the majority of new trends were showcased at Men’s Fall 2014 New York City Fashion Market Week, which was held Jan. 23-28. Baird attended the men’s week.

“It’s where I buy my English lines, which we love,” he says. “You see the latest styles and colors. It’s just so important in my industry to keep on top of all that stuff and to be on top of the latest look and vendors.”

Church, who will be attending her first Fashion Week, was named by the Chattanooga Urban League Young Professionals as one of the top women-owned businesses of 2013. She’ll be in New York for five days.

“It will be so fun to work with stylists behind the scenes,” she says. “It will be a huge experience for me.”

A stylist for 18 years who earned a cosmetology degree from Chattanooga State Community College, Church will be on a stylist team led by celebrity stylist Michael Duenas, who has worked with Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Connie Britton, Mariah Carey and Padma Lakshmi, among others.

The stylist team will be working with designer Betsey Johnson and her team of models. Johnson, a designer well-known for eclectic fashions ranging from clothing to accessories, has been in the fashion industry with since the 1960s.

Church, 38, says it’s her connection with the international company Schwarzkopf Profession, a century-old hair beauty and care outfit, that got her in the running for the Fashion Week job.

As the owner, hair design specialist and color expert at Epiphany Salon & Day Spa on Frazier Avenue, Church is also a Schwarzkopf Professional technical advisor and hair color educator. She teaches hair color techniques to salon professionals all over the country as well as in Chattanooga.

“I started teaching with Schwarzkopf 12 years ago after I worked in a salon and started using their hair color,” she says. “I’ve continued my education and their passion for hair. They are innovative and bring the best products for your hair, and it shows.”

This is the first year Schwarzkopf has been the official hair sponsor for Johnson’s show, Church says.

But it’s not like she’s a total newbie when it comes to styling celebs. She worked on the hair of singer Lance Bass before last year’s American Music Awards, and also has styled Laura Marano, the female star of Disney’s “Austin & Ally” TV show.

Like Fashion Week, her Schwarzkopf connection landed her the American Music Awards gig. The company pulled together a team of stylists to work on the hair for celebrity hosts, including Bass, Jordan Sparks and Jake Owen.

She styled Marano’s hair when the actress was in town for the Times Free Press’ Kidz Expo in 2013.

At Fashion Week in New York, stylists will catch up on the latest trends, Church says. “It’s where we pull our inspiration every season.”

Though she can’t predict what styles she’ll be creating for the models, she has some insight as to what’s going to be hot for fall.

“Hair will be less ‘fixed,’ ” she says, explaining that a “messy look with random waves” will be trending.

The bob and short pixies will be in, too, Church explains. Long hair will be worn in low ponytails and dark roots with light hair will be out. Honey blond and rich brunette will be the top hair colors for fall, she says.

Contact Karen Nazor Hill at khill@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6396.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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